Topic: Tauranga’s Tahiti Tie

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Prior to WW1 the troopship ss Tahiti worked the New Zealand to San Francisco service for the Union Steamship Company. In 1914 it was converted into a troop transport taking military personnel to France and Gallipoli.

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The Tahitian Tatler first published 17 July 1915. Tauranga Heritage Collection Prior to WW1 the troopship ss Tahiti worked the New Zealand to San Francisco service for the Union Steamship Company. In 1914 it was converted into a troop transport taking military personnel to France and Gallipoli.

The emotion of leaving New Zealand, and parting from loved ones, is captured in 'The Tahitian Tatler', an onboard newspaper first published in July 1915, by men bound for Gallipoli.

‘Doubtless many an aching heart lay hidden under the broad chests of the New Zealand warriors who paraded the streets of Wellington on the 10th, 11th, and 12th of June 1915, but the crowds who thronged the streets saw nought to bear witness to the fact. Cheers were responded to with smiling faces, and hasty words of farewell and good wishes were heartily exchanged. As the troopship drew away from the wharf the scene was one that will never be forgotten by those on shore or on deck. We have failed to discover how a large number of our boys accounted for the loss of buttons hastily torn from their uniforms and thrown to their loved ones at the last moment. Though they have ceased to bind together tunics we hope they will continue their careers of usefulness and bind together the hearts of men and maidens. In their send-off they received there was nothing lacking to give assurance to those starting on this great adventure that their memories will be kept green in the “Beautiful Isles of the Southern Seas”.’

The following Tauranga men sailed on the ss Tahiti and never returned.

  • Private Leslie Harvey Clark – aged 24 years
  • Private Alvar Francis Fenton – aged 20 years
  • Corporal Sydney Carl Jordan – age unknown
  • Private Henry Phillips – age unknown
  • Corporal John Salt - aged 19
  • Private Robert Francis Willis Wall – age unknown

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A version of this article was archived in August 2016 at Perma CC https://perma.cc/7988-R269.

 

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