Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Farrelly Brothers - Waihi Memorial

Rupert Laurel James Farrelly (known as Dick) was one of three sons of Robert Goodfellow Farrelly and the late Clara Maria Farrelly.  He enlisted on the 24 August 1915 at Lauriston near Christchurch where he was employed as a Farrier.  His brother Oliver Lawrence Farrelly had embarked with the Main Body on the 16 October 1914 and was killed in action on 8 August 1915 a day which has been described as 'the blackest day on the Peninsula'  by Fred Waite the first New Zealand Historian of the Gallipoli campaign. I imagine that Dick had known of his brothers death before he enlisted and felt compelled to enlist.

Dick served with the Otago Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion in France and on the 23 August 1918 he was killed in action also at Bapaume in France.   A double blow for his family like so many other families who sent several sons to war.

Their father Robert had been the news agent and stationer at Waitekauri near Waihi and Dick had served for 3 years with the Ohinemuri Volunteers before leaving the district, hence their connection with Waihi. 

I came across a newspaper article which alluded to the fact that all three sons and their father served in WW1.  On further investigation this proved to be correct.  Cecil Goodfellow the eldest of the three sons born in 1881 was most likely called up and enlisted on 15 August 1918, only a few days before his brother Dick was killed in action. Cecil never served overseas. 

I thought it rather strange that their father served as I would have thought him too old.  A quick look at his military records explained it all.

Robert Farrelly had lied about his age stating he was born in 1870 (which would have made him 11 years old when his first son Cecil was born!) He claimed his two sons Cecil and Rupert (Oliver having been killed before he enlisted) had been born in 1896 and 1899 respectively.  Several sources prove this to be incorrect (CWGC records, Centotaph records and their Military service records show the facts, that the two brothers had been born in 1881 and 1884 respectively).  Robert enlisted on the 2 October 1915 shortly after the death of Oliver in Gallipoli no doubt driven by grief I am sure he felt determined to do his bit.  He served in the Quartermaster Stores at the Trentham Military Camp for the duration of the war.

On a more positive note Cecil Farrelly married in 1914 and had a son on the 26 November 1917 which he called Oliver no doubt after his brother Oliver who had died at Gallipoli.

From the Marlborough Times - 24 September 1918

Monday, April 25, 2011

Anzac Day - 25 April 2011 - Waihi Beach Dawn Service

The weather gods were not kind to us this morning, it was dark and wet when we set out for the dawn service at the Waihi Beach RSA (which in my opinion has one of the best views from any RSA in the country) despite the weather there was a great turnout for the service lots of children which is good to see keeping the Anzac spirit alive and representatives from all the armed services.  The service was held inside but it took little away from the solemnity of the occasion. 

I was hoping to visit four new memorials today but the weather is atrocious so may have to postpone until tomorrow unless the weather picks up.

In the meantime trying to do some research while watching a classic WW2 movie on the Maori channel starring John Mills - great stuff!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Alley Family - Hikutaia Memorial

Mentioned on the Hikutaia Memorial are seven members of the Alley Family a significant contribution and sacrifice from one family.
D.C. Alley
F. Alley
A.W. Alley
A.K Alley
C. R. Alley
G. E. Alley
R. Alley

Three of the seven members of the family never returned, two of whom were brothers.

David Clifford Alley was the 6th child of Charles and Emily Alley's twelve children he embarked on 9 October 1915 and was killed in action on the Somme on 26 September 1916 and is remember at Caterpillar Valley Cemetery.

Frederick Alley was the 6th child of Alfred and Clara Alley's thirteen children and cousin of the above.   Before enlistment Frederick was a Slaughterman (probably in Grey Lynn Auckland).  He embarked on the 5 February 1916 and was killed in action on 13 December 1917 at Ypres, Belgium and is remembered at Aeroplane Cemetery in Belgium.

