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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]

Woodville Rifles

Woodville Rifles.

The Woodville Rifle Volunteers are known as the A Company of the 5th Battalion of Wellington Rifles. The corps was formed in June, 1896, with Mr. A. Stevenson as the first commanding officer. Subsequently Captain Stevenson was promoted to the command of the battalion, with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, and he was succeeded by Mr. G. T. Hall as captain of the corps. In 1902 Captain W. H. Nelson was appointed to the command of the Woodville Rifles. The company has a membership of forty-five. Weekly drills are held, and frequent shooting competitions take place on the range on Captain Nelson's property. In rifle competitions the corps has been successful in winning a number of trophies, and on two occasions has won the Coleman Shield. The Bisley team of 1902 contained four members of the company, including Captain Nelson. During the Boer War the Woodville Rifles sent thirteen men to the front, all of whom aid good service. The drill hall, which is the property of the corps, stands on a section of half an acre in Ross Street; it is a wooden building, eighty feet by sixty feet, and adjoining it are officers' quarters, orderly rooms, and un armoury. The officers are: Captain W. H. Nelson, and Lieutenants H. P. Horne and A. W. Rapley.

Captain William Henry Nelson, of the Woodville Rifles, has take a keen interest in rifle shooting for many years. The first open competition in which he took part was at the Hawke's Bay Rifle Association meeting, held at Petane in 1886, when he was successful in winning first prize in the consolation match. Mr. Nelson has at various times been a member of the Taradale, Takapau, Waipukurau, and Woodville rifle clubs. As a member of the latter he attended the meeting of the New Zealand Rifle Association, held at Wanganui in March, 1901, and was successful in winning the New Zealand Rifle Championship, with the record score of 570, breaking all previous records of this association by five points. Mr. W. H. Nelson, who was born at Waipukurau, is the eldest son of Mr. William Nelson, of Tomoana, Hawke's Bay. At an early age he was sent to England, and was educated at Warwick College. On his return to New Zealand he took up sheep-farming, which occupation he is now pursuing at Woodville. Mr. Nelson has devoted much of his time to matters of local interest. He took a leading part in the formation of the Woodville County Council, of which he has been a member from its inception. As a member of the Hawke's Bay Acclimatisation Society he has done good work in assisting to stock the rivers and streams in the district with trout. Mr. Nelson is married, and has one daughter.

Bunting, photo.Captain W. H. Nelson.

Bunting, photo.
Captain W. H. Nelson.