Friday, April 24, 2020

Thames (NZ): WWI ROH Board at the St James Church, Thames

St James' Church ROLL OF HONOUR Board
When the book From Gold Mine to Firing Line was published in 2014, to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the start of The Great War, we sadly missed including the St James' Roll of Honour board.

The large framed 'ROH', has been beautifully hand crafted, the text immaculately formed. It hangs at the northern entrance as you enter the church on the western wall. While we usually interpret 'Roll of Honour' as meaning those who lost their lives in the war, this one records all the names of servicemen who went to the Great War 1914-1918.

Photo Courtesy of David Wilton, Thames.

Background Thames WWI:
In 2014, 2300 names were identified for men and women who served in World War One from the greater Thames-Hauraki-Coromandel region. The 'war death' rate was 26% for the Hauraki region. 

How many men from Thames township died in the war? Initially research found that over 200 soldiers died in the war (up to 1923 which qualifies for a war related death). When considering the Thames ward (from Kereta to Hikutaia, and Kopu Bridge to Hikuai hill) - this number increased to at least 247 men. This is the number of memorial trees that are planted at the WW100 Forest at Rhodes Park, Thames. 

Please note that memorials such as the Thames Peace Memorial do not record all the ROH (or returned soldiers), and is in fact missing at least 50% of the names. There is a remembrance board outside the Thames War Memorial Hall that has a more up-to-date Roll of Honour list.

The names on the St JAMES ROH Board:
* Indicates a war death eg. KIA (Killed in Action) or DOD (Died of Disease). NOK stands for next-of-kin. Place of death is stated as France for the war deaths, and is usually recorded in the war file as on the fields of France or Belgium - based on troop movements and battle dates, it is usually possible to research and get a more accurate location.

Interesting to note that no WWI Nurses are recorded on this board, this is possibly an error and / or only servicemen were deemed eligible to go on the list.

*AGNEW, Sydney Samuel: WWI 70149 - Died at Thames 3 May 1921. Sydney was schooled at Thames and worked at A & G Price.

*AUTRIDGE, Charles H: WWI 40271 - KIA 12 October 1917 France. A carpenter at Thames, son of Mrs M Autridge of Richmond Street.

*CAMPBELL, William John: WWI 13/2308 - KIA 8 April 1918 France. Husband of Florence Campbell of Beach Road, Thames.


CLARK, George Smeaton: WWI 45823 - NOK Miss Mira Clark of Thames. Working as a deputy-registrar at Supreme Court in Wellington on enlistment.

CLARK, James Patterson: WWI 25059 - Brother of George Smeaton Clark, born at Thames and attended Thames High School.

COUTTS, John Elrick: WWI 2/2801 - Born at Thames, father John lived in Beach Road.

COXHEAD, Robert Alexander: WWI 8/3223 - Working as a farmer at Miranda on enlistment, his mother Mrs R Coxhead lived up the Hape Creek.

CRAWFORD, George James: WWI 44828 - Born at Thames, a farmer at Totara on enlistment. NOK Mrs A M Crawford of Totara Point.

CRAWFORD, Thomas Henry: WWI 31957 -  Born at Thames, a farmer at Totara on enlistment. NOK Mrs A M Crawford of Totara Point. Awarded the Military Medal.

CROKER, Basil Warner: WWI 8/3228 - NOK Mr P W Croker (father), an architect from Thames. Basil received the Military Medal.

DUNLOP, Gordon Aitken: WWI 11/1540 - Working as a drover on enlistment, NOK Mrs T A Dunlop of Parawai.

FISHER, Walter Donald: WWI 39657 - NOK Mrs A Fisher of Karaka Road, a labourer at Thames on enlistment.

GILLAN, Alexander: WWI 37582 - NOK Mrs Mary Ann Gillan (mother) of Puriri.

*GLESSING, John Polton Hicks: WWI 31990 KIA 4 June 1917 France - Son of John and Margaret Glessing of Thames.

*GRAHAM, Albert Edward: WWI 24/769 KIA 12 October 1917 - Son of Mr & Mrs William Graham of Terrace Street. Albert was a miner at Thames on enlistment.


GRAHAM, James: WWI 12/3654 - working as a labourer on enlistment, son of  Mr & Mrs William Graham of Terrace Street, Thames. 

GRAHAM, Thomas Harold: WWI 24/770 - A grocer at Galloway's in Thames, the son of Thomas Graham of Mackay Street.

GRAHAM, William James: WWI 29392 - Worked as a letter carrier in Thames before the war, son of Mr & Mrs Thomas Graham of Mackay Street.

GUY, William Duncan: WWI 47591 - Born and lived in Thames, NOK was Leslie Jackson of Baillie Street (brother-in-law).

HINDMAN, E(a)rnest George: WWI 34472 - A baker in Thames, Mother Mrs E Hindman of Karaka Creek.

HINDMAN, Fredrick William: WWI 13/2334 - A baker in Thames, Mother Mrs E Hindman of Karaka Creek.

*ISAACS, Thomas: WWI 12/398 DOD 18 March 1916 Egypt. NOK MR S Isaacs (father) of Parawai.

JAMIESON, Herbert: WWI 25/886 - A bricklayer in Thames on enlistment, mother Mrs R Jamieson lived in Augustus Street.

LAPRAIK, George: WWI 3/144 - A GP in Thames, married to Marion Eliza Lapraik nee Bush.

