On August 16th 2014 we will unveil a plaque commemorating the 8th (South Canterbury) Regiment of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles who left for the First World War exactly 100 years earlier.
An unveiling service will take place at 2 p.m. on August 16th 2014, 100 years to the day since the 8th South Canterbury Regiment left for the First World War from the Showgrounds in Timaru.
The plaque recognise the strategic role played by horses during the war and the strong bonds created between soldiers and their horses.
There is an identical plaque at Birch Hill Station just out of Rangiora. Why does South Canterbury have the same plaque?
The Committee have tried to find out for sure, but to no avail. Our best guesstimate is that Edward Millton, then owner of Birch Hill Station, was involved with the Rifles becoming their Officer in Charge and rising to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel commanding the 8th South Canterbury Mounted Rifles (1911 -1921).
We think it is for this reason that when Edward had the plaque cast for the Birch Hill memorial that he had a second plaque cast and presented it to the South Canterbury RSA.
The South Canterbury RSA have had the plaque in their garden since. The plaque has been uplifted and placed on a one tonne rock and will be relocated to a site adjacent to the Phar Lap statue at the Phar Lap Raceway in Timaru.