Tuesday, 11 December 2018

7/260 Lieutenant Arthur Comyn Pigou 1/2/1893-12/12/1918

Portrait of Lieutenant Arthur Comyn Pigou (7/260). Image kindly provided by Marlborough memorial project (2009). Image has no known copyright restrictions.

Mrs J.M. Gregg, St Andrew's, has been advised that her husband, Private J. M. Gregg, who was recently wounded in the head and suffering from influenza effects, was transferred to Hornchurch Convalescent Camp, England, on December 7. A pathetic loss has been sustained by Mr and Mrs R. Pigou, Rapaura, in the death from influenza of their eldest son, Lieut. Arthur G. Pigou, on Gallipoli on December 12th. The deceased officer was a member of the 10th Mounted Rifles on the outbreak of war, and enlisting he left New Zealand, with the Main Body as a sergeant in the Canterbury Mounted Regiment. He saw service on Gallipoli and was invalided to England, where he remained for several months. On his return to Egypt he was promoted to the rank of regimental-sergeant-major and was returned to New Zealand to gain a commission. After a short furlough he proceeded abroad again as officer in charge of the mounted section of the 26th Reinforcements, and subsequently he saw considerable service in the Palestine operations. Apparently he was a member of the Anzac draft sent to Gallipoli for garrison duty on Turkey's withdrawal from hostilities. The late Lieut. Pigou who was only 25 years of age, was very popular in this district. In pre-war days he was a prominent member of the Moutere Football Club, and he represented Marlborough on the Rugby field in 1913 and 1914 with success. He was a grandson of the; late Major-General Pigou, of the Imperial Forces. His death will be widely regretted, and it is an event invested with particular sadness in view of his lengthy services for King and country and the fact that hostilities have ceased.  -Marlborough Express, 17/12/1918.
From the Official History of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles:

Leaving the Jordan Valley for the Last Time.

The 5th, 6th and 7th of October were spent down by Jericho and on the 8th the Brigade began its last march out of the valley. The next few days were spent at Jerusalem and on the 14th October the Brigade arrived in its old camping ground at Richon-le-Zion.
Here equipment and clothing were overhauled and the men indulged in a good rest, though a certain amount of training was always carried on.
On October 13th the Canterbury Mounted Rifles left Ludd without their horses, for service overseas. The 7th L.H. Regiment from the 2nd L.H. Brigade went also, the destination of both regiments being the Gallipoli Peninsula.
On the 27th of November with a strength of 25 officers, 464 other ranks and 81 horses the Regiment sailed from Kantara in the transport Huntscastle and disembarked at Chanak and camped at Camburnu near Kilid Bahr in an old Turkish hostel with the 10th Squadron at Maidos. Very bad weather was experienced on the voyage over, the transport was quite unsuitable, and many men were down with influenza.
The Regiment came under the orders of the 28th Division by whom they were treated as honoured guests. In conjunction with the 7th Light Horse Brigade the Regiment carried out a reconnaissance of the whole of the southern part of the Peninsula to report as to how the Turks were carrying out the terms of the Armistice.
A great deal of time was spent in identifying the graves of those New Zealanders who had died on the Peninsula; and the studying of the Turkish position gave an immense amount of interest to the old hands who had been through those strenuous days at Anzac.
The sudden change from the heat of Palestine to the cold and wet weather of Gallipoli caused much sickness. Four officers and 106 other ranks were evacuated to hospital and one officer and 10 other ranks died and were buried in the English cemetery at Chanak.

Tuamarina Cemetery, Marlborough.

James Bennett 1877-12/12/1918

General regret will be felt among all classes of the community that Mr James Bennett yesterday afternoon, as the direct result of his unselfish and untiring efforts in helping others stricken down by the epidemic, himself died of pneumonia following on influenza. That regret will be keener among chose who really knew him. Beneath a bluff and casual manner lay a kindly, heart and a generous disposition, and a receptive and retentive mind; capable of original thought in mechanical and scientific channels. Of an inventive turn, the late Mr Bennett invented a wool-cleaning apparatus which has, we understand, given most favorable results at the Pukeuri works, where since their inception, Mr Bennett has proved of service in the mechanical and electrical departments. Though selftaught, Mr Bennett's ideas often proved of value to persons with long experience. Born in Oamaru, he always took a keen interest in all out-door sports. As a member of the old Volunteer Company he was well known as an expert rifle shot, and was keenly interested in rifle shooting up till his death, being successful both at the butts and at the miniature ranges. He was one of those who believed that the first aim was the best, and as a snap game shot was in a class of his own. A keen cricketer, he was a useful man at the crease or in the field. The late Mr Bennett was an enthusiastic bandsman. He was a member of the M.U.I.0.0.F. A keen angler, he took a deep interest in all acclimatisation matters, and had closely studied, from American sources and from personal observation, the quinnat salmon question. A good raconteur and a good sportsman in any circumstances, his figure will be greatly missed, amongst those who wield rod or gun, nor will they be surprised that he met his death in the way he did, for he was one or those of whom none can recall a contemptible unmanly action, or a shirking of his share of any unpleasant duty. His widow and child will have the sympathy of a very wide circle of friends, by no means restricted to North Otago. 
Walter Sumpter writes as follows: — I am sure you will not grudge me space to offer a tribute to the memory of my late friend, Jim Bennett. From my own personal knowledge I can testify that there has never been a truer case than this of a man risking and losing his life in giving help to others. During the influenza epidemic the help he gave, in visiting and carrying aid to afflicted patients was beyond all praise. Disregarding all risk to himself, unobtrusively and energetically he worked from first to last until he contracted the fatal disease himself, and there will be many homes in this district which will long cherish the memory of his cheery words and smiles, which must have done so much towards helping many patients to recover. Truly, he was one who laid down his life for his friends and his reward will not be wanting."  -Oamaru Mail, 13/12/1918.

