GRANT, Norman Melville
(Service number 3/2812)
|First Rank||Private||Last Rank||Private|
|Date||19 March 1896||Place of Birth||Temuka|
|Date||15 November 1916||Age||20 years|
|Address at Enlistment||Temuka|
|Occupation||Post & Telegraph Cadet|
|Previous Military Experience||P & T Corps - serving|
|Next of Kin||Mrs Mary Bryce GRANT (mother), Maud Street, Temuka|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||New Zealand Expeditionary Force|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||22nd Reinforcements, New Zealand Medical Corps|
|Date||16 February 1917|
|Transport||Aparima or Mokoia or Navua|
|Embarked From||Destination||Plymouth, Devon, England|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||NZ Medical Corps|
|Service Medals||British War Medal; Victory Medal|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
|Date||21 October 1919||Reason|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
|Date||7 June 1976||Age||80 years|
|Place of Death||Hamilton|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Cremated, ashes interred Hamilton Park Cemetery|
|Memorial Reference||RSA area|
|New Zealand Memorials|
Norman Melville Grant was born on 19 March 1896 at Temuka, the only son of William Shaw and Mary Bryce (née Nimmo) Grant, who were both born in Scotland. He had one older sister and one younger sister. Norman was educated at Temuka School. There in 1902, he received a prize and a first-class certificate for Attendance in the Infants class. When the Temuka Salvation Army “juniors” gave an entertainment in the Barracks in November 1904, Master Norman Grant gave a recitation “Mr Nobody”. He received a prize and 1sty class certificate for Standard I Attendance in 1904. A prize and first-class certificate came his way again in 1906, for Standard III Attendance. More Attendance prizes came in 1908 and 1910. “A boy named Norman Grant, a son of Mr. W. Grant, Temuka, met with a painful and serious accident a few days ago. While cutting a gorse fence a gorse splinter entered the right eye. Nothing serious was anticipated at first, but unfavourable symptoms appearing ho was taken to the Timaru Hospital. It was as first feared that the eye would be lost, but yesterday we were glad to learn that there are hopes of saving it.” [Temuka Leader, 20 August 1907.] At the August 1909 meeting of the Wesley Band of Hope, Norman contributed to a dialogue entitled “The evening party”. Norman was playing football for the Temuka team in 1913.
Norman Grant registered on 11 November 1916 at Temuka, then enlisted on 15 November at Awapuni. He was a cadet with the Post and Telegraph Service at Temuka and was already serving with the P. & T. Corps. Single and Presbyterian, he named his mother as next-of-kin – Mrs Mary Bryce Grant, Maud Street, Temuka. On a Tuesday evening in mid November 1916, “the people who assembled in the Temuka Drillshed to farewell the Temuka recruits of the 23rd Reinforcements, and the recruits themselves, were treated to a varied musical programme, provided principally by Christchurch artists.” It was noted that contrary to expectation Temuka had mustered more than the full quota for the Twenty-thirds, a record that Temuka people should be proud of. A South African War veteran “strongly exhorted the boys above all to keep themselves fit and never yield to temptation. Their friends and relatives would watch their careers as soldiers, . . . .” He wished them good luck, “and a home coming made glorious by victory achieved.” The next day the Temuka and Geraldine recruits were entertained at afternoon tea before the train arrived. Norman Grant was one of those recruits.
“Last week two presentations were made at the Temuka Post Office, when Mr Stephenson, postmaster, presented Messrs E. J. Roache and N. M. Grant with parting gifts from the staff. Private Grant, who is spending his final leave in Temuka, was presented with a handsome wristlet watch, and Mr Stephenson spoke of him as a good, conscientious officer, always willing to meet the requirements of the office and all were very sorry to lose him. They regretted it was necessary for him to take the step he had taken, which they admired, but it was the hope of all that he would be successful in his new undertaking and return to Temuka safe and sound. . . . . . Mr Grant thanked one and all for their token of goodwill, and when he looked at the time it would recall his memory to the happy times he spent in Temuka. He prized the present very much and he appreciated the kind remarks of Mr Stephenson. . . . . .” [Timaru Herald. 05 January 1917.]
