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SA 2679 Trooper William Park Hume – 5th contingent, New Zealand Mounted Rifles
 
Henry and Mary Hume began farming land in Ohariu Valley, Wellington in 1875. The farm land became known as Forest Hill Farm.[i] The couple had seven children, one son William Park was born on the 13th January 1879, his military papers noting at ‘Ohariu near Johnsonville.’[ii]
 
William was farming with his father when he enlisted for the 4th Contingent of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles for
service in South Africa. The 4th Contingent was privately organised and funded for the New Zealand Government by
local business men. Originally based in Otago, the support for the contingent enabled four companies to be raised and equipped, the 9th and 10th company from Otago and Southland and the 7th and 8th company from the North Island. ‘So great was the enthusiasm and so plentiful the supply of candidates that the contribution was increased to two full battalions of Mounted Rifles known as the 4th and 5th Contingent.’[iii] The 4th and 5th Contingents sailed together at the end of March 1900. SA 2679 Trooper Hume sailed with the 5th Contingent. Also sailing with the 5th were SA 2222 Trooper Alf Cook from Pauatahanui and SA 2203 Trooper Albert Morgan from Tawa.
 
The 4th and 5th Contingent with the 6th New South Wales Imperial Bushman formed the 2nd Brigade of
the Rhodesian Field Force which entered the Transvaal from the north-west heading for Mafeking. The 4th and 5th then split off towards Elands River. There were major engagements at Buffelshoek in August and Ottostoop in
September 1900 before operations in November around Ventersdorp. There were New Zealand casualties in contacts with the Boers but a large number of the Mounted Rifles also became casualties as a result of disease. Trooper Hume
was one of these falling ill with malaria and enteric fever in the field and was sent to Cape Town in December 1901 for passage on the SS Orient back to New Zealand.[iv]
 
Trooper Hume was assessed on his return to New Zealand and granted two months convalescent leave and during this period on 21st February 1901 he was invited to a welcome home for members of the NZ Mounted Rifles, mainly from the 1st Contingent.[v]
 
          ‘    At Godber’s rooms last  evening there was a
          big   muster –  about   80 –  of  the  Heretaunga
           Mounted  Rifles to give  a reception to  Lieut –
          Col.  Newall  and  the   members  of  the local
corps  who recently returned for South  Africa
Captain Loveday  presided. Beside Col. Newall
The  guests lately from the front were – Sergts
L’Estrange (H.M.R.) and Foster (College Rifles)
Troopers Cumings, Nairn, Blair, Gestro, Wiffen
Hume,  Newman,  Wallace,  Young  (all  Here-
taunga M R.), and Cameron ( Alexandra  M.R.,
Wanganui.  All  were  members  of  the  First
Contingent, save Trooper Hume who served
under Col. Newall in the Fifth. . . . .’
 
Troopers Cumings and Newman were from Tawa and Trooper Gestro from Paremata.
 
On the 15th March 1901 there was a more personal evening where[vi]
 
          ‘ Trooper Hume, who recently returned
          from South  Africa,  was entertained at
          Ohariu last night  and was presented by
          Mr  Field, on  behalf  of  the  residents,
          with  a  gold  watch.’
 
At the end of his convalescent leave Trooper Hume was discharged from the NZ Mounted Rifles, on the 31st 1901 ‘in consequence of illness (enteric fever).’[vii]
 
William returned to farm on the family farm Forest Hills, in Ohiriu Valley and while he thought he may have finished with live firing the Humes’ came under friendly fire. The Evening Post reported on 30th May 1903[viii] when shells from D Battery, practicing locally, overshot their targets and fell among the peaceful houses of the settlers. The shells were also seen to fall into a mob of sheep causing them to scatter. Part of the report –
 
          ‘ It seems plain that the battery’s practice        
          put the  settlers  to  considerable  risk. Mr
          Bryant  states  that  as  he was on the roof
          of a house that is in the course of erection
          three  shells came  whizzing  over his head,
          each  of  them landing within 150  yards  of
          the     building.       Another   shell   passed
          within 30 yards  of  his mother’s residence,
          which  is situated a little over a  mile from
          the  target which  the batter had  erected,
          And  yet another fell  between Mr  Hume’s
          And Mr Huggerty’s houses. . . . ‘
 
On 28th June 1905 William Park Hume married Iris Pearl Retter, daughter Mr F C Retter, Johnsonville.[ix] The Retter family was large with Iris Pearl the fifth of six daughters born to Frederick Chapman and Martha Annie Retter. Iris also had six brothers, three of whom served in South Africa with one, SA 4645 Trooper Leonard Greenwood Retter being killed in action.
 
The Hume family had five children in Ohariu Valley with William being involved in local politics and elected Ohariu Riding of the Makara County Council, which in 1935, consisted of the Porirua-Titahi Bay, Belmont, Makara, Tawa, Ngahauranga ridings.
 
William Park Hume died in 1959 and Iris Pearl Hume in 1964.
 
 
Notes:
Ohariu was originally part of the Porirua Riding of the Hutt County and when Makara County was form in 1928 is was one of six ridings formed – need to expand this.
 
References:
Papers Past Online
Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Files: SA 2679 Trooper William Park Hume
AngloBoerWar.Com
 
Photos:
Sergeant of the 5th Contingent: Google online
 
 
[i] Death of Mrs Kilsby (3rd July 1945) Evening Post.
[ii] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Files: SA 2679 Trooper William Park Hume
[iii] New Zealand Units: AngloBoerWar.com
[iv] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Files: SA 2679 Trooper William Park Nume
[v] An Evening with returned troopers (21st February 1901) Evening Post
[vi] Notices (15th March 1901) Evening Post
[vii] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Files: SA
[viii] Hot Time in Ohariu (30th May 1903) Poverty Bay Herald
[ix] Marriages Hume – Retter (4th July 1905) Evening Post. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sergeant from the 5th Contingent on the Veldt