Wednesday, 30 June 2010

From The Newsletter

Congratulations to the following students who were recently confirmed by Bishop Peter Cullinane at St Josephs Parish. Old boys of the college will recognise a number of famous FDMC names amongst these guys.

Jacob Boon, Joshua Brophy, Tane Butler, Luke Campbell, Shaun Campbell, Joshua Connolly, Sam Fastier, Martin Hales, Matthew Hau, Syd Hutchins, Andrew Jane, Ciaran King, Phillip Lepper, Joe McCalman, Daniel Morris, Ricky Riccitelli, Joshua Smith and Andreas Than-gam.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

It’s not a Patch on the real thing….

The following is the prize winning short essay written by Christian McSweeney-Novak which saw him attend the ANZAC remembrance ceremonies at Galipoli this year. Christian is the eldest son of old boy David Novak.

It’s not a Patch on the real thing….


Christian McSweeney-Novak, Yr13, Francis Douglas Memorial College

Harry Patch, the last British soldier to fight in the trenches in WW1 died last year. He was aged 111. His death and his legacy of pacifism got me thinking …. You see Patch chose not to share his wartime experiences with anyone until he reached the ripe old age of 100. He believed the war was simply ‘not worth it’ and that the bravado and pomp of ANZAC day was just glitzy glamour. The early morning marches along with the glistening of medals, made Harry Patch remember all too clearly the horrors he faced as a young man. Harry Patch’s death got me thinking about what we do on this side of the ditch on Anzac day; and of how the war affected my great grandfather who also fought in the `great war’.

For many New Zealanders, Anzac Day is a special time, and it is heartening in a country so young that we continue to pay tribute to those who have served and died on foreign fields. We are not mere antipodeans ignorant of world events. We know our history and we know how to commemorate it. We know about the Passchendale campaign that began on October 17, 1917 and how in just a few hours 1084 NZ soldiers died or were mortally wounded. Less than two week’s later the death toll had reached a staggering 3700. It was a military catastrophe that ranks as our darkest day.

Now that the last WW1 soldier has died, we have entered a period in our history where we glorify the deeds and acts that took place in World War One. Medals of forgotten soldiers are paraded and battles such as Gallipoli and Passchendale are held in high regard “as our boys did their best against all odds and served their country well”.
The endless tales of heroism and a public display of patriotism make every person young and old proud to be a New Zealander, and proud to be associated with our country’s greatest heroes.

Marching to the silent sound of feet on the pavement and the promise of toddy of rum afterwards, we gallantly and with much decorum commemorate Anzac Day. The RSA rooms are full, wreaths are laid at war memorials and poppies are sold and worn as a badge of honor. Woe betide you if you are mean-spirited and don’t wear one. The specially chosen leaders of our schools with the war veterans of old march through the streets of cities and small towns alike. It has become fashionable to talk of the heroics of one’s ancestors and to parade their medals as if they were the latest accessories on the catwalk. The News on the 25th of April broadcasts clips of those who attend the dawn parades and we proudly acknowledge the growing number of people who attend. However, for Harry Patch these celebrations symbolised a war that was simply ‘organized murder’.

New Zealand has been involved in many wars with many lives lost, but none have the status and even oddly the `appeal of Anzac day. It has become the trendy commemorative event of the 21st century, held up as a symbol of our nationhood; the pomp and splendor having as much appeal as the event itself. It is an all out ‘kiwi do’ – especially the bacon and eggs at the RSA afterwards.

Many New Zealanders describe Passchendale as “our finest hour”. For many New Zealanders that is their perception of The Great War. However, it only takes a little delving beneath the surface and to read the graphic first hand experiences of soldiers like Harry Patch to realize that this was nothing that a good RSA fry up could ever be a salve for.

For many of the young men like Harry Patch, who left in 1914 to fight, the thrill of adventure and comradeship was soon swamped by the fear and loathing of the front line. This was a war in which the elements were as cruel as the enemy and as callous as some of the commanders who gave orders from their safe bunkers. This is no more evident than the Gallipoli and Passcendale campaigns where from the very beginning nothing went to plan and thousands of men needlessly died. Do you believe for one moment Harry Patch would want to remember this? For Harry Patch the war brought anguish, despair, and permanent mental scars. As Siegfried Sassoon wrote; “I died in hell, they called it Passcendale”. It’s this ‘hell’ that we remember on ANZAC day. So let’s get it into perspective, do we really want to remember this hell?

