Other Stories of Our Past

The South African (Boer) War Memorial, Thames

Kae Lewis

1899 - 1902


DEC 1902

Gunner Fred William Duncan FORBES 2365 5th Contingent. Died 12 July 1901. Miner, Pollen Street, Thames. Native of Scotland. Newspaper clipping

Trooper Robert FARQUHAR H Squadron, Brabant's Horse. Thames. Died of an accident 2 May 1901, Wellington. N.O.K. Captain Alex Farquhar of the SS Wakatere. Newspaper clipping

Trooper William DONKIN 4281 7th Contingent. Died 1 June 1901 Klipfontein. N.O.K.: Henry & Alice Donkin, Tararu, Thames. Newspaper clipping

Trooper Benjamin BENNETT 8523 Waihou, 10th contingent. Died 19 December 1902 of cerebro-spinal disease. N.O.K. George Bennett, Waiuku.

Trooper George Roland BRADFORD 44 Paeroa, 1st contingent. Died 28 December 1899, meningitis following wounds, Boer Field Hospital, Rensberg Siding (first NZ serviceman to die on overseas service).

Trooper Albert Evans BROWN 5457 Puriri Thames, 8th contingent. Died 13 August 1902 of disease, Wellington NZ. N.O.K. W.T. Brown, Puriri, Thames.

Sergeant Leonard Mathews TARRANT 71 Miner of Coromandel, 1st contingent. Died of typhoid fever 15 April 1900, Pretoria

Trooper Thomas WITHERS Whangamata, 5th contingent. Died of typhoid fever 5 January 1901, Johannesburg. N.O.K. Mr T. Withers, Whangamata.

Trooper George Roland BRADFORD, Paeroa.

