World War 1 and Great Barrier Island

 
Benjamin Sanderson, of Great Barrier Island, served in the Australian forces. More about him shortly.
 
 
Honors and Awards for New Zealand Soldiers
New List of Decorations
The following is a list of New Zealanders on active service who have had honors and awards conferred on them. All were privates unless otherwise stated, address of next-of-kin being given:
......
Military Medal
Cpl. McMillan, Neil,: Great Barrier Island
Source: Poverty Bay Herald 4th December, 1918, p9.

SANDERSON, ROBERT

Rank: Private   

Age:26

Regiment/Service:Auckland Regiment, N.Z.E.F.                 2nd Bn.

Native of Okupu, Great Barrier Island, New Zealand. Son of Eliza Jane Sanderson, of Mount Eden, Auckland,       New Zealand, and the late Benjamin Sanderson.

Serial No.             24064

First Known Rank             Private

Occupation before Enlistment   Bushman

Next of Kin         B. Sanderson (father), Great Barrier Island, Auckland, New Zealand

Body on Embarkation     New Zealand Expeditionary Force

Embarkation Unit             13th Reinforcements Auckland Infantry Battalion, A Company

Embarkation Date            27 May 1916

Place of Embarkation     Wellington, New Zealand

Transport                            HMNZT 54           HMNZT 55

Vessel   Willochra or Tofua

Destination         Plymouth or Devonport, England

Nominal Roll Number     33

Page on Nominal Roll     7

Last Unit Served               Auckland Infantry Regiment

Place of Death   Somme, France

Date of Death    30 March 1918

Grave Reference IV. B. 2.Cemetery EUSTON ROAD CEMETERY, COLINCAMPS

Year of Death    1918

Cause of Death Killed in action

Description of Image      Portrait, Auckland Weekly News 1918

 

SANDERSON, WILLIAM

Rank:PrivateService No:24063Date of Death:04/10/1917Age:32Regiment/Service:Auckland Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 15th (North Auckland) Coy. 2nd Bn. Panel ReferenceN.Z. Apse, Panel 1.MemorialTYNE COT MEMORIAL

Son of Eliza Jane Sanderson, of 8, Kelly St., Eden Vale Rd., Mount Eden, Auckland, and the late Benjamin Sanderson. Native of Okupu, Great Barrier Island.

Rank Last Held   Private

Serial No.             24063

First Known Rank             Private

Occupation before Enlistment   Labourer

Next of Kin         Ben Sanderson (father), Great Barrier Island, Auckland, New Zealand

Body on Embarkation     New Zealand Expeditionary Force

Embarkation Unit             13th Reinforcements Auckland Infantry Battalion, A Company

Embarkation Date            27 May 1916

Place of Embarkation     Wellington, New Zealand

Transport                            HMNZT 54           HMNZT 55

Vessel   Willochra or Tofua

Destination         Plymouth or Devonport, England

Nominal Roll Number     33

Page on Nominal Roll     7

Last Unit Served               Auckland Infantry Regiment

Place of Death   Ypres, Belgium

Date of Death    4 October 1917

Year of Death    1917

Cause of Death Killed in action

Description of Image      Portrait, Auckland Weekly News 1917

 

 

 

Paddison, Frank William

Serial No.             55138

First Known Rank             Rifleman

Occupation before Enlistment   Gardener

Next of Kin         Mrs E. Paddison (mother), Port Fitzroy, Great Barrier Island, New Zealand

Body on Embarkation     New Zealand Rifle Brigade

Embarkation Unit             Reinforcements H Company (part)

Embarkation Date            14 July 1917

Place of Embarkation     Wellington, New Zealand

Transport            HMNZT 89

Vessel   Waitemata

Destination         Plymouth, England

Nominal Roll Number     69

Page on Nominal Roll     21

 

Paddison,  Herbert Allison

Rank Last Held   Private

Serial No.             38738

First Known Rank             Private

Occupation before Enlistment   Farmer

Next of Kin         Mrs A.M. Paddison (mother), Port Fitzroy, Great Barrier Island, Auckland, New Zealand

Body on Embarkation     New Zealand Expeditionary Force

Embarkation Unit             22nd Reinforcements E Company

Embarkation Date            13 February 1917

Place of Embarkation     Wellington, New Zealand

Transport            HMNZT 77

Vessel   Mokoia

Destination         Plymouth, England

Nominal Roll Number     55

Page on Nominal Roll     17

Last Unit Served               Auckland Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion

Place of Death   Belgium

Date of Death    8 October 1917

Age at Death      31

Year of Death    1917

Cause of Death Died of wounds

Cemetery Name              Nine Elms British Cemetery, Poperinge, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium

Grave Reference             IV.B.1.