The reality is that for many, war is just too painful to remember and an annual public outing is not appropriate – especially when you are solemnly grieving for those of a generation past or in what is now so often the case three generations past. My great grandfather fought and was wounded in Passchendale, and as a POW he received the British war and victory medals. But would I, like so many others march on Anzac day and wear his medals? I think not. For his story, like so many others is neither romantic, nostalgic, brave, nor particularly memorable. He did fight for his country, he did get wounded, he did get captured by the Germans at Passchendale, but the moral high ground is quickly forgotten. For him, like Harry Patch, war was a terrible experience, and not one family member of his generation would want to remember him for his war efforts. They only remember a bitter and broken man.

My great grandfather isn’t remembered for his talents and funny side. My great grandmother would remember him for his alcoholism and for his inability to communicate. His children, especially my grandfather, would remember him for his brutal beatings. His grandchildren would remember him for his distance and his bad temper.

My great grandfather, like Harry Patch, came back from war never to talk about it again. It was simply too painful and there is the old adage that `humility is the better part of valour.’ Oh how times have changed. He suffered post traumatic stress disorder and had a break down. He lost all his hair overnight and it never grew back. The war well and truly affected my great grandfather, both physically and emotionally. Harry Patch outlived every single soldier of his generation and survived into the new millennium. For a man like Harry Patch, it must have angered him to see the way Anzac day is now celebrated. If my great grandather was alive, he too would be saddened to see the way ANZAC services have changed.

World War One was a disgrace and should not be remembered in the way it is. We, like the romantic poets in the Georgian tradition dramatise and romanticize ‘our boys’ exploits’. Thousands of men died in World War One. Many however, died not facing the enemy in the eye, but were killed by disease, malnutrition, and due to the complete stupidity of their commanding officers. ANZAC day should be remembered in a humbler, quieter way; in a way more befitting of the human sacrifice that men like my great grandfather and Harry Patch gave to the war effort.

Friday, 25 June 2010

A Big Sporting Week

There has been lots happening this week and our congratulations have to go out to the All Whites for their great sporting example at the World Cup. We can of course claim old boy Frank Van Hattum (NZ Soccer Chairman) and we look forward to some of our young stars being around for the next big event.

While on soccer, coach Ian McGrath tells us that the 1st XI have qualified for the regional round of the national sec schools soccer tournament at the expense of NPBHS. Well done lads!

Congratulations to Dylan Dunlop-Barrett who has won gold in his first event at the Oceania Swimming Championships. We are all hoping Dylan gets the invitation to India later in the year.

At the other end of the sporting journey today's Daily News announced the retirement from rep rugby of old boy Tony Penn. Tony has been a very proud advertisement for FDMC and Taranaki rugby and we still wonder if he might not get a call when things get tough mid season. Only time will tell.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

More Potential World Champions?

Following on from our last post we received this flyer looking for support for old boy Paul Moriarty as he makes his way to the world 420 yachting championships.

We know there are plenty of local clever clogs for who a Quiz Night holds no fear so get along and support our own.

From The Daily News

Lots of FDMC content in today's news paper including;
  • a great article on Nathan Smith (pictured) being selected to represent NZ as a paralympic cyclist.
  • Liam Coltman became our most recent world champion at the U20 rugby competition in Argentina. Always in the action, he scored the first try and manage to get the only yellow card of the game.
  • FDMC's long tradition of rock bands continues this weekend with Fall Within and Lucid representing us at the Smokefree Rockquest - Saturday- TSB Showplace-7.30pm

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Latest From Argentina

Old Boy Liam Coltman has scored for the NZ U20 team in the first minute of their World Cup final against Australia. Let us hope it bodes well for the rest of the game.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Founder's Day In Review

A photo and comment on our recent Founder's Day celebrations from the pen of the Principal.

Founder’s Day Mass was a high point in the
school’s year. The decision to respond to Father
Craig Butler’s invitation to host the liturgy in the
more suitable venue of our parish church paid off
handsomely. Our students rose to the occasion
with dignity and energetic participation and also
cooperated well to ensure their transportation went smoothly. Our student response to the Foodbankrequest was humbling and the guests from De La Salle and John Paul College all remarked on our students’ generosity in donating such a mountain of foodstuffs. I am grateful to our parents for their support in this. Upon our return to school, the performance
of O’Shea items, the raucous house ‘singing’ and the delicious pie, were all received with traditional vigour prior to students’ departure for a
Queen’s Birthday break.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Titan's Win!

Just reporting the happy news that our 1st XI Soccer team defeated rivals NPBHS 1goal to nil in their fixture yesterday. The boys played really well and while it is not the first time they have beaten NPBHS it is the first time they have done it in this regional fixture. Now they must carry their form over to the game against PNBHS to give themselves a shot at being on the national stage.

