Terrible Cost

Continuing a series of blogs on the terrible cost of war to a nation and especially to nations who have a small population I came across the following poem written by Allen Curnow the celebrated New Zealand Poet and Satarist.

Men of our islands and blood returning

Broken or whole, can still be reticent

They do not wear that face we are discerning

As in a mirror momentarily lent

A glitter that might be pride, or an ashy glow

That could be pity, if the shapes would show

Allen Curnow

There is no doubt that no country sent its citizens so far away from their homeland to fight in the two World Wars and no country with reference to the size of the population suffered so many men killed in the wars.

On the First World War Memorial in the Auckland Domain is listed the names of the men from the Auckland Province who died.

I highly recommend a visit if you ever find yourself in Auckland.

The number of New Zealand dead is as stark as they are staggering with casualties including 18,166 deaths and 41,317 wounded a total of 59,483 out of 100,444 soldiers and nurses sent overseas.

In 1914 New Zealand had an total estimated population of 1,089,825 of who 243,376 were of military age.

Compare that with the number killed or wounded and the magnitude of the losses to a growing nation is frightening.

If you visit New Zealand the enormity of the impact of the losses is recorded on the cenotaphs and memorials in every town, village, hamlet and district throughout the country.