Cementing history

Warren Dawson standing next to the sculpture he is hoping to replicate in Israel. Photo: John Borren.

‘Lest we forget’ is the message that Warren Dawson is driving home.

He hopes to raise awareness about one of New Zealand’s lesser known battles, the Battle of Ayun Kara.

Warren’s grandfather, Gerald Dawson, was part of the combined New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade in 1917, which defeated an Ottoman force in the battle.

Warren is hoping to raise awareness by putting up a twin sculpture of a silver fern, found at Warren’s ‘Sarona Park’ in Omanawa, at the battlefield site located in Israel.

Although he has fundraised for the sculpture to be built, he hopes to further raise money for the plaques to be placed near the sculpture.

“The plaques will have information about the battle written on them. Our plan is to have it on two sides, one in Hebrew and one in English.

“We’re hoping to have it ready by the November 14 this year, which is this battle’s day of remembrance.”

Warren has helped form a group named the New Zealand Israel Friendship Association, which was partly made to bring this project to completion.

“We’ve had a number of Kiwis signing up to help us see through the task.”

Although the battle is well-known and significant in Ayun Kara, Warren suggests that Kiwis should be more aware of it.

“Our knowledge of what happened here is quite minimal. In Israel I was blown away at the amount of people who knew what had happened there.

“They are very fond of New Zealanders.

“It would be great to develop more of an understanding of New Zealand’s involvement in World War One through their perspective, and to develop ongoing relations with Israel and New Zealand.”

Forming the friendship association has enabled Warren and his team to get even closer to their goal. “It’s not just an idea anymore; we’ve been making real progress and expect to see it done this year in time for the anniversary.”

To help Warren and the New Zealand Israel Friendship Association achieve their goal of erecting the sculpture on the battle site in Ayun Kara, you can contact him for more information or make a donation at: israelfern2021@gmail.com


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