Military Monday:- The Baked Bean Poet

It is always wonderful when a customer comes to the Central Auckland Research Centre with a family history query that results in the staff learning more about the materials held in our collections. Recently, we had a person researching soldiers with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force that served in the Pacific Islands. 

Beyond our expanding collection of Pacific Island family history materials, these additional resources were ‘discovered’ within the Research Centre that are noteworthy. 


Ref: AWNS-19431013-22-1, Soldiers of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Pacific, 1943, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The Pacific Island Monthly, which tends to be referred to as PIM, is held on microfilm in the Research Centre for the period 1936 to1942 but the real gem is the accompanying PIM Cumulative Index,1930-1945. It is in book format and provides coverage for the same dates. The contents are listed by names as well as subject and is divided into sections; a few to note are aircraft, ships, territories, biographical entries. Poems and short stories were even featured in many of the issues. Social events were frequently reported in PIM, and marriage announcements often included a portrait of the newlyweds.
The Pacific Islands Year Books (available for 1932 to 1959)  are a good source of general information about the island groups. The editions, which include a Who's Who section, contain biographical entries of individuals who have contributed to the Pacific communities.

Ref: Front cover of the first edition, 1932, Auckland Libraries.
 The Unofficial Histories of the Third Division, 2nd NZEF IP are the "series of  thirteen unofficial narratives detailing the activities of the units of the Third New Zealand Division and its base organisation during their service in the Pacific theatre of war from 1940. . . . until 1944, when the division was disbanded."  Some of the titles within the series are Pacific Pioneers, Pacific Service and Shovel, Sword and Scalpel. They contain fabulous content such as this entertaining entry from Pacific Kiwis, Chapter 9, written by Joe Grindlay, a regular contributor to the Koumac Kronicle, the battalion news sheet.  Joe’s civilian profession before and after the war was as a school teacher.

     As a Kiwi who has never visited the States
     I have often tried to visualise its scenes,
     And judging by the rations that we find upon our plates,
     The only crop they grow there must be beans.

     We have beans cooked with bacon, and have beans dished up with hash,
     How I often wish we had a change of greens,
     Or perhaps a large and tasty dish of sausages and mash
     As a change from endless dixies full of beans and beans and beans.

                                                                  ~ Pte. Douglas Joseph "Deejay" Grindlay
                                                 
If you are unable to come into the Central Auckland Research Centre, this series is also available for reading online through the New Zealand Electronic Text Collection (NZETC) along with many other war histories.  The appendix to the Pacific Kiwis includes the 30th Battalion Roll of soldiers who sailed on the Rangatira.

My colleague recommends a very useful feature when using the NZETC, which is the ability to do a name search in 'this document' or 'this corpus' for more precise search results.

Kind regards
Karen

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