Rangitata Soldiers' Memorial Hall, South Canterbury, N.Z.

The country hall is not used nearly as much as it used to be but is still an asset for any district. Speeding through the Canterbury Plains one can see from State Highway 1, a creamy stucco district hall, the Rangitata Soldiers' Memorial Hall at Rangitata. It is a memorial, built in 1918, has a stodgy little porch gives one an impression that the hall, conscious of its squatness, has tried to turn its face away from passers-by. However, this memorial hall has one merit; the floor. It has a beautiful dance floor.  Every Tuesday evening a dance group meets. The group is the main user of this facility. The floor is very good for dancing on. Other district halls also hold dances. Powder is still sprinkled on the dance floors on occasions if necessary, more likely if the floor has been wet or dampened and has become a little sticky. There are two honour boards on the wall, for 1914-18 servicemen who fell in the Great War and the other for 1939-45 returned servicemen with photos of  two World War Two servicemen, Morris Tavener, M.M. and Charles Henry Moss  and who both paid the Supreme Sacrifice, near Forli, Italy in late 1944.


In Memory of Rangitata Soldiers who fell in the Great War.
Pte. F.G. Yates 	Gallipoli 		25  4. 1915
Pte. A. Talke 		Mudros West 		16. 9. 1915
Pte. R. O'Neill 	Gallipoli 		 6. 8. 1915
Pte. L.W. Hill 		France 			21. 9. 1916
Pte. J.T. Hearn 	France 			13. 6. 1917
Pte. J.A. Tate 		France 			21. 8. 1917
Pte. H. McNab 		Featherston M.C. 	24.11. 1918

Timaru Herald, 19 January 1918, Page 9 SOLDIERS' MEMORIAL HALL. OPENING CEREMONY.
A large gathering of Rangitata residents and visitors from the surrounding districts assembled on Thursday evening to witness the official opening of the new Soldiers' Memorial Hall. Mr Yates, in the absence of Mr G. Cain, introduced Mr D. Grant, chairman of the Temuka Road Board, and called on him to open the hall. Mr J. J. Ellis, another member of the Road Board, was also present, Mr G. Smart sanding an apology. Mr Grant said it gave him great pleasure to be present at the ceremony of opening a very fine building. When the Rangitata Committee approached the Road Board, for funds to build it, the Board gave them every consideration, and from too bequest left by the late T. Hobson were able to guarantee a substantial sum. The late T. Hobson was a hard working man and a good sport. When he died he left his money for the purpose of building balls, libraries, etc., for recreation purposes. He complimented the Rangitata people on having such a fine hall. It was a credit to the district. Mr Grant then declared the hall open and invited the people to enter. A concert (arranged by Mr Trott) was then proceeded with, Mr Yates presiding. Motions of sympathy were passed to the relatives of the late Mr H. McClelland, and with Mr G. Cain in the loss of his wife, Mr Yates pointing out that the district had lost two respected residents. The proceedings opened with the National. Anthem, after which Mr Yates in a brief address said this was red letter day for Rangitata. They now had one of the finest halls in South Canterbury. Thanks are due to the contractor and sub-contractor for their well-finished work, and also to Mr E. McDonald, the energetic secretary, for his great efforts in collecting and in many other ways helping the work along. He deserved special mention. A choice concert programme was given by Mesdames Morgan, Cameron. Misses Bates and Rogers, Messrs Trott, Knibb, Salmon and Morgan. Every item on the bill was encored. During an interval a Roll of Honour board, which was hung on the wall just above the stage, was unveiled by Mr J. J. Ellis, in the absence of Col. Mackenzie, who was to perform the ceremony but had to send an apology. Mr Ellis made touching reference to the young men who had given their lives for the Empire. [Thomas Hobson died 18 October 1907 in ChCh, buried at Temuka] [Thomas Hobson Trust (Geraldine). This trust, which was established in 1907, is for public and charitable purposes to benefit residents within the district of the former of Geraldine County.]

