Mystery surrounds headstone's history

Last updated 00:00 01/01/2009
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MYSTERY FIND: The headstone of Francis Walter Fredrick Ellisdon was found 40km from his grave and is now in the hands of the Matamata-Piako District Council.

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A farm worker clearing a creek at Kaihere has stumbled across the headstone of a Morrinsville soldier who died in 1922.

The marble stone is now in the offices of the Matamata-Piako District Council as staff, and the farmer on whose farm it was found, attempt to unravel the mystery of how it ended up there.

The headstone is that of Francis Walter Frederick Ellisdon, who is buried 40km away at Morrinsville Cemetery.

He was 29 when he died of appendicitis, on September 7, 1922.

The headstone was found by farm worker Dean Lyon, while moving stock and checking for down cows on the Kaihere farm of Peter West.

"Whether it (the headstone) was just washed down in the last flood or has just been exposed, it had clearly been there a long time," Mr West said.

"The names had worn down a lot," Mr West said.

He and his family have owned the land for more than 20 years and he said he knew nothing about Mr Ellisdon.

Using new technology to solve an old mystery, Mr West went online and typed Mr Ellisdon's name into Google.

There, he found a family tree with the name in it and after further investigation found Mr Ellisdon was buried without a marker at the old Morrinsville Cemetery.

Theories include the possibilities the headstone was made but for some reason was never placed, was used to mark another area of significance as a memorial or was simply removed.

Mr West handed the headstone over to the Matamata-Piako District Council, which is now appealing for more information or for relatives to come forward.

Customer service supervisor Teresa Odlum said they hadn't had any luck finding more information.

"Hopefully, the community can help us get it home."

The headstone is in excellent condition and looks like it was once secured on a concrete strip with large bolts.

Mr Ellisdon is interred in the RSA section of the cemetery under Pte FJD Ellisdon; NZ Infantry.

The headstone reads: "In loving memory of Frank. Beloved husband of Maud Ellisdon".

Anyone with information can call the council's Morrinsville area office on 07 889-8001.

 

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- Waikato

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