Alfred William Alley was the brother of David Alley and the 4th child of Charles and Emily Alley.  He was living in Australia at the outbreak of war and enlisted with the Australian forces embarking on 24 January 1916.  He was wounded on 26 July 1916 and remained on duty despite his injury.  On 24 April 1917 he was awarded the Military Medal.  Details below:

'For gallant conduct during enemy attack on Noreuil on the morning of the 15.4.17. Bdr Alley went out and unaided carried in a wounded man a distance of about 200 yards across No Man's Land under enemy machine gun and artillery fire. Later when volunteers were called for to go out as stretcher bearers and bring in the wounded this N.C.O. was the first to volunteer and organised his gun detachment into bearer parties.'

He was killed in action on the 20 October1917 in Belgium aged 26 and is remembered at the Bedford House Cemetery.

The three members of the Alley family are also remembered on the Thames War Memorial, Coromandel.   There is an excellent website called 'The Treasury'  http://www.thetreasury.org.nz which has comprehensive details of those on the Memorial.   Below are some moving newspaper articles which mention the Alley family's sacrifice which I found on the Treasury website.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Te Aroha War Memorial - 22 April 2011

An impressive memorial especially the bronze soldier on top which was made by the Italian artist Giobanni it has great detail.  There are 102 soldiers remembered on the memorial.  The memorial is in the town centre.

Paeroa War Memorial - 22 April 2011

Paeroa Memorial is quite impressive on top of Primrose Hill it has a magnificent view of the surrounding countryside.  The Memorial is of a cenotaph style.  There are no names inscribed on the memorial.   I would be interested to know if those who gave their lives from Paeroa in WW1 is recorded elsewhere.  The Memorial is in need of some tender loving care especially a repaint.  I especially admired the green painted wreath on the memorial.

Waihi War Memorial and War Memorial Church - 22 April 2011

The Waihi War Memorial is situated in the Waihi Cemetery is is a lovely peaceful spot and the site is fairly well maintained.  There are no names on the Memorial but in the Waihi township their is a lovely arched entranceway to the Church which records the names of those who lost their lives in WW1. 

Hikutaia Memorial - 22 April 2011

Hikutaia is a quaint memorial on State Highway 26, between Thames and Paeroa.  It lists both those who gave their lives and those who served.   The memorial is in the form of gates to Alley Memorial Park.  Several members of the Alley family served in WW1.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Stephen Alexander Bell - Howick Memorial revisited

Private Stephen Alexander Bell was born on the 19 January 1891 the son of Alexander and Helen T. Letharn Bell, farmers from Pakuranga.  Private Bell left on his 'great adventure' with the Main Body on the 16 October 1914 and disembarked in Egypt on the 14 December 1914.  

When I intially looked at Private Bell's military service record there was very little said about his service, just the usual dates, medical history and personal details.  I almost passed him by and then I thought why shouldn't I mentioned him here in this blog he was one of many ordinary fellows who went off to World War One who didn't return and whose name is now etched in stone on a memorial. I wish I had space and time to mention all those who gave their lives.   All deserve our attention especially as we approached Anzac Day.

Private Stephen Alexander Bell was killed in action on the 8 May 1915 at Gallipoli he is remembered at the Redoubt Cemetery, Helles, Turkey where 1,393 of the burials are unidentified but special memorials commemorate 349 casualties known or believed to be buried among them Private Bell has a special memorial.  (information from CWGC)

My first piece of publicity

 Below is a link to my first piece of publicity for the project.  I am hoping this will help me to reach a wider audience.  If anyone does have any interesting stories from the memorials I visit I would love you to share them with me.

Thanks Central Leader


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sergeant Wilfred Campbell Rimmer - Mt Eden Memorial re-visited

Wilfred Rimmer was born in Auckland the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. S. L. P. Rimmer of Fairview Road, Mount Eden.  He was a member of the Mount Eden hockey Club and was involved with the YMCA.