Sergeant Leonard Mathews TARRANT,
Miner of Coromandel


Name, Residence, Contingent

ADAMS, Robert Allen, Paeroa, Cont. Cont. 8
ALLAN, Daniel Waitekauri, Cont. 5
AUTRIDGE, William James, Thames, Cont. 10
AVERY, Bertram Richard, Ohinemuri, Cont. 1
BELLAMY, Harry, Waihou, Cont. 10
BENDALL, Arthur Travers, Thames, Cont. 8
BENNETT, Benjamin, Waihou, Cont. 4
BENNETT, Harold James, Paeroa, Cont. 3
BIGGS, Alfred Ernest, Te Aroha, Cont. 9 (also served WW1)
BLENKHORN, Charles, Coromandel, Cont. 1
BORRELL, George, Waihi, Cont. 9
BOWLER, Charles, Waihi, Cont. 8
BRADFORD, George Roland, Paeroa, Cont. 1
BRADLEY, John, Te Aroha, Cont. 7
BRINKLEY, Walter Albert, Te Aroha, Cont. 9
BROWN, Albert Evans, Puriri Thames, Cont. 8
BROWNE, Samuel, Coromandel, Cont. 10
BROWNE, Simon Welton, Coromandel, See Samuel BROWNE
BURCHELL, Arthur John, Te Aroha, Cont. 9
BURNS, Gordon Stewart, Thames (buried Shortland Cemetery), Royal Artillery, British Army
BUSH, George Arthur, Thames, Cont. 9
BUTLER, William, Waihi, Cont. 6
CALLAWAY, John Walter, Coromandel, Cont. 1 (see article in The Treasury Journal.)
CAMPBELL, Hector, Coromandel, Cont. 5
CAMPBELL, James, Ohinemuri, Cont. 5 & 10
CASLEY, James Henry, Paeroa, Cont. 9
CHEFFINGS, Frank, Te Aroha, Cont. 8
CHOAT, Walter Alfred, Thames Kopu, Cont. 7
CHRISTEY, Thomas Walter, Miranda, see Thomas Walter CHRISTIE
CHRISTIE, Thomas Walter, Miranda, Cont. 10
CLARK, William George, Waihi, Cont. 5
CLARKE, John Thomas, Thames, Cont. 9 (also served WW1)
CLEWS, Charles Edward, Waihi, Cont. 2
COCHRANE, Arthur Hamilton, Te Aroha, Cont. 9
COCK, Edward Stephen, Paeroa, Cont. 10
COLEBROOK, Herbert John Drew, Coromandel, Cont. 9
COLLEDGE, James Alexander, Te Aroha, Cont. 4
COLLIER, Edward, Coromandel, Cont. 9 (also served WW1)
COLQUHOUN, Ludovic Cliffe, Thames, Cont. 8
COOK, Thomas Joseph, Te Aroha, Cont. 10
CORNES, Harry Graham, Te Aroha, Cont. 7 & 9
COTTEE, Charles William, Thames, Cont. 9
COUBROUGH, Alfred, Te Aroha, Cont. 6
COUTTS, Daniel Burrows, Waihi, Cont. 10
COWAN, William Henry, Paeroa, Cont. 9, (died in WWI)
DARE, William, Thames, Cont. 8
DARROW, Reginald James, Tararu Thames, Cont. 9
DAVIES, Maurice Llewellyn, Waikino, Cont. 4
DEAN, George, Paeroa, Cont. 2
DIBBLE, Frank Gordon, Waihi, Cont. 7
DICKSON, Robert, Waihi, Cont. 8
DOBSON, Joseph, Kopu, Thames, Cont. 10
DONKIN, William, Thames, Cont. 7
DOUGLAS, Mungo, Thames, Cont. 5
DUNLOP, David Walter, Parawai,Thames, Cont. 10
DUNLOP, Thomas Albert, Parawai,Thames, Cont. 10
DUNNE, Valentine, Parawai, Thames, Cont. 3
ENSOR, Charles Hedley, Thames, Cont. 9
FARMER, Daniel George, Manawaru, Te Aroha, Cont. 8
FARQUHAR, Robert, Thames, H Squadron, Brabant's Horse
FAHEY, Edward Joseph, Waihi, Cont. 5 & 9
FORBES, Frederick William, Thames, Cont. 5
FORDYCE, Bruce, Te Aroha, Cont. 9
FORSTER, Francis Samuel, Waihi, Cont. 10
GAFFNEY, Clifford, Thames, Cont. 10
GALBRAITH, William Ronald, Thames, Cont. 10
GATLAND, E. F. (Jack), Coromandel, Queensland Federal Cont.
GARNER, Arthur Ernest, Thames, Cont. 6
GIBB, Robert, Thames, Cont. 10
GIBBONS, Charles Francis, Kopu, Thames, Cont. 8
GIBBONS, John Percy, Kopu, Thames, Cont. 8
GIBSON, Walter Rees, Coromandel, Cont. 4
GILLAN, Thomas, Puriri, Thames, Cont. 7
GILPIN, James, Thames, Cont. 10
GORDON, William Nelson, Thames, Cont. 5 & 9 (also served WW1)
GRAHAM, John, Thames, Cont. 8
GRIFFITHS, Charles Thomas, Paeroa, Cont. 8
HAMMOND, Edward, Waihi, Cont. 8
HARRIS, William Stephen, Te Aroha, Cont. 8
HARSANT, Roger Charles Cato, Karangahake, Cont. 5
HAWKESBY, Joseph Gilbert Elliott, Waikino, Cont. 5
HAY, Lionel James, Thames, Cont. 10
HEFFORD, William Bradley, Waihi, Cont. 5
HEIGHTON, Frank, Waihi, Cont. 7
HENDERSON, John, Waihi, Cont. 8
HESP, Job Robinson, Paeroa, Cont. 2 & 9
HILL, Thomas John, Paeroa, Cont. 8
HOLLIS, Charles, Waihi, Cont. 10
HORNE, Frederick Charles Ring, Coromandel, Cont. 7
HOUGHTON, Edward George, Parawai, Thames, Cont. 9
HOWARD, John Hooton, Thames, Cont. 10
HUBBARD, Percy Richard, Paeroa, Cont. 1