The remains of the late Mr James Bennett, of Isis Street, were followed to their last resting place yesterday by a large cortege. Most noticeable were workers in the recent epidemic, to whom perhaps the worth of the deceased was best known. Members of every sporting interest were represented. Wreaths almost hid the casket, including floral tokens from the North Otago Jockey Club, Oamaru Trotting Club, Waitaki Acclimatisation Society, and the V.A.D. Ven. Archdeacon Russell presided at the graveside.  -Oamaru Mail, 14/12/1918.

Some thirty gentlemen met in the Ambulance Hall yesterday afternoon under the chairmanship of' His Worship the Mayor. All those present had been active voluntary workers in combating the influenza epidemic and were assembled to make arrangements to give the public of North Otago an opportunity of showing, in a manner, their appreciation of the services of the late Mr James Bennett. Bennett, who died practically in harness in the service of others, was one of the first volunteers, and so keen was he to help that he arranged to take his annual holiday to enable him to devote the whole of his time to service in aiding sufferers from the disease. Praise has been freely bestowed on the voluntary workers and in many quarters proposals have been made to, in some way, recognise their devotion in the humane cause. The workers themselves, however, do not desire praise or reward, but now that a comrade in the work has fallen, they feel that the public will seize the opportunity to show their appreciation by demonstrating in a practical manner, sympathy with the bereaved mother and her child.
A sub-Committee, consisting of the Mayor, Archdeacon-Russell, and Messrs W Sumpter, G. H. Deal, L. E. Haines, Alex. Hamilton and C. W. Kent (Hon. Secretary and Treasurer), was appointed to make arrangements for launching the project.
The Committee feels confident that an appeal of this nature in memory of one who literally gave up his life for others will not be made in vain and that donations will be given as freely as Mr Bennett gave his services.
We shall have pleasure in receiving and acknowledging contributions, or they may be transmitted to the Hon. treasurer at the Oamaru Borough Council Chambers.  -North Otago Times, 17/12/1918.

We have received the subjoined contributions to the Bennett Memorial Fund, which has been inaugurated for the purpose of erecting a suitable memorial to the. late Mr James Bennett, who gave his life in the service of the sick and suffering in the epidemic and showing in a practical manner sympathy with his widow and child. It is intended to close the list shortly and we shall be glad to receive further 'contributions: —
Oamaru Mail Co., Ltd.....L10 0 0. 
Kakanni Angler................ 0 10 0 
Jas. Mitchell..................... 0 10 0 
C. Symon South Oamaru... 0 5 0 
                                          £11 5 0
-Oamaru Mail, 23/12/1918.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

12/617 Private Claude William Porter 28/3/1893-26/6/1940.

Claude William Porter's story is a strange one.  Having been wounded twice in one big war, he volunteered for another.  He died while on the way there - though his cause of death is unknown.

His archived military record is interesting also.  Awarded the Military Medal twice, he was not a disciplined soldier - found in a cafe during prohibited hours, absent from parade, drunkenness and escaping from custody, absent after hours from his billet.

Claude also went missing in action for a few days during the Gallipoli Campaign.  This period of absence began during his service as a Private in the Auckland Infantry Regiment on May 8th, 1915, the day of the New Zealanders' assault on the Turkish positions at Achi Baba, the day of the assault over the "Daisy Patch:"

'Immediately in front the ground sloped away for a little distance; then came a field of beautiful wild flowers, and then a gentle scrub-covered slope rising to a crest-line in the middle distance. Beyond this again was the hump of Achi Baba. To the right front was a clump of pine trees. There was no visible sign of the enemy. The Colonel came along: "Well, boys, the orders are to go ahead, and we have got to carry them out." The Regulars were not encouraging. "What! You are going to cross the Daisy Patch—God help you!" They had tried the day before, with no success. "Yes, of course we are going!" and on the signal every man of the first line was over the parapet and down the slope. Then the hail of Turkish fire smote them.'  -The Auckland Regiment, Official History.

The Aucklands were withdrawn at the end of that hellish day.  They were no longer regarded as an effective fighting force.  Claude was one of the 50 Aucklanders listed as missing from the period between the Landing and their being withdrawn.

PRIVATE PORTER. Private Claude William Porter (reported missing) is the third son of Mr David Porter, of the St. Kilda Hotel, Dunedin. He is 20 years of age, and was born in Dunedin, and educated at the Forbury School. He subsequently entered the services of Mr J Peterson, grocer, where he was employed until two years ago, when he left for Auckland. He was one of the first to offer his services, and left with the Main Expeditionary Force. He was a bright and popular young fellow, always having a cheery word and a bright smile for all who knew him. His eldest brother (David) is a corporal in the Fifth Reinforcements, and another brother (Jack) is now at Trentham.  -ODT, 18/6/1915.

