Pvt William 'Willie' Ham

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Oct 12, 2011
On 5 February 1915 Pvt William Arthur 'Willie' Ham was the first New Zealand soldier to die of wounds in combat during the Great War. Originally born in Ireland, he lived in my local area and is commemmorated on the local war memorial. Here are a few links detailing Ham and the Nelson Regiment going off to war.

Nelson's Turkish Pontoon | NZETC

This link is from the local paper, the Nelson Mail about a photograph that was gifted by the Nelson Museum to the local populace where I live: First casualty from Nelson | Stuff.co.nz

A link from the New Zealand Herald about Ham: Nation's first battle casualty - War - NZ Herald News

On 5 February, last Thursday a commemmoration was held at the local war memorial, which I attended. Here are some images from the service.

The local padre of St James Chapel, Ngatimoti gives a eulogy at the commencement of the service.


A very youthful honour guard.


"Greater Love Hath No Man" The Ngatimoti War Memorial was only the second erected after the war in New Zealand. The obelisk is flanked by two captured Minenwurfers.


The C/O of the New Zealand Territorial Army John Broadley has a word.


The presentation of wreaths; the children laid a wreath on behalf of the 100 students of Ngatimoti School.

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More images.

The Last Post and the NZ ensign at half mast. The entire Ngatimoti School was present under the tree in the background. My daughter is in there somewhere.



More presentations. The chap speaking was former C/O of the Nelson Regiment (Battalion? Not sure of the details).


Dignitries under a brightly decorative gazebo courtesy of the school. The bald chap at centre in the dark suit is Chris Ham, who is a surviving relative. Chris works for Safe Air in Blenheim as the head of the phase maintenance section on RNZAF UH-1 Iroquois helicopters and came over for the day with Cliff Brereton, whose family is also from the local area. A relative of his was Willie Ham's C/O. I used to work with both Cliff and Chris, who was my Lead Hand in the Iroquois Section when I was doing my apprenticeship.



Couldn't decide whether this image looked better in colour or black and white.


Lest we forget.
Important not to forget.

On a lighter note 'reversed arms' is not so elegant when modern shorter weapons don't reach the ground and can't be 'leant' on, meaning the weapon is still being carried, albeit reversed.


Good stuff Grant. I agree about the 'reverse Arms' too, and when carried on the march in reverse, modern weapons are bl**dy awkward and look silly !

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