Friday, October 5, 2018

Thames (NZ): Thames WWI ROH - October 1918 Remembered

October 1918. With the war coming to a close after four long years, there was sadly no let up in the number of war related deaths. A further ten Thames men were Killed in Action during the month.

The details are: Date of Death/Place of Death/ Name/ Regimental No and details

1/10/1918 In the Field, France; GRUBB Otto Undrill31631; Private 1st Batt AIR
1/10/1918 In the Field, France; HANCOCK Archless Robert29397; Private 1st Batt AIR
1/10/1918 In the Field, France; TREMBATH George Henry31748; Private 1st Batt AIR
1/10/1918 In the Field, France; RICE William John52467; Private 1st Batt AIR
2/10/1918 In the Field, France; LOWSON Albert Leslie64084; Private 1st Batt WIR
5/10/1918 In the Field, France; ELVIN John Victor73330; Rifleman 1st Batt 3rd NZRB
5/10/1918 In the Field, France; TAYLOR Victor John Huia23/931; Corporal 1st Batt 3rd NZRB
6/10/1918 In the Field, France; NICHOLLS Fredrick19371; Private NZ Maori (Pioneer) Batt
8/10/1918 In the Field, France; CLINKER George Francis68239; Rifleman 2nd Batt 3rd NZRB
23/10/1918 In the Field, France; BARRETT Fredrick62236; Private NZ Machine Gun Batt A Coy

OTTO GRUBB: Otto was born at Thames, the son of Henry Thomas and Esther Grubb. He went to school at the Waiokaraka and Kauaeranga Girls’ School. On enlistment he was working as a pipe layer for the Auckland City Council. He had served in France from June 1917, and was Killed in Action on 1 October 1918, in the field, France. 

ARCHLESS HANCOCK: Archie was the son of Rosina and William Hancock, and he was born in Thames and was schooled in Thames. Hancock was only in the field for two weeks, when he was Killed in Action 1 October 1918.

GEORGE TREMBATH: George was born at Thames, the son of Francis and Emma Couch Trembath, the family lived in Pollen Street, Thames. Trembath's father was Mayor in the 1900s. George attended the Waiokaraka School at Thames until March 1907, when the family moved to Epsom in Auckland.  He was first reported missing on the 1st October 1918, but a fellow Private reported that “On 1-10-18 I saw 31748 Pte Trembath get killed by a shell near 1st Bn Ak Regt HQ.”  Trembath was then named as Killed in Action on 1 October 1918, in the field France.  

WILLIAM RICE: William went to school in Thames. He was the son of Mrs S Rice of Waihi, and was a labourer at Mangaiti on enlistment. Rice was Killed in Action 1 October 1918.

ALBERT LOWSON: Albert was born in America, the family then came to live in Thames (Beach Road). Albert attended the Catholic School, then Thames High School, he then went to work in the Post Office. Lowson was barely in the field for one week, when he was Killed in Action 2 October 1918.

JOHN ELVIN: John was born at Thames, his parents were William Robert and Charlotte Elvin. The family lived at Turua, where John was educated and later at Paeroa; before the war, and worked as a labourer for Bagnall Bros of Turua.  Elvin arrived in France in September and, within a few weeks, he was Killed in Action on 5 October 1918, in the field, France. 

VICTOR TAYLOR: Victor was born at Te Awamutu, the son of William Huia and Elizabeth Taylor. Victor was educated in Paeroa, then came to Thames High School. Apart from this time at Thames he had been in Paeroa nearly all his life.   He was Killed in Action on 5 October 1918, in the field, France. 

FREDRICK NICHOLLS: A member of the NZ Maori Pioneer Battalion. Nicholls was born in Thames, the son of Humphrey and Ngahura Tamihana Nicholls, later of Te Puke. 

GEORGE CLINKER: George's parents were Henry and Johannah Clinker, the family lived in Mackay Street, Thames. He was schooled at the Waiotahi School. When he enlisted he was working at Whakatane. Clinker had only been overseas since 23 April 1918, when he was wounded in the field and died the same day (8 October 1918).

FREDRICK BARRETT: Fred was born and schooled in Coromandel. He enlisted in 1917, and underwent training overseas at Sling Camp in England. Barrett went to France in March and was Killed in Action 23 October 1918. His name appears on the Thames WWI ROH Memorial.

Full list of Thames WWI ROH Deaths available HERE

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Thames (NZ): Thames Hospital unveils carving - 'Te tirohanga'

The carving ready to be unveiled,
foyer Thames Hospital
Thames Hospital was established 150 years ago, today at the hospital, the unveiling of a carving recognised the relationship between local iwi and the hospital.