Thirteen days later, Claude showed up.  Four days after that, he was in hospital with the condition "septic hands," presumably the result of minor but untreated wounds which had been infected during his period in - who knows where.  He was transferred to the hospital on the island of Mudros and then to Malta with the annotation on his record "wounded rt leg barbed wire."

At the beginning of 1916, Claude was back with the Aucklanders and embarked with them for France.  It was there that his indiscipline asserted itself.  Perhaps his experiences at Gallipoli had brought him to a realisation that a soldier's life was not for him.  In April, 1916 he was charged with refusal to obey an order.  Next month he was found absent from his billet.  In August, "drunk," September, "late on parade."

The Auckland Regiment went into the Battle of the Somme on September 15, 1916.  It was in this battle that Claude Porter won the Military Medal.  Details of such awards are difficult to find online but the Official History has this interesting detail:
'Captain Dineen went over, leading the first wave of the 15th Company, to fall mortally wounded half-way across. The Regiment never lost a finer officer. Enlisting at the outbreak of war, he had trained for the Royal Flying Corps, and at the last moment, when his training had been completed, was rejected for some trifling defect in vision. He at once joined the N.Z.E.F., offering to throw in his commission and serve as a private in the ranks. He was not allowed to do this, and was attached to 1/Auckland as a captain. The trench warfare at Armentières had shown him to be the very finest type of soldier, a man endowed with a splendid physical self, of great mental ability, with a will like steel and a nerve that nothing could shake; absolutely conscientious, strict, but just and very thoughtful, a man who "reverenced his conscience as his king." He was the bravest man in his company, because he was the best. Terribly wounded as he was, he continued to direct his men as the successive waves passed him. The stretcher-bearers, Porter, Forrest and other gallant men made great efforts to save him, but after three of them had fallen in the attempt they were compelled to wait. He died on the way to the Base.'

It would seem that Claude's usefulness as a soldier - or lack of same - had been recognised by his relegation to stretcher-bearer.  His courage, however, was undeniable.  His next recorded military infraction was one month later - "absent from billet."
In February, 1917, Claude was admitted to a Field Hospital with scabies, a diagnosis later changed to impetigo - both skin diseases quite easily contracted in damp, crowded trench conditions.  He was back with the Aucklands by the end of March.  Through the year of 1917, his record of infractions continued - absent, false statement to the Military Police, disobeying a command.

Private Claude Wm. Porter, son of Mr D. Porter, of St. Kilda Hotel, has been awarded the Military Medal for distinguished bravery in the fighting on the Somme. He left New Zealand with the Main Body as a member of the Auckland Infantry Battalion, and saw service at Gallipoli before proceeding to France. He was reported missing at Gallipoli, but subsequently rejoined his regiment. Sapper Percy Leonard Keys, who left with the Main Expeditionary Force, and went through Gallipoli, and is now in France, has been awarded a Military Medal for gallantry in the field. Latest advices from him stated he was quite well. Mr B. H. Keys (superintendent, of telegraphs Dunedin), who is the father of Sapper Keys, says that to date he has no particulars of the incident for which the medal was awarded. Two more of Mr Keys's sons are also under arms—Fred. Keys, who left by the 19th Reinforcements, and Ben, the eldest son, who will leave in about a month's time for tho front. 
CORPORAL DAVID PORTER. News was recently received that Corporal David Porter, eldest son of Mr D. Porter of the St. Kilda Hotel, who left New Zealand with the Fifth Reinforcements, was missing, and was believed to be killed as a result of the fighting on the Somme about September 26. In a letter received by Mrs Porter from a comrade of Corporal Porter the writer says: — "Just a few lines to tell you how David went down at the Somme. I have been hoping against hope that he would turn up, but now I have lost all hope of seeing him again. When we went up to the firing line I was in the battalion bombers, and, as my work took me away from the company, I saw very little of the lads. In the charge on the 26th our company — the 14th got it hot and our platoon got the worst gruelling of the lot. Only one man came out unwounded, and out of the whole company only, 14 answered the roll call in the trench. David was in our section, and one of the chaps who went out with him, and who was wounded, but managed to limp back told me he did not think any of them would get out of it. My God, some fine men were left behind after that charge! It may be some consolation to you to know that your son was one of the most popular in the regiment; in fact, I do not know one who was better liked. The Otago battalion has been very unlucky right through the piece. I saw Claude (another of Mrs Potter's sons) a few days before I came over. He got the military medal for good work on the Somme. David should have had one for his gallantry on July 4, when he did some fine work as a stretcher-bearer on the night of the raid. You have lost a fine boy, we have lost our best comrade and the regiment has lost a fine soldier."  -Otago Daily Times, 2/2/1917.

