Saturday, December 28, 2013

Thames (NZ): Thames Scottish Battalion

A badge reportedly belonging to the Thames Scottish Battalion is available for sale at an online auction site. Thamesites loved the volunteers groups and there were many throughout the early years of the goldfields. Remembering many of these men were old soldiers, men who had fought around the world throughout Europe before heading to New Zealand. Some came to join the armies engaged in the Maori land wars, others just to search for a better life. Anyway, the chance to belong to an army group still appealed to many.
A description of the Battalion is included with the badge, quoted as being from a book by D Corbett:

When formed the Battalion proved popular in the town. In October 1878 the first parade inspection of the combined Scottish companies was held in the Academy of Music, the number of women spectators in attendance was also noted.
"In the Government Gazette of October 31st, just to hand, the following officers are gazetted to the Thames Scottish Battalion Captain William Fraser (New Zealand Militia) to be honorary Colonel; Major Thomas Leitch Murray (New Zealand Volunteers) to be Major; Edward Benjamin Cameron, to be sub lieutenant; Captain Samuel Charles Schofield (New Zealand Militia) to be Adjutant; William Carpenter to be Quartermaster; honorary Assistant Surgeon, James Kilgour, M.D., to be Surgeon; Francis O'Flaherty, M.D., to be honorary Assistant Surgeon; Reverend Samuel James Neill to be Chaplain. Date of commission in each case, the first of October, 1878." From: Thames Star, Volume IX, Issue 3040, 12 November 1878, Page 2
 Gazette notices appeared in the papers regarding the disbandment of the Battalion in June 1882.
The Cyclopedia of New Zealand Auckland Volume 2 has a section on the New Zealand Militia for further information and features a section on Captain Schofield, a former member of the Thames Scottish Battalion.