Mr E. McDonald read the following statement:— Dr.—Contract, hall £535, Government section £8 10s, charges registration committee 11s, fence materials and furniture £2l 18s 6d, interest £123 10s; total, £669 9s 6d. Cr—Cash donations £125 0s 6d, grant from Hobson Trust (spread over ten years) £450, cash to be earned from reserve for next ten years £94 9s; total £669 9s 6d. The hall has been insured for £450, and the furniture for £25 (premium £2 2s 9d per annum). The committee assisted by residents did all carting free of charge—70 tons of bricks, 50 tons of shingle, and also all timber. The hall is built of brick, and has an iron roof. On the outside of the hall, above a 5ft by 5ft porch, are the words "Rangitata Soldiers Memorial Hall." The main hall is 50 feet by 24 feet; a 4 feet dado runs round the hall, and above this the walls are plastered. At the end is a platform 18 feet by 8 feet. Ample light is supplied by casement windows, three on each side. There is seating accommodation for about 240 people. The seats are well made, and were the work of some Rangitata residents. At the rear of the hall there is a ladies' room, 15 feet by 12 feet, fitted with cupboard, etc. At the other side is a. men's room, 14½ feet by 10 feet, and just off the ladies' room is a cloak room 18 feet by 4 feet, well fitted. The hall can be used for miniature rifle shooting, and part of the stage can be shifted to let two men fire at the same time, the range being 70 feet. The contractor was Mr F. Trott, Geraldine, who also designed the building, and Mr H. Berry was sub-contractor for the brick and plaster work, and the completed work does them every credit.

Rangitata District Roll of Honour World War 2 1939-45
J.H. Davies
L.G.R. Edgar
K.C.J. Ineson
C.R.D. Jefferson
C.C. Kelland
W.G.S. Loomes
H.S. Mahan

W.M. Metcalf
V. McCann
A.M. McDonald
G.W. Palmer, D.F.C.
A.J. Palmer
D.H. Wright

C.H. Moss, Fell in Fienza, 19-12-1944


Supreme Sacrifice
C.H. Moss, Rangitata
MOSS, Charles Henry
Rank: Private
Service No:505323
Date of Death: 19 December 1944
Age: 39
Regiment/Service: New Zealand Infantry 26th Bn.
Forli War Cemetery
Grave Reference: V, B, 11.
S/o Charles Henry and Martha Moss, of Geraldine
Husband of Finetta Agnes Moss, of Geraldine.
Married Finetta Agnes McDonald in 1928. She was b. 1909.
Her father was Hugh McDonald. Mother Agnes.
M. Tavener, M.M. and C.H. Moss

Morris Tavener
Rank Last Held: Warrant Officer Class 2
Serial No.424806
Military Awards: Military Medal (MM) May 1945
Last Unit Served: 26 Infantry Battalion
Date of Death: 24 December 1944
Age at Death: 27
Forli War Cemetery, Italy
Grave Reference: II, A, 18.
Wounded April 1944
S/o of Walter and Elizabeth Tavener
Husband of Winifred H. Tavener, of Waimate.
Married Winifred Hilda Davie in 1940.

The Eighth Army took Forli in November 1944 and graves were brought into the Forli War Cemetery from the surrounding battlefields. Many of those buried there lost their lives in the heavy fighting between Rimini and Ravenna which took place in appalling weather in October-December 1944.

Evening Post, 11 November 1944, Page 7
November 10. British troops of the Eighth Army have captured the important town; and communications centre of Forli and cleared all organised resistance; east of the Montone River and south of Forli. The capture of Forli followed a three-days co-ordinated pinicer drive; from the south and east. Allied advanced troops passed through the town and reached the main bridge over the Montone River, which had been blown, up. They now face German troops who are holding the west bank; Sniping continues in the town. The Eighth Army is now pressing against a new obstacle — the Montone River which flows north-west of Forli and runs into the Adriatic just south of Ravenna.

Evening Post, 28 December 1944, Page 5
December 27. The entire countryside is a mass of ice after the recent snowfall, and the New Zealanders confined themselves to small-scale attacks against the German salient across the Senio River north of Faenza today. Germans have left extensive minefields along the Canale Naviglio between Faenza and Bagnacavallo, and these are proving a greater obstacle in the snow and ice than would normally be the case.

