Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pukekohe World War One Memorial - 21 March 2011

The Pukekohe memorial was place outside the War Memorial Hall in Pukekohe in 1980.  It was originally unveiled on the 6 November 1921 by Prime Minister William Massey. For more information check out the link below

I found in Papers Past a report of the stirring speech given my Prime Minister William Massey at the time of the unveiling which I have reproduced.

The emotions of writing my blog

Today I was asked if I get emotional when researching the stories of the men and women on the Memorials who have died in such tragic circumstances, the answer is I do.

Often their stories are so moving that it is hard not to be emotional.  Most died so young they had not  begun to live their life or fulfilled their dreams and therefore often there is very little to write.

I like to think my blog brings those who perished in WW1 back to life for a moment (if only in a small way) and also help to remind us that they were ordinary people like you and I.

Private Reginald McDivitt - Pukekohe Memorial

Private Reginald McDivitt embarked on the 17 April 1915 with the 4th Reinforcements, Auckland Infantry Battalion.  He served at Gallipoli before moving on to the Western Front where  he was awarded the Military Medal for devotion to duty below is the report from the London Gazette dated the 16 August 1917 on how he won his medal:

"Messines Offensive - 7th to 9th June 1917. For devotion to duty. As linesman of the signallers he went out during the heaviest bombardments to repair the lines. He worked continuously and by sticking to his work enabled communication to be kept. He worked regardless of his own safety."

He was sadly killed in action only weeks later on the 25 July 1917 and is buried at Mud Corner Cemetery, Comines-Warneton, Hainaut, Belgium.  Reginald McDivitt was the eldest son of William McDivitt of Pukekohe.  His brother Frank McDivitt a well known Jockey at the time also served on the Western Front and survived the war.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pukekohe World War One Memorial - 21 March 2011

Pukekohe RSA War Memorial and Cemetery -27 March 2011

The Pukekohe RSA War Memorial and Cemetery is an interesting spot the Memorial itself features both and First and Second World War dead and is well kept.  In front of the Memorial is the RSA Military cemetery for those who served in the forces and have since died.  The Public Cemetery adjacent  is also worth a stroll through with many interesting graves.  I found a memorial to Captain Alfred Charles Bluck from Te Awamutu in the Waikato next to the grave of his parents.  Captain Bluck died in the Dardenelles on the 22 May 1915.  (He is not on the Memorial).

Private Thomas Hayes Burgess - Pukekohe Memorial - Auckland Region


New Zealand Herald, Volume LII, Issue 16018, 9 September 1915, Page 8

Private Thomas Burgess embarked with the Auckland Infantry Battalion as part of the Main Body on  16 October 1914.    During the fighting at Gallipoli he was badly wounded and was subsequently taken prisoner by the Turks.  He was the first and only New Zealander taken prisoner on 25 April 1915.  

Private W. J. Surgenor who was captured on the 8 August 1915 reported the following shocking account concerning Private Burgess:

'He lay there for three days.  Every Turk who walked past him clubbed or bayoneted him.  Then some stretcher bearers picked him up and he was taken to a camp'

Private Burgess eventually died of his wounds in captivity on the 25 September 1915 at Gulhane Hosptial, Constantinople (Istanbul today).
(The above information was taken from 'Gallipoli, The New Zealand Story' by Christopher Pugsley.)

He is buried at the Haidar Pasha Cemetery, Turkey.

Thomas Burgess had a brother Ernest Joseph Burgess who also embarked with the Main Body. He was wounded at Gallipoli on 10 May 1915 and then again in France on 4 June 1916.  Remarkably he survived the war.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Private Phillip Leonard Baker - Waiuku Memorial

Private Phillip Baker was a working as a butcher for H.Barnaby in Waiiuku before enlisting on the 23 April 1917 and embarking on the 15 August 1917.  He died on the 10 May 1918 aged 31 of Cerebral Spinal Meningitis and is buried at the Wavans British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.  Phillip Baker was born in Russell in the Bay of Islands and was not the only member of his family to serve in WW1 he had three brothers who also took part.

Theodore Russell Baker a bushman before enlistment embarked on the 2 April 1917.  He was wounded in France on the 5 October 1917 with gun shot wounds to the throat and left arm.  He was discharged from hospital on the 17 October 1917 and sent back to France.  After only a couple of days back in the field he was once again admitted to hospital with suspected German Measles.  He never return to the Front being eventually transferred back to New Zealand on the 14 March 1918 and then  discharged from service being no longer fit for duty on the 6 June 1918.   He married in 1919 but it was a short lived marriage as Theodore Baker died in Whangarei Hospital on the 7 March 1921 as a result of his service in WW1.

