New Zealand Post continues to remember and honour those who served in the First World War with the fourth addition to its stamp and coin programme, titled 1917 The Darkest Hour.
New Zealand Post continues to remember and honour those who served in the First World War with its five-year commemorative stamp and coin programme. The fourth addition to the programme is titled 1917 The Darkest Hour and looks at New Zealand's contribution to the First World War in 1917.
The 2017 issue looks back to 1917 when New Zealanders were growing weary of the great war that seemed to have no end in sight. As the situation intensified on the Western Front, New Zealand would experience the deadliest day in its military history when 845 lives were lost at the Belgian town of Passchendaele. With trench warfare at a stalemate and morale plummeting, the outlook was grim for the Allies on the front and for the families waiting at home.
Alongside the horrors of the Western Front, we tell the story of mother of ten, Ellen Knight. Like many mothers, wives, sisters and daughters she experienced the war from New Zealand shores, relying on letters from loved ones and news reports to stay informed. However, Ellen’s story was grimmer than most – having lost three sons by the war’s end.
A mother mourns – Ellen Knight
Ellen Knight of Dannevirke, mother of ten, saw three of her boys killed during the First World War: Herbert, shot dead by a sniper at Gallipoli in 1915; George, killed at Passchendaele in 1917; and William Douglas, her eldest, felled by a shell in France in 1918. She wrote to her sons constantly during their service, her letters offering some form of comfort from home while acknowledging her family’s duty to contribute to the war. Ellen would outlive most of her children, and died at Whakatane aged 93.
The 1917 The Darkest Hour story is told in a special commemorative booklet, which contains further information about the war as well as 12 unique miniature stamp sheets.
The WW1 stamps and coins are available from 5 April 2017 at all New Zealand PostShops. Pre-orders are available online at nzpost.co.nz/ww1