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Abstract of Frank Ivan BICKLEY, 2011

 Item — Box: 3
Identifier: H00230002


Frank Bickley

Interviewer: Janice Templeton

Abstracter: Jean Hawkes

Track 1

00.00 Interviewer identification.

00.52 Frank's Family Tree compiled by one of grandchildren for Golden Wedding on August 9th 2002 – used as reference.

01.03 Frank Ivan Bickley. Father from England. Mother from WAIMATUKU (pronounced as Waimatook), originally from SCOTLAND Father named ALFRED WILLIAM BICKLEY. Went to school at RIVERTON, had farm at the end of Bickley Road towards the sea. Mother named MAGGIE (MARGARET) McLEOD lived with parents at WAIMATUKU on a farm.

02.56 Parents moved from WAIMATUKU to FLINTS BUSH to OTAITAI BUSH THORNBURY – Mentioned. CAPTAIN STEPHEN'S house – Mentioned.

04.45 Frank born at RIVERTON. Brought up at Livingston Road, OTAITAI BUSH. Brother TOM on farm at OTAITAI BUSH.

05.07 Oldest brother FRED farmed on WEIR ROAD. Married. Died early in life (aged 58). Original home belong to JOHNSON, built a new house. 06.24 TOM next in family. Went onto home farm when father died. Called-up for Army service.

06.51 Parents retired to RIVERTON. Built a house next to TRIXIE BROWN on TOWACK STREET. (?) BROS built the house.

07.20 Next came WALLACE (WALLY) married ONIE (?) FRASER. Worked on farm with the others. Took over farm while TOM was overseas. Tom sent home on Hospital Ship to DUNEDIN HOSPITAL with severe wounds to leg.

08.40 Frank called-up for Territorials. Allowed home on leave to help on farm. Stationed at BURNHAM MILITARY CAMP (Christchurch). No car. Travelled by train. Camp for recruits. Spent 18th birthday on manouvres in SOUTH CANTERBURY. Did basic army training, recalled at intervals until JAPANESE came into the war when recalled for longer term. Posted overseas for active service 1943. Bombing in AUSTRALIA – Mentioned.

12.08 Went on board ship in WELLINGTON. Departed for MIDDLE EAST. Stopped at FREMANTLE and other ports. Arrived at PORT TEWFIQ in GULF of SUEZ. MAADI CAMP, EGYPT – Mentioned. 8th Reinforcements in served in desert without proper training. Many men killed. Frank in 9th Reinforcements not involved with desert war. Trained for stint in ITALY. Conditions very hot. Marched 100 miles at night on bitumen road as part of training.

15.00 End of Track 1

Track 2

00.00 Training in desert quite different to what was found in ITALY. Travelled to SOUTHERN ITALY by boat, went into camp. Crossing of SENIO RIVER was first action in ITALY. 01.13 GERMANS retreated from war. Some river crossing done in NEW ZEALAND. River crossing in ITALY done in early morning. River very cold. Difficulty recalling conditions after so many years. Moved through ITALY to TRIESTE with battles on the way. Severe, frosty winters with snow, flooding etc.

03.21 Worst battle was CASINO. Lot of men lost, never taken by NEW ZEALAND, GERMANS well prepared and entrenched. Monastery – Mentioned. GENERAL FREYBERG (Commanding Officer) believe monastery being used as an 'OPip' (Observation Point). Good visibility. FREYBERG with help from MARK CLARK (American Air Force) had the monastery bombed. Too many men being lost. English Air Force also involved. Bombing raid – Described. All houses two levels with animals on the ground floor with family above.

06.26 Germans occupied large buildings in CASINO. Bombing raid unforgettable – Described. Not a lot of damage to monastery. Walls about twelve feet thick at the base. In actual fact there were no Germans in the building. Some Italian families there. Religious items had been shifted to ROME. Bombs dropped on town. Many buildings damaged thus preventing movement through town. No access by tank, had to withdraw.

09.24 German soldiers, parachutists, young men.

09.34 Various buildings – Mentioned. Help with removal of wounded and dead including Germans. Recollection of one wearing a jersey similar to RIVERTON rugby footballer's jersey (green and white).

