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The special train which arrived here at noon yesterday, conveying home the Volunteers from the front, shortly after resumed its journey south, taking the whole of the men with it to the public reception awaiting them at Timaru. The train reached the latter place about 2.30, and between 2,000 and 3,000 people were assembled at the station to meet it. Amongst these was the Mayor of Timaru and a number of the most influential citizens, and all those Volunteers who were prevented by force of circumstances from proceeding with their comrades to the front. The Volunteer Band struck up “ Home sweet home ” as the train drew up at the platform, and then three ringing cheers were given for the “ active service men.” Hand-shakings and friendly greetings over, the men marched through the town, the footpaths being densely crowded with people, who frequently cheered them lustily. On arrival at Mr Moss Jonas’ Horse Repository in the Main South road, the Volunteers marched in and formed two deep. The Mayor now ascended the auctioneer’s rostrum, and after alluding in eulogistic terms to the way in which the men had conducted themselves at the Front, observed that it was usual in ancient days to get up demonstrations of this kind to returning warriors, and everyone felt inclined to keep up the custom. He could not give them laurel wreaths all round, as in the days of ancient Rome, but he would place one on the head of Captain Hamersley. (Loud cheers.) After performing this interesting ceremony, His Worship proceeded to say that the Volunteers had nofr by any means been forgotten while they were away. The papers had been scanned every day to learn how they had conducted themselves, and what was being done at the Front. Everyone was proud to learn that they had conducted themselves like men. (Cheers.) A champagne luncheon followed in the spacious sale room, and any number of toasts were drunk, and any number of speeches made. After a very “ good time,” as the Americans have it, at Timaru, the Ashburton and Temuka contingents proceeded to the railway station to catch the 5 train for the north. They were accompanied to the train by their comrades in arms, and a vast concourse of people, who cheered right heartily as the train left the station. The train arrived jhere at 8.45 o’clock amidst a glare of red fire, which lit up the whole station. The platform was crowded, and the volunteers and members of the Fire Brigade were amongst those in waiting to receive the men on their return from Timaru. The volunteer band played “Home, Sweet Home” as the train hove in sight, and directly the boys landed a torchlight procession was formed by the Volunteers and Fire Brigade, the fireengine being pressed into the service. The procession had a very pretty effect, and the colored fires that were constantly lit added considerably to it. After the men had paraded the town they marched to Mr Bullock’s Auction room, where Captain Bullock addressed them, and thanked them for their services in the name of the townspeople and the dwellers in the district. It was all very well for people to sneer about the Volunteers having seen no fighting, but when they left they did no know but what they might be called on at any moment to fight. In referring to the promotion by Captain Hameraley of Volunteer Thomas Hayes, who acted as captain’s orderly, from Corporal to Sergeant, and to Sergeant Jessop’s having been strongly recommended for promotion by the field officer, Captain Bullock said that this was highly gratifying, and all the more noticeable from the fact that there were about 3,000 men at Parihaka, they must remember, and our two local men might therefore consider themselves highly honored by the distinction. Sergeant Hayes briefly responded, thanking all present and also the towns, people generally for their hearty and kindly welcome.

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Bibliographic details

THE VOLUNTEERS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 499, 23 November 1881

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THE VOLUNTEERS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 499, 23 November 1881