Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What's next...

I was very excited today to get my copy of 'The Volunteers', the Military Historical Society Journal where they publish an article I wrote on my project. 

Tomorrow I am off to Wellington to attend the launch of the Centenary History of New Zealand and the First World War at Massey University.  On Friday I am paying a visit to Nelson for 3 days where I am hoping to visit several memorials.  (hopefully the rain will have stopped)

I am still have a great deal of research to do on the Otororanga Memorial.  So a busy time leading up to Christmas.

Thomas Douglas Baillie - Otororanga Memorial

Thomas Douglas Baillie enlisted on 21 August 1916 and enlisting alongside him was his only son, Arthur Douglas Baillie.  On Thomas Baillie's military record I noticed a note which mentioned how he had left all his property equally to his wife, daughter and son.  Besides the son's name was a military number 34324 (his father's number was 34325) which I traced to Arthur Douglas Baillie.  I was initially stunned to find that father and son had enlisted together I imagine there would have been very few cases of this during WW1.  At enlistment Arthur gave his date of birth as 22 March 1896.   His father stated that Arthur's date of birth was 1897 while in fact Arthur was born in 1898.  Lying about his age made him eligible for overseas service.

Father and son embarked on the Apawa on 2 January 1917 as part of the Auckland Infantry Regiment.  One can only imagine the sadness Thomas's wife, Alice Baillie felt when both her son and husband departed together for war.

On 4 October 1917 Arthur Baillie was promoted to Lance Corporal on the very same day his father Thomas was killed in action at the Battle of Broodseinde.   He was 45 years old and he is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

On 9 September 1918 Arthur was badly injured after receiving a gun shot wound to the head and was sent back to England where he received treatment until finally returning to New Zealand on 18 January 1919.   Despite his injury he recovered sufficiently to return to the England where he joined the RAF becoming an officer.  I found a record of an Arthur Douglas Baillie from Otorohanga who unfortunately was killed in a flying accident over Eastchurch, Kent on 13 September 1924 aged 26 years. 

Further research into the Baillie family revealed that the family had a rich military history.  Thomas's father Colonel W.D.H. Baillie had served in the Punjab Campaigns in India of 1848–49 and his grandfather Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Baillie had been a veteran of the Battle of Waterloo.  In fact Colonel W.D.H Baillie led a full life and below is a link to more information on his life.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Second Lieutenant Evan Scott Innes-Jones - Kihikihi Memorial

Evan Innes-Jones was one of five brothers who served in World War One and the son of Herbert and Mary Innes-Jones.  Originally born in Nelson in 1889 the family moved to Kihikihi where they farmed.  Evan embarked with the Main Body on 16 October 1914 as part of the Auckland Mounted Rifles.  At Gallipoli he was wounded on 22 August 1915.  I found a detailed account of how he was rescued in a letter from Evan printed in the Colonist Newspaper.

Colonist, Volume LVII, Issue 13915, 22 October 1915, Page 4,
Papers Past, National Library of New Zealand, Wellington

The wound was serious enough for him to be sent back to New Zealand to convalesce.  However as soon as he was able, he reported for duty again after gaining a commission and being promoted to 2nd Lieutenant in May 1918.  He embarked on the 1 August 1918 with the 42nd Reinforcements.  Sadly shortly after disembarking in England on 4 October 1918  he fell sick.  He was transferred to Channock Chase military hospital on 2 November 1918 and died of pneumonia on 8 November 1918.  He is buried in the Channock Chase military cemetery.   Evan Innes-Jones story has a tragic end after serving his country at the beginning of the war at Gallipoli he was keen to serve again towards what would be the end of the war only to be struck down by disease as were so many in November 1918.