11.05 Americans already in CASINO, capture unsuccessful. Germans much better organised for war. Very good artillery on the hill. 11.53 Brief mention of Frank being injured – not described.

12.24 Nunnery entered. Building so big that Germans may have been there (underneath) as well as New Zealanders. Conditions – Described. River flooded filling bomb holes with water. Possible Germans dammed the river.

14.27 Attacks on the hill continued at different points. Attack on particular German position by another company of 23rd battalion

15.00 End of Track 3

Track 4

00.00 Officer BILL GOWAN (from North Island) carried grenades. Killed by Germans. 01.01 JACK WOODS (from WINTON) and Frank together. Germans had 'stick grenades' – Described. Frank got shrapnel in throat just missing jugular (vein), Jack hit in face. Both carried out to CCS (Casualty Clearing Station) by stretcher bearers from INDIAN DIVISION. Profuse bleeding controlled before Frank and Jack moved to hospital in SOUTH ITALY 'Khaki Angels' (book by Brendan O'Carroll about stretcher bearers) – Mentioned. Indian Division.

03.16 End of track 4

Track 5

00.00 Time spent in hospital not known. Rehabilitation followed until fit enough for return to battalion. 23rd Battalion had moved to FLORENCE and further north where he was again wounded. Hospitalised once more. Cousin JACK BICKLEY of Divisional Headquarters arranged Frank's removal from front line. Cyph(er) Room Platoon, part of headquarters. Did not return to ranks.

03.13 Went to VENICE, no fighting there, and other places (unnamed). Movements of GERMAN military – Described.

04.27 When war finished in a camp in northern ITALY. Yugoslavs, partisans, fighting in own little groups. Peace declared. Did not go to England. Wanted to go home. Interviewer's brother, ANDREW, may have gone to ENGLAND.

07.15 Flew south to board boat for long trip home on 'Otranto' Christmas 1945. North Islanders disembarked first then ship travelled to LYTTELTON, disembarked then home by train. Arrived at INVERCARGILL met by interviewer' sister-in-law ELAINE TEMPLETON, none of own folk present – Described.

09.52 Reflects on mother's feeling towards war. Messages regarding death or injury relayed by local policeman.

10.46 Stayed with parents at RIVERTON on return to Southland.

11.03 Attended school – travelled by train to RIVERTON DISTRICT HIGH SCHOOL from OTAITAI BUSH Station. Drove horse and gig for about mile from home to station – Described. 12.27 NORMAN FLECK didn't like school. Youngest in family.

13.13 Had dogs, went rabbitting on farm. Got hydatids when 13 years old – Described. Dr TROTTER called, thought it was pneumonia.

15.00 End of Track 5.

Track 6

00.01 Bed-bound for some three or months with hydatids. Verandah converted into room for Frank. Had nurse (McIVOR), mother couldn't manage everything including three brothers and dad. Daily visits by doctor – Described. Didn't return to school. Mother took him to QUEENSTOWN to recover. JACK McKENZIE – Mentioned.

03.34 Worked on farm. Worked for ROLLY HOPGOOD (baker). ROSS REIDY (?) had nursery, worked at FIVE RIVERS for JOHN HAMILTON (son of George) on 'ARDNO STATION'. Conditions – Described. Australian cook 'Dutchie Mo' – Described. Planted about twelve thousand small sapling trees. Snow came almost covered them. Thousands of rabbits on property, ate tops from trees. The trees grew.

08.24 Job at MAKAREWA FREEZING WORKS, eventually as wool-puller – Described. Lambs not shorn before coming to works. Old ewes were shorn – Described. When season closed at works jobs arranged with Forestry, planting trees, about 1200 per day. TUATAPERE – Mentioned.

15.00 End of Track 6

Track 7

00.01 St Patrick's Night – CARRIERS ARMS HOTEL (Riverton) run by JACK DOOLEY.

01.25 End of Track 7

Track 8

00.13 Met wife to be. St Patrick's Day – APARIMA HOTEL – VALERIE HEENAN teaching at RIVERTON not long out of training college. First school was at TISBURY. Boarded at bottom of Osborne Street – KAREN and ANDREW mentioned. Played piano and taught as well. Red/auburn hair. Her home in MOSSBURN. Nine in family. Frank about 30 at this time. Bad luck with girlfriends. LYNORE (?) SMYTHE, JOYCE CUMMINS both became ill – Mentioned.