LAW, John Leslie: WWI 49719 - attended Kauaeranga Valley School, E Law of Claudelands.

LAW, Robert Ruther-Glen: WWI 62341 - A labourer in Thames, son of Robert and Elizabeth Law, Mackay Street.

MACKAY, Donald Meredith Gordon: WWI 24381 - Born in Scotland, worked for the Lands & Survey Department, a member of the 6th Hauraki Regiment (Thames Territorials).

McCORMICK, Allan Loughlin: WWI 16109 -  NOK Mr F McCormick (father) of Tararu, occupation farmer and blacksmith at Turua on enlistment.

McCORMICK, William Sharpe: WWI 4/1627 - Born in Thames, a miner at Waihi.

McDONALD, Ernest Bert: WWI 65773 - A baker in Thames, mother Mrs Sarah McDonald of Edward Street.

McDONALD, John William: WWI 41370 - A miner at Tararu on enlistment, NOK Mrs S McDonald (mother), Block 27, Thames.

McDONALD, Robert Henry: WWI 2/143 - A baker in Wellington, mother Mrs Sarah McDonald of Edward Street. Awarded Military Medal.

McKENZIE, Allan Leslie: WWI 30827 - A farmer on the Thames Coast, NOK Mrs M McKenzie (mother) at Tapu.

MacMORRAN, Robert Glen: WWI 32529 - A surveyor at Thames on enlistment.

*McONIE, Colin: WWI 26661 - KIA 7 June 1917 France. Father P McOnie of Mackay Street

McONIE, George: WWI 10/3022 - Father P McOnie of Mackay Street.

MENZIES, Allen Gillies: WWI 46238 - Worked as a cordial maker, the family was part of Grey & Menzies, iconic Aerated bottlers of Thames.

MITCHELL, Samuel George: WWI 47598 - NOK Mrs R Wallace, Pollen Street, Thames. An orchardist at Te Puru on enlistment.

*POTTS, John Kirker: WWI 10/1142 - KIA 8 August 1915 at Gallipoli. Son of William and Jane Potts of Thames.


PRICE, Arthur Gorton: WWI 36791 -  Son of George Price of Queen Street, occupation on enlistment was traveller.  (Brother of Henry & John)

PRICE, Henry (Harry) Wooles: WWI 24/888 - Son of George Price of Thames, occupation on enlistment an engineer at A & G Price. (Brother of John & Arthur)

PRICE, John Lawrence: WWI 25/805 - Son of George Price of Thames, occupation on enlistment a farmer at Matatoke. (Brother of Henry & Arthur)

*RAMSAY, Harold T: Harold Vivian Ramsay,  WWI 18080 - KIA 2 April 1918 France. Harold was a Schoolmaster at Thames High School.

SMITH, Leslie John: WWI 12/868 - son of John Smith of Rolleston Street

SMITH, Reginald Trevor: WWI 26468 - Son of Mr W T Smith of Rolleston Street, later served in WWII and was also awarded an OBE in 1942.

TAIT, Alexander R: WWI -Not yet identified.

TROTTER, William John Russell: WWI 12/912 - NOK Mrs R R Trotter of Waiomio, William was a labourer at Tapu. Awarded Military Medal.

*WALLACE, William: WWI 12/3856 - KIA 30 May 1916 France. NOK Mrs R Wallace (mother) of Pollen Street.

WATSON, Donald Dr: WWI - Son of John Watson, attended Thames High, further details not known.

WATSON, William: WWI 13/2384 - A farmer on enlistment, NOK Mrs J Watson (mother) C/- A & G Price, Thames.

WYND (WIND), Sydney H: WWI 72923 - A battery-hand on enlistment. NOK Mrs Rose Wind (mother) of Franklyn Street.


Major George Lapraik
WWI Medical Corps
  • Of the 51 names listed above on the ROH board, 10 men lost their lives as a result of the war. Sydney AGNEW, Charles AUTRIDGE, William CAMPBELL, John GLESSING, Albert GRAHAM, Thomas ISAACS, Colin McONIE, John POTTS, Harold RAMSAY and William WALLACE.
  • There were nine sets of brothers: George & James CLARK; George & Thomas CRAWFORD; Albert & James GRAHAM; Thomas & William GRAHAM; Ernest & Fredrick HINDMAN; John & Robert LAW; Ernest, John & Robert MCDONALD; Colin & George McONIE; and Arthur, Henry & John PRICE.
  • Dr George Lapraik served as a General Practitioner in the town from 1899 to 1919, which included an incredible stint during the November 1918 Influenza Epidemic. Dr Lapraik was over 50 years of age when he served on the front line during WWI. George died in 1933, and  his friends at the Thames placed a headstone on his plot at Hamilton East Cemetery. The monumental inscription reads:In loving Memory. Geo. Lapraik M.B. Mast. Surg. Univ. of Glasgow 1887. Died 7th May 1933 Aged 69 Years. He gave of his best for humanity. Erected by Thames friends.
  • Another man on the list, is an example of the amazing folk that came from Thames. Reginald Trevor Smith was awarded an OBE in 1942. A boy from Thames who went onto oversee major civil engineering projects with the public works for decades. Including rebuilding after the 1931 Napier Earthquake, recovery operation at Tangiwai train disaster in 1953, conversion of trams to trolley buses in Wellington, and much more! Smith served in WWI (wounded twice), WWII with the 13th Railway Construction Company and later with the Indian Army. 

Background Reading: