new background

Friday, 29 March 2013

Flight Lieutenant Eric Norman Percival ARMSTRONG DFC

This year sees the 70th anniversary of the Dambusters 

I discovered last year that my partners* great uncle was one of the amazing men in this elite group.

I don't really know a lot about him, nor does my partner, who was born late 1960's in New Zealand and whose parents immigrated to New Zealand  in the very early 1960's.  Family anecdotes are sketchy.  I don't have a photo of him.  Maybe one will appear one day! 

Eric Norman Percival was born in 1909 in Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, Ireland to William ARMSTRONG and Annie nee BUTTLE [1874-1960] - one of their seven children.

He married Olive Glass REID [sic] in the third quarter of 1936 Dublin South, Ireland and information I have come across on states he was a shopkeeper. They lived across the road from where their parents had always lived.

Ireland was neutral in the war, no national service so he volunteered to join and went to the U.K. to train.  Military service number 126555.

Eric commenced flying on the 24th June 1942 at No.4 Air Gunnery School and flew his first operation on the 20th November 1942, with 16 OTU [Operational Training Unit] to Paris on a Nickel run. 

Posted to 9 squadron he converted to Lancaster Bombers and flew his first Op with the Squadron on the Lorient on the 16th February - 
"Very Good Prang s/lights moderate, Flak intense." 
A number of operational entries are complemented by comment:  
"Nurnberg 25th February Cookie Hang Up Bags of Panic, Krefeld 21st June Hit by Incendiaries over target." 
His operational tour was interrupted after 19 completed trips and a number of DNCO's, when he was posted to the Central Gunnery School, for a Gunnery Leaders course on the 18th August 1943.  He returned to his unit in September, now as Gunnery Leader and continued his tour of which his last Eight trips were to the German Capital Berlin.   

Completing his Tour in January 1944, he was posted to 1654 HCU [Heavy Conversion Unit] and then onto 617 (Dambuster) Squadron in September 1944, here he would participate in nine Tallboy raids, flying his first trip with Wing Commander Willy TAIT DSO two Bars, DFC & Bar to the Dortmund Emms Viaduct on the 23rd September 1944. 

His other operational trips included:
7th October 1944 Kambs Dam with S/Ldr [Gerald Ernest] FAWKE DSO, DFC,

8th December Urft Dam, with F/Lt SAUNDERS DFC, with a return trip on the 11th December; on both occasions the target obscured. 

21st December - Politz with F/O CASTAGNOLA DFC

29th December E Boat Pens Rotterdam

30th December E boat Pens Imjuiden. 

31st December Bombing the cruisers Koln and Emden. On this occasion failed to get a good run did not bomb 

The Pilot on the last three occasions was F/Lt PRYOR DFC. This Officer would be the Captain on the 12th January 1945 when the crew [with Eric as front gunner] were detailed to bomb the U-Boat pens at Bergen. Over the target, the Lancaster B I PD233/KC-G was engaged by a German FW 190 Night fighter, a running fight 37 minutes incurred with the Lancaster sustaining heavy damage, the loss of two engines, the rear gunner having to hand crank his turret into firing positions, and the plane dropping to a height of only 1,100 feet. At this stage over a small island North West of Bergen the order to bail out was given. A comment from the log "No hope of escape captured within a few hours all crew OK."  One 190 claimed as probably destroyed. POW 4 months. The Bomb aimers parachute did not open properly and he sustained injuries on hitting the ground at Lille Landon, Norway, resulting in his death. The FW190 mentioned in the log, was later confirmed as a Kill. 

Repatriated to the UK in May 1945 and after a period of rest, he was posted to 15 Squadron in July 1945 and recommenced flying duties. He remained with this Squadron and his last entry is dated 17th March 1946. 

When he got back to civvy life someone made a comment to him about "those bastard Germans" and he curtly said

"shut up you fool, for the last two months we were feeding our rations out the wire to the local children because they had nothing."
It should be mentioned here that the fence he was talking about was around the perimeter of the camp...20 feet inside that  there was  a line on the ground. Inside that space you'd be shot. The guards let them feed the children because they were their [the German's] children.

Distinguished Flying Cross
Researching Eric's information led me to the auctioneers business that sold  his medals along with his log book in 2005 - you can imagine how gutted we were to see this!  The recommended price guide was  E2,600-3,000
Medal group Distinguished Flying Cross (1944), 
1939/45 Star, Aircrew Europe Star, France & Germany clasp. 
Defence Medal, 
War Medal. 
Along with:
Buckingham Palace forwarding slip for the DFC and a quantity of Research. 

