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Callaway's War

Mike Dwight, previously from South Africa, now of Thames has done the Peninsula a service by following through on a tenuous family connection to bring us a magnificently researched tome in time for Christmas - "Walter Callaway - A Maori Warrior of the Boer War"

The whole story of the Boer War is intimately tied up with the history of the Peninsula, and Coromandel (from where Callaway came) / Thames in particular.  Very few are aware of the circumstances that led to our involvement with the Imperial forces in the Boer Campaign. The entire story is laid out in these pages, interwoven with that of Walter Callaway, which but for Mike's commitment may never have been told.

And it needed to be told. The war was supposed to be fought by white men, but he ignored the  restriction and with his anglicized name managed not just one tour of duty, but three covering the entire term of the war.  Walter one of the first Maori to enlist, one of the first to serve abroad, and one of the first to be commissioned. For his trouble, he was severely injured, and was quarantined with smallpox on Soames Island on his final return.

By the most extraordinary coincidence, Mike's grandfathers both served more or less alongside Walter in the same column and locations; a fact that Mike established while undertaking his research in South Africa.

Walters involvement with the gold and Kauri industries before and after his service is fully explored, and Mike has obtained an amazing collection of photographs and line drawings from the period. Production values are excellent - far beyond those normally expecetd in a self published book.

This is a worthy addition to the history  of the Peninsula, and a great effort on Mike's part to add to his primary involvement in the return of the Boer War Commemoration Rifle Collection, now on display at the Brian Boru - a must see.

Beg, borrow or better still buy a copy today. (available at $30 through, Paper Plus and Carson's)


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Reader Comments (1)

thank God the Council acted decisively and got those rifles back. one of the only complete sets - all numbered -and this town was prepared to sell it's Heritage!

December 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGunga Din

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