HUBBARD, Walter, Paeroa, Cont. 4
HUGHES, Frederick Ernest, Te Aroha, Cont. 9
HUNT, Henry George, Waihi, Cont. 6
HURLEY, John, Waihi, Cont. 9
INDER, Robert Walter Norman, Coromandel, Cont. 10
JOHNSON, Alfred Charles, Waihou, See Alfred Charles JOHNSTON
JOHNSON, George Richardson, Coromandel, Cont. 8
JOHNSTON, Alfred Charles, Waihou, Cont. 10
JONES, Alfred Austin, Waihi, Cont. 10
JONES, William Henry, Coromandel, Cont. 9
JOUGHLIN, Robert, Waihi, Cont. 9
JOWSEY, Thomas, Waihi, Cont. 3
JURY, Henry, Thames, Cont. 10
KEATING, James Henry, Kopu, Thames, Cont. 8
KEATING, Roland Howard, Kopu, Thames, Cont. 8
KIDD, Kenneth Harold, Thames, Cont. 10
LINKLATER, Hugh, Thames, Cont. 7 & 9
LITTLE, Charles John, Whangapoua, Cont. 8
LLOYD, Henry William, Thames, Cont. 10
LOVEGROVE, Ernest Victor, Te Aroha, Cont. 6
LYNCH, William, Paeroa, Cont. 10
LYONS, Thomas Walter, Waitekauri, Cont. 5
MANNING, Rudolph, Te Aroha, Cont. 10
MASON, Colin, Waihi, Cont. 8
MAY, William Henry, Thames, Cont. 10
MAYNE, Frederick, Coromandel, Cont. 7
McCARTHY, Donald, Waihi, Cont. 9
McCARTHY, John, Te Aroha, Cont. 10
McDONALD, Charles Hilary, Thames, Cont. 7
McGLASHAN, Douglas Roy, Waihi, Cont. 9
McGRUER, Norman, Karangahake, Cont. 5
McKEE, Archibald, Te Aroha, Cont. 10
McKEE, James Alexander, Karangahake, Cont. 5
McKEE, John, Te Aroha, Cont. 10
McLEAN, Charles Edward, Te Aroha, Cont. 1
McLEAN, John, Karangahake, Cont. 10
McMAHON, George Hamilton, Tapu, Thames, Cont. 9
McPHERSON, William, Paeroa, Cont. 1
MENHENNET, Samuel Henry, Morrinsville, Cont. 8
MILNE, James Greene, Thames, Cont. 8
MOLLER, Carl William Auckland, Thames, Cont. 4/5, 9
MOORE, Louis Vivian, Waihi, Cont. 10
MOORE, William John Dennerley, Netherton, Cont. 8
MORRIS, Alfred James, Kopu, Thames, Cont. 7
MORRISON, Edward James, Hikutaia, Thames, Cont. 10
MORTON, George Samuel, Thames (buried Totara Cemetery), South African Forces
MURDOCH, Thomas, Karangahake, Cont. 5
NESBITT, Henry, Coromandel, Cont. 5
NEWDICK, Alfred, Thames, Cont. 1 (Thames Star 3 August 1900.)
NEWDICK, Herbert Gilmour, Thames, Cont. 10
NEWDICK, William Henry, Waihi, Cont. 4 & 9
OSBORNE, George Phillip, Thames, Cont. 6
PARTRIDGE, William Bertram, Waihi, Cont. 9
PETERS, Andrew, Kaiaua, Thames, Cont. 9
PEVREAL, Evans, Waihou, Cont. 8
PEVREAL, Richard Andrew, Waihou, Cont. 8
PHAIR, Charles Oakshot, Coromandel, Cont. 4
POTTS, John Kirker, Thames, Cont. 10 (also served WW1)
POWER, Richard Milgrew, Waihi, Cont. 10
PYE, George, Waihi, Cont. 8
PYE, John, Te Aroha, Cont. 9
REA, Edward Henry, Thames, Cont. 8
RIPLEY, William, Hikutaia, Thames, Cont. 9
ROLLINSON, Harold James, Waihi, Cont. 7
ROSEWARNE, Rudolph Huntly, Thames, Cont. 7
RYAN, Martin Henry, Thames, Cont. 8
SALMON, Henry Evan, Te Aroha, Cont. 4
SCOTT, Archibald Alfred, Waihi, Cont. 10
SHAND, James Arthur, Thames, War Correspondent
SHAW, Frederick Thomas, Paeroa, Cont. 1
SHAW, Guy Langstone, Thames, Cont. 8
SILCOCK, Samuel Thomas, Paeroa, Cont. 8
SMITH, Wilmott Lawrence, Thames, Cont. 10
SNELGAR, Albert George, Waiotahi, Thames, Cont. 10
STANLEY, Herbert Andrew, Te Aroha, Cont. 9
STRANGE, John Francis, Te Aroha Cont. 1
SULLIVAN, Michael, Thames, Cont. 6
TARRANT, Leonard Matthew, Coromandel, Cont. 1
TAYLOR, John Solomon, Thames, Cont. 8
TAYLOR, John Thomas, IrishTown, Thames, Cont. 5 & 9, (Member of NZ Zeerust Cup rugby team)
TAYLOR, William James, Waiotahi, Thames, Cont. 8
TETLEY, John William, Paeroa, Cont. 1
TIMMINS, Patrick, Waihou, Cont. 9
TREVARTHEN, William McVey, Paeroa, Cont. 2
TUKE, Ernest, Whitianga, Cont. 7 & 10
WALKER, John William Gibson, Thames, Cont. 10
WALMSLEY, Francis John, Waihi, Cont. 10
WALSH, James Henry, Waihi, Cont. 8
WATT, Edward William, Karangahape, Cont. 6
WILD, Alfred Edward, Te Aroha, Cont. 5
WILSON, James Alexander, Thames, Cont. 5 & 7
WILTON, William Moore, Thames & Waihi, Cont. 9
WITHERS, Thomas, Whangamata, Cont. 5
WITHERS, Wilson Paki, Pauanui, Cont. 4
WORTHLEY, William Thomas, Thames, See: William Thomas WORTLEY
WORTLEY, William Thomas, Thames, Cont. 9

