Monday, February 28, 2011

Some men from the Ardmore Memorial

Geoffrey Herbert Burnside was a farmer when war broke out he embarked on the 14 March 1917 aboard the Ruapehu.  He was killed in action at Ypres on the 15 October 1917.

James Bannatyne Campbell born in the Ness Valley also a farmer embarked on the 13 June 1916.  He stayed in the Middle East during the war and he died of Malaria and Pneumonia on the 21 October 1918 only days away from Armistice.  His brother Colin Campbell who had embarked on the 16 July 1917 aboard the Athenic also died of disease on the 9 November 1918 in France.  For their mother Frances Harriet Campbell is would have been heartbreaking losing two sons within weeks of each and so close to the end of the War.

Frederick Edward McConaughy a Farmer embarked on the 26 April 1917 aboard the Tofua.  He was killed in action on the 30 March 1918 on the Somme.

William Craig Kearney embarked with the main body on the 16 October 1914 he died of his wounds at sea from Gallipoli.

Today Mt Eden Memorial

Today I am going to walk to the Mt Eden WW1 memorial to write down the names on the memorial.  The memorial seems to have incurred some damage over time and the names are hard to interpret from a photograph.

I would love to know if the memorials in Christchurch have suffered any damage. Does anyone know?

Cadet William Harry Williams R.N.T.S. - Clevedon Memorial

I nearly overlooked Cadet Williams as there was no record of him on the Auckland Museums Cenotaph database. However further research led me to the article below:

Cadet Williams was born in Clevedon in 1897 the youngest of five children. He attended Clevedon School and his mother Phyllis was the post mistress at Clevedon post office.  

When war was declared in 1914 he was serving aboard the 'Aparima' a fleet officer training ship which carried up to 50 cadets.   At the beginning of the war the 'Aparima' operated as a troop ship, before being requisitioned by the British authorities to act as a cargo ship.  As the ship would now be operating in war zones parents of cadets were given the option of removing their cadet sons (who ranged in age from 15 - 19 years) from the ship.  As a result 14 cadets were removed.  Cadet Williams however was one of those who stayed.

On the night of the 18/19 November 1917 the 'Aparima' was sailing to the Welsh port of Barry to take on coal, when it was torpedoed by a German submarine UB40.  Reportedly the 'Aparima' sank quickly.  Of the 110 men on board 56 lost their lives including 24 New Zealanders one of whom was William Harry Williams.  Seventeen cadets from New Zealand and Australia lost their lives as a result of the sinking of the 'Aparima'.  

The sinking of the 'Aparima' and the loss of  the young cadets who were not even entitled to draw pay was a  tragedy.  The cadets were young boys far away from their families who should not have been at war.

In total 13 New Zealand cadets lost in the disaster and they are remembered on a Tower Hill Memorial in London. 

The 'Aparima', still lies on the sea floor, a few kilometres off the English coast. The ship's 4.7-inch gun, mooring cable and anchor are visible to divers who explore the wartime wreck today.

The Aparima

Below is a link to the Captain's account of the incident as printed in the New Zealand press.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mrs FitzWilliam's Sons - Alfriston Memorial

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Lance Corporal William Fred Derbyshire - Papakura Memorial

William Fred Derbyshire born in Papakura was the eldest son of Charles and Elizabeth Derbyshire.  Before enlisting he had been a labourer for C.H. Masonry of Pukekohe Hill.   He enlisted on 2 May 1916 and embarked with the 10th Reinforcements on 19 August 1916 and joined his unit in France on 14 December 1916.

In August 1917 William was hospitalised with Influenza but was back in the field by September 1917.  He went on leave to England from the 27 December 1917 - 12 January 1918.  A welcome break from the front seeing in the New Year in England rather than in the horrid conditions in France.

William rejoined his unit on 12 January 1918 and shortly after was sadly killed in action on the 28 March 1918 in France he was only  20 years old.  In his military record it states that he was buried where he fell about 1,000 yards North East of Colincamps.  His body presumably was never found or identified as he is remembered on the memorial at Grevillers.  A memorial to New Zealanders who fell during the fighting between March and August 1918 and whom have no known grave.

When I look at the picture of  William Derbyshire he looks far too young to fight in any war his youthful appearance reminds us that many of those men who gave their lives were really only boys.  In fact when I check William's birth date I found it was register in 1897 and if in fact he had been born in that year rather than June 1896 he would have been under age when he enlisted. 

