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Settler Kaponga 1881–1914 — A Frontier Fragment of the Western World


We introduce our survey of the war's impact on the district with some specific personal examples. One home that was hard hit was Elizabeth Ann Foreman's. Her two sons by her first marriage, William Thomas Faull (‘Willie’) and Henry James Faull (‘Harry’), were farewelled for overseas service in the winter of 1915. They had first appeared on the Kaponga School roll in the Standard 1 class in 1902, and completed their schooling there, always in the same class. In their final year, 1907, when their school's cricket team defeated that of the Eltham, the latter arranged to borrow the two Faull boys for a match they were about to play against New Plymouth. On leaving school they worked at the co-op factory. Before 7am on Friday, 28 May 1915, the Kaponga firebell rang to assemble residents to farewell six volunteers leaving with the 7th Reinforcements. Willie Faull was one of four members of the soccer team leaving with this group. The township, and hence the soccer club, was over-represented among the early volunteers. It was evidently much easier to give notice to a town employer than to detach oneself from a family farm team where the herd size was matched to the workforce. Harry was farewelled as one of another party leaving Kaponga at the end of August. In November ‘Our Own’ (12/11/15) reported that Mrs Foreman had had a letter from Egypt from one of her sons, ‘a great favourite page 332 here’ (presumably Willie), with news that he was about to leave for Gallipoli. ‘Our Own's’ next Faull news (15/8/16) was that

… Mrs Foreman has just received another batch of letters from her two boys in France. So far they have got through without a scratch and are very bright in their writing, always giving their mother the bright side of life. I happen to be one of the fortunate ones who is privileged to read the boys' letters, and am always delighted to know they are well.

But, in common with countless mothers around the globe, Mrs Foreman will have been living in apprehension of the ominous telegraph boy's knock. Nothing will have prepared her for the news she received in October 1916, as the telegrams went out for the 7000 casualties (1560 dead) of the New Zealand Division's 23 days in the muddy horrors of the Somme. ‘A Correspondent’ (16/10/16) filed this report: