RSA plots Baillie plaque

SHELLEY GRECO
Last updated 05:00 21/02/2014
Rachel Burriss

RESTING PLACE: Henderson RSA secretary manager Rachel Burriss at the unmarked grave of the Baillie family at Waikumete Cemetery.

Rachel Burriss
ROLL CALL: Twin brothers John and David Baillie died during World War I and are on the roll of honour at the Henderson RSA. Their burial plot is indicated by a single rhododendron tree

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The Henderson RSA is appealing for Baillie family descendants to come forward to approve the installation of a memorial plaque for an unmarked grave.

The plot at Waikumete Cemetery is the final resting place for several members of the Baillie family, with many dying tragically.

Henderson RSA secretary manager Rachel Burriss says it wants to mark the grave to honour the family's memory.

"We are coming into the 100-year centenary and are looking at ways of honouring our returned soldiers," she says.

"To me, it's important that they have more than just names on a piece of wood."

The Henderson RSA will pay for a plaque to mark the family grave and will include any relatives in the planning of its installation.

There will also be a small service that can be held on a date of significance.

Before that, however, permission is needed from relatives of the Baillie family.

The Baillies made their home on Te Atatu Peninsula where Crawford and his wife were among the original settlers.

On October 19, 1893, four members of the family drowned in a boating accident on the Whau River.

Mr Baillie lost his wife Ann, 60, their daughter Ann, 17, and sons John, 33, and James, 21.

Family friend Isabella Herd, 57, also died when the boat they were on capsized.

John drowned after launching an impossible rescue attempt in a small dinghy.

He left behind his wife, Agnes and eight children, including three-week-old twins John and David.

Agnes and her children eventually moved to Dargaville where she remarried in 1899.

But tragedy struck again when the twins were killed during World War I - David, in 1915 at the Dardanelles and John 14 months later in France.

Neither of the Baillie brothers was returned to New Zealand for burial.

Crawford Baillie eventually moved to Te Awamutu with his surviving son Robert but was brought back to Auckland for burial at Waikumete when he died in 1914.

Agnes died in 1933, aged 78, and is buried with her first husband and in-laws at Waikumete Cemetery.

Mrs Burriss says people may not be aware of their own family history and encourages them to check records.

"If they decide they don't want a plaque, at least more people will know who these boys were," she says.

"It's nice to look back and remember the sacrifice these people made, not just our soldiers but their families as well."

Contact Rachel at the Henderson RSA on 838 9012 ext 7 or email rachel@ hsnrsa.co.nz with any information.

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