Roy Alexander DSM - Papakura Memorial

Roy Alexander was the son of Thomas and Isabella Alexander he was born in Ramarama on the 17 January 1897.  Before the war he worked for A T Burt Plumbing Merchants and lived in East Tamaki with his parents.

He left New Zealand to join the Royal Navy Patrol Service in November 1916 and in November 1917 he was promoted to Chief Motor Mechanic.  He served on various Motor Boats such as the Hermione, Victory and Arrogant.  In 1918 Roy Alexander was serving at Dunkirk, assigned to rescue work, making smoke screens and  laying smoke floats for the raids launched at Zeebrugge and Ostend.  During the raids on the 22-23 April 1918 one of the largest carried out by the Royal Navy Patrol Service (RNPS) Roy Alexander was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.  Unfortunately Roy was wounded during the raid and died as a result of his wounds in South End Hospital in England.  He is buried in the Southend on Sea Cemetery.

Vice Admiral Roger Key praised the efforts of the RNPS that supported the warships during the operations making a point to note 'the skills and coolness of the men who manned these craft while under heavy fire'.

The link below is to an article on Roy Alexander in the White Ensign Magazine.  Next to the article on Alexander is another interesting article worth reading.

Coastal Motor Boats like the ones Roy Alexander served on during WW1

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A busy morning

Have had a busy morning I was out at Papakura before 8:00am this morning, a lovely time of the day.  A little hard at the moment to work on the project with the disaster in Christchurch in all out minds.  I like others I am sure wish I could do something practical to help.

Alfriston Memorial - 23 February 2011

Clevedon Memorial - 23 February 2011

Clevedon Memorial was unveiled on 28 August 1921

Ardmore Memorial - 24 February 2011

Ardmore Memorial unveiled 20 May 1921

Papakura Memorial - 24 February 2011

Unveiled on 5 June 1921 by Viscount Jellicoe

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What's Next

On Thursday I am taken a trip down the southern motorway and will visit the memorials at Papakura, Clevedon, Alfriston and Ardmore.  Next week going to take a field trip to the Bay of Plenty. But for now I will be doing more research on Titirangi.

Sergeant Clarence Victor Tarlin - Titirangi Memorial

Clarence with his mother, stepfather and sister (I think)

Clarence Tarlin was the son of Clara and Alexander Tarlin.  His father had fought in the Boer War and died in 1901 when Clarence would have been only 5 years old.  Before enlistment Clarence worked as a Labourer for the Auckland City Council,Waterworks.  He enlisted on the 3rd May 1916 and embarked for the War on the 19 August 1916 aboard the Aparima.

According to his records Clarence was wounded on the 21 February 1917 and reported missing.  It turned out he was actually captured by the Germans at Haubourdin in the Sailly Sector.  He died the next day from a gun shot wound to the abdomen.  In his records it states he was taken to the POW camp at Lemburg, Germany.  I wonder if he actually made it there as he was so badly injured.  He was 20 years old. 

I found the photographs of  Clarence very evocative he had such a gentle look it is difficult to imagine him being thrust into the hell of WW1.   Clarence will definitely be remembered by myself. 

A visit to the DVD store.

At the weekend my husband and I went to our local DVD store to rent some movies set in WW1.  It was a struggle we managed to find 4 amongst the plethora of WW2 movies.  I wonder why WW1 seems to have been largely ignored by movies makers.  There are of course classics such as All Quiet on the Western Front and Gallipoli.  During my research on this project I have certainly found there are stories to be told.  Any thoughts out there?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Titirangi Memorial - 20 January 2011

Lieutenant Wesley Neal Spragg

Wesley Spragg was born in 1894 the son of Wesley Spragg and Annie Dearnley.  Before enlistment Wesley was a Mechanical Engineer.  He enlisted in the Royal flying Corp and served in the Special Reserve School of Aerial Gunnery in the Middle East.  He was killed in action at Heliopolis Cairo on the 1 January 1918 aged 23.

He was his families only surviving son and in 1919 the family offered 760 acres to Auckland City Council Kaitarakihi Park is part of this park. 

