Arthur Brooking

Ingoa whānau
Ingoa tuatahi

World War 2

Tau Rangatū
Wāhi noho
Te Araroa, New Zealand
Whanaunga tino tata i te wā o te kuhunga
Mrs K. Brooking (mother), Te Araroa, New Zealand

Takupu (4)

My father resides in Mary Doyle Home, Havelock North, Hastings. He is now age 91 years having celebrated his 91st birthday on 27 April. His health is reasonably good however his memory is not what it use to be. He looks fabulous for his age. On 5 June 2009 we lost mum which has deeply affected dad. Each time we visit his first question is always "where's mum"? We remind him that she has gone. We have the book Nga Tamatoa and we frequently show him the photos in the back. His memory of the 28 vets is fantastic. He remembers the faces and more surprisingly the nicknames. We are lucky to have our dad still.

I am one of the sons of Julian Arthur Brooking. He iramutu hoki ahau ki a Moana Nui A Kiwa Ngarimu. My dad was, and still is a very humble man and his recollections of the Battalion came in small anecdotes and comments which were very rare. I remember he often commented on the families from the coast who lost several members. Families like the Wanoa whanau, the Hoopers and others who had lost two and three brothers overseas and to quote, buried all over the place, never came home. He omitted to tell us that my Dad and three of his brothers went as well, plus three cousins in the Brooking family. Thats the way he was and still is. During my childhood Dad would visit people like Ned Hooper, John and Whe Wanoa, Boy (Matehaere) Wanoa and others. I didn't figure the strength of this bond until I was an adult. These were guys he served with overseas. I remember one of his rare stories which humoured him very much. He would only tell these stories in selected company. He was sitting with Ben Baker one day and he told a story of how they used to steal chickens in Italy. He demonstrated how one of the Wanoa boys was walking down the street with a bulky great coat, winking at Dad saying a word I remember to this day. Galina. I've since found out that it means chicken or fowl. On another rare occasion I remember him telling how they used to have to sing songs in their prison of War Camp. I don't recall what Stalag number it was. The story goes that the Germans allowed guitars in the camp and they would have big sing songs with guitars and tins for drums. While they sang and played their songs someone would be sawing a hole in a wall exactly the same rythmn as the songs. They would escape and be caught the next day. Like all the veterans I guess, Dad was an excellent food gatherer. We would go diving at Matakaoa Point, fishing and he would go hunting with his mate. In 1958, Dad received a letter from Czeckoslovakia from a lady who hid then away in Prague after they escaped from Germany. In 1998 I wrote to the Czeck Embassy enclosing a copy of the letter. I didn't hold much hope. 9 months later I received a letter from the West Embassy saying they had found her. At that time she lived in Malta. Memories for Dad and those who served in the Battalion must have had a huge impact on their lives. One of the best childhood memories I have is Dad's ability to make a beautiful clear soup out of carrot stalks and leaves, onion leaves, potato skins and kumara offcuts and skins. The soup was beautiful. To this day I have been unable to duplicate that sweet taste. We lost our Mum in 2009 and our Dad has never come to grips with it. He keeps good health at 92. Thank you Monty for your never ending work and dedication to the memories of Nga Tama Toa.

Our dad papa passed away 23 April 2013. On ANZAC day dad was lying in state at Hinerupe Marae in our hometown of Te Araroa. We the whanau were both honoured and overwhelmed as our people in the ANZAC parade came to pay their respects to our dad papa and lay wreaths in memory of all the soldiers at his feet. We had a beautiful service and heard the stories.... LEST WE FORGET our people thank you for honouring our dad papa on ANZAC Day 2013

My beloved father. Two years ago today you left us. You will be honoured once again this ANZAC day. Always with me.