In October of 1917, the Auckland Regiment marched into the meat-grinder which was later named "3rd Ypres," or "Passchendaele."  On October 4th, Claude was wounded in the left arm on the day of the big attack on the garrison at Winzig.   He was admitted to hospital again at Le Treport but his injury did not curtail his unmilitary activities.  His charges of October 20th are meticulous: 1)in a cafe during prohibited hours 2)possessing spirits 3)absent 14 1/2 hours.  Clearly, the rules and a bullet in the arm were not going to prevent Claude Porter from enjoying his war where and when he could.  The 14 days of No.1 Field Punishment was the price he paid.
At the end of October, Claude received a bar to his Military Medal, for actions during the Passchendaele battle.  He got UK leave for the Christmas of 1917, though he was back with the Regiment on Christmas Eve.  He was appointed Company Cook shortly after, in February, 1918, and detached to a Cooking School for his new role.  On May 26 he rejoined from the school and, on the 30th, he "Relinq Appt of Coy. Cook."  The next day, he was charged with "drunkenness and escaping from custody."

By that stage, the NZEF seems to have found Claude very much "surplus to requirements."  He was undoubtedly brave but impossible to deal with out of the Front Line.  He was embarked for home on the SS Remuera

Claude returned to Dunedin in Draft 187 of October, 1918.  


Claude Porter was proceeded against for being £48 19s in arrears on an order made for the support of his illegitimate child. Mr C. J. L. White, who appeared for complainant, said that the amount was large because there were twins. Defendant was a barman, employed by his father. The Magistrate: You evidently considered it wise to bring the case before next month. The defendant was sentenced to three months in Dunedin prison, Porter to be released on the payment of the arrears.   -Evening Star, 10/11/1922.

His life is an obscure one until the year 1934.  Claude is now "an unemployed miner" in that year of the Great Depression.  It is possible that he had a yearning for the good old days behind the Line, the hectic pleasure-seeking days in French cafes.

(By Telegraph.—Press Association.) DUNEDIN. this day. Issuing valueless cheques totalling £78 in two days, Claude William Porter, aged 39, indulged in an orgy of drinking and gambling, and after days of hectic living he gave himself up to the police. In the Police Court this morning Porter pleaded guilty to a charge of false pretences involving the sum of £51. The police stated that the accused went to the Bank of New Zealand, where his father had an account and obtained a cheque book in his father's name, and then set out on a career of issuing valueless cheques. Counsel said accused left with the Main Body of the N.Z.E.F. when 19 years of age and served throughout the war. He was twice severely wounded and was decorated with the Military Medal with bar. Accused was remanded for a week in custody.  -Auckland Star, 18/5/1934.

Claude William Porter appeared for sentence on three charges of false pretences. Mr C. J. L. White, who appeared for him, said that apparently the probation officer’s report was based on the fact that the accused would not agree to taking out a prohibition order. There were serious reasons why he should not do so, for he had the chance of regular employment in an hotel — his only chance of getting work — and if a prohibition order were taken out it would spoil his opportunity. His Worship would notice that all the money was obtained within two days, and that the man was a first offender. Further, after indulging in a drunken orgy, he voluntarily gave himself up. In fact, he was still in a drunken condition at that time. Unfortunately money for restitution had not been obtained, but there was every possibility of that being done. The accused was a man of good character. The Magistrate remarked that the statement regarding the accused’s good character seemed to be rather exaggerated. In the probation officer’s report he was summed up as a ”drunken reprobate.” The report showed clearly that the probation officer did not think probation should be granted, and he (the magistrate) agreed with him. On the first charge the accused would be sentenced to four months’ imprisonment. On the other charges he would be convicted and discharged.  -Evening Star, 25/5/1934.
Claude's last years were spent in Australia, where he joined the Australian Army at the beginning of the second World War.  Relatively advanced in years for a soldier, he was enlisted as a Sapper.  He died on his way to the War, by accident, in Cape Town, where he lies.
A Memory Of  "Jerry" Porter 
NEWS is to hand of the death in England, through accident, of Sapper Claude William Porter, who was serving with the Australian Forces. 
Jerry, as he was popularly known, was a Main Body, N.Z.E.F. man. He served at Gallipoli, where he was awarded the Military Medal, to which was added a bar later on in France. He was one of those indomitable daredevils, an excellent soldier, who could be relied on in any emergency. Early last year we told a story of an irate colonel of the old school, "pukka" type, for base duties during the last war, a group of Diggers and a barrel of stout — you may remember it. Jerry was one of the actors in this drama-cum-comedy. It was the fact that the cookhouse group, who purloined the colonel's barrel of stout from his men, had amongst them Jerry with his medal ribbon that saved the situation. The colonel, in search of his stout, arrived at the cookhouse, where he was taken in hand by the sergeant-cook — and Jerry. These two old-timers displayed a diplomacy worthy of the highest traditions. The sergeant-cook, addressing the irate old lad, said to him. "But, sir, just think; here is a man who served at Gallipoli, and you see, by the ribbon on his breast, was decorated. Now, you, as an old soldier, would not allow such a man to celebrate Christmas without a drop of something worthy of the occasion," or words to that effect.
The little speech had the desired effect. "Dang me, sergeant, I could not do that to an Anzac. Let's have a tap." With that he dispatched his orderly-sergeant for the desired article. "And a good time was had by all," ending in the sergeant-cook linking the once angry but now well-mollified dugout back to his own quarters some hours later. It is men like Jerry Porter, of the 15th North Aucklands, who did so much to make life a bit easier under difficult circumstances. He will be missed by a wide circle of friends. It is a safe bet that he also earned whole-hearted feelings of goodwill amongst his Aussie comrades, to whom the resourcefulness and courage of the "old-timer" can only have been an inspiration. To few is it given, as it was to Jerry, to receive a little of the limelight, and be thought so well of and be so widely known. To his relatives we extend our sincere sympathy.   -Auckland Star, 13/7/1940.