Before enlisting on 21 August 1914 he worked as a coffee roaster for his father who was a coffee merchant in Wellesley Street.   Wifred embarked with the Main Body on the 16 October 1914 headed for Gallipoli. 

He distinguished himself together with two others at Lone Pine between the 6th - 8th August 1915 and was awarded the Military Medal as reported in the London Gazette on the 11th October 1916:

While 1st Battery was in action on Russell's Top between 6th and 8th August 1915 during the action of "Lone Pine" these three men although slightly wounded on as many as three of four occasions, refused to leave their gun in what was a most critical period of the operations. Although their emplacement received direct hits and was demolished on several occasions, they set to work under fire in order to remove debris and succeeded each time in getting their gun into action again.

Unfortunately such bravery did not give a soldier a ticket to survive the war.  Wilfred Rimmer was sadly killed in action at the Somme on the 17 September 1916 aged 24 years.  He is buried at Thistle Dump Cemetery, High Wood, Longueval.

Anzac Day - 25 April 2011

On Thursday I set off for the Bay of Plenty to hopefully record a further nine memorials.  On Anzac Day I will attend the Waihi Beach Dawn Parade (fingers crossed for a dry morning). 

Thomas Grey Culling - Remuera Memorial

Thomas Grey Culling was born in Dunedin in 1896, he was the only son of Thomas and Fanny Culling.   His father had previously been the Mayor of St Kilda, Dunedin before the family moved to Auckland where Thomas attended Kings College in Auckland. 

He was commissioned to the Royal Naval Air Service in January 1916 and after training in England  with only 59 flying hours under his belt he was accepted for overseas service.  He takes the honour of being the first New Zealand WW1 ace with six credited victories.  He was awarded the DSO in April 1917 - citation below:

Citation for Distinguished Service Order (DSO): "In recognition of his services on 23rd April 1917, when with two other machines he engaged a formation of nine hostile scouts and two-seater machines. Two two-seater machines were shot down, one of them by Flt Lieut. Culling unassisted." (London Gazette, issue no. 30147 published on 22 June 1917, p. 6256)

Sadly he did not live long enough to receive his honour is person.  Thomas was shot down on the 8th June 1917 and was one of the first New Zealand casualties in the air, he was 21 years old and is remembered on the Arras Flying Services Memorial which commemorates nearly 1,000 airmen with no known grave.  An account of his victories can be found at the link below:

Article image 

Friday, April 15, 2011

A war memorial in Vietnam

Came across this memorial while on my cycling trip through North Vietnam.  It is a memorial to the Vietnam/American War.  This is the only one I have come across, although there are lots of small military cemeteries dotted across the country.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

All quiet on the blogging front...

I am about to board a plane for Vietnam and a two week holiday so the blog will be quieter than usual.  Once back at Easter I am going to visit the Bay of Plenty and hope to visit the following memorials:
Paeroa, Te Aroha, Katikati, Mt Manganui, Tauranga, Waihi, Te Puke, Omahu and Hikutaia.  It will be a busy May researching the memorials but I am really looking forward to spreading my wings further across New Zealand.

Frederick William Lucas - Pukekohe Memorial

My Great Grandfather fought in World War One his name was Frederick William Lucas so you can imagine how I felt when I looked at the names on the Pukekohe Memorial and saw a F. W. Lucas.  I was even more surprised when on further research I discovered he had the exact same name as my Great Grandfather.

Frederick William Lucas was born on the 27 March 1885, he had already served in the military during the Boer War with the 10th Contingent.  He was keen to serve again  enlisting on the 27 October 1914 and embarked with the 2nd Reinforcements on the 14 December 1914 headed for Gallipoli.  He was killed in action on the 8 August 1915. 

My Great Grandfather luckily survived the war and I continue to research his war.  The sight of his name on the Pukekohe Memorial was without a doubt an emotional moment.  I would love to know more about the Frederick William Lucas from Pukekohe maybe one day I will.