Memorial to Wesley Neal Spragg - Kaitarakihi Park near Huia, West Auckland

The memorial to Wesley Neal Spragg was erected by his family to honour their son and those who lost their lives in WW1.   The memorial itself is very impressive and situated in a remote spot with a stunning view over the Manukau Harbour.  For me the memorial made me think about the grief families suffered at this time, this memorial I am sure was erected out of enormous grief.  I cannot recommend enough a visit to this memorial.  There is a lovely poem written on the side called 'Gone West'

Men from the Howick Memorial

Frederick Donovan Bradbury enlisted in the NZ Home Services.  Died from influenza on the 18 November  1918 at Motuihe Island in the Hauraki Gulf aged 30.  He is buried on the Island.   Motuihe Island was purchased by the New Zealand government in 1873 for use as a quarantine station. It was used as an internment camp during the 1914-1918 War for German prisoners of war from New Zealand and Samoa and was known as H.M.S. "Tamaki" in both World Wars.

Private Joesph Alexander Dunn  embarked with the main body on the 16 October 1914,  He was wounded in Gallipoli.  He died in France on the 30 September 1916.

Private David Adam Oliver embarked on the 27 May 1916 on the Tofua from Wellington.  David Oliver was born and raised  in Pakuranga.  He died of his wounds on the 8 October 1916 aged 30.  Below is an excerpt from the Auckland Centotaph database.
  • On 15 September 1916 Dave was transferred to D Company. Five days later during a lull in fighting Dave was shot in the back by German sniper whilst he was repairing defences
  • He was treated by No 2 Field Ambulance, but continued to deteriorate and 6 days later was admitted to St John's Ambulance Hospital where he lived for another 12 days.

Private Thomas Crawford was a motor mechanic before he enlisted.  He embarked on the 7 December 1916 on the Port Lyttelton. He was killed in action at Ypres, Belgium on the 4 October 1917.  The Battle of Broodseinde took place on this day and is most likely where Private Crawford was killed.

Private Monty Ingram in his war diary gives a very vivid and first hand account of the battle.  His last words in his diary on his account of the 4 October 1917 are:
'Such was the day and night of October 4th 1917. Never shall they be forgotten.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Gladys Coates - A woman ahead of her time

While researching the Coates brothers from the Remuera memorial in Auckland I stumbled across their sister Gladys Coates. 

Gladys was a woman ahead of her times with a strong sense of independence she seem to let nothing stand in her way.  She learnt to drive after marrying car salesman William Henning in June 1912 at Mount Eden, Auckland.  At the outbreak of WW1 she was determined to follow her two brothers and husband to the Middle East by offering her services to the authorities as a driver however, her services were rejected.  Not to be deterred Gladys raised money and paid for her own passage and sailed to Eqypt where she joined the Volunteer Sisterhood and worked as a driver operating from the Ghaza Hospital.  

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 Auckland Star, Volume XLVI, Issue 280, 24 November 1915

From the Middle East she went on to England where she was taken on by the Motor Transport Section of the N.Z.E.F. in May 1917.  She rose to the lofty position of Head Lady Driver driving ambulances at Hornchurch, Walton on Thames and Brockenhurst hospitals.    In January 1919 she was discharged after she contracted influenza and in 1920 she was awarded the M.B.E.  On a sadder note her husband William Henning died of wounds in 1918 after being awarded the the Military Cross.  

Gladys also holds the honour of being the first women to become a full member of the New Zealand Returned Services Association (RSA). 

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 Kai Tiaki : the journal of the nurses of New Zealand, Volume XII, Issue 3, July 1919

In  April 1920 she remarried Frederick Sandford in Sydney, Australia.  Frederick had been a Squadron Leader in the Royal Air Force but sadly the marriage ended in divorce in 1928.  In December 1925 against fierce opposition she became the first woman in New Zealand to gain a pilot's license, despite gaining her pilot's license she pursued a career as a motorist and her many pursuits were reported by the press.

Evening Post, Volume CXXIII, Issue 82, 8 April 1937, Page 19

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To find out more about her career follow the link below

The Coates Brothers - Remuera, Auckland Memorial

Randolph E. O. C. Coates and Eric A. Coates were the only two sons of Oswald and Valerie Coates who also had three daughters.  Both brothers had been born in Australia and had come to New Zealand at an early age in 1896 both boys were educated at Wanganui College.  On the 16 October 1914 they simultaneously embarked from New Zealand with the Main Body, Eric from Wellington and Randolph from Auckland.   I imagine this would have been a proud yet sad day for their family.

