Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mrs FitzWilliam's Sons - Alfriston Memorial

When the main body of the New Zealand Force embarked on 16 October 1914 on board one of the troopships were two of Susan Fitzwilliam's sons, Alfred Herbert Fitzwilliam and his brother Robert Fitzwilliam.  The Fitzwilliam contribution to the war did not stop there a further son Fred embarked on 16 November 1917 and her son William Bellingham from a previous marriage embarked on 5 December 1916

As well as her own sons, two son in laws also enlisted,  Stephen Perrin who was married to her daughter Florence and John Miller married to her daughter Hilda.

Alfred who had been wounded twice was serving with the Machine Gun Corp when he was killed in action at Havrincourt on the 13 September 1918, he was 31 years old.

Miraculously all of her other sons/son in laws survived the war.  Although none of them were left unscathed by the experience either being wounded or sick at some point during the war.

Below is a report from the Auckland Weekly News praising the efforts of Mrs Fitzwilliam's  sons:

FITZWILLIAM - Good service in the cause of the Empire has been performed by the sons of Mr & Mrs A Fitzwilliam of Eden Terrace. Sergeant Alfred H FITZWILLIAM, who was killed in action at the age of 31, was born and educated in Auckland, afterwards following farming pursuits at East Tamaki. He enlisted in the Main Body and was wounded once on Gallipoli and again in France. Private Robert FITZWILLIAM also fought with the Main Body on Gallipoli and was later invalided home. Corporal Fred A FITZWILLIAM is at present in France, with the 31st Reinforcements, and Trooper William BELLINGHAM, Mrs Fitzwilliam’s eldest son by a former marriage, will return home shortly after service with the 19th Reinforcements. Two of Mrs Fitzwilliam’s sons in law, Private John MILLEN, of the Main Body, and Quartermaster Sergeant Steve PERRIN, are at home invalided. Two sons have been rejected for service. [AWN 10.10.1918] p.19

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely surprise to find this amazing memorial to Mrs Susan Fitzwilliam's sons. Susan BEBB was my great grandmother with an amazing life story with many very sad events in it. Researching and writing her life story has been so rewarding for me and for her descendants. E.g. She arrived into NZ as the foster daughter of her Uncle and Aunt Jones as she called them. Jonathan Jones was a skilled bricklayer who later worked for the Whitford brick works. Alfred Fitzwilliam was her 2nd husband.
    Thank you very much for 'making my day'.
    Heather Scanlen