While mustering at Avondale Racecourse in Auckland for training prior to embarkation, they quickly earned the nickname of "The Red Feds" because of the high number of union activists among their ranks. It was reported that 'such men did not take kindly to drill and were later famed throughout the Expeditionary Force as being the toughest and roughest company'.
Walking through the tunnel before and after the official speech, visitors were asked to carry laminated certificates bearing the details of sappers who lost their life as a result of the war. The one I carried was 4/1340 Sapper Sylvester Dargan, a married gold-miner of Waihi who was born in South Australia on 9 October 1877, and had formerly served in the South Australian Infantry Regiment. Dargan shipped out with the initial company deployment. Gassed on 13 November 1917, Dargan was hospitalised, discharged from the army and shipped back to New Zealand as an invalid, where he was treated at the Pukeroa Sanatorium in Hawkes Bay. He died of his wounds on 13 July 1920, leaving behind his wife and four children.
|Mayor of Wellington, Celia Wade-Brown & Army guard|
|In honour of the French contingent|
|The Arras Tunnel opens for traffic on Monday|
|Walk-through, admiring the commemorative poppies|