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Portrait unveiled of Takapuna VC recipient Sanders

Flagstaff Team

Depiction of a hero… Artist Craig Primrose and William Sanders’ great-niece Glennys Adams at the unveiling

A painting of Takapuna war hero William Sanders now takes pride of place at the Ryman retirement village named in honour of the First World War sailor.

Residents of the village, including Glennys Adams, a great-niece of Victoria Cross recipient Sanders, gathered to see the striking work of him in naval uniform revealed at the Devonport village last month.

The painter, artist Craig Primrose, unveiled the work. “My grandmother’s sister would have been so proud,” said Adams.

Ryman Healthcare’s chief operating officer, Cheyne Chalmers, said the idea of naming the villages for people rather than after their geographic locations came from company co-founder Kevin Hickman, who also suggested commissioning Primrose to paint portraits for each village.

Sanders also has a street named after him in Takapuna, where he grew up, before going to sea as a cabin boy, aged 16.

Village residents heard more of Sanders’ story from Royal New Zealand Navy historian and World War I specialist Michael Wynd, including how he rose through the ranks.

Described as a man of iron nerves, Sanders received the top military honour for his “conspicuous gallantry, consummate coolness and skill in command’’ while in action in 1917. He was killed, aged 34, just four months later, when his ship was attacked by a German submarine.

Sanders was also awarded a posthumous Distinguished Service Order for his bravery in another attack that had taken place in June 1917. “William Sanders remains the most highly decorated naval officer in our history,” Wynd said.

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