Profile

HOPKINS, Henry James
(Service number ANF1600)

Aliases Harry
First Rank Blacksmith's Mate Last Rank

Birth

Date 18 November 1888 Place of Birth St Andrews

Enlistment Information

Date Age
Address at Enlistment
Occupation Blacksmith
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status
Next of Kin
Religion
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with Australian Naval Force Served in Royal Navy
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation Australian Naval Force, Royal Navy
Unit, Squadron, or Ship
Date
Transport
Embarked From Destination
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Campaigns
Service Medals 1914-15 Star; British War Medal; Victory Medal
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date

Discharge

Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations

Blacksmith; wheelwright

Death

Date 14 May 1967 Age 78 years
Place of Death Timaru
Cause
Notices Timaru Herald, 15 & 16 May 1967
Memorial or Cemetery Temuka Cemetery
Memorial Reference Services Section, Row 180, Plot 631
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Henry James Hopkins, known as Harry, was the older son of Samuel and Mary (May, née Annand) Hopkins. He was born on 18 November 1888 at St Andrews or Otaio (registration at Timaru), and educated at St Andrews School, when the family was living at Otaio. Henry Hopkins made his mark at the St Andrews District Sports held on 18 January 1906, with an attendance of three or four hundred people. He came second in the bicycle road race, a handicap event over 6 miles. He was one of the two men who, being the first to start, “had everything their own way”. On 1 October 1916 at the Te Rata Hospital, Temuka (the home of the bride’s mother) “Bluejacket” Henry Hopkins married Jean Mallett. After the ceremony a sumptuous repast was enjoyed at Nurse Mallet’s home, followed by the customary speeches and toasts. “The happy couple left by the second express for the south. Several members of the Patriotic entertainment committee, with Mr A. Cooper playing the bagpipes, gave the sailor and his bride an enthusiastic farewell as the train steamed out.” Henry was at this time a blacksmith on board H.M.S. Pyramus.

Henry James Hopkins served with the Royal Navy unit of the Australian Naval Force in World War I. He had begun an apprenticeship before engaging for 5 years with H.M.S. Pioneer as a Stoker 2nd class, on 11 November 1910. At that time he was 5 feet 8 inches tall, with black hair, brown eyes and a dark complexion. Being a blacksmith in civilian life, he served as a blacksmith’s mate. The wedding was celebrated when Henry J. Hopkin’s, a blacksmith’s mate, was home on leave. The naval ratings were due to arrive at Wellington about 28 September by the s.s. Wimmera. They were on leave from H.M.S. Pyramus and were to be dispersed to their homes on the day of arrival. Seaman H. Hopkins reached Temuka just before his wedding. When it became known that he was on the train, a procession, led by a bag-pipes player, quickly formed and marched to the Post Office. There the Mayor and Mr Gunnion welcomed him, and all joined in three hearty cheers. Not surprisingly the wedding was a very happy occasion.