Varley Howard Baker was also a bushman before enlistment he embarked on the 27 May 1916, four months later he was wounded in the field in France with a gun shot wound to his left leg.  He died a few days later on the 5 October 1916 aged 20 years and is buried at Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-l'Abbe, Somme, France.

Arthur Wilmott Baker another bushman before enlistment was the only one of the four brothers to survive WW1.  He died in Auckland in 1949.

The mother of these four men must have been devastated to have lost three sons as a result of WW1 one can only imagine the pain of her loss.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Private Samuel James Carlyon- Waiuku Memorial

Private Samuel Carlyon was 18 years of age when embarked with the 5th Reinforcements on the 13 June 1916 headed for Gallipoli.  After serving in Gallipoli he went to France where he died of his wounds on 11 July 1916.

Samuel Carlyon was the son of Samuel and Mary Carlyon, he was born in the Coromandel but moved to Auckland and went to Ponsonby School.  On leaving school he trained as a blacksmith in Gisborne.  When he enlisted he was working as a blacksmith in Waiuku.

Samuel and Mary Carlyon lost a second son as a result of the war.   William Edward Carlyon died of disease while on training in New Zealand with the NZEF on the 23 November 1918 and is buried at the Featherston Cemetery.  He was married and worked at the Waihi Gold mine in the Bay of Plenty.

Waiuku Memorial - 27 March 2011

Waiuku Memorial is a beautifully presented and maintained memorial.  It honours those men from both World Wars. The Memorial was unveiled on 9 June 1921 and was restored and the surrounds redeveloped in 2006.  It is well worth the visit.

What's Next

Today I am going south of Auckland to Pukekohe  there are several memorials here. On route I will try to  find a couple of others.  Next week I am going to try to get up to Warkworth and visit the memorials around the area of which there are several.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Huntly memorial unveiling - 27 May 1927


The article above was reported in the Evening Post 31 May 1927 and gives an account of the unveiling of the Huntly Memorial.  Sir Charles Fergusson Governor-General at that time spoke honestly of the sacrifice of war focusing on the need for peace rather than the glory of war.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Rifleman William Stretton - Maramarua Memorial

Rifleman William Stretton was a farmer on the family farm at Waitakaruru.  He enlisted on the 29 May 1915.  He was wounded on the 15 September 1916 the first day of the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. William received gun shot wounds to the thighs and later died on the 21 September 1916 aged 25 years. He is buried in the Etretat Churchyard cemetery near Le Havre.

Etretat Churchyard Cemetery

William Stretton was the eldest son of Walter and Eliza Stretton

Rev. Cecil Alfred Mallett - Matamata Memorial

The Reverend Cecil Alfred Mallett was born in London has emigrated to New Zealand returning to England to take the Holy Orders (he was ordained in 1910).  He returned to New Zealand in 1912 where he became the Vicar of Morrinsville.  In November 1914 he married May Parkinson.

He join the NZ Chaplains Department on the 27 April 1915 and was later nominated to replace the Rev.Guy Bryan Brown who had been killed at Passchendaele on the 4 October 1917.   Rev. Mallett embarked on the 16 November 1917 on the 'Tahiti'.  He died accidentally of unusual circumstances in France.   The Rev Mallett sleeping quarters were in the dental hut in the depot lines which at approximately 3am on the 30 September 1918 was burnt down.  When a search of the debris was conducted a skeleton was found which could not be identified but was thought to be that of Rev Mallett, a search of the camp was made but the Rev. Mallett he was not found.  Reverend Mallet who burnt to death was buried at Etaples Military Cemetery.  How the fire started is unknown.

By all accounts the Rev. Mallett did his job very well in his military records I found a statement dated the 28 March 1918 which stated that the Rev. C. Mallett "apart from his ordinary duties, has been indefatigable in looking after the welfare and general entertainment of the Troops" 

Army Chaplains would have been a great source of comfort to the troops at the Front.  The Chaplains not only served King and Country, but God as well. The War at times must have surely tested their faith in the latter.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Men from the Glenfield Memorial

Rifleman Frederick James Chandler embarked on the 27 May 1916 from Wellington headed for England and then onto France.  He was killed in action on the 7 January 1917 in France aged 42.  He is buried at the Y Farm Military Cemetery, Bois-Grenier, Nord, France.  Frederick Chandler was the son of Frederick James and Margaret Chandler, of Brighton, England and husband of Elizabeth Chandler, of Glenfield, Birkenhead, Auckland.

Private Alexander Gracie a Carter before enlistment, embarked on the
8 January 1916.  He time on the front was very short lived he was killed on the15 September 1916 at the Somme aged 23 years.  He is remembered at Caterpillar Valley (New Zealand) Memorial, Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval, Somme, France. The Caterpillar Valley (NZ) memorial commemorates more than 1,200 men of the New Zealand Division who died in the Battles of the Somme in 1916, and whose graves are not known.

