The brothers who went off to war
The stories of Charles and Kenneth Boulton didn’t come easy to Allan Dodson, but his sleuthing paid off. The Plimmerton historian has mined primary and secondary sources aplenty to unearth a trove of stories relating to the men and women from the suburb who served in World War I.
He has recently expanded his purview to look into stories of some of the more than 100 who served from other parts of Porirua.
The Boulton family is a name that goes back a way in Porirua, with Edward Boulton whaling in Mana in 1837.
With the declaration of war in 1914, Charles and younger brother Kenneth, living in the Golden Gate area of Paremata, were quick to enlist.
Charles become an artillery gunner and Kenneth joined the Otago regiment. Both served at Gallipoli in 1915.
The photo of the two is one of the clearest Dodson has seen.
‘‘That shot is from a glass negative and they’re brilliant for people like me, who are doing research,’’ he said. ‘‘You can blow them up very clearly and see shoulder flashes, military insignia on uniforms and other telltale things.’’
Kenneth was killed at Gallipoli on about May 5, 1915, Dodson said, during a disastrous daylight attack on a hill above Anzac Cove.
Charles was evacuated from Gallipoli in the July with severe dysentery. His story had many more threads, Dodson said.
‘‘At some point during his recovery from dysentery, he was in Canada and I’m guess- ing that’s where he meet Lottie.
‘‘I was able to track her back to her work in a Canadian hospital. They were married at St Alban’s church in Pauatahanui the day after Armistice Day, 1918 – whether by good luck or not you can’t be sure – but I’m sure it led to a double celebration.’’
Charles worked on Pauatahanui farms from 1916 till 1918 but after that the trail runs cold. It’s not known how long he and his wife were in Paremata but a service medal was unclaimed, before an address emerged for Charles in Los Angeles.
Dodson said about 110 people from Porirua served in World War I, but admitted there could be more he had not found out about. ‘‘The list just keeps on growing.’’ Many of the stories will make up an exhibition at Pataka Museum next year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings.
Porirua Library had been a fantastic resource, Dodson said.
Dodson has written up the story of the Boultons, and many others, on plimmerton.org.nz.
Call to arms: Kenneth Boulton, left, and older brother Charles, before they shipped out in 1915.