Both served at Gallipoli where Randolph was sent back to Egypt when he contracted influenza whilst embarking for Egypt he was injured by shrapnel.  Later his name appeared in dispatches mentioning his 'devotion to duty'.  He was also offered a commission in an English Regiment but turned it down preferring to stay with his fellow New Zealanders and shortly after he was offered a commission with the NZ Infantry.  He also passed the examinations for the Royal Flying Corp but was refused the transfer.  He ended up on the Western Front where he died of wounds received on the first day of the Flanders Campaign at the Battle of Messines on the 7th June 1917.j

Eric never left the Middle East serving at Gallipoli, Sinai and then Palestine.  Despite surviving Eric died in New Zealand from Pneumonia on the 14 November 1918 only 3 days after the Armistice he was buried at Purewa Cemetery in Auckland and on his headstone his brother Randolph is remembered with him.

Colonist, Volume LX, Issue 14639, 18 February 1918, Page 4

For Oswald and Valerie Coates it would have been small comfort to visit Purewa Cemetery in Auckland a place they could visit and remember their sons.  So many New Zealand families were never able to visited their sons final resting place far away on the other side of the world.   Memorials erected after the war became surrogate graves taking the place of an individual headstone.  The memorial was a place for those left behind to remember a loved one lost.

Howick Memorial - 18 January 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

On the spur of the moment...

On the Spur of the moment decided to take a trip out to Howick and visited the WW1 memorial there.  It has a marvellous view out into the Hauraki Gulf looked beautiful today in the sunshine.  A very fitting place for a memorial.  Time for some more research and then I will be back with more

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What's happening next...

This weekend I will be taking a day trip out to the West Coast of Auckland to visit some memorials.  I still have more to say on the Remuera Memorial. 

If you are looking at my blog let me know what you think?  I would like to hear other views of the project.

Corporal Edward Arthur Ormond Butler - Remuera Memorial

Edward Butler was an Insurance Clerk for New Zealand Insurance, he enlisted on the 7 March 1916.  He left for War on the 26 June 1916.  He was marched into Sling Camp in England on the 23 August 1916 and left for  France on the 14 September 1916.  He was reported missing on the 21 February 1917  in his Cenotaph record he is recorded as being killed in action at Messines, Belgium.

When I looked at his military records it reported how he was buried by the Germans.  On his Commonwealth Grave record it states that Edward Butler now lies in the Pont du Hem, Military Cemetery in France. (away from the Belgium border)   Many of the graves in the cemetery had been moved there after armistice. Only one New Zealander is reported on the Pont du Hem cemetery record as having  been removed from a German cemetery in France which was closer to the Belgium border and then buried at Pont du Hem.   I wonder if this could be Edward Butler?

Edward Butler was the son of Percy Selwyn Butler and Ellen Margaret Butler, Omahu Road, Remuera, Auckland,  He was 30 years old when he died.

Private Thomas Ernest - Remuera Memorial

Thomas Ernest left New Zealand  with the 16th Reinforcements Auckland Infantry Battalion, A Company on the Aparima on the 19 August 1916 he was only 18 years old. On arrival in England he spent 3 weeks in Sling Camp before arriving in France on the 16 November 1916 where he was attached to a Lewis Gun team.  On the 7 June 1917 he was mortally wounded in the battle of Messines, he died the folowing day. Thomas was only 19.

Thomas was the youngest son of Thomas and Annie Ernest.  He attended Auckland Grammar School and was the scout master at St Aidan's Remuera.  On leaving school he was employed as a Bank Clerk at the National Bank in Onehunga.

His brother David Ernest was killed in action on the 3 April 1918 at the Somme.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Book List

I have started a list of books I have found interesting at the bottom of my blog. All of the books focus on the New Zealand experience. If anyone has any suggestions for other books let me know.

Remuera Memorial, Auckland

Visited Saturday12 February 2011 

The Remuera Memorial is located at St Aidans Church on the corner of Remuera Road and Orakei Road. The Memorial itself has both WW1 and WW2 dead recorded on it.

New Zealand's statistics World War One

Population of New Zealand at the start of World War One was just over 1 million

120,000 men enlisted for the war of whom 103,000 served overseas.

18,500 died as a result of World War One and 50,000 were wounded.

