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Does anyone have any information on HMNZ Transport RIMUTAKA?

On my grandfather's "History Sheet" it says: "Ret Rimutaka - 5.1.20".

He was Rev Charles James Hamilton Dobson: 9/633. [Edit 26/06/09: War file now digitised at Archives New Zealand & available as pdf.)

Initially with Otago Mounted Rifles in Egypt 1914, and Gallipoli 1915.

Later with 2nd Battalion Auckland Regiment "Western European" 1916-17-18.

The date for his final discharge was 3.2.1920. (As an aside, I wonder where he was between 1918 and February 1920 - rumour has it that he married my grandmother, a Greek woman in Piraeas, Greece in 1919).

Any information on Rimutaka, particularly a journey in 1919/20 would be very much appreciated.


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There is a picture of the RIMUTAKA here - http://www.clydesite.co.uk/clydebuilt/viewship.asp?id=10793

A google on "SS Rimutaka" brings up some snippets of information but be aware there were at least 3 vessels over the years using this name - so some will be irrelevant

My guess is that she was chartered to return NZ troops home in late 1919 and early 1920 - there are lists of sailings and passenger lists on Find My Past - but no "public" sailing is shown between a departure in Nov 1919 from Liverpool/Plymouth to various ports in NZ - until another in June 1920 from Southampton to NZ

Military passengers when the ship isn't on a scheduled service aren't recorded on the information provided to the Board of Trade where these images have come from.

Hopefully someone else will be able to help you further


Sue K

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The 1905 "Originals" All Blacks sailed on the Rimutaka. :)

Unfortunately, I don't think you're anywhere near Auckland, Joanna? The Auckland Museum has a magazine from that voyage in its collection. See listing here. Your grandfather was one of the editors.


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Dear Sue,

It's great to have a picture of the ship. I 'Googled' Rimutaka, and came up with a snippet about someone else returning to NZ in 1919 - possibly the same trip.

Many thanks,


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Dear Allie,

I somehow thought you'd know something! But a magazine of the voyage - my grandfather an editor. So much more than I could have expected. I am very grateful.

You're right - I'm nowhere near Auckland. I'm in France. But I'll check with Auckland Museum about the possiblity of getting a copy sent (it could be a real gem). Alternatively, I intend to visit New Zealand in the future, and I could add it to my list of things to look up while I'm there...

There's a story told by my aunt that my grandmother, Eleni entertained the troops with piano and song on that voyage.

By the way, I am wondering if our relatives might have known each other (Auckland Regiment). I'll P.M you about this, as it's off the subject of this post.

With many thanks,


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  • 2 weeks later...

The Auckland Museum's copy of 'Epilogue' the magazine written onboard the troopship 'Rimutaka' is currently on loan for the digital exhibition "Coming Home". http://search.digitalnz.org/cominghome ; http://www.natlib.govt.nz/files/cominghome/ .

Apparently, there is another copy held in Dunedin Library.

Watch this space for a 'passenger list' which I hope to post once I have obtained a copy.


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Well, they let you know about that far quicker than I'd have anticipated, considering NZ practically shuts down over Christmas/New Year! I'll look forward to any news you have of passenger lists etc! It'll be fascinating to know what sort of other content there was as well.


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Yes, I'm really impressed!

Dunedin Library has got back to me as well, and I should receive a copy of the 'Rumitaka' journal by mid-January.

Will let you know what it contains as soon as possible.


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Joanna - that sailing is included on Find My Past (see my post no 2) - BUT it only has details for 29 passengers - 24 adults (1 husband and wife, 8 men and 12 women travelling without their wife/husband) 2 children between 1 and 12 and 3 infants

As well as the normal "list" of names there appear to be individual "cards" for each passenger. My presumption is that these were "paying" passengers while the rest of the ship was used for those travelling back to NZ courtesy of the government!

