One battle: Three sons dead
The brothers were three of eight sons of Leonard and Mary Ann Newlove (nee Hitchcock) who farmed 75 acres at Central Takaka.
Leonard Charles (Charlie) was born in 1876, George Thomas in 1878, Albert Ernest (Ernie) in 1880, Oliver in 1882, Edwin (Ted), in 1884, Alfred Horace in 1886, Herbert in 1887, and Leslie Malcolm in 1895.
By June 1917 George was attached to 363rd Forestry Company, Royal Engineers as axeman, and by July his brothers were also in France.
Charlie went missing and was subsequently declared killed in action during the 4 October offensive.
Ted and Leslie were killed on 12 October. Leslie’s body disappeared into the mud but Ted’s body was found and buried.
However, as was the case for many of the battlefield graves, his final resting spot was lost or destroyed in subsequent fighting.
If his or his brothers’ bodies or graves were ever found again, they could not be identified and they may be among the 322 unidentified New Zealand victims of Passchendaele who were buried in Tyne Cot Cemetery, close to where they died.
Back home in Takaka, their widowed mother, Mary Ann, had to endure the heartache of receiving separate notifications of the deaths of her sons in the three weeks following the battle.
It was the custom of the postmaster to deliver the telegrams informing families their loved ones in service had died but after delivering two such telegrams to the Newlove home, he couldn’t face seeing the distraught Mary Ann again and sent his deputy instead.
It was another 18 months before George returned home safely in May 1919.
October 12 – 1917 was Nelson’s blackest day. It was a day when the NelsonTasman region lost more lives than on any other single day during World War I.
At least 34 Nelson men died and a further nine were mortally wounded, dying over the next few days and into early November of the injuries sustained during the First Battle of Passchendaele in Flanders, Belgium.
Aged between 20 and 45, these men had been farmers, labourers, shop keepers, office clerks.
They came from Nelson City, Stoke, Richmond, Motueka and Takaka, but the majority hailed from small rural communities across the former Nelson Province, including Tapawera, Murchison, Mapua, and Collingwood.
Nelson’s dead were part of what has been described as New Zealand’s greatest disaster and the blackest day in the country’s post1840 history.
Though more accurately perhaps, the high casualty rate could also be referred to as the result of a terrible blunder by the British High Command.
About 950 Kiwi soldiers died or were mortally wounded that day.
Of that number 845 men were
The Newlove brothers; Charlie, Ted and Leslie at the Tapawera Military Camp.