Thursday, October 12, 2017

Thames (NZ): 12 October 1917 - Eight Thamesites amongst the ROH

An earlier post on Thames' darkest month in WWI, gave the names of twenty-two men known to have been Killed in Action or classified as a war death in October 1917.

New Zealand today commemorates the Battle of Passchendaele On the 12th October 1917, 843 New Zealand soldiers were Killed In Action or mortally wounded at Passchendaele in Flanders, Belgium.

Today, 12 October 2017, a cross stands outside the Thames War Memorial Civic Centre in honour of those men who never made it back home. (photo above)
Names of those men who died on this day 100 years ago are: (date of death, place, name, link to Cenotaph, service summary)

12/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; AUTRIDGE Charles40271; Rifleman 2nd Batt 3rd NZRB
 
12/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; GRAHAM Albert Edward24/769; L/Corporal  2nd Batt 3rd NZRB
12/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; GURNETT  Thomas15364; Rifleman 2nd Batt 3rd NZRB 
12/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; HANNA William Henry26611; Rifleman 2nd Batt 3rd NZRB 
12/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; JORDAN Sydney Carl24/482; Corporal 2nd Batt 3rd NZRB 
12/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; PATTON William Charles25/1198; Rifleman 3rd Batt 3rd NZRB 
12/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; PEARCE William5/894; Private NZMG 3rd Coy
12/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; WHITE William Campbell26726; Rifleman 4th Batt 3rd NZRB 

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Monday, October 9, 2017

Thames (NZ): The good old Parade

The goldfield town of Thames is currently celebrating 150 years since the field was first opened. Many of us waited expectantly for one of the grand parades of old, we were disappointed as this time things had been done in a more low key format. The Thames Xmas Parade 23rd December is to have a gold or 150 theme, so this may rival the 1967 or 1973 parades we remember.

As previously mentioned our old Thamesite ancestors had a parade at any excuse...the Coronation, Labour Days, Queen Carnivals, along with the jubilee are but a few of those that have been held in the town.

Below is a photo just obtained from the Campbell Collection that shows Verran's display for the 1927 Diamond Jubilee. Interestingly this particular float was resurrected and used on several other occasions well into the 1930s.
The 'Miners Dream', never had truer words been spoken - as the miners of Thames forever believed that the next great gold find was just around the corner!

Photographs of more recent parades can be found at Kete Hauraki Coromandel.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Thames (NZ): WWI 4 October 1917 100 Year Commemorations

A previous post highlighted the month of October 1917, that changed the lives of so many Thamesites. The month when at least twenty-two men lost their lives in the 'Great War.'
On this day (4 October 1917), one hundred years ago, nine young men lost their lives.

Today those men are remembered outside the Thames War Memorial Civic Centre, Mary Street, Thames. There are nine crosses laid out to remember the following men:

4/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; BRENAN Errol Lyndon12/2920; Corporal 1st Batt AIR 
4/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; ELLIS Edwin George25992; 2nd Lieutenant 2nd Batt AIR 
4/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; GOODWIN Ernest Henry30785; Private 1st Batt AIR 
4/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; JAMIESON Ernest Harold Albert42112; Private 1st Batt AIR 
4/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; OWENS Samuel James21318; Private 2nd Batt AIR 
4/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; POLAND Hugh Francis10659; Gunner 15th Batt NZEF 1st Bde
4/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; SCOTT Victor Richard Stanley10275; Lieutenant 2nd Batt AIR 
4/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; SHERLOCK Alfred Charles34447; Private 1st Batt AIR 
4/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; THAYER Henry Robert42425; Lance Corporal  1st Batt AIR 



We are often overwhelmed by the numbers of men who fought, were injured and those that died during World War One. Mark has compiled a very special video about his Great Uncle Alf Sherlock who died this day in 1917. (Click link below to view)
Source: Thames Museum

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Thames (NZ): Thames' darkest month during WWI

During World War One (1914-1918), there was one month that stood out as having the darkest record for Thames, in terms of the number of Thamesites who lost their lives while fighting in the war. Twenty-two Thamesites died during October 1917. While acknowledging that there will be more names that we have not yet discovered as having a Thames connection.

This was not just Thames' darkest month, but one day in that month was said to be New Zealand's darkest day. While earlier in the month 320 New Zealanders had lost their lives at Gravenstafel Spur, nothing prepared the men for what was to follow.  On the 12th October 1917, 843 New Zealand soldiers were Killed In Action or mortally wounded at Passchendaele in Flanders, Belgium.

