By Skill and Spirit: A History Auckland Officers Club by Graeme John Hunt
Signed for ex-owner
Soft cover, 1st edition 2009, very good condition
Reviewed by Glyn Harper
"The history of a club that was a by-product of Edwardian military adventurism and whose members were predominantly conservative serving or retired military officers may have limited appeal for many readers. Yet By Skill and Spirit offers much more than just a group of middle-aged men swapping war stories. It provides a window, albeit a narrow one, into Auckland and into New Zealand?s history.
The club?s Roll of Honour is testament to this. Twenty-six of its members were killed in action in the First World War, nine of whom died at Gallipoli. The Second World War was even more costly, with 36 members being killed in action, including four of the surviving Gallipoli veterans. The turbulent events of the 1930s make interesting reading. Immediately after its election in 1935, the Labour Government demanded the club supply a list of its members who had volunteered to be Special Constables during the industrial unrest that had occurred in Auckland in 1932. A police sergeant was sent to the club on three separate occasions to collect the offending list of names but the club refused to release this information. It should come as no surprise either to learn that two of the Four Colonels involved in the ?revolt? of 1938 were members of the Auckland Officer?s Club.
The ?passing parade? of members makes fascinating reading. It includes war heroes like the Victoria Cross winners Reginald Judson and Cyril Bassett. A former New Zealand Prime Minister, Major Gordon Coates MC and Bar, was also a member. Then there were senior officers like Sir Harold Barrowclough, Sir Keith Park and Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence (Curly) Blyth. Blyth played a leading role in the liberation of Le Quesnoy at the end of the First World War. He died in 2001, aged 105, having been a member of the club for more than 60 years."
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