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2/829 Gunner Isaac Harold Plimmer – New Zealand Field Artillery
 
The area around what is now Plimmerton was originally known as Taupo and was  populated by a number of Maori tribes, Mauaupoko, Ngati Ara, Ngati Kahungunu and Ngati Hotu. In the 1820s the Ngati Toa took control of the area which was
an important trading point and was rich in resources.  The Ngatitoa chief Te Rauparaha had his main residence at Taupo Pa up until 23 July 1846. On the 23rd July 1846 he was arrested at his Pa by 200 British troops. Following the arrest and confiscation of large tracts of land in the area, Taupo Pa was deserted as Takapuwahia and Urukatika became the main Ngati Toa settlements in Porirua.
 
The Motuhara block, which included Taupo, was leased to European farmers and sheep grazed the area up until the 1880’s. The next major development was the establishment of the Manawatu & Wellington Railway Company, a privately owned company which built a railway line from Thorndon, Wellington to Longburn, Palmerston North. A number of new settlements were created as the line opened up areas for settlement and farming. Four settlements Linton (James Linton), Shannon(George Vance Shannon), Levin (William Hort Levin) and Plimmerton (John Plimmer) were named after Directors in the Manawatu and Wellington Railway Company.
 
The railway arrived in Plimmerton in 1885 and the new village very quickly became a beachside holiday destination for people from Palmerston North and Wellington.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Plimmerton Railway Station (left) and Refreshment Hall (right) with crowd 1885 - possibly official opening.
 
One of the largest guest houses built to service the demands was Plimmer House built by Charles Plimmer, son of John Plimmer. Plimmer House was right beside the first railway station in what would later be Steyne Avenue. Many of the
older streets in Plimmerton village; Bath, Steyne, Exeter and Shrewsbury have names associated with John Plimmer’s
early life in England.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Plimmerton Railway Station (extreme left) Plimmer House (Two storied building) & Refreshment Hall - 1895
 
Charles and Anna Matilda Plimmer had four children, Isaac Harold (1881), Charles Herbert (1885), Ella Gladys - Girlie
(1889) and Mary Kathleen - Molly (1900) the children spent time at Plimmer House and also at their grandfather’s beach housein Steyne Avenue.
 
Isaac Harold Plimmer, the eldest son, went to Clive Quay School before
going to Wellington Collegebetween 1895-1897. Following college Isaac sat and
passed Junior Civil Servant exams in 1898 before training as a mechanical
engineer.
 
 
Isaac Harold Plimmer c1900 
 
 
On declaration of war on 4 August 1914 the mobilisation of New
Zealand’s forces began and Isaac Harold Plimmer answered the call
and enlisted on 14 October 1914. Service records noted that at the
time of enlisting he was a Marine Engineer working at Poverty Bay for
Jeffery Pehiri.  Following his enlistment Isaac was attachedto the
New Zealand Field artillery (NZFA) as 2/829  Gunner Isaac Harold Plimmer,
2nd Battery. [i]
 
The main body of the NZ Field Artillery  Force departed New Zealand
on 16 October 1914, and arrived in Egypt in December 1914 where they 
were based Zeitoun where training and reconditioning began. In March
1915 the New Zealand Field Artillery, now part of the ANZAC Corps, moved
to Alexander for embarkation for the landings at Gallipoli. The 2nd Battery was landed at ANZAC Cove 26/27th April 1915 and continued to support the infantry units through the following months.
 
In August 1915 preparations for a major offensive, the Battle for Chunuk Bair, had been completed. At 4:30 pm on 6 August 1915 the initial bombardment of Turkish positions started. It was during the first phase, after fierce fighting, that the Wellington Battalion captured Chunuk Bair on 8 August 1915. On the same day Gunner Plimmer wrote what would
be his final letter home. The letter contains references to ‘the great fight that was in progress’, that he had seen the chargeby either the Sikhs or Gukkas which had resulted in a great number of casualties to the Turks and that his battery had been in action for some time but he was proud to do his duty.[ii]
 
 
On 9 October 1915 two gunners 2/829 Isaac Harold Plimmer and 2/673 Albert Harold Griffiths were reported killed in Action.[iii]
 
 
It was after his death that the letter written in
August was sent, as requested, to his family with a note next to the address stating ‘to be sent only if sender is dead’
 
 
 
Copy of the envelope for the 8/8/1915 letter.
 
 
 
On the death of his father in 1931, the contents of the letter were used in a court case to determine Isaac Harold Plimmer’s last will and testament but only part of it (the first and last pages), were reproduced in court records. 
The letter is addressed to ‘Dear Mother and Father’ and the last page reads:
 
 “I am writing this in a hurry, things are a bit dicky, and one doesn’t know when one is going to get laid out; let’s
hope when it comes it will be only a temporary nature. In case it is more permanent you must not grieve too
much, for I’ll be doing my duty and that is the main thing, its one little chance one has, and one has to make
the most of it. We haven’t been asked to do anything very serious up to date, but this time it will be, remember
me to all my friends. I’ll not be writing any farewell letters other than this. Give my love to Girlie and Mollie and
to yourselves, love and good-bye. I can’t thank you sufficiently for all you have done for me, and this is but the
little I can give in return. Dad will fix my affairs. I would like him, however, to arrange what I posses to be divided equallybetween, himself, mother, Girlie and Mollie.[iv]
 
Good Bye
Love to All
Your affectionate son
Isaac Harold Plimmer
2nd Battery NZFA
 
2/829  Gunner Isaac Harold Plimmer, 2nd Battery, New Zealand Field Artillery is remembered on the memorial at Chunuk Bair, Gallipoli and at the Wellington College War Memorial .
 
Isaac Plimmer’s parents received from the New Zealand Government his death plaque, Commemorative Scroll and the 1914-1915 Star, British War and Victory medals.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Commemorative Plaque (Death Penny) Isaac Harold Plimmer                                 Commemorative Scroll
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
3/829 Gunner Isaac Harold Plimmer's medals
 
1914 - 1915 Star
 
British War Medal
 
Victory Metal
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Notes
World War One medals are enscribed either around the rim or on the back of the medals with the recipient's
sedrial number, rank at the time of the award, initial and surname and also the service in 3/829 Gnr I H Plimmer this
is NZEF.
 
References
Archway Archives New Zealand - Military Records: 3/829 Gunner Isaac Harold Plimmer
Archway Archives New Zealand - probate records (1931) Isaac Harold Plimmer NZ AAOM 6029 718/49167
Porirua City Council - History of Porirua Villages
 
Photos
1885 Plimmerton Railway Station - Alexander Turnbull
1895 Plimmer House - Pataka
pre 1914 Isaac Harold Plimmer - Wellington College
Last letter from Gallipoli - Archives New Zealand (Charles Plimmer papers)
Commemorative Plaque - Allan Dodson
Commeorative Scroil - Allan Dodson
Gunner Plimmer's medals - Allan Dodson
Background New Zealand Artillery in action at Gallipoli - Alexander Turnbull
 
 
[i]  Archway Archives New Zealand - Military Records: 2/829 Gunner Isaac Harold Plimmer,
[ii] 1931 Probate Records; Isaac Harold Plimmer; Archives
[iii] 1924 NZEF Roll of Honour 1914 - 1919
[iv] 1931 Probate Records; Isaac Harold Plimmer; Archives
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
New Zealand Field Artillery moves up to the front - France 1917