Country: New Zealand
Issued on: Return
Date of presentation: 23/05/1902
Number issued: 1


Gold medal, to:

6th New Zealand Mounted Rifles –
3708 Trooper R. BROWN

Presentation made by Mr J.C.Thomson, in the Thornbury Hall.

Inscribed: "Presented to Trooper B Brown, by the residents of the district, on his return from South Africa, Thornbury, 23rd May, 1902".


Western Star, 27th May 1902


Trooper R. BROWN, a member of the Sixth Contingent, received a splendid welcome home in the Thornbury Hall on Friday evening. The weather was cold, wet and miserable, but that did not deter any from turning out to do honor to Trooper BROWN, a member of a highly esteemed family, who are old residents of the district. The hall, which was nicely decorated with flags, etc, was crowded, a testimony to the popularity of the guest. The programme comprised dancing, songs, presentation and supper, and it is almost superfluous to say that all enjoyed themselves thoroughly. Among the visitors were Troopers G. PARRY, A. WILSON, T.A. LINDSAY and G.H. HORAN. The committee who promoted the function were Messrs J. McLaughlan (chairman), E. Sutton (secretary and treasurer), H. Sutton, A. Younger, M. Fallow, G. Carmichael, J. Eggleton, T. McIntyre, A. McNeill, W. McNay, C. Foster and J. Bates, and they are to be complimented on the success that crowned their efforts. At the request of the committee, Mr J.C. Thomson made the presentation, consisting of a gold albert and sovereign case and gold medal inscribed as follows: “Presented to Trooper B Brown, by the residents of the district, on his return from South Africa, Thornbury, 23rd May, 1902”. In doing so, he said the large attendance was evidence of the pleasure experienced at the return of Trooper BROWN, whom all were glad to see looking so well after the long strain of an arduous eighteen months’ campaign. War was a terrible thing — a necessary evil, it seemed, on the path to perfection — and they, as British people, deplored this necessity; but when it was inevitable the nation did not flinch from the sacrifice. They remembered Shakespeare’s advice: “Beware of entrance to quarrel, but, being in, hear it that the oppressor might beware of thee”. That was the case with the Boer War. It was not sought after, but when it broke out on the 11th October, 1899, it had been prosecuted with a determination that was pre-eminently a British quality, and a leniency and humanity characteristic of a people who occupied a position and wielded an influence for good in the world unparalleled in the history of mankind. The war had cost nearly £300,000,000, and being tied up in South Africa had forced Great Britain to ally herself with Japan to safeguard her interests in the Far East, thus assuming a contingent liability should Japan be attacked. The sacrifice of money had been borne with equanimity, bat the greater sacrifice was the loss of valuable lives, for which money could offer no consolation. The Black Week in December, 1899 — the week that saw Stormberg, Magersfontein and Colenso — had roused the colonies to a magnificent pitch of patriotism, and from our shores there had gone 6,500 of the flower of the colony. New Zealand Hill, Harvey’s Kopje, and Bothasberg, and many other hard fought fields, testified to the valour and intrepidity of New Zealanders, who had won a reputation that was our pride. They had been in spirit with "the boys" on all the weary marches, on all the gory fields, in all the hospitals of pain; in the hour of disaster and the hour of victory, and while they hailed with acclamations loud and joyous the return of the war stained men, they did not forget to drop a tear for those who had gone down "to the tongueless silence of the dreamless dust", a sacrifice on the altar of patriotism. Men, money, ships and all did not alone make a nation invincible. It depended on the character and spirit of their volunteer soldiers, and with the high character borne and splendid spirit possessed by colonials, the hoary mother of nations would always hold her proud place in the van. The Sixth Contingent had done a large amount of hard work, hid had to put up with many depressing difficulties, and if their campaign had been less brilliant than that of the others, it had been just as serviceable, and had helped to achieve the end now within measurable distance. In conclusion, he said the present from the district would serve as a memento of his participation in a great war, and be a tangible appreciation of the splendid spirit he had shown in volunteering. Three, ringing cheers were then given for Trooper Brown, and one cheer more for his mother, who was on the platform with the other members of the family, the company singing a verse of "For he’s a jolly good follow".

Trooper BROWN, who, on rising, was greeted with rounds of applause, briefly but feelingly thanked them for their kindness and their good wishes. He was suffering from a severe cold, and begged to be excused from making a speech — (applause).

Mr T. McIntyre, as M.C., was the right man in the right place, and the company danced to an early hour to excellent music supplied by Miss Clark (piano) relieved occasionally by Miss Foster, and Messrs Moylan and Rodgers (violins). Capital songs were sung by Miss A. Eggleton, and Messrs J. Murray, J. Bell, and J. Turnbull, while Trooper LINDSAY danced a hornpipe. At 3 a.m. all joined bands and sang "Auld Lang Syne". Mrs and Miss Weir, Mrs Sanders, and other ladies gave valuable assistance to the committee.