The carving was blessed and unveiled at 9am, 2 October 2018. Present were local iwi led by Kaumatua Wati Ngamane.

The carving is named 'Te Tirohanga' and is the work of local carvers.
Top left: The blessing begins. Top right: The carving is unveiled.
Above: There ceremony continues in the foyer of Thames Hospital.

Head carver Darin Jenkins, gave a full description of the carving, which has been done using locally sourced kauri.

In the centre are photographs of the Thames Hospital c1900, that give the impression of having been etched into the wood.


ABOVE: Full view of the carving  'Te Tirohanga'.
BELOW: Closer look at the central carving of the Maori Chief and the Nurse,

ABOVE: Closer look left at the central photos of the hospital that have been incorporated into the carving, And right the kiwi and query huia combined to represent the native birds of Aortearoa.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Thames (NZ): Thames Hospital 150 News

Just seven weeks to go until the 150th Commemorations of Thames Hospital - 2 to 4 November 2018.

The Thames Hospital Facebook site will be sharing short history clips, along with commemoration weekend news. The first video is narrated by retired surgeon Mr Paul Silvester and can be viewed on the Facebook page and on Youtube.

Registrations are continuing for the weekend, but will close next month. Check the details now!

The True Tales of Thames Hospital 150 years 1868-2018 will be launched on Friday 4 November 2018 at 7pm. Details on the event are in the poster below.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Thames (NZ): Women's Suffrage 125th Commemorations

While my time at present doesn't allow for an in depth look at the Suffrage Movement in Thames, a few old articles will refresh the reader's memories of items previously covered.

First, a reminder that the women on the Thames Goldfield were I believe were real pioneers, and leaders in many social changes and advances. Our female teachers for instance held important appointments, alongside their male counterparts. Our Nurses and Matrons in particular equal to anywhere in New Zealand, in terms of leadership and innovation. We had women undertaking any occupation they chose, with leading stockbrokers being just one of them. And who can forget the powerful women who managed and ran many of the hotels around the town.

Let us not forget the claim that Thames, yes Thames gave women the first vote in New Zealand!

Soon after the goldfield opened, a Thames woman was allowed to vote, because she held a miner's right. Then in 1875: At the Annual Elections for the Thames Borough Council women were able to vote. The names included: Mesdames DAVY, BULL, SAWYER, FERGUSON, ZEIGLER and COOLAHAN. The paper noting that no one objected and that, "in so far as the Thames is concerned, female suffrage may be introduced successfully, not only in municipal elections, but in every other election where property gives the title to vote." THAMES ADVERTISER dated 10 Sept 1875.

Then in 1892 and 1893, our Thamesite women, rallied, attended meetings and most importantly signed the petitions that were circulating supporting the case for Female Franchise.

In 1892 at least 61 women signed the petition - you can search the names at NZ History online.

Then in 1893, the women again stepped up to sign one of the thirteen petitions known to have been distributed around the country. Rosemary Killip's book "To Find A Fortune" has at least 114 names of those who signed for change!


Note there are other Thames women who signed in other districts.
Search for names HERE

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Thames (NZ): New Display at the Thames Museum

A new display has been launched today (Saturday 8 September 2018) honouring the Garry Family of Thames, while paying special tribute to the Garry twins who were Killed in Action one hundred years ago.
Margaret Williamson, a descendant of the Garry Family, cuts the ribbon, watched on by Museum President Fritz McKenzie (who also prepared the display).
Lewis and Sidney Garry were twins, and were killed within three days of each other:
9/09/1918 In the Field, France; GARRY Lewis; 34358; Corporal 2nd Batt 3rd NZRB
12/09/1918 In the Field, France; GARRY Sidney; 34468; Corporal 2nd Batt 3rd NZRB

Fritz has assembled a special cabinet with memorabilia for the Garry twins: sympathy notices, medals, Commemorative coins, and gravesite memorial photographs. (photo below)

Stop and have a look at the Thames Museum next time you are passing. Maybe you have a few hours a month to spare and could assist on the desk or with behind the scene projects? 
Ask at the front desk for further information.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Thames (NZ): WW100 ROH Commemorations for August - September 1918-2018

One hundred years ago, Thamesites were believing (or rather hoping) that the Great War was nearly over. How much longer before their men and women would be coming home? Their boys had survived this long, surely things would be okay and they would be back home again.

August and September 1918, were some of Thames' darkest 'war' days. Twenty-one servicemen were Killed in Action or Died of Wounds/Disease during these war months. Just wait till October and the gravity of these last few months (one hundred years ago -1918) will really become a reality.

