Charles Upham VC and bar

A slightly different sight to reflect upon if travelling north away from, or south towards Christchurch.

Captain Charles Upham is the only combatant to be awarded the Victoria Cross twice. There are many aspects of this mans life that are outstanding, besides his military life.

One could say it was outstanding that he actually survived WW2, perhaps becoming a POW meant he did survive. Even then his 'attitude' to his captors and escapes meant he ended up in the infamous Colditz Castle POW camp! You can read more about Colditz here.

After the war he refused a public raising of money to allow him to purchase a farm. Instead, he established an education trust for the benefit of past soldiers children and directed those funds to this trust.

His 'luck' again held in 1967 as he was a passenger on board the inter-island ferry Wahine when the ship was wrecked entering Wellington harbour with substantial loss of life. It seems he was an organiser amongst the panic.

For those interested there is a biography, 'Mark of the Lion' is worth reading.

On the route north out of Christchurch, in the small town of Amberley, there is a statue dedicated to his memory. He farmed in North Canterbury not too far from Amberley. There are ample refreshment establishments in this small town, including a 'Brew Cafe' aptly named - Brew Moon Cafe!

It is also close to, some would say amongst, the Waipara Wine region. For those that enjoy rugged coastal scenes a short deviation eastward brings you to Amberley Beach, very atmospheric in rough weather!

His obituary is one of the most read in the UK paper, The Telegraphs website

He was also a rather 'unwilling' subject of the New Zealand, 'This is Your Life' T.V. show from 1985. This episode has now been released via a video viewing link Click Here. Also interesting to note is that the TV host is Bob Parker, a figure who came to our screens as the articulate Mayor of Christchurch during the devastating earthquakes.