Flight Lieutenant Eric Norman Armstrong's recommendation for the Distinguished Flying Cross is dated 11th February 1944. 
"Flight Lieutenant Armstrong is a Squadron Gunnery leader and in that capacity he has maintained a very efficient section. His work on the ground has been complemented by his eagerness to fly on operations. He has completed twenty six sorties and has set a high example of quiet determination...."
Base Commanders Remarks: 

Flight Lieutenant Armstrong's additional duties as Gunnery Leader has extended his tour of operations over a long period. For a long successful tour and his other good work it is recommended that he be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross 

Much of Eric's military background information courtesy of Bosleys Military Auctioneers who handled the 2005 sale of Eric's medals and I'm informed they did stay in England.  Boy would I love to get my hands on those!

Eric married Olive Glass REID in the third quarter of 1936 [1]

Olive died March 6 2006.  It is interesting it states her maiden name was Rowe contradictory to all the information I've come across. Her death notice in The Irish Times stated:
ARMSTRONG (née Rowe) (Olive Glass) (Coolbeg, Templeshannon, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford) - March 6, 2006 (peacefully), in the loving care of Triona and the staff of Valentia Nursing Home, Camolin, beloved wife of the late Eric; will be sadly missed by nieces and nephews, their families and her many friends. At her request her remains will be donated to Medical Science (Trinity College).

Olive is mentioned in the London Gazette.  Meterological Branch. Appointment to commission as Asst. Sec. Off. on probation (emergency) 1 November 1944.

Please feel free to contact me so this post can be fleshed out!

Some photographs on FLICKR of a Lancaster Bomber I've taken at MOTAT in Auckland, New Zealand.

*since post was written, we are no longer together.

[1] Registration Marriages Index 1845-1958
Vol 2 Page 469 FHL film number 101577

©2014 Sarndra Lees

Thursday, 21 March 2013

The STRATFORD family

[Apologise for the abominable formatting on the blog.  The software refuses to budge when I edit even when editing HTML]

Once again I set off on doing a 'quick' biography for a headstone I snapped in February.  Every time I say this I end up jinxing myself and it turns into a long snaking journey around many more members of the same family.  This time was no exception with the STRATFORD family.

I had originally spied Charles Edward STRATFORD's headstone at Bromley Cemetery, Christchurch on 27 February.  

 In loving memory of
A beloved husband & father
Charles Edward STRATFORD
Died 3rd August 1956 – Aged 58 years
Late No. 7/2157 World War 1
Also Agnes Mary STRATFORD
A beloved wife & mother
Died 1st February 1976 – Aged 75 years
Block 23 Plot 139 [3] 

Charles was living at 24 Baker Street, Christchurch at the time of his death and was an upholsterer.

Plaque to right of headstone:
Maurice Joseph STRATFORD [Mossie]
1929 – 1934
Died 4 August 1934 [1]
Block 23 Plot 138

Born: Christchurch
Address at death: 41 Winton St, Christchurch

Charles looks so young in this newspaper clipping from The Star, 12 April 1918 which would have been taken a few years earlier.

He was born c1897 in New Zealand and so would have enlisted around the tender age of 18 - he certainly looks younger than this in the photo. 

He fought in the Somme and Messines according to his Cenotaph database record.

On the 12 April 1918, a casualty notice appeared for him stating he had been wounded in action.

Sapper C. Stratford.
Mrs Stratford of 33, Suffolk Street, Linwood has received advice that her son Gunner Charles Stratford, has been admitted to hospital in England suffering from a severe gunshot wound in the left thigh.  Gunner Stratford left with the Ninth Reinforcements.  He took part in the battles of the Somme and Messines.  He was educated at the Marist Brothers’ School and later was on the staff of A.J. White, Ltd.  He is twenty-one years of age.
Charles came home from the war and eventually married Agnes Mary SHARLICK c1920[4].  An account of their wedding was printed:

At least 2 sons were born to Charles and Agnes - Bernie and Maurice, although on searching the internet, I came across a family tree showing the birth of 2 daughters, Patricia and Kathleen.[28]

Bernie was born c1925.  There is a Bernard Charles STRATFORD, upholsterer, living with his wife Catherine Margaret at 26 Queensbury Street, Christchurch on the 1954, Avon electoral roll.[13]

Maurice  Joseph born c1929.  He died in rather tragic circumstances aged 4 and is buried with his parents here in this grave.  The Auckland Star reported at the time of his death:


Two Boys Injured

One dies in Hospital

Two boys, Bernie Stratford, aged nine, and Maurice Stratford, aged seven, [sic] fell down Scarborough cliff, Sumner, on Saturday morning and were seriously injured.  Yesterday Maurice died.  He had internal injuries and Bernie severe head injuries.

An operation was necessary in both cases.  The older boy is still in a serious condition.  They were both unconscious when admitted to the hospital.

The boys went to Sumner with their father, who had some bricklaying work to do. There they left him to go and must themselves alone, and wandered off to the beach.  From the beach it is believed they climbed the cliff, a hazardous climb for experienced men.  After achieving most of the ascent, they slipped and fell to the roadway about sixty feet below.