02.58 Frank's mother asked about girlfriend. Thought girl was catholic but was Presbyterian so would be alright.

03.33 Married in LUMSDEN.

03.47 Val boarded in RIVERTON to go to school. Had a Dutch boyfriend at TUATAPERE, had stayed at family home at MOSSBURN. Motor vehicle accident caused by owner of APARIMA HOTEL – Described. Incident at boarding house involving Dutch boy – Described. Morris 8 – Mentioned.

06.47 Wedding – Anglican minister at LUMSDEN – changed to Presbyterian. 9 August 1952 – bitterly cold, frosty day. Val's sisters were bridesmaids.

09.22 Val continued to teach after marriage. Four children born while teaching. Val developed Multiple Sclerosis – Described. Determined like her father, WILLIAM HEENAN (Chairman of Hospital Board for 12 years and very good farmer) Dr DAWSON – Mentioned.

12.34 Frank advised Mrs HEENAN that he was thinking about getting married. Told he had to ask father, he approved.

13.24 End of Track 8.

Track 9

00.06 Frank's family – (NOTE: though people are named it is unclear which are Frank's children and which are, perhaps, grandchildren) 1. LINDA, eldest child, born in RIVERTON married ex-teacher in DUNEDIN, makes felt hats, daughter makes scarves. Items sold in 'SOMETHING SPECIAL' owned by JILL NICHOLLS at RIVERTON. Has three children – MATTHEW got ME (Myalgic Encephalopathy, also known as 'Tapanui Flu'), moved to Australia with Spanish girl – returned to New Zealand to marry and went back to AUSTRALIA. Have a small son, COHEN. Linda and Russell have holiday home at 'CAMBRIANS', ST BATHANS. 2. STEPHEN, oldest boy, works in ALEXANDRA for firm selling windows and doors. Lives in CROMWELL. Two daughters living in BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA. His children are KATIE Doctor of Physiotherapy (?), ALICE returned from ski resort in CANADA and working at Novotel in QUEENSTOWN, SCOTT is a chef in LAKE OHAU, SAMMY in AUCKLAND working for girlfriend's father 3. ANDREW and KAREN living in RIVERTON. Owns Second-hand shop 'EARTHWARE' Was a meat inspector. House being built for Frank on section behind shop. Children – MORGAN studied music at university, HANNAH studying at SIT (Southern Institute of Technology) for Tourism and Hospitality. 4. JENNY looks after Frank and does things for him. Involved in motorbike accident when aged 18, fractured spine, in wheelchair. Teaches music to children after school as well as adult group play ukeleles as a band. Drives own car. Working on a film. Time spent at GLENORCHY. In Community Choir. Married staff member from BURWOOD HOSPITAL, came to RIVERTON with sons PRESTON and MITCHELL, JORDAN born when marriage broke up. CORONET PEAK, WHISTLER (Canada), BILL ROSE (?) – Mentioned. 14.10 Life with Val. Had 50th Anniversary. Photos taken by local photographer.

15.00 End of Track 9

Track 10

00.04 50th Anniversary held at Senior Citizens.

00.16 Val interested in world affairs. Music took a lot of her time. Played golf after she got MS. Good seamstress – studied at Southland Girls' High School.

01.15 When first married lived at VIOLET STREET, RIVERTON ROCKS. Moved into a bigger house in IRWIN STREET. Here when Val got MS. Then to DAVID STREET – swapped with LAURIE HOFFMAN. Now moving into what was to be a cottage but is larger.

04.06 Frank member of LIONS CLUB for 25 years, PROBUS, TIME OUT on Wednesday afternoons with RON WINSLOE and friends, BOWLS at The Rocks in the summer, TAI CHI, CHURCH Will be ninety next year.

07.17 End of Track 10


  • 2011

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