It must have made quite a number of 'stops' around the coast - passengers are listed as contracted to: Auckland, Pt Chalmers, Gisborne, Napier, Bluff Dunedin, Wellington and New Plymouth

If you are interested in these passengers let me know and I'll see if I can copy them, for you - your g/father is not included - though there was a Mrs H Dobson - going to Wellington



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Thank you! I would be really interested to see the passengers you've discovered on Find My Past.

Mrs H Dobson was my grandmother. Her name was Eleni, but she often was known as "Helene". I wonder if she was a paying passenger!

The Auckland Museum site states that the "Rimutaka" Journal includes a list of officers and other ranks. Interesting that there was a mix of civilian and military people travelling. Perhaps this was quite common, especially by this stage - post war?

I daresay the Journal will reveal some details of the journey - two months at sea... though I imagine it will be putting on a positive spin.

Do you have a connection with this ship/voyage yourself?

Happy New Year!

and best wishes,


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Hi Joanne

This is the card for your grandmother - from Find My Past - doesn't tell you too much I'm afraid


The full list of 29 is too big to easily compress on here and still be legible - if you'd like to PM me your email address I can send it off the list if that's OK

I don't have any particular connection with the ship - just a pretty widespread interest in lots of things in general. It will be interesting to see what the journal turns up when you are able to get hold of the copy

With best wishes

Sue K

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The date for his final discharge was 3.2.1920. (As an aside, I wonder where he was between 1918 and February 1920 - rumour has it that he married my grandmother, a Greek woman in Pireas, Greece in 1919).

Joanna - sorry don't know why I didn't look for this before - looks like certainly did marry there - Find My past also has - GRO CONSULAR MARRIAGES (1849-1965) 1916 - 1920

Charles J H Dobson is listed as marrying Eleni Georgoulopoulos in Pireaus. Page no for ref is 1342

You should be able to order a copy of the certificate for GBP7.00 from http://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/


Sue K

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That's fantastic - I'll check out the document and see if I can order it. Or if it's in Kew, take a look when I'm next in London. It will be interesting to see if they did actually marry in Pireaus in 1919. I'm always amazed at how much my grandparents got about, and how quickly. They returned to "Europe" - in fact Smyrna (now Izmir) where Charles was Chaplain, in 1922, some months before the city was destroyed by fire in September. Thereby hangs another tale - definitely off the subject of this thread. Charles wrote a report on the fire. They may have confirmed their marriage under the Greek Orthodox Church prior to his taking up the post in Smyrna...

For Eleni/Helene's permanent address I'm getting "262 Elgin Crescent, Maida Vale". Though not sure about "Crescent" - any thoughts anyone?

Will PM you, Sue, with my e-mail address for the others on the list.

Many, many thanks,

Joanna (p.s. They married in Paraeus in May 1919 - JH 02/03/09)

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Joanna - I'll pull the other info off and email it to you tomorrow - must go to bed now. Two things quickly - the marriage certificate can be ordered through the General Records Office (I think they are in Stockport) the website gives all the info - the cost includes postage if you give them the info you have.

Also - presuming it is Maida Vale in London (don't know if there is a suburb of that name in NZ) I think it is Elgin Avenue

Will get back to you


Sue K

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Yes, that's Maida Vale in London. I've checked my A-Z and it seems right. My mother always says Eleni lived in Bayswater, which was an area Greeks went to. Elgin Crescent comes up in what is now Notting Hill, very close to present-day Maida Vale. However, Elgin Avenue goes right through the middle of Maida Vale! And looking at the record, it reads more like "Avenue". Thanks again.

Apparently, Charles & Eleni met in London in 1915. He'd been at Gallipoli until at least August, but developed dysentery - bad enough to be sent to England, I gather. I wonder how they met, and where exactly...

Will look at the General Records Office and ordering procedure properly. A trip to Stockport is not on the cards.

Look forward to your e-mail. Thank you.

Sleep well!


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  • 4 weeks later...

A photocopy of the HMNZ troopship journal Epilogue: being a souvenir of our voyage in the S.S. 'Rimutaka' was sent to me very quickly by Dunedin Library. The delay in posting any information here has been entirely down to me.

