Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Bert & Syd Rinaldi - Waiau Memorial, Canterbury

Portrait, Auckland Weekly News 1916 - No known copyright restrictions

Herbert Edward Rinaldi and Sydney Thomas Rinaldi (known as Bert & Syd) were the two eldest sons of Edward and Margaret Rinaldi of Waiau.  Both boys were born in West Eyreton in Canterbury and educated in Waiau and after leaving school were employed on local farms in the area.

At the outbreak of war both were keen to enlist.  Being the eldest Bert was first enlisting in February 1915,  just 20 years old.  He embarked with the Field Artillery on 13 June 1915.  After a few months in the Middle East, Bert sailed for France aboard the 'Minnewaska" on 5 April 1916.  Once in France he was soon at the Front where during the first Battle of the Somme he was killed in action on 17 September 1916.  He was buried at Flatiron Copse Cemetery, Mametz, Somme.  Bert's family would have been devastated at the news of his death,  especially as their second son Syd was already on his way to France.  

Syd like his brother was also keen to enlist, doing so just after his 20th birthday on 1 May 1916.  He embarked with the Canterbury Infantry Battalion on 21 August 1916, disembarking in the UK towards the end of October.  After a spell in Sling camp he left for France on 15 November 1916.  On 7 April 1917, five days before his 21st birthday, Syd was killed in action near Messines, Belgium.  He was buried at La Plus Douve Farm Cemetery, Comines-Warneton, Hainaut, Belgium.

As I have said before we can only imagine the grief felt by the Rinaldi family, losing two sons so young and in less than a year.  I came across a lovely description of Syd in 'The Press' dated 27 April 1917:

"... a young man of quiet retiring disposition, and of sterling qualities, and was most highly respected throughout the district"

Such words I'm certain could be used to describe many of the young men who left New Zealand to serve in World War One, keen to do their duty, fighting a war thousands of miles away, not knowing the horrors that lay before them.

Both brothers are remembered on the Waiau Memorial.


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