U.S. Soldiers’ Camp at Auckland’s Victoria Park, 1944

U.S. Camp, Victoria Park (approx. 1944). From the Ministry of Works WWII report, held at Auckland Museum.

One of the only two photos I have ever seen of the U.S. Camp at Victoria Park (approx. 1944). From the Ministry of Works WWII report, held at Auckland Museum.

One of the settings in my book is Victoria Park (Auckland, New Zealand) during World War II. Now a peaceful green-space for Aucklanders to enjoy, back in 1942 it was developed for the U.S. Marines who had arrived to protect us from a possible Japanese invasion (and for R & R after the terror of Pacific battles e.g. Guadalcanal). Towards the end of the U.S. presence in New Zealand (most U.S troops had departed by mid-1944), the camp was taken over by the U.S. Army.  Continue reading

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Book Review: The Widow’s Daughter by Nicholas Edlin

Edlin’s descriptions of my home turf – Freeman’s Bay and Ponsonby – during World War Two brought alive much of the dry, factual reading I’ve recently done about U.S. troops in Auckland during that time (I can recommend Denys Bevan’s United States Forces in NZ and The Yanks are Coming by Harry Bioletti). Most Kiwi soldiers were away fighting in the Middle East, so when the Japanese became a threat, the U.S. sent their troops to New Zealand as a base from which to defend the Pacific, and for rest and recuperation between Pacific campaigns. Oh, and to teach Kiwi girls how to jitterbug.  Continue reading