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Early Wellington

Bugler Allen

Bugler Allen.

During the fighting at Boulcott's Farm, at the Hutt, on the 16th May, 1846, a bugler named Allen, belonging to the 58th Regiment, espied a body of rebels coming stealthily forward to attack the detachment of troops stationed there. He was in the act of sounding an alarm on the bugle to give warning to the regiment, when he was struck by a tomahawk on his right arm. He placed the bugle in his left hand, when that limb was also struck. Then, placing the bugle between his knees, he effected his purpose, but was instantly brained with the tomahawk. His heroic act saved the whole detachment from being massacred.

An account of this incident is given in Sir J. G. Wilson's “Early Rangitikei,” page 14. It was related to Sir James by the Hon. John Bryce. The following lines, extracted from “Early Rangitikei,” form part of a touching little poem published in the Wellington Girls' College “Reporter” magazine, under the initial of A.V.T.1

“He raised his bugle, and with clarion sound,
The clear Reveille filled the sleeping vale;
Awake! Awake! The rocks and hills around
Sent back the echoes in the dawning pale.

Allen's bugle was carried away as a trophy and subsequently recovered in one of Rangihaeata's deserted camps at Horokiwi Valley.2

Fig. 42—Bugler Allen's Heroism at Boulcott's Farm, 1846. Photo by Mrs. W. J. Helyer, from an engraving in Mrs. W. Moxham's possession.

Fig. 42—Bugler Allen's Heroism at Boulcott's Farm, 1846. Photo by Mrs. W. J. Helyer, from an engraving in Mrs. W. Moxham's possession.

page 137

Correspondents to the “New Zealand Journal,” dated 10th October, express themselves thus:—

“After getting rid of the Maoris on the Hutt, His Excellency decided on building a block house and maintaining a post of 100 men somewhere about Mason's section. Instead of this being done, the Superintendent and his co-adjutors objected to the amount of the tenders for building the block house, and the Governor, yielding to them, the soldiers fell back to Boulcott's barn, where they were attacked. Captain Hardy, who was appointed to command at this spot, was removed to the stockade at the bridge. Thus there were only forty-two men under a subaltern, instead of one hundred under a captain. A post was established at Porirua of about one hundred and fifty men., which Major Last commanded.”

The “New Zealand Spectator,” of the 23rd May, contains a graphic description of the attack of the 16th; also an account of a meeting at Barrett's Hotel, convened to adopt measures of defence. Mr. S. Revans ocupied the chair. The speakers were Messrs. Lyon, Vincent, and R. Davis. A meeting of the Thorndon Militia was also held at which Captain Sharp, Lieut. A. de Bathe Brandon and Ensign Spinks were elected officers.

One hundred and twenty men attended the first muster at Te Aro Parade ground, at 7 a.m.

Some Te Aro natives who had been at the Hutt reported that the rebels had returned there, their fires having been seen on the hills; and that Te Puni had arrested a native, formerly in the service of Mr. Molesworth, on a charge of being a spy of the rebels.

On Monday, 18th May, 1846, a meeting was held at the Aurora Tavern and Messrs. Daniell, Revans, Lyon, Cooper, Vincent, Annear, Wade, Clifford, McDonald, Bethune, Dr. Featherston and others were the speakers. Mr. Wade proposed, and Mr. J. H. Wallace seconded: “That the detachment of the 58th Regiment, acting under Lieut. Page during the engagement at the Hutt on Saturday, 16th, and the seven discharged Militia men, who, upon hearing the report of guns, hastened to the support of this noble band, and who succeeded in repelling the rebels, are entitled to the gratitude of this community.”

Te Aro inhabitants and others then proceeded with Mr. Wade and Mr. J. H. Wallace to Major Richmond's and requested His Honour to supply them with arms and ammunition.

These were served out at the Thorndon Fort, and Te Aro Militia marched in a body to the Aurora Tavern, where Mr. J. H. Wallace presided at a meeting. The following gentlemen were elected officers:—Captain Daniell, J.P. (Captain); Mr. Kenneth Bethune (Lieutenant); Messrs. George Dalrymple and Monteith (Ensigns); Joseph Masters and George Swainson (Buglers).

