C’est une découverte capitale ! J’ai beaucoup d’informations maintenant au sujet de mon arrière-grand-oncle (Cornelius). J’ai envoyé un email à l’oncle de mon père, qui s’appelle Pat Keppel. Je savais qu’il avait travaillé comme officier de police et il est intéressé par l’histoire de la famille. Pat est de la côté de la famille de Cornelius. Je suis très reconnaissant à Pat pour son aide.
It’s a breakthrough! I now have lots of information on the subject of my great great uncle (Cornelius). I sent an email to the uncle of my father, Pat Keppel. I knew that he had worked as a police officer and is interested in the history of the family. Pat is on Cornelius’ side of the family. I am very grateful for his help.
Thanks to the information that Pat has kindly found, I can now begin to piece together Cornelius’ life before, during and after the war.
Cornelius Joseph Keppel was born on 09/10/1886 at the family home on Climie Road, Stratford, Taranaki. His parents, Annie and Maurice Keppel, were both born in Ireland. Cornelius was the 4th of 11 children, with 6 brothers and 4 sisters! Cornelius attended Cardiff school. The photo below was from a school trip to Mount Egmont (taken from “The Cardiff Story”). It is believed that the young man named G. Keppel is actually Cornelius. This is because there was no member of his family with the initial ‘G’, and it could easily have been a misread ‘C’.
The family moved from Cardiff to Kaupokonui in 1910 to a dairy farm. Cornelius began work as a cheese maker at the Rowan Dairy Factory near Kaponga. Cornelius entered the Trentham military camp on 26/06/1916. His height was 5 ft 9, and he weighed 10 stone 7lb. He was assigned to B Company 18th Wellington Infantry Regiment. Cornelius trained at Featherston and Trentham military camps until 15/10/1916. A photo of Cornelius is included below.
On 16/10/1916 Cornelius boarded the HMNZT Willochra in Wellington which was sailing to England. He arrived at Plymouth, England on 29/12/1916. This meant that his journey took a total of 74 days! Attached below is a photo of the HMNZT Willochra.
As well as reading through the masses of information about Cornelius which came to hand, I also attended 2 ANZAC services since my last blog post. Firstly, I attended an important assembly at my school where we commemorated the Wellington College old boys, and all the other New Zealanders who gave up their lives, or at least their livelihood in order to serve in the war. We can see, for example, how much Cornelius sacrificed for the war. Although he returned home, he died only a few years after the war ended. It seems that Cornelius had a comfortable lifestyle before the war, with 10 siblings. The town was also so small that Cornelius would have had some very close friends in the years leading up to the war. But all of this had to be sacrificed in order to serve overseas. This shows the impact that the war had on families and communities around the world.
I also attended Wellington’s ANZAC Dawn service. This was a new experience for me, but one that I thoroughly enjoyed being part of. It was great to see the large number of people, young and old, who wanted to commemorate such an important event in our history. The Shared Histories project is all about encouraging the remembrance of WW1, so I really enjoyed attended the dawn service.
Once again I would like to thank Pat Keppel for all his help in finding information about Cornelius Keppel. In my next blog I will begin painting a picture of Cornelius’ life during the war.