Sunday, February 27, 2011

Jack Gallichan’s WWII NZ cricket poem

On Saturday, I wrote about the cricket haiku of Cyril Childs. Here’s another poem that Cyril sent me recently. It is has been published in a book by David McGill as Anon but it is almost certainly written by Jack Gallichan, the editor of the 197-page POW (Prisoner of War) souvenir book, Tiki Times, where the poem also appears. It may not count as a cricket poem as it only mentions cricket in one stanza (‘Willow swinging, wand-like’) but it’s worth including here as it offers a portrait of New Zealanders at war, in this instance a POW camp, where they played cricket to pass the time. Cyril says:

It was written by a NZ POW during WWII, almost certainly in Italy, and is published in David McGill’s book, P.O.W. - The Untold Stories of New Zealanders as Prisoners of War (Mills Publications, Lower Hutt, 1987), and the source is given as “Sergeant Burfield-Mills’ diary”. Burfield-Mills served in the RMT unit of 2NZEF. He was captured and was a POW in Italy until he escaped in late 1943.
  The same poem, with minor alterations appears in Tiki Times - a post-war collection of handmade weekly newspapers created by NZ POWs and posted on a barracks’ wall in E535 Milowitz through the second half of 1944 and early 1945. E535 was a coal-mining POW work camp associated with Stalag VIIIB. The driving force and editor of Tiki Times was Jack Gallichan who is shown as author of the poem. (Gallichan’s brother played cricket for NZ. He was, I think, on the tour to England in 1937.) Gallichan had been a POW in Italy before being transferred to E535, and is likely to have been in the same camp in Italy as Burfield-Mills. My uncle, Cyril Crosland, was in E535 from mid-1943 to January 1945.

Tiki Times is available in some libraries. There is a copy in the Turnbull Library in Wellington and the Hocken Library in Dunedin and Cyril bought a copy on Trade Me recently. Here is the version by Jack Gallichan from Tiki Times:

JACK GALLICHAN (c 1944-45)

Now and Then

Foreign skies that stretch above us,
Foreign soil beneath our feet.
Days we spend in patience waiting
For the joys of civvy street.

Guarded prisoners, while the hours
Slowly gather in the past,
Waiting for the day approaching
When freedom comes to us at last.

Miles unwinding, troopships leaving,
Bluegreen seas in foaming wake.
Drawing near snow-topped Egmont,
Shores where Tasman surges break.

Sunshine by the green sward resting,
Flannels and a match well fought.
Willow swinging, wand-like bringing
Cricket’s graceful, stately sport.

Tight-packed scrummage, forwards heaving,
Rugby fans’ excited roar.
Good clean hooking, back line racing,
Five-eights cutting through to score.

Waiting? No, we don’t mind waiting,
While the slow hours passing by
Lead us on to happy sport time,
Peace time, lads, for you and I.

Cyril notes further: ‘It does typify the New Zealand POW very well - captive, yes; but not defeated, still with spirit.’
Jack Gallichan’s brother was cricketer Norman Gallichan (1907-1969). Don Neely informs me that he was a ‘towering figure for Manawatu in Hawke Cup cricket before WWII’. His Hawke Cup stats were 177 wickets at 11.59 and 1,409 runs with a highest innings of 142 and an average of 32.76. He played one Test for New Zealand on the 1937 tour to England (where he was a late inclusion). Double international and All Black halfback Curly Page captained the team. Gallichan also played for New Zealand against V. Y. Richardson’s Australian XI at Auckland, 1928.
Gallichan was a right-hand batsman who made scores of 30 and 2 in his only Test appearance and he was a six-foot tall left-arm slow bowler. Gallichan’s innings of 30 played a part in New Zealand posting 281 in their First Innings in reply to England’s 358 at Old Trafford (Second Test). Walter Hadlee made 93. Gallichan took 3-99 from his 36 overs in the England First Innings, including the wicket of Wally Hammond clean bowled for 33 and two tail-enders. Jack Cowie also took 10 wickets – the first time a New Zealand bowler had taken 10 wickets in a Test Match. New Zealand still lost by 130 runs after being bowled out in their Second Innings run chase. Walter Hadlee noted in his Foreword to Men in White: ‘..we failed to grasp the opportunity of winning the Old Trafford Test by dropping Freddie Brown four times. That additional batting time allowed the wet pitch to dry out and the off spinner Tom Goddard bowled us out.’
Gallichan had a very useful tour average of 59 wickets at 23.94 from 18 games.

Article © Mark Pirie 2011

(Sources: Email from Cyril Childs; P.O.W. - The Untold Stories of New Zealanders as Prisoners of War by David McGill (Mills Publications, Lower Hutt, 1987); Tiki Times: a souvenir booklet of the camp newspaper for prisoners-of-war who were at E535, Milwitz, Upper Silesia, between July 1944 and January 1945 edited by J. Gallichan; assistant editor, P.R. Earle; art editor, M.B. Wallace (Palmerston North [N.Z.]: Keeling & Mundy, Printers, 1950); email conversation with Don Neely; Wisden Almanack 1970 [Obituaries for 1969]; and Men in White by D.O. Neely, R.P. King and F.K. Payne (Auckland: Moa Publications, 1986))

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