ALTON WWI SOLDIERS
Alfred John ADAMS, Sapper, 26369
George Henry ALLEN, Private, 14546
**Richard Herbert ALLEN, Rifleman, 55191.
*Ryves William ALLEN, Rifleman, 31798.
Cyril ALEXANDER, Rifleman, 33048
Charles Edward ARMSTRONG, Rifleman, 28415
George Francis ARMSTRONG, Gunner, 2/840
William Robert ARMSTRONG, Private, 31201
*Herbert John Lancelot ANDERSON, Private, 30335.
Ernest BOWDITCH, Private, 28074
Harry Lock BOWDITCH, Private, 71437
*George Thomas BREWER, Driver, 30470.
*Harry DERRIMAN, Trooper, 11/425.
Samuel EDGECOMBE, Private, 63841
Harold Jubilee FOREMAN, Trooper, 65656
William George FOREMAN, Private, 56760
*Arthur Robert GOULD, Trooper, 11/443.
George Godfrey GOULD, Private, 60932,
*Charles Keith GRANT, Private, 10/2163.
Walter Henry GREEN, Private, 28122
Bertie Sydney HIRST, Private, 22800. Farmed at Alton before the War. Accidently killed by a falling tree at Makaniti, Taumaranui after the War – 6/11/19
Albert John HODGE, Trooper, 57794 (3rd gen, son of Richard) (Charles & William’s nephew)
Charles HODGE, Trooper, 57849 (2nd gen, Son of Henry) (William’s brother)
Frank Thomas HODGE, Rifleman, 22801, (3rd gen, Son of William)
Harold Henry HODGE, Bombardier, 50510, (3rd gen, Son of Harry) (Charles & William’s nephew)
*Merle John HODGE, Rifleman,48030 (son of Harry)(Charles&Williams nephew)
William Thomas HODGE, Sergeant, 15725, (2nd gen, Son of Henry) (Charles Brother)
Albert Job LEIGH, Private, 20367
*William Orr McDIARMID, Private, 10/1890.
*Matthew George MITCHELL, Private, 25/124,
Archibald Douglas NEILSON, Private, 31334
Horatio John NEILSON, Lance Corporal, 59697
Edward Francis NICKEL, Rifleman, 52869
Harold PALMER, Rifleman, 48068
*Esau Joseph PENZER, Private, 59712.
*Godfrey RICHARDS, Private, 10/2746.
*Ronald Roland SCOWN, Private, 12/867.
Thorley SYMES, Private, 52301
*Charles TAYLOR, Private, 25/145
Hugh Bruce WALLACE, Private, 81906
The Relocation of our War Memorial
ANZAC Day 2014 in Alton was a great day for the 500 people in attendance, and a fitting tribute for the 14 soldiers on our War Memorial who died in WWI, & the 7 who died in WWII with New Zealand on their sleeve and Alton in their heart.
When the Alton Hall Committee decided to move the 16 tonne War Memorial in 2013 from its origonal site in the old Alton School grounds to a beautifully landscaped section designed by Monique Murphy, next to the Alton Coronation Hall, we had the goal of ANZAC Day to get it completed. We worked hard to reach it, and the reward was all the people who turned up on Friday 25 April to be there with us, some wearing their grandfathers medals, bringing old photos, old stories, & making new memories for Alton.
We were so fortunate to have a full military service with eight soldiers from Taranaki Platoon, West Coast Company, 5/7 Battalion Royal NZ Infantry Regiment, Abe Abraham on the Flag, two members of Whanganui Platoon, Army Cadet Corps & their Sergeant, Nine members of the 5th Wellington, West Coast and Taranaki Pipes and Drums, members of the Patea Maori Club, Karen Cook, Ross Dunlop, Chester Borrows, & Catherine Carter did the most beautiful Last Post on the bugle. We had two official photographers-Kevin Bone of Hawera & Paul Marcroft of Marton. Their photos can be seen on the Alton Coronation Hall facebook page.
So many people helped the Alton Coronation Hall Committee to make their dream of moving the 92 year, 18 tonne war memorial come true, in particular we want to thank 3 local business men whose help we couldn’t have done without: Steve Watson, Garry Hooper & Murray Phillips.
The stories of our local men who went to war, bring them to life. Ian Fowlie told me what Dick Armstrong told him years ago, how back in 1915 George Mitchell walked into the Armstrong house one night & offered his farm to them for sale, as he was going to War. Dick’s father was reluctant to take the 60 acres of newly cleared land from a man off to fight for their country, & said he would sell it back to him on his return, George said ‘I don’t think I’ll be back’. And he wasn’t. He was killed in Ypres, Belgium in 1917.
George’s friend, Bill McDiarmid also enlisted at about the same time. They were both hardworking, but social men, they would have enjoyed many nights at the Alton Hotel. They were in the Kakaramea Tug of War Team, that won numerous prizes in the province before it went into recess at the start of the War. Bill also never returned. He was badly wounded, and wandered off from the convalescent camp he was sent to in England, never to be seen again.