When the boys were found they were both bleeding from cuts on the head and face, and were unconscious.  They were at once given medical attention and rushed to the hospital.  Their father was not located until some time later.[2]

 ~~~~ *** ~~~~

 Parents and Siblings

Charles Edward was the son of Charles Abraham STRATFORD and Ann Agnes nee HURST who wed circa 1891[5].   Charles Senior was, in his time, a well known horse racing identity and it appears that they had rather a tumultuous relationship. 

In June of 1895,  Ann [now living at Upper Riccarton], gave birth to Ambrose James STRATFORD at Swindon Lodge in Linwood, Christchurch[18] and only 14 months later on 26 August 1896, Charles senior was fined 5 shillings after having been charged that:
On August 29th, [he] used obscene language in Linwood, with having assaulted Anthony HURST, and with having broken a pane of glass, value 10 shillings, the property of Anthony HURST.  The accused, who pleaded guilty, was ordered to be imprisoned till the rising of the Court for using obscene language, was fined 40 shillings for the assault, and ordered to pay the value of the broken window, and also the costs incidental to the proceedings.[14]
Interesting to note the assaulted was a HURST.  Maybe a relation to Ann?

A few months later, Charles [buried in this grave] was born, and it appears his parents relationship continued on its rocky course, as his parents separated in 1898 and Annie applied for a separation under the Married Persons’ Separation act on the ground of his persistent cruelty to her.[6]  

Charles Senior was getting into strife in his professional life also.  In 1899, the fifth year of the Christchurch Racing Club's meetings the following appeared in the papers:


Charles senior and his wife Ann, during this time got back together and had a daughter, also named Ann born c1899,[5] [see more about Ann at bottom of page] but things were still rocky.  In 1900 the Stratford’s graced the Courts with their presence again:


In August 1901 Charles senior had a charge of obscene language dismissed over an incident when some friends were in his house to which Agnes objected.  When she tried to “get her small boy away” Charles senior had obviously voiced his opinion.[7]  One wonders what emotions Ann must have been going through as she was pregnant around this time and gave birth to a daughter Margaret Mary in 1901. More about Margaret and her cad of a husband further down the page.

Archives New Zealand have a Canterbury “Recognizance [sic] of the Peace” file for Charles Abraham STRATFORD dating 1904. These were from what I can find, similar to posting bond, which him being in and out of court is not surprising!

In 1910 Charles Abraham was again charged with obscene language.  You have to love the way it was reported in ‘The Truth’ and again, his wife was the centre of his anger:


Charles Abraham STRATFORD died 21 June 1927 aged 60 and was living at 33 Suffolk Street, Christchurch.  It is noted in the Christchurch Cemeteries database that he was a stable hand born in Australia and had been in New Zealand 40 years at the time of his death.  His obituary hints at someone who appeared to have a bit more clout than a stable hand.  It seems his many transgressions were overlooked by the racing fraternity, as a month after his death, the ‘annual inter Island jockeys’ football match was held and some of the takings went towards “erecting a memorial stone” to him[10] and his obituary stated:

“…in his day [he] was one of the most capable and certainly the most vigorous finisher in New Zealand, says a Dunedin writer.  “Charlies” was the last of the “long legs,” and persevered with the old-time seat to the last, as he still used it when noticed riding exercise on the eve of the last Great Autumn meeting at Riccarton,  In 1893 he won the Stewards’ Handicap on Au Revoir, and in 1894 the Dunedin Cup and Wanganui Cup on Liberator.  He also won the Wellington Cup on The Poet.  These we his most notable wins and he also scored on Artillery in the D.J.C. Champagne Stakes.  One of the most notable finishes that ever took place on the old Forbury Park course was between Stratford on Au Revoir and T. Buddicombe on Beadonwell.  They fought out a battle royal nearly all the way up the straight, with both riders hard at it over the final 100 yards with demonish vigour.  They flashed past the post together, and the judge could not separate them.  Such finishes are not seen nowadays, because the average rider sits too short to get the last ounce out of a horse, who not infrequently has to finish on his own and just for the love of a battle.  Charles Stratford was very popular with the old brigade and his death will be deeply regretted by all who knew him.”[11]
Ann Agnes STRATFORD nee HURST died 13 Sept 1946 aged 77 years and was still at 33 Suffolk Street at the time of her death. Her probate is available  
Charles and Ann may have been disgruntled with each other in life, but in death their family saw fit to place them together for all eternity.  I wonder how they both feel about that!  They are both buried in Linwood Cemetery Block 38 Plot 129.[8]  Also buried in the same plot is Henry Anthony STRATFORD [probably a son and therefore brother of Charles Edward] who died 20 November 1918 aged 24 years - did the influenza get him?  His occupation was stated as driver and he had been born in Christchurch.[9]


