Greeting loyal readers and fellow maremmas. Today, here in New Zealand and Australia, we remember and honour those men and women who died serving their country during war. At the moment the emphasis is on those who service at Gallipoli. While, mummy’s grand-father was not at Gallipoli, he was at the Western Front, along with his cousins and this is their story:
The tragic loss of the Hamblyn family during World War One is marked on the stone and brass of official memorials but Puke Ariki researchers are appealing for further information to keep the community memory alive.
Puke Ariki researchers are piecing together the story of the Hamblyn family for the major exhibition Bringing it Home: Taranaki and World War One which opens on 17 April next year. The exhibition will focus on compelling stories of Taranaki people and their communities, and will bring to light stories from the home front as much as the battlefield.
Puke Ariki Heritage Manager Andrew Moffat says while many people know the Great War claimed a huge loss of life, it is only when these losses become meaningful on a family scale that people begin to understand just what those names on war memorials represent.
Charles and Mary Hamblyn had four sons – Thomas, William, Henry and John – who were all killed on the Western Front during the war. Compounding the family’s grief, Charles and another of his sons, 17-year-old Osborn Hamblyn, died during the influenza epidemic sweeping the country.
The toll on the family drew comment in the Daily News on 2 December 1918.
“Despite all the affliction the family has undergone during the past three years, those surviving are still keeping a stout heart in the midst of their adversities and setting an example of fortitude that has won the admiration of all Tariki.”
Puke Ariki holds the Hamblyn memorial plaques, commonly known as Dead Men’s Pennys, and their names are recorded in official ways but some of the more personal family history is missing.
“We would love to reconnect with the Hamblyn family or bring to light the story of the surviving members after the war. To carry on in the face of such loss takes a particular kind of courage, different to the hero stories which sometimes grab all the attention,” Andrew says.
If you have any information about the Hamblyns or other Taranaki families who suffered heavy losses during World War One please email the Taranaki Research Centre at Puke Ariki or call (06) 7596060.
Mummy says that William and Thomas, both died on the same day on 8th June 1917 in Belgium. They are buried at the Wulverghem cemetary in Belgium.
People were not the only ones who served in wars. Here is a photo mummy found on the internet showing maremmas at war.