Henry Taylor (miner of Irishtown, Thames) with his sons John Thomas Taylor (butcher of Thames) and William James Taylor (miner of Waiotahi Creek). In this photo, William is in the South African War uniform (center). He enlisted 5 Jan 1902 at aged 23. His brother John Thomas Taylor (on the left) also enlisted in 1900, aged 22 and again in 1902, aged 24.

Princess Christian's Army Nursing Service Reserve, South Africa:

BROOKE-SMITH, Mabel Ethelind, Matron Waihi Hospital 1906.

Civilian teachers at SA Concentration Camps:

KENRICK, Caroline (Lena) Adie, Thames,
DEVIN, Annie Maria, infant mistress at Mercury Bay School.

The Hon. J. McGowan, Minister for Mines, addressing the crowd
at the laying of the foundation stone of the Troopers' Memorial
at the corner of Mary and Pollen streets, Thames, November 10, 1902.
Source: Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19021127-2-4

The Thames Star 10 November 1902:


THE FIRST CEREMONY of the day was the laying of the foundation stone of the Memorial to the troopers who had fallen in Africa, and in honor of the troopers who left our district for the front. This provides a 'list of honor' of which the district might well be proud. Fortunately the hand of death has not pressed on the contingenters who went to South Africa to do battle for the Mother Country, and but three - Troopers Donkin, Forbes, and Farquhar - laid down their lives. But the district contributed more than its fair quota, and to the credit of the men be it said they proved themselves to be true sons of the bull-dog bred colonials, who on the field of battle conducted themselves as soldiers and patriots. It was deemed advisable to take some action so that some permanent record could be made of the part that the troopers of the district had played in connection with the war - Thames was practically the recruiting centre for the whole Hauraki Peninsula - and after a few preliminary meetings had been held, in which His Worship the Mayor (Mr F. Trembath, chairman) who presided at today's ceremonies, the Rev A. D. Thomson, secretary, and Dr Lapraik, treasurer.