Ann STRATFORD born c1899
Ann married Arthur Patrick O’LEARY c1921[5] and died 31 December 1969 aged 70.  She was buried with her husband Arthur, in Ruru Lawn Cemetery Block 8 Plot 351.  Arthur, who was born in Christchurch and lived with Ann at 12 McCombs Street, Christchurch and was a Council Labourer aged 69 years at the time of his death, died 14 May 1962.[12]

Margaret Mary STRATFORD born c1901
In all probability, Margaret married Treavo GARDNER in 1920[21]. Margaret died 1 July 1988 aged 86. Treavo died 16 Nov. 1976 aged 78 and was a drainage board employee at the time of death.[22] They are both buried in Ruru Lawn Cemetery. Margaret in Block 12 Pot 299 and Treavo in plot 298. Buried in Block 12 Plot 298 is Noel Mariest GARDNER who died 19 Oct 2006 aged 67, a labourer born in Christchurch. Quite probably their son.

Interesting to note that Treavo Gardiner[sic] had a sentence passed in Dunedin court in 1917 to be detained for reformatory treatment for a period of not more than three years for breaking and entering in Oamaru[24] then a few years later in 1927 when he was married to Margaret was accused of indecently assaulting [raping? – got to love the wording of ‘The Truth’ newspaper back in those days] a 20 year old domestic.[25] He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.[26]



Marriage registration 1920/307 – Dept Internal affairs historic BDM database and for a connection for her tree see
Dept Internal affairs historic BDM database
Press, Volume LV, Issue 10057, 8 June 1898, Page 3
Star , Issue 7180, 19 August 1901, Page 3
Manawatu Standard, Volume XXXVIII, Issue 6849, 14 November 1900, Page 3
Dept Internal Affairs historic BDM indexes - [birth registration 1895/6880]
Dept Internal affairs historic BDM’S – Birth registration 1901/769
Dept Internal affairs historic BDM’S – Marriage registration 1920/10037
Charles' Cenotaph Database record 


Monday, 4 March 2013

Carlo BERGAMINI - an unassuming grave for a sculptor


Often as I'm walking around a cemetery, I come across graves that I think may hold a story solely due to the persons name... Carlo's grave was one of those and what a story I found!
Carlo's headstone belied what an amazing talent he had in his trade as a stonemason and the designer of 5 major South African War memorials in New Zealand. Those at Dunedin, Waimate, Palmerston, Riverton and Oamaru.

His unassuming headstone in Bromley Cemetery at Block 23 Plot 135, Christchurch states:


1870 - 1934

R - I - P

He had resided in New Zealand 47 years at the time of his death and he lived at 50 Buckleys Road, Linwood.  This in itself was a fascinating thing to find out, because for many years being a citizen in Avondale, Christchurch, I often passed this run down house situated beside Eastgate Mall on the way to my grandparents house and wondered what its history may have been!  

Carlo Bergamini [10]

"Carlo Giuseppe Bergamini was born at Carrara, Italy, on 19 January 1868 [differs to headstone information – Sarndra], the son of Oreste Bergamini and his wife, Marie de Raimondo Castelpoggi. Carrara was the centre of the Italian marble industry and the family were stonemasons and sculptors. As a young man Carlo arrived in Australia and New Zealand as a travelling representative of the family firm, hoping to win orders for cemetery headstones and marble monuments.

In Dunedin Bergamini met Elizabeth Jane Reid, who had migrated with her parents from County Antrim, Ireland [note conflicting information in Bromley Cemetery database states she was born in Christchurch – Sarndra]. Despite his Roman Catholic faith, they were married in a Presbyterian ceremony on 18 May 1889. Family legend says that on the honeymoon in Melbourne Carlo spent the money set aside for his return to Italy. The couple returned to Dunedin where Carlo set up as a marble sculptor and monumental mason, first on his own account, then in 1898 in a partnership with James Crawford, and finally some two years later in association with Elizabeth's father, Hugh Reid. Marble angels and crosses were imported in sculpted form from Bergamini's family in Carrara, and Carlo would finish, inscribe and then erect them in the cemeteries of Otago.

The end of the South African War in 1902 provided new opportunities for Bergamini. Some communities, wishing to commemorate both pride in their sons' service to the empire and sorrow for those who had fallen, decided to erect war memorials. Often they called for designs on a competitive basis. Carlo Bergamini proved to be an adept designer, and five communities
awarded him winning prizes. The firm of Bergamini and Reid was then commissioned to erect the memorials.


Waimate [32]...

Oamaru [33]

 Riverton [8]...

 and Dunedin [9] ...

 It also won a tender to put up a marble memorial tablet at Otago Boys' High School.

Otago Boy's High school tablets [11]

