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New Zealand soldiers in Messines


Guest valérie Carnel

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Guest valérie Carnel

Hello i'm Valérie Carnel from the Tourist Office of Messines. We are twinned since 1975 with Featherston (South Wairarapa). For the 30th Anniversary we organise an exhibition about New Zealand and New Zealand soldiers in Messines during World War I. I'm looking for personal stories of soldiers, the battle of Messines, Samuel Frickleton VC, military training camp in Featherston, pictures,...

Thanks

toerisme@mesen.be

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Valerie,

Here is the citation for Samuel Frickleton.

Samuel Frickleton V. C.

Lance corporal 6/2133

3rd Battalion, NZ Rifle Brigade

For most conspicuous bravery and determination when with attacking troops, which came under heavy fire and were checked. Although slightly wounded Corporal Frickleton dashed forward at the head of his section, pushed into our barrage and personally destroyed with bombs an enemy machine gun and crew which were causing heavy casualties. He then attacked a second gun, kiling the whole of the crew of twelve. By the destruction of these two guns he undoubtedly saved his own and other units from very severe casualties, and his magnificant courage and gallantry ensured the capture of the objective. During the consolidation of the position he received a second severe wound. He set , throughout, a great example of heroism

London Gazette 2 August 1917 p7906

.............................

FRICKLETON, Samuel (1891-1971) Victoria Cross Winner

July 1917

Born Scotland. A coal miner from Blackball, in Westland, who won the Victoria Cross when he captured two German machine-gun nests single-handed and killed all the occupants in July 1917 at Messines, Belgium.

Frickleton, a lance-corporal in the Third Battalion, New Zealand Rifle Brigade, was severely wounded in the battle.

Later achieved rank of Captain.

Buried at Taita Serviceman's Cemetery, Naenae, New Zealand. Plot 1188. Headstone.

Notes www.diggerhistory.info An unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Services http://www.victoriacross.net

post-554-1128624091.jpg

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The History of the Canterbury Regiment 1914-1918

by Capt David Ferguson

has a whole chapter on the Battle of Messines

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Surname FRICKLETON

Given Name Samuel

Category Nominal Roll Vol. 1

Regimental Number 6/2133

Rank Corporal

Body or Draft Fifth

Unit or Regiment Canterbury Infantry Batln

Marital Status S

Last NZ Address Blackball West Coast

Next of Kin Title Mrs Elizabeth

Next of Kin Surname FRICKLETON

Next of Kin Relationship Mother

Next of Kin Address Clifford St Blackball

Surname FRICKLETON

Given Name Samuel

Category Nominal Roll Vol. 2

Regimental Number 6/2133

Rank Sergeant

Next of Kin Title Mrs Elizabeth Logan

Next of Kin Surname FRICKLETON

Next of Kin Relationship Mother

Next of Kin Address Clifford Street Blackball Greymouth

Comment Ex 5th Reinforcements

Roll 37

Page 16

Occupation Miner

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Prisoner of War camp- Featherston- WW2

http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-WH2Pris-_N95664.html

In late February 1943 an incident occurred inside a Japanese prison compound at Featherston, New Zealand, which offered a kind of blueprint of what was to happen at Cowra. An informer, a prisoner, had disclosed in December 1942 that a working party was plotting to overpower guards and seize arms at the camp; another informer, also a prisoner, later advised of a plot to set fire to a compound and overpower guards when they entered to control the blaze.

After a series of provocative actions by 240 prisoners, the camp commandant threatened in February to separate the non-commissioned officers from the private soldiers. This action proved to be a trigger for violence. A riot took place two days later, in which Japanese–who had talked earlier of their desire to commit suicide–rushed headlong at an officer and 40 armed guards, throwing large stones. As the prisoners reached the officer, the guards opened fire; firing lasted between 30 and 60 seconds, and resulted in the deaths of 48 Japanese prisoners and the wounding of 63 others.

One New Zealand guard was killed, and six injured.

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Wairarapa News 28 February 1998

A soldier killed by ricocheting bullets at a prisoner of war camp near Featherston in 1943 was honoured in a ceremony near the site this morning.

The accident occurred on February 25, 1943, when guards opened fire to prevent a break-out by 250 rioting Japanese prisoners. Private Walter Pelvin, 34, died of bullet wounds three days later. A court of inquiry found that Private Pelvin died while acting under orders but because he was not serving overseas he was not eligible for the New Zealand Memorial Cross. The Featherston Community Board started a campaign in 1996 to get Private Pelvin's death officially recognised. The Minister of Defence, Max Bradford, presented the New Zealand Memorial scroll to members of Private Pelvin's family, including his daughter, granddaughter, great grand-daughter and brother, at a ceremony near the campsite. The army and a former soldier who was a guard at the camp formed an honour guard. — NZPA.

