Topic: 1914 August 13. Cedric's father implores him to return to NZ

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A letter from William Graham (Mayor of Hamilton in the late 1800s) to his son Cedric in the first days of the war. Cedric was already in England studying when war broke out. Cedric Kenny Onslow Graham was born in Hamilton on the 21st. December 1889, the 10th child of parents William Australia Graham and Alice Graham. He died leading his men "over the top" near the French town of Flers 16th September 1916.

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 The Lodge Hamilton, Waikato New Zealand

August 13th 1914

 My Dear Cedric

1914 Letter to sonBritain at war with Germany has upset us all in New Zealand and makes us very anxious about yourself – on receipt of this write me to give us your proposed movements and address in England and tell me the soonest date of your return to New Zealand – where you will be warmly welcomed home again – with a good future before you.

Do not remain any longer than you are obliged to do to gain your Certificate as Chief Engineer – this war is a most serious matter for all concerned and has excited spontaneous patriotism in our Dominion. The sooner it ends the better but we fear the end is a very long way off – you must be very careful in all you do and say now run no risks and come home again as soon as you can.

Kenneth is getting on very well with his wife and little daughter Dorothy. Still in Wellington in charge of the Defence Department both in New Zealand and in England. Selwyn is still at Waitaki Boys High School Oamaru North Otago – doing very well – he is going to College in Dunedin to study for a “Doctor” . All the other members of the family are with us in Waikato and doing very well  - We received a very encouraging letter from dear Gertrude and Harry and hope soon to hear from them that hey are on their way home again. Your letters are very interesting to us all and your dear Mother is keeping them sacred for you to read at your leisure when you return.

My own health has not been as good as we would wish it to be at 75 years of age. We feel age very much and must expect each year will add to our weaknesses. But on the whole we have very much to be grateful to providence for – particularly in the progress of our ‘children’ who ever are doing well – with good prospects ahead of them in New Zealand.  When this unfortunate war is over – Australia is the coming country in conjunction with New Zealand.

Let me hear from yourself how you are off for friends and what your immediate prospects are – and what we can do for you – give my love and best wishes to all servants (?) and the friends connected with your Grandmother Graham in England. Particularly to my cousin William Sargent and to any of my Aunt Nash's folk remaining in Canterbury – Also to Mrs. Graham and Mrs. Susie Payne – Sir Harry and Gertrude Buckleton – also with best love and wishes to yourself  I remain always Your affectionate Father

William A Graham

 (Appended to the Letter in a darker ink)

Dear Cedric – take my advice. Return at once to Waikato – do not wait for your certificate, come right away – I will provide your costs returning and will honour your draft on Bank of New Zealand at Hamilton Waikato New Zealand for the amount of your passage and costs – your affectionate Father.

William Graham




A version of this article was archived in August 2016 at Perma CC

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