Topic: Duncan Henry James McArthur (1883-1918)

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Duncan Henry James McArthur was in the New Zealand Training Unit at Featherston Military Camp at his time of death from influenza on 19 November 1918 during the 1918 Influenza Pandemic. Story by Debbie McCauley.

Duncan Henry James McArthur was born in Tauranga on 15 June 1883 (reg. 1883/15782). He was the son of James and Mary Anne McArthur (nee McShane) who married in New Zealand in 1879 (reg. 1879/41) and one of 13 children.

On 23 June 1900 Duncan's mother Mary gave birth to twins John and Sarah Jane McArthur (reg. 1900/6092 & 1900/6093). She never recovered, and died at Oropi on 29 June 1900 (reg. 1900/4005). The funeral rites were performed by Rev. Thomas Scott and Mary was buried in Oropi Cemetery. Much concern was expressed in the Bay of Plenty Times for the many children she left behind and it appears that after being looked after by neighbours for a time, most were sent to the Parnell Orphan Home in Auckland.

Worse was to come, however, when Duncan's father James died on 17 December 1904 after drinking a bottle of home-made wine he was given (reg. 1904/6506). It appears that after drinking it he became 'alarmingly ill' and Doctor Brown was called for. Before the doctor reached James, he died. It was said in the Bay of Plenty Times that the sons who were still living with James at the time were living in 'squalid circumstances'.

The Police and Coroner attended the scene and a jury brought in a verdict as reported in the Bay of Plenty Times, 'that death was caused through fatty degeneration of the heart and hastened through drinking plum wine on an empty stomach'. James was buried in Oropi Cemetery.

James also seems to have been known by the name 'James Conner'. He operated a Charcoal Burner on Mrs P. Rogers farm in Oropi and was said to have been a heavy drinker and a 'bit of a scoundrel'. Mary is said to have had a garden with a seedling apple tree that was in much demand.

On 16 July 1913 Duncan married Mary Jane Misson at Lichfield (reg. 1913/6541). They had a son named Henry James McArthur who was born at Te Rau on 26 July 1914 (reg. 1914/4260)

Duncan worked for the Taupo Totara Timber Company (the forerunner of Carter Holt Harvey).

In 1918 Duncan signed up to fight during World War I. He entered camp on 13 September 1918, his last address being given as Putaruru, Rotorua.

He was in the New Zealand Training Unit (Service No. 89732) at Featherston at his time of death from influenza on 19 November 1918 at age 35 (reg. 1918/10637). Duncan was buried in Featherston Cemetery on Western Lake Road, Featherston, Wairarapa, New Zealand.

Duncan McArthur (1883-1918)

References:

Ancestry.com.

Archives New Zealand: Military Personnel File.

Auckland War Memorial Museum: Cenotaph Record.

Bay of Plenty Times (1900, July 2).

Bay of Plenty Times (1904, December 19).

Bay of Plenty Times (1904, December 21).

Births, Deaths & Marriages Online (New Zealand).

Oropi News (1985, January).

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Duncan Henry James McArthur (1883-1918)


Year:1918
Note:Service Number: 89732
First Names:Duncan Henry James
Last Name:McArthur
Date of Birth:15 June 1883
Place of Birth:Tauranga
Country of birth:New Zealand
Date of death:19 November 1918
Place of death:Featherston Military Camp
Place of burial:Featherston Cemetery, Western Lake Road, Featherston, Wairarapa, New Zealand
Occupation:timber worker
Spouses name:Mary Jane Misson
Spouses date of birth:1887
Spouses place of birth:New Zealand
Date of marriage:16 July 1913
Place of marriage:Lichfield, New Zealand
Fathers name:James McArthur
Fathers date of birth:c1839
Fathers date of death:17 December 1904
Fathers place of death:Oropi, Tauranga, New Zealand
Mothers name:Mary Anne McShane
Mothers date of birth:c1861
Mothers date of death:29 June 1900
Mothers place of death:Oropi, Tauranga, New Zealand
Name of the children:Henry James McArthur
Military Service:World War I (1914-1918)