Double loss for Bale family as mother and daughter die

03:04, Jun 23 2012

Gladys Bale: b Rishton, Lancashire, March 8, 1923;

m Donald Bale 3s, 1d;

d Upper Hutt, May 13, 2012, aged 89.

Josephine Elaine Hahn: b Great Harwood, Lancashire, August 19, 1952;

m William Hahn, Idaho 1982 (diss);

d Idaho, May 3, 2012, aged 59.


Kiwi mateship and New Zealand lamb helped bring Gladys Bale and her family to New Zealand as "10 pound poms" 40 years ago.

Mrs Bale stayed in New Zealand while her daughter Josephine, who predeceased her by 10 days last month, stayed for about a decade. But she too developed a love of her second home.

It is a love that will shortly be cemented forever when her ashes and those of her mother join those of her father and Mrs Bale's late husband, Donald, in the Akatarawa Cemetery north of Upper Hutt.

Mrs Bale and her daughter were both born and raised in Lancashire in the United Kingdom. They, along with youngest brother and son Peter, arrived in Auckland on the vessel Ellinis, full of hope for their future life down-under on November 20, 1972.

Mr Bale who was a Lancashire chimney sweep, was the reason for the family decision to move to New Zealand.

A World War II signalman he served alongside New Zealand troops in North Africa and Europe. He developed a love of the country from the Kiwis in the trenches and the first thing he did when his plane landed at Mangere was to kiss the ground.

Mrs Bale was happy to go along with her husband's migration plans, mainly because she loved cooking up a regular New Zealand lamb dish in the family's small brick terrace house in Great Harwood, northeast Lancashire.

She was born Gladys Case in 1923, the only child of James and Edith Case. She was raised in Rishton, a small town in the Hyndburn district of Lancashire, where she was educated at St Peters Church of England School from 1928-37.

After leaving school she became a bakery apprentice from 1937-40. When World War II broke out she was seconded to work in a Bristol aircraft factory from 1940-46 in Lancashire. She also worked for the local fire brigade as a telephonist during the war.

Her husband-to-be – they married at Rishton in 1942 – worked in a paper mill in Watchet, Somerset, from 1934 until joining the army in 1939. He reached the rank of sergeant before leaving the army in 1947.

The post-war years saw the young couple settle down in Great Harwood and housewife Mrs Bale's major preoccupation was raising her four young children from 1946-65.

In the mid-1960s she embarked on a combination of home aid and textile factory work.

In 1972 Mr Bale's wartime dream of moving his family to New Zealand finally materialised. The new Kiwis settled down to a new life as neighbours of Sir James Wattie in Mangateretere, Hawke's Bay where Mr Bale worked as a small cog in the wheel of the giant Wattie's food empire.

Josephine Hahn spent less than a decade living in New Zealand. She was 20 when she arrived in Hawke's Bay in 1972.

She took a job as a bank teller with the ANZ in Napier and went moonlighting as a part-time front of house manager in a number of Napier hotels at night.

Her part-time hotel managerial activities resulted in a career change away from banking and she became a relieving manager in the hotel industry before travelling overseas in the early 1980s.

Life, however, was to deal Josephine Hahn a bitter blow. She contracted multiple sclerosis and required round-the-clock care in a care home for 20 years in Idaho.

On most Saturdays the mother and daughter spoke to each other by phone. In all the conversations with her mother over the years Josephine never spoke about her own health problems. Rather she focused on how her extended family was getting on with their new life in New Zealand.

Her mother, after arriving in Hawke's Bay, obtained work in a fabric weaving plant and as an employee of New World in Hastings from 1973-75.

In 1975 Mr Bale was offered the caretaker's job at the Tauranga Historic Museum, a position he held until he and his wife retired to Upper Hutt in 1983. In Tauranga Mrs Bale was able to fall back on bakery skills acquired pre-war and she enjoyed serving tea and scones to patrons of the museum.

The Bales both died in the Fergusson Rest Home and Hospital in Upper Hutt, Mr Bale in 2002 and Mrs Bale last month after a stroke.

They never regretted the decision they made to migrate to better family prospects and both insisted on taking out New Zealand citizenship.

Source - Bale family.

The Dominion Post