Biographical Notes          Son of Edward and Annie Paddison, of Port Fitzroy, Great Barrier Island.

Description of Image      Portrait, Auckland Weekly News 1917

 

Paddison, Sidney Webb

Serial No.             28527

First Known Rank             Rifleman

Occupation before Enlistment   Farm hand

Next of Kin         E.M. Paddison (father), Owanga, Great Barrier Island, New Zealand

Body on Embarkation     New Zealand Rifle Brigade

Embarkation Unit             9th Reinforcements 4th Battalion, H Company

Embarkation Date            11 October 1916

Place of Embarkation     Wellington, New Zealand

Transport            HMNZT 67

Vessel   Tofua

Destination         Plymouth, England

Nominal Roll Number     43

Page on Nominal Roll     35

Additional Information  Some H Company sailed on the Willochra

 

McMillan, Neil

Serial No.             12/3105

First Known Rank             Private

Next of Kin         Mrs A. McMillan (mother), Great Barrier Island, New Zealand

Marital Status    Single

Enlistment Address         Mokai, New Zealand

Military District  Auckland

Body on Embarkation     7th Reinforcements

Embarkation Unit             Auckland Infantry Battalion

Embarkation Date            9 October 1915

Place of Embarkation     Wellington, New Zealand

Transport                            HMNZT 32           HMNZT 33           HMNZT 34

Vessel   Aparima or Navua or Warrimoo

Destination         Suez, Egypt

Page on Nominal Roll     469

 

Medland, Bramwell Laughton

Serial No.             3/877

First Known Rank             Private

Next of Kin         T.J. Medland (father), Tryphena, Great Barrier Island, New Zealand

Marital Status    Single

Enlistment Address         Tryphena, Great Barrier Island, New Zealand

Military District  Auckland

Body on Embarkation     6th Reinforcements

Embarkation Unit             Medical Corps

Embarkation Date            14 August 1915

Place of Embarkation     Wellington, New Zealand

Transport                            HMNZT 27           HMNZT 28

Vessel   Willochra or Tofua

Destination         Suez, Egypt

Page on Nominal Roll     497

 

Medland, John Thomas

Serial No.             38726

First Known Rank             Private

Occupation before Enlistment   Farmer

Next of Kin         T.J. Medland (father), Tryphena, Great Barrier Island, Auckland, New Zealand

Body on Embarkation     New Zealand Expeditionary Force

Embarkation Unit             22nd Reinforcements E Company

Embarkation Date            13 February 1917

Place of Embarkation     Wellington, New Zealand

Transport            HMNZT 77

Vessel   Mokoia

Destination         Plymouth, England

Nominal Roll Number     55

Page on Nominal Roll     17

 

Sanderson,  John

Serial No.             40643

First Known Rank             Sapper

Occupation before Enlistment   Labourer

Next of Kin         Mrs J. Sanderson (wife), Okuku, Great Barrier Island, New Zealand

Body on Embarkation     New Zealand Engineers Tunnelling Company

Embarkation Unit             4th Reinforcements

Embarkation Date            16 February 1917

Place of Embarkation     Wellington, New Zealand

Transport            HMNZT 76

Vessel   Aparima

Destination         Plymouth, England

Nominal Roll Number     55

Page on Nominal Roll     40

 

Taylor, Cyril Hargrave

Serial No.             4/637

First Known Rank             Sergeant

Next of Kin         Herbert Taylor, Whangapara, Great Barrier Island, New Zealand

Marital Status    Single

Enlistment Address         Whangapara, Great Barrier, New Zealand

Military District  Auckland

Body on Embarkation     2nd Reinforcements

Embarkation Unit             Wellington Mounted Rifles

Embarkation Date            14 December 1914

Place of Embarkation     Wellington, New Zealand

Transport                            HMNZT 13           HMNZT 14           HMNZT 15

Vessel   Verdala or Willochra or Knight of the Garter

Destination         Suez, Egypt

Page on Nominal Roll     712

 

Waetford, Charles

Serial No.             33481

First Known Rank             Private

Occupation before Enlistment   Bushman

Next of Kin         Mrs J. Davis (sister), Great Barrier Island, Auckland, New Zealand

Body on Embarkation     New Zealand Expeditionary Force

Embarkation Unit             22nd Reinforcements Wellington Infantry Regiment, B Company

Embarkation Date            16 February 1917

Place of Embarkation     Wellington, New Zealand

Transport            HMNZT 76

Vessel   Aparima

Destination         Plymouth, England

Nominal Roll Number     55

Page on Nominal Roll     9

 

Norman Warren

Serial No.             24/1850

First Known Rank             Rifleman

Occupation before Enlistment   Farmer

Next of Kin         Philip Warren (father), Port Fitzroy, Great Barrier Island, New Zealand

