Topic: Threads of Memory (2015)

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Threads of Memory was a 100th commemoration project by Tauranga City Library to record people's memories of their World War I ancestor. Many thanks to Tauranga City Library staff members Stephanie Smith, Debbie McCauley, Harley Couper, Daniel Petersen and Lee Switzer and also Bay of Plenty Polytechnic Radio Broadcasting students Jacob Pua, Liam Robson, Alison Curtis and Kara Ranken-Whitehouse for helping to make this project happen.

Threads of Memory (2015)

People from the local community came into the library during the week of Monday 20 April 2015 to Friday 24 April to talk about their ancestor who served during wartime. A vast variety of stories came to light, links to which will be provided on this index page.

Monday 20 April 2015

George William Collingwood (1896-1959) Ron Collingwood came in and talked about his father, George, who served at France and Passchendaele (Service Number: 39762)

John Watson Margaret Shields came in to talk about her uncle, John Watson, who was either in the Durham Light Infantry or the Northumberland Fusiliers.

Thomas McGee (1889-1954) Tauranga author Susan Brocker came in to discuss her grandfather Thomas McGee who served with the Wellington Mounted Rifles (Service Number: 11/1184).

Stuart Scoular (c1893-1949) Robin Scoular came in to tell us about his father, Stuart Scoular, who served as a Medical Officer in the New Zealand hospital in France from 1916 to 1919.

Reginald Secker Snr (1884-1917) Julie Richards came in to the Tauranga City Libraries to remember her great grandfather Reginald Secker who died  on 29 April 1917 during the Battle of Arras.


Tuesday 21 April 2015

The O'Gorman Brothers Sheryl Hobson talked about how her grandmother lost four brothers during World War I.

Alfred James Cowley (1892-1970) Paul O'Neil came to talk about Paul's grandfather Alfred (Service Number: 12/3286). He worked for the Auckland Harbour Board before enlistment. Alfred died at the age of 77 in 1970 (reg. 1970/28572).

John McLaren Lett (1877-1917) John Foster talked about his grandfather, John, who was one of sixteen children. John fought in the Boer War. Later he served during World War I and took part in the Battle of Passchendaele. He was killed by friendly fire during the Battle of Polygon Wood on 27 September 1917. John owns a metal hat that his grandfather made out of an 18-pounder shell casing whilst in the Passchendaele trenches. John also talked about his father, Albert Edward Lett (1903-1967), who was a Homeguard Commander in the Far North during World War II.

The Swenson Brothers Des Price came to talk about his three great-uncles who served during World War I. Des had two relatives who were killed in action during at Passchendale on the same day, 12 October 1917.

Wednesday 22 April 2015

Alfred Joseph Swindells (1893-1978) Yola Swindells came in to the library to tell us about her father who was a Territorial and served from the first day of the war with the British Army Medical Corps, to the last day with the RAF. He was Alfred Joseph Swindells.

James Joseph Hamilton Nisbet (1895-1973) Sandra Culham, along with her husband and daughter came in to talk to us about her grandfather, James, who was wounded during the Battle of the Somme but survived and was later awarded an MBE. He also served during World War II (Service Number 23/1768).

Carl Owen Jorgensen (1889-1970) Eleanor Burkin came in to tell us about her mother's cousin Carl Jorgensen (Service Number: 3/848). Carl served with the NZ Army Medical Corps and was at Gallipoli during the evacuation. He also served in France and later at the Hornchurch Military Hospital in England. Eleanor has a leaf sent home from the Gallipoli battlefield that has the words 'Gallipoli, Christmas 1915' inscribed on it.

Kate Booth (1885-1952) Shirley Arabin came in to tell us about her aunt, Kate, who was a nurse at Aotea Convalescent Home in Heliopolis, Egypt, during World War I.

Peter Wallace (1897-1965) Barbara Turner came in to talk about her father, Peter, who was a fitter in the Merchant Navy during World War I. She also told us about growing up during the Great Depression. Peter was out of work for years and then suddenly started working long hours as a fitter and turner in the Hull dockyards during World War II. Barbara and her younger sister, Margaret, were evacuated from Hull four times during the war along with many other children. She also experienced the bombing of Hull known as the 'Hull Blitz'.

Thursday 23 April 2015

The Fleming Brothers Phil Sinclair came in to the library to tell us about this three great uncles who served during World War I.

Robert Long Elizabeth Rust came into the library to tell us about her Irish relative who was captured by the Turks at Suvla Bay. He spent several years as a Prisoner of War (POW).

Andrew Dougall Blair (1872-1955) Harley Couper told us about his relative who went to sea at age 17. During World War I Andrew spent time as the commander of Q-ship 17, a merchant ship with concealed weapons which was used by the British in an attempt to lure submarines to the surface.

Stanley Edward Oppenheim (1892-1966) Stephanie Smith told us about her grandfather, Stanley, who served as a postal worker during World War I.

William Duncan Gillanders (1894-1958) Kathleen Gillanders came into the library and told us about her father, William, who served at Gallipoli and Palestine.

Friday 24 April 2015

The Barnard Brothers John Barnard came in to tell us about six of this father's brothers who served during World War I. His father was Edwin John Barnard. Four brothers served at Gallipoli where one was killed. The brother's mother was working hard on the home front baking gingernuts to raise funds during both World Wars.

John Gregors Petersen (1895-1915) Paul Ronayne told us about his relative, John, who was killed in action at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.

Eric Tedway Sargisson (1892-1918) Supported by her father Ian McClain, school student Miriama told us about her third great uncle Eric who died on 13 September 1915 from wounds received in action at Gallipoli (Service Number: 11/820).

White Feathers Fiona Kean came into the library to talk to us about several different relatives who served during World War I. One pair of brothers were given a white feather by one of Richard Seddon's daughters and as a consequence hurried to join up.

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Threads of Memory (2015)