Topic: Flora Alice Emily Smith (nee Davies) (1884-1991)

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Flora Alice Emily Smith (nee Davies) died in Tauranga at the age of 106 in 1991. Her husband, Alfred, had died in 1918 during the Influenza Pandemic along with many others on board the troopship 'Tahiti'. Alfred was buried at sea. Story by Debbie McCauley.

Flora Alice Emily Davies was born at Otakeho in Hawera on 2 November 1884 (reg. 1884/6312). Her parents were Charles and Elizabeth Davies (nee Wasley). Her father, Charles, was a wheelwright from Brecon in Wales, whilst her mother came from Gloucester in England. The family were pioneers of Taranaki, first landing in Akaroa, then moving north to Patea, then on to Otakeho. 

Her brother, Charles Christopher Thomas Davies, road a Douglas classic motorbike which Flora also rode. Flora was also keen on the outdoors and enjoyed trout fishing and shooting. At one stage she owned several greyhounds that she used for greyhound coursing (racing).

The Rev. Peter Wilson married Flora to Alfred Smith on 19 January 1909 (reg. 1909/7743). Alfred's parents were both born in Yorkshire, England.

Alfred (Service No: 79477) died during the 1918 Influenza Pandemic (Spanish 'flu) on 4 September 1918. He was on his way overseas to fight in World War I. According to Cenotaph: "Alfred was the son of the late Thomas Smith, of Christchurch, New Zealand; husband of Flora A. E. Smith, of Grey St., Normanby, Taranaki".

The first New Zealanders affected by the second wave of the 1918 influenza pandemic were soldiers of the 40th Reinforcement on board the troopship Tahiti. On 22 August their convoy – which had called at Cape Town, South Africa, en route to Plymouth, England – refuelled at Sierra Leone, West Africa. None of the crew or soldiers went ashore as fever was reported to be raging. But locals came on board to coal the ship, and within days over half of the men on board fell ill. The final death toll exceeded 80. Source: The pandemic begins abroad (NZ History).

Alfred was buried at sea on the same day he died. He is remembered on the Provincial Memorial Wellington in Karori Great War Memorial Cemetery. Flora received a First World War Widows pension.

Flora owned a two door Citroen car, one of only three in New Zealand. She drove it up until her sight began to fail and she lost her driver's licence.

Flora Alice Emily Davies (1884-1991)

Flora with her Citroen in c1975. Photo: Tauranga Heritage Collection.

For the last few years of her life Flora lived at Melrose Hospital in Tauranga. She was the aunt of Agnus Faulkner (nee Davies). She had received telegrams from the Queen, Sir Robert Muldoon, Winston Peters and Governor-General Sir Paul Reeves.

Flora died in Tauranga on 19 August 1991 at the age of 106 (reg. 1991/45188). She was cremated in Tauranga on 22 August 1991.

 

References:

Bay of Plenty Times (2 November 1987) - typewritten notes by an unknown author added to a photocopy of this article.

Births, Death and Marriages Online (New Zealand).

Cenotaph (Auckland War Memorial Museum).

Hawera & Normanby Star (11 May 1923, p. 7).

McLean, Heather (1992). Bay of Plenty Crematorium, Pyes Pa, Tauranga. Cremation Records 1967-1992.

Military Personnel File (Archives New Zealand).

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Flora Alice Emily Smith (nee Davies) (1884-1991)


Year:1991
First Names:Flora Alice Emily
Last Name:Davies
Date of Birth:2 November 1884
Place of Birth:Otakeho, Taranaki
Country of birth:New Zealand
Date of death:19 August 1991
Place of death:Tauranga, New Zealand
Spouses name:Alfred Smith
Spouses date of birth:23 September 1881
Spouses place of birth:Christchurch, New Zealand
Spouses date of death:4 September 1918
Spouses place of death:At sea en route to England
Spouses place of burial:Buried at sea
Date of marriage:19 January 1909
Place of marriage:New Zealand
Fathers name:Charles Davies
Fathers date of birth:24 May 1844
Fathers place of birth:Brecon, Wales
Fathers date of death:10 May 1923
Fathers place of death:Normanby, Taranaki, New Zealand
Mothers name:Elizabeth Mary Ann Wasley
Mothers date of birth:12 December 1844
Mothers place of birth:Dorstone, Herefordshire, England
Mothers date of death:6 April 1925
Mothers place of death:Normanby, Taranaki, New Zealand
Name of sibilings:Helena Beatrice Davies (1882-?), Clarence Clement Victor Davies (1889-?), George Lemuel Davies (1867-1930), Isabella Elizabeth Davies (1872-1945), Elizabeth Mary Ann Davies (1873-1976), Grace Agnes Davies (1877-1925), and Charles Christopher Thomas Davies (1881-1962)

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