'Tiki Times', Vol.1, No.1, p.1
'Tiki Times', Vol.1, No.1, pp.2-3
'Tiki Times', Vol.1, No.1, pp.4-5
'Tiki Times', Vol.1, No.1, pp.6-7
'Tiki Times', Vol.1, No.1, pp.8-9
'Tiki Times', Vol.1, No.1, pp.10-11
'Tiki Times', Vol.1, No.1, pp.12-13
'Tiki Times', Vol.1, No.1, pp.14-15
See also transcript of these pages.
From the Manawatu Times Monday 6 August 1945, p. 5
To be within an ace of reaching the British lines in Italy and then be recaptured by the Germans, was the mortifying experience of Private Jack Gallichan of Palmerston North, who arrived back home yesterday.
To the 'Times' last evening he told a story of extraordinary adventures and experiences. He left New Zealand on September 15, 1941, with the Seventh Reinforcements and was captured at El Alamein on July 15, 1942. As a prisoner he went by stages to Benghazi where he was kept for four and a half months and then was taken to Italy, the trip across the Mediterranean being made via Greece and Taranto. Eventually he found himself in camp Agra [Aqua] Fredda high up in the Apennines with 300 other New Zealanders and 50 South Africans. There they remained until Italy capitulated on September 8, 1943, when they were told they could try to reach the British lines. Taking with them Red Cross parcels, he and six other New Zealanders took to the hills and found a really beautiful 'parking place' in a valley. Unfortunately, rain set in and they had to seek shelter, eventually finding a suitable place on a ledge of a cliff above a 12th century church. There were similar groups of prisoners-of-war all over the place in the hills.
Pte. Gallichan interrupted his story here to explain that prior to this, British parachute troops had been dropped in Italy and it was while they were waiting above the church that two of the parachutists made contact with them. These visitors gave them information regarding the British advance and explained how to get out. Unfortunately, taking their advice proved to be the undoing of the New Zealand party. However, they followed the route suggested and, packing their belongings on a woodcutter's donkey, climbed over the top of the Apennines and down the other side only to find Germans everywhere. They sheltered in a hay shed and were so close to the British lines that they could see the shells from British artillery bursting amongst the German units. It was a lovely sight, Pte. Gallichan commented. They had to live on the Italian peasants, who gave them bread, grapes, cheese, potatoes and the like. Then two Italian Alpine soldiers arrived on the scene and agreed to guide them to the British lines. The route to be followed was over a high peak but snow and blizzards blocked the way. Their last chance to get out was by jumping across a ravine only 12 feet wide but with a 200 feet drop. The Italian soldiers managed it but the New Zealanders were too weak to follow, so went back into the hills about a mile, out of sight. They had no food and it was very cold. There were also large numbers of Italians in the hills and one particular family risked their lives to get food for the party. They stayed in this hide-out till dawn on November 5 when a party of Germans aroused them from their blankets. They had been sleeping on hard rock, the nest bed they could find.
From then on Pte. Gallichan found himself in various transition camps in Italy and Germany, being given work in a blacksmith shop and a coal mine, amongst other things. On July 4, 1944, he found himself in a New Zealand working camp at Millwitz, where he was confined till January 19, 1945. It was at this camp that the ' Tiki Times ' was produced. In all 25 issues of this camp newspaper were published. It was born of a desire to help break the monotony of camp life and while the first issue was a modest one, it developed into an ambitious production with the discovery of artistic and literary talent amongst the prisoners of war. Near the end quite a large number were engaged in its production. Pte. Gallichan, who originated the idea, was editor, Pat Earle of Lower Hutt, sub-editor, and Max Wallace, of Wanganui, art editor. Each issue had to be hand-printed using pen and ink. The illustrations, the majority in colour, are in the nature of masterpieces when one realises the difficulties under which the men worked and lived. 'I was engaged 12 hours a day in the coalmines,' Pte. Gallichan said, 'and then spent six hours writing up the Tiki Times. It came out every Wednesday, just the one copy, and was pinned up on boards.' Every man in the camp had a story of some sort to tell and all these are recorded in this unique newspaper. Then private mail was received, such items as racing, football results, etc., were garnered and put into the tiki times. The Germans never found out about the newspaper but in case they did, each sheet was branded with a faked censorship stamp.
Pte. Gallichan participated in the now-famous 700-mile march when the Russian push around Cracow started but, in the end, of his particular commando only 320 were left out of the 577 who set out. Pte. Gallichan and two others, after 650 miles, found a chance during a night march to drop out. They hid in a woodshed with S.S. men always passing around. Conversation could only be carried out in whispers and Pte. Gallichan said under the strain the whispering played on the nerves. 'You felt you wanted to scream,' he said.
Just prior to this he had an amazing escape from death when American planes came over in a bombing raid. The commando was in the act of crossing a bridge and when the bombing started he and others ran back while the front portion of the group made for the other end of the bridge. The bombs, however, fell on the town and they were enjoying the spectacle when they saw the next salvo directed at the far end of the bridge. Others came down directed at the end where they were, so they started running. The first bomb fell 15 yards behind him, but fortunately he was protected by the slope of the ground. The blast, however, bowled him head over heels down the slope and he finished up by a church. The next bomb blew him against the church and then he crawled weakly around the corner to safety. Two New Zealanders lay over an old woman hoping to protect her. A companion lying next to Pte. Gallichan was killed and in all 21 lost their lives in that particular episode.
Following this, conditions changed rapidly with the approach of the Americans and finally they were flown out to Rheims by the U.S. Air Force and across to England by the R.A.F.
Pte. Gallichan comes home with an 856-page diary covering his experiences while a prisoner of war.
'Each issue had to be hand-printed using pen and ink. The illustrations, the majority in colour, are in the nature of masterpieces when one realises the difficulties under which the men worked and lived. "I was engaged 12 hours a day in the coalmines," Pte. Gallichan said, "and then spent six hours writing up the Tiki Times. It came out every Wednesday, just the one copy, and was pinned up on boards." '