TOOK PROMINENT PART, it was decided to appeal to the public for subscriptions towards a suitable memorial. These were readily forthcoming and though the committee have not yet got the necessary amount (£100) in hand for the purchase of the memorial, it is certain that this sum will soon be raised. After a design had been submitted and approved of, an order was placed with Messrs McNab and Mason, of Auckland, and from what we have seen of the design we think the people of Thames will be well satisfied with the selection made. After some difficulty as to the site - which was fortunately satisfactorily settled in time to allow the ceremony to be carried out today - it was decided to erect the memorial at the corner of Pollen and Mary Streets - a central site in accordance with the wishes of a very large number of the subscribers. The presence in the district of the Hon. J. McCowan was taken advantage of, and that gentleman was requisitioned to lay the foundation stone. At some little inconvenience the hon. gentleman, who had commenced his election campaign, returned to Thames and took a prominent part in today's ceremonies and pleasures. Before ten o'clock the crowd began to assemble, and by ten there must have been one of THE LARGEST GATHERINGS seen in Thames for some time. The volunteers and cadets were formed up in the form of a hollow square, facing the platforms on which the speakers and principals were accomodated with seats. The platforms were draped with flags and the whole presented a pleasing apearance. The bands were accomodated with a space at the centre of Pollen and Mary street, and were massed for the occasion. The conductor, Bandmaster J. Gordon of the Battalion Band, was mounted on a pedestal, so that he was visible to all the players.
The Hon. J. McGowan, who was received with applause, and the members of the Borough, drove from the Council Chambers to the site chosen and were then received by the Rev. A. D. Thomson on behalf of the Troopers Memorial commitee. The Mayor presided, and amongst those present we noticed Crs Radford, Burns, Loughlin-Burton, Wood, Muir, Hetherington and Poulgrain. The Mayor expressed his pleasure at being called upon to preside at the function, and paid a tribute to the bravery of the lads who had gone forth to battle and to the memory of those who had given up their lives for King and Country. He asked that out of respect to the dead all should uncover while the bands played the 'Dead March in Saul.' The bands played this march while the volunteers came to the present. After this thoughful act the Secretary (the Rev. A.D. Thomson) was called upon to give A BRIEF RESUME of the details leading up to the erection of the statue. He said as the three lads who represented our district, Donkin, Farquhar and Forbes, were all identified with St James' Church, the movement originated there and subscriptions were being received with the view to erecting a suitable tablet to their memory. Meanwhile a general desire was expressed to merge it into a public scheme, and the result of a public meeting was, that a strong committee was formed, consisting of volunteer officers, bandmasters, all local ministers of religion and head masters. The district was eventually canvassed and the public responded heartily.

The next ceremony was the presentation to the Hon. J. McGowan of a silver trowel, which that gentleman acknowledged. It is a handsome present, and was handed to Mr McGowan as a souvenir of the ceremonies today. The hon. gentleman was then asked to lay the stone, and this part of the program was carried out satisfactorily. As the stone was being laid on its concrete foundation, the bands played an appropriate selection, 'The Fallen Heroes', while at the conclusion of the ceremony the National Anthem was played.


The Hon. Jas. McGowan then addressed the gathering. He said the occasion was a most unique one, inasmuch as it was the day appointed for celebrating the birthday of His Majesty the King of Great Britain and all its dependencies. It was also unique in being the day chosen for laying the foundation of the memorial for those slain in the South African war who had done all that mortals could do in giving their labour and lives in the service of their country. There were many who thought that the fighting spirit of the present generation was devoid of the grit and pluck of former generations, but their sons had shown in the war just passed that they were possessed of true grit and determination in their love for their country, and had upheld the power and prestige of the British Empire like true soldiers. On behalf of the N.Z. Government he was pleased to be able to help in the laying of the foundation stone, and he was sure the Premier would also have much liked to be present. He thought there were not enough momentoes and tablets erected to the memory of the fallen in New Zealand, and that we could well afford to take pattern of what was done in that respect in a country like America, where such momentoes were more numerous. He was very glad to see so many cadets present. They were a splendid lot of fellows. In his opinion the proper British soldier was a better gentleman as the result of his initiation into the army. It was a proper feeling to want to perpetuate the memory of those who had shed their blood for their country, and he hoped that the monument, the foundation stone of which was laid, would serve as such a memory by all who saw it.
On the stone was inscribed: 'This stone was laid by Hon. J. McGowan M.H.R., November 1902.' The spectators present displayed a good deal of interest in the proceedings, which passed off most successfully. From the platform, the scene presented was an animated one - the crowds thronged the street, the attentive up-turned faces, the khaki clothed volunteers and sprightly cadets, the large circle of bandsmen - over 60 present- the gaily waving flags, the handsome crown that was suspended over the centre of the staging, and the streamers - all made up a picture that will serve to impress to-day's ceremony on all present.


