Saturday, May 28, 2011

William Joseph Dawbin - Feilding Memorial

William Dawbin was the son of William and Julia Dawbin of Awahuri.  He was born in Somerset, England.  He embarked with the Main Body on the 16 October 1914 attached to the Wellington Mounted Rifles.  At Gallipoli he was wounded at Gaba Tepe on the 29 May 1915 with a gun shot wound to the spine which resulted in paralysis.  He was transferred back to England on the 17 June 1915 to the Royal Victoria Hospital at Netley near Southampton where he deteriorated, contracted Pneumonia and sadly died on the 22 August 1915.  It must have been some small comfort to his parents to know that he was laid to rest at St Andrew's Churchyard in Somerset where he was born.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Going to be a short pause on blogging...

Tomorrow I fly out to England for a 2 week visit.  Once settled I shall continue with my research andbe back blogging.

My next visit around NZ will be to Central Otago in July based in Wanaka.  Any suggestions of memorials I should visit?

George Francis McG Bissett - Feilding Memorial

George Francis McGovern Bissett was the son of Adam and Alice Bissett.  He enlisted in Feilding and embarked with the Main Body on 16 October 1914 his rank was that of Bugler.  He was killed in action at the Battle of the Landing on Russell's Top (Walker's Ridge) on 27 April 1915.  He was 20 years old.   I found the mention below of Bissett in the Auckland Star in 1917 which caught my interest:

After 2 ½ years, Mr & Mrs A BISSETT, late of Feilding but now of Wanganui, have received the bugle used by their son George F BISSETT before he was killed on Gallipoli. The bugler boy engraved on the instrument the name of each camping place and the bugle has three bullet holes in it. 

On further research I discovered the bugle is now on display at the NZ National Army Museum.  The link below is to an article about the bugle written by one of the museum's curators.

Bissett was also mentioned in Colonel William Malone's, Commander of the Wellington Regiment, diary. Below is the excerpt:

"I went on a little scout by myself, on our left. I took a rifle and slithered into the scrub. Found several dead Turks about, poor devils - been there since 25 April. Not pleasant to look at ... Unfortunately we can't bury lots of our men, poor chaps. We can see them here and there, but it is almost certain death to go out to them. There are two I would specially like to bury. Lieutenant Wilson and a bugler lad - 
 Bissett from Hawera. He lies with his bugle on his back face downwards, shot in his tracks."
(Taken from the NZ History website)

When an Armistice was called to bury the dead on 25 May 1915 Colonel Malone got the opportunity he needed to fulfill his wish.

I wonder how his parents felt receiving their son's bugle. Was it a comfort or a reminder of their awful loss?  In the death notice that they put in the newspaper they ended it with the words  "Every inch a soldier"  which leads me to think they were very proud of their son's sacrifice and most probably found the bugle's return a comfort.

Palmerston North Memorial - 12 May 2011

Palmerston North Memorial was unveiled on the 7 February 1926 by the then Prime Minister Gordon Coates.  Coates had himself served in WW1 winning a Military Cross and a Bar.  Below is are two separate links to a newspaper reports on the "Not peace at any price " speech Coates gave while unveiling the memorial.  (when on links you have to scroll down page through other reports)

The photo of the memorial is not the best, when I get to Palmerston North myself I shall improve on it.  After some further research I have also discovered some other interesting memorials to visit in the area, including one dedicated to the Medical Corp.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Palmerston North and Fielding - 12 May 2011

I was hoping to join my husband today on a trip to Palmerston North and Fielding to visit their memorials, but unfortunately a sick child prevented me going.  I let hubby take the camera and he took the photos for me.  I will visit myself at a later date (promise!) but for the meantime I will research the names on both memorials.  Both memorials are impressive.   It is a shame about the graffiti/vandalism on the Palmerston North memorial.  I truly cannot understand the mentally of someone who desecrates such a precious memorial.   

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Albert Dunton - Katikati Memorial

Albert Dunton of Aongatete embarked with the 6th Reinforcements as part of the Auckland Infantry Battalion on 14 August 1915.  Albert served at Gallipoli before ending up on the Western Front.  He was killed in action on the first day of the Battle of Messines on 7 June 1917.

Albert had two brothers who also served in the war firstly James W. Dunton embarking shortly after his brother's death on 26 July 1917 and  Edward O. Dunton embarking on 10 July 1918.  Both survived the war.  I can't imagine how difficult it would have been for their parents watching them go off to war after losing their first son. 

Katikati Memorial

Private Otto Diggelmann son of Albert and Anna Diggelmann was a farmer he embarked on the Arawa on 13 October 1917.  He died on 4 November 1918 in England after receiving a wound to the head and then contracting meningitis, he was 22 years old.  He is buried at the Aldershot Miltary Cemetery in the South of England.

Henry Capel Pritt was the son of Lonsdale and Mary Pritt.  He embarked on the 13 June 1915 with the 5th Reinforcements as part of the Auckland Infantry Battalion.  His war like many was short,  being killed in action at Gallipoli on 8 August 1915 he is remembered at the Chunuk Bair (NZ) Memorial.

