At a table in the sun outside Montrose Bistro, sits a group of mates. This is the 

Sometimes Club, an irregular meeting of comrades who have served with the New 

Zealand, Australian and British armies and the French Foreign Legion in conflicts 

from Northern Ireland, to Vietnam, to Mali; all have found homes and peace in 

Auckland.

As Montrose is a regular haunt for two of them, so do the others periodically make 

their way from Mission Bay, Mt Eden, Glenfield, Parnell and Whangaparaoa to grab 

this spot of sunshine in Mairangi Bay.

They are a mixed bag of military expertise – three are highly-trained parachute 

soldiers (one spending three years with The Red Devils, the British Army parachute 

display team), one was a Special Ops soldier or Tunnel Rat in the Vietnam war and 

one took part in the first and only bayonet change done by New Zealand infantry in 

that same arena, and another did a combat parachute drop into Mali with the French 

Foreign Legion. And, Lest We Forget, one has published a book about his time in the

Vietnam War.

The eleven friends – five women and two men – started the Sometimes Club about 

six years ago and have enjoyed their shared experiences ever since. Not only do 

they reminisce on their wartime experiences but also discuss current events as well 

as art, books and history.