Colonist, Volume LXI, Issue 14947, 18 December 1918, Page 2
Papers Past, National Library of New Zealand, Wellington

The other four Innes-Jones brothers survived the war:

Howard Innes-Jones embarked on 14 February 1915 with Auckland Mounted Rifles
Melville Innes-Jones embarked on 14 February 1915 with Auckland Mounted Rifles

Hawera & Normanby Star, Volume LXIX, 19 August 1915, Page 5 
Papers Past, National Library of New Zealand, Wellington

Herbert Innes-Jones embarked 25 January 1916 on the 'Maheno' Hospital ship No.1
Howard Innes-Jones embarked 14 February 1916 with the Auckland Infantry Regiment.

The Innes-Jones family made a significant contribution to World War One and one the family I am sure were rightly proud of despite the loss of Evan Scott Innes-Jones.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Kihikihi Memorial - Waikato

Kihikihi Memorial stands next to the Kihikihi Town Hall on the main road through Kihikihi. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Walter Alexander Tilsley - Rotorua Memorial - Updated & Corrected

It is seems in my enthusiasm at the beginning of this project to begin blogging meant I made some errors in my research. One of theses was the Blog on Walter Tilsley.  I have now corrected the errors and added some more information.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Trooper William Henry Foote - Maramarua Memorial

William Henry Foote was born in Dorset, England.  I have not been able to discover when he came to New Zealand  but it was sometime after 1910 as he married Agnes Gosney at Sherbourne, Dorset in May 1910.  He worked as a farm hand in Mercer before he enlisted on 28 June 1915 and then embarked with the 6th Reinforcements as part of the Auckland Mounted Rifles on 14 August 1916.  He remained  in the Middle East for the duration of his war which was plagued with illness being hospitalised with Dysentry, Malaria and Neurasthenia (Shell Shock).    William Foote was wounded on 27 March 1918 with a gun shot wound to head and pronounced dangerously ill clinging onto life until the 11 April 1918.  He is buried in the Ramleh War Cemetery in Israel. 

On William Foote's military record he stated he was unmarried and records his brother James Foote (living in Ngtea) as his next of kin.  Why? there are many scenarios as to why William came to New Zealand we can only guess.  His wife Agnes was noted later on his records as his next of kin, there was also a daughter listed who was born on October 1910 in Dorset.  Both stayed in England and I wonder how Agnes found out that William had been killed in action. It is sad to think of a little girl growing up never knowing her father, but as we all know it is often the children who suffer most as a result of war.

Revisiting Memorials

Normal life seems to be getting in the way of visiting new memorials at present.  Lots planned for December/January.  Trip booked to Nelson middle of December and Central Otago, a drive up West Coast of South Island and a visited to Hawkes Bay in January.  In the meantime time I am revisiting the what I have researched so far and updating/checking information.  If I do find any new information I will blog it. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Alexandra War Memorial Unveiling

Alexandra memorial was unveiled on Armistice Day 1921 (11.11.1921) by William Black the then Mayor of Alexandra. The top photograph shows the memorial moments before the unveiling with the Union Jack drapped over it.  The photograph below was taken after the unveiling.

Today Alexandra's memorial still holds centre of attention situation in the middle of town.  It is a lovely memorial.

The photographs above are kindly reproduced with the permission of the Central Stories and Museum and Art Gallery, Alexandra.  The museum is well worth a visit if you are visiting the area and they have a great collection of local archives. Please do not reproduce these images without their permission.

Private Walter Alexander Grierson - Mt Eden Memorial

I have recently updated this blog entry

Friday, November 11, 2011

11.11.11 - Armistice Day

Have just attended the Armistice Day Commemoration at the Auckland War Memorial Museum which was lovely and well attended.  The Auckland Girls' Choir were beautiful.  One of the two hymns sung was 'I vow to Thee my country'  and I thought I would share the words to the first verse which for me said it all:

I vow to Thee my country,
all earthly things above,
Entire whole and perfect,
the service of my love.
The love that asks no question,
the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the
dearest and the best;
The love that never falters,
the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted 
the final sacrifice.