Alexander Gracie was the son of Alexander Hamilton Gracie and Frances Gracie, of Birkenhead, Auckland.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Private Richard Cook - Bible returned to New Zealand

Private Richard Cook from Colac Bay, Southland was born on the 9 June 1892.  Before enlistment he was a sawyer for W. Smith & Co., Colac Bay.  He embarked on the 30 December 1916 on the 'Athenic' from Wellington as part of the 20th Reinforcements and served in the Otago Infantry Battalion, D Company.  He was wounded on the 4 October 1917 with gunshot wounds to the left hip and right shoulder in the battle for Paschendaele. He later died of his wounds at the 7th Canadian Hospital on the 8 October 1917.  His Bible was found on the Messines Ridge (where the NZ Division had fought in mid 1917) by an English soldier Herbert Hodgson.  Herbert had fallen into a shell hole stretched out his arm and felt something in the mud and found the Bible.  Herbert kept the bible not knowing who it belonged to as it contained no name. However an army number was written in the side of the Bible. Using the internet Herbert's family traced the Bible back to New Zealand and eventually identified the owner, Richard Cook, from his army number 34816. This has enabled the Bible to be returned to the Cook Family.  Today the Bible was presented to the Army Museum at Waiouru to be used as part of a exhibition being held towards the end of the year.  

This is an incredible find by Herbert Hodgson whose memoirs were published last yea and in which he outlines his discovery.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Howick Memorial Unveiling - 13 January 1921

On the NZ History war memorial register they were uncertain about the date the Howick Memorial was unveiled.  I happened to come across this article from the Evening Post 14 January 1921. Confirming the memorial was unveiled on the 13 January 1921 by Lord Jellicoe.

Private Frederick Joseph Wheeler - Glenfield Memorial, Auckland

Private Frederick Joseph Wheeler son of Frederick and Helen J Wheeler of Glenfield, Auckland, embarked on the 13 November 1915 with the 8th reinforcements, Auckland Infantry Battalion.  He died of his wounds on the 5 July 1916.

On the night of the 3/4 July 1916 heavy German artillery was followed by a raid on the postion of the 1st Auckland (of which Wheeler was part of at this time) in the L'Epinette sector, France.  Whilst the New Zealanders saw the Germans off there were 102 New Zealand casualties  including 33 whom were killed.  Frederick Wheeler was most likely one of these casualties.  He is buried in the Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord, France.  In total there are 4,403 Commonwealth burials in the cemetery.

Glenfield Memorial - 21 March 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

Little River Memorial

The Little River Memorial is a little run down and it would be great to get the inscriptions on the stone arch restored.  Under the War Memorial heading the lovely inscription 'At the going down of the sun and in the morning we shall remember them' is written but barely visible which is a shame.

The memorial remembers 23 men who were killed as a result of WW1 and 3 from the Boer War. On the side of the memorial facing the reserve it remembers the men killed in WW2.  The memorial was unveiled on Anzac Day 1923.  It could be an impressive memorial if restored the arch is made from multicoloured  Banks Peninsula volcanic stone.  I am hopeful that as the anniversary of WW1 approaches many memorials will undergo restoration.

Men from the Little River Memorial

Hohepa Teparo embarked on the 16 October 1916 aboard the Wilochra as part of the 9th Reinforcements, 3rd Battalion, G Company.  He was killed accidentally after being thrown from a horse in Belgium on the 26 August 1917 he was 29 year old.  He is buried at the Calais Southern Cemetery in France.

Private Oscar Robert Sutherland a Bushman before enlistment.  He  embarked on the 14 July 1917 aboard the Waitemata as part of the 28th Reinforcements.  He died of his wounds on the 30 March 1918 (Easter Sunday) aged 22 years at the Somme during New Zealand's reponse to the German Spring Offensive from the 26 - 30 March 1918.  He is buried at Gezaincourt Communal Cemetery Extension, France.

Trooper Reginald Frank Birdling embarked with the Canterbury Mounted Rifles with the Main Body of the NZEF on the 16 October 1914.  He was headed for Gallipoli where he was killed on the 6 or 7 August 1915.  He is buried at Embarkation Pier Cemetery, Turkey.