Over 60 New Zealanders went to war in H.M.S. Pyramus in August 1914. She was an old ship – one of the old cruisers which formed the New Zealand Division, the remnants of the Australasian Squadron which was based in New Zealand from 1913. Royal Navy ratings retained their original Australasian service numbers, distinguishable from those of the Royal Navy by the prefix ‘ANF’. While on leave at Temuka Seaman Henry Hopkins supplied some notes to the Timaru Herald on the service and movements of the H.M.S. Pyramus from July 1914 to August 1916, which vividly outline the extent and nature of his service of the past two years. “The Pyramus was acting as a training ship in July, 1914, and on the 29, was ordered to Akaroa to prepare tor war, and thence to Auckland, where they arrived a few hours before a message was received that war was declared. On August 16th the Pyramus left with others to escort the New Zealand force to Samoa, calling at Noumea and picking up additional escort there. Her next duty was to assist in escorting the first New Zealand Contingent for Egypt as far as Albany. Then via Fremantle, Singapore, Penang, Colombo, and Bombay, the Pyramus reached Marmagon, Portuguese West India, and stayed there some time guarding six German and Austrian ships. From there she returned to Bombay, and on 31st December, left for East Africa, and from January 10th to the middle of April the ship patrolled the deltas of the Rufigi river and the German coast, entering harbours and searching shipping. After a rest at Simonstown at the Cape to recuperate and refit they returned early in June and prepared to attack the Koenigsburg, the German raiding cruiser that had been bottled up some time before. By attacks on July 6th and 11th the Koenigsberg was totally destroyed. The attack was carried out by two monitors, and the Pyramus was the only big ship to enter the river. The ship was then ordered to the Persian Gulf calling at Aden on the way. They were soon at it again and on August 13 took part in a naval and military expedition against a Persian tribe which had been attacking telegraph stations and British Consuls. The tribe was well punished and their village and fort destroyed. The Captain of the Pyramus received the D.S.O., and two men the D.S.M., for their work in this expedition. Shortly after this they proceeded up the gulf and captured a Turkish fort, with four field guns and much other munitions, at Bida, on the Arabian coast. On September 9 they were at Bushire, where a landing party assisted in repelling an attack on the town. The party consisted of three machine guns and crews and a section of marines. The enemy was beaten off but at the cost of heavy casualties. The General Officer Commanding congratulated the men and thanked them for valuable assistance. From that time onward the ship was employed patrolling and guarding the telegraph line on the coast, the only communication with Mesopotamia. There were many alarms and attacks, but these were of only minor importance. The Pyramus was paid off on August 25, after a successful and interesting commission, during which she steamed 70,560 sea miles since the outbreak of war.”

It is apparent that H.J. Hopkins joined H.M.S. Doris some time after his leave in 1916. Doris had been operational in the war from the outset. From March 1917 to November 1918 H.M.S. Doris was stationed in India, where she served as a hulk. She was sold on 2 February 1919 in Mumbai. In December 1918 it was reported that 46 New Zealanders who originally formed part of the crew of H.M.S. Pyramus and were transferred to HM.S. Doris in March 1917, were to be paid off shortly at Bombay and would return to New Zealand. 41 naval ratings, lately of H.M.S. Doris, left Colombo on 10 January 1919 for Melbourne. From Melbourne they were to return to New Zealand by the steamer Port Hacking in February, the vessel to be quarantined for 24 hours. His wife received word from the naval authorities that her husband was expected to arrive in Wellington on 13 February 1919. The next message advised that he would arrive in Temuka on 15 February. And arrive he did, by the express from the north. The Temuka Juvenile Brass Band was in attendance. Mr Gunnion, representing the Temuka Patriotic Society, and the Rev Norris, representing the Navy League, met him at the station and referred to the inexpressible debt of gratitude owed to the naval service. After three hearty cheers given for the Navy, Mr Hopkins was driven home.

Henry James Hopkins was “in it” from the outset for more than four and a half years. He was awarded 1914-1815 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. These were issued at the Naval Office, Wellington. His brother George Annand Hopkins also served in WWI, with the New Zealand Forces. The Minister of Defence stated, in October 1919, that payment of gratuities to A.N.F. ratings ex H.M.S. Doris were provided for under the heading “Allowances to New Zealanders who have served with Imperial Naval and Military Forces.” Once home, Henry was back into his usual activities. Henry and Jean lived initially at Temuka before spending many years at Winchester. Henry resumed his old trade – blacksmith, taking over the business at Winchester and later adding a motor garage.

