I haven’t been able to keep up with all the photos we’ve taken this year so I’ve got an ‘archive’. I took this photo of young pine trees at Queens Park in Invercargill on 24 February and it seems the best fit for my post today, beautiful fresh young trees with lots of life in them, you could say they have a bright future, but growing in the midst of light and shadow. Southland, New Zealand.
When my mum was a girl her dearly loved father died when she was four. Her mother died when she was seven. I remember her speaking with great affection of her older brother named John. She also had younger sisters/half-sisters – her mother had married again before her death. I knew her sisters a little bit, one married my dad’s twin brother. After their mother died the children got separated and stayed with various relatives or were fostered out, quite a saga and it was a very fraught time for them as they grew up.
I knew that her brother John had died at sea in WW2 and I thought he’d been on a ship called the Leander. On Anzac Day someone tweeted a photo of an ancestor who’d been on that ship and it spurred me to do an online search for mum’s brother. It turned out that her brother had actually been on HMS Neptune (a Leander Class Cruiser) that was to stand in for the Leander. The HMS Neptune hit a minefield in the sea near Tripoli and there was only one survivor (all 150 NZers died, 764 deaths in total). John’s military rank at the time he died was Leading Seaman.
My uncle died at the young age of 20 years, December 1941
Portrait of Able Seaman John Charles Wardle, Auckland Weekly News, 4 February 1942. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections AWNS-19420204-25-19. Image has no known copyright restrictions.
The story of what happened to HMS Neptune is in these Biographical Notes
Posted by Liz; Exploring Colour (2020)