16/08/1918 In the Field, France; GREENE Jack Godfrey40311; Lance Corporal  1st Batt AIR
21/08/1918 In the Field, France; TAYLOR William Henry1806A; Driver AIF
24/08/1918 In the Field, France; BRAME Albert Victor52370; Private 2nd Batt WIR
24/08/1918 In the Field, France; WILLIAMS Stanley Earl;  38471; Private 2nd Batt AIR
25/08/1918 In the Field, France; MCCORQUINDALE Stuart34480; Driver NZASC
28/08/1918 In the Field, France; JENKIN Friedrich James38399; Private 1st Batt AIR
29/08/1918  In the Field, France; HARROD Samuel17781; Rifleman NZRB
30/08/1918  In the Field, France; HAWKES Robert Edwin24/1679; Private 2nd Batt AIR
30/08/1918  In the Field, France; JOBE James65791; Rifleman 1sr Batt 3rd NZRB D Coy
30/08/1918 In the Field, France; KELLER Francis Walpole52047; Private AIR
2/09/1918 In the Field, France; CORBETT Thomas Joseph31951; Private 2nd Batt AIR
3/09/1918 In the Field, France; WENZLICK George56494; Private 1st Batt CIR
4/09/1918 At sea; STANLEY Thomas James12/4094; Private NZ Infantry 40th Refts H Coy
5/09/1918 In the Field, France; SKEEN Reginald William2/2730; Gunner 3rd NZFA 12th Battery
9/09/1918 In the Field, France; TAYLOR Archie Walter24/307; Rifleman 2nf Batt NZRB
9/09/1918 In the Field, France; GARRY Lewis34358; Corporal 2nf Batt 3rd NZRB
12/09/1918 In the Field, France; GARRY Sidney34468; Corporal 2nf Batt 3rd NZRB
13/09/1918 Codford, England; MCENTEER Claude76955; Private NZEF E Coy
28/09/1918 In the Field, France; PARSONS William Claude34425; Private 1st Batt AIR
29/09/1918 In the Field, France; SHAW Leonard James7/1323; 2nd Lieut 2nd Batt AIR 6th Coy
30/09/1918 In the Field, France; TRAINER Francis Herbert56681; Private 1st Batt AIR
(A full Roll of Honour List is available)

Who were these men?

BRAME Albert Victor: Albert was born in Thames, the son of John and Mary Brame; and was living in Waitoa when he enlisted.

CORBETT Thomas Joseph: Born at Hikutaia, the son of Thomas and Mary Corbett. Thomas went to school in Thames, and worked as a fitter at the local foundry A & G Price.

GARRY Lewis: Lewis was a twin, his parents were Alfred and Jessie Garry. The family came from Waipawa, initially living at Parawai, then in Sandes Street. The boy's mother died when they were just three years old.

GARRY Sidney: Sidney Godfrey Garry was Killed in Action just three days after his twin brother Lewis. Both killed on the same battlefield at Bapaume, both are buried in Gouzeaucourt New British Cemetery, Northern France.

GREENE Jack Godfrey: Jack was a clerk for NZ Railways at Thames, he lived at Karaka Road. His NOK Mrs S J Greene, Parnell.

HARROD Samuel: The son of Henry and Anna Harrod, the family lived up the Waiotahi Creek. Samuel was working in Auckland when he enlisted.

HAWKES Robert Edwin: The son of Richard and Mary Hawkes of Tapu. Robert went to school at Tapu and later worked on his farm at Tapu. He was 37 years of age when he went to war.

JENKIN Friedrich James: The son of James and Martha Jenkin of Augustus Street, Thames. Friedrich was schooled in Thames, then worked as a carpenter for Mr Whitehead of Parawai.

JOBE James: Born in Thames, the son of James and Mary Jobe; the family lived in Broad Street. Jobe was married and lived in Hamilton at the time of enlistment.

KELLER Francis Walpole: Francis was the son of John and Alice Keller, born at Thames in 1876.

MCCORQUINDALE Stuart: Born at Oamaru, and later lived in Karaka Road, Thames. Stuart was a mechanic in Whangarei when he enlisted in 1916.

MCENTEER Claude: Born at Thames the son of James and Elizabeth McEnteer. Claude attended the Waihi School of Mines.

PARSONS William Claude: Claude was born at Thames, the son of  John and Lucy Parsons.

SHAW Leonard: Leonard's NOK was Miss J L Shaw (Sister), Thames Hospital; he was the son of the late John and Jessie Shaw, of Glen Murray, Auckland. Shaw had served at Gallipoli. 

