Three local services to help mark Anzac Day

Published date15 April 2024
AuthorDave Murdoch
Publication titleBush Telegraph
Following the Dawn Service at 6am in Fountaine Square there will be a service at the RSA Cemetery adjacent to the Old Gorge Cemetery starting at 7am. This will be followed by the traditional breakfast in Woodville with the Civic Service set for 10am again in Fountaine Square

When the RSA established the RSA Cemetery, there were originally services on Anzac Day but when the road next to it became State Highway 2 they were cancelled.

With the closing of the Manawatū Gorge, RSA president Dale Stokes and his committee decided it became feasible to re-establish the ceremony and Woodville Lions joined RSA members to run a working bee on April 6 to spruce up the cemetery which had been kept in pretty good order by TDC workers.

Joan McIntyre says the history of the Woodville RSA Cemetery reserve on the eastern side of the rail line began in the 1930s.

”[This was] when 15 acres of cemetery reserve which went up beyond the present Old Gorge Cemetery was swapped for seven acres of flat land on the flats opposite the cemetery and alongside the railway line. The area changed slightly when the state highway cut through that land.”

She says newspaper reports from January 1944 indicate that the Woodville RSA was looking for a portion of the local cemetery for RSA plots.

“By October 1945 an amended plan had been approved for the lawn cemetery for deceased servicemen and women. The Manawatu Times of 19th October 1945 reported this plan was approved at a meeting of the borough council.”

The first three burials are particularly significant and poignant, Joan says, with some of the story provided by the descendants of the Dickins family.

“The first burial in the new RSA cemetery was on the death of Allen Scott Dickins [who] was buried 24th March 1948.”

She says Allen was born on July 10, 1920, but he raised his age by two years so he could join the army along with his Territorial Force mates from Papatawa, Woodville and Dannevirke. His army number was 30110.

“He sailed from Wellington on board the troopship Empress of Britain to Southern England. He then proceeded to Egypt and Greece onto Crete.”

The history notes that Private Scott Dickins was taken prisoner on May 21, 1941.

On August 24, 1941 he was included in a group of a thousand POWs who were taken by train on a 10-day journey all the way from Salonika up to Germany and on to Poland to Lamsdorf-Stalag VIII-B.

As a prisoner he worked in the salt mine at Wielczka, near Krakow.

Joan says shortly after Scott was diagnosed...

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