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Civilian into Soldier
Part 1 Joining Up
373649 Arthur H Paddison, 2nd Field Regiment, NZA
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I cannot remember what my feelings were, when the fateful announcements
came over the radio. German Armed forces had marched into Poland
and consequent on her failure to accede to Britain's demand she
withdraw her forces, a state of war then existed between them.
France also declared war on Germany at the same time. Here in New Zealand our Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage, an ex
Australian, declared "Where England goes we go" and so little old N.Z.
declared war on Germany. Adolph Hitler thought it was a bit of a joke and made some disparaging remarks about country boys.
Well he might have with a million men under arms.
I don't know about the relative
strengths of the Navy and the Airforce
but the strength of the Army between
the wars was less than 800 men plus
the Territorials, a few thousands of
The Army set about raising sufficient
men to form a division for service
overseas. A scheme called the the Empire Air
Training Scheme to provide a flow of pilots was set in
motion with the building of airfields and other establishments
around the country to provide preliminary
training, with further training in Canada, before
posting to flying units.
I saw this as a chance to realise my dream to become a
flyer, however, when I broached the subject with
Mum, it caused an explosion fit to raise the roof. She knew enough about wars, having lived through the
last one, worrying as to whether my father would be
called up to join his brothers in the terrible slaughter
that was WW1.
Prospective recruits under 21 had to have parental
approval prior to acceptance and that was the end of that. Not long after, Stan Bright called in with the news that the Army
had some big guns over on a stand at the Centennial Exhibition and "come
on over and have a look". Sure enough there were two of them, an eighteen
pounder field gun and a 4.5 inch howitzer all painted in Army green
and polished up fit for inspection. Along with a lot of other stuff was a recruiting
The end result of that little jaunt being an increase
in the Territorial Forces of New Zealand by two. We were enlisted in the New Zealand Artillery
(Territorials) as we were both too young to serve overseas at that time.
AH Paddison, 2007
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