Body on Embarkation     New Zealand Rifle Brigade

Embarkation Unit             3rd Reinforcements 2nd Battalion, F Company

Embarkation Date            8 January 1916

Place of Embarkation     Wellington, New Zealand

Transport                            HMNZT 38           HMNZT 39

Vessel   Tahiti or Warrimoo

Destination         Suez, Egypt

Nominal Roll Number     16

Page on Nominal Roll     10

 

MABEY, ALEXANDER JOSEPH

Rank Last Held   Private

Serial No.             64549

First Known Rank             Private

Occupation before Enlistment   Farmer

Next of Kin         Mrs Mary Ann Mabey (mother), Maramarua, New Zealand

Body on Embarkation     New Zealand Expeditionary Force

Embarkation Unit             32nd Reinforcements Otago Infantry Regiment, D Company

Embarkation Date            21 November 1917

Place of Embarkation     Wellington, New Zealand

Transport            HMNZT 96

Vessel   Maunganui

Destination         Liverpool, England

Nominal Roll Number     75

Page on Nominal Roll     36

Last Unit Served               Otago Infantry Regiment

Place of Death   France

Date of Death    26 July 1918

Age at Death      29

Year of Death    1918

Cause of Death Died of wounds

Cemetery Name              Gezaincourt Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France

Grave Reference             I. O. 20.

Memorial Name               Maramarua Memorial

Biographical Notes          Alexander Mabey was the son of William G. and Mary A. Mabey, of Okiwi, Great                                                              Barrier Island, New Zealand. Native of Auckland.

Description of Image      Portrait, Auckland Weekly News 1918

 

Bush, Harry William

Rank Last Held  Private

Forename(s)  Harry William

Surname  Bush

 War   World War I, 1914-1918

 Serial No. 12/4147

 GenderMale

 First Known Rank  Private

 Occupation before Enlistment  Bushman

Next of Kin

Harry Bush (father), Port Fitzroy, Great Barrier, Auckland, New Zealand

 Body on Embarkation  New Zealand Expeditionary Force

 Embarkation Unit  11th Reinforcements Auckland Infantry Battalion, A Company

 Embarkation Date  1 April 1916

 Place of Embarkation  Wellington, New Zealand  

Transport   HMNZT 49  HMNZT 50

Vessel  Maunganui or Tahiti

Destination  Suez, Egypt

Nominal Roll Number  28

 Page on Nominal Roll  5

 Last Unit Served  Auckland Infantry Regiment, A Company, 2nd Battalion

 Place of Death  Somme, France

 Date of Death  15 September 1916

 Age at Death   24

 Year of Death: 1916

Cause of Death: Killed in action

Memorial Name: Caterpillar Valley (New Zealand) Memorial, Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval, Somme, France

 Son of Harry and Sarah Bush, of Port Fitzroy, Great Barrier Island

 

Bush,  Stanley Thomas

Serial No.             73300

First Known Rank             Private

Occupation before Enlistment   Bushman

Next of Kin         Mrs S. Bush (mother), Fitzroy, Great Barrier Island, New Zealand

Body on Embarkation     New Zealand Expeditionary Force

Embarkation Unit             36th Reinforcements B Company

Embarkation Date            23 April 1918

Place of Embarkation     Wellington, New Zealand

Transport            HMNZT 102

Vessel   Willochra

Destination         Southampton, England

Nominal Roll Number     81

Page on Nominal Roll     8

 

Flinn, Francis Walter Hillbury Swayslin

Serial No.             4/1262

First Known Rank             Sapper

Next of Kin         Arthur Flinn (uncle), Great Barrier Island, Auckland, New Zealand

Marital Status    Single

Enlistment Address         43 Russell St, New Zealand

Military District  Auckland

Body on Embarkation     Tunnelling Company

Embarkation Unit             Headquarters, No. 1 Relief

Embarkation Date            18 December 1915

Place of Embarkation     Auckland, New Zealand

Transport            Ruapehu 18 December 1915

Vessel   Ruapehu

Destination         Plymouth, England

Page on Nominal Roll     235

 

Harvey,  Roderick McGregor

Rank Last Held   Sergeant

Serial No.             14259

Date of Birth      6 December 1884

Place of Birth     Wairarapa, New Zealand

First Known Rank             Rifleman

Occupation before Enlistment   Teacher

Next of Kin         Mrs George Harvey (mother), Cove, Waipu, New Zealand

Marital Status    Single

Enlistment Date                8 March 1916

Body on Embarkation     New Zealand Rifle Brigade

Embarkation Unit             8th Reinforcements 1st Battalion, E Company

Embarkation Date            26 June 1916

Place of Embarkation     Wellington, New Zealand

Transport                            HMNZT 56   HMNZT 57

Vessel   Maunganui or Tahiti

Destination         Devonport, England

Nominal Roll Number     34

Page on Nominal Roll     29

Campaigns          France

Military Awards                                British War Medal (1914-1920)  Victory Medal

