Country: New Zealand
Issued on: Return
Date of presentation: 12/09/1902
Number issued: 28
Gold Maltese crosses, to:
124 Trooper Joseph CULLING [F.J. Culling]
1094 Trooper Ernest WHITE
1643 Trooper John Joseph HODGSON
3747 Trooper H. KOPPERT [Coppert] - listed as present but not a recipient
???? Trooper E. CARTER (4510 or 4071) - listed as present but not a recipient
5847 Trooper W. WATT
???? Trooper W. WILSON (or J. Wilson?)
9408 Trooper W. JACKSON
RECEPTION TO RETURNED TROOPERS AT HAMPDEN.
It may safely be said that in no part of the colony has any district shown a greater amount of enthusiasm in respect to all matters in connection with the war than at Hampden. With equal truth may it be said that, in proportion to population, no district sent more men to Sonth Africa than did Hampden, nor a finer lot of young men. It was, therefore, fitting that now that the whole of the men have returned there should be a general welcoming home, with all its attendant congratulatory references to the services which the men had rendered to the Empire. This function, organised by the indefatigable Mayor (Mr W. Nicolson), was held last night in the Athenaeum Hall, and proved eminently successful, as it deserved to be. The hall had been tastefully decorated for the occasion, bunting being largely employed for the purpose. The building was filled with an enthusiastic audience, who accorded to the troopers a very hearty reception. The Mayor presided, and seated upon the platform were the Mayor of Dunedin (Mr J.A. Park), Colonel Robin, Lieut.-Colonel Headland, (Major Murcott, the Rev. W. Nichol, and Mr J.J. Ramsay. The returned troopers were accommodated with seats in front of the platform facing the audience, and gave a good idea of the strength of the force sent away from the Hampden district.
The returned members of contingents present were — Quartermaster-Sergeant A. BOOTH, Farrier-Sergeant J. DOUGLAS, Corporals J. BISHOP and A. CULLING, and Troopers F.J. CULLING, W. McKERROW, E. WHITE, W. ROSS, J. HODGSON, W. GREEN, H. COPPERT, T. HODGSON, E. CARTER, P. CARMICHAEL, W. WATT, F. DUFFY, W.C. TURNER, T. QUINN, M. GRIFFIN, A. HODGSON, R. FAMILTON, J. WILSON, W. BOLTON, Chas. DAWSON, and W. JACKSON. Amongst the audience we also noticed Lieuts. D. Hickey (4th and 7th), F Collis (4th and 9th), and F. Keddell (7th and 10th), Sergeant Wilson, Corporals Carpenter, J. Jones, and G. Patterson, Troopers Anderson, Cudmore, J. Gilchrist, J. O'Connor, and Hart.
A long programme of speeches and songs had been prepared, and the items followed each other in quick succession, the Chairman keeping this going merrily. Those who contributed to the entertainment were, in the order of performance: — Miss Cooper, of Dunedin, song, "The Swallows" (encore "Scarlet and Blue"); Mr Potter, song, "Soldiers of the Empire"; Miss K. Hull, song, "The Honeysuckle and the Bee"; Mrs Davies, song, "Island of Dreams"; Miss Atkinson, the serpentine dance; Miss Cooper, song, "The Forge arid the Bell"; Lieut. Keddell, song, "My Old Dutch"; Miss M. Booth, song, "The Deathless Army"; Mr J.J. Ramsay, recitation, "Father Reilly's Horse"; Mr Potter, song, "What do you think of the Irish Now" (encore, "Jock McCraw"); Miss Atkinson, Scotch dance; Mrs Davies, song, "The Flight of Ages". All the items were greeted with loud applause, as well they might be, for, generally speaking, they were above ordinary merit. The accompaniments were considerately played by Mrs Watt, Miss M. Booth, Miss Watt, and Mr R.J. Meldrum.
