A re­minder of Somme sac­ri­fice

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE -

Somme House is a well-known land­mark on the fore­shore of Kare­hana Bay, Plim­mer­ton, likely com­mem­o­rat­ing two sol­diers’ ser­vice in WWI.

It was bought by Juanita Craw in 1918 - her fam­ily used to come to Plim­mer­ton for sea­side hol­i­days, hence Juanita Craw’s af­fec­tion for the area

At the out­break of WWI, Juanita’s brother Eric en­listed in the Welling­ton Mounted Ri­fles.

Lance Cor­po­ral Craw sailed with the main body of the New Zealand Ex­pe­di­tionary Force from Welling­ton to Egypt on Oc­to­ber 26, 1914.

The Welling­ton Mounted Ri­fles didn’t take part in the first Gal­lipoli land­ings, but ar­rived on May 12, 1915.

Craw, now a cor­po­ral, was shot in the ab­domen at Chunuk Bair on Au­gust 21, 1915.

He spent time in hos­pi­tals in Manch­ester and Lon­don and was deemed fit enough for ac­tive duty by the fol­low­ing March.

Now a gun­ner with the New Zealand Field Ar­tillery, Lance Bom­bardier Craw was shipped to France in May with the New Zealand Divi­sion.

The New Zealand Divi­sion was with­drawn on Oc­to­ber 3 and 4, 1916, but not be­fore it in­curred 7000 ca­su­al­ties, in­clud­ing the death of 1560 sol­diers.

Somme House early on

The land on which Somme House was built­was once part of Ge­orge Troup’s es­tate, which ex­tended up Cluny Rd and in­cluded Mo­tuhara, Moana and Air­lie roads. In 1910 the land­was sub­di­vided and sec­tions were sold off over the sub­se­quent years. In May 1915, Robert Hird Hustler, a painter from John­sonville, bought the land and built a home, but he sold it in 1918 to Juanita Heather Sylvia Cra­wof Lin­ton.

FLASHBACK

The gun­ners stayed be­hind and en­dured weeks of toil and dan­ger in wors­en­ing con­di­tions.

By the time New Zealand’s ar­tillery was with­drawn from the line in the last week of Oc­to­ber 1916, it had suf­fered about 500 ca­su­al­ties, one of whom was Eric Craw.

He is buried at Delville Wood Ceme­tery, Longue­val, France.

The sec­ond fam­ily con­nec­tion to the Somme is Juanita’s hus­band Ditlev (Dit) Gothard Mon­rad. En­list­ing, he landed at Gal­lipoli and was even­tu­ally evac­u­ated af­ter be­ing wounded.

Re­turn­ing to ac­tive ser­vice on the Western Front, it is likely he was ac­tive in the Bat­tle of the Somme, al­though no records con­firm it.

Wounded, he was sent back to New Zealand and mar­ried Juanita Craw in Au­gust 1918.

While there is no con­clu­sive ev­i­dence of when the house was named, Juanita’s brother’s and hus­band’s in­volve­ment in the Bat­tle of the Somme means it is likely that the house com­mem­o­rates their ser­vice.

PHOTO: AL­LAN DODSON

Somme House, 34 Sun­set Pde, Plim­mer­ton

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