Wounds and Diseases    Wounded, hospitalised Walton on Thames

Discharge Date  14 December 1919

Last Unit Served               New Zealand Rifle Brigade

Place of Death   At home, Te Koporuru, Dargaville, New Zealand

Date of Death    4 August 1944

Age at Death      60

Year of Death    1944

Cause of Death Cancer

Cemetery Name              Waipu Public Cemetery, Northland, New Zealand

Biographical NoteS          Son of George and Barbara Harvey

                                                Husband of Rita Pennalligen, they married 24 January 1922 and had two daughters.

                                                Attended Waipu Cove school, he did not progres to secondary but trained as a pupil                                       teacher. This teaching took him to many places including Great Barrier Island, the                                             Thames area.

                                        After he was wounded he stayed at Torquay and trained the men.

                                                On his return from war he went back teaching.

Postwar Occupation       Teacher

 

Jensen, Lonza

Rank Last Held   Private

Serial No.             12/773

First Known Rank             Private

Next of Kin         George Jensen (brother), Okiwi, Great Barrier Island, New Zealand

Marital Status    Single

Enlistment Address         Taumarunui, King Country, New Zealand

Military District  Wellington

Body on Embarkation     Main Body

Embarkation Unit             Auckland Infantry Battalion

Embarkation Date            16 October 1914

Place of Embarkation     Auckland, New Zealand

Transport            HMNZT 8             HMNZT 12

Vessel   Star of India or Waimana

Destination         Suez, Egypt

Nominal Roll Number     Vol1

Page on Nominal Roll     368

Last Unit Served               Auckland Infantry Battalion

Place of Death   Gallipoli, Turkey

Date of Death    8 August 1915

Year of Death    1915

Cause of Death Killed in action

Memorial Name               Chunuk Bair (New Zealand) Memorial, Chunuk Bair Cemetery, Gallipoli, Turkey

Memorial Reference      Panel 10

Biographical Notes          Son of Mr. and Mrs. H. A. Jensen, of Auckland

 

Johnson,  Llewellyn

Serial No.             24814

First Known Rank             Private

Occupation before Enlistment   Farmer

Next of Kin         Alexander F. Johnson (father), Tryphena, Great Barrier Island, Auckland, New Zealand

Body on Embarkation     New Zealand Expeditionary Force

Embarkation Unit             13th Reinforcements Auckland Infantry Battalion, A Company

Embarkation Date            27 May 1916

Place of Embarkation     Wellington, New Zealand

Transport                            HMNZT 54           HMNZT 55

Vessel   Willochra or Tofua

Destination         Plymouth or Devonport, England

Nominal Roll Number     33

Page on Nominal Roll     6

 

Kirk, Charles Ernest

Rank Last Held   Private

Serial No.             10/1550

Place of Birth     Great Barrier Island, New Zealand

First Known Rank             Private

Next of Kin         Robert Butler (cousin), 321 Ormond Road, Gisborne, New Zealand

Marital Status    Single

Enlistment Address         321 Ormond Road, Gisborne, New Zealand

Military District  Wellington

Body on Embarkation     3rd Reinforcements

Embarkation Unit             Wellington Infantry Battalion

Embarkation Date            14 February 1915

Place of Embarkation     Wellington, New Zealand

Transport                            HMNZT 17           HMNZT 18           HMNZT 19

Vessel   Maunganui or Tahiti or Aparima

Nominal Roll Number     Vol1

Page on Nominal Roll     397

Last Unit Served               Wellington Infantry Battalion

Place of Death   Lost at sea, HT Marquette, Aegean Sea

Date of Death    23 October 1915

Year of Death    1915

Cause of Death Drowned

Memorial Name               Mikra Memorial, Greece

Biographical Notes          Charles Kirk was the son of William Kirk, of Auckland.     

                                                His father was working at the Kauri Timber Company on the Island at the time of his                                       birth (information supplied by Mrs Fallon, a descendant).

                                                One of twenty nine crew and 182 troops lost on the torpedoed Marquette 23 October                                  1915

Description of Image      Portrait, Auckland Weekly News 1915

 

Additional Information                 

                The Marquette was a British Merchant ship of 7,057 tons. It sank when a torpedo launched from a submarine hit it 36 miles south of Salonika Bay. Twenty nine crew and 182 troops were lost. Ten of those who died were New Zealand nurses who had been working at No.1 New Zealand Stationary Hospital in Port Said in October 1915 when they were ordered to prepare to go to Lemnos. The hospital was to be set up there to care for casualties being brought back from the Dardanelles.

