13 June 2015

William Hunt AKA Brown

A recent collaboration that we had established is with Ian Martyn who runs Medals Reunited New Zealand. Ian noticed one of the names on my list was an Australian who served in the NZEF during WWI. The soldier in question is 42336 William Hunt NZEF. All the information that I could find was from the New Zealand Cenotaph site which showed who was listed as his NOK and his address in Wellington. Ian took this scrap and has come up with a spectacular result. This is a synopsis of Ian’s research.

The search started with a revelation that one of my researchers found on a MyTrees.com inquiry for William Hunt. He appeared in a McCarthy tree but was called Brown, same birth date, included name William, died NZ, of an accident, same date, place etc. The McCarthy tree also had a person by the name of John Huggard McCarthy 1824 Ireland and a Flora Jane McCarthy 1826 Ireland. Flora Jane McCarthy is part of the Brown tree, as was the name Huggard, later extrapolated into deHuggard or DeHuggard - more familiar name links to William Hunt. 
McCarthy's linked Brown tree have all the same people as identified with William Hunt - they also had appended "Hugh William Ernest Brown, known as Hunt" on their tree. This coincided with some key information on a portion of one of the many Brown families in New Zealand in the Ancestry Archive. Also some key names came up from previous Hunt searches on Ancestry plus the appearance of his sister's name (Flora) as NOK one point.
The thing that gave me the most grief was reconciling why William would transition from BROWN to Hunt. So here is the short version of a long story. Robert H also responded to an information request - William (Hugh Ernest) Brown managed to embarrass the family by taking up with and running away to NZ with a married woman, one Isabella (Bella) Cook, this person he cites as his NOK and living in Ghuznee St, Wellington (the Cenotaph entry connection).  To effect and disguise this fact, he obviously selected his 2nd name and surname from the other side of the family to cover his tracks.
Part of my family tree that shows Hugh Brown 1838 - 1887 was married Flora Jane Eland. They were the parents of both Hugh W E Brown and Hellen Flora Jane Huggard Eland (married to Oliver Warren). Another sister was Mary Moody Brown (1875 - 1935). This is Robert H’s Great Grandmother.

After the war William worked as a quarryman at Sandspit Island. Ian found the following information about his death.
 “11 Feb 1928 in Auckland, age 48yrs after injuries received from accidentally falling from a ladder while boarding the SS “Hirere” – this entry is handwritten in his Army file.
The SS Hirere was a costal river freight/passenger boat that transited from the Port of Clevedon to the Coromandel Peninsula via the Firth of the Thames and on up the Waihou River.
Obituaries – Papers Past
Auckland Star, 11 Jan 1928
Mr. William Hunt, who was hurt yesterday afternoon through falling into the harbour and striking some, wharfs piles, died in the Auckland Hospital this morning. Mr. Hunt, who was employed by Messrs. McCallum Bros., was returning to the steamer Hirere, at Albert wharf, when he slipped. He was helped from the water by several men who were nearby and taken to the Hospital by the St. John Ambulance. He was suffering from internal injuries and a broken nose. Mr. Hunt, who was 54 years old, lived on Sandspit Island, Thames Estuary.
Death Notice in Auckland Star, 12 Jan 1928
HUNT.—On January 11. at the Auckland Hospital, as the result of an accident, William Hunt; aged 54 years. Funeral will leave Mr. Tongue's Mortuary, top Mount Eden Road, at 10 a.m., Friday, for Waikumete.

This has been a significant piece of research by Ian and his team. I am very indebted to his efforts and the information provided by Robert. I very much look forward to sending Hugh and Robert the medal in the near future. Thank you to Kyle B of Lilydale, Victoria who sent me the medal. The returned medal tally is now 1697.
Thank you to the family of William Hunt for kind permission to reproduce these family pictures. William is the young man third from the right with his knee up in the first photo. It is believed that the man in the second photo is also William.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful to see so many countries returning medals to where they should be. Excellent work again.