Speech by the ambassador of New Zealand
SPEECH AND READ OUT BY THE NEW ZEALAND AMBASSADOR TO THE NETHERLANDS, Ms RACHEL FRY
Ed van Lierde, Frans Luidinga, mijnheer Ruys ……… Ik voel me bevoorrecht en blij dat ik bij deze belangrijke herdenking mag zijn.
I am privileged and pleased to be able to participate in this important commemoration for the victims of the sinking of the dss Slamat.
This event struck a special chord with me as my father served in the merchant navy during the Second World War. As a result I have a strong appreciation for the contribution and sacrifices made by the crews of merchant navies. The sinking of the dss Slamat, with such heavy loss of life both among the crew and the troops she was carrying, is an outstanding and tragic demonstration of this.
I have also become aware during my time in the Netherlands of the dedication of many Dutch people to maintaining the memory of those who died here during the war, including the 256 New Zealand airmen who lie buried in Dutch soil alongside so many others who defended the cause of freedom in this part of Europe. Your efforts to honour the memory of the victims of the sinking of the Slamat is a further demonstration of this commitment, and a further reminder to all of us of the importance of striving for peace throughout the world.
I have the honour now to read a message from Mary Saxton, the daughter of one of the eight-strong New Zealand medical team on board the Slamat, seven of whom lost their lives.
“Greetings to you all in Oudehorne , from the families of Catherine, Ann, and Mary, daughters of Dr Lennox Douglas, the NZ surgeon aboard the Slamat.
and thinking especially of our late dear mother, for whom our father was her life., and for whom this day would have held such poignant and special memories and significance.
On this special day– 22nd September 2007, I am planting 2 red roses to mark my own commemoration in New Zealand. The roses are called ”In loving memory”, and ”Lest we forget”. The roses will flower all through our summer and autumn, and on the 27th April next year, I will cut some blooms from them, and lay them as wreaths on monuments where my father is commemorated. My thoughts as always will be with you all too, and your own individual losses, as we remember that tragic last day of the Slamat and the deaths of so many good men.
How proud we can all be that all the men who sailed on the Slamat, sailed with the higher purpose for humanity, that of saving lives, rescuing the wounded, and embarking the soldiers waiting to be evacuated.
And finally—— to our precious father.