James Alfred Nash (b. 1871) was Mayor of Palmerston North from 1908-1923 and three time MP for the city. He put together this collection of his memories around 1951, one year before his death. The Ian Matheson City Archives holds a complete copy of this work - this section talks about subjects relevant during the war years - the Patriotic Society, War Activities and the Influenza Epidemic.
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In Their Own Words
William Dawbin (of Awahuri) was posted to the Wellington Mounted Rifles and shipped out 15 October 1914, first traveling to Egypt and later to the Dardanelles. He was wounded on May 27th at Gaba Tepe (modern Kapatepe, where the Anzac troops landed at Gallipoli). His military record states that he suffered paralysis of the spine. Read his account of his time in Gallipoli here.
This diary describes the final journey of a trooper named William Dawbin, from Awahuri, who had his spine severed at Gaba Tepe (Anzac Cove). It comes not from William himself, but from his cousin Polly, who visited him nearly every day in Netley Hospital in Southampton. To read more about William, see his own Gallipoli Diary and In Memoriam, written by his family to provide context to Polly's diary. Te Manawa Museum kindly lent all of these resources to the Ian Matheson City Archives for the Window Into WW1 project.
"Darling I do miss you both. How grand it will be when all this is over, but sweetheart the end is not in sight yet: You say, "you hope I will remain in Sling for some time" up to the present your wish is gratified - I am still on the Staff - I have a good position. When I receive orders to go "over-seas" I will cable you - so don't be anxious about me."
We had a rough time of it that night, there wasn't enough blankets to go round and a lot of the boys did not even get a rest. My mate and I huddled in a corner, but we couldn't sleep it was too cold. When we got up about seven o'clock out feet were like lead - the feeling had absolutely left them. This is a hard camp we thought. Trentham was bad enough but Sling is fifty times harder than that.
"I wish you and Rangi could see all these places too. Someday we must try and arrange it - it would be an education for Rangi. In New Zealand we live in a very narrow groove - to travel broadens ones views..."
This candid and colourful memoir describes the experiences of Bombardier Norman Hassell during his time during Active Service in the New Zealand Field Artillery. It describes a range of topics including descriptions of the enlistment process, the sea voyage, the wonders of Egypt (and the women found there), the food, Gallipoli and the Western Front. A number of photographs are included in the work.
"A bird, a rat and an octopus went for a boat trip..."
"...Carelessness and greed and indifference let the epidemic in here and then they all worked like heros to cope with it..."
"...I should like to meet you and discuss all these things, but don’t build on finding a very scientific individual..."
[P]lease remember I am one of the most despised outcasts, the most despised outcasts in Samoa, a private soldier, spurned by all the white people, especially the newcomers who are holding good jobs because we hold the island, looked down upon by the half casts, who probably can hardly read and write, and sponged upon by the natives.
I had a request from Private D Higgins to send you some particulars about Samoa – its caves, stone implements and the old war canoes. He had lately come in from the back and thought that I could answer your letter better than he, as I have been interested in stone implements and prehistoric work in England. I have not yet seen the letter with the details that you require, but for love of the thing I will send every mail..."
Starting Thursday 1 October 2015, Window Into WW1 will be featuring a series of letters from local soldiers. From the Western Front to German Samoa, these letters give a lifelike impression of what life was really like in the thick of it.
William Dawbin was the son of William and Julia Dawbin of Awahuri. He embarked with the Main Body on the 16 October 1914 attached to the Wellington Mounted Rifles. After being wounded at Gallipoli, he was sent to England to treatment. The months that follow were recorded by his cousin Polly in her diary. The extracts below were written by the family to help explain the diary further.
Nurse Christian Farquhar Gordon Maclean, of Palmerston North, sent this letter in November 1915 asking for her superior's permission to join the hospital ship Maheno. Nurse Maclean began her military service on 17 January 1916. She would serve on the Maheno until November of the same year, when she would be invalided to England. Details of her illness are scarce. According to her military record...