A Message to Veterans and First Responders

The deserts of North Africa are notorious for many reasons.

During World War 2, they became legendary for the heroic actions and bravery of the men who fought there. The soldiers stationed there had to be creative and unconventional, or Rommel, the Desert Fox, would catch them.

My grandfather served in World War 2 as a battalion surgeon. His unit was part of the Long Range Desert Group, also known as the Desert Scorpions. Being from New Zealand, they were practical and steadfast. I love to read about their history.

From left to right: Captain F B Edmundson, "Midnight", Sheik Abd el Galil Seif el Nasser, Free French troops, and (on far right) Lance Corporal L Roderick. Photographer unidentified.

But read is all I can do.

I never met my grandfather. He died when my mother was a young woman. So all I have of him are stories given to me by those who knew him and what I can glean from history. Our family was instrumental in creating modern New Zealand, from building hospitals in Taupo to rebuilding Napier after the great earthquake to inventing car headlamps. Yes, my family developed acetylene gas lights and mounted them to the front of their car. It was necessary when travelling long distances around New Zealand during the colonial days.

But that's all I know of him. We have some 8mm film, photographs, no significant handwriting, and no audio. I wish I could show my son what an amazing man his great grandfather was, but I fear it will be too little. When my older relatives and I are gone, he and our family history will be lost forever.

We are losing our Diggers and G.I.s at a rapid pace. Given the current state of the world, I'm afraid that - without our help - they won't have time to share their stories and will be forgotten.

I don't want this to happen. Without true accounts by the men who were there, our heritage and the history of the United States, as well as the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and our allies, will be at risk. It's no secret that there are forces at work in the world who find our achievements to be inconvenient to their narrative. We need to preserve our legacy for future generations.

Capt. F B Edmundson, NZ medical officer with the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) column, and the Senussi Chief Sheik Abd el Galil Seif el Nasser who led his people against the Italians. Taken during the Fezzan Raid, January 1941 by Trooper F Jopling.

Therefore, I will dedicate a portion of my time and energy to conserving history before it's lost forever.

I want your help with this project. If you know of a veteran who is over 60, I'd love to hear from them. Any service, military; police; fire; first responders; and people of renown are all welcome. I will interview and photograph them. We will create an online gallery they can share with their family and make photo albums and wall art. We should do our utmost to preserve and remember our ancestors' legacy to ensure we don't repeat the mistakes of the past.

Please forward this page to anyone you think may be interested. If you can enter their information into the form below yourself, I would be much obliged. I won't share any information or stories I gather with others unless I have permission from those involved. Let's band together and preserve the stories from our forefathers.

Veteran or First Responder?

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