Memorial at Geraldine

Private Walter Pelvin - Army No 496685

Born 15 Oct. 1908 at Waimate, the son of Arthur Ernest (1876 - 1943) and Roseanna Pelvin (nee Humphris) (1884 - 1952), farmers of Totara Valley, near Timaru. Arthur was 9th child of Richard Pelvin. Walter Pelvin was the only New Zealand soldier killed "on active service" at home. Unfit for service overseas due to having a lung removed as a child, he had made a full recovery from the operation and was a keen sportsman. A good musician, he had his own band. By occupation, a carpenter, he went to Featherston to help finish construction of the POW camp before the prisoners arrived, and was then asked to stay on as a guard in 1941. On February 25, 1943, Private Pelvin was on guard duty at N0 2 Compound. That hot morning 250 prisoners refused work detail and staged a sit-in. Prolonged negotiations took place and a stand-off position reached. The Camp adjutant attempted to end the siege by firing his pistol above the prisoner's heads. A hail of stones were thrown and a second shot fired wounded Lieutenant Adachi in the shoulder. The prisoners armed with knives and crude weapons yelled with rage and rushed the 34 New Zealand guards. They opened fire and in the chaos, less than 30 seconds, 48 Japanese prisoners were killed and 61 wounded. Walter Pelvin was one of 7 Army personnel wounded. Seriously injured in the cross fire, Walter was taken to Greytown Hospital where he died three days later, aged 34. His wife, Ivy was flown from Geraldine to be with him. A memorial service was held at Featherston and a burial service was held at St Mary's Church, Geraldine on March 2, 1943 with full military honours.

A full report of the Featherston riot was suppressed for 50 years. On December 8, 1996, the Featherston Community Board unveiled a memorial plaque set in concrete just off State Highway 2, opposite the ruins of the former camp and attending were members of the Pelvin family.

Saturday 28 February 1998, the Hon Max Bradford flanked by a Army Guard of honour presented, on behalf of the Government and the people of New Zealand, a memorial scroll to Walter Pelvin's daughter, Mrs Patricia Prchal and family members. The scroll states "Private Pelvin gave his life to save mankind from tyranny." Above submitted by Winsome Griffin. Posted 18 Feb. 2000.

In great secrecy, nurses were sent to Wellington Hospital to nurse Japanese prisoners of war who had been wounded during the riot at Featherston Camp on February 25, 1943. "They didn't clear out one hospital, they took (nurses) from various camps e.g. Burnham, so it wouldn't look so obvious. There was nothing in the papers or radio, no whisper of it. They wanted to keep it quiet. We didn't feel any dislike for them. Of course, we didn't know how our boys had been treated then, either. We felt quite kindly towards them and they got Red Cross rations, cigarettes and chocolate. They were well treated. "

"They didn't like anything being done for them by a woman, that's one thing I remember. They couldn't bear to be washed by a woman, for instance - no matter how ill they were. It was a loss of face, I think. One boy in particular, a young boy, told me that he would be listed as dead. They never listed anyone as prisoners of war. That was a terrible disgrace, which seemed a peculiar attitude to us. One of the things he gave me was a letter - they were so sure they would win the war that this letter was to say that I had looked after the Japanese, and how good I'd been to them. He thought that it would protect me. They had been so indoctrinated, I suppose, that they couldn't visualise (losing), same as we couldn't visualise Britain losing the war." I. W Apr. 2004

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Featherston Military Camp.

The camp site here in January 1916 became the big camp in New Zealand - 4500 men in huts and 3000 in tents, where the infantry- men got their final eight weeks of training. The camp contained a small town with shops, hospital, canteen and 16 dining halls. The soldiers route -marched to Wellington to embark overseas.

post-554-1128627754.jpg

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Valérie

There is material about Messines in the history of the New Zealand Division. Are you interested in this?

My Grandfather fought there. He came from Auckland, NZ. I enjoyed visiting the beautiful memorial that is just outside Messines.

Robert

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Guest valérie Carnel
Valérie

There is material about Messines in the history of the New Zealand Division.  Are you interested in this?

My Grandfather fought there.  He came from Auckland, NZ.  I enjoyed visiting the beautiful memorial that is just outside Messines.

Robert

Hello

The story of your Grandfather would interest me and even all other information.

Thank you

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Valerie

One of the "traditions" of Featherston Camp was that upon leaving to embark for service overseas, the draft of men would march from the camp, up and over the Rimutaka hill - a very steep and tough climb, down the otherside and then train to Wellington.

Photo is from "War Effort" - one of the Official NZEF histories. Earlier pictures are from the "Featherston Military Training Camp 1917".

Andrew

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Valerie

The Featherston Camp housed 7500 men at a time - 4500 in huts, 3000 under canvas. Majority of men trained at Featherston were originally for the mounted rifle and artillery parts of the Expeditionary Force, but as demand for infantry grew on the Western Front, the infantry reinforcements usually at Trentham (other side of the Remutaka Hill) were sent to Featherston for the latter portion of basic training immediately prior to embarkation.

The following scans are the first 3 pages from the "Diary of a New Zealand Sapper, 1917" by Eric Miller. Miller left NZ in January 1917, was in France in June 1917, but not at the battle of Messines. His first diary entries do however make mention of Featherston camp.

Andrew

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Valérie

My Grandfather was John Hosken. He never kept a personal diary. I did talk with him many times before he died but like many veterans, he found it extremely difficult to talk about personal specifics. He was wounded in the Battle of the Somme when the New Zealand Division was involved in the Battle of Flers. The wound was in the shoulder and he refused to allow anyone, even his close family, to see it.

After recovering in a hospital in southern England, my Grandfather volunteered to become a machine gunner. He underwent training in Grantham and then returned to the New Zealand Division as part of the New Zealand Machine Gun Corps. As a Lance-Corporal, he was responsible for a machine gun team. At the Battle of Messines, his team was involved in firing a machine gun barrage. This meant firing a constant stream of bullets onto a distant area target. There is a map of the machine gun barrages here:

 

My Grandfather was not directly involved in the fighting to take Messines.

I am very proud that he helped in the liberation of France and Belgium. I often travel to Brussels and I think of this each time. He survived the war. Many of his colleagues did not. May they Rest in Peace.

Robert

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