Hamilton's living link to Passchendaele


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18 April 2007

Two descendants of a local soldier who fell in the Battle of Passchendaele will accompany Hamilton mayor Michael Redman and Mayor of Ieper Luc Dehaene in laying the Civic ANZAC Day wreath at Hamilton's 10am Civic ANZAC Day ceremony.

Sarah (12 years old) and Barclay (nine years old) Kneepkens are the great great niece and nephew of Charles Richard Tarrant, 17835, who was working for the Waikato Dairy Company as a butter-maker in Hamilton when he enlisted for WW1 service. Mr Tarrant left for service on 4 April from Frankton junction and sailed on HMT 17 Ulimaroa on 29 July 1916 as part of a group called 15th reinforcement 3rd NZ Rifle Brigade.

Mr Tarrant himself was a corporal in E Company as 9th Reinforcements to the 1st Battalion of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade. He fell during the Battle of Passchendaele on 12 October 1917 whilst serving in the 3rd Light Trench Mortar Battery.

Mr Tarrant's service during the Battle of Passchendaele included the Battle of Broodenseinde on 4 October 1917, which is notable for being the first time four ANZAC divisions had attacked side by side and the Battle of Messines that was launched on 7 June 1917 near the Belgian village of Mesen. The Battle of Messines was one of the most successful battles on the Western Front, though over 3,000 New Zealanders were injured and 700 were killed. Mr Tarrant was one of the injured, sustaining a neck wound although he returned to the trenches after a short spell of convalescence.

Mr Tarrant is one of the Missing listed at the largest British war cemetery in the world, Tyne Cot CWGC Cemetery in Belgium. Of the 11,908 graves registered within Tyne Cot, approximately 70 per cent are unknown soldiers. A wall at the cemetery's rear acts as a continuation of the name inscriptions on the Menin Gate in Ieper. The wall bears the names of some 34,927 soldiers who have no known grave and died from August 1917 to the end of WW1.

NAME: Lisa Pemberton
DESIGNATION: Civic Events Co-ordinator
TEL (DIRECT): 0 7 838 6977
FAX (DIRECT): 0 7 838 6979
NAME: Naomi Reynolds
DESIGNATION: Communication Advisor
TEL (DIRECT): 0 7 838 6726
MOBILE: 027 413 3448
FAX (DIRECT): 0 7 838 6761
Page reviewed: 18 Apr 2007 12:00am