New Camera

I have bought a new camera very excited that my photography may now improve.  Today I am going to visit the Glenfield Memorial on Auckland's North Shore.  Still doing research on Piha and Little River Memorials stories to follow.  Have booked to go to the Bay of Plenty at Easter with 4 memorials on the itinerary at the moment.  Thanks to everyone who has given me wonderful encouragement with their comments

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Waghorn family - Little Akaroa - update

On the Akaroa memorial one of the dead is a Sydney David Waghorn who died of his wounds in Palestine on the 19 April 1917 which by coincidence happened to be the same day his younger brother Percy Waghorn left NZ for the war.  I wonder how long it took for Percy to learn of his brothers death?

On further investigation of the Waghorn family it turned out that eight family members left Little Akaroa and enlisted for the war with seven returning safely.   I found a newspaper article which eludes to the eagerness and determination of the Waghorn's to enlist.

One of Arthur Guard Waghorn's great-grandchildren has contacted me with extra information.  They report that on the day Arthur was injured at Gallipoli his twin brother Ralph Noel Waghorn was bayoneted at Gallipoli.

Below is a list of the Waghorn's who enlisted from Little Akaroa:

Arthur Guard WAGHORN  embarked 16 October 1914, wounded seriously with a gunshot to chest on the 27 August 1915.
Clarence Raymond WAGHORN embarked 8 January 1916
Ralph Noel WAGHORN embarked 16 October 1914, wounded 7/8 August 1915?
(above three were brothers)
Arthur Oscar Dennis WAGHORN embarked 16 October 1914
Bernard WAGHORN embarked 8 January 1916
Luke Clyde WAGHORN embarked 21 February 1918
(above three were also brothers)
Sydney David WAGHORN embarked 10 July 1916, died of wounds 19 April 1917, Palestine
Percy James WAGHORN embarked 19 April 1917
(above two also brothers)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Little River Memorial - 10 March 2011

Private Cecil Henry Barwick - Akaroa Memorial

Private Cecil Barwick was a member of the newly formed 1st NZ Cyclist Company which embarked from Wellington on the 'Mokoia' bound for Suez.  On arrival in Suez the company was drilled for two weeks in the early morning and late evening as it was too hot to drill during the day.  The Company then set off for France arriving in Marseilles on the 17 July 1916.  Initially their cycles were not with them and after travelling across France to the North the company who had now joined forces with the Australian Cyclist Company went to the trenches.  The cycles did eventually arrive and where then used as transport from billet to billet.  I  have read that the cycles where used mainly as transport, whilst they were not as fast as cavalry they were a cheaper option. 

Private Barwick was wounded on the 7 June 1917 at the Battle at Messines whilst his unit was under heavy shell fire while bridging the Steenbeeque Stream.  After he was wounded it looks like he was transferred to St Omer which was a Hospital Centre.  He died on the 11 June 1917 aged 21 years and is buried in the Longuenesse, St Omer Cemetery.

When looking at pictures of the brutalised landscape of WW1 I am left wondering how the cycles of WW1, without today's modern improvements managed to perform -  it must have been an uncomfortable ride.

Private Barwick hailed from Duvauchelle Bay his parents Joseph and Mary Barwick had two other sons who fought in WW1, they both returned to NZ at the end of the War. 

Private Thomas Frederick Ward - Akaroa Memorial

Thomas Ward was the son of Edmund and Ruth Ward and a sawmill hand at the Southbridge Timber Company in Canterbury before enlisting on the 5 October 1916.  He embarked from Wellington on the 21 June 1917 aboard the 'Ulimaroa' arriving in Plymouth on the 22 March 1917. 

On the 28 August 1917 Thomas was wounded with a gun shot wound to the chest and stayed out of the action for over a year.  Once recovered he was sent back into the field in France on the 7 October 1918 attached to the 1st Canterbury.  With the war drawing to a close the Thomas Ward took part in the relief of Quesnoy and on the 5 November 1918 after the town had been liberated he was killed in action at the Mormal Forest where the 1st Canterbury had been given instructions to capture the Forrester's House being held by the Germans.  Thomas aged 30 had almost made it till the end of the war.   It is bittersweet also to now know that the 5 November 1918 was in fact the day that the Canterbury Regiments 's active war came to a close. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Nurses' Memorial Chapel, Christchurch Hospital, Riccarton Avenue, Christchurch

Staff Nurse Margaret Rogers - Akaroa Memorial

Margaret Rogers was the daughter of Thomas Rogers of Akaroa.  She was a District Nurse in Christchurch.  She was one of the first 50 New Zealand Nurses who embarked from Wellington aboard the Maheno on the 10 July 1915 (Hospital Ship No 1) headed for war.

