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Record 66/128
Copyright Marlborough Museum - Marlborough Historical Society Inc
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Collection Gardiner
Date 11 July 1921
Abstract G v R 1 scroll for Private Richard William Mapp, Canterbury Infantry Regiment, New Zealand Expeditionary Force who died of measles in England during World War 1, 18 February 1918, aged 21 years. It is in Folder 2, page 40.

The letter from Buckingham Palace that goes with this scroll is on page 44. The letter forwarding the scroll is on page 39.

"Richard William Mapp is my name. Soldiering my occupation. At present Trentham is my home. Berlin my Destination."

It is not the foe we fear.
It isn't the bullets that whine.
It isn't the business career,
Of a shell or the burst of a mine.
It isn't the snipers who seek,
To nip our young hopes in the bud.
No, it isn't the guns,
And it isn't the Huns,
It's the Mud, Mud, Mud. [A Song of Winter Weather, by Robert William Service]

So wrote Willie Mapp on the first page of his war time diary shortly before he left New Zealand. He began his training in the Blenheim Home Guard under Lieutenant Stace, before moving to Featherston Camp in August 1917 and then on to Trentham.

He left Wellington on the troopship "Maunganui on 21 November 1917, reaching the newly built Panama Canal, completed in 1913, in December, "It is just like going up the sounds to Picton…. We got to the Gatun locks about 6 o'clock… We got another big hearing here [from] the soldiers and people. The band played us through the locks."

They reached Norfolk in Virginia, U.S.A. on 22 December 1917, "A ship left here yesterday with 17 thousand [American soldiers] aboard. It was the Vaterland [renamed USS Leviathan] that was captured from the Germans, it is the biggest ship in the world."

On January 5th 1918, out in the Atlantic, "We picked up 8 torpedo destroyers this morning. There are also 8 more ships on the sky line making 24 ships in all". They reached England three days later.

That same day they boarded a train, arriving in Sling Camp (officially the 4th New Zealand Infantry Brigade Reserve Camp) in Wiltshire at midnight. Here Willie joined 4,300 other New Zealand soldiers, where "I have met a lot of Blenheim boys although we are isolated. J. Nolan, J. Gilmore, G. Register and others."

Willie's diary ends on 10th January 1918, "I am only going to write down anything special now because we have very little time."

Although he didn't know it, that last line was prophetic. On 18 February 1918 Willie Mapp died of measles and broncho-pneumonia, one of hundreds of soldiers who died of illness and disease before even getting to fight. He is buried at Tidworth Military Cemetery on the Salisbury Plains of England.

"Dear Mrs. Mapp", wrote Tim Smith, a family friend, on 1 May 1918 from Sling Camp, "I feel I cannot but drop you a sympathetic line about poor Willie's death, on arriving here. Although Willie died before reaching France, he has 'done his bit' for his country by the fine example he always set to his mates and we are all resolved to see that the lives of all our old pals are not sacrificed in vain…..".

Ironically, Tim's brother, Gus, had written to Willie in January 1917, from No. 1 New Zealand General Hospital at Walton-on-Thames, England where he was recuperating, "If I were you I would not whury about getting away for it [New Zealand] is the best place …. all the Boys over here are mad to get back".
Object ID 2003.242.0006
Object Name Scroll
People Mapp, Richard William (Willie)
Title Scroll
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Last modified on: November 16, 2015