Frank Van Hattum would be proud.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Another Clash Of The Titans

Webster field 1.30 today!

FDMC takes on NPBHS again and this time it is the 1st XI soccer teams that are to do battle. The stakes are just as high as for the rugby with the winner moving on to the regional round of the national sec. schools competition, and of course having bragging rights for the rest of the year.

Take a late lunch and check it out.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

One Year On

Well Queen's Birthday Weekend came and went a couple of weeks ago which means it is now over a year since the 50th Jubilee. Doesn't time fly when you are shivering?

Many of you, who were registered for the Jubilee, will have received a DVD of the event containing many pictures both historical and frighteningly accurate. We apologise for the delay over issuing the DVD but we had planned to use it as part of the "next phase" of keeping in touch. That process is still on going so we have distributed all those we could.

If you have changed address since last year you might want to check you old mail box or if you think you have missed out in some way contact Karen "Jubilee Girl" Gray at the college office.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Close But No Cigar

As predicted the annual FDMC v NPBHS 1st XV clash added another chapter the growing saga of the event. Played in very wet conditions, in front of a good crowd on FDMC No. 1, NPBHS where the victors by 12 points to 10.

Both sides showed great heart and effort in the trying conditions but were both lacking a little in when it came to playing smart in the conditions. The difference was that when FDMC scored they turned the ball over at the kick off and let the boys high side back in. Given the conditions the skill levels were pretty good and local boy Richard Kelly did a good job as referee.

Now we wait for next year to see what the next chapter of this developing story might hold.

Friday, 11 June 2010

A Big Weekend Of Rugby

The All Blacks have been making their presence felt around town all week, including paying an unexpected visit to Cormac Griffin's (pictured) and his family.

It is great to have them and the prospect of a test match in New Plymouth but it is not the rugby highlight of the weekend. That would be the annual FDMC v NPBHS 1st XV match which will be played this Saturday 12 June at the college grounds at 1.00 pm.

All supports are welcome along to the college and to join the team for the after match cup of tea in the dining room. What better way to warm up for a night at Yarrow Stadium.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

New Additions

Congratulations to old boy Michael Lawn on the recent birth of son Jak Daniel. Jak is Lawnies second child and we detect an echo of one of his favourite pastimes in the young fellas name. Mum, Dad and child all doing well.

Have you had a recent addition to your family, wife or child? Lets us know your news at FDMC Old Boys.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Cross Country Results

The senior school cross country was held on Thursday 27 May. The rain held off, but there was a cold wind, making it difficult for runners, spectators and the staff doing their various jobs.

The first race proved to be the best with only two seconds separating the first four, and a photo finish for first and second. Nicholas Tipler led all the way, but unfortunately took a wrong turn when entering the front paddocks, allowing Jordie Barrett and Jeremy Radich to catch up. He was then also overtaken in the final sprint home by Jono Kuriger. Jeremy took out the Junior Championship (Under 14), just pipping Jordie on the line.

In the Intermediate age group race Luke McCallum showed his class leading the whole time and setting the best time of the day to be Intermediate A Champion (Under 16). Simon Biesiek was the Intermediate B Champion (Under 15). In the senior race Julian Beardman also led from start to finish to take out the Senior Championship (Over 16).

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

This Is What We Want!

While it is great to be able to tell you all about what is happening at FDMC it is even better to be able to share old boys news and stories. It doesn't have to be earth shattering , just real. We received this email from old boy Robert Nutt recently and would be delighted if other old boys could drop us a line at FDMC Old Boys.

What to say?? I'm doing really well with my business's. Making some money out of mobile dogwash and pet supplies. Three vehicles with 800ish dogs on the roster. Sold a beer line instillation and reticulation business I started in '05, paid off my house on a bit of land and bought another on Thursday Island and chipped in some money to the house my girlfriend and I live in up the road from the GABBA cricket ground. I do some training in hospitality for all the tickets you need for the pub game and some train the trainer for the same deal. Kind of a natural progression after running pubs for about 10 years. I had a share in one called the Joynt for a couple of years, but have got out of the late nights altogether. There is a business I collect some royalties for called "Enviropoles," Basically a glorified ashtray, check it out, it has it's own site. I worked in the Clem 7 tunnel under the Brisbane river for a friend trying to get 70 guys doing structural integrity to work as a team and not kill each other. Big bucks and really different from a majority female dominated industry as the pub game is. Um.. No kids yet but Amanda's pretty keen so no doubt she'll trip over my undies and end up having triplets. First season of rugby for a couple of years. Just social on a Friday night for Easts Which is 100m from my house. Caught up with Stucky on tour with the rugby team. We shared a plane from Auckland.