The memorial stands on a base of Malmesbury bluestone 7 ft square. From this rise three steps of the same material, each 8 inches high and diminishing in size. On the top step near the corners are square pillars 3 ft 4in high, enclosing panels of white Sicilian marble. From one of these springs the fountain and ornamental bowl. Surrounding this is a further marble base carrying the die of the monument with ornamental moulding projecting on the faces, on which the names of the fallen troopers are to be inscribed. Rising from the summit of the die are four panels decorated with shields, on which are in bold relief the English lion and a bunch of Imperial roses; the Scotch lion rampant and a spray of thistle; the Irish harp and a cluster of Shamrock; the Southern Cross and a bunch of fern. The arms and emblems of England, Scotland, Ireland and this colony respectively.
On the faces of the next block are wreaths of laurel. From the cube so adorned rises a tapering shaft terminating at the top with a floral device. The extreme height of the memorial will be 16 feet. The work is being carried out by Messrs McNab and Mason, of Symonds street, Auckland.

The Thames South African War Memorial was originally erected in 1902 on Pollen street, facing out towards Grahamstown and the Hauraki Gulf. It was unveiled by Councillor J. W. Poulgrain before a large crowd which included the Minister of Mines and the Minister of Justice, soldiers, returned troopers and veterans.

The unveiling of Boer War Memorial, Pollen Street, Thames, 1902.

In 1919-20, the South African (Boer) War Memorial was moved to Victoria Park, where it still stands.

A Letter from Mr H. C. T. Lawlor, Johannesburg 1896

An extract from the book 'No Easy Riches - A History of Ohinemuri County, Paeroa, and Waihi, 1885 - 1985.' by Laurie Barber (1985) pages 131-136 regarding Sergeant-Major George Roland Bradford, Number One Company, Ohinemuri Rifle Volunteers, killed at Jasfontein, South Africa, 29th December 1899.

Sergeant-Major George Roland Bradford



Done with the sword and fire of long campaign;
Done with the weary watching on the plain;
The tireless pursuit of the wily foe
O'er kloof, and krantz, or spruit at overflow;
The frequent kopje looming 'gainst the sky;
The whizzing bullet, and the parting sigh.

Yes, the boys are coming
Home again they say,
From the field of battle
And the fatal fray.

Content for weary months with scanty fare;
Consumed with one desire to do and dare;
Prepared, yea proud the warm heart blood to spill,
With the brave lads that held New Zealand hill,
For those return true love in vain may yearn,
They raised to valour's height the badge of fern.

Ah, the warmest welcome
Cannot cross the wave,
To the heroes sleeping
In a soldiers' grave

Back from a wider world to one more straight,
From speech with kingly men, and warriors great;
A sense of kinship never known before
For life to link them to a far off shore.
Beneath the flag they fought for on the Rand,
The boys are coming back to Maori land.

All her raupo quivers,
All her nikau cry,
'E pai awa, e pai ana,
Haere mai,
Haere mai.'


  1. The Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database.
  2. Embarkation Database.
  3. NZ in the South African (Boer) War.
  4. ARCHWAY, Archives New Zealand for Military Records.
  5. The Thames Star: All newspaper clippings are from The Thames Star or The Ohinemuri Gazette, both of which can be searched online at PapersPast
  6. NEW ZEALAND MOUNTED RIFLES. South Africa War 1899 - 1902.
  7. 'Rough Riders at War' by Richard Stowers, Hamilton, New Zealand, 2006.
  8. 'Teachers For South Africa: New Zealand Women at the South African War Concentration Camps' by Ellen Ellis, Hanorah Books, 2010
  9. Women at war - NZ units in South Africa 1899-1902
  10. 'Walter Callaway: A Maori Warrior of the Boer War' by Mike Dwight. Print House, Hamilton, 2010.
  11. 'Kiwi Versus Boer: The First New Zealand Mounted Rifles in the Anglo-Boer War 1899 - 1902' by Richard Stowers, Print HOuse, Hamilton, 1992.
  12. Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19021127-2-4


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