Southern Cemetery, Dunedin

And here is the 1939 story -

The Irate Colonel — And A Barrel Of Stout
By W.H.A.
THE battalion was in tents for the most part, except those for whom more enterprising company commanders had raided dumps to provide comfortable quarters. The propensity of Fritz to air raids at night prohibited the use of braziers in tents, since the glow from these created a guide to the enemy airmen. However, the usually sacrosanct area of the cookhouse was open to the "old hands," most of whom had been on Gallipoli. 
We Want. . . " 
On Christmas Eve there was the usual gathering of these old hands at the cookhouse. The need of something to produce a Christmas spirit was sadly bemoaned, for it did not seem Christmas without it. One of the more alert of the crowd informed his cobbers that a neighbouring Tommy labour battalion was known to have seven barrels of stout — pre-war stuff at that — provided by its colonel. 
This colonel was one of the "pukka" type, retired before the war, back on the job now, who cared for his men with all the attention he might bestow on his own household at home. To think was to act. No sooner than the information concerning the stout had been imparted, it was suggested a tarpaulin muster be made to provide the necessary funds to purchase one of these barrels. The result of the collection was nothing generous, for funds were low. Nothing daunted, delegates were immediately selected, to approach the commanding officer of the labour battalion. In less time than it takes to tell, these were on their way.. 
"We Will Have..."
Arriving at the Tommies' camp, the place seemed deserted, a sentry on the canteen being the only to be seen. The party's mission was explained to the sentry. With all the reluctance of the Tommy to approach his superior officer in such a matter, the sentry refused to take them to his colonel. "In any case, he could not be disturbed, for he was at a concert," quoth he on sentry, go.
"We Must Have"
The need was great. The sentry was told to stand aside, which he wisely did. The barrels of stout were found, and before you could say "Jack Robinson" one was being rolled across the snow and ice, on the way to our cookhouse. 
"We Have ...!" 
The arrival of the barrel revived drooping spirits at the cookhouse. "Fill 'em up, boys." Soon the Christmas spirit had arrived in another sense. The lack or a tap for the barrel made no difference, for what did not go in the mug must go on the ground. "There's more where that one came from." "Sante." "Kia Ora."
"Who Has ... ?" 
Despite the difficulties of the barman, the party progressed merrily. Presently there appeared an angry looking colonel, attended by a sergeant. "Who has taken my men's stout?" he demanded, informing them, at the same time, that it had been procured by him for his own men's comfort. One of the cooks informed the infuriated officer that he was responsible, adding his regret that there was no tap, which caused "a sad waste of good stout." This but further enraged the officer, if such was indeed possible. "Arrest this man! I cannot allow such conduct." 
The Diplomat 
Things looked anyhow. 
The master cook was now to play his part. Not for nothing had he three years of active service. He was to prove himself not only as master cook, but a diplomat of no mean order. Calling to his aid all he had learned, he poured a tale into the colonel's ear, stressing that most of those present were old hands — on Gallipoli — no Christmas comforts — and so on, telling him that the whose arrest he had ordered wore on his tunic evidence of his soldierly qualities and service. 
"We All Have ...!" 
The colonel was mollified. "Well, whatever the cause, I'm not going to have my stout wasted. Sergeant, get a tap." The orderly sergeant disappeared to carry out the order, the colonel meanwhile refusing to accept the proffered payment from the tarpaulin muster. The tap duly arrived. Everyone, including the colonel, settled down to enjoy themselves. Several hours Inter the colonel was escorted home by the master cook, each volubly I assuring the other of eternal friendship.   -Auckland Star, 4/2/1939.

For the Empire’s Cause 
PORTER.—In loving memory of Claude William Porter, accidentally killed, Capetown,  June 26, 1940, en route to England with Australian Infantry Battalion, and David Porter, killed in action, Somme, 1916. “Their duty done.”   -ODT, 6/6/1941.