Words: Sir Cecil Spring-Rice

Lest we Forget

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Rifleman Daniel John Butler - Alexandra Memorial

Daniel Butler was the son of John and Mary Butler Irish immigrant farmers who settled in New Zealand in 1863/64.  Daniel was born in Bald Hill Flat (known today as Fruitlands) Otago on 11 June 1884.

At the time of his enlistment Daniel was living in the Hawkes Bay where he was a farmer.  In September 1915 he married Eunice May Spencer in Napier.  At the time of his embarkation with the New Zealand Rifle Brigade on the 16 November 1917 he had two young sons and his wife Eunice was pregnant with their third child.  We can only imagine the angst that Daniel felt leaving his young family not knowing when or whether he would return.  The war had been going for three years and the New Zealand public would have been fully aware of the cost in lives from the Great War.

Daniel Butler joined his battalion in France on 5 April 1918, the very same day that his third son was born back in NZ.   Daniel was slightly wounded in June 1918 but was soon sent back to the field.  At the beginning of August he was transferred to the 3rd NZ Light Trench Mortar Battery and on 31 October 1918 he was tragically killed in action.

For his young wife back in the Hawkes Bay left with 3 small children the news of Daniel's death would have been unbearable made worse I am sure by the fact that shortly afterwards the Armistice was called on 11 November 1918.  Daniel youngest son never got to meet his father and the other boys were very small, but I am sure they grew up proud of the knowledge that their father had made the ultimate sacrifice.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Lieutenant Lionel Edward Grimstone - Alexandra Memorial, Otago and Eltham Memorial, Taranaki

Lionel Grimstone was born in Alexandra the son of  Leonard Burrows and Alice M. Grimstone.  His father had been the branch manager of the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) in Alexandra since about 1893.   Lionel had been one of two sons until his brother Reginald was tragically killed as a result of a landslide in a gravel pit when a he was only 10 years old in 1905.   Shortly after the accident the family moved to Paeroa where Leonard Grimstone was appointed branch manager of the BNZ.  After a further move to Waitara the family finally settled in Eltham, South Taranaki in 1912.

Eltham is where a 19 year old Lionel Grimstone would be one of the first in the town to enlist.  He embarked with the Main Body from Wellington on 16 October 1914 as part of the Wellington Mounted Rifles.  On his way to the Dardanelles, Lionel was witness to an unfortunate accident which as a result left one man dead.

Hawera & Normanby Star, Volume LXVIII, 17 December 1914, Page 8,
Papers Past, National Library, Wellington

Whilst Dr. Webb's death was the result of 'maritime prank'  we should not forget that he had volunteered to do his duty just as those who accompanied aboard the ship had done and who later died on the battlefield.

In July 1915 Lionel contracted Enteric Fever and was transferred to hospital in Malta.  On his recovery he applied for a commission which he received, eventually holding the rank of Lieutenant.  In October 1918 Lionel Grimstone was part of the New Zealand Field Artillery and on 8 October 1918 he was killed in action at Le Cateau in France almost four years to the day that he had embarked from New Zealand to fight in the Great War.  

For his family back home in NZ the news like for many would have been devastating.  During the war years Lionel's father & mother had worked tirelessly in Eltham raising money for the Patriotic Fund.  Leonard Grimstone was the official welcomer to a group of invalided soldiers who were returning to Eltham on 10 October 1918, only two days after the death of his son.  On welcoming these soldiers he must surely have thought of his own son and wondered how long it would be before he welcomed his return to NZ.   I suspect at the time he had not yet to heard of his son's death.

Hawera & Normanby Star, Volume LXXIV, 28 October 1918, Page 4
Papers Past, National Library, Wellington

For Lionel Grimstone to be remembered on the Alexandra memorial I believe reflects how well thought of the Grimstone family must have remained in the township.  He is also remembered on the Eltham Memorial. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Project Update...