Auckland Star, 30 December 1944, Page 3
The following N.Z.E.P. casualty list was issued to-day, the rank being private' or the equivalent unless otherwise stated:—
Killed in action - MOSS, C. H.— Geraldine.
Wounded: IGGO, J. A. (T.L.-Cpl.) — Waimate.
FITZGERALD, G. R. M.—Timaru.

Auckland Star, 3 January 1945, Page 2
The following N.Z.E.F. casualty list was issued to-day, the rank being private or its equivalent, unless otherwise stated:—
Died of wounds:
AINGE, A. O. (Sgt.) — Timaru.
BLUNDEN. J. R. (Cpl.)—Waimate
CAIRD, F. D.— Timaru
TAVENER, M. (W.O.H)  Mrs W.H. Tavener, 19 Opie St. Waimate (w)
Wounded - ARRAS, Louis L. (Cpl.) — Timaru
McAULEY, James J. Pte. Mrs L. McAuley, c/o Gleniti Post Office, Timaru  (m)
PORTER, Gibson F. Pte. Mrs M.Y. Gray, Taiko, R.D. Timaru  (sister)
STEAD, Dennis. W. (Cpl.) —  Mrs G. Stead, 27 Rose St. Timaru (w)
STOWELL. Ralph D. (L. Cpl.)— Mrs M.A. Stowell, Upper High St. Waimate  (w)
WASHINGTON, Leslie A. (L.-Cpl.) —  Mr G.L. Washington, 32 Davy St., Temuka (f)
WATSON, Allan D. Pte. Mrs H.A. Watson, Crown hotel, Timaru (w).
WORNER, Raymond, Pte. Mrs. R.K. Worner, 53 Cox St., Geraldine (w)

Press, 26 Nov. 1929
There was a very good attendance in the memorial Hall on Friday, when the final series of socials held during the winter months in aid of the school funds took place. Songs were contributed by Mr D. McSweeney and Mr O'Loughlan gave a step dance. Music for the dancing was provided by Mr H.A. Brenton (violin),. Mr. N. McNab was M.C. A presentation was made to Mr A. Austin whose help has been very much appreciated.

The Press, 26 Nov. 1929

Private Hugh McNab
Serial No. 85698
New Zealand Training Unit, 46th Reinforcements
Place of Death: Featherston, New Zealand
Date of Death: 23 November 1918
Age at Death: 27
Died from broncho pneumonia
Featherston Cemetery, Western Lake Road, Featherston, Wairarapa 

Timaru Herald, 5 July 1918, Page 3
Hugh McNab, Rangitata, asked for little more time. Allowed, till August 12.

Timaru Herald, 26 November 1918, Page 4
McNAB. At Featherston Hospital, Private Hugh McNab, the beloved fourth son of J. and the late D. McNab, of Rangitata; aged 26 years.

NOK: Mrs Mary Quinlan, Rangitata, Canterbury.
Mary McNab married James Joseph Quinlan in 1907

A memo of 11 April 1918 said there was a crisis in recruiting, so there was an accelerated transfer of men to camps. For the 46th there were 1635 mobilised, a shortage of 16.16%. On 4 November it was proposed to send part of the 46th Reinforcements on the SS Paparoa, No 114; 580 in total with 22 officers, 42 staff sergeants and sergeants and 516 OR (other ranks). SS Remuera with the 45th was No 114 then No 113, and SS Ionic with the 44th was No 112. On 6 November 1918 the embarcation and the transfer of troops from Featherston to Trentham was cancelled because of a serious outbreak of influenza at Trentham and Featherston Camps, recommended by RGF Henderson the Surgeon General and Director of Medical Services.

Photo taken by Adele Pentony-Graham at the Featherston Cemetery.

South CanterburyGenWeb Project

Page created 12 April 2013. Updated 19 May 2014. Photographs of inside the hall courtesy Andrew Pollock, a member of the dance group. Photo of the outside of the hall taken 5 July 2011 by M.T.

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