TEARS were shed as family members of a man who died suddenly last month got the chance to hand over an archived war memorial honours board on his behalf.
It was a last-minute dash for war memorial specialist Ann Robbie to make it to Tracy Crossley’s Dipton house on Tuesday before Mrs Crossley’s son, Michael, left for London ahead of the Covid-19 lockdown.
With her, Mrs Robbie carried the Fern Hill war memorial honours board with names of those from Southland who served and died in World War 1 and the Boer War.
Central Southland man Chris Crossley, the pair’s husband and father, had organised for the board to be taken out of the Southland District Council’s (SDC) archives and handed over to the Winton RSA.
However, his sudden death last month meant he was unable to.
Mrs Robbie said while his unexpected death was tragic, it was important for his family to be able to “fulfil that honour”.
“They were in tears and very, very proud.
“They just stared at it and were amazed by how many names were on there from Southland.”
While it was common for names on an honours board to no longer exist in a district, it was not the case for this one.
“There must have been hundreds of names on it [of those] that still live here in the region.”
Later that day, the honours board was taken to the Winton RSA where a small group of members, New Zealand Army (NZA) representatives and SDC staff watched as it was officially handed over to the RSA.
NZA Sergeant Zane Langford, who is set to move to Samoa to live with his family, led the handover at what would be his last official duty for the army.
Following the small yet significant ceremony, the honours board was hung in the hall at the Winton RSA for everyone to see, Mrs Robbie said.
“It’s great to have it home, it’s another wee tick in the box getting another honours board back to where it belongs.”