The 100 NZ Memorial project is still in progress, however lately I have been tied up with other research which has meant a pause in my memorial research.  I should be back into it next week especially as I am hoping to get away for a couple of days to visit and collect information on more Memorials.

Today I went to the Auckland City Library and listened to Micheal Wynd a historian at the RNZN Museum talking about  'Demobilising the NZEF after the Armistice'.  It was a very interesting talk shedding light on how the 54,000 service men and women from the Western Front, Egypt and Britain were demobilised all be it in the majority of cases slowly.

The Auckland City Library holds family history sessions throughout the year and many are very interesting.  To find out more information visit their website 

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Riddle Brothers - Piopio

Four Riddle brothers enlisted to serve in World War One John, Hormah, Patrick and Ewing.  Marion Riddle their mother had only just lost her husband Walter Riddle who had died in 1914 the departure of her sons over the next couple of years must have been heart wrenching. 

The first of the four brothers to embark were John (12/3140) and Hormah Riddle (12/3141) who had enlisted together and then embarked with the Auckland Infantry Regiment as part of the 7th Reinforcements on the 9 October 1915.  Their military records have not yet been digitised so I have been unable to find out if they served together after they arrived at the Front as I should imagine they did (on my next visit to Wellington I intend to look up several Military Records including John and Hormah Riddle).  John Riddle was killed in action on 30 September 1916 on the Somme.  When the news of his death reached New Zealand I am sure his mother would have been bereft with grieve especially as two further sons were now enlisted to follow their brothers to war.

Ewing (32067) and Patrick Riddle (32068) also enlisted together on 25 July 1916 and embarked with the New Zealand Rifle Brigade on 15 November 1916.  I wonder how they felt?  Had the death of their brother made them more determined to do their bit?  or were they filled with trepidation now that more than ever they were aware that they may not return to New Zealand.  I imagine they felt both.

Ewing and Patrick marched into Etaples camp in France on 3 March 1917 and both were attached to the Wellington Battalion.  Patrick joined the Battalion in the Field on 27 May 1917.  In contrast Ewing was admitted to hospital with Gastritis on 3 April 1917 and sent back to England and did not join the Battalion until 9 July 1917.   After a time at the Front the brothers went on leave to England from 5 February 1918 returning to the field on 26 February 1918.  This time it was Patrick's turn to be hospitalised with a sprained back.  He went back into the field but soon reported sick again with more back problems.   Eventually Patrick was medically discharged just weeks before the war came to a close.  On his records it states that he was suffering from disseminated sclerosis (Multiple sclerosis).

On returning from leave in February Ewing continued to serve in France until the 4 November 1918 when with only days to go before the war came to an end,  he was killed in action at Le Quesnoy.  Two days later his brother Patrick embarked on the ship 'Ayrshire' back to New Zealand and his wife and two young daughters.  I wonder if he knew the news of his brother before he embarked? 

I would love to hear from anyone who has more to tell about the Riddle Brothers or who has any photos.  The Riddle brothers were most certainly 'Brothers in Arms'.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Back to Business

With the Rugby World Cup now over life can go back to normal and it's back to business!
Watch this space.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

2nd Lieutenant Clifford Clapcott Barclay - Te Kuiti Memorial

2nd Lieutenant (Lieut.) Clifford Barclay was not originally from Te Kuiti he was a Canterbury man and the son of Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Barclay.  I could find no direct link to the Barclay family and Te Kuiti except that maybe Barclay's  job as a Stock Agent for Guiness Le Cren took him to Te Kuiti on many occasions where he was thought well enough of to be mentioned on their memorial.

Clifford Barclay enlisted in Timaru on the 13 August 1914 he was 21 years old.  He embarked with the Main Body as part of the Canterbury Infantry Battalion on 16 October 1914.   On the 25 April 1915 he was reported missing and later pronounced killed in action by a Board of Enquiry.