The journal contains 20+ pages, and as the editorial on page 2 puts it:

We have aimed to produce a souvenir topical and interesting, with a little humour and no offence. The measure of our success or failure we leave to the merciful judgment of our readers.

Certainly, reading the journal some 89 years after its printing, it is interesting and amusing. The "topical" aspect can mean that some of the humour or references could only be best appreciated by those who had been on board. Nonetheless the document makes fascinating reading for anyone interested in an example of a voyage home to New Zealand, and in this journey in particular.

It is my intention to post most, if not all of the journal on GWF by transcribing it. The drawings will have to wait for now - but I should be much nearer being able to post scanned images by the end of my transcription of the text...

I want to start with page 1, and then jump to the final pages which contain lists of the passengers and may be of particular interest.

By the way, the cover illustration can be best seen by following the link for Auckland Museum posted by AllieT in the second or third post on this subject. It shows the illustration in colour, whereas my copy is B&W.


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Here is page 1 - the word Epilogue being presented with two sprays of fern:


Being a Souvenir of our voyage in the

s.s. "Rimutaka".



Left Liverpool 8th November, 1919

Arrived Wellington 5th January, 1920




Rev. C.J.H. Dobson, C.F., M.C

Seargeant-Major A.H. Tocker.

Seargeant-Major W.C. Walkley
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Page 18:



Capt. F.A. Hemming, Master.

Mr. C.K. Paris, Chief Officer.

M. J. Schofield, Second Officer.

Mr. T. Dee, Third Officer.

M. A. Quince, Fourth Officer.

Mr. A. Lawrence, Apprentice.

Mr. T. Graham, senr. Marconi operator.

Mr. L. Warden, sec. Marcon operator.

Mr. D.L. Evans, Chief Steward.


Mr. Nicholson, Chief Engineer.

Mr. E.L. Hughes, Second Engineer.

Mr. Fouhy, Third Engineer.

Mr. J. Brown, Fourth Engineer.

Mr. J.A. Thwaites, Fifth Engineer.

More to follow...

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Page 18 continued:

First Saloon Passengers

Messrs Gardner, Wade, Allan, Bryne,

Sampson, Wells, Lts. Allan, Squires,

Sheffield, Harrison-Smith,

Mesdames Gardner, Sheriffs, Hulbert, Home, Al-

lan (2), Green, French, Dobson,

Baird, Tough, Singer, Misses Cranston,

Home, Beswick Allan, Swain, McLeod,

Barron, Hailtone.

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Page 18 continued:

Second-Class Passengers

Messrs Thomas, Robinson, Savidge,

Hamilton, Sinclair, Burns, Thomas,

Bish, Ball, Ailson, Clay, McKechnie,

Walker, Allen, Cirls, Marsh, Scott,

Hayes, Galloway, Hill, Holt, Holland,

Martin, Boulton, Kennedy, Olsen,

Beckend, Hibberd, Hood, Hordle,

Sykes, Patterson, Hunter, Campbell,

McCullam, Fox, Bolton, Carr.

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Page 18 continued:

Nominal Roll, Officers and

Other Ranks, s.s. Rimutaka

10/1093 Lt.-Col. Home, (O.B.E.) G.,


12/1913 Major Oram R., W.I.R.

18/702 Major Greene(M.C.), A., C.D.

3/663 Major Dobson, C.J.N., C.D.

26/12 Major Jones, H.R., R.B.

3/2944 Capt. Baird, J.B., M.C.

8/3803 Capt. Christian, F.T., O.R.

26/20 Capt. Emery, L.H.A., R.B.

6/955a Capt. Foster, H.M., C.R.

3/2932 Capt. Singer, A.L., M.C.

63949 Capt. Shiriffs, F.S., D.C.

25398 T/Capt. Brunton. G.B., R.B.

39729 T/Capt. Chapple. L. J. B.,


13008 Lt. Hulbert, E., R.B.

2/112 Lt. Mitchell, F.M., F.A.

26/301 2/Lt. French, T.J., R.B.

