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WILLIAMS family plot

In loving memory of


Beloved son of

Capt. H & E Williams

Died at Trentham Nov. 15th 1918

Aged 21 years

He has only gone home with the setting sun

And lay down to rest with God’s well done.

Also small plaque




In loving memory of

Our dear mother

Elizabeth WILLIAMS

Died July 28th 1924

Aged 74 years

Also our dear father

John Henry

Died May 18th 1925

Aged 79 years

At rest.




Also in plot, Charles WILLIAMS - his plaque has gone but partial headstone plinth show Royal Navy and Distinguished Service Medal abbreviation with guns.


Block 35 Plots 32 & 33



Andrew Frank Sylvester WILLIAMS

Cause of death: Influenza and pneumonia[12]

Death registration: 1918/12125

Died at Trentham Military Hospital and is parents were living at 403 Tuam Street, Linwood at the time of his death[2]

Military number: 88313

53RD Reinforcement probationary NCO[1]

NZ Training Unit

Prior to enlisting, worked at the Addington workshops[3]

Buried: Karori Cemetery, Wellington, NZ

His grave:


Cenotaph database record:



Captain John Henry WILLIAMS

Master Mariner

Years in NZ at time of death: 58 [4]

Entry in the NZ Maritime Index:



Years in NZ at time of death: 57



‘Rose’ [Harriet Rosina WILLIAMS]

Died 29 May 1971


Born in NZ[5] Birth registration: 1876/2650



Died 24 April 1932

Aged 48


Born NZ. Birth registration 1883/11778



Died 16 September 1919

Aged 38

Occu: Seaman[6]


Press, Volume LV, Issue 16705, 13 December 1919, Page 8



A particularly well known member of the crew of the Tainui [7] who lost his life was Seaman Charles Williams, D.S.M., son of Captain H. Williams, of Tuam street, Christchurch. His career was marked by dauntless courage, and the 38 years of his life were crowded with adventure.


Williams entered the merchant service on a schooner engaged in the New Zealand trade in 1897, when 16 years of age. Shortly after leaving school at Lyttelton he received his first naval training, as a member of the New Zealand Naval Reserve, and later served on H.M.S. Tauranga. It was on board this boat he first revealed his reckless courage in succouring the crew during a terrific gale. In 1909 Williams received his discharge from the Navy, and a year later he went to Antarctica in the Terra Nova. In a terrific storm the pumps of the little ship became choked, and Williams went down between the boilers in the blistering heat and relieved the obstruction. His action was the means of saving the ship from foundering. He had been twice to Antarctica, first with Captain Scott, and afterwards with the relief expedition under Commander Evans.

He possessed the Antarctic Medal and that of the Geographical Society.


At the outbreak of the war he volunteered for service with the North Sea Fleet as a stoker. Williams was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for conspicuous bravery during the engagement off Dover between H.M.S. Broke and H.M.S. Swift and six German warships. Stoker Williams was serving under Commander Evans on the Broke. Feeling secure in their superiority of numbers the Germans essayed to sink their opponents. The two British boats were surrounded and put up a magnificent fight. Stoker Williams was asleep in his hammock when the fight began. He went on deck and devoted his attention to carrying the wounded to safety below deck, a work which was attended by extreme danger, when the German sailors boarded the Broke and hand-to-hand fighting ensued. Commander Evans recommended Stoker Williams for the D.S.M. for his bravery.