Private N. M. Grant embarked with the New Zealand Medical Corps of the 22nd Reinforcements, departing for Plymouth, England, on 16 February 1917. From March 1917, Norman M. Grant was named regularly on the Temuka Leader’s Active Service List. “There are now on view in Messrs C. Bates and Co.’s window, Temuka, two life-like portraits, in oil colours, of local soldier lads — Private Norman Grant, a son of Mr W. Grant, and Private J. McLeod, a brother of Mrs J. Radford. The former is a full-length portrait, and the latter a bust. In each the artist has paid careful attention to detail, and the likenesses .and colouring are excellent. The portraits are the work of Mr H. Grand, of Harris street, Waimate, and are handsomely framed in solid oak frames.” [Temuka Leader. 30 May 1918.]
“There is now on view at Mr Kingston’s, Temuka, a soldier’s belt, studded with the badges and buttons of many regiments now fighting in France. The belt has a little history. The collection of badges, etc., was made by Private Norman Grant, and it was recently received by his mother, Mrs Wm. Grant, Temuka, but it was not sent to her by her son. The belt was sent to her by a Canadian soldier, and in a letter explaining the circumstance, he says that his company occupied some quarters formerly occupied by New Zealanders. There he found the bell, on which was Private Norman Grant’s name, but no address. However, he also found a writing pad, on which Mrs Grant’s address was given as Temuka, and surmising that she was Norman Grant’s mother, he sent it to her, asking her to let her son know that she had received it. He had taken the trouble to pack it carefully in a box, that almost seemed to have been made for the purpose. The incident is a very pleasing one, as showing the honesty and good heartedness of the men who are fighting the Empire’s battles. The Canadian soldier had never seen, and knew nothing of the New Zealand soldier, and his mother, yet he put himself to trouble and expense to see that the belt — which he believed would be of interest to them — reached its proper destination.” [Temuka Leader. 8 June 1918.]
In early March 1919, Mr and Mrs W. Grant, Temuka, received word that their son had been removed from a hospital in France to one in England. In June, they received received advice from Base Records that their son had been discharged from hospital on May 14th. “News should shortly come to hand indicating when the soldier will arrive home.” Among the South Canterbury soldiers returning by the “Tainui”, which was due at Wellington on 21 September 1919, was Private N. M. Grant (Temuka). He had embarked at Plymouth on 8 August. The special troop train which was bringing three local soldiers was expected to pass through Temuka at about 1.30 on 23 September. The Mayor hoped that “there would be a large gathering to welcome them.”
“The special troop train stopped at Temuka, and Privates Hanifin and N. Grant detrained there. Owing to the. train arriving about a quarter of an hour before it was expected, the ladies of the Patriotic Entertainment Committee did not arrive at the station until it was too late to make the usual distribution of cigarettes and fruit to the soldiers on board the train. The band were also late in arriving. Dispensing with the custom of motoring the men to the Post Office square, the Mayor (Mr Gunnion) and Councillor Cartwright made the welcoming speeches at the station, in the course of which they thanked the men for what they had done for their country and wished them all prosperity in the future. Cheers were then given for the newcomers, after which they were motored in cars . . . .” [Timaru Herald, 24 September 1919.]
