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

Hawke's Bay Mounted Rifles

Hawke's Bay Mounted Rifles.

The Hawke's Bay Mounted Rifles was founded in the year 1900, with a membership of eighty, and Captain A. H. Russell was elected to the command. The corps was selected for escort duty to the Duke of York, and was complimented on its efficiency. In 1903 a member of the corps, Sergeant Hyde, carried off the gold medal as the best all-round shot in the North Island; the corps was also instrumental for the introduction into the programme of the Agricultural and Pastoral Society's annual exhibition of the Lloyd-Lindsay jumping competition, and four of its members (the Wellwood Brothers), who represented the corps in this connection at many of the largest shows in the North Island, have never yet been beaten. A week's camping out, and six dismounted parades are held annually. The corps has a membership of fifty-two, thirteen of which are under the command of Lieutenant Davis Canning, with quarters at Waipukurau. The officers are: Captain A. H. Russell, Lieutenants D. Canning, Taranaki Te Ua and H. Campbell, Sergeant-Major J. T. Wellwood, Quarter-master Sergeant J. D. Rivers, Sergeants A. Hyde, B. C. McCormick, W. Ramsay, and A. Blom. Sergeant-Major Wellwood is secretary.

Captain Andrew Hamilton Russell, commanding the Hawke's Bay Mounted Rifles, was born in Napier in February, 1868, and is a son of Captain Hamilton Russell, of the 58th Regiment, a brother of Sir William Russell. He was educated at Harrow, and subsequently at Sandhurst. In the year 1887 he joined the Border Regiment as second lieutenant, and served in that capacity for five years in the Punjab and Upper Burma. In the year 1892 he came to New Zealand to join his father, who was then farming “Flaxmere,” in partnership with his brother William (now Sir William Russell); and in 1896—when the partnership expired, and each brother took a half share of the property—he was left to manage his father's interests. He has since successfully conducted one of the finest farms in the neighbourhood. The property is situated within two miles from Napier, and comprises 1,700 acres of rich agricultural land, in conjunction with which there is a run of 10,000 acres. Mr. Russell is a member of the Napier Harbour Board, and chairman of the Rabbit Board, and was for a time provincial chairman of the Farmers' Union.

Lieutenant Davis Canning, of the Waipukurau Troop of the Hawke's Bay Mounted Rifles, joined the corps as a trooper at its formation, was elected sergeant in the same year, and lieutenant in the following year, and on the formation of a separate troop at Waipukurau was elected to his present command. He was born in April, 1872, on the Oakbourne station, and is the eldest son of the late Mr. John Davis Canning. Mr. Canning was educated privately, and afterwards at Clifton College, England, where he spent five years. Returning to New Zealand in 1891, he applied himself to sheep-station work, first with Messrs Duff and Mackie, of Kereru, and later with Mr. William Busby, of Tokomaru Bay. He then settled on the Rivers-lea page 326 estate, where he resided for nine years, and in the early part of 1906 removed to Porangahau, to take charge of “Oakbourne,” his late father's well-known station. Mr. Canning is a member of the Hawke's Bay Agricultural and Pastoral Society, and the Hawke's Bay Farmer's Union, and is a director of the Heretaunga Dairy Factory. He married Miss K. M. Busby, second daughter of Mr. William Busby, Tokomaru Bay, and has two sons and two daughters.

Sergeant-Major James T. Wellwood, of the Hawke's Bay Mounted Rifles, was elected acting-corporal on the foundation of the corps, and six months later was made corporal. In 1903 he was elected sergeant, and soon after rose to his present rank. He is one of the Wellwood brothers who successfully represented their corps in the Lloyd-Lindsay competitions. Mr. Wellwood was born in County Kilkenny, Ireland, in February, 1874, and is the second son of Mr. Arthur Wellwood, a well-known farmer. He came to New Zealand with his parents in 1883, was educated at the Hastings public school, and for about five years afterwards followed farming pursuits. He subsequently, however, met with an accident, which compelled him to seek easier duties, and has since been employed in clerical work in Hastings. Mr. Wellwood is reporter for the “Hawke's Bay Herald,” and is a member of the Hastings Lodge of Oddfellows.

Quarter-Master Sergeant J. D. Rivers, of the Hawke's Bay Mounted Rifles, was elected to his present rank in 1904, in succession to Quarter-master Shattky. He is a popular member of the corps, takes a keen interest in its welfare, and is an excellent marksman. Mr. Rivers is better known as the proprietor of the Carlton Club Hotel, in connection with which he is more fully referred to.

