Saturday, January 24, 2015

Lance Corporal Charles Basil Beeson - Remuera Memorial

Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 31-B1912.

Lance Corporal Charles Beeson was the son of George and Joanna Beeson, he was born and educated at Waiorongomai in the Bay of Plenty on completion of his schooling he became a teacher and prior to enlisting in May 1916 he was teaching in Matamata where by all accounts he was well respected.    His father passed away in 1909 and his mother lived at 81 Clonbern Road, Remuera at the time of Charles's enlistment.  He was one of four of nine sons who served in World War One.

Charles embarked with the 8th reinforcements as part of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade on 23 September 1916 aboard the Pakeha.  Charles came close to surviving the war but was sadly killed in action on 8 September 1918 at Havrincourt, France most likely from machine gun fire or a sniper.  He was buried at Gouzeaucourt New British Cemetery, France.

The photo of Charles above depicts a confident and happy man and this is surely how his family would have remembered him.  A photo taken of him in September 1918 would most likely have told a very different story one of a battle weary, aged man waiting for the war to end.
Charles's three brothers who served survived the war, Alfred Victor Beeson was invalided home to New Zealand before the end of the war.  Gordon Ivan Beeson who was signed up in 1918 never left New Zealand and Ernest Stanley Beeson who was in the USA enlisted with the Aviation Corp of the USA. He returned to New Zealand after the war.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Costar Brothers - Papakura Memorial

Far away from those who loved them
Comrades gently laid them to rest
In far away graves they are sleeping
Two of God's bravest and best

In the pride of early manhood
Like the dawn of a beautiful day
They fought with the bravest of the brave
In the thickest of the fray

Every night when the sun goes west
And the toil of the day is done
How I long for the boys who we all loved well
And the smile of the lads that have gone 

The poem above was inserted in the New Zealand Herald on 9 December 1918 in memory of the Costar brothers by their family on the one year anniversary of the death of Walter Costar.

Reginald (known as Reg) and Walter (known as Wally or Walt) Costar were the sons of Matoaka and Sarah Costar farmers in Karaka.  Their father arrived in New Zealand in 1865, he was born on the journey from London aboard the Matoaka somewhere in the Atlantic hence his parents named him Matoaka Atlantic Costar.

Walter embarked with the 9th Reinforcements on 8 January 1916 before enlisting he had been employed as an electrician with A & T Burt of Auckland. He was first wounded on 19 June 1917 but soon recovered and was back in the field before the end of June 1917.  He was awarded the Military Medal for 'Bravery in the field'.  I found an account in the New Zealand Herald dated 12 February 1918 which stated that:

'Fitter Costar was awarded the Military Medal for repairing a gun under heavy shell fire and for rescuing a comrade whose gun have been blown to pieces'

On 5 December 1918 Walter was wounded a second time with fatal consequences.  He died of his wounds on 9 December 1917 aged 24 years and was buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium.

His brother Reginald embarked with the 26th Reinforcements on 12 June 1917 when he disembarked at Devonport, England on 16 August 1917 he was immediately hospitalised with Measles.  Once recovered he was sent to Codford camp and then to Sling Camp where he would have received the news of his brothers death.  He finally embarked for France in December 1917 attached to the Auckland Infantry Battalion, however by February he was back in hospital with Influenza. Once recovered he rejoined the Auckland Regiment in March 1918. 

On 13 September 1918 Reginald was wounded in the thigh and admitted to the advanced dressing station of the 3rd New Zealand field ambulance.  He died of his wounds the same day aged 22 and is buried at Serre Road Cemetery No 2, Somme, France.

The family continued to remember the boys in the New Zealand Herald on the anniversary of their deaths for many years to come including through the second world war.