The whole assembly having sung the National Anthem, the Mayor, in opening the proceedings, said that they had gathered to welcome home their returned troopers. They had all been looking forward for some time to that night, and he was sure he voiced the feelings of all when he gave to the returned troopers a hearty welcome. Hampden had sent over thirty men to South Africa, and all had returned except one — Lieut. PARKER, than whom he had never met a more manly and gentlemanly young fellow. They were all glad to see their boys back again. But while they were giving a hearty welcome to those who had returned they should not forget those who would never return — the men who had given their lives in the service of the Empire. Movements were on foot in both Dunedin and Oamaru to erect memorials to the fallen men, and he hoped that when the collectors came round they would all give their mite to help to keep green the memories of those who had fallen. He then introduced Mr J.A. Park, the Mayor of Dunedin, with whom as a member of the Dunedin Patriotic Committee he had had many dealings, and whom he had found to be a most genial man.
Mr Park said that he thanked them for the invitation they had given to him to be present to assist in welcoming home their returned troopers. It was gratifying to know that Hampden had sent such a large number of men to South Africa, and that all had returned except one. He knew that they had a long programme, and he was not, therefore, going to make a speech, because any time taken up by speakers would come off the time for dancing. They would all remember how, when the patriotic fund was organised from Oamaru to the Bluff and £I0,000 was raised, they had equipped and sent away a body of men who were not equalled in physique by any other contingent. Hampden had then been disappointed because it could not get all its men away with that contingent. The patriotic sentiment that had then been evoked had been kept alive ever since, and Hampden had always maintained its interest and activity, as he had learned from the many calls made upon him by their energetic Mayor. He was pleased to have been afforded an opportunity of being present on that occasion.
Mr J.J. Ramsay, the next speaker, said that he was surrounded by so many representative men upon the platform that he wondered what position he occupied. There were two men in New Zealand whose word was law. One was Mr Seddon and the other was the Mayor of Hampden. When Mr Nicolson said that a thing was to be done there was no escape: the thing had to be done. He was there in obedience to a command he had received, and he was pleased to be present to assist in welcoming such a fine lot of young men back from the war. One lesson which the young men who had gone lo South Africa had taught the older men of the colony was that the young people had not degenerated. They were as good men as their fathers and grandfathers. One matter was too often overlooked when they talked of the bravery of the young men, and that was the bravery of the mothers who had sent them to the war, not knowing whether they would ever return. The young men had proved themselves worthy sons of such brave mothers. The speaker referred to the great energy displayed by the Mayor of Hampden, and said that he was looked upon as a model Mayor.
The Rev. W. Nichol said he had great pleasure in being present at a general and final welcome home to their troopers. He had a desire to pay a tribute to the memory of the men who had lost their lives. Whether they had fallen in battle or died of disease, whether they died in South Africa or had come back to the colony to die, was not material. They were all worthy of having their memories cherished, for they had all been brave men. They were grateful for the services those men had performed and the great sacrifices they had made, and should cherish their memories. Some time ago Colonel Robin had spoken of those who had fallen as the silent squadron. Since then that silent squadron had been greatly added to. They could not make any distinction as between the men, for they were all brave men and heroes. If he referred to Bothasberg it was because that was the occasion on which New Zealand paid the highest toll. On that memorable occasion their young men had specially shown what they were capable of doing, and had won the admiration and praise of men who were in a position to speak with authority. The names of those who had taken part in that great fight were written high upon the rock of fame. The erection of a monument was a matter of mere material moment. The greatest of all memorials was the recollection of warm hearts. They had died for all, and they were not going to let their memory die, but would keep it green, not only in their hearts, but with some more tangible form. With the permission of the chairman, Mr Nichol asked the audience to stand as a mark of respect to the departed, the invitation being spontaneously responded to.
The Rev. H.J. Davis said they were a proud and happy people that night. They were proud that their young men had gone to the war, but gladder still that they had come back, or a large number of them. They were proud of their boys because of what had been said of them by those entitled to speak with authority. Sentiment moved men to the greatest deeds, and he hoped that they would have a South African Day, not to keep alive old sores, but to mark a great Empire-making epoch.