Bergamini won the commissions largely because his designs summed up the sentiments of the period. The iconography expressed that mixture of nationalist and imperialist enthusiasms which New Zealanders associated with the country's participation in the war. At both Palmerston and Waimate his designs featured a youthful figure of Zealandia – the daughter of Britannia – with one hand raised in triumph and the other carrying a wreath of flowers. At Oamaru the sculpture was a realistic portrayal of a local veteran; at Dunedin it was a more generalised heroic New Zealand trooper protecting an injured mate. The details also showed how sensitively Bergamini had read the prevailing mood. On three of the memorials the Union Jack and the New Zealand Ensign were intertwined in marble beneath the protection of the imperial crown, while at Palmerston and Oamaru the British lion made a symbolic appearance. Such details helped make these memorials undoubtedly the most distinguished in the country.

Contemporaries praised Bergamini for the appropriateness of his designs, while the firm of Bergamini and Reid received plaudits for their relative economy and the efficiency with which they put up the memorials once the carved figures had arrived from Italy. When the Invercargill memorial, for which Bergamini was not responsible, was being hoisted into place it fell and broke into three pieces. Immediately Bergamini was called in and his repair led contemporaries to wonder at his 'artistic manipulation of the Carrara marble'.

Despite his ability to express British imperial sentiments in stone, Bergamini remained essentially Italian. He drank red wine, made his own ravioli, and eventually took his daughter back to Italy for several years. By then his life had changed, both personally and professionally. The business partnership with Hugh Reid dissolved in 1909, and Bergamini moved to Christchurch. There his marriage with Elizabeth also suffered and they separated during the First World War. By that time, too, Carlo had given up work as a stonemason and become a commercial traveller, eventually working for the International Harvester Company. In the years following the First World War, when New Zealand again erected memorials, Bergamini was no longer prepared to offer his services. Occasionally, however, in prickly letters to the Christchurch newspapers, he was prepared to offer advice on others' memorial designs. He signed his address, 'Carrara Academy'.

Carlo Bergamini, a distinguished looking man of fair hair and blue eyes, died at Christchurch on 16 July 1934, survived by his wife, three sons and a daughter; one son had predeceased him. Fitting monuments to his life's work are the beautifully designed South African War memorials found in Otago and Southland."
[5 Jock Phillips. 'Bergamini, Carlo Giuseppe - Bergamini, Carlo Giuseppe', from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand]

His private life wasn't without some magisterial issues.

Otago Daily Times , Issue 12822, 17 November 1903

CIVIL SITTINGS. (Before his Honor Mr Justice Williams.)

WISE V. BERGAMINI. An action for £100 damages. Mr Sim appeared for the plaintiff, Henry James Wise (labourer), and Mr Gallaway for the defendant, Carlo Bergamini (sculptor). This case was heard before a jury of four, the jurors being Alexander G. M'Kellop (foreman), Robert Marshall, George M. Aikman, and Frederick E. Campbell—The plaintiff, in his statement, said that on October 17, 1903, defendant assaulted him with a hammer, and broke ,his arm, wherefore he claimed £100 damages.—The defendant denied (1) assaulting plaintiff as alleged or otherwise; (2) that he broke plaintiff's arm or otherwise injured him, and further stated that plaintiff came to his business' premises and behaved in a violent and disorderly manner. He was apparently under the influence of drink, and was ejected. Plaintiff returned, and struck defendant without provocation, and in attempting to defend himself defendant accidentally struck him with a hammer  that he had in his hand.

Mr Sim, in opening the case, said that plaintiff formerly worked for Bergamini, and had a claim against him for wages. On the date stated Wise called at the yard and asked defendant to settle up. They had some words, and Wise struck him. Bergamini was working at a stone at the time, and had a hammer in his hand. When the plaintiff struck him defendant struck him back with the hammer. Plaintiff took the blow on his arm, and it broke with the force of the blow. He attempted to strike Bergamini again, and the latter struck him four or five blows altogether. Of course it was wrong of him to strike Bergamini, and if defendant had defended himself by using his fists instead of the hammer the case would never have come on. But, as his Honor would doubtless tell the jury, the right of self-defence must not be abused. A man had  to defend himself against attack, and in repelling an attack to rise force, but he had no right to use a deadly weapon. Defendant stated that the blow was accidental, but Dr Macpherson would depose there were several wounds on plaintiff's head, and it was too much to ask the jury to believe that they were all accidental. Dr Macpherson, in his evidence, said that Wise came to him with a fracture of the ulna (one of the bones of the forearm) and several scalp wounds. There were also one or two abrasions about the face.

