One man stood out at the dawn service on April 25 – he was proudly carrying a New Zealand flag.
“I wish more people got a flag and carried it at important events like Anzac Day,” Howard Chamberlain says. “You see it a lot overseas.”
Having visited many European countries and seeing how proud people were to show the flag, Howard thought he would do it as often as he could in New Zealand, hoping to encourage others to do so.
His flag has travelled with him, and he’s marked the places and dates down the pole to remember them.
They include military sites such as Gallipoli and the Western Front from the First World War, and Crete, Greece and Italy from the Second World War.
Howard joined the Army straight out of college at Waihi after growing up in Katikati. It was to be the start of a long military career in which he saw service in Malaya and Borneo from August 1963 to December 1966.
He stayed with the Army for 31 years, then worked at Defence Headquarters in Wellington for a further 12 years.
He now lives in Waikanae.
“I’m retired in the sense that I don’t get paid, but I’m pretty busy with various things,” he says.
As a military historian he’s already written Service Lives Remembered, which documents recipients of the Meritorious Service Medal from 1895 to 1994, and he’s working on a book about New Zealand’s role in the Korean War.
Howard is also honorary curator of the Engineers Corps Memorial Centre at Linton Army Camp, a trained opera singer and accomplished player of the baritone (a small tuba).
He attended the Ōtaki Anzac Day service for two reasons: one is that Waikanae no longer has an RSA; and two, Ōtaki RSA member and resident Richard Collins is an old school mate from Katikati.
He will undoubtedly have his flag at the 100th anniversary of the Ōtaki RSA in early June.