SKEEN Reginald William: Skeen was the son Benjamin and Margaret Skeen and was born at Thames; he attended the Kauaeranga Boys School. He worked at the BNZ at Thames.

STANLEY Thomas James: Thomas was born at Thames; he was working as a contractor on enlistment at Te Aroha. NOK was Mrs Annie Louisa Stanley (Wife), Te Aroha.

TAYLOR Archie Walter: Taylor was born at Thames. Enlistment address Waihou. His NOK was Walter A Taylor (Father), Waihou.

TAYLOR William Henry: William was born in Auckland, the son of Amelia and James Taylor. The family then resided at Irishtown and William attended the Waiokaraka School. Taylor was a miner in Australia, and subsequently served with the Australian Imperial Forces.

TRAINER Francis Herbert: The son of Edward and Emily Trainor of Tararu. At the time of enlistment, Trainer/Trainor was a self-employed fisherman of Tararu.

WENZLICK George: The son of Mrs Mary Wenzlick, of Tapu, Thames.  George's NOK was Mrs G Wenzlick (mother), Tapu, New Zealand - he working as a farmer on enlistment.

WILLIAMS Stanley Earl: Stanley was only 17 years of ages when he enlisted, he had attended Thames High School in 1915.

From Gold Mine to Firing Line, The Thames and the Great War 1914-1918, Editor M Hawkes. Available at The Treasury, Thames.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Thames (NZ): Diggers' Camp at Shortland Town

Diggers' Camp - Shortland Town
'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-856'

Thanks to fellow researcher (Dick) for his recent emails over several early Thames photographs and their location.

One such photo discussed was the 'Diggers' Camp' at Shortland Town. (photo right) A classic early view of the goldfield and the realities of life at the Thames. In early reports, the goldfield is often referred to as the Karaka Goldfield, for this is where the action was, and where many looked for gold. While quite substantial houses were built on the flat areas of the towns of Graham and Shortland, it was the area at the base of the Karaka (Una) Hill that saw many men pitch their tents or build their raupo huts.

Thames Star 16 Sept 1885
Warden James Mackay, assisted in establishing the accommodation area, known as Block 27. Principally it was from Augustus Street in the west, Karaka Road to the north and Hape Creek in the south.

Theophilus Cooper wrote 7 December 1867, that the Diggers' Camp was on a flat above the town, that the night was glorious with the l houses in Shortland Town glistening in the moonlight - while everywhere he looked around the hills little lights could be seen, indicating miner's scattered all over the hills.

By the end of 1868, this 'tent city' had been in the most part replaced by small miners' cottages, many of which would be added onto as money allowed. (photo below)

Late 1868 - View toward the Karaka (Una Hill), from the corner of Sandes and Richmond Street
Source: J Vedder-Price Collection
Thanks to 'Google Street Maps', the comparison of past and present is possible. Residential properties now fill the old Diggers' Camp, the Karaka (Una) Hill is covered in bush, the miners and their hunt for gold just a memory around the old gold town. (photo below)

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Thames (NZ): Shortland Wharf 1891 Painting

Thames River with native canoe in foreground, wooden dwelling in background.Painting by: Cheeseman, Ellen Maud 1848-1928, artist
A magnificent view of Shortland Wharf, the painting by Ellen Maud Cheeseman, signed 1891.
While the Shortland Wharf structure can be clearly seen in the distance, it also shows us how the area was more accessible than today. The landing itself being further east, and vessels such as waka could land well past the Shortland Wharf itself. There few mangroves in those days - or maybe they were cleared! The photo below by W A Price was taken a decade later, in the early 1900s.

PA-Group-00719. Price, William Archer, 1866-1948 :Collection of post card negatives. 1900 - 1930. [Collection]
Repository: Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand
Who was Ellen Maud CHEESEMAN?
"Ellen Cheeseman was the sister of Thomas Frederick Cheeseman, Curator of Auckland Institute and Museum from 1874-1923." There are several of her watercolours at the Auckland Museum.
Ellen was the daughter of Thomas Cheeseman and Eliza (Cawkwell) Cheeseman


Thursday, August 9, 2018

Thames (NZ): Mrs Milne's Postcards

Something a little different for us to consider - two glitter postcards are my latest find. I wasn't sure if they were real or not, in the sense of being a professionally produced postcard, but having received the cards they are definitely genuine (and in mint condition).


The cards have been written by 'Harriett' to her dear friend Ruby Milne of the Waiotahi.

