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 50380 Trooper Edgar Ernest Hook  - Canterbury Mounted Rifles

The family originated in Kent with Friend Hook arriving with his mother and two brothers in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840.  Friend led an eventful life joining the militia during the New Zealand Wars and also tried his luck gold mining at Gabriel’s Gully[i].

Friend married Martha Morgan[ii]  in 1862 and the couple moved out to Tawa where they carved out a farm and
Frederick was also employed by the Hutt County Council maintaining roads in the district. Friend and Martha had seventeen children with the third, Frederick William Hook born in 1867.

Frederick William Hook married Janet Chambers in 1892, the couple had seven children. Frederick was employed as a roadman with the Hutt County and the family lived in Ohariu Valley  until Frederick’s death in 1902[iii]. Janet brought
up the young family with the support of Friend and Martha,  moving to live in Tawa Flat.

Edgar Ernest Hook was born in  was born in Ohariu Valley, Wellington on 20th September 1896  the 4th  child in the
family of seven born to Frederick William and Janet.

When Edgar enlisted in March 1917 his military papers note the he was employed as a Letter Carrier (postman) for the
NZ Government based in the Porirua Post Office but living with his mother Mrs Janet Hook who is listed as his next of kin[iv].  Edgar had previous military with No 34 Company, Senior Cadets of Porirua before, when he reached 18, being transferred to the 5th (Wellington) Regiment. Edgar had already tried to enlist in June 1916 when he was twenty but had been rejected because of a deformed toe but as the need for volunteers increased the medical restrictions were eased in 1917 but the military solution possibly was to put him on a horse.

50380 Trooper Edgar Ernest Hook, 30th Reinforcements,
NZ Mounted Rifles entered military training camp on 2nd May
1917. Trooper Hook remained in New Zealand until the  
13th November 1917 when he sailed with the 30th
Reinforcement, NZMR for Egypt.

30th Reinforcements parade at Featherston 1917 


On landing in Egypt 0n 21st December 1917 Trooper Hook
was sent to the Mounted Rifles training units and on
19th January 1918 to the Canterbury Mounted Rifles Squadron.
While still in Cairo on 9th March 1918 Trooper Hook was
admitted to the No2 Australian Stationary Hospital with measles
and it was not until a month later that he was fit enough for duty. On 25th May 1918 Trooper Hook was with the Canterbury Rifles as they camped near Bethlehem.

The CMR in July 1918 moved into the Jordan River area which was renowned as a malaria plague area moving out on the
27th July 1918 to Solomon’s Pool near Bethlehem. It was probably that it was about this time he wrote to another
Tawa man, Gunner Wilf Mexted in France as on 18th August 1918 Gunner Mexted wrote to his 11 year old brother Milton
in Tawa  (part of the letter)[v]:

I had a letter from Ryley Hook yesterday from Palestine,
he is doing well, but spoke as though he would rather be on
this front, it is strange isn’t it, and we wishing to be over there, anywhere for a change I suppose. “

NZ Mounted Brigade crossing the Jordan River



The war in Palestine was coming to an end as the Ottoman Forces weakened by sickness and desertions began to fall
back toward Amman. On the 30th October 1918 the Ottoman Empire signed an Armistice ending the war in the Middle East.  The CMR in November and December as part of monitoring the Armistice were shipped to the Gallipoli Peninsular
the scene of the landings on 25th April 1915.

It was planned to return all the NZ Mounted Rifles to New Zealand but the lack of shipping delayed the return so there
were various games and educational programs to keep the men engaged. The CMR was also used to help control the populist uprising in Egypt for independence.

Trooper Hook finally sailed for New Zealand on 23rd July 1919 among the final element of the NZMR to leave the
Middle East. On arrival in New Zealand on 14th September 1919 Trooper Hook was given a month’s leave and on
11th October 1919 was discharged ‘on termination of his period of engagement.’

Edgar returned to his mother’s house in Tawa Flat being elected in 1921 to the Tawa Flat Householder’s Committee[vi].

Edgar In 1928 married May Victoria Bradey[vii].

 In the late 1920’s / 1930’s Edgar went into partnership with his older brother Alexander (Alex) in Hook Brothers (Butchers) Tawa. By 1941 Edgar was employed as a despatch clerk and driver when he was commissioned as the Commander of
the Tawa Flat Home Guard. Lieutenant Hook served with the Home Guard through to 1st January 1944 when, with the threat of attack receding he was placed on the reserve lists[viii].

Edgar Ernest Hook died on 30th September 1973, his death reported
to the defence department by his widow Mrs May Victoria Hook,
Oxford Street, Tawa. Edgar and May are buried in the
Porirua Cemetery.

Notes
Two of Trooper Hooks older brother also served in the NZEF
1/326 Private Frederick Leonard Hook – Samoa Advanced Party
2/1015 Gunner Alexander James Hook - NZ Feild Artilley 

References
NZ BDM
Paperspast Online
Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files
PCC – Porirua Cemetery Database
Auckland Cenotaph Database
James Wilfred (Wilf) Mexted – letters from France (unpublished)

Photos
NZ Mounted Rilfes crossing the Jordan River : National Library
Hook family grave – Porirua Cemetery: Porirua City Council
30th Mounted Rifles parade at Featherston Camp 1917: NZ Mounted Rifles Association 

[i] Obituary, Special to the Evening Post, 30th November 1928, Evening Post
[ii] NZ BDM
[iii] A settlers sad end, 28th January 1902, Evening Post
[iv] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 50380 Trooper Edgar Ernest Hook
[v] Unpublished letter 50095 Gunner James Wilfred Mexted
[vi] Advertisement, 27th April 1921, Evening Post
[vii] NZ BDM
[viii] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files (Territorial): 50380 Trooper Edgar Ernest Hook 

NZ Mounted Brigade crossing the Jordan River