The calm voice of a man well into his 90s, but with wartime memories as vivid as yesterday, urged a mainly young audience not to allow war to happen again.
Chris King was speaking on Monday (March 9) during the annual commemoration at Ōtaki College of the sinking of SS Otaki in 1917. This year also acknowledged the contribution of the Arctic convoys to the Second World War, and marked the 75th anniversary of the end of the war.
Chris is a veteran of the convoys, having served for much of the war on a corvette, the Bluebell. It was sunk by a torpedo on February 17, 1945, with only one survivor of the 90 crew. Chris was on training leave at the time.
“We fought for world peace,” he said. “I hope we achieved it. I ask you all to do all you can to make sure that peace is preserved. We should not be fighting each other or stocking weapons of war.”
Chris said he still thought about his shipmates who died 75 years ago.
“On occasions like this – and when we lay wreaths – I think of them again.”
See Ian Carson's story about his father's deeds on the World War 2 Arctic Convoys.