Quarter-Master Sergt. J. D. Rivers.

Quarter-Master Sergt. J. D. Rivers.

Sergeant Arthur Hyde, Senior Sergeant of the Hawke's Bay Mounted Rifles, joined the corps on its formation in 1900, having formerly been a member of the Marlborough Cavalry, where he learned the Lloyd-Lindsay work. In 1901 he commanded the team that represented his corps in the Lloyd-Lindsay Championship of New Zealand, held in Wanganui; the competition of that year being the pure Lloyd-Lindsay, which includes both leading and jumping, and also the dismounting and discharging of seven rounds of ammunition at a target, twice during the distance. There were twenty-one competitors in the contest, and so well were Sergeant Hyde's team trained that they accomplished the test in less than half the time taken by the second team, and with more than three times the number of target hits to their credit. In 1903 Mr. Hyde won the gold medal presented by the Minister of Defence for the best all-round shot in the North Island, three years in succession won the Hawke's Bay Belt, and has competed at the New Zealand Championship meeting at Trentham. In 1905 he won the Bolton Cup, as the best mounted shot in Hawke's Bay, and the Chambers Shield. In the same year he was selected as a member of the Bisley team, but owing to pressure of business was unable to go with them. He also won the Hawke's Bay Bracelet, the most important amateur horse race in the province, is a successful competitor in riding events at local meetings, and is starter for the Hawke's Bay Hunt Club. Mr. Hyde was born in Blenheim, Marlborough, and is the fifth son of Mr. William Hyde, sometime proprietor of the Commercial Hotel, and a brother to the chief Government poultry expert. He was educated at the Blenheim public school, afterwards spent a short time at the plumbing trade, and then served an apprenticeship to hair-dressing in Napier. He subsequently established a hair-dressing and tobacconist's business in Heretaunga Street, Hastings, which he still successfully conducts. His premises are centrally situated, and in the hair-dressing saloon, which is the largest in the town, three barbers are employed.

Sergeant William Ramsay, of the Hawke's Bay Mounted Rifles, joined the corps at its foundation as a private. He is an excellent horseman, and a first-class rifle shot, and has represented his corps at many local competitions—including contests for the Coleman Shield—and at Trentham. Mr. Ramsay was born at Fernhill, in March, 1869, his father being for many years a well-known contractor. He was educated chiefly at Meanee College, and then went as a cadet on the Flaxmere station, under Sir William Russell. In the year 1896, when the estate was divided, he was appointed foreman, and subsequently manager of “Twyford,” the estate of Mr. A. H. Russell. He was a steward of the Hastings Trotting Club (now defunct) and is a member of the Hawke's Bay Agricultural and Pastoral Society, and the Hawke's Bay Jockey Club. Mr. Ramsay is married, and has one daughter.

Sergeant Bernard Charles McCormick, of the Hawke's Bay Mounted Rifles, joined the corps in the year 1902, and attained his present rank in May, 1904. He gained his first experience in military matters in the South African war, in which he took part as a member of the Third New Zealand Contingent for fifteen months; he was present at Wepener, and other engagements, and accompanied Major Jowsey to Pretoria, being shortly afterwards invalided home, owing to enteric fever. Mr. McCormick was born in September, 1878, at Napier, and is the eldest son of Mr. Archibald McCormick, for many years chairman of the Woodville County Council. He was educated at the Manga-Atua public school, near Woodville, and was engaged in farming with his father for a few years. He then removed to Hastings, and was employed in Mr. W. A. Beecroft's livery stables, until leaving for South Africa during the Boer war. On his return to New Zealand he established the Albert Stables, and has since conducted a successful business on his own account. For several years Mr. McCormick has been one of the leading representative riders in the Lloyd-Lindsay competition, and holds a fine record. As an Oddfellow he has been through all the chairs in the local lodge, is a member of the Kennel and Poultry Club, and a successful breeder of Buff Orpingtons. Mr. McCormick is further referred to as the proprietor of the Albert Stables.

Surgeon-Captain Alfred E. J. Barcroft, of the Hawke's Bay Mounted Rifles, is a native of Ireland, and was educated at the chief medical institutions of Dublin, where he graduated in the year 1885. He practised his profession for a time in Ireland, and in 1887 went to Australia, and settled in Mossvale, New South Wales, where he practised for seven years. Returning to the Old country, he was engaged in professional page 327 practice for about eight years in Shropshire and Wiltshire, and then came out to New Zealand to settle in Hastings, in the year 1902.