Colonel Robin, who was invited by the Mayor to present medals to all the returned troopers, said that he was glad to be able to be present on that occasion, because he had previously been the cause of some disappointment to the people of Hampden. Some 34 young men had left Hampden for South Africa, and nearly all had returned. He told of the battle in which Lieutenant PARKER had been killed, and said that, though that officer had left the New Zealanders to join Kitchener's Scouts, he had met his death within some 800 yards of where the New Zealanders were engaged in the fight. Ten contingents had gone out to South Africa, and he might claim that all had done their duty. He hoped that those who were to receive medals would continue to render service to the colony by joining some Volunteer corps and maintaining themselves in an efficient state. They would thus be in readiness should their services be again required by the Empire, and the time when there would be another call for men might not be very far off. By that time other lads would be ready to assist in defending the flag, and he hoped that when the time came it would find them all willing and prepared to do their duty.
Colonel Robin then handed to each of the returned troopers a gold Maltese cross bearing the initials of the recipient, the number of the contingent in which he served and the date of the presentation. The medals were provided by the people of Hampden, and are very nice memorials of their service in South Africa. The medals were pinned on to the breast of the recipients by Mrs Watt, the Mayor remarking that it was fitting that that lady should perform the duty, as most of the recipients had passed through her hands as pupils. Those who received medals were as follows, the whole of them being greeted with loud applause as they came forward: Trooper Jos. CULLING, First Contingent; Trooper W. McKERROW, Fourth; Trooper W. ROSS, Fourth; Trooper E. WHITE, Fourth; Trooper J. WATT, Fourth; Trooper W. DUFFY, Fourth; Quartermaster Sergeant A. BOOTH, Fifth and Ninth; Trooper J. HODGSON, Fifth; Corporal J. BISHOP, Sixth; Trooper W. GREEN, Sixth; Trooper E. HODGSON, Sixth; Trooper P. CARMICHAEL, Seventh; Sergeant J. DOUGLAS, Eighth; Trooper W. WATT, Eighth; Trooper F. DUFFY, Eighth; Trooper T. QUINN, Ninth; Trooper A. CULLING, Ninth; Trooper W. WILSON, Ninth; Trooper R. FAMILTON, Ninth; Trooper W. TURNER, Ninth; Trooper M. GRIFFIN, Ninth; Trooper A. HODGSON, Ninth; Trooper W. BOLTON, Ninth; Trooper W. JACKSON, Ninth; Trooper C. DAWSON, Ninth.
Coming to the last medal, Colonel Robin read the inscription as follows: — "To the memory of Lieut. J. H. Parker, killed in action at Haut Nek, South Africa, 30/4/00". He handed the medal to the Mayor and asked that he would deliver it to Mrs Parker, the mother of the late officer.
Lieut.-Colonel Headland said that as time was getting on he would refrain from occupying the time of the audience. He was pleased to be present and take part in the reception given by Hampden to the returned troopers. The people of Hampden had every reason to be proud of the men who had represented them in South Africa.
Mr T.A. Paterson, who was next called upon, contented himself with saying "ditto" to all that had been said by other speakers.
Major Murcott expressed his pleasure, as one of the oldest residents of Hampden, in having the privilege of witnessing the return of their troopers.
Captain McWilliam said he had for the past two years looked forward to the time when they would be able to welcome home the whole of their troopers. He had felt proud to be in command of the Hampden Rifles, which had sent so many men to South Africa, and he took it as a compliment to the corps that the public should have turned out so well to accord a hearty welcome to the returned troopers.
Lieutenant Lefevre said he was pleased to see the returned troopers looking so well. In thanking them for their services and welcoming them back they did honor not to individual members, but to the troopers collectively. While welcoming those who had returned they should unite in extending sympathy to the relatives of those who would never return.
The long programme was now exhausted.
Trooper Joseph CULLING returned thanks for the hearty reception given to the returned troopers. He spoke of the services rendered to the troopers by Mr Nicolson on many occasions, and asked him to accept a small memento from them. He then handed to Mr Nicolson a handsome silver match-box and sovereign-case, bearing the inscription: "Mr W. Nicolson, Mayor of Hampden. Presented by Hampden troopers in recognition of his kindness". Three cheers were given for Mr Nicolson.
Mr Nicolson acknowledged the gift, which he said was unexpected, as he had not done anything more than he felt to be his duty.