Albert George Squinobal was the son of Joseph and Eliza Squinobal and a Farmer from Katikati.  He embarked on the 8 January 1916 as part of the 9th Reinforcements Auckland Mounted Rifles, A Squadron.   He was killed in action at the Somme on 21 November 1916 and is remembered at Caterpillar Valley (NZ) Memorial.  Albert was 26 years old.

Auckland Infantry

Have just got hold of the new book on the story of the Auckland Infantry by Peter Cooke, John H. Gray and Ken Stead. (my Mothers Day pressie!)  It's a big book with some great photos 'hats off' to those who were involved in putting it together.  A must for anyone interested in NZ Military history.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Private August Harwood - Te Aroha Memorial

August Harwood was born in Little River, Nr Christchurch in 1889.  In 1914 he found himself working for John King as a labourer in Te Aroha.   He enlisted in Auckland on the 28 August 1914 and embarked on the 16 October 1914 with the Main Body from Auckland as part of the Auckland Infantry Battalion. 

August was killed in action on the 5 May 1915 he was by now attached to the Ambulance Corps as a Stretcher Bearer.  In much of the reading I have done regarding World War One the stretcher bearers are highly praised for their bravery and commitment.  August by all reports was no different. 

The report below is taken from the Auckland Weekly News, 22 July 1915

The men speak with affectionate regret and no little pride of Pte August HARWOOD, Ambulance Corps. He worked like a hero said Cpl SQUIRE of Mt Eden. No thought of personal danger ever deterred him. He was removing the wounded to safety day and night and mostly under fire. There was one very bad place on the right flank which we called ‘the death trap’, this was a long gully exposed fully to the enemy fire and containing practically no cover. Harwood had just taken a wounded man down this gully when in a part of the [area[ commanded by the Turks’ maxims, he was hit by a bullet which penetrated his back and pierced his heart. He died within a few moments.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Charles Choules - BBC report 2009

BBC report on Charles Choules - follow link below

Last World War One veteran dies - Claude Choules

Claude Choules is believed to have died at 110 years old in his nursing home in Perth today.
Born in England in 1901, Mr Choules served with Britain's Royal Navy onboard the HMS Impregnable in 1916 at the age of 15.

His son Adrian Choules said of his father:

"He served in two wars but he hated war. He just saw it as a job. He never marched in an Anzac parade he wasn't ordered to."
Mr Choules said " although his father was special to the family, he did not understand all the celebrity attention he was getting from the media.  Someone's got to be the last man standing ... he's just an ordinary man"   he said

Gallipoli Centenary Test Match

I was interested to read in today's New Zealand Herald that a Rugby League test match between the Kangaroos and Kiwis in Turkey is planned to mark the centenary of the Gallipoli Landing's in April 1915.  Players will attend the Dawn Service at Anzac Cove and then the match will be played later in the somewhere in Istanbul. 

John Mainer Corbett - Waihi Memorial - update

John Mainer Corbett was the son of Edward and Mary Ann Corbett, he was born in 1893.  He was an Assayer and Metallurgist for the Waihi Grand Junction Gold Mining Company.  Before enlistment he had served with the Territorials in the 6th Hauraki Company.  He enlisted on the 20 January 1915 and embarked on 14 February 1915.   Once in the Dardanelles he joined the Auckland Infantry Battalion on the 1 June 1915.  However John Corbett's war was to be short - one week later on 8 June 1915 he was killed in action at Quinn's Post he was 22 years old and has no known grave.  He is remembered on the Lone Pine Memorial. 

In Glyn Harpers's excellent book 'Letters from Gallipoli' I found a letter written by Private Norman Campbell who mentions a volunteer attack on a Turkish trench at Quinn's Post on 5 June 1915 and how 14 Haurakis were asked to volunteer.  It would be of no surprise if John Corbett had been one of those volunteers.

I also found reference to John Corbett's death in the new book 'Auckland Infantry'  by Peter Cooke, John H Gray and Ken Stead.  It mentions the attack on the Turkish trench on the 7/8 June 1915 where 13 where killed and 25 wounded including John Corbett.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Stanley Family - Te Aroha Memorial

Thomas James Stanley and Herbert Andrew Stanley were the sons of the Mayor of Te Aroha - Thomas Stanley.   Both brothers embarked together on the 4 March 1916 with the 10th Reinforcements Auckland Infantry Battalion, A Company.

Herbert Stanley had fought in the Boer War and was obviously keen to do his part in WW1 despite being married and older than most of those enlisting he was born in 1883 making him 33 years old on embarkation.  According to his Cenotaph record he served in Egypt and France.  He died on 30 November 1918 in Te Aroha.  How he died I have yet to discover most likely from wounds sustained in the war or from disease.  He was obviously sent home before the end of the war and below is a mention of his death from the Ohinemuri Gazette:

If anyone knows more about Herbert Stanley I would love to know.