The Plaintiff, in evidence, said that Bergamini owed him £3 for wages, and he went down to see him about it. Bergamini was working at a stone, and plaintiff asked him if he was going to square up. Defendant said no, and plaintiff said he would put it in the hands of a solicitor. Defendant said he did not care, and would not pay. Witness struck him, and Bergamini struck back. Witness raised his arm to protect himself, and received a blow from the hammer on the arm. Witness closed with him, and in the struggle witness received a blow on the back of the head. Reid (defendant's partner) separated them, and took witness to the gate. He told Reid his arm was broken. Witness was going back to get his tools, and saw Bergamini again. Witness struck him on the head, and Bergamini struck him back several times. He struck witness on the head, and said "I kill you;' I kill you." Witness became unconscious then, and the next he remembered was being in the yard with Reid, who was bathing his head at the tap. Witness called Bergamini an Italian devil  as he went out. He took a cab up to Dr Macpherson's, where he was attended to. Witness had two glasses that morning. Cross-examined: Bergamini was lettering a stone when witness went in. He did not remember chasing Bergamini's boy around the yard or falling against a granite tombstone. There were two assaults with the hammer. Witness would swear that he had made no application to his lodge for payment. The doctor advised him not to put in a claim. 

Mr Gallaway submitted that the story told by the plaintiff was improbable. It was perfectly obvious that there must be a great deal more in the matter than had already come out. That Wise was struck on the head with the hammer was not denied; that he was wilfully struck by Bergamini was an entirely different thing. Bergamini was not on the premises when Wise first came. One of Bergamini's sons, seeing Wise the worse for drink, very improperly began, to "chaff" him, and Wise chased him round the yard. Wise did not remember this, nor did he remember his fall against, the granite. Bergamini was away at the bank, and when he came in he  spoke to Wise, and then went to his work. Wise came back after Reid got him out, and if his arm was broken then it was perfectly obvious that Bergamini could not have done it, When Wise came back he struck at Bergamini  and if Bergamini struck back it must have been in self- defence. It could not have been intentional) for the hammer was heavy enough to kill him if Bergamini had struck him intentionally. 

Carlo Bergamini, in his evidence stated that when he saw that Wise was drunk he told him to come back on Monday. Wise struck him, and ho hit back with his open hand. Wise fell on the ground with his left arm under him. Witness did not then have the hammer in his hand. When Wise came back the second time witness was working at a stone, and did not hear his approach. The first thing he knew was a blow on the temple. Witness put his hands out, and defendant's head came in contact with the hammer. There was a scuffle, and witness heard someone Look out for the stone!" This was a granite stone, weighing 10cwt that was falling down. Reid put out his hand and stopped it.  Witness was excited, and did not know what he was doing. Cross-examined: Witness did not strike Wise with the hammer; he knocked his head against it. Witness never knocked a man down with a mallet at Palmer's, where he formerly worked. Witness was not excited, but was quite calm during tho Wise incident.

"Alfred Edward Abley, employed by Bergamini  and Reid, said he saw "Wise fall down. A piece of Oamaru stone fell on his arm. He then went into the back yard, and came out again. Witness then detailed the fight between Wise and Bergamini, and said that Reid separated them, and took "Wise out. The latter came back, and there was another scuffle. Bergamini appeared to be trying to keep Wise off. George Robertson, and William Reid also gave evidence. At this stage the court adjourned for lunch. On resuming,' Mr Gallaway  addressed the jury, reviewing the evidence and dealing with the law. Mr Sim having replied,

His Honor put it to the jury that the question for them to determine was whether the defendant used more force than was reasonably necessary to defend himself from the attack of the plaintiff and to prevent a repetition of the assaults. A person attacked was justified in using sufficient force to prevent a repetition of the assault. If the defendant only used sufficient force then he was entitled to a verdict; if the defendant used more force than was reasonably necessary, the plaintiff was entitled to recover.  The  Jury retired at 3.15 p.m. and returned to the court at 3.40 p.m. -with a verdict for the plaintiff for £5. Costs were allowed on the Magistrate's Court scale when £5 is recovered.

Also, according to an article in te Tuapeka Times, on 18 July 1908, he was sued for refund of deposit on a tombstone undertaken 2 years previously[12]