Sadly her contribution to the war effort was short lived.  Margaret was aboard the doomed troopship 'Marquette' which was torpedoed in the Aegean Sea near Salonika on the 23 October 1915. A total of 741 people were on board including 36 New Zealand nurses, 10 of whom died including Nurse Margaret Rogers.
After the Marquette sank the survivors waited 7 - 8 hours before being rescued clinging to the wreckage.  Of the 10 nurses who drowned only two bodies were recovered one of whom was Margaret Rogers. Her body was found in a lifeboat and was identified by her gold watch which had her name engraved on it.  In one account it states the lifeboat had washed ashore with the bodies of two nurses and four men aboard and it was rumoured that they had been shot.

In memory of the nurses who lost their lives on the Marquette a memorial chapel in their memory was erected at Christchurch Hospital.  The idea of the chapel was originally suggested by Matron Mabel Thurston in 1914 and money was raised from the community for the building.  The chapel was finally opened on the 15 March 1926.

Margaret Rogers story reminds us that it was not only sons that perished in the war but daughters as well.  In all 550 nurses served with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, and many others enlisted in the United Kingdom.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Reynish Brothers - Akaroa Memorial

In all three members of  the Reynish family from Little River, Banks Peninsula served in WW1.  Roger Crowther Reynish, Thomas Henry Reynish and Algernon Francis Reynish. 

Roger and Thomas enlisted together on the 17 June 1915 at the time they were both working on a sheep station in Gisborne  for Hugh D. Buchanan, Roger as a Shearer and Thomas as a Labourer. They embarked together on 9 October 1915 for Egypt and then onto to France together on the 6 April 1916.

According to their military records they both had a tendency to go absent without leave and both served with the Wellington Infantry Battelion in Belgium, where they both met their death.  Firstly Thomas who according to his records was suffering mentally when he attempted to take his own life dying of his wounds shortly afterwards, on the 30 September 1917.  I wonder how many young men suffered in this way, choosing to take their own life rather that continuing on with the misery of WW1. 

Roger was killed in action only two months later at Ypres, Belgium on the 30 November 1917.

Their younger brother Algernon who had stayed in the Banks Peninsula embarked on the 15 November 1915 and survived the war dying aged 73 in 1971.

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Akaroa War Memorial - 10 March 2011

I had forgotten how beautiful Akaroa is and I had picked the perfect day to visit, lucky me!

Akaroa 's memorial has pride of place situated on the main road through the township with the water behind it, you cannot miss it and it is a lovely memorial.  The memorial was unveiled on the 12 March 1924 by Sir Heaton Rhodes the then Minister of Defence and a local of the Banks Peninsula it commemorates 116 men and woman who lost their lives in WW1.  

In the September 2010 Christchurch earthquake it suffered some damage as can be sen on the photograph and there is a fund raising campaign in progress for its restoration.

Akaroa's memorial unlike others around the country, is owned by a community trust, not by the council or the RSA.

With 116 names to research I will be spending some time on the Akaroa memorial I already have some stories to tell which I will try to post today.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ernest George Strong Lowe - Tai Tapu Memorial

Ernest Lowe was the son of Alfred and Elizabeth Lowe, he was a gardener following in the footsteps of his father who was gardener to the notable Canterbury pioneer Sir Heaton Rhodes.

Ernest Lowe emigrated to Canada before the war and when war broke out he enlisted in the Canadian Army.  He was killed in action at Ypres, Belgium on the 13 May 1916 and is buried in The Woods Cemetery, Belgium.  He was not the only member of his family to serve his brother George Greig Lowe served in the New Zealand Army and was wounded at Gallipoli and survived the war.  Their sister Mary Christina Lowe was one of the first fifty New Zealand nurses to serve on the front in France, leaving on the 8 April 1915.

Tai Tapu Memorial - 10 March 2011

Ta Tapu Memorial ( not my greatest photo!) a cenotaph style memorial unveiled on the 26 April 1925.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Second Lieutenant Evan Gibb Hudson - Auckland Harbour Board Memorial

Second Lieutenant Evan Gibb Hudson was born in Parnell the son of Harold and Ellen Hudson, he attended Kings College from the age of nine and study Civil Engineering at Auckland University. By all accounts Hudson was a very able scholar.  He had spent some time at the Auckland Harbour Board as a Civil Engineering Cadet to gain experience.   On completion of his degree he immediately volunteered for active duty.    Hudson embarked with the 35th reinforcements on the 2 March 1918 and once in England was attached to the New Zealand Rifle Brigade and sent to France.

He was killed in action on the 9 September 1918 at Havrincourt Wood in France he was 22 years old and is buried at Gouzeaucourt New British Cemetery.

In the will of the of Evan Hudson's father the late Mr Harold Willey Hudson a fund was provided to set up an Engineering Scholarship at Auckland University in 1949 in memory of his son.  His ceremonial sword is on display at the University.