In November 1919 he was elected to the shooting committee of Temuka Defence Rifle Club. The Miniature Rifle Club was one of his passions. In May 1928 he represented the Winchester Miniature Rifle Club in a match against Hilton; and in July against Clandeboye. Mr and Mrs Hopkins were the club captains who arranged the annual ball and presentation of trophies in October 1930. During the evening Mr H. J. Hopkins received a present from the members of the Ladies’ Club. He had devoted a lot of time to coaching the ladies and getting everything ready for their shooting evenings. He had also donated a trophy, and both Mr and Mrs Hopkins were awarded trophies. Mr and Mrs Hopkins were again the club captains in 1931 and managed the supper for the annual ball and trophy presentation. Both were again awarded trophies. At the 1932 annual meeting of the Winchester Ladies’ Miniature Rifle Club, Mr H. J. Hopkins was elected a vice-president, captain, coach, selector, and armourer; while Mrs Hopkins was elected secretary, treasurer, judge of targets, handicapper, and a trustee. Mr Hopkins became well-known as a prominent rifle shot in South Canterbuy, winning many cups in competitions. He was a member of the Timaru Defence Club which won the Teams Cup at the Dunedin championships. Perhaps this involvement prompted a recall to duty for Mr Hopkins in the Second World War as a farrier-sergeant with the Canterbury Mounted Rifles. In 1942 he returned to his trade, from which he retired in 1954. Mr Hopkins retired from club shoots in 1961, and was made a life-member of the club in 1964.

Henry James Hopkins was charged and fined for having left a motor car standing in a public place (Railway Terrace, Temuka), without lights, an hour after sunset on 16 June 1923. H. Hopkins was a pall-bearer at the funeral of Private G. H. McBratney, a fellow Winchester serviceman, on 29 June 1928.

Henry James Hopkins, 1600, died on 14 May 1967 at Timaru Hospital, aged 78 years. He was buried in the Services section of the Temuka Cemetery, where members of the Temuka RSA assembled for his funeral. He was a keen member of the Returned Services Association, and was for many years the Winchester district representative on the Temuka association. He was survived by his second wife, two sons and a daughter. After the death of his wife Jean he married Dorothy Mary (Doris). Henry never got to meet their first-born. Horatio Henry Samuel Hopkins was born on 31 July 1917 at Te Rata Hospital, Temuka, while his father was on active service on H.M.S. Pyramus. Aged just one year and two weeks he died at home in Temuka on 20 August 1918, while Henry was on active service on H.M.S. Doris.

Sources

Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [07 September 2014]; Australian War Memorial record AWM266 6/4/1600 (www.awm.gov.au/collection) [16 March 2015]; Timaru Herald, 19 January 1906, 4 October 1916, 7 October 1916 [x 2], 11 October 1916, 1 August 1917, 21 August 1918, 5, 7, 14 & 17 February 1919, 12 November 1919, Evening Post, 18 September 1916, 23 October 1919, Star, 18 September 1916, Nelson Evening Mail, 17 December 1918, Auckland Star, 17 December 1918, Wairarapa Daily Times, 13 January 1919, Oamaru Mail, 13 January 1919, Hawera and Normanby Star, 1 February 1919, New Zealand Herald, 3 February 1919, Temuka Leader, 13 & 15 February 1919, 12 July 1923, 31 May 1928, 30 June 1928, 12 July 1928, 25 October 1930, 20 October 1931, Press, 18 February 1919, 16 April 1932 (Papers Past) [06 & 07 September 2014; 16 March 2015; 18 January 2017; 06 February 2019]; Temuka Cemetery headstone images (Timaru District Council) [07 September 2014]; School Admission Records (Waimate Branch NZSG) [06 September 2014]; NZ BDM indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [07 September 2014]; Information provided by Fay O'Rourke (relative, husband's great-uncle) [14 April 2015]; Timaru Herald, 13, 14, 15 & 19 May 1967 (Timaru District Library) [13 January 2017]; NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) [18 January 2017]; HMS Pyramus (navymuseum.co.nz) [18 January 2017]; HMS Doris (Wikipedia) [07 February 2019]; ‘Winchester's History’ by Alan A. Patrick (South Canterbury Branch NZSG library – DH22)

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to

TS

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