A70_257_a.jpg Ring, Napkin (about 1916). Harry Cheney. Collection of Puke Ariki (A70.257).

From medals to a machine gun and war diaries to military uniforms, reminders of World War One are scattered throughout Puke Ariki’s Heritage Collection. Among this material is a small selection of trench art, items which may have been fashioned by troops to mark time between the drama and the horror of war. This brass napkin ring, fashioned from part of a shell casing, is thought to have been decorated by Trooper Harry Cheney, who came from Manaia. It is inscribed to “Aunty” and marked “Cairo 1916”. Cheney embarked with the 5th Reinforcements of the Wellington Mounted Rifles and arrived in Egypt in 1915. So far we haven’t pieced together much information about him, but we do know the napkin ring was donated to Taranaki Museum in 1967, as part of a potpourri of souvenirs and other items belonging to Nell Christie.  

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