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

3rd Battalion Wellington Rifles

3rd Battalion Wellington Rifles.

The 3rd Battalion Wellington (East Coast) Rifle Volunteers is composed of six rifle corps, three having their centre in Napier, one in Hastings, one in Waipawa, and another in Gisborne. The officers of the Battalion staff are: Lieutenant-Colonel Kettle (commanding), Major Halpin, Adjutant Captain Hislop, Pay and Quarter-master Captain Fraser, and Surgeon-Major Locking. The headquarters of the battalion are in Napier.

Lieutenant-Colonel Kettle, of the 3rd (East Coast) Battalion of the Wellington Rifle Volunteers, first joined the cadets as a school boy in Dunedin, and was afterwards for about eight years a member of the B Battery. Later, he became captain of the Napier Guards, whence he was promoted to the command of the 3rd Battalion, with the rank of Major, and in 1903 was again promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He is more fully referred to as a member of the firm of Messrs Williams and Kettle.

Major Thomas Peter Halpin, second in command of the 3rd (East Coast) Battalion of the Wellington Rifle Volunteers, and Captain in the New Zealand Militia, has been actively connected with military affairs since the year 1885, when he joined the Wellington City Rifles, in which corps he served for nine years, being sergeant when he resigned. Later on, having established himself in business in Hawke's Bay, he joined the Napier Rifles, and in 1900 was elected captain. He then went to South Africa with the Ninth Contingent, and on arrival there was placed in command of a squadron of the Seventh Contingent, and sent to the front. On the return of the Seventh Contingent Major Halpin was transferred back to the Ninth, and shortly afterwards returned to New Zealand in the s.s. “Orient.” For his services in South Africa Major Halpin received the Queen's Medal with two clasps. In April, 1905, he was appointed Major of the 3rd Battalion. He has made a thorough study of military science in all its branches, is one of the leading marksmen of the province, and holds several medals. He was born in Auckland, in October, 1866, was educated at the public schools in Wellington, and was brought up to the drapery trade. After serving many years in the soft-goods warehouses, he opened up business on his own account in Napier. Five years later, he sold out in order to join the Ninth Contingent for South Africa, and on his return to New Zealand was appointed manager at Napier of the well-known wholesale firm of Messrs Mackay, Logan, Caldwell and Company. Major Halpin takes a keen interest in athletic sports, and has been a member of the City Rowing Club, Auckland, Wellington Rowing Club, Wellington, and the Union Rowing Club, Napier, and holds several rowing trophies and medals.

Bunting, photo.Major T. P. Halpin.

Bunting, photo.
Major T. P. Halpin.

Captain and Adjutant James Hislop, of the 3rd (East Coast) Battalion of the Wellington Rifle Volunteers, first joined the volunteers as a member of the Defence Cadets in Dunedin. He subsequently became an officer in the Cadet Corps in New Plymouth, and on removing to Napier was elected captain of the City Cadets; later, he was promoted to his present rank. Captain Hislop was trained for the teaching profession in Dunedin, and afterwards received an appointment as first assistant of the Central School, New Plymouth. In 1892 he removed to Napier, as second assistant in the district school, and after serving for a considerable time as first assistant, in 1904 succeeded the late Mr. Morgan as head-master.

Captain William Fraser, Quarter-Master of the 3rd (East Coast) Battalion of the Wellington Rifle Volunteers, joined the Napier Cadets in the year 1887, and after serving for two years, entered the Napier Navals, where he remained for five years. In February, 1896, he joined the F Battery of Artillery, in which he held the rank of quarter-master sergeant. The battery was subsequently disbanded, and Mr. Fraser was appointed Quarter-master Sergeant of the 3rd Battalion, and in 1901 was promoted to his present rank.

Staff Sergeant-Major James Williams gained his first experience in volunteering in the Christchurch Queen's Cadets, which he joined as a private in the year 1887, subsequently rising to the rank of sergeant. He was then transferred to the Christchurch City Rifles, and removing shortly afterwards to the North Island, was for a time member of an infantry corps at Palmerston North. In 1896 he joined the permanent force as a gunner in the Royal New Zealand Artillery, rose to the rank of bombardier, and in September, 1903, was appointed instructor of the Hawke's Bay Infantry Volunteers. Sergeant-Major Williams was born in November, 1872, in Christchurch, where he was educated at the public schools. He subsequently served an apprenticeship as a coach-smith, but was afterwards variously employed in general work until joining the permanent force. He was married in 1897, and has one son and one daughter.

Bunting, photo.Staff Sergt. Major J. Williams.

Bunting, photo.
Staff Sergt. Major J. Williams.