Previously Williams was on H.M.S. Viking, which struck a mine in the North Sea, and later he was on H.M.S. Conquest. He took part in the Zeebrugge fight, and was one of the volunteers from the Broke who landed on the mole there. [8]



Press, Volume LV, Issue 16633, 20 September 1919, Page 2

A sad feature in connexion with the death of Charles Williams, one of the victims of the Tainui disaster, was that he intended shortly to return to England to bring back his Fiancée to New Zealand as his bride.[10]



Wairarapa Daily Times, Volume 45, Issue 13938, 23 September 1919, Page 4

There is a superstitious saying among those who go down to the sea in ships, "Never hang the picture of a shipwreck near the photo of a sailor" In connection with the death of the late Charles Williams, of Christchurch, one of the victims of the Tainui disaster, a Christchurch reporter was told of a remarkable coincidence. In the drawing room of the home of the deceased's parents is an enlarged framed photograph of the deceased, and immediately beneath is a photograph of a ship on fire off a hilly shore. The most remarkable, thing about the coincidence, which was not noted until Friday, is that the vessel in the picture exactly tallies in appearance with the Tainui, and the coastline, which is only two or three miles away, is an excellent representation of the country off which the Tainui met her end.[11]



Press, Volume LV, Issue 16705, 13 December 1919, Page 8


At the Lyttelton District High School yesterday afternoon, a portrait of the late Seaman Charles Williams, who lost his life in the Tainui disaster, was unveiled. Among those present were the Deputy-Mayor (Mr J. T. Norton, and Councillors, Mr W. G, Carson (chairman), and the members of the school committee, and Captain J. H. Williams and Mrs Williams, parents of Seaman Williams.


Before unveiling the portrait, Captain J A H Marciel said that he felt it a great honour to unveil the portrait of one of the bravest of the brave. He supposed he had been asked because he had been a superintendent of the Mercantile Marine for the last 23 years, and because he was a seaman, too. He had known Captain Williams, the father of the late Seaman Williams, for many years, and he could say that Captain Williams bore the white flower of a blameless life. To the mother he tendered his heartfelt sympathy, but he was sure that pride in her son would temper her great sorrow. Charles Williams had some years before been a pupil of the school. He was a good scholar and son and loved his father and mother. When he left school the old sea-blood called him, and be became a sailor in the Mercantile Marine. Later he served in the Royal Navy. Then the spirit of adventure called him, and he joined that band of gallant adventurers who went down into the Antarctic to see what God had stowed away there amid the ice and snow. He went a second time, when disaster overtook the leader, Captain Scott, and it was significant that his commander, Captain Evans, always picked him out first. He was preparing to go again with Captain Evans when war broke out, and that officer sent him a message, '"Never mind the South Pole, I want you here," and he went; along with a lot of other brave men, who were prepared to give all for freedom. ln the Broke’s memorable light he had saved his commander's life, when a shell was coming, by pushing him off the bridge. That brave action earned for him the Distinguished Service Medal, that medal which he (the speaker) now held before them. Although costing only a few shillings to make, all the gold in the world could not buy the D.S.M., it had to be earned. When Seaman Williams came back a few months ago, he had visited the speaker to have a yarn, and all he talked about was his commander. Captain Evans, whom he was devoted to, and about his father and mother. When questioned about his own exploits, he said, he hoped that he had done his duty pretty well, and then grew red in the face, as a truly brave man would do.

Addressing the children, Captain Marciel said he hoped that when they saw the portrait of Seaman Williams in the schoolroom, they would also try to do their duty. To do one's duty was all that could be expected of any man. No one would do any good if he adopted the ”go slow” policy; but whatsoever they found to do, they should do it with all their might.


Captain Marciel then unveiled the portrait, present standing with bared heads.


The portrait, which is in oils, by Mr [illegible] Williamson, shows the late Seaman Williams in naval uniform, wearing the D.S.M. and the Antarctic Medal. It was presented to the school by fellow seamen and some residents of Lyttelton.


Mr W. G. Carson accepted the portrait from Captain Marciel on behalf of the School Committee, and expressed a hope that it would he the forerunner of many portraits of old scholars[9]



Seafarers Memorial Trust record:,_Charles











128-ton Tainui, whose cargo of petrol exploded off Shag Rock, North Canterbury, in 1919, killing all hands (eight) except the cook;










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Taken on December 30, 2013