Newspaper Article 2015 – ‘Gentle giant’ perfectionist

‘Gentle giant’ perfectionist


John Edward Middleton

Sergeant John Edward Middleton
Number NZ 633428, 2NZEF
1939-45 & J Force
September 18, 1924-April 16, 2015

John Edward Middleton was born in Hastings on September 18, 1924.

An only child, he grew up in Ongaonga, learning about hard work at a young age, including milking the cows every day before school as an 8-year- old. He left school at 13 and started work with the butcher in Ongaonga, before heading into fencing with his uncle, Alf Middleton.

Mr Middleton enlisted in the New Zealand Army 2NZEF on February 4, 1943. He trained at Ashburton and was later stationed at the Featherston POW camp. He served in Japan from May 29, 1946, to July 5, 1947, as a Sergeant in the Provost Corps.

Christmas 1949 saw him home in Ongaonga and invited to Christmas dinner at the Bakers, where he met his future wife, Beth Waugh, a nurse.

They were married at St Peter’s Anglican Church in Waipawa 1950.

Mr Middleton was a gentle giant, a fine dancer and a great card player. A passionate rugby man, he played for the Canterbury B team and mid-Canterbury, and supported local teams Waipawa United and Hawke’s Bay, as well as the All Blacks.

A loyal family man, he and Beth raised nine children: Peter, Suzanne, Colin, Brian, Tony, Graham, Annette, Jenni and Grant. Many people have called Mr Middleton Central Hawke’s Bay’s best fencer and his perfectionism was well known. His boast was no footed post of his ever came out of the ground.

In September 1993, Mr Middleton had a bad car accident, hitting the train at the Victoria St crossing in Waipawa, outside CHB Motors. He was flown to Wellington Hospital and things were so grave that, at one stage, the entire family were staying in Wellington to be near him. Thankfully, he recovered.

Mr Middleton was one of the strongest and most hard-working of men, and his death notice read fittingly: “Your last post hole has been dug.”

At 90 years and six months, after a lifetime of hard, physical work and raising nine children, and surviving being hit by a train, he has earned his rest.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, seven of their nine children and 16 grandchildren.

Information supplied by Colin Middleton, Peter Butler, Beth, Annette and Kim Middleton — compiled by Catherine Pedersen

Photo caption – John Edward Middleton

Original digital file


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Format of the original

Newspaper article

Date published

April 2015

Creator / Author

  • Catherine Pedersen


Hawke's Bay Today


Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today


  • Peter Butler
  • Alf Middleton
  • Annette Middleton
  • Beth Middleton, nee Waugh
  • Brian, Graham, Grant, Jenni, Peter, Suzanne, Tony Middleton
  • Colin Middleton
  • Sergeant John Edward
  • Kim Middleton

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