A humbling month

How do we mark the successes in our life?  Some do by money, some do by cars and others by houses.

Those who know me, know my love of cemetery photography and discovering long forgotten stories.  These long dead people don't have to be considered famous, I find many interesting stories from 'ordinary' people.  

This month I have marked TWO further successes in my life just by feeling a great inner contentedness and that is rich enough for me! Two more that make all my thousands of hours of photography and research worth it because life stories of those who deserve to be remembered have or will eventually be  correctly acknowledged and brought back in to living memory.

These are 2 wonderful success stories to add to my list along with Private William PERREAU's story.

Sapper Robert HISLOP

I have completed a webpage on how I played a large part in the past month by rediscovering New Zealand's first young soldier who died in WW1.  Robert was originally from Canterbury. An unfortunate accident whilst guarding the Parnell Bridge in Auckland claimed his life.  He has now been officially added to the Memorial Rolls this year.

Read about his tragic story and being found again HERE

This has been an amazing experience and it was a special moment and privilege to attend his full military funeral service at Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland on the 19th August 2014 - exactly 100 years to the day he died.

Robert's grave as I found it on Anzac Day 2014

Catafalque guard composed of soldiers of the 
New Zealand Army Reserve based in Auckland.

Territorials - a nice touch, done specifically as Robert was part of the Territorial Force - 19 August 2014

Robert's grave 19 August 2014
Renovated just in time for his
service on 19 August 2014.

I had a bouquet of flowers specially made for the occasion.
Here, I am placing them on the grave.

See the full set of photos for Robert Hislop on Flickr HERE

After the bi-annual clean - 12/10/14

"After a short time the young life flickered and faded -Adam George Begg had made the supreme sacrifice in the cause of law and order."

My partner and I stumbled upon Adam's grave back in 2008.  It was covered in lichen and looking very unloved, but we were quite drawn to it.  So over the next few weeks we carefully tended to it to remove the lichen and I commenced to unravel his story.

Adam was killed in the Parnell train tunnel, Auckland on 23 February 1926 in the "execution of his duty aged 27 years".  

I have championed for 5 years to get his name added to official Police memorial rolls without luck, but with my success in relation to Robert Hislop, I was spurred on and in a last ditch attempt on 19th August 2014 wrote to Peter Hayes, the Manager of Welfare Services for the NZ Police Association after being forwarded the Letters page of their magazine, issue Jan/Feb 2014 by a contact.  In this, it was noted that the situation relating to officers killed on duty and like Adam's not slain by a criminal but still dying whilst on duty was being investigated.  This involves at least 712 police members. It appears there may be positive outcomes in relation to at least 50 of these individuals, I was ecstatic to read this! 

I received a reply from Peter on the 28th August.  Adam is included as 1 of the 50.  I was ecstatic to read this!

Update 13 August 2015:
Adam is to be formally recognised at this years Remembrance Day.  Details in his blog post - link below.

Adam's story is HERE

Update: 22 August 2015
I'm delighted to advise that finally Robert is now going to be formally recognised as being killed in the line of duty.  My partner and I are to get an official invite from Commissioner of Police - Mike Bush to attend Police Remembrance Day, 29 September 2015 as Robert's 'representatives'.

Sapper Hislop's photograph courtesy of Sapper Hislop's Great Niece Sue Atkins

©2014 Sarndra Lees


  1. No wonder you are feeling ecstatic. You've made great strides.

  2. Thanks Jill! It's all been VERY exciting! How can I top that?!!! ;o)


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