Return to Home Page
Commemorating the Centenary of the
Battle of the Somme
updated - 16 September 2016
Contact:
Hokianga Historical Society

Website designed, installed and maintained by :
Ken Baker, Brussels, Belgium
The Material below formed the basis of an article in the Northland
Age
, of 21 July 2016 entitled: Honouring those who died so far
from home: Six Hokianga war fallen at rest in a foreign field.

       
On 1st July 2016 commenced the Battle of the Somme which
ended in stalemate in November 1916.  The New Zealand Division
entered the battle on the 15th September 1916 at Flers and over
three days of fighting some 900 were killed of which 580 have no
known grave.  16 from the Hokianga Region died.
      The Hokianga Historical Society has a project to
commemorate all the soldiers related to the Hokianga and who
were killed in the 1914 – 1918 War: A project to visit the graves or
memorials to each of the men and laying a flax flower made by the
ladies of the Society and also making a photographic record.   
      To mark the centenary a project visit was made to all the
graves or memorials to Hokianga men including at the Caterpillar
Valley New Zealand Memorial and Cemetery at Longueval, France,
lying on the top of an exposed hill in the rolling countryside of the
Somme.  The Memorial is to those New Zealand soldiers killed in
action and having no known grave including 5 from the Hokianga.  
An additional one Hokianga serviceman is buried in his own grave
at the Cemetery .  
      The Caterpillar Valley New Zealand Memorial and Cemetery is
of particular significance as on the 6th of November 2004, the
remains of an unidentified New Zealand soldier were entrusted to
New Zealand at a ceremony held at the Memorial. The remains had
been exhumed by staff of the Commonwealth War Graves
Commission from the cemetery at Plot 14, Row A, Grave 27 and
were later laid to rest within the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at
the National War Memorial in Wellington.
      Although his identity will never be known, is not impossible to
imagine that the Unknown Soldier now lying at Wellington was one
of the lost Hokianga men
      The Caterpillar Valley New Zealand Memorial is one of seven
memorials in France and Belgium to those New Zealand soldiers
who died on the Western Front and whose graves are not known.
      In line with New Zealand Government policy at the time and
in spite of opposition by the British Government, the New Zealand
Memorials are all located in cemeteries chosen as close as possible
to the areas of fighting in which the men died and close to their
mates who fought alongside them and who have graves.
Hokianga History and Memorabilia
The New Zealand Memorial and Cemetery
commemorates more than 1,200 officers and
men of the New Zealand Division who died in the
various Battles of the Somme in 1916 of whom 6
were associated with the Hokianga.
The Hokianga men commemorated at the Caterpillar Valley New Zealand
Memorial and Cemetery are as follows (
soldier photos courtesy of Auckland
Museum Cenotaph unless otherwise stated
):
Beattie, Robert Avon, Private,
11801, who was killed in action on
the 14 September 1916.  Beattie, a
farmer from Waimamaku joined up
aged 29 at Kohukohu in December
1915 and was the son of Mr. R.
Beattie, also of Waimamaku.   
Beattie joined his battalion on the
8th September 1916 and was killed
six days later.  A court of enquiry was
required to establish his death and  
Beattie is the only man who has a
grave in the cemetery at the
Memorial.
Ken Baker of the Hokianga Historical Society placing flax flowers at
the Caterpillar Valley New Zealand Memorial at Longueval, France –
26 June 2016.
In this picture the inscriptions are for H. A. Lane, A. Ridgers and T.
Stancliffe.
Bourke, John Joseph, Rifleman,
22759 of the Maori Battalion who was
killed in action on the 15th September
1916.  Bourke who was born in
County Kerry, Ireland and the brother
of Mrs K. Flanagan of the Police
Station at Rawene.  On the 4th
September 1916, Bourke was posted
to the Pioneer Maori Battalion and
seriously wounded in action twelve
days later.  He was recovered injured
however a court of enquiry found that
his body was destroyed by heavy
shelling later that same day.  Bourke
is commemorated on the Memorial
and has no known grave.
Lane, Horace Alfred, Private, 23/478
who was killed in action on the 15th
September 1916. Lane, born at
Waikare Bay Northland in 1888 was
the son of Mr. D. G. Lane of Rawene
and on enlistment in May 1915, was
employed as a Labourer in the
Wairarapa.  Lane’s file report his
being killed in action on the 15th
September 1916 and his burial was
reported by the Rev. E. E. Malden,
Chaplain to the New Zealand forces.  
It is presumed his remains and
grave were never later re-found.
Philips, Malcolm Innes, Private,
11105 who was killed in action on
the 28th September 1916. Philips,
son of Mr. H. Philips of the
Schoolhouse in Kohukohu, was born
at Whangarei in 1895 and enlisted in
December 1915 while residing at
Kohukohu and employed as a
Labourer at the Rangiora Timber
Company.  He joined his battalion in
the Field on the 23rd September
1916 and was reported missing on
the 28th September 1916.  A Court of
Enquiry held on the 3rd of March
1917 found that he was killed in
action on the 28th September 1916. .
Ridgers aka Ridges, Albert, Private,
12/621 who was killed in action on
the 21st September 1916.  Ridgers
was born at Melton Mowbray, England
in 1880 who had previously served in
the Boer War, and at the time of his
enlistment in August 1914, was a
joiner and part owner of the Sash and
Door Company at Rawene.  He listed
his next of kin as Mr. H. Cook at
Rawene. After serving at Gallipoli,
Ridgers was killed in action in the
field on the 21st September 1916. .
Stancliffe, Thomas, Private, 12/636
who was killed in action on the 26th
September 1916. Stancliffe, the son
of Mr. John Richard Kagill Stancliffe of
Rangiahua, was born in Auckland in
1896 and at the time of his enlistment
in September 1914 was unemployed
at Dargaville.  After serving at
Gallipoli, Stancliffe died of Wounds in
the field on the 26th September
1916.  It is assumed he was buried in
the field and his grave and remains
were never recovered.
Entrance to the Commonwealth War
Graves New Zealand Memorial and
Cemetery at Longueval, France
Headstone for Robert Avon Beattie at the
Caterpillar Valley New Zealand Memorial and
Cemetery with flax flower and commemorative
card.