Author(s): Neil Frances
DoP - November 2008, NZ Private Melville King of Carterton was a tiny part of New Zealand's huge manpower contribution to the Allied armies in World War One. His diary, recording what he did and what he saw, reflects the military service of an ordinary young man half the globe away from home and in extraordinary circumstances. His perceptive and detailed view of the Great War adds an important 'voice' to the New Zealand understanding of that tragic and crucial event. Melve King's words are supported by additional text explaining facets of his army life and the major campaigns and battles of the New Zealand Division on the Western Front. Melve faithfully recorded many of the Wairarapa men he served with and these are detailed in an extensive personnel index.
Neil Frances' previous book Ketchil, about one aspect of World War Two's air war, was published by Wairarapa Archive in 2005. Now, in collaboration with Doug King, he draws on his deep interest in the Great War to bring an important Wairarapa diary to life. Doug King originally transcribed and indexed his father's wartime diary for his family. A year's work with archivist Neil Frances has produced a valuable World War One story which is both a tribute to Melve King, and to the 100,000 men of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force.