More than 2,700 New Zealanders died at Gallipoli.

12,500 New Zealanders died on the Western Front.

There are approximately 500 civic memorials commemorating those who died and served in World War One in New Zealand.

Major Geoffrey De Bohun Devereux - Epsom Memorial - updated

Major Geoffrey De Bohun Devereux was the thrid son of the Hon Henry De Bohun Devereux.  The Devereux family were members of one of the oldest families in England and descended from the Royal Plantagenets.

Before the war Major Devereux had been a clerk at the Farmers Trading Company.

Major Devereux embarked on the 14 December 1914 and landed at Gallipoli. He served in France where he was awarded the Military Cross  in November 1917.  The Military Cross  was awarded to junior officers and senior non commissioned officers of the Army for courage and devotion to duty on active service. He was recommended to take leave after excellent service and made a trip back to NZ. He returned to France embarking from NZ on the 9 May 1918.

He was killed in action on the 1 October 1918 in the attempt to capture the village of Crevecouer.  In John Gray's book 'From the Uttermost Ends of the Earth'  Major Devereux's death is mentioned as being part of one of the 'blackest occasions in the history of the Auckland Regiment' with 332 casualties including 74 killed.   Major Devereux was 28 year old and had been engaged to be married.  He is buried in the Flesquieres Hill British Cemetery, France.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Corporal Donald Bennett Lane - Epsom Memorial

Donald Bennett Lane was the eldest son of Mr William Lane editor of the Auckland Herald.  He had been an Auckland Grammar boy, studied agriculture at Lincoln Colege in Christchurch and had been gaining surveying experience in Hamilton at the outbreak of War in 1914.

Like Private Russell below he left for war on the 16 October 1914 with the Auckland Infantry Battalion most probably on-board the Waimana.  Donald Lane was killed on the Battle of the Landing on the 25 April 1915.  On his Cenotaph record held by the Auckland Museum it states that Corporal Lane in spite of being wounded in the arm and thigh, led a bayonet charge before being shot dead.

The letters of Cecil Malthus

While trawling the internet I came across the letters sent by Cecil Malthus in World War 1 to his sweetheart and family.  They give an incredible insight into the everyday life of the soldier during WW1 and are worth a visit:

These letters remind me how we very rarely put pen to paper these days and whilst the electronic age has made the world smaller and easier to communicate with each other. (and for me to share these project).  In 100 years time our descendants will have very little evidence of our correspondence between friends and family.  This is a sobering thought and with that in mind I indeed to spend some time in the next few days writing to my family overseas.

Private Edward George Russell - Epsom Memorial

Before enlistment Edward George Russell was an engineer at the Government Workshops in Newmarket, Auckland.  He left Auckland on the 16 October 1914 with the Auckland Infantry Battalion most probably aboard the Waimana.  After surviving Gallipoli he left for France on 6 April 1916. He was wounded on either the 3/4 July 1916.  In his military records it states his wounds as a shrapnel wound. Edwards left leg was blown off and his right leg suffered a compound fracture.  He died of his wounds on the 5 July 1916 at 1:10am.  He is buried at the Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord, France.  While I have been trawling through soldiers military records I have not come across much information on how a soldier died the description in Edward Russell's records was a sharp reminder of how brutal war.  It also served to remind me of the human suffering of these brave men, which we should never forget.

The local memorial I didn't know was there...

I decided it was time to look at some local memorials within walking distant of my home. I did a bit of research on the internet first and was surprised to find a memorial in Epsom only 10 minutes walk from my house and one I have passed everyday taking my children to school without realising it was there.   I did a bit of research into Epsom during the time of WW1 and found for a short time there was a training camp at Alexandra Park. There was also a convalescent home in Domett Avenue .   The memorial itself was erected in 1919 at the entrance of Marivare Reserve, 28 local men are commemorated.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Epsom Memorial _ Marivare Reserve, Auckland

Visited Saturday, 12 January 2011

Harvey Brothers - Huntly Memorial

Robert Morrison Harvey embarked from Auckland on the 16 October 1914 headed for the Suez and then Gallipoli.  He was killed in action on the 8 August 1915 aged 23 at the assault on Chunuk Bair.  His brother David Harvey embarked for the war on the 9 October 1915 (only 2 months after the death of his brother) David was attached to the Medical Corp and before the war he had been a miner.  He died on the 12 Aptil 1917 at Ypres aged 28.