15287 2/Lt.Norrie, R.C., O.R.

6.1196 2/Lt. Perry, H., C.R.

2/1213 2/Lt. Tyson, E.F., N.Z.F.A

22/32 Sister Ing'es A.R.R.C.), A.G.,


Miss Home, J.L., att. M.T.A.S.C.

Capt. Barra, C.F.

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Page 18 continued: A - B.

In Strict Alphabetical Order.

73947 L/Cpl Adlam, C.A.

71172 Rfm Airlie, J.C.

21475 Rfm Allison, H.J.

63533 Pte Amies, T.B.S.

69910 Pte Anderson, T.

17/6 Cpl Andrews, A.

78161 Pte Andrews, A.E.

57451 Pte Anspach, H.E.

17905 Sgt Aythorn, J.

34997 Dvr Badman, C.

64261 Spr Baker, A

33279 Pte Barker, C.C.

30160 Sgt Barnard, J.E.

71144 Pte Barnes, A.F.W.A.

2/21 Sgt Barrell, F.H.

53604 S/Sgt Basire, T.F.

71175 Pte Bateman, H.J.

10/3184 Cpl Beck, F.W.

81497 Pte Beehre, A.R.

57312 Dvr Benge, A.E.

61029 Pte Billcliff, F.

74904 Pte Black, E.

11401 Pte Black, W.

76901 Rfm Blackman, T.R.

71174 Dvr Blanchfield, W.D.

74151 Pte Blincoe, E.R.

10207 Cpl Bradley, A.

43075 Cpl Bradley, J.C.

62786 Spr Breen, J.

50/62 Tpr Bremner, R.W.

3/2526 Pte Bridgens, G.E.

25/87 Pte Briggs, D.J.

79731 Pte Brockliss, L.R.

69329 Pte Brookes, C.E.

3/3939 Pte Brooks, J.F.

71381 Pte Brown, E.S.

75368 Pte Brown, J.

82021 Pte Brown, P.

79618 Gnr Brown, T.

65945 Pte Burkhill, H.D.

68931 Rfm Butler, V.L.

36045 L/Cpl Butterick, A.D.

82423 Pte Bull, A.

45472 Spr Button, C.P.

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Page 18 continued: C.

68668 Tpr Cameron, D.

9/225 S.S.M. Cameron, E.J.

80913 Gnr Campbell, G.G.

18762 Cpl Caton, R.A.

60067 Cpl Chalmers, V.H.

2/2378 S/Sgt Chamberlain, C.V.

64238 Spr Chapman, A.W.J.

79857 Sgt Chapman, J.H.

80603 Cpl Cheesman, E.T.

3/2571 Pte Clark, L.G.

5/672 S/Sgt Clark, O.

75175 Cpl Clarke, A.

8/2559 Pte Clarke, R.J.

44627 Pte Cleary, A.W.

53149 Pte Cockburn, D.

82443 Pte Cockburn, J.S.

81616 Rfm Colbeck, G.F.

57671 Gnr Cole, L.U.

70446 Pte Collins, P

64028 Pte Collins, F.H.

39488 C.S.M. Comerford, M.P.

78877 Rfm Connell, J.D.

3/2031 Cpl Couch, C,J.

82673 Pte Cook, A.J.

3/3499 Sgt Cooper, F.W.

62261 Pte Cowley, J.W.

68674 Pte Cox, H.A.

31040 Spr Cox, W.H.

31606 Cpl Craig, A.

75669 Pte Craven, J.H.

82373 Pte Crawford, E.T.

57327 L/Cpl Crimp, A.C.

64929 Pte Cross, B.

75765 Gnr Croucher, K.S.N.

62205 L/Cpl Crowley, G.R.

75883 Pte Crump, G.T.

23/1024 Cpl Cruttenden, S.A.

62266 Pte Culhane, W.T.

3/3556 Pte Cullinan, E.P.

56473 Cpl Cuthbertson, S.A.

81414 Rfm Czpenski, W.H.

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