Friday, November 28, 2014

Thames (NZ): School Cadets

The School Cadet scheme in Thames was a popular group that lasted for decades. Oral histories give details of the cadet scheme at Thames High School and the drills that were undertaken into the 1950s.
The photograph below is from the Sir George Grey Collection, it shows the cadets from the Kauaeranga Baillie Street School. In 1901 the town held a school cadets' picnic and demonstration on Monday 11 November at Parawai. Perhaps the photograph was taken for that event?
Photographer by Chester Photographers of Thames.
Source: 'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, NZG-19011221-1186-1
It must have been a grand day for the town. The naval cutter took people back and forth along the Kauaeranga River to the event. There were running and tug of war events. The military part of the day, saw Tararu B and A cadets win the physical drill competition. The day ended with a dance at the Miners' Union Hall.
Background on School Cadet Scheme appeared in the Thames Star 22 July 1901. 
"School cadet corps are now recognised by the Government', and some consideration and attention is bestowed on -the movement. The Government has ordered light rifles for the boys of the Sixth and Seventh Standards in their public schools. Probably about 20 of these rifles will be allotted to each school as prizes for drill, and will be used in shooting by different boys in their turn. The Government were met with a difficulty as to the control of the cadet corps, since it was felt, the Premier explained, that the Education Boards might take exception if the control were taken out of their hands. The military training of the youths of the colony, he said, ought to belong to the Defence Department, especially as the Instructors are under the Defence Department; but the question is referred to the Boards of Educations for their opinion."

Primary Schools were involved with cadet schemes, as well as Thames High School pupils.

On 6 November 1945 The Thames Star ran a story looking for past winners of the CITIZEN BELT, which primary school pupils had competed for before World War One. Known winners included:
1907: Bugler Sydney SPARKE (Tararu), Sergeant B CHALLIS (Tararu), Colour-Sergeant J HARDMAN (Waiokaraka)
1908: Bugler P O DOWNES (Waiokaraka), Colour-Sergeant C CASEY (Waiokaraka)
1909: T MORRISON (Waiokaraka), Bugler-Sergeant P JENNINGS (Kauaeranga)
1910: Corporal T MORRISON (Waiokaraka), Corpotal C SCHOLFIELD (Waiokaraka), Colour-Sergeant Len RYAN (Kauaeranga)
1911: Private A MCCOLLUM (Parawai)
Full details for some of the Citizen's Belt competitions are in the Thames Star.

1928 Thames High School Cadets:
On Parade
Source Thames High School Haurakian 1928
Background Reading:
Full history of the New Zealand Cadet Force (NZCF)
The Treasury Index - enter CADET in Surname field

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