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