James Haggie, 1864-1880

Yesterday a lad named Charles Haggie, aged 16 years, fatally shot himself by accident. He was accompanied by a friend named George Finn, from whose statement the accident was ascertained to have occurred as follows. Between 6 and half-past 6 o'clock in the morning, the two lads left Oamaru in quest of game. Haggie carried a double-barrelled, and Finn carried a single-barrelled gun. They walked to tho Kakanui River, where they fired off several shots. At about 3 o'clock in the afternoon they reached Reidston, distant about 7 1/2 miles from town. At Mr O'Grady's store, they stoppod for ten minutes and had some biscuits. From the store they walked along the road for half-a-mile in the direction of Oamaru. After this they entered a paddock and traversed it for a short distance. On emerging from the paddock, Haggie took the lead in crawling through the fenco, whereupon Finn handed him both the guns. As Finn was getting through the fence Haggie was in the act of buttoning up his great-eoat, resting the guns against his side. Suddenly the right barrel of the double gun went off, and the oharge entered the point of the short rib of the right side, forming a wound an inch and a quarter long and an inch wide. On looking up, Finn observed his friend fall to the ground on his right side. He then turned on his back and sang out, "Georgie! Georgie! I'm dying." Haggle continued to breathe for but a few seconds, and then died. Finn took off his overcoat, covered the body with it, and immediately ran to Mr O'Grady's, to acquaint him with what had happened. Mr O'Grady jumped on his horse, and made for the place where the body lay; having seen the body, he at once rode in to Oamaru, and gave information to tho police. 
Mrs Haggie, the poor lad's mother, some time back obtained a protection order in Oamaru from her husband, who was seen in Ohristchurch a week ago. She lives in Usk street, where she keeps a private boarding-house. For eighteen months the deceased was in Mr O'Grady's employ as assistant, earning LI a week, but he had not been there for the last four months. Mrs Haggie has a large and helpless family, and Charles' earnings had been of great assistance to her. 
On being apprised of the accident, Constable O'leary rode out, reaching the spot at 10 minutes after 6 o'clock yesterday evening, and had the body conveyed to Mr Ayton's Hotel, Reidston. Mrs Haggie, and the deceased boy's uncle, Mr Reid, also went out. The mother's outbursts of grief are said by those who witnessed them to have been heartrending.  -North Otago Times, 17/5/1880.

Oamaru Old Cemetery.

An inquest was held yesterday afters noon at the Medora Hotel, before G. Sumpter, Esq., J.P., acting Coroner, and a jury, of whom Mr. John Marks was foreman, touching the death of Charles Haggie. The jury haying viewed the body, the Coroner pointed out that from the information he had received prior to the inquest he had not thought it necessary to order a post mortem examination; but if, after the evidence had been heard they had any doubt as to which direction the shot had taken effect he would take upon himself to adjourn the inquiry to enable a medical examination to be held. He did not wish to convey any impression that the deceased had met his death in any way than by accidentally shooting himself but it was their duty to make the fullest possible inquiry.
The following evidence was then taken;— 
George Finn, being sworn, said: I am a clerk in Mr. Hannay's office, in Oamaru. I live in Mrs. Haggie's boardinghouse. I have seen the body now on view, and recognise it to be Charles Haggie, the son of Mrs. Haggie, with whom I board. He has been living there during the last three weeks, while I have been there. He was seventeen years of age, and I was fourteen last July. We both left Oamaru yesterday (the 16th), on foot, at about half-past six, to go out shooting. We went down the South Road. Haggie had a double-barrelled gun, and I had a single-barrelled one. We had about twentyfive charges. We went to Kakanui and shot some birds, but I do not know how many shots were fired. We then went to Mr. O'Grady's, and got there about three in the afternoon. We did not go to any house from the time we left Oamaru till we went to O'Grady's. Mr. O'Grady was there, and two other men whom I do not know. We went into the sittingroom, and stayed there about a quarter of an hour. Mrs. O'Grady gave us some biscuits. Haggie took some. I had port wine, Mr- O'Grady having asked me what I would have to drink. Haggie had lemonade. After I had had the one glass of wine one of the men told O'Grady to give us another drink. He gave me port wine and Haggie shandygaff. The two men had a beer each. One of the men, called Dick, paid O'Grady for them. I remained about five minutes after this. I have not had any wine for the last twelve months. The glass of wine did not affect me at all. I was quite sober. The deceased was sober, and right to all appearance. When we left I carried the single-barrellied gun. It was not loaded. Haggie carried the double-barrelled gun, which was also not loaded. After leaving a few minutes we loaded them. We went along the North Road. Aftr going along the road about half a mile we went into a paddock, and remained there a minute or two, and then came out again, going on about forty yards. There was a gorse fence round the paddock. When going into the paddock I went first, and deceased came out first. He crawled through the fence. Before going through he laid the gun against the fence. I then handed him first the double and then the single-barrelled gun over the fence, which was about four feet high. When I had handed the guns over I