                The Transport Ship Marquette took on board officers and men of the New Zealand Medical Corps, 36 New Zealand Army Nursing Staff, 610 officers and men of 29th Divisional Ammunition Column , 541 mules and some ammunition in mid October sailed for Salonika. The French torpedo destroyer Tirailleur joined the convoy on 22 October which gave credence to the idea that there was a real danger of being attacked by German submarines in the Mediterranean. The torpedo destroyer left the convoy on 22 October and at 9.15 am on 23 October the Marquette was hit by a torpedo on the starboard side and began to list. Within about 15 minutes she had sunk.

 

The SS Bodicea (as she was first called), was originally built for the Wilson & Furness-Leyland Line with accommodation for 120 1st class passengers. Launched on November 25th 1897, she made her maiden voyage from Glasgow to London and New York on January 15th 1898. Later that year she became one of 5 sister ships acquired for the Atlantic Transport Line for around £140,000 each.

She made only one trip across the Atlantic in service with her new owners before, on September 15th 1898, she was renamed SS Marquette. She then began further regular sailings across the Atlantic. By September 1905, she had been transferred to the Red Star Line and, once fitted with radio, she commenced the Antwerp to Philadelphia service for that Company.

By the end of 1914, she had completed her final Atlantic crossing, as Antwerp and other Belgian ports had fallen into German hands. She was then requisitioned for use as a British war transport ship, for which she was re-painted grey. Less than 12 months later, she was torpedoed without warning, and sunk in the Aegian Sea with the loss of many lives.

What was SS Marquette doing?

SS Marquette had set off from Alexandria, Egypt on a routine mission to Salonika, Greece on October 19th, 1915. She was escorted for 4 days by the French Destroyer, "Tirailleur". On board were 22 officers and 588 other ranks of the 29th Division Ammunition Column, Royal Field Artillery with it's vehicles and animals. Also on board were 8 officers, 9 NCO's and 77 other ranks of the New Zealand Medical Corps, and the equipment and stores of No.1 New Zealand Stationary Hospital, including thirty-six nurses. In addition, SS Marquette had a ship's crew of 95, making a total of 741 persons on board. Her cargo included ammunition, horses and mules.

U-Boat U-35.

The U-35 was commissioned into the German Imperial Navy on November 3rd, 1914. She was powered by 2 diesel engines which gave her a submerged speed of around 9 knots. She was 67.80 meters long, 6.32 meters at the widest point, 3.6 meters from keel to water deck and she displaced 878 tons. She could carry 6 torpedoes. Armed with 4 torpedo tubes, 2 at the bow and 2 at the stern, she was brought into service in the eastern Mediterranean to support the struggling Austrian's and Turks. The U-35 was to become the most devastating U-boat in WW1, holding the record for tonnage sunk at 224 ships. Not all of U-35's targets were sunk using her valuable torpedoes; some were sunk using her deck cannon after the crew had been allowed to leave the ship! Indeed, there are reports that the submariners even gave the ship's crew advice on which direction to travel in their lifeboats to reach safety!

The Strike.

Unfortunately for the Marquette, she was a legitimate target. Although she was carrying a field hospital team, she was also carrying men, machines and ammunition. There was to be no warning and no opportunity to abandon ship before she was destroyed. Now without her escort (the French Destroyer "Tirailleur" had left the convoy the evening before), SS Marquette was struck by a torpedo from U-35 completely without warning at 09.15 on October 23rd, 1915. She sank within 13 minutes and 167 died.

Could this tragedy have been avoided?

Arguably, yes! There are certainly a number of factors which would have made U-35's task difficult if not impossible. Survivors at the enquiry in Salonika asked the following questions, amongst others:

  • Why did the escort ship leave early when the Marquette was only 35 miles from the safety of the anti-submarine nets at Salonika?
  • Why was the Marquette only making 9 knots, the same speed as a submerged U-boat?
  • Why was she not zig-zagging?
  • Why were the hospital staff travelling on board this ship when the British hospital ship, "Grantilly Castle", with 552 beds, left Alexandria on the same day as the Marquette and with the same destination? She sailed empty! She was used to treat many of the survivors of this tragedy.

One lesson learned was that never again would a medical unit be transported in anything other than a hospital ship, a practice that continued into the Second World War.

Mikra British Cemetery, Greece.

Mikra British Cemetery now contains 1,810 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, as well as 147 war graves of other nationalities. The Mikra Memorial can be found within the cemetery, commemorating almost 500 nurses, officers and men of the Commonwealth forces who died when troop transports and hospital ships were lost in the Mediterranean, and who have no grave but the sea. They are commemorated here because others, who went down in the same vessels but were washed ashore and identified, and are now buried at Thessalonika.
 