The reason why Alton decided to build a monument only for their men that died in WWI, and not for the ones that returned, has been lost in the years that have passed since 1922, when it was first unveiled. Maybe it was because it was 14 men who didn’t return, a huge number for a small village, or maybe they did intend to put an Roll of Honour Board in the Hall or the School, but never did. It has been difficult, but I think I have found most of the men that went to World War I from Alton & returned, the ones that didn’t return have a star by their name:
illed in Action WWI
**Richard Herbert ALLEN, Rifleman55191, NZ Rfle Brigade,1st BattalionDied 23 Nov 1918 of wounds after war finishedOccupation before enlistment: Labourer
Sister: Mrs F Amon, Ivydale, Alton
Son of: Arthur Augustus & Adelaide Allen, of Circle, Tasmania, Australia
Not listed on Alton War Memorial for some reason. He & his sister came to Alton from Australia, she Maude, married Fred Amon. It explains why Ryves Allen is the only one to have his full name written on Memorial, unlike the other 13, who only have their initials, to make sure he wasn’t confused with Richard Allen, but in the 93 years since the War Memorial was erected, the reason why he wasn’t added has been lost.
*Ryves William ALLEN, Rifleman31798, 4th Bn. 3rd, New Zealand Rifle Brigade Died – Messines, Belgium
died at age 24, on 07 June 1917
Occupation before enlistment: LabourerSon of: Thomas & Mabella Allen
*George Thomas BREWER, Driver
30470, 11th Bty., New Zealand Field ArtilleryDied – Somme, France
died at age 35, on 05 April 1918Occupation before enlistment: Farmer for JR Taylor, Taumaha Rd, Alton
Father: Richard Brewer, Lancashire, England
*Harry DERRIMAN, Lance Corporal
11/425, Wellington Mounted Rifles, N.Z.E.F.Died – Gallipoli, Turkey
died at age 25, on 09 August 1915Occupation before enlistment:
Parents: Joesph & Elizabeth Derriman, Dorsetshire, England
*Arthur Robert GOULD, Trooper11/443, Wellington Mounted Rifles, N.Z.E.FDied – Gallipoli, Turkey
died at age ?, on 27 August 1915Next of Kin: S Hodge, Alton
*Charles Keith GRANT, Private10/2163, Wellington Infantry Battalion, 5th Reg Died Gallipoli, Turkey at age 25, on 8 August 1915 Occupation before enlistment:
Son of: Arthur & Eliza Kate Grant, Devon, England
*Merle John HODGE, Rifleman
48030, 1st Bn. 3rd, New Zealand Rifle BrigadeDied - France
died at age 22, on 02 May 1918Occupation before enlistment: Dairy Farmer
Son of Mr Harry Hodge, of Alton, 3rd genMerle & Harold’s brother Fredrick died at age 20 in 1914 in an accident at the Alton Dairy Factory where he worked. His arm was cut off by a machine; he died from infection while recovering in hospital.
*William Orr McDIARMID, Private
10/1890, 1st Bn., Wellington Regiment, N.Z.E.FDied – England,(24 August 1915 wounded right shoulder, dangerously ill, evacuated to Malta, recovering, then to England, Admitted and recovering in No 2 NZGH, Walton on Thames, Manchester 23 September 1915. On leave before discharge, disappeared, last seen by Hospital 7 April 1916)
died at age 26, on 07 April 1916Occupation before enlistment: Labourer
Son of: Hugh & Margaret McDiarmid, Wicklow, IrelandGeorge Mitchell’s friend, Bill McDiarmid also enlisted at about the same time. They were both hardworking, but social men, they would have enjoyed many nights at the Alton Hotel. They were in the Kakaramea Tug of War Team, that won numerous prizes in the province before it went into recess at the start of the War. Bill also never returned. He was badly wounded, and wandered off from the convalescent camp he was sent to in England, never to be seen again
*Matthew George MITCHELL, Private
25/124, No. 2 Coy., New Zealand Machine Gun CorpsDied – Ypres, Belgium
died at age 30, on 05 December 1917Occupation before enlistment: Dairy Farmer
Son of: Matthew & Jessie Mitchell, PateaIan Fowlie told me what Dick Armstrong told him years ago, how back in 1915 George Mitchell walked into the Armstrong house one night & offered his farm to them for sale, as he was going to War. Dick’s father was reluctant to take the 60 acres of newly cleared land from a man off to fight for their country, & said he would sell it back to him on his return, George said ‘I don’t think I’ll be back’. And he wasn’t. He was killed in Ypres, Belgium in 1917.
*Esau Joseph PENZER, Private,59712, Canterbury Infantry Regiment, 2nd BattalionDied Somme, Francedied at age 40, on 05 April 1918Occupation before enlistment: FarmerSon of John William Penzer (deceased) & Elizabeth Knight, formerly Penzer.Brothers: John William & Ernest Arthur Penzer
*Godfrey RICHARDS, Private10/2746, Wellington Infantry Regiment, 1st BattalionDied – France, of wounds (gas)died at age 23, on 4 February 1917Occupation before enlistment: Farmer at Manutahi for Mr TaylorSon of Thomas & Susan Richards, RangioraHe went to Alton School
*Ronald Roland SCOWN, Private
12/867, 14th (Waikato) Coy. 1st Bn., Auckland Regiment, N.Z.E.F.Died – Somme, Francedied at age 25, on 17 September 1916
Son of Phillip & Grace Scown, of Kakaramea
*Charles TAYLOR, Private
25/145, 3rd Bn. New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Died – Nieppe Amentiers, France
died at age 32 on 17 August 1917
Occupation before enlistment: Builder at Mokoia
wife of Ethel Taylor nee Gibbs, C/o Mr James Gibbs, Alton.
Son of Isaac & Ellen Taylor (nee Ball), Whataupoko, Gisborne.
*William WHITE, Private
25626, Wellington Infantry Regiment
Died Havrincourt, France, at age 36 on 29 Sept 1918
Son of Mrs Laidlaw of Waverley