On arrival Eric got things going and tried to bathe my wounds but the blood kept oozing, so we decided to leave it and let it congeal.
Eric got hot food but I couldn’t eat. He wanted to head off in the darkness for the station for help. I told him to wait until daylight and see what could be done then, and try and get some sleep as he would probably need all his strength.
I couldn’t sleep that night and I don’t think Eric did.
Came dawn, Eric did what he could for me and set out for the station. He did the journey in almost record time.
Mr Hewett, the station owner was away, but the three station men Jimmie Retter, Les Rosvel and Jim O’Tool, on hearing Eric’s story went into action. A ring was put through to Eric’s mother, Mrs A.J. Burge, and my old hunting mate Don McNab. They got in Don’s car and started for the station, and the station men got horses and set off for the Ruahine.
After Eric left me I wondered if he would make it to the station. The only time he’d been on the track was on the way out, and it was foggy that day. I felt that in having allowed him to go, I had thrown his life in the balance. But three hours later I was relieved to hear the station men approaching.
After some discussion on ways and means, the station men rigged up a stretcher, but before they could get going Don came panting into the scene. He must have run a lot from the station.
When the phone message had come he had new boots on and never thinking that he would have to go right out to the hut, he hadn’t bothered to change them, with the result that his feet were blistered. He took his boots off and ran the last part of the journey in his socks.
Owing to the rugged nature of the track, it was evening before I had been got down to the Big Hill valley and by that time the four men who were doing the carrying, were just about all in.
Jimmie went back to the station to ring Kereru for more men. The others got a good fire going and laid me by it to keep warm. There seemed a terrible weight on my chest. I didn’t realise it, but I’d got pleurisy. Don came over and peered down hard at me. I am sure he thought I was going west. “It’s alright,” I muttered, peering up at him. “I’m still here.”
Jimmie arrived back with Steve Miller and Wolf van Asch. With these two ﬁt strong young men to assist the nightmarish journey to the station over the 2,200ft high hill was started.
My main memory of that part of the journey is how broken ribs seemed to be sticking into me each time I was set down, as I had to be ever so often for the men to have a spell. How long the journey took I do not know but it seemed an awful long time.
The back of the car had been got ready, and on arrival at the station I was placed carefully there. It was more comfortable. My sister brought food, but I couldn’t take it. My one desire was for a drink of milk, to those who know about me.
However, it was found, owing to the upset, that cows hadn’t been milked and there was no milk in the house. Jimmie Retter, as exhausted as he was, started out into the night. My sister asked him where he was going. “Lester asked for milk. I’ll try to find a cow. ” And he did, but wasn’t I ever grateful for that glass of milk when it did arrive.
It was three o’clock the following morning, 36 hours after I had been hurt before I was eventually got to hospital, but I was too grateful to those who had got me there while I was still able to whisper “thank you” to know about time.
Later while Don sat yarning by my bed when he came to visit me, I told him I would