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Brief History of World War 2

Campbells Bay School during the war

Campbells Bay during the War

Mrs Robin Hayson

Mr Ted Davis

Mr George Carstairs

Mr Ron Hooton

Mrs Skelton and Mrs Ogle

Kennedy Park - the Army Base

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Interview with Mr & Mrs Harold Bennett

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Campbell's Bay Primary School

World War Two at our School

Mr George Carstairs


Mr Bowron, The Heritage Advisor from North Shore Council and Mr Carstairs

Mr Carstairs was a pupil at Campbell's Bay School. He lived in the observation post at JF Kennedy Park at the end of the war.  His Dad was in the army.  Mr Carstairs used to play in the tunnels and see what all the soldiers were doing.  Sometimes he was allowed upstairs to see the radio control room.

Radio room: Radio control room Upstairs:

Then and now

This is a picture of the radio control room at the Castor Bay Battery Post.  It was connected to the hidden underground tunnels and to the big guns.  Mr Carstairs remembers all about this.

In 1945, Mr Carstairs moved to Castor Bay at the age of six. He lived at the observation post at JF Kennedy Park.  Mr Carstairs dad ran the observation post, that was the only reason why he was allowed to stay at the observation post.  Mr Carstairs dad was a gunner and a sargent. The big guns were controlled by the observation post.  The guns were only fired twice in five years, and then only for practice. Search lights were made from locomotive train lights, fitted in oil drums and then placed on the cliff.

There were a massive 120 troops in Castor Bay itself, patrolling the beach and land. As Mr Carstairs said, there were mines set by Germans in the Hauraki Gulf. One Japanese submarine also came, and one plane, but we had no significant fire power and we were not seen as a threat.  One NZ ship was sunk - that was the Nautalis. The observation post was made of reinforced concrete and all the sewage came out of a pipe and into the sea. The guns could hit as far as the Silverdale bridge. Also, there was a water tank under a pretend tennis court, but you could not play on it because the surface was so thin.

Tennis: Pretend tennis courts

Water tank(tennis court)

Every Friday at Campbell's Bay School, the children did drills like marching and hiding in trenches. They wore hats, khaki shorts and tunics.  Some of the boys learnt how to shoot 303 rifles with 22 bullets. Down in the bunkers (tunnels) people slept and lived.  They had straw mattresses.  The tunnels were very long and dark, but during the war they had lights from the generator.  At the start of the tunnels they had ammunition tunnels to store weapons and guns.

Black tunnel:

The tunnels were pitch black, especially when we turned off the torches.  They were really long and it was hard to know where you were going to come out.  During the war they had electricity lighting them from the main generator.

Greg -  Mr Bowron - brought some photos from the Alexander Turnbull Library to show us how the park looked when the army was here.  The North Shore Council have just renovated the observation post.

They had things called pallisades, which were concrete walls that the troops hid behind. Then they frequently stuck their guns round the sides and got ready to shoot at the enemies.

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