"Dear Ruby, I received your kind ? welcome PC & was very pleased to get it.  The reason I was so long in answering it is because my father is not at all well again. Well I tried to get that PC that you ask me but I could not so I thought you would be just as pleased to get one of these sort.
I hope to get one from you by Monday you don't know how I look for the postman on a Monday.  So don't forget Remember me to all at home,  Hoping to see you down our way again soon, 
from Harriett." (Top left card reverse.)

On the second card (top right), are the clues that give Ruby's address - Mrs J Milne, Waiotahi, Thames. It also provides us with the approximate date of after 1907, as the one penny red universal stamp was used. Part of the date stamp is visible, and the card to Ruby was posted in Thames. While this may appear strange, it certainly isn't uncommon and I have struck before the instance of people in Thames writing to one another.

Harriet wrote on the second card:
Dear Ruby, You will think it a  longtime since I sent you a post card.  I was going to send in before this but its better late than never,  I hope you will all get this one allright.  
Hoping you will send me one soon."

What can the cards tell us in terms of genealogy research? Who was Ruby Milne?

Mrs Ruby Milne nee Given was married to William Henry John Milne in 1906, they went on to live up the Waiotahi for many years. Mr Milne was a soldier during World War One.
Contact details on Ruby's husbands war file.
Archives New Zealand

ABOVE Left: William Henry John Milne.  Right: Ruby Milne, in her Salvation Army uniform.
Source: G Milne Family Collection.

Mr Milne passed away in 1937, while Ruby died in 1979 - both are interred at Shortland Cemetery

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Thames (NZ): WWI Pilots with a Thames Connection

When you think of WWI, the first thought are the troops on the ground, and our miners aka tunnellers - but we often forget those brave men who first fought in the sky.

Thames has the honour of having had four men who were pilots in World War One. A new book from Massey University Press called Fearless by Adam Claasen has information on our men.

1.  While remembered by many for his efforts in World War Two, Sir Keith Park, then just Pilot Keith Park went on to be highly distinguished and received several awards. 

Park was born and initially schooled in Thames. Initially during WWI, Park was an instructor, which led him to having had many more flying hours than most pilots flying in 1917.

The book Fearless covers Park's experiences in the war and how he rose from pilot to commander. "Keith Park's sterling work in 1917, when he and observers between them accumulated 16 victories in the Bristol fighter, saw him promoted to Major Park, commanding 48 Squadron in 1948." Claasen page 296.
Major K.R. Park, O.C. 48th Sqdn. R.A.F. -/6/1918 with his 275 Rolls Engine in Bristol Scout (120mph).  Source: AWM Cenotaph contributor.
Flight Sub-Lieutenant Euan Dickson RN
2. Euan Dickson was from England and recruited by A & G Price, to work in the local foundry in 1913. Dickson called Thames home for three years before signing up for WWI. During his time in World War One, the Thames Star newspaper kept readers up-to-date with his service - a tribute to his community involvement during his brief stay in the town.

"Sub-lieutenant E. Dickson, who made many friends while he was at Thames a few years ago, is now doing good work in the Royal Flying Corps in France. Lieut. Dickson participate in a recent air raid when 15 German machines were destroyed." Thames Star, 12 December 1917. Dickson went on to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

"Dickson undertook more bombing sorties than any other airman in the Great War, and went on to become one of the two most successful bomber pilots in aerial combat." Claasen page 331.

Albert Gordon.
3. Albert Gordon was another flier from Thames.  After leaving school Albert worked for a local builder and then in Auckland was recorded as a Master Builder on his enlistment.

His love of flying led him to train at Kohimarama and he became a member of the Royal Flying Corps. The rest is sadly history, and Thamesite Albert Gordon became the "first New Zealand trained pilot to be killed in action in World War I." (Roger Strong, NZ Memories Issue 130)

Gordon was wounded while flying in a battle that took him completely by surprise during what should have been a routine flight. "Within hours the newcomer would be in hospital with two broken legs, thanks to a nasty crash landing." Claasen page 281. He was transferred to England but died of wounds received in action.

Thames Star 12 August 1918.
4. Another Thamesite who flew in the Great War was Carrick Stewart Paul. He was also a recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross. 

"Paul and his observer William Weir were jointly awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on 8 February 1919. Paul never knew of the honor; while on the voyage home to New Zealand, he drowned on 22 January 1919." Wikipedia.

Further Reading: 
Air Vice Marshall Sir Keith Park, by Kae Lewis, The Treasury Journal - Our People.
Carrick Stewart Paul at AWM cenotaph entry.
Euan Dickson, D.F.C. by Roger Strong in Treasury Journal Volume 9 2016.
Fearless by Adam Claasen, Massey University Press.
Thamesite Albert Gordon, by Althea Barker - blog entry.