Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Thames (NZ): Thames Events 6 June 1944

At Thames, 75 years ago, the town was celebrating a Vice-Regal Visit. While it may not sound exciting to some today, it was always a highlight for the town to have a special visitor.

Prior to this 1944 visit, the last Governor-General to visit the town was Lord Galway in 1939.

The visitors on 6 June 1944 were Governor-General Sir Cyril Newall and Lady Newall.  (photo right)
His Excellency, "was a senior officer of the British Army and Royal Air Force. He commanded units of the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force in the First World War, and served as Chief of the Air Staff during the first years of the Second World War. From 1941 to 1946 he was the Governor-General of New Zealand."

Part of Mayor Ensor;s Address.
The Vice-Regal Party stayed at the Hotel Imperial, and were driven the length of town to the Kings Theatre for a civic reception. Thamesites lined the street to catch a glimpse of the couple.

Part of Mayor Sid Ensor's address to Governor-General Newall stressed the historical value of the town. Ensor stressed that the county produced a large amount of food that was exported back to the homeland.

Mayor Ensor went on to assure Newall that the Thames District was well represented amongst those serving overseas, including Maoris from the area.

As part of Governor- General Newall's address to the large crowd gathered, he stated:
"As His Majesty's representative, I deeply appreciate your expression of loyalty to the King, which is indeed exemplified by the number of men from you town and district, both Pakeha and Maori, who are serving with the Forces. I thanks you for your assurance that the people of this district will do all they can in furtherance of New Zealand's war effort." Thames Star 6 June 1944.

The civic address ended on a high, when the Governor-General declared to the children present that they deserved a holiday, and he therefore granted the children of Thames an extra days holiday!

While the Governor-General was in town, he performed a private investiture for a Distinguished Conduct Medal that was awarded to Private G H Coad of Irishtown, Thames. The award was presented to Private Goad's parents. Their son Graham Henry Coad had been a signaller with the Auckland Battalion, had been Killed in Action July 10 1942. Thames Star 8 June 1944.


D Day 6 June 1944.
Little did the town of Thames know, that on the other side of the world on 6 June 1944 a massive battle would take place to change the course of World War Two.

ROH World war Two: While Mayor Ensor praised the number who served in the war no specific mention was made of those who had lost their lives. A list of the names is available. 

If you know of any further Thames men or women who lost their lives during the war 1939-1945, please let me know,