In a twist of fate the 25 April 1915 would have been Clifford Barclay's  22nd birthday.  I have no doubt his family back in New Zealand would have been thinking fondly of him on that day.  It is tragic to think that a day of family celebration should become a sad day of commemoration for the Barclay family.

As a side note Lieut. Colonel Herbert Barclay (Clifford Barclay's father) also served in World War One (I wonder how many fathers and sons served in this war?).  Lieut. Colonel Barclay was on extended leave when war broke out overseas and he ended up serving at the Russian Field Hospital in Petrograd until January 1915.  (There is a small but interesting display about the hospital in the War Memorial Museum in Auckland in the Armoury department)  I also found an interesting report made by Lieut. Colonel Barclay printed in the Evening Post about the Hospital. See link below:

Lieut. Colonel Barclay served out the rest of the war with the Royal Army Medical Corp in France.  Unlike his son Clifford he survived the war.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Trooper Ludlow Maynard Lacosta Fox Bartrop - Te Kuiti Memorial

We often hear how young men lied about their age making themselves older so they are eligible to enlist in World War One and "do their bit".  However, there were also those who made themselves younger, such as Trooper Bartrop.

Trooper Bartrop enlisted on the the 14 August 1914.  He had been employed as a farmer for J.C. Roolleston of Te Kuiti.   Originally born in Australia his father was Major George Frederick Bartrop and his brother Arthur Leigh La Baste Bartrop served in the Boer War leaving with the First New Zealand Contingent, he later went on to serve in the Intelligence Service in South Africa.  With such military family connections Bartrop no doubt felt a strong sense of duty to enlist.  He embarked with the Main Body on the 16 October 1914 attached to the Auckland Mounted Rifles and was posted to his unit on 28 July 1915.  His war however was to be short lived and on the 8 August 1915 at Chunuk Bair, like many on that day, he was reported missing.  Eventually a board of inquiry held at Sarpi Camp on Lemnos on 31 October 1915 reported him "Reasonable to suppose dead" .  Trooper Bartrop is remembered on the Chunuk Bair memorial. He has no known grave.

I found an newspaper report in The Age, Melbourne which gave an account of Trooper Bartrop's death.

...died "a gallant soldier's death"... when all the officers of his company had been put out of action L. Bartrop gathered the men together and led a final charge and was shot on the top of a Turk parapet.

As I mentioned at the beginning Trooper Bartrop had given his age as 35 years when enlisting, however according to the Cenotaph database and the Commonwealth Graves Commission database he was actually 41 years old when he died making him too old to enlist in 1914.

Surely Trooper Bartrop was again one of many unknown heroes of the Great War.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

12 October 1917

When I begun this project back in January the date 12 October 1917 meant nothing to me.  However, after visiting 54 memorials across New Zealand (to date) the 12 October 1917 has become a recurring theme of my research.  There have been very few memorials which I have visited that do not bear the name of someone who lost their life on that ill-fated day at Passchendaele. 

The 12 October 1917 is etched in our New Zealand history as the most tragic day in terms of loss of life by New Zealand soldiers.  The experiences of those who survive and who have since written about that day are harrowing to read.  Many New Zealanders today have no idea of the significance of the 12 October 1917 which should surely be remembered as much as Gallipoli is on Anzac day and be at the forefront of our World War One history.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Back in action

Been out off action for a couple of weeks with sick family members etc, etc.  But I am now back on task.  Tomorrow I am going to attend the Passchendaele Commemoration Ceremony at The Cenotaph, Auckland Domain at 11.00am.  The Band of the Royal New Zealand Navy will be performing before the Ceremony, from 10.30am, and again immediately after the Ceremony.  Wednesday 12th October 2011. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The sons of Alfred & Elizabeth Black - Awakino Memorial

