Alfred Richardson may be 98-years-old but the Richmond resident still remembers his days as a WW2 wireless operator well.
While he didn’t see any action, Alfred’s role was a vital one – relaying radio messages from army officers.
“You sit there with your headphones on, for four hours a day, and then you go four miles on your bicycle.”
Alfred was stationed in England from the beginning of the war to two years afterwards.
He now lives at Oakwoods in Richmond and was one of the special guests at a lunch hosted by Motueka Returned Services’ Association (RSA), on Tuesday, 5 November.
The event was for the remaining World War 2 veterans living in our region and began at midday at the local RSA Motueka.
Alfred says that his experience during the war was not particularly dramatic.
Kyle Abbott, president of Motueka RSA, says that the event was decided upon in conjunction with Nelson RSA and Richmond Waimea RSA to host our remaining WW2 veterans.
“There are not many of them left and I just thought it was time that we actually recognise our veterans,” says Kyle.
There are four WW2 veterans living in Motueka, five in Richmond and about 25 in Nelson and most of them were at the event on November 5.
“At our Motueka RSA we’ve got about 1,300 members of which about 300 hundred of us are ex-services,” says Kyle, who was in the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
The RSA reunites veterans of WW2, Korea, Vietnam and other theatres of war but also recognises those who served without ever being deployed.
“I think we need to celebrate these guys. They went overseas. A lot of them thought they were going on a holiday, but they walked into hell. My grandfather served in WW2 and I still wear his dog tag. He is long past now, but it is important to keep his memory alive and especially to celebrate those who are still here. These guys were just young boys when they went to war,” Kyle says.