"Ever since 1917, Passchendaele has been a byword for the horror of the Great War. In terms of lives lost in a single day, the failed attack on Bellevue Spur on 12 October was probably the greatest disaster in New Zealand’s history." (New Zealand History)

The twenty-two Thames men who were killed or died of wounds during October 1917, they were:
1/10/1917 In the Field, France; PETERS William26672; Rifleman 1st Batt 3rd NZRB 
4/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; BRENAN Errol Lyndon12/2920; Corporal 1st Batt AIR 
4/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; ELLIS Edwin George25992; 2nd Lieutenant 2nd Batt AIR 
4/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; GOODWIN Ernest Henry30785; Private 1st Batt AIR 
4/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; JAMIESON Ernest Harold Albert42112; Private 1st Batt AIR 
4/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; OWENS Samuel James21318; Private 2nd Batt AIR 
4/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; POLAND Hugh Francis10659; Gunner 15th Batt NZEF 1st Bde
4/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; SCOTT Victor Richard Stanley10275; Lieutenant 2nd Batt AIR 
4/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; SHERLOCK Alfred Charles34447; Private 1st Batt AIR 
4/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; THAYER Henry Robert42425; Lance Corporal  1st Batt AIR 
8/10/1917 in the Field, France; BROGAN Francis24/1602; Lance Corporal   2nd Batt AIR
12/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; AUTRIDGE Charles40271; Rifleman 2nd Batt 3rd NZRB 
12/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; GRAHAM Albert Edward24/769; L/Corporal  2nd Batt 3rd NZRB 
12/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; GURNETT  Thomas15364; Rifleman 2nd Batt 3rd NZRB 
12/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; HANNA William Henry26611; Rifleman 2nd Batt 3rd NZRB 
12/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; JORDAN Sydney Carl24/482; Corporal 2nd Batt 3rd NZRB 
12/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; PATTON William Charles25/1198; Rifleman 3rd Batt 3rd NZRB 
12/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; PEARCE William5/894; Private NZMG 3rd Coy
12/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; WHITE William Campbell26726; Rifleman 4th Batt 3rd NZRB 
20/10/1917 In the Field, Belgium; ALLEY Alfred William9872; Corporal 1st Div Art Trn AIF
30/10/1917 In the Field, France; HENDERSON Wallace12/3675; L/Corporal  3rd Batt AIR 6th Coy
30/10/1917 In the Field, France or Belgium; CLEAVE John Peter30755; Private AIR 1st Batt

LEST WE FORGET
Full THAMES WWI ROH AVAILABLE HERE

Friday, September 29, 2017

Thames (NZ): "Our Coromandel Magazine 2017-2018"

The Thames Coromandel District Council has published a beautifully presented magazine that highlights news about the council, district, along with special articles.

Thames has several pages of special note that showcase the town's 150th Commemorations. Articles cover the following topics:
  • Our Heritage is Gold, page 86. There is an overview of how the goldfields were opened and the input of local Maori Chiefs. Details of the commemorations held 1 August 2017 are covered, plus the history of Judd's Foundry which started as the Thames Ironworks. 

  • Catch Gold Fever, page 87. This page covers the main tourist attractions in the town, plus a map that showcases the five historic walks available around the town of Thames (from Tararu to Parawai). This is available in hardcopy at the council offices or can be viewed online and or downloaded.
  • Praying for Gold, pages 88-89. Oddly starts with a photograph of nearby Karangahake! The theme here focuses on the church and influence on the Thames Goldfield. With news that on 25 February 2018 there is to be an outdoor church service for the town entitled "Picnic & Praise in the Park."
  • My Heritage, pages 90-91. These pages feature the special books that have been written for the 150th commemorations of the goldfield town of Thames. Books by authors: Allan Berry, Kae Lewis, Angela Curtis, Sharleen Campbell & Jennifer Comer, and The Treasury (Thames).
  • Where the Maori Found Gold, page 93. This page explores the three songs that were written for the original song contest by composers/singers: Estelle Cashmore, Sean Kelly and Andy McCaskill.
  • Come Celebrate 150 Years, Thames Jockey Club (Inc), page 96. Explores the history of horse racing at Thames, along with news of the 150 race meeting 4 January 2018.
  • There are also Thames related articles on: Steampunk (page 92), Twentyman's Funeral Services (pages 94-95), and WW100 Forests (page 100).



 ***** Copies of the magazine are available free at council offices and any of the libraries in the Thames-Coromandel District.*****
You can read the magazine online.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Thames (NZ): RSA Section Totara Cemetery & Auckland War Memorial Cenotaph

Did you know that thousands of 'new' World War Two names have been added to the Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph? This is accessed online, and you can add photographs and details for any of the entries.

For instance, Douglas Owen Barker, a Thamesite who served in the 2nd N.Z. Divisional Signals (Italy and Japan) has had extra biographical details and photographs added. (screenshot of part of the page above)

It is an easy process to contribute information. Just click on the CONTRIBUTE button at the appropriate section. The first time you will just need to give basic information that verifies your source. (see example below)
The names for the majority of the Thames servicemen and women interred at Totara Memorial Cemetery, Thames have been entered at Findagrave,  If you can help with photographs or further information, just sign up as a member (its free) and submit information.

Sample below, showing the page for Doug at the Findagravesite.
 
ABOVE LEFT: Gravesite of Douglas Owen Barker & Ivy Muriel Doris Barker nee Cornes
ABOVE RIGHT: View across the top of the RSA section to the WWI section in the distance.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Thames (NZ): WWII ROH update

Reminder that I am always on the lookout for names for the Thames WWII Roll of Honour List.

Another name and photograph just added to the list is for Walter Selwyn MCMAHON. Lance Corporal McMahan was serving with the 21st Infantry Battalion during World War Two, he died in Italy 10 April 1945. He is remembered in the Faenza War Cemetery in Italy.