The brothers were scottish by birth there parents John and Sarah must have had a sense of dread when their second son left for the war soon after the death of their son Robert Harvey. On can only imagine the grief they must have felt when their second son was killed.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Private Alfred Hinchco - Huntly memorial

Alfred Hinchco from Huntly was the son of John and Rachel Hinchco he embarked on the 26 June 1916 for France he was 20 years old.  He won a Military Medal in 1917 below is his citation mentioned in the London Gazette:
London Gazette, 17 December 1917, p13201, Rec No 1401: For conspicuous gallantry in the Field, east of St Julien on the 4th October. At the commencement of the attack, when our advancing lines were held up by determined resistance, he rushed his Lewis Gun up, and under intense fire, bought his gun into action. He then, single handed, rushed to close quarters and compelled the surrender of a shell hole strong point, containing a German Officer and 12 other ranks. His action enabled the line to advance, which otherwise was in danger of losing its barrage. Throughout the whole action, he showed splendid skill, and entire disregard of personal safety.

He died from wounds received on the Somme on the 27 March 1918.

For his family this was their 2nd son they had lost Alfred's brother William had died in the Huntly Ralph Mine disaster  in September 1914.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Huntly War Memorial

56 dead are recorded on the HuntlyWW1 Memorial

Andrew William Gibbison - Raglan Memorial

Andrew Gibbison was the son of William and Clara Gibbison farmers outside Raglan.  Andrew embarked for the war on the 15 November 1916, his brother Francis Gibbison embarked on 16 October 1914.  At the end of the war they both returned I suspect to the relief of their parents.  However Andrew had been wounded and gassed and still carried the injuries and effects of the gas when he return.  He may have moved to the Hawkes Bay on his return as in 1920 he died there from the effects of the injuries he had sustained.  He was 25 years old.

Also on the Raglan Memorial are a list of the soldiers who fell in WW2 where I noticed an another Andrew Gibbison on further research it's looks as though he was the son of Francis Gibbison, so he would be Andrew William Gibbison's nephew.  I thought it rather poignant that two generations of Gibbisons with the same name had been died as a result of war.  I wonder if the younger Andrew Gibbison had been given the name Andrew after his Uncle who had died in WW1.

Captain Herbert Ambrose Cooper - Raglan Memorial - Revisited

I did some further research on Herbert Ambrose and I came across another photo and his pilot record via

I also managed to trace his airforce records which had little to report but it did state that he had been killed in action in France as does the record above. 

Why 100 memorials

I decided on 100 memorials to represent the 100 years (in 2014) since WW1 began. Have just bought a new book called 'Shots from the Front' by Richard Holmes. It has some rare and unusual shots from the British perspective of WW1. The some of the photos are very raw and really show the terrible conditions and the slaughter that was endured by soldiers.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Captain Herbert Ambrose Cooper - Raglan Memorial

According to a newspaper article Herbert Cooper was the youngest of his Honor Mr Justice Cooper.  He was educated at Kings College in Auckland. Being interested in engineering, he took up a position with the Manawatu railway workshops in Wellington.  Poor health forced him to change he career and after a period of studying farming at Lincoln College he took up a bush site at Waitetuna between Raglan and Hamilton.  After two and half years farming in 1913 Herbert took off to England to the Graham White flying school.  At the outbreak of war  he volunteered his services and became the first Zealander to join the Royal Flying Corp in England.

I found an article from the Evening Post dated 13 May 1914 about Herbert Cooper and how after gaining his airman's certtificate he returned to New Zealand, but was once again returning to England.  the article went on to say "Mr Cooper's future plans are not yet decided but he will in all probability visit France to see the progress of aviation there..."  He would indeed visit France a few months later but not as a tourist!

Herbert Ambrose died in France on 21 June 1916 aged 29 how he died I have still yet to confirm.
He was a member of the 11th Squadron Royal Flying Corps and some research into this squadron should shed some light.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Raglan unveilling

On my recent weekend in Raglan I picked up an interesting leaflet about a historical walk around the Raglan township.  It mentioned the war memorial's unveiling on April 29th 1922 by the Governor-General, Viscount Jellicoe and his wife.  At the time of the unveiling Lady Jellicoe commented on how lovely the temporary palms looked.  As a result the following year the town committee decided they should be a permanent feature.  Some of them still stand today.  The memorial has 22 dead recorded on it.  I love the position of the Raglan memorial right in the heart of the town.

The heat and the needs of 4 children have interrupted my research, but tomorrow I have promised myself that it will be a day of research for me.  I have been flicking through the book I bought and it has some interesting observations such as the roll of women and the building of memorials and also difference between the memorials between WW1 and WW2.  I will blog more about this later but for now it is time for me to attempt sleep in in a very steamy hot Auckland.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Next on the agenda is the Raglan War Memorial.

I also took a midweek visit to Auckland War Memorial Museum to look at the Scars of the Heart Exhibition, which focuses on WW1, it is a great exhibition to take the kids to. I also bought a copy of a book through trade me called 'The Sorrow and the Pride'. It was written by Chris Macclean and Jock Phillips and is a book about NZ war memorials from the NZ Wars to WW1. I covers several issues about how memorials where organised, the architects and the changes in memorials from the NZ Wars to WW1. It is an interesting book (to those who are interested in such things). I also need to visit a few memorials in Auckland any suggestions?

Matamata War Memorial

The Matamata war memorial is very well kept I visited it on a trip back from Rotorua. There are three sets of brothers on the memorial a reminder that families often lost more than one son. In the case of the Sutherland brothers they died a month apart the grief of there parents is unimaginable.

Alexander Rueben Sutherland was an engineer before enlistment. He was a 2nd Lieutenant.  He embarked for France on the 8th January 1916 and was killed on the 25 September 1916 in the Somme.  He is buried Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval,which I visited with my family a few years ago.  Visiting  one of the War Cemetery's in France or Belgium gives you a clearer picture into the sheer scale of the loss of live during WW1.

Hugh Charles Sutherland (Alexander's brother) was a farmer and embarked for Egypt on the 14 August 1915 he was killed in action on the 9th August 1916 in Egypt.  Two weeks before his brother.  I wonder if Alexander knew his brother had died before he himself was killed.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Walter Alexander Tilsley - Rotorua Memorial

At first I couldn't find a record for Lance Corporal Walter Alexander Tilsley on the Auckland Cenotaph database.  I did a search on Papers Past and found mention of a Tilsley in the 'Poverty Bay Times' who had been brought to the attention of Sir Joseph Ward in an instance of gallantry deserving of the Victoria Cross.  The article mentioned how an electrician from Rotorua called Tilsley went into no mans land with the Germans only yards away to bring back a wounded comrade.

 Extract from Papers Past, National Library of New Zealand, Wellington
Could this be the Tilsley I was looking for?  Not quite.  The Tilsley mentioned above was Walter's brother Robert Tilsley.

Walter Tilsley embarked on the 15th November 1916 with the 13th Reinforcements, 1st Battalion, E Company.  He was sadly killed in action at the  Second Somme on 28 March 1918.   He is buried at Euston Road Cemetery, Colincamps, Somme, France.

His brother Lieutenant Robert Tilsley had embarked with the Main Body on 16 October 1914.  He served at Gallipoli where he was awarded a DCM.  The award citation is below with a link to a newspaper report of the incident.

'For conspicuous gallantry on the night of the 4th-5th June, 1915, on the occasion of a sortie from Quinn's Post (Dardanelles). An enemy trench had been carried by assault, but was enfiladed by the fire of a machine gun. Sergeant Tilsley commenced to build up a sandbag traverse, and notwithstanding that the sandbags were being constantly blown away by the enemy's bombs, he, with great courage and regardless of danger, continued his efforts until he was severely wounded.
 Lt. Robert Tilsley
He received a commission in Egypt after the evacuation and proceeded with the NZ Forces to France where he took part in the Somme and Messines battles after which he was awarded the Military Cross. He was presented with his MC by the King at Buckingham Palace on the 10 July 1918. 

Robert was wounded three times - once in Gallipoli and twice in France.  There is more detail regarding Robert Tilsley on the Cenotaph database which indicates he also served in WW2.   Link below:

I found an amusing article about a report from London where Robert Tilsley was filmed along with Cyril Bassett VC for an NZ film.  I wonder if this film still exists in some archive today? e=-------10--31----2tilsley--

Two brothers from one family, one killed in action the other a war hero who survived WW1.  I am sure the war hero would had given up all his accolades to have had his brother survive the war.