The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]
The Christchurch Garrison Band, Shortly after the old Garrison Band was disbanded some years ago by order of Lieutenant-Colonel Gordon, a meeting of volunteer officers decided to form a military band for the North Canterbury Battalion. Colonel Gordon, Colonel Day, and Captain Charlewood took the matter in hand. A canvass of the town was liberally responded to, and the Christchurch Garrison Band was soon formed. Mr. A. J. Merton was chosen as conductor, and, with a good attendance of competent players, the first muster took place on the 15th of June, 1897. At first the instruments were of a nondescript character, but they were soon superseded by an excellent set of Highams'. So well has the work been done that the band is now the best military band in New Zealand. The regulation membership, twenty-five, does not represent the sand's playing power, for there are reserve members, who bring the full strength close to forty. However, only twentyfive receive capitation from the Government, and the reserve men rank as honorary members. The band has established a New Zealand record for parades, and the amount of work done on regulation parades, at the Duke of York's visit, and the despatch of Contingents has earned it a good name. The instrumentation is wood, reed, and brass, wind and stringed bass, excellent drums, and there are exceptionally clever soloists amongst the members.
Mr. A. J. Merton, the Bandmaster, is referred to in other articles as Organist and Music Master at Christ's College, and as a teacher of music.
Lieut-Colonel Henry Gordon, formerly Officer Commanding the Canterbury Militia and Volunteer District, was born at the Cape of Good Hope, in 1842, and was educated at the Sandhurst Military College. He was appointed ensign in the 21st Royal Fusiliers (now the Scots' Fusiliers), was transferred in 1863 to the 44th East Essex Regiment, and served three years in India, and one year in England, before coming to the Colonies. Arriving in Auckland per ship “Blue Jacket” in 1867, he was for some time engaged in farming pursuits. In 1872 be joined the field force in New Zealand, and received his captain's commission in 1879. Colonel Gordon accompanied the expedition to Parihaka as field-adjutant, and in the beginning of 1883 was appointed district adjutant for the Otago district, and was transferred to Christchurch in 1891. He was married in 1881 to a daughter of the late Mr. H. H. Arden, of Long Crofts, Staffordshire, England, Colonel Gordon resigned the command of the Canterbury Volunteer District in September, 1901.
Standish and Preece, photo.
Lieut.-Col. H. Gordon.
Major Urban Vigors Richards, formerly Officer Instructor of Christ's College and Boys' High School, and other schools, was born at Forthside House, County Wexford, Ireland, and was educated at the Royal Naval School, New Cross, London. He is the youngest son of the late Captain E. Richards, R.N., and brother of Admiral of the Fleet, Sir Frederick Richards, G.C.B., First Naval Lord of the Admiralty, and belongs to the family of Richards of Solsborough (vide Burke's Landed Gentry). He entered the Army in 1862 as ensign in the 72nd Highlanders, receiving his commission without purchase in recognition of his eldest brother, Captain Edwin Richards, 41st Regiment, being killed at Inkerman. After serving in India and the United Kingdom with the 72nd, he volunteered in 1867 for service in Abyssinia, and gained his lieutenancy in the 33rd, Duke of Wellington Regiment, then under orders for service in that country; went through the campaign, was present at the action of Arogee, on the 10th of April, 1867, and was with the storming party at the capture of Magdala three days later, being one of those who entered the fortress by escalade. (Abyssinian war medal). Returning from Abyssinia with his regiment, Major Richards exchanged into the 87th Royal Irish Fusiliers—quartered page 145 at Malta—in which he served for two years. On retiring from the Army in 1870, he visited Sicily and Egypt, and came to Auckland, per ship “Wild Duck,” in 1872, when he joined the Armed Constabulary in the Waikato for a few months. He then came to Canterbury, and after roughing it for some time on several stations and at survey work, he entered the Public Works Office of the General Government as a clerk in 1874, at Timaru. In 1877 he was appointed chief clerk in Christchurch, and in 1879 was transferred to Taranaki in a similar capacity. He was “retired” in 1881, when the post was abolished, and was appointed in the same year to the position he afterwards held in connection with Christ's College. During his residence in Timaru, Major Richards was lieutenant of the Timaru Artillery Volunteers, and in 1881 became captain of Christ's College Cadets, with substantive rank. He was captain of the Christchurch Rifles at the time of the Russian “scare” in 1885, and was promoted to the rank of major of the New Zealand Volunteers on the 8th of July, 1887, the anniversary of his entrance into the Army, twenty-five years previously. Major Richards commanded the Queen's Cadet Battalion, which comprised the College, High School, Kaiapoi, and four companies of Queen's Cadets. After the abolition of all battalions in New Zealand he served on the district staff in Christchurch, and was placed on the retired list at his own request in 1893. In March, 1902, Major Richards resigned his positions at Christ's College and at the schools under the Canterbury Board of Governors. He was initiated as a Masson in 1870 at Malta in Lodge 387, I.C., and afterwards became a member of the Rose Croix, under the Grand Orient of Naples. He is a member of Lodge St. Albans, 2597, E.C., and of the Beckett Chapter of the Rose Croix, 135, E.C., Christchurch. Major Richards was married at Avonside, Christchurch, in 1893, to Katharine Faith, eldest daughter of the Rev. William Michell, Prebendary and Rector of Dinder, Wells, Somersetshire, and Diocesan Inspector of Schools, Bath and Wells.
Standish and Preece, photo.
Major U. V. Richards.
Major Colin Mckenzie Taylor, active unattached list of New Zealand Militia, was born at Chippewa in Canada West in 1844. He was educated in Germany and France, at Cheltenham College, and at the Military College, Sandhurst. He joined the 12th Regiment of Foot (now the Suffolk Regiment) as ensign, and arrived in Sydney in 1863. In October of the same year his regiment was ordered to New Zealand where he accompanied an expeditionary force to the Thames. He afterwards served throughout the Waikato campaign, for which service he received the New Zealand medal. Mr. Taylor returned to England in 1867, left the army, and came back to the Colony three years later, when he joined the Armed Constabulary force in Wellington as a private. In 1879, he was promoted to be sub-inspector, and was present with the expedition to Parihaka. He was sent to Lyttelton in charge of the Permanent Artillery in 1885, and retired from the Force with the rank of major in 1890. Major Taylor now (1902) lives in retirement at Nelson.
Standish and Preece, photo.
Major C. M. Taylor.