Soon letters commenced to arrive from some of the surviving sisters and made one feel even more vividly what the poor girls had suffered. I will transcribe one of these letters which gives a very graphic account of the disaster.

After relating the departure of the No. 1 Stationary Hospital contingent on the Marquette, a huge ship, and saying how proud they were to be travelling to Salonika with a big British ammunition column (little realising that that fact was most probably the reason for the enemy to torpedo the ship).

 

“It was all very nice and very comfortable indeed, the Imperial officers were so good to us. No. 1 New Zealand Stationary Hospital felt very much the honour that had been conferred on it, by being sent to so important a field. There were rumours of torpedoes of course, and we had life-belt drill for two days, but we hardly took it seriously I am afraid. On Friday we were picked up by a convey, a French torpedo destroyer, and I think we girls were only then aware that they were afraid for the Marquette, and even then took it for granted that it was only precautionary on account of our very valuable cargo of mules, etc., and the destroyer left us that night.

At breakfast next morning, they told us we would be in port by mid-day, so the danger seemed past, and we were mostly enjoying a brisk walk on deck, as it was very cold and we felt it after Egypt, when the crash came. It was simply awful, and no one had any doubts and several saw the periscope quite near. We all rushed for our life-belts. Everyone was calm, and although men and girls alike were as white as sheets, no one cried or spoke even, except to give orders. We had had our places at the boats detailed to us, but it was then the trouble arose. They were not managed properly and the ropes refused to act. We were, however, put into the boats, and the next minute we were floundering in the sea, and the Marquette seemed to be tipping right over on top of us.

Some of them struck out, but to me, and those quite near me, an absolute miracle happened. In what seemed barely a second, a wave had washed us right aft, past the very end of the boat; I'll never understand that part, as she was a huge boat, and we were at the other end. It was all pretty awful then for a while, and then the Marquette sank as if she had been a tiny cockleshell, and so quietly. There was no explosion and that also was a miracle. After a fearful experience of what seemed to me touching the bottom of the sea, I found myself and my friend and a “Tommy” clinging to a bit of wreckage and perished with cold, and my little chum terrified. We were thrown with a lot of the others for a while, but bye and bye we all got separated. Another sister joined us and we four just managed to hang on by our hands to our life-saving board. It was all too awful and too harrowing to write about. My friend died some time in the afternoon, and the only thing that made me let her go even then, was the thought that we would be the next. The “Tommy” went off too, and then Sister and I climbed up on to the board and lay front down on it and let the waves do as they liked. Then we saw the smoke of a steamer. It seemed so far off though, and then another of those big and miraculous waves came and washed us, all in a half minute right up to the very side of the life-boat they sent out—or so it seemed to me. We were taken on board a British mine-sweeper, and never can I tell you how good those men were to us. It was almost four o'clock then, and we had been tossed and tossed since 9 a.m., so needn't tell you how we felt. Later, about midnight, we were taken to a hospital ship; more kindness and comfy beds in lovely two-berth cabins, but the suspense of waiting for the others to come was awful. By the morning, fifteen of the sisters were on board, and seven more came that afternoon. About the same time the others were picked up by the French ships. Some of them had managed to keep to the Marquette life-boats or be picked up by them, but it was a doubtful blessing for they were almost under water, and kept tipping over and over. One sister sat on an upturned boat with a couple of men all the time. The awfulness of being tipped out so often terrified and exhausted others. In all, we found that ten of our sisters had gone—nearly all we knew to have died of exhaustion. I think about a dozen of our New Zealand boys too, and the rest were the R.F.A. boys, in all about 160. So awful and yet, I think, so wonderful that so many were saved …

Our matron was very ill, and we did think for a few days she could not possibly recover, but she is better now. There is so much I have felt tempted to write but then I have not.

The censor would only score it out.

We were in Salonika till Friday evening; on Wednesday, all the survivors got orders to go ashore, we were billeted in two hotels.

To-day (Monday), we will be in Alexandria, and such a sad coming back. We are experienced soldiers now, and should, I daresay, feel proud, but I am only a tin soldier.

Strange that we should have had All Saints Day services yesterday. It helped to comfort us for those who have gone.”

A letter written to me by the Medical Officer who was in charge of the 18 nurses on the starboard side gives a graphic account of what happened.

“All the nurses went to the alarm post without any panic or excitement and marched to the boats with the most admirable cheerfulness and discipline possible. I was with the party of them on the starboard side, and all of them got into the boat safely, but as only some inexperienced soldiers were lowering it, one end fell more quickly than the other, and five of them fell out before it could be righted. All these, however, were got into boats or rafts and four of them ultimately were saved, but Sister Rogers, though picked up, was missing in the evening when we were rescued. A couple of days later, a boat was found on the beach with the bodies of two nurses (one having a gold watch with Margaret Rogers on it, and the other having a disc with her number, unknown by us now, as our records were lost) and four men; all were buried at Zafora. There was a report that all these had been shot, but I have no definite information on that point.

We pulled away from the Marquette, and got well behind her before she took the final plunge, but the boat proved very unseaworthy, and leaked all over, so that before very long she was full of water, and with the swell, was unwieldy and capsized. When we got round the boat and got her righted again, we had only got six of the nurses. Sisters Rae, Wilin, Young, McCosh-Smith, Christmas and Hildegard! The next capsize, Sister Christmas floated away, beyond reach, but got on to the rudder, and managed to hang on all day. I think possibly Sister Hildegard was hurt by the boat, as the next time we got it righted she fell forward—dead. The next capsize, we lost Sister Rae, who floated away beyond reach, and was last seen in company with a soldier who had a lifebuoy. She was not picked up by the French destroyer. This left us with only three nurses, and I attached myself especially to Sister Wilkin who seemed most done up, and as we drifted nearer to the shore, we had not so much swell, and for the last three hours we managed to keep from capsizing any more.

When a boat came alongside us about 5 p.m., we were able to transfer the sisters to the Lynn, and then wait till some French boats took us in tow to their vessel.

We were torpedoed at 9.3 a.m., and the Marquette sank in 13 minutes, so it was a long day in the water. Fortunately it was neither too bright, nor too cold; of the 18 sisters, we had on the starboard side, I think Sisters Rogers, Rae and Hildegard were the only ones lost, and of these I have given you an account.

Of their conduct as a whole, no words can express our admiration. They mustered quickly and quietly at their alarm post, and cheerfully and without the least confusion or panic, passed along the deck to their boat, and never once during the long day did I hear any of those who were able to stick it out make any complaint.

What happened to those (18) on the port side, I do not know, but understand that they were got into the boats and that the boats fouled each other and several were injured.

Miss Cameron and most of the nurses were taken by the French destroyers to the French Hospital ship Canada, and we shall never forget the kindness shown us on board. Miss Cameron was exceedingly ill, and collapsed and would have died, but for the unremitting attention given by the French Medical Officers. The great strain of their experience had naturally a considerable nervous reaction, and all the nurses were sent back to Alexandria. I expect some of your nurses will be writing you fuller particulars, but I thought you would like to have at least a semi-official statement.”

In relation to the nurses on the port side, although the medical officer responsible for them thought they had all left the ship, and got into boats, this was not the case. A sister wrote that “While standing on the deck, I saw a boat load of men in uniform getting away. I wondered why we nurses were left on deck, without a chance of getting into a boat. I really owe my life to the chief officer of the Marquette, he picked me up during the afternoon and put me in a boat. Perhaps on the starboard side the nurses may have all got into boats; but not on the port side. Sisters Brown and Clark got a few steps down the gangway, took each other's hands and jumped into the sea. Sister Coster and myself did not get off the deck, we both helped two sick orderlies on to the gangway, and in doing so lost our chance of going down.”

Many stories were told at the time, which caused great trouble and doubt, but I will not give more in this record.

 

 

H.M.Transport S.S. Marquette had a short military existence and was torpedoed in Oct 1915 when sailing out of Alexandria Harbour under command of Captain John Bell Findlay.

The Marquette, official number 106972, was a 7,057 gross ton ship, length 486.5ft x beam 52.3ft, x31.3ft, one funnel, four masts, single screw, triple-expansion engines, 770 NHp and a speed of 14 knots. There was accommodation for 120-1st class passengers. Built in 1897 by A. Stephen & Sons Ltd, Glasgow as the Bodicea for Wilson's and Furness-Leyland Line, she was launched on 25th Nov.1897. She made her maiden voyage from Glasgow to London and New York on January 15th 1898.

Later that year she became one of 5 sister ships acquired for the Atlantic Transport Line for around £140,000 each. She made only one trip across the Atlantic in service with her new owners before, on September 15th 1898, she was renamed SS Marquette. She then began further regular sailings across the Atlantic. By September 1905, she had been transferred to the Red Star Line and, once fitted with radio, she commenced the Antwerp to Philadelphia service for that Company.

By the end of 1914, she had completed her final Atlantic crossing, as Antwerp and other Belgian ports had fallen into German hands. She was then requisitioned for use as a British war transport ship, for which she was re-painted grey.

Less than 12 months later, she was torpedoed without warning, and sunk in the Aegian Sea with the loss of many lives.On her final voyage, she sailed in the late afternoon on October 19 1915 for Salonica, Greece. Her departure was fraught as a rousing send off with cheers and songs by British and French sailors manning warships in port was interrupted by a fault in the steering gear. A fire in a case on the deck caused a further diversion until it was thrown overboard. At dusk the transport was joined by its escort and the portholes were blacked out. The passengers and crew carried out lifeboat drills, as there were rumours there was German U-boats in the area.