Carlo's wife Elizabeth was not without her own magisterial troubles later in her life. Elizabeth fostered children for many years and in 1929 her temper got the better of her and blemished her record  then 17 years satisfactory fostering by "brutally bashing" a 13 year old girl.  The child was bought to the attention of Effie CARDALE Secretary of the Society for the Protection of Women and Children, when the child was sent to school with her body in a bruised condition. She was examined by two doctors, who found four large bruises on her hips, and both medicos expressed the opinion that no misdemeanor on the part of the child could warrant such a beating". Consequently, the child was placed in a receiving home and her foster mother, Mrs. Bergamini, was charged with ill-treating her. Sergeant Hodgson gave evidence to the effect. that 'he interviewed the woman who admitted beating the child with a stick which she kept for beating carpets. She said Rachael [the beaten child] had been untruthful and while punishing her for it the child kicked the accused, who gave the offending infant more strokes than she had intended to. The sergeant said that two of the bruises on the girl's leg were four and five inches long. Describing the stick to Mr. Roy Twyneham, counsel for the accused, Sergeant Hodgson, said, it was two feet nine inches long, a little thicker than a pipe-stem, and there was no give in it.

The evidence continued: "Mrs Bergamini has had this whole family, and I know she has had a lot of trouble with them," said witness. "She has been a very satisfactory foster mother for many years and has taken children that no one else would take." 

Mr. Twyneham: What has this woman's general conduct been during the seventeen years she has been taking children for the State and for your Society? 

"She has always done 'her best. This, particular family has given a great deal of trouble to me and everyone else. Mr. Twyneham pleaded the woman's good record as a ground for leniency and stated that: she had failed to alter this child's propensity for stealing and lying. In arriving at his decision the magistrate said he was satisfied that the punishment had been excessive, even though the child's conduct might have been bad. "These children in foster homes have no one to take their part and see that they are not ill-treated, and they must have some protection," he said.[13]

Elizabeth died 25 November 1945 aged 78 at Greymouth, NZ and was buried in Bromley Cemetery, Block 35 Plot 225.  Cemetery records state incorrectly that she was born in Christchurch.

Carlo and Elizabeth's children:
William Oreste
Birth registration: 1890/8308
Born: 3 April 1889 or 1890, Dunedin [both birth years given in different documents]
Death: 11 August 1952, buried Ruru Lawn cemetery, Christchurch BL1A PL355
Address: Rannerdale Home, Christchurch
Occupation on enlistment: Mason working for Mansfield Bros. Limited Christchurch
Occupation at death: Surveyor; Born Dunedin, NZ
William’s Cenotaph database record here

His military records are available to read online here
January 1916: William listed as one of the men suspected as a carrier of enteric from the Maheno and dispatched to the isolation camp attached to the Auckland Hospital
Final discharge from service 25 May 1916 due to Enteric conjunctivitis causing disability occurring at Gallipoli

He married Minnie Constance Evangeline HIGGOTT at Mr HIGGOTT’s house, Linwood on 2nd April 1913 and Katie Beryl Evangelina was born 9 August 1913. William was charged under the Destitute Persons Act 1910 by his father in law Frederick HIGGOTT on behalf of Minnie, that he [William] had failed to provide Minnie with adequate means of maintenance and on 12th June 1913 was ordered to pay 20 shillings a week until the order was varied or discharged.  He also had to pay £100 surety. [6]
It appears that he went to prison in October 1912 for a month due to defaulting on this expected payment.[29]
Minnie appears on the historic BDM indexes as remarrying c1923 under her maiden name of HIGGOTT to John Smith DURIE. Marriage registration 1923/3670.
William remarried 1923 to Annie Beaner LEESON[14] at St Paul's Presbyterian Church, Christchurch[26]. She died c1951[21]
In 1928 William, noted as a stonemason and Annie lived at 16 Alexandra Street, Christchurch.  Annie's middle name is noted as'Beana'.

Gabriel Hercules
Birth registration 1891/7682
Military records state he was born 1 May 1882
Born: Dunedin
Married: Vera Beryl PIRRIE c1919[16] at St Paul's Presbyterian Church, Christchurch[26].
She died c1981 and had been born on 16 June 1896[23]
Death: 3 August 1928 and was buried Bromley Cemetery BL 35 PL 225 aged 35 years
Address at time of death: Rannerdale Home, Christchurch
Occupation: Stereotyper
Cause of death: Fatty degeneration of heart; spastic paraplegia; Laminectomy [removal of vertebra/e]; Haemorrhage and post operative shock.

Gabriel’s Cenotaph database record [occupation noted as Mason] here

His military records are online to read here and also show he gained a Military Medal during WW1 service.

During service he suffered:
12 Oct 1915 – Enteritis
06 Dec 1915 – Malaria
31 Oct 1917 - Military Medal  for “acts of gallantry in the field” NZEF O419 Hd Qrs Ldn
04 Dec 1917 – Dangerously ill
09 Dec 1917 – Still dangerously ill
23 Dec 1917 – Still dangerously ill but improving
"Private advice was received in Christchurch yesterday that Driver G. Bergamini, A.S.C., Military Medal, is still dangerously ill at tho No. 6 Hospital, St. Omer, but is improving. Driver Bergamini was attacked by cerebrospinal meningitis early in December. He left with th 4th Reinforcements. His brother, C. Bergamini, was a Main Body man, who returned and re-enlisted with the 26th Reinforcements, returning to France.[27]
