‘Memories of WW2’ sparks tears

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A world premier has been received with a standing ovation, tears and community pride.

The documentary Memories of World War 2 as told from one generation to the next – featuring Mr Bill Roulston, West Otago World War 2 veteran played to a packed audience at the West Otago Community centre theatre last Sunday.

The opening and closing scenes with Mr Roulston (98) playing his harmonica could well have sparked the tears.

The first half of the documentary, made by the West Otago Rural Kids group, provided facts and figures of the two world wars, narrated by Jeff Rae.

The second half comprised questions put to Mr Roulston by five members of the group.

Group leader Zita Young said given those who created this rendition of Mr Roulston’s memories were amateurs, she felt they had done a pretty good job.

“We just finished editing the final cut this week – it has been fraught. I am delighted with the result, and the number of people who turned up,” Mrs Young said.

Mataura Licensing Trust (MLT) board president Horace McAuley said it was a tremendous team effort.

“I would like to reiterate what Bill said: this sort of dedication and commitment to do something like this would only happen in West Otago.

“Every possible memorial in West Otago was filmed to be portrayed at the end of the documentary.

“This would have taken hours covering every single one in the district,” Mr McAuley said.

Motorbike riders from in and around the South rode in to celebrate the inaugural viewing of the documentary and to show their respect for Mr Roulston.

Deep South Chapter of the Patriots Defence Force Motorcycle Club president Phil Herriott said it was often said if people forgot history they were doomed to repeat it.

“Since meeting Bill we have been impressed with the man he is and are proud to support him on this journey.

“It takes a brave man to be able to relate both good and bad memories.”

Mr Roulston was fortunate to be at the premier as he had been unwell.

He said he was proud of having gone to war knowing he helped make things better for future generations.