Sydney Morrison Black was a farmer and the son of Alfred and Elizabeth Black he embarked with the 15th Reinforcements on 26 July 1916 as part of the Wellington Infantry Regiment.  His cousin Edward Leslie Black also a farmer embarked with him as part of the Wellington Infantry Regiment.  Edward was the son of William and Mary Black.  Sydney Black was sadly killed in action aged 26, at Bapaume on 26 August 1918 at the same battle on the previous day his cousin Edward won a Military Medal for gallantry.   Citation below:

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty.  On 25 August 1918 during operation near Grevillers while acting as a Battalion runner, Private Black carried on three different occasions important message to the forward area through a very heavy barrage of shell and machines gun fire.  He set a very high standard of courage and by his devotion to duty through a most critical period helped in a great measure the success of our operations.    Citation taken from Wayne Macdonalds book Awar

Edward Leslie Black returned to New Zealand at the end of the war and died in 1965 aged 81 years. However, the Black family contribution did not stop there.

Alfred Reginald Black brother of Edward and son of William Black enlisted in December 1915 and embarked on 1 April 1916 with the 11th Reinforcements as part of the Wellington Infantry Battalion.   Alfred Black was promoted to the rank of Corporal on 10 February 1918 and then enjoyed some leave in the United Kingdom before returning to duty on 15 March 1918. Two weeks later on 30 March 1918 at  the Somme he was killed in action.

A further member of the Black family enlisted that of Ronald Clifford Black son of  William Black and brother to Alfred and Edward.  Ronald embarked on 27 May 1916 and served with the New Zealand Rifle Brigade.  Despite being wounded in 1918 Ronald survived the war and returned to New Zealand dying in 1971 aged 74 years.

The Black Family's contribution to World War One was like many families of that time a great one.  It was also full of proud moments mixed with overwhelming grief at those who were lost and joy for those who returned.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sergeant Matthias Beck - Awakino Memorial

Sergeant Matthias Beck is another reminder of how ordinary men are capable of brave and selfless acts.

Beck was born in Ormondville, Hawkes Bay in 1887.  He embarked with the Wellington Infantry Battalion on 9 October 1915 with the 7th Reinforcements.  At the time of his enlistment he had been a bush contractor in the Urenui area, North Taranaki.

Beck's war was a full one, he was promoted several times eventually to the position of Sergeant in July 1917.  He was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry on 7 June 1917 at Messines and then later in the month he was awarded a Bar for further acts of gallantry on 24 June 1917 at St Yves. 

After being gassed at St Yves Beck was out of action rejoining his unit in the field on 29 August 1917.  He was killed in action at the Battle of Broodsiende on 4 October 1917 he was aged 30.  Sergeant Matthias Beck like many is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium.

Below are the citations of Sergeant Beck's awards taken from a book by Wayne MacDonald, Honours and Awards to the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Great War 1914-1918.

Messines offensive - 7th-9th June 1917. At Messines on 7th June 1917 this NCO did most valuable work. His Officer was wounded when attacking a number of the enemy who were fighting from shell holes. With the 12 men left in his platoon Sergeant Beck then took charge and pushed the attack with such boldness that over 50 were killed with rifle and grenade and the rest driven off. He did good work during the remainder of this operation and had previously proved himself a bold and capable patrol leader.

At ST YVES on 24th June 1917 this N.C.O. was the platoon sergeant of a platoon working as a carrying party. That evening the whole area and the saps were under a very heavy bombardment, with both gas and ordinary shell. Two men were buried by a shell, and Sgt Beck, with another man immediately went to the rescue without thought of his own safety. Finding he could not get them out quickly enough working with a respirator on, he took off the respirator, knowing the risk, with the result that he was gassed. Though feeling the effects of the gas, on the platoon commander also becoming a casualty from gas, and saw that the task of the platoon was finished before he was evacuated. His previous record is excellent and he was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry at MESSINES.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Te Kuiti Memorial - 22 September 2011

In the background is a white arch which is the WWII Memorial   

Hawera & Normanby Star, Volume XLIV, 31 January 1924