16 Jan 1918 – Still dangerously ill
28 Jan 1918 – removed from dangerously ill list
31 March 1918 – Cerebro spinal meningitis
Medically discharged 14 July 1918 due to illness contracted on active service
His probate information is available here. He is noted as labourer of Christchurch.
He married Vera Beryl PIRRIE c1919

The 1928 Avon Electoral Roll notes Gabriel & Vera living with 'Carlo' [unsure if this is Senior or Junior] at 622 Gloucester Street, Linwood.[31] 

Carlo 1894-1966 
Birth registration 1894/10979  
Death registration: 1966/34885
Married: Ellen HOUGHTON c1912[18] She died c1914 aged 20[22]
They had a son George born c1912[24]
He married secondly: Vera Ellen WATSON c1918[17] She died c1938 aged 42[19]
They had at least 1 child, a daughter, born October 1918:
BERGAMINI  -  on 4 October at Nurse Poulsen's  Gloucester st,  Linwood,  to Mr and Mrs C. Bergamini  of Rolleston st, Linwood  -  a daughter.[28]
Victor Emanuel 1900-1979
Born: 11 December 1900[20]
Birth registration: 1900/1114
Death registration: 1979/33291
Married: Annie Elizabeth SANDLE c1925[15] 

Vilma Margaret 1903-
Birth registration 1903/5559
1928 Electoral Roll shows Vilma living with her mother at 50 Buckleys Road, Linwood.[31]
Married Kenneth SEARLE marriage registration 1928/6914
Date 12 November 1928 at St Peter's Presbyterian Church, Woolston, Christchurch[25]

Kenneth, an accountant and Vilma were living at 50 Esplanade, Sumner, Christchurch in 1935.  Vilma's middle name was given as ' Margaruita '[30]

Miscellaneous Paperspast Digital newspaper articles relating to the Bergamini designed war memorials:

"Photograph loaned by ‘Mr Bergamini" Otago Witness 26 December 1900 of Blocks of marble and the quarry at Carrara, Italy - note the people standing on top of some of the marble as an indication of scale [7]:

The unveiling of the Troopers’ memorial at Waimate, to be unveiled on October 6 [1904]. Designed and executed by Messrs Bergamini and Reid, Dunedin - here

Unveiling of the fallen troopers’ memorial at Palmerston - here

Riverton South African War Memorial
Otago Witness , Issue 2623, 22 June 1904, Page 43
The accompanying pictures show the unveiling of the Memorial for Fallen Troopers inthe Boer War, erected at the south end of Palmerston street, Riverton, and the stone itself. The total amount collected was £116 16 9d, and the Riverton Patriotic Committee donated £10, making the sum £126 16s 9d. The monument cost £105. The lettering on the stone reads Wallace Troopers' Memorial  Erected by the people of Wallace in memory of troopers who lost their lives in South African War 1899-1902; "The path of duty was the way to glory." To the memory of Troopers D. F. M'lntosh (Fairfax), of F. H. Goode (Riverton), Seth Ky e [sic] (Mossburn), and D. B. Ferrar (Otautau), and Alexander Scott (Clifden). Mr J. C. Thomson, M.H.R., is seen addressing the audience.[1] also here.

Wanganui Chronicle,  Volume XXXXVII, Issue 12221, 10 June 1904, Page 5
Dunedin South African War Memorial
The Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Committee to-day decided to accept the design of Messrs. Bergamini and Reid for a memorial, to be erected in Victoria Gardens, the design of Mr. Gabriel Miller being given second place.

Otago Witness, Issue 2623, 22 June 1904, Page 41
This memorial, to be erected in marble in the Victoria Gardens, Dunedin at a cost of £1,000 will form a handsome adornment to the city.  It was designed by Mr Carlo Bergamini, who chose as his motto “Amor di patria.”

Fallen Troopers’ memorial, Dunedin Oval
Work was executed in Carrara, in Italy

Memorials and Monuments: Memorials to the South African War

Gabriel’s military records
Jock Phillips. 'Bergamini, Carlo Giuseppe - Bergamini, Carlo Giuseppe', from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 30-Oct-2012
William’s military records
Riverton South African War memorial', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 20-Dec-2012 
Otago South African War memorial in Dunedin', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 20-Dec-2012
'Carlo Bergamini', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 20-Dec-2012
'Otago Boys High Sth African War memorial', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 20-Dec-2012
Marriage registration 1923/6452 Historic BDM, Dept Internal Affairs
Marriage registration 1925/5105.Historic BDM, Dept Internal Affairs
Marriage registration 1919/918 Historic BDM, Dept Internal Affairs
Marriage registration 1918/1110 Historic BDM, Dept Internal Affairs
Marriage registration 1912/8691 Historic BDM, Dept Internal Affairs
Death registration 1938/18244 Historic BDM, Dept Internal Affairs
Death registration showing birth date - Historic BDM, Dept Internal Affairs
Death registration 1951/25161 Historic BDM, Dept Internal Affairs
Death registration 1914/8494 Historic BDM, Dept Internal Affairs
Death registration also showing birth date 1981/43990  Historic BDM, Dept Internal Affairs
Birth registration 1912/15255 Historic BDM, Dept Internal Affairs
[30] 1935 NZ Electoral Roll, Avon.
[31] 1928 NZ Electoral Roll, Avon. 
Joe Wallace - "jokertrekker" flickr ID - permission gained
Robert Newell - "RobAucklandNZ" flickr ID - permission gained



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