Peter Herbert Vokes
Remembering former BNZers who fought in WW1 and WW2, some of whom never returned home.
Peter was born in 1917 in Tauranga. The family later moved to Auckland and Peter attended Auckland Boys Grammar School. On finishing school Peter started working as a clerk at Opitiki branch in the Bay of Plenty. Peters father also worked for the BNZ.
Peter was quick to enlist and in 1941 Corporal Peter Vokes was serving with the 2nd New Zealand Expedition Force and was stationed near the coast in Crete.
On the 20 May 1941 Nazi Germany began an airbourne invasion, later known as 'The battle for Crete'. The battle raged for 12 days with New Zealand recording 671 fatalities, Peter was among them.
Peter was buried at the Suda Bay War Cemetery in Crete alongside 448 of his fellow New Zealanders.
The following sonnet was written by Peter:
Surely I am blessed.
Yes, blessed in this my country’s hour,
That I can stand, young, fit to serve.
A filial heart that beats in answer to her call,
‘Tis true I feel each weary mile with body sore oppressed,
An awful thirst that cannot be denied,
And dreams, cool-steeped in deepest shade,
That torment by their memories roused;
But I would seek a vision then, of native bush,
Of clover fields and happy herds,
Of rivers, rolling, rushing to the sea –
A vision truly dear, that makes me feel
I can but thank my God, that he has blessed
And placed a trust in me.