Ralph Hales Headstone

Original digital file




  • Ralph Thomas Hales

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Acetate negative

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Headstone of Ralph Thomas Hales
Beloved husband of Margaret Moana Hales
World War One, NZEF 22975
Lance Corporal in 1917
Born 12 January 1891
Died 4 April 1929

Article from Hawke’s Bay Today, Monday April 28, 2014
Dannevirke: Heroes’ history fondly remembered, by Christine McKay.

“War had many different effects on those who participated,” Doug Hales said. “Some men emerged as great leaders, some men returned as great heroes. My grandfather, Ralph, returned with a bullet lodged between his kidneys. The technology of the time meant it could not be removed.

“Like myself and my father, Ralph attended Wimbledon Primary School. He left New Zealand in 1916 with the New Zealand Machine Gun Corps as private No 22975. He graduated to a corporal while fighting in the trenches in France.”

On August 20, 1917, while in the trenches, Ralph was shot in the back. He was admitted to the 14th General Hospital in Wimmereaux and transferred to Walton on Thames, remaining in hospital for almost a year before returning to New Zealand.

“My grandfather completed two years and 299 days’ service, he was one of the lucky ones,” Mr Hales said. “When we look at the old movie clips of life in the trenches we have some idea of the skill level, the stamina and the toughness of the men like Ralph who survived. I wish he had been able to tell me some of his stories.”

Ralph Hales died aged 38, leaving his wife, Moana, a young mother with four young children and a farm to manage.

“My father [Ralph Edwards Thomas, known to everyone as Bill] was 11 when Ralph died, he found it hard to remember his father,” Mr Hales said. Bill served in World War II.

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