Waiuku RSA President Doug McNally pays his respects after laying a wreath on the memorial steam train Passchendaele at the Glenbrook Vintage Railway on Monday. A special ceremony, attended by representatives from New Zealand Rail, the New Zealand Defence Force, RSA members and members of the Passchendaele Society marked the arrival of the steam engine, named after one of the bloodiest battles of World War One.
A flypast performed by historic warplanes followed the ceremony, the sounding of the Last Post and the reading of The Ode. In 1925 the then-Minister of Railways, Gordon Coates, agreed to a proposal to name a steam locomotive ‘in memory of those members of the New Zealand Railways who fell in the Great War’. More than 5000 railwaymen served overseas between 1914 and 1918 (out of a total workforce of 14,000), and 450 were killed.
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