On the evening of the fourth day the escort, the French destroyer "Tirailleur", left the convey. At 0915 the next morning, October 23th Capt. Dave N. Isaacs NZMC (the Quatermaster) was out strolling on deck with several nurses and drew their attention to a "straight thin green line about 50 yards away streaking through the water towards the ship", a periscope was seen cutting the water, and a terrific explosion on the forward starboard side signalled the ship had been struck by a torpedo. At once the steamer Marquette began to list to port, but righted herself and then began to sink by the bow. She sank in thirteen minutes with a heavy loss of life - 128 troops including (17 NZMC staff), 10 nurses and 29 crewmen. Total loss 167. She was torpedoed off Platanona Point, 30 to 36 miles (57.5 kilometres), south from the anti-submarine net at Salonica Bay, which would have meant safety, by the U.35 under Lt-Cdr Waldemar Kophamel.

The U-35 was commissioned into the German Imperial Navy on November 3rd, 1914. She was powered by 2 diesel engines which gave her a submerged speed of around 9 knots. She was 67.80 meters long, 6.32 meters at the widest point, 3.6 meters from keel to water deck and she displaced 878 tons. She could carry 6 torpedoes. Armed with 4 torpedo tubes, 2 at the bow and 2 at the stern, she was brought into service in the eastern Mediterranean to support the struggling Austrian's and Turks. The U-35 was to become the most devastating U-boat in WW1, holding the record for tonnage sunk at 224 ships. Not all of U-35's targets were sunk using her valuable torpedoes; some were sunk using her deck cannon after the crew had been allowed to leave the ship.

Many of the deaths and injuries to the nurses were due to inexperienced men (soldiers helping out as some crew members had not turned up at their stations for various reasons) lowering the lifeboats and the angle of the sinking ship. Only one lifeboat filled with nurses managed to get away and that was half filled with water. The survivors floated for hours in intense cold clinging to rafts, debris, etc, before being picked up utterly exhausted by rescue ships. Those who died on Saturday 23 October 1915 when the Marquette went down are commentated on the Mikra Memorial. The Mikra Memorial, at the south end of Mikra British Cemetery, commemorates almost 500 nurses, officers and men of the Commonwealth forces who died when troop transports and hospital ships were lost in the Mediterranean, and who have no grave but the sea.

 

Carl O. Carlson

FOURTEENTH REINFORCEMENT

DEPARTURE FOR CAMP. 600 MEN OF ALL RANKS TO LEAVE NEXT TUESDAY. AUCKLAND CITY QUOTA. The Fourteenth Reinforcement draft of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, comprising 600 men and several probationary non-commissioned officers from the Auckland military district, will leave for the various training camps on Tuesday next, March 7. The strength of the Auckland city quota has been fixed at 251 men of all ranks. It is yet in doubt, however, whether the total requirements of the district will have been secured by the date of departure. The draft will be dispatched by three trains during the day.

All Mounted Rifles and Army Service Corps from the district will proceed to Featherston camp, via Woodville, by the Main Trunk express leaving Auckland at 12.40 p.m. This train will carry 124 men altogether, 52 of whom selections from the Paeroa and Hamilton groups—will join the express at Frankton Junction. Lieutenant V. Dunne will be in charge of the men. A special train leaving Auckland at 2.50 pm. on Tuesday will convey to Wellington the infantry, artillery,, engineers, and. signal service men, who will be commanded on the train by Major 1L Atkinson, assisted by Captain C. D. Hill. The full strength of these and from, the four groups is fixed at 416 men. comprising 211 from Auckland city, and 205 from the two southern groups of the district. The evening express leaving Auckland station at 5.50 pjn. will convey the men of the Whangarei group, less the mounted Rifles of that district.

The non-commissioned officers for the Sixteenth Reinforcements will leave with the quotas of the various districts from which they have been selected. Commissioned officers for the same draft, will be required to report in camp on Tuesday next. Tie names and addresses of the men in the various arms who are leaving on Tuesday with the Auckland city quota, and those of the non-commissioned officers for the Sixteenth Reinforcements, are as follows:

INFANTRY.   Carl O. Carlson, Great Barrier Island. 

Auckland Star, Volume XLVII, Issue 54, 3 March 1916, Page 6

 

Dr. Fox wrote to the Hospital and Charitable Aid Board last night stating that his services having been accepted by the Imperial authorities he would shortly be leaving New Zealand, and stating that he must resign his position as medical resident at Great Barrier Island.

Auckland Star 22 March 1916 p2