[Jim Sullivan collection - Spectrum: Ted's bottle]

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Tono kōrero mai

Ted's Bottle - a "Spectrum" documentary produced for Anzac Day 1999 by Jim Sullivan.

Begins with Ross McMillan reading his own poem, "The soldier who never returned" about the bottle of beer on a shelf at the Waihao Forks Hotel. The bottle was left there by local man Edward La Tour Mollet d’Auvergne, who was killed in World War II.

Jean Stace of Waimate recalls her fond childhood memories of Ted D'Auvergne. Her brother Noel Newburn says he was like an honorary uncle to them.

Ted's niece Patricia Richards of Timaru recalls the excitement when her Uncle Ted left for service World War II in early 1940. The legend is that the bottle (Ballins XXXX beer) was left behind at the hotel by Ted when he had to rush to catch his train, and he said to keep it for him to drink when he returned.

However, Wanaka Hall, who was a young woman at Waihao Forks in 1940 says the train was not part of the story. She says just before Christmas Ted was taking part in a gun club shoot and drinking afterwards with Stuart Dickson and Dave Ponsonby.

Ted had to leave and still had an unopened bottle of beer he had purchased, but (publican) George Provan said they would keep the bottle on a shelf until he returned.

Ted fought in Greece and then on Crete, where he fought alongside Laurie Martin of Tauranga in the 27 Machine Gun Battalion. Laurie recounts the action they were involved in at Maleme Aerodrome and how they coped with makeshift conditions and equipment.

They were ordered to move their position and while escaping under German fire through a vineyard he realised Ted was no longer with him.

There were hopes back in South Canterbury that he might have escaped, but he was not confirmed dead until the end of the war, when a letter was received from a Cretan man who had rescued the wounded New Zealander and taken him home and buried him in his garden.

Wanaka Hall says Ted wrote letter home before he died but the Cretan man was captured while trying to deliver it to the Red Cross, and sent to a prisoner of war camp for several years.

After the war Ted's grave was exhumed and reburied at Suda Bay cemetery. Patricia Richard says the letter eventually turned up and was delivered to her family.

At the Waihao Forks Hotel, each subsequent publican took on the responsibility of looking after Ted's bottle. Jim Lines who was at the hotel in the 1970s explains how he contacted Ted's sisters and found out more about his story and made a case for the bottle to keep the dust off it.

It has become a focal point for Anzac Day gatherings. Publican Bruce Wilson says several people come in to the hotel every week just to see the bottle. He explains the service every Anzac Day when a new poppy is place in the case. He thinks it is possibly the only war memorial in a hotel in the world. Wattie Hall of the Waimate RSA is heard reading the service in the hotel at Anzac Day.

(The programme ends with a musical version of Ross McMillian's poem sung by Dusty Spittle. Audio removed from online content due to copyright.)

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Year 1999

Reference number 262469

Media type AUDIO

Collection Sound Collection

Genre Radio interviews
Nonfiction radio programs
Radio programs
Sound recordings

Credits Sullivan, Jim, 1946-, Producer
McMillan, Ross, Performer
Hall, Wanaka, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Lines, Jim, fl. 1970-1999, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Wilson, Bruce, fl. 1993-2003, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Radio New Zealand National, Broadcaster

Duration 00:26:09

Date 25 Apr 1999