It was arranged that Mr. Wade, with others, should take temporary command for the night. Mr. St. Hill supplied sixty more of the Militia with arms, at the Aurora Tavern. At midnight the volunteers met at Bevan's place, Te Aro Flat, and formed guards and pickets.

The Militia in Wellington was disbanded about the 23rd May, and it was intended to reduce the numbers stationed at Taita to 25 men, who would be placed under the command of Major McDonogh.

On June 15th, 1846, Richard Rush was murdered in the Hutt District by the rebels, and on the 16th a skirmish of a detachment of troops, under Capt. Reid, took place with the natives at the Hutt, when Lieut. Herbert and four soldiers were wounded. One subsequently died of wounds. On the same date an engagement of the Militia from page 138 Taita, under Mr White, eventuated. The rebels were repulsed and two of their number wounded.

“On Saturday last, October 24th, 1846,” states the “New Zealand Journal,” London. “Cemino, the Master of the Cutter ‘Catherine Ann,’ had nearly completed his lading in the Manawatu River. On Sunday afternoon, the rebel chief Te Rangihaeata sent a letter down to Taratoa, chief of the Ngatiwakatere, directing him to order the settlers to leave the Manawatu District in eight days.

“On receipt of the order, Messrs. Kebbell, Cook, and Compton, with the chief Taratoa, took a canoe and pulled up the long reach. On arriving on a line with Para-tawao, the position occupied by Rangihaeata, they landed and proceeded to the Pa.

“Mr. Kebbel asked the rebel chief why the settlers were to leave. Rangihaeata answered: ‘I can answer for the conduct of the men at present with me, but natives are coming from Rangitikei, and all parts to join me, and I cannot answer for their conduct’; further, he said: ‘I will not take you by surprise, like Rauparaha was taken; I give you warning, and you had better go.’ Rangihaeata told Mr. Cook to look out, for if he caught him in two or three days, he would murder him, in consequence of some report having got abroad amongst the natives that Mr. Cook was concerned in the apprehension of Te Rauparaha. Rangihaeata said to Mr. Compton: ‘I know you; you were in the Hutt Militia. There is a vessel in the river, you had better all go at once.’

“On the return of the party, the settlers determined to leave the district, but were persuaded by the chief of a small tribe, who had been friendly disposed, to remain till they heard from Wellington.

“About 150 rebels are encamped at Poroutawao, and an accession of 300 from Rangitikei was hourly expected.

“Cemino was compelled to bring back most of his cargo.”

The “New Zealand Journal,” of the 15th January, 1848, contains a list of killed and wounded in action during these troublous times:—

Private Wm. Weller, 5th Company, 58th Regiment, killed.

Private Joseph Spratt, Grenadiers, 65th Regiment, wounded.

Lieut. Barnard, Grenadiers, 65th Regiment, wounded.

Gunner Wm. Connolly, R.A., died of wounds.

Gunner Wm. Broadhurst, R.A., wounded.

Sergeant Wm. Gibson, 58th Regiment, wounded.

Corporal Francis Reilley, 58th Regiment, wounded.

Private H. Storey. 58th Regiment, wounded.

Private Wm. Dunn, 58th Regiment, wounded.

Private M. Rogers, 58th Regiment, wounded.

Sergeant Thos. Kells, 65th Regiment, wounded.

Corporal Wm. Allsopp, 65th Regiment, wounded.

Private Jas. Fryan, 65th Regiment, wounded.

Herikiwa Ruawiwi, a Ngatitoa ally, wounded.

Some time after the events recorded above, the Pito-one friendly natives, the Waiwhetu, and those of the Pas in Wellington who were engaged in the Military operations against Rangihaeata during the Maori trouble, assembled before Major Richmond's house to receive the pay due to them from the Government. Te Puni and other chiefs addressed them on this page 139 occasion, and a “Korero” was held after the usual native custom, previous to the distribution of the money.*

* May 8th, 1847.