Walter's parents were Mary and Manfred McMahon. The McMahon families were well known at Tapu. Walter attended the Thames Central School during 1923-24, and in later years had been a Thames Valley Rugby representative. Walter married Madeline Estelle Flavell in 1938, and the couple lived in Hamilton.

NEW ZEALAND HERALD, 27 APRIL 1945
If you know of any further names that have been omitted from the Thames WWII ROH, 
can you please email details.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Thames (NZ): Thames in "The Growth of New Zealand Towns"

The Thames, our old goldmining town is currently commemorating 150 years since the proclamation and when the official hunt for gold began. The town is featured in a new book compiled by Hugh Dickey with contributions from researchers around New Zealand.

Yes, Thames has even made the front cover! There are two pages specifically on Thames that I contributed, along with statistical data from the Author Hugh Dickey. Did you know we were ranked the fifth largest town for nearly decade?

Overall the book is beautifully presented, colour throughout on high gloss paper. There are over 50 towns covered in-depth, along with a thorough analysis of the population growth of New Zealand.
(Soft cover, 1192 pages, ISBN 9780473411435)
Contact the Author for further information and purchase direct - excellent value for money!
For Thamesites, a copy is available to read at The Thames Library and The Treasury at Thames.
"The Growth of New Zealand Towns" Book cover
Thames 1870s lower right - taken near Kuranui Bay. Looking south towards the Moanataiari, Tookey's Town, Grahamstown with Shortland in the distance. The headland of Totara can be seen on the horizon top left.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Thames (NZ): John Grigg's "My Own New Zealand Home"

INTRODUCTION:
John Grigg (1838-1920) was an extraordinary Thamesite, recognised around the world because of his astronomical studies and discoveries. In an obituary it was stated that Grigg was the only photographer in the world to capture a shot of the 1901 comet; and that the Astronomical Society of the Pacific had awarded him two medals over the years. He was also a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. John Grigg discovered three comets in total (1902, 1903, and 1907), which each were named after him. He built a special observatory at his Queen Street home, just south of the Pahau Street intersect.

BACKGROUND: 
Grigg moved to Thames in 1868, initially he was in the upholstery and furnishing business, before moving into his specialty area when he established a music shop. He gave music lessons to private individuals and at several Thames schools.

MY OWN NEW ZEALAND HOME: 
Grigg setup the Thames Choral Society in 1874, and composed many songs over the following years. One of the best known was "My Own New Zealand Home", a song that was said to be based on his beloved Thames.

This song became known as the unofficial anthem of the northern part of New Zealand. It was sung in schools and at official events not just in Thames, but the greater Waikato and Auckland area for many decades. For instance at the opening of the Thames Branch Railway 19 December 1898, school children sang "My Own New Zealand Home." (words below) Nearly 2000 children sang the special song under the conductorship of Mr Grigg himself. Afterwards they piled into carriages and were given a train trip to Matatoke.  The newspaper reported at this time that the song had been composed by Grigg for the turning of the sod that had taken place in 1878.

While stressing the importance of the song in the northern region, it was well known through out New Zealand. For instance in October 1888, it was sung at a concert in Lyttelton. An on an earlier occasion in January 1881, the St Stephen's Orphans Home in Parnell sang the song.

The song, is believed to have come close to being chosen as New Zealand's Anthem, a fact confirmed in a television documentary which can be viewed online. (Click the link Part Three and listen at 2.40 min) There is also a rendition online by Linda Grigg. (Click here)

It is sad to say this great man, lies at Shortland Cemetery in a grave that has long seen better days. (photos below) Let us not forget this great Thamesite, who came close to having the title of having written New Zealand's Anthem.
 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Thames (NZ): More School Records at Archives

Have you checked the school records at Archives New Zealand recently?

In the past few months they have digitised an ever increasing number of years.

For instance there are records online for PARAWAI SCHOOL up to 1910. The class list for Standard Five and Six included: Winifred Claxton, Myrtle Garry, John Glessing, Hettie Hansen, Alma Menzies, Edna Morrison, Vera Pulford, Fredk Snowling, Joseph Waterhouse, Rita White, Eileen Young, Ruby Aro, Gladys Claxton, Fredk Daldy, Joseph Dickson, Eileen Garry, Flora Grant, Dot Gubb, Winifred Hudson, John Lockwood and Emma Lomas.
Source: R22132430, New Zealand Archives

KAUAERANGA SCHOOL records are now available up to an including 1911.
Try searching for some of the other Thames Schools at Archives.

For general information on Thames Schools check out the summary list.
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Update - St Joseph's School Records
So far there is just one page of records at archives for the St Joseph's Catholic School, but looks like there will be some more to come soon. This will be good news for many researchers, as catholic school records have been difficult to access in the past. Catholic Archives do not have early school records but do have many other resources.  Another way to find out more on schooling, is to search the end of year prizegivings published in the Thames Star Newspaper.
PS. Don't forget the November 150th Church and School Commemorations.

BELOW: Standard Six St Joseph's School 1905