Evan Hudson had been and excellent student and the scholarship is a rather fitting memorial for the Hudson family in honour of their son Evan Gibb Hudson.

George Henry Lury - Auckland Harbour Board Memorial

George Henry Lury was born on the 16 April 1897 in Nikolayev, Russia in an area which is now part of the Ukraine. the son of Peter and Jane Lury the family like many other Russian Jews most likely left Russia to escape persecution which was common in the 'Vale of Russia', an area in Russia where Jews were allowed to live in at that time.

After finishing Auckland Grammar school he worked as a clerk at Auckland Harbour Board.  When he enlisted on the 28 December 1914 he was only 17 years and 8 months but despite his young age he embarked for Gallipoli with the Auckland Infantry Battalion on the 17 April 1915 and rose quickly through the ranks finally made a 2nd Lieutenant when he was only 20 years old.   He suffered shell shock at Gallipoli and after he had completed his officer training he was granted leave back to New Zealand. On 9 May 1918 he embarked again with the Auckland Infantry Battalion and joined his battalion in France at the beginning of August 1918.  A short time after he was killed in action at the Battle of Bapaume on the 29 August 1918.  He is buried at Grevillers British Cemetery, Pas-de-Calais, France and is remember on the family tombstone in Waikumete Cemetery, Glen Eden, Auckland.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Auckland Harbour Memorial

The Auckland Harbour Board Memorial has a story all of its own.  The memorial  was the first erected in New Zealand in 1915, however in 1969 the Memorial was put into storage when the Auckland Downtown Shopping centre was being developed and there is lay until 1999 when it was discovered in Shed 51 on Auckland's wharf in a state of disrepair.  The story was reported by Tony Wall in the NZ Herald and rather than me regurgitating his words you can read the article if you follow the link below.  The Memorial was finally put back on the Auckland waterfront in 2000.

Auckland Harbour Board Memorial - 9 March 2011

All quiet on the Christchurch front...

Spent the day in the Christchurch area yesterday visiting my son at Canterbury University.  I told him I would bring some peace with me and sure enough not a aftershock of any note was felt all day, that is until I got on the plane back to Auckland and they had a 4.5.  Sorry I couldn't stay longer Christchurch.

Back to business I had a productive day drove to Akaroa to visit the war memorial there and on the way visited the memorials at Tai Tapu and Little River.

The Akaroa Memorial received some damage back in the September Earthquake which has yet to be restored, but it must be said it is an impressive memorial despite the quake damage.

I have a lot of research to do over the next week, which is really exciting, for the moment here is something food for thought I took from the Akaroa Memorial.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Auckland Harbour Board Memorial

Just visited the Auckland Harbour Board Memorial in Downtown Auckland next to the Martime Museum.  Interesting memorial with its own story to tell. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

John Joseph Bolger - Devonport Memorial

I noticed that John Bolger's parents where from Taranaki.  Our former Primeminster Jim Bolger is originally from Taranaki I wonder if they are related?

Embarked 13 February 1917 - Devonport Memorial

Often on this project is becomes difficult to decide who to mention from the memorials visited.  I have taken a different approach with  the Devonport Memorial and picked an embarkation date and profile those on the memorial who sailed on this day.

On the 13 February 1917 the 22nd Reinforcements of the NZEF embarked on the Mokoia at Wellington bound for Plymouth England they arrived on the 2 May 1917 calling in at the Cape of Good Hope on the way.

The following men from  Devonport were aboard:

Eric Raymond White a Grocer before enlistment the son of Albert and Ethel White.  He was killed in action on the 4 October 1917 at Ypres, Belgium aged 21 years old.  His body was never found and his name is on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium.

Kenneth Edward White was a Surveyors Apprentice and son of Edward Septimus Wight and Jane Ann Wight.  He was killed in action on the 31 July 1917 at Ypres, Belgium aged 21 years He is buried at Mud Corner Cemetery, Belgium.

George Patrick Gray a Mechanic before enlistment.  He was killed in action on the 26 March 1918 at the Somme, France.  He is remembered together with another 445 New Zealanders with no known grave at the Grevillers (New Zealand) Memorial, France.

William Parker was a Mill Hand at the Premier Joiner Company before enlistment.  He was the son of John and Marian Parker.  He was killed in action on the 4 September 1917 at Ypres Belgium aged 24 years old and is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium.

John Gifford Wilmot Parsons was a Clerk before enlistment and the son of James Henry Wilmot Parsons and Margaret Parsons.  He was killed in action on the 20 July 1917 aged 22 years old.  He is buried at Mud Corner Cemetery, Belgium.