did not see what he did with them, as I was crawling through the bottom of the fence. When I had got about my head through the fence I heard the gun go off. I looked up and saw the deceased fall. When I passed the guns over the hammers were down on the caps, When he had the guns I saw him pulling his coat as if he was going to fasten it. I came out when I heard the report and saw him falling, and when I got to him the guns were lying one on each side of him. He sang out "George, George." When I got to him I saw the smoke and unbuttoned his coat, as I thought he was shot under the arm. He said he was dying. He died in a few seconds. Both guns were fully loaded when I passed them over the fence. When he died I put his hat over his face and covered him with my coat. I then fired off the two barrels — one out of the single and out of the double-barrelled gun. I then went to Mr. O'Grady's and told him what had happened. I did not lose my presence of mind, although I was flurried. The charge out of the gun must have passed upwards.  As we were going along the road we were advised by Messrs Taylor and o'Brian to go into the paddock to look for a pheasant. We did not see anything althqugh they said the pheasant was at the brow of the hill. Both my parents are living at Waimate. I did not notice anything wrong with either of the guns. I have been out shooting three or four times before. When going into the paddock, I got over the fence first and Haggie handed over the guns. He got through the bottom of the fence. Haggie had a gun that I borrowed from Mr. Gow. The one I had belonged to deceased.
Barney O'Grady deposed: I am a storekeeper residing at Reidston. I recognise the body now on view as that of Charles Haggie. He called at my place on Sunday with the last witness at about three o'clock. He went into the sitting-room, where I was with two persons named George Matthews and Robert Horseman. They were both quite sober as far as I know. When the deceased came in I asked whether he would have some biscuits, and he said "Yes, for I feel hungry." When I gave them to him he put them into his pocket and commenced eating them. I gave them both biscuits and something to drink. I gave Finn a small glass of sherry and the deceased lemonade. That is all they got from me out of my hands, and I do not think they got any more. They stopped about ten minutes or a quarter of an hour. There was no second glass of drink supplied while I was in the room. I went out of the room while they were there. Nobody paid for the drink. I will swear that Matthews told me to give them. I did so, but charged nothing for it. Finn, to my knowledge, had only one glass of wine. He was sober, and so was Haggie. They were quite friendly. Finn returned about half-an-hour after they had left. I was in the kitchen. He tapped me on the shoulder and called me outside, and when I went out he told me Charley was dead. I said what happened to him, and he said he had shot himself. I inquired how he had done it, and he replied "Crawling through the fence." He said you had better yoke up the cart and take him into town. I replied that I could not do so till the police arrived. When the boy came he was all of a shake and as white as a sheet. After he came out I met two other men. I told them that a boy had shot himself. I then galloped up, thinking he might only be wounded, The body was lying on its back with the arm across the chest and one of the legs crooked upwards. The face was covered with deceased's hat, and there was a ooat over the body. I went up and found that he was quite dead. I covered him up and went at once for the police. I did not take any notice of the guns. I thought by the appearance of the wound when I saw it afterwards at the hotel that the shot, had passed upwards in a slanting direction.
George Finn, re-called, deposed : I am quite certain that I had two glasses of wine. The last one was, as well as the first, served by Mr. O'Grady. They were both served in the presence of the two men who were in the room. Dick paid three shillings for them, Mr. O'Grady said he would owe him the sixpence. 
Michael Cleary deposed; I am a Constable, stationed at Oamaru. I proceeded to Reidston yesterday in consequence of information I had received, and found the body now on view, and I recognise it as Charles Haggie. It was lying on the side of the road, about a mile from here, and was quite dead. I examined it, there was one wound by the point of the short rib, on the right side, about an inch and a quarter long and an inch wide, of an oval shape. The wound was apparently in a slanting direction pointing upwards through the chest. There were no other wounds. I could not find any shot in the wound. I found some gun-shot in the pocket, about two charges in the left hand pocket, and in the right hand some wads. The witness Finn gave me some gun-shot and caps, and they corresponded with that found on the body of the deceased. The guns were lying on the ground close by, one single and one double, not loaded. The double had a discharged cap on the left nipple — the trigger of the right was halfcocked, and the cap corresponded with that given by the witness Finn. I placed the double gun along the body of the deceased, the butt by his feet, and the muzzle reached about two inches above the wound.
The Coroner pointed out that .there was a discrepancy between the evidence given by the boy Finn and that of Mr. O'Grady, It was still very difficult to ascertain in what manner the accident happened, The jury, after a brief consultation, returned a verdiot to the effect that the deceased had met his death by accidentally shooting himself.  -Oamaru Mail, 18/5/1880.

