The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 2 (May 1, 1937)
Railway Ambulance Services. — An Efficient Division at Hillside Workshops
In 1926, the Railway Department re-organised the Ambulance Divisions in the Railway Service throughout the country, and, fostered by the Department, a new era for the Railway Ambulance Services was commenced. In November, 1926, a well-attended meeting was held in the Hillside Workshops, and the Hillside Ambulance Division was re-formed. Mr. W. Connor was elected Superintendent and served in that capacity until December 17th, when he was succeeded by Mr. A. Peters, who filled this position until his retirement on superannuation in 1931. Mr. Joseph Hansen was appointed the first instructor. In May, 1927, the division was officially affiliated with the St. John Ambulance Brigade.
The first public duty of the division was in connection with the visit of H.R.H. The Duke of York (our present King), when between 200 and 300 children were treated in conjunction with the Dunedin Division. During that year the division competed for the first time in competitions at Christchurch, Wellington and Dunedin, securing some notable successes.
The division continued to make steady progress, being especially active in arranging lectures to various organisations including the Referees' Association and Boy Scouts. On December 16th, 1929, the Otago District was honoured by a visit from the Governor-General, Sir Charles Fergusson, who presented the Ambulance Officer, Mr. Joseph Hansen (since deceased) with me Certificate of Serving Brother of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, this honour being rare in New Zealand. Throughout 1929, also, no less than 3,414 cases were treated in the Hillside Workshops.
On May 26th, 1930, Mr. W. F. Ashman was appointed to the position of divisional secretary, a position he filled with distinction until April, 1934, when he resigned. In this year, also, was instituted the Hillside Efficiency Cup Competition. During the year 1931, 400 cases were treated on public duty.
In the Auckland Competitions, which were held during the Easter period of that year, the division won two firsts and one second in five cups for which it competed. In that year, also, Mr. A. Thompson was appointed Superintendent and served for three years in this capacity. The following year the membership showed a definite improvement, a notable event being the presentation to the second Hillside member, Mr. Alfred Peters, of the Certificate of Serving Brother of the Order. Mr. Peters is now the Honorary Secretary of the Otago Centre of the St. John Ambulance Association. In this year, also, the Dunedin Voluntary Blood Transfusion Society was formed, and met with a ready response from this division, sixteen members volunteering their' service and giving twenty-six transfusions throughout the year.
In the New Zealand Championship Competitions at Auckland during Easter of 1935, the Hillside team was most successful, gaining two firsts and three seconds in the five events. In the South Island Championships in Timaru the division won two out of three cups in the competitions.
The year 1936, however, may be regarded as the record year for this division, the membership being forty-eight. The accidents treated during this year were as follows: On public duty, 209; in workshops, privately treated, etc., 2158; removals to hospital, 81. The Hillside group of transfusion donors had also increased to thirty-seven members, giving during the year no less than 64 transfusions. The division was most unfortunate in losing this year the services of two of their most efficient members in Messrs. A. G. A Swanson and W. T. P. Hobby, who were promoted to District Officer and Corps Officer respectively. Mr. W. F. Ashman, for some years Superinted of the Hillside Cadet Division, also left the division being promoted to Cadet Corps Officer.
Messers. Swanson and Hobby were, in October, elected to be Life Members of the division, an honour previously held by only two ohter members in Mr. A. Peters and Mr. R. Milburn, the latter being another of those members giving long and faithful services. At the Auckland Competitions at Easter, the Hillside team was quite outstanding, winning three out of the five cups competed for, against the strongest opposition in New Zealand. This result, coupled with their numerous successes in other competitions and their undoubted efficiency on public duty and elsewhere fully entitles them to be classed as New Zealand's Champion Division. During 1936 alone the division were the winners:—
New Zealand Championship Trophies: The Belworthy Shield, the Intercolonial Cupm the Whangarei Cup, the Gaze Cup, The New Zealand Roller Bandage Championship, and also the Otago and Southland Trophies: P. H. Morey Championship Shield, the otago Novice Cup, the Otago Roller Cup, 1st equal McGeorge Cup, and 1st equal Roller Bandage Individual Championship.
Front Row (from left): Mr. A. J. Downing (Hon. Member), Sergeant A. F. Reynolds (Secretary), Amb. Officer W. McDonald, District Officer A. G. A. Swanson, Div. Supt. J. Penson, Mr. James Graham (President), Corps Officer W. T. P. Hobby Amb. Officer P. McPherson, Sergeant L. V. Stewart, R. Milburn (Life Member).
Second Row: Private J. Annis, Cadet Officer G. S. Marquet, Privates S. W. Lyon, W. S. Gaspar, A. R. McEwan, B. W. Daniels, Corporal J. H. Guthrie, Privates H. D. McIntosh, G. L. Morrison, J. R. McDonald.
Third Row: Privates G. T. Fraser, V. S. Thompson, M. F. Ford, J. G. Ford, F. A. Holmes-Libbis, E. A. Earland, W. Wilkes.
Fourth Row: Privates E. A. Pinder, R. J. Henderson, A. G. Hebbard, J. A. Geddeson, W. W. Buridge, A. J. Dickson, E. L. Little, A. J. Simon.