John Joseph Bolger was a Bank Clerk before enlistment and the son of Michael and Amelia Bolger.  He died of his wounds in Belgium aged 19 years old on the 4 October 1917.  He is buried in the Dozinghem Military Cemetery, Belgium.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Jackson Brothers - Devonport Memorial

Rifleman Ernest James Jackson                               2nd Lieutenant Alban B Jackson
Killed in Action 22 August 1918                               Died of Wounds 29 August 1918
Baupaume, France                                                     Baupaume, France

2nd Lieutenant Gainor Jackson
Died November 1975


Still working my way through the 86 names on the Devonport memorial should have something to say of interest by later today. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Devonport Memorial - 4 March 2011

I hadn't visited Devonport in ages not since I last ran the Auckland Half Marathon in 2009.  Devonport has a lovely village feel to it with a lot of history.  The Memorial was excellent.  The 'untidy' soldier (as it is known)  is fantastic the detail in the uniform etc. captures the real essence of the soldier.  At the time of its unveiling in 1924 there were some who were shocked that the soldier should be displayed this way.  I think it is a rather fitting tribute to the and a true interpretation of a soldier of WW1.

The statue was sculptured by Frank Lynch an Australian living in Auckland.  He served in Gallipoli and France and in the book 'The Sorrow and The Pride' it mentions how Frank Lynch would model his fellow soldiers heads in clay whenever it was available.  The model for the soldier was Joseph Lynch, Franks brother.  He was helped by a photograph of Joseph at Galllipoli.  The statue was cast in Bronze in London.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Christchurch WW1 memorial

The Angel statue amidst the rubble of the Cathedral pictured on the front of the Herald today is Christchurch WW1 memorial.  A wonderful memorial and symbolic of a previous dark time in New Zealand's history.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What's Next

Tomorrow I am going to visit the Devonport on Auckland's North Shore.  It is a pretty impressive looking Memorial.  I haven't yet finished with Mt Eden and I will be reporting more on it later.

I am trying also at the moment to source photographic evidence of the unveiling of memorials.

If any one has any idea where I might look let me know.  Next week I will also be taken a visit to the Auckland Library to have a look there.  I am also off to Christchurch for the day to visit my son who is at University to see how he is fairing.  The Bay of Plenty trip has been postponed hopefully till the following week.  Next week I will take a short trip North of Auckland.

Private Roy Clemens - Mt Eden Memorial

Private Roy Clemens was the much loved only son of Charles and Janie Clemens.  At the outbreak of war he was an engine driver for the Colonial Soap Company in Parnell.  From the start of war he served with the New Zealand Garrison Artillery until December 1915 when he embarked on the Hospital Ship No. 2, the Marama with the New Zealand Medical Corps. Initially he worked as an orderly at the Brockenhurst Hospital in Hampshire which had been taken over by the New Zealand Division.  He departed for France in August 1917 and was soon in the thick of it at the Battle of Broodseinde where he earned the Military Medal for Gallantry:

London Gazette, 17 December 1917, p13201, Rec No 1467: For gallantry and devotion to duty under fire. On October 5th 1917 near Abraham Heights this man on his own initiative took stretcher squads forward and kept the left R.A.P's clear. He showed a contempt for shellfire and set a fine example to the other bearers. He bought in many men whom he found lying in shell holes wounded thus saving their lives.

The Battle of Broodseinde was a victory for the New Zealand Division yet it was soon overshadowed by the battle fought on the 12 October 1917 which would become New Zealand's worst defeat in terms of casualties ever recorded.  At the battle Private Clemens was seriously gassed but despite this he refused to use a stretcher so that a fellow wounded soldier could use it.  After initially being treated in England he was invalided back to New Zealand in June 1918 and was sent to Auckland Hospital and from there to Queen Mary's Hospital in Hamner where he died on the 3 November 1918 from Influenza and Pneumonia, he was 24 years old.

On further research I found that Private Clemens father had subsequently written a letter to the Ministry of Defence berating the treatment his son had received on his return to New Zealand.  Mr Clemens alleged that despite the fact his son was gravely ill he was put into an open ward in Auckland Hospital whilst officers where given private rooms, his son was also transferred to Hamner in South Island by train in an ordinary passenger carriage unable to lie down despite the fact that he had been in bed for weeks and the weather conditions on the day were inclement.  He also claimed that no provision had been made for his transfer from train to steamer and that the orderly who had been assigned to him for the trip had only hours before been treating patients with influenza.  By the time his Private Clemens reached Hamner he was gravely ill with influenza and his life could not be saved.

Private Clemens father naturally felt that had his son received better treatment he would have had a better chance of recovery and hoped that by bringing it to the Minstry's attention it would help to prevent such treatment of other soldiers.  