Thomas James Stanley, Herbert's older brother was born in 1876 making him 40 years old on embarkation.  He was a widower with five children.  What makes Thomas Stanley's story interesting is that he was definitely one of the older men to enlist.  In France he was wounded from a high explosive shell in the foot, ankle and lower leg.  He had to have several toes amputated.  Thomas was eventually sent back to New Zealand being discharged as no longer fit for service from wounds received in the field and suffering from Shell Shock.  However remarkable after being found fit for service Thomas re-enlisted on 3 May 1918 in Wellington and was sent back overseas embarking on 10 July 1918 (He was now 42/43 years old).  Sadly Thomas never reach the Front he contracted Influenza and died at sea en route to England.  He was buried at sea. 

While researching I found two letters written by Thomas printed in the Ohinemuri Gazette, I have reproduced them below.  In the first letter it clearly describes how Thomas felt about the war and how proud he was that he had made the decision to serve.  The letter gives a real insight into the mind of a soldier from World War One.

24 July 1916
20 November 1916

Thomas and Herbert were not the only members of the Stanley family to serve.  Thomas's eldest son Charles Roy Stanley enlisted and thankfully survived the war.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Katikati War Memorial Gates - 26 April 2011

The Katikati memorial was unveiled in 1921 a report of the occasion is on the excellent Katikati website  Today the Memorial is in fairly good condition.  Below is a photo of the Memorial (date unknown) from the same website as above.

It looks like there was a flag pole also which is not there today and was once a busy park.

There is also a Roll of Honour outside the Katikati War Memorial Hall.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Thomas Henry Ryan - Te Aroha Memorial

Thomas Henry Ryan was born on the 11 July 1890, before he enlisted he worked as a ploughman at Reporoa Station, Rotorua.

He embarked on the 9 October 1915 with A Company, 2nd Battalion of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade.  Looking at Thomas Ryan's military record he had a busy war being wounded three times, firstly on the 15 September 1916 with a gun shot wound (GSW) to the ankle.  He was back in the field on the 14 March 1918 and was wounded again on the 26 July 1918 with GSW to thigh and arm. Again he returned to the field on the 2 August 1918 and slightly wounded again on the 7 August 1918 but remained in the field.  Unfortunately Thomas he did not have 'nine lives' and was killed in action on the 1 October 1918 at Le Cateau he was 28 years old and he is buried in the Fifteen Ravine British Cemetery, Villers-Plouich, Nord, France.

On enlistment Thomas Ryan was a Private but was promoted throughout his service ending up as a Sergeant, despite being disciplined twice early on in his service for drunkenness.

Thomas is seems certainly had busy war it is unfortunate that after so many escapes from death he was finally killed in action so close to the the end of the war.

Back on track

Kids are back at school, Royal Wedding done so it's back to business.  Today I am going to start the task of working my way through the 102 names on the Te Aroha memorial.

Barry Pfundt - Waihi Memorial

Barry Pfundt was born in England to Rudolf and Isabel Pfundt (nee Barry). His father was a  German immigrant who moved to England in the early 1880's where he worked as a merchants clerk.  Barry was the 3rd child of six and the family lived a comfortable life in Surrey.

Barry emigrated to New Zealand in 1904 aged about 17 years.  He made a trip back to England in 1911 where on the passenger list he states his occupation as an engineer.  He enlisted at Waikino, Ohinemuri and most likely worked for the Waihi Gold mining Company.  He embarked with the 3rd Reinforcements on the 14 February 1915, less than two months later he was killed in action at the Gallipoli landings on the 25 April 1915.

It must have very difficult for his father to deal with the loss of his son with the extra knowledge of knowing that his son had been killed in a campaign supported by the country of his birth.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sapper Sylvester Dargan - Waihi Memorial

Before enlistment Sylvester Dargan worked as a miner for the Waihi Gold Mining Company.   He was married with four children and lived in Waihi.  He enlisted on the 6 October 1915 and embarked as part of the Tunnelling Company aboard the 'Ruapehu' on the 18 December 1915 for Plymouth, England.

The Tunnellers were the first New Zealanders on the Western Front in March, 1916. The Tunnellers arrived at the Arras front line without being part of a larger formation. Enlisted just for their aptitude for digging and their knowledge of working underground, the men of the NZ Tunnelling Company relied on their own resources and capabilities.

The description above is from the NZ Tunnellers website an excellent site - I recommend visiting.

On the 13 November 1917 Sylvester was gassed.  He was admitted to Hospital and eventually transferred to England ending up in a convalescent home in Brighton.  On 4 November 1918 he embarked on the 'Remuera' headed back to New Zealand and was discharged from service on the 23 November 1918 medically unfit because of the effects of the gassing.

The effects of the gas on Sylvester were debilitating he suffered breathlessness and a persistent chronic cough and bronchitis.  He would have returned to New Zealand an invalid.  He eventually found himself in the Pukeroa Sanatorium in the Hawkes Bay where he died on the 13 July 1920.  He is buried in the Waihi Cemetery.

His wife Harriet was left with a family to support,  I wonder how she managed?  It must have been a real struggle, one she was not alone in at that time.  Harriet never remarried and died in 1957 aged 82 years old.