9/2189 Trooper Fredrick George Kelly 22/10/1895-15/3/1916

The formal inquiry into the pathetic circumstances attending the death of Trooper Frederick George Kelly, the victim of the bathing fatality in the Kakanui river on Wednesday, was held yesterday afternoon at the residence of Mr F. Kelly, Queen's Flat, Ngapara. 
Mr Walter E. Searle presided as acting coroner and the following six gentlemen comprised the jury:—Messrs Norman Lory (Windsor), Harry Davis (Windsor), John Howard (Windsor), Edward Stokes (Windsor), foreman, Donald Fleming (Windsor), and Andrew Halcrow (Ngapara). 
Frederick Kelly, farmer, Queen's Flat, father of deceased, was the first witness called. He said that his son was 20 years of age and a trooper in the Eleventh Reinforcements, home on final leave. On the 15th of March he and his son and some friends were at Maruakoa and during the day some of the party, including his son and himself, went for a bathe in the Kakanui. His son could not swim. Witness swam about for a time and as it was some considerable time since he had been swimming before, he was easily tired and made for the shore for a rest. Just as he reached the bank Mr H Addison called out to him, "Fred's drowning." Witness immediately plunged in again and reaching his son as he was sinking for the third time, clutched at his hair, but owing to its extreme shortness he lost his hold and as his son was sinking, he secured a grip on the shoulder band of his bathing suit. Witness struck for the land but the weight of deceased's body was presumably too heavy and the suit gave way and his son sank. Witness was very exhausted and with difficulty reached the shore. Mr Addison, who was on the point of entering the water at the time, dived twice but was not able to recover the body, which lay in approximately ten feet of/ water. Two other gentlemen had by this time arrived on the scene and made unavailing efforts to bring deceased to the surface. A rope was then procured and extended across the pool and Mr Cowie went out and brought the deceased to shore by means of a rake. They applied means for resuscitation for about an hour, but when the doctor arrived he pronounced life extinct. The body was conveyed home and the police notified. The river bottom at the place where the accident occurred was a very bad one, the rocks being slimy, and shelving off abruptly into deep water. Foothold was difficult. It was the opinion of witness that his son had lost his foothold by slipping on the rocks and had fallen into the pool. 
Henry Thomas Addison, farmer, Windsor, said he and Mr Kelly and his son, and others had decided to bathe in the Kakanui. Witness did not enter the water with the rest as he had some difficulty in attending to a defect in his bathing suit. Deceased had been in the water for some time and was splashing about. Witness was just about ready to go into the water when deceased called out "Help!" Witness called to Mr Kelly, senr., and said, "Look, Fred!" The father went to his son's assistance immediately and witness also went out. Witness was not a very good swimmer. When the father failed to secure his son, and his own efforts in that direction proving abortive, he sent for a rope by which his horse was tethered, distant some 100 yards. Passing one end round his body and friends holding the other end he endeavoured unsuccessfully to get the body. By this time others had arrived and a rope was extended across the river and the body recovered from the water. It was witness's opinion that the body had been submerged for about three-quarters of an hour. Mr Beckingsale, who lived in the vicinity, rendered first aid, with the valuable assistance of bystanders. All efforts were unavailing and witness had the body placed in his cart and conveyed to deceased's home. Witness said that the father of deceased had done his utmost to save his son. 
Samuel Holmes, Queen's Flat, said he was with Mr Kelly and his son and party at Kakanui on Wednesday. He had made preparations for boiling a "billy'' and was taking off his coat to go in for a swim, when he noticed the deceased splashing about and evidently in difficulties. Witness was sent for a rope, and having procured this was sent to Maruakoa Bureau to telephone for a doctor. In his estimation Dr Scott, of Oamaru, arrived on the scene about two hours after the accident happened. Witness saw the body brought to the bank and measures for resuscitation applied. A verdict was returned that the deceased came to his death by accidental drowning in the Kakanui river on March 15th, and that every possible means at hand were resorted to to save deceased.  -North Otago Times, 17/3/1916.

The remains of the late Trooper Frederick George Kelly who lost his life in the bathing fatally in the Kakanui river on Wednesday last, were interred with full military honours at the Oamaru Cemetery yesterday morning. 
The body of the late trooper arrived at Oamaru by the 10.30 a.m. train. The white coffin, wrapped in the Union Jack, with numerous wreaths, and the deceased soldier's military cap over all, was transferred to the waiting guncarriage at the station entrance, the six pall-bearers being returned men and men of the reinforcements. The cortege, which was a lengthy one, was headed by the Tenth Regiment Band under Bandmaster Fox, and the "Dead March" played at frequent intervals on the way to the cemetery made the occasion an impressive one. As a testimony to the popularity of the departed soldier a large 'number of friends and residents of the surrounding districts followed the coffin. The route was lined with people, and business in Thames street, was suspended whilst the cortege passed and flags were displayed on various buildings. 
Chaplain-Major J. D. Russell conducted the service at the graveside. A squad drawn from A Company, Tenth (North Otago) Regiment formed the firing-party and a bugler sounded the "Last Post" 
His Worship the Mayor (Mr W. H. Frith) represented the townspeople, and (Captain Redmond, N.Z.S.C., the local Defence Office. Other officers on parade were Major Forrester (Officer commanding Tenth Regiment), Lieutenant Foote (Railway Engineers), Lieutenant B. Meek (Fifth Mounted Rides), Lieutenant Preston (Eleventh Reinforcements), and Lieutenant Roberts (Tenth Regiment). A company of cadets from the Waitaki Boys' High School, in charge of Lieutenant Anderson, also attended.  -North Otago Times, 18/3/1916.

NZ40667 Flying Officer James Williamson Thomson, DFC, 7/8/1916-19/1/1942

Portrait, Weekly News awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross - This image may be subject to copyright

In searching for information on FO James Thomson I found that someone had already done the job, and done it as well as or better than I could.  Here is the story on a very informative site.  It also contains photos of the remains of the Wellington bomber in which James and his crew died and details of their last flight.

There is, however, something to add to James' story, from the Official History of 75 (NZ) Squadron, RAF.  This is the account of the Second Pilot of the Wellington in which James won his DFC.  Sergeant Allen, seeing the flames from a night-fighter attack, went back through the fuselage to help:

"Suddenly I found myself half out of the aircraft. I had slipped through the mid under-hatch, for the cover had been blown out by blast. I hadn’t got on my parachute, and for a few moments, which seemed like years, I clung on, half in and half out the aircraft, which was in a screaming dive to escape from the fighter. Frankly, I don’t remember how I got back. I just clawed at everything and finally got inside again."
James completed 31 missions with 75 Squadron and was posted as an instructer to No. 20 OTU (Operational Training Unit) in Scotland in July, 1941.  He was almost at the end of his stint as instructor when he crashed.  He is buried in Dyce Old Churchyard, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
Oamaru Old Cemetery.