“On Tuesday afternoon another troop train passed through Temuka, about 20 minutes past 2 o’clock, conveying several hundred men to their homes. In the first place the train was expected to arrive at 1.30 but shortly before that time came it was announced that the train would be an hour late, and those present dispersed. However the train made up for some of the lost time, and steamed into the station a quarter of an hour before it was expected by the public. . . . . . Two Temuka men arrived - N. Grant and Private Hannifin — and it was decided to hold the customary public welcome at the railway station instead of at the Post Office. The Mayor, Mr Gunnion, extended a hearty welcome to the Returned Soldiers. All were glad to have them home again. They had done splendid work, and all were proud of them. . . . . . The Deputy Mayor, (Mr Cartwright), said he was pleased to welcome two more boys back to Temuka. The peoples’ feelings today were very different to what they were 12 months ago, when they were still sending their men away. At that time it was a continual succession of farewells. Since then some thousands of our boys had returned, and of late it had been a succession of welcomes. On behalf of the country, he assured the returned men that all were very proud of the grand name they had made for New Zealanders, not only in France and on many battlefields, but in the old country and wherever they had gone They had made themselves beloved and respected wherever they went, and now their friends were delighted to have them hack, They hoped they would live long to enjoy the freedom they had fought so hard to maintain. Hearty cheers were then given for the men who were motored to their homes, . . . . .” [Temuka Leader. 25 September 1919.] Discharged on 21 October 1919, Private N. M. Grant was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
Norman returned to the staff of the Temuka Post Office. “Mr Norman M. Grant, who for many years has been attached to the staff of the Temuka Post Office, and is well known in connection with various athletic sports, has been transferred to the post office at Culverden, North Canterbury. Before his departure his fellow officers met and presented him with a handsome shaving outfit as a token of the esteem in which he is held by them. Mr Grant was very popular with the public, and was always an efficient and obliging officer. He carries with him the best wishes of the community.” [Temuka Leader. 1 March 1923.] “The Culverden correspondent of the Press writes: —Yesterday, a horse with a light gig attached was frightened by a traction engine and started off, but was most cleverly and pluckily stopped by Mr Norman Grant, of the Post Office staff. If it had not been for Mr Grant’s action, a serious accident would have occurred.” [Temuka Leader. 13 October 1923.] By November of the same year he had been appointed to a vacancy at the Greymouth Post Office. Still on the staff at the Greymouth Post and Telegraph Department, Norman married Edith Mary Quin on 21 July 1926 at St David’s Presbyterian Church, Auckland. “Mr Norman Grant, of the Greymouth Post Office staff, who has been transferred to Frankton Junction, was met by the Greymouth Post and Telegraph staff, and presented with a set of silver fish knives and forks. Mr D. M. McIntosh (Chief Postmaster) made the presentation. Mr and Mrs Grant left by Saturday’s express, en route to Frankton Junction. Mr Grant was at one tune on the staff of the Temuka Post Office.” [Temuka Leader. 31 August 1926.]
Norman and Edith were still at Frankton Junction in 1940 when his parents died – Mary Bryce Grant on 6 January at her Temuka residence and William Shaw Grant on 13 October at Timaru. Mary and William who married in 1886 at East Taieri, celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1936 at their Maude Street, Temuka, residence. Norman Melville Grant died on 7 June 1976 at Hamilton, aged 80 years. He was cremated, his ashes being interred at Hamilton Park Cemetery in the RSA area. Edith died in February 1983. Their son, John William Nimmo Grant was born in 1928 and died in 2015.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [22 September 2022]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [22 September 2022]; Temuka Leader, 20 December 1902, 10 November 1904, 24 December 1904, 15 December 1906, 20 August 1907, 22 December 1908, 3 August 1909, 17 December 1910, 3 March 1917, 30 May 1918, 8 June 1918, 6 March 1919, 10 June 1919, 2, 23 & 25 September 1919, 1 March 1923, 13 October 1923, 8 November 1923, 4 June 1925, 15 July 1926, 31 August 1926, Timaru Herald, 17 November 1916, 5 January 1917, 24 September 1919, 9 May 1936, 8 January 1940, 6 January 1941, 13 October 1941, 29 October 1942, Press, 2 March 1923, Grey River Argus, 7 July 1926, Otago Daily Times, 8 & 11 January 1940, 14 October 1940 (Papers Past) [21, 24 & 25 September 2022]; School Admission record (South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [24 September 2022]; Hamilton Park Cemetery record (Hamilton City Council) [24 September 2022]
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Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC Genealogy Society
Currently Assigned to
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