Monday, May 13, 2013

Charles Southampton Fitzroy - Havelock North Memorial

Article image
Auckland Star, Volume XLVIII, Issue 113, 12 May 1917, Page 5

Private Robert Fitzroy (known as Bob) drowned in the Tasman Sea only days away from New Zealand and his family including his wife who he married just weeks before embarking with the 4th Reinforcements on 17 April 1915.  What the newspaper report doesn't tell us is that Private Fitzroy committed suicide jumping overboard from the Hospital ship Maheno.

Private Fitzroy had been in almost continuous action in Gallipoli and France with the New Zealand Field Artillery before being invalided in January 1917 with what is described in his records as a nervous breakdown. He was sent to Netley Hosptial in England which treated soldiers with Shell Shock and  eventually sent back to New Zealand where en route he jump overboard on 2 May 1917 sometime between 6 and 8pm.  Three letters of farewell and his Will were found in his belongings.  An account of his symptoms can be found on his records which can be downloaded via the Cenotaph database (link below).

I hope his family received the letters he wrote.  The devastating news that he ended his life so close to home and their care must have been heartbreaking for his family.  We can only imagine the torment Private Fitzroy suffered to take such extreme action

He is remembered on the Wellington Provincial Memorial, Karori Cemetery, Wellington, New Zealand and rests in peace in the Tasman Sea.

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