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Record 43/128
Copyright Marlborough Museum - Marlborough Historical Society Inc
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Collection Higgins
Date c.1917
Abstract Black and white WW1 postcard:
He heard the Empire's call for men,
And volunteered straightaway;
He nobly fought in Freedom's cause;
We mourn his loss to-day.

But with pride our grief is mingled,
For we know that, bravely, he
Aye, sought the post of danger on
Far-famed Gallipoli.

No craven, No ! nor coward he
Whom we all loved as Mac,
He saw his duty did it and
He never once turned back.

He heard the Empire's call for men,
Saw its necessity,
Responded - bravely, fought and fell ;
Rests on Gallipoli. - W.H.S.

There is nothing written on the back.

From the Vera Hewetson postcard album. Collected by Vera Hewetson (born 25 April 1898) of Havelock. She wrote to many servicemen from Havelock while they were serving in World War 1, Mac Twidle was one of them. He died at Gallipoli 19 June 1915.


Monday 21st June 1915
"Mac Twidle, who was on a machine gun, was shot through the chest & killed almost instantaneously, a few mornings ago, he had had a lot of narrow escapes without being hurt before. One never knows when their turn will come here." [Bert Hughes diary]

When he wrote those lines, Bert Hughes, of the 12th Nelson Company, was having a rest day after 24 hours fighting in the trenches at Quin's Post. The Canterbury battalion, which Mac belonged to, had gone into the firing line the previous Thursday morning, "we have 24 hrs in the trenches & the same out. 2 companies of the battalion man the posts while the other two rest".
For Mac's parents, Harriet and William Twidle, back home on Woodlea Farm in Havelock, the war must have been one long anxious wait. In August 1914, when Havelock asked for volunteers, Mac was one of the first to enlist. He embarked for overseas in October 1914 and was killed in action at Gallipoli in June 1915.

In April 1915, before Mac was killed, his brother, Vic, volunteered. He embarked in October 1915 and was killed in action at Belgium in August 1917.

In June 1915, before the news of Mac's death reached New Zealand, Mason volunteered.
He embarked for Egypt in January 1916 and was probably there when he heard the news: "Just a few lines to let you know we are still alive after the sad news about poor old Mac. Mum and Ada took it pretty hard got a wire from Lea yesterday asking us if it was true " [Postcard Mason Twidle to Vera Hewetson]. Mason fought on the Western Front for the duration of the war. He survived.

In the meantime, George (known as Bunny), the eldest son, was in the First Reserves, training with other Reservists and never knowing when he might be called up for overseas duty.

In September 1916, after Mac's death and before Vic was killed, Lea enlisted. He was found to be underage so was turned down, but he did finally embarked in October 1918. He got as far as England, but remained at Sling Camp in Wiltshire as a cook; no doubt to the huge relief of his parents, if not to himself. He returned to New Zealand on the Hororata, the same ship that Henry Daikee returned on, in July 1919.

Thankfully, the youngest son, Bertie, was too young to enlist.
Object ID 1997.096.0003
Object Name Postcard
People Hewetson, Vera Annie (later Higgins)
Twidle, Frank Cecil (Mac)
Higgins, Vera Annie (nee Hewetson)
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Last modified on: November 16, 2015