Private Roy Clemens was buried at Waikaraka Cemetery in Auckland on his tombstone it reads:

who was wounded at the Battle of Passchendale 
12 Oct 1917 and after thirteen months intense suffering
 died 3 Nov 1918 

Kenneth Claude Baker - MtEden Memorial

Kenneth Claude Baker embarked on 1 May 1916.  He served at Messines,  Belgium where he was killed in action on the 7 June 1917 the first day of the Battle of Messines.   Through the  National Archives NZ,  I was able  to access Kenneth Baker's Military records where there is a report on how he died, something I haven't come across very often on WW1 Military records.  The account was made by Private William Arthur Edge and reads as follows:

'It was on the night of the 7th June the first day of the Messines advance.  We were beyond Messines and some of our fellows were wounded in a shell hole there were no stretcher bearers about at the moment, so we went to help them and get them in ourselves.  Ken Baker was helping one of them.   He just stood up and as he did so he got sniped through the head and killed on the spot I was there and saw it happen.  We got in the wounded all night, Ken baker was buried behind the line.  But I have not seen the exact spot.'

As with many of the dead his body was never recovered and he is remembered on the New Zealand Messine Ridge Memorial.

He was the only son of William and Matilda Baker of Chester Street Mount Eden. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Private Walter Alexander Grierson - Mt Eden Memorial - updated

Walter Alexander Grierson was the 3rd son of John and Susan Grierson.  Private Grierson embarked with the Main Body on the 16 October 1914 aboard the Waimana from Auckland.  On embarkation he was a Driver with the Army Service Corp.   Private Grierson was killed in action on the 8 May 1915 whilst attached to the Auckland Infantry Regiment.   He is remembered on the Twelve Tree Copse memorial.

TWELVE TREE COPSE (NEW ZEALAND) MEMORIAL is one of four memorials erected to commemorate New Zealand soldiers who fell on the Gallipoli peninsula and whose graves are not known. The memorial relates to engagements outside the limits of Anzac in which New Zealand soldiers took part. It bears almost 180 names. (information taken from CWGC website)

Walter Grierson's father John was a well-known Chess champion in Auckland and I found a lovely story on Papers Past reporting that his son Walter and a fellow soldier were busy finishing a game of chess before landing at Gallipoli with shrapnel flying all around them.  Both were wounded shortly after.  The board used for the game had been a gift to Walter from his father before he embarked.
A further two members of the Grierson family enlisted and are worth a mention.  The first is Walter's brother Hugh Cresswell Grierson.  Hugh was an architect and survived the war despite being wounded at Passchendaele.  After the war he became a partner at the Auckland firm of architects Grierson, Aimer and Draffin.  This firm entered the competition to design the proposed Auckland War Memorial Museum  in 1921 and subsequently won the competition.   Hugh Grierson must have felt during the process of designing and building the Museum that he was building a memorial to his brother and I am sure Walter was never far from his mind.   The firm of Grierson, Aimer and Draffin also won the competition to design the Wellington Cenotaph.

The second family member was their cousin 2nd Lieutenant Alexander Hugh Grierson who made the headlines during the war when he was accused by the Member of Parliament John Payne and the Anti-German womens league of being disloyal and a German Sympathiser.  The case was heavily reported in the press.  Alexander  had worked for the German Consul in Auckland, visited Germany and was partly educated there.  His accusers maintained he was pro-German and should not be allowed a commission or to serve in the New Zealand Army.   A Royal Commission of Inquiry was set up.  Alexander was able to prove that he had no 'foreign blood' he produced his birth certificate and British Passport.  His father was the brother of John Cresswell Grierson (Hugh and Walter's father)  John Grierson testified at the inquiry that the family went back generations in the United Kingdom.  The inquiry found in favour of Alexander Grierson and he embarked on the 6 May 1916. He survived the war.  His accusers continued to protest even writing to the King.  His story is an interesting read on Papers Past.  What was printed in the press shows the attitudes of the time and the somewhat fierce irrational patriotic fever that some possessed.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Oldest US WW1 veteran dies - Frank Woodruff Buckles

Frank Buckles died  yesterday he was 110 years old.

He was born in 1901 and lied about his aged to enlist in 1917 he was only 16.

There is a website dedicated to Frank which tells his story

Mt Eden Memorial, Auckland - 28 February 2011

Have finished deciphering the names on the Memorial in Mt Eden, outside the Mt Eden Normal Primary School.   Have managed to find details on all  the men listed except for two (but will continue to try).   I have found some interesting and poignant stories from the memorial which I will blog over the next couple of days.

The memorial itself was unveiled by Governor-General Lord Jellicoe on the 16 February 1924 and below is an extract from the Evening Post of his words at the event.

The article was obtained via Papers Past website