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There was a large attendance, including a number of visitors from Ashburton, at the M^thven Hall last night on the occasion of the entertainment and presentation of framed certificates to district retured soldiers. Mr W. Morgan presided. The chairman, in his opening remarks, said it gave him very great pleasure to have the opportunity of presiding over, a gathering ' organised tor the purpose of extending a public welcome to the "boys" from the front. It was an occasion they had looked forward to for a long time. When they ! farewelled the first contingent, which \ went forth to fight for the honour and integrity of the Empire over four years I ago, they had no idea the war would i last so long, but now it was over and they were pleased to welcome the re- ' turn of the "boys" who had assisted to secure victory for the Allies. (Applause). He was speaking on behalf of the residents of the district, and ! thanked them most sincerely for what ! they had done for ..them., it was to be i regretted, that many were lieturning in- I valided, but it was the earnest hope of ! everyone that they would soon recover ,lheir former health and be able to re- ! sum© their pre-war duties.. On behalf \ of the residents; of the district he ex- j tended the deepest sympathy to those ! who had been bereft of relatives in the ■ war. However,, there was consolation in the knowledge that they had done their duty by their country, and did it nobly and well. At the chairman's re- ' quest the audience then stood for a brief while in silence, as a mark of respect to the district soldiers who had been killed in action. In conclusion he apologised for several returned soldiers who were unable to be present. Mr W. W. Goodwin said it was a great pleasure to be asked to couple his sentiments with those of the Patriotic Committee in extending a. hearty welcome home to the soldiers. They were all proud to think that so many men had returned, in spite of the great trials and agony they had to endure on the battlefields and in the trenches. It was generally recognised that the New Zealand soldiers were equal to the best engaged in the war, and the men from the Methven district

had certainly upheld that reputation. (Applause). • The Rev. W. Sparrow said it was the 1 first occasion on which they had had such a large gathering of returned soldiers, and he considered it an honour to be able to <say a few words of welcome. In the course of his remarks he referred to the prowess and manly bearing of the New Zealand soldiers, and especially to the honour and glory brought back by several district soldiers .. who had distinguished themr • s.elves.\ „ . . ■■..■■• ■ : : i^hp;ReY. G. A K:-Jatkeh, said he. welcomed"'the ' boys .with: . all sincerity. When they left the district they knew what they were going into and were men enough to face it. Every man was prepared to meet death if need be. (Applause). He was glad to welcome them back home and he felt sure their feelings were expressed in the title of the well-known song "There's No Place Like Home." Now that the war was over his hope was that the soldiers j would fight for the progress and prosperity of their country as well as they had done against the enemy. The Rev. Bissett, who was on a visit to Methven also spoke. The chairman then called on Mr W. J. Dickie to present the certificates. In doing so, Mr Dickie said he was : pleased to be present on such an important occasion, and took the opportunity of making some comment on the matter of settling returned soldiers. Many of the men were now looking for land and he strongly urged that only suitable land should be taken and cut lip and sold at reasonable prices to the soldiers. In conclusion he said he greatly appreciated what the^ soldiers had accomplished in France*' and on Gallipoli. On coming forward for their certificates the soldiers, who occupied front seats in the hall, were heartily applauded, those who had secured decorations for distinguished service being greeted with lusty cheers, followed by the singing of "For they are Jolly Good Fellows." Forty-seven certificates were presented, and at the close of the proceedings certificates were privately presented to the next of kin whose relatives had been killed in action.

. The certificates svere attractively printed on satin and contained in oak frames with gilt edging and bore the name of the soldier in bohnetters with the following:' "On behalf of the residents of the Mount Hutt District we extend to you on your return from the seat of war a hearty welcome. We recognise the splendid service you have rendered to this country and to the Empire, and trust that now, having returned to the civil life and duties of the community your service to King j and country will be no less distinguished. 'We wish you health and prosperity, and the full fruits of the courage and self-denial you have exhibited. WILLIAM MORGAN, Chairman, Mt. Hutt Road Board. H. D. TOMLINSON, Secretary Reception Committee. April, 1919.

The following soldiers received certificates: Chaplain E. C. W. Powell, Sergt. L. Burrows, D.C.M.; Corporal G. H. Patton, M.M.; Lieut. L. J. Poff, M.C.; Sapper J. Manning, M.M.; Riflemen W. J. Goodwin, L. W. Cumming, L. N. Cuming, L. Galavan, T. Neil, N. A. McDonald, J. Twomey, L. F. Tully, P. J .Brown, Sapper B. Darsa, Sergeants R. H. Martin, L. J. Low, D. G. Wilson, F. R. Whitelock, R. L. Brown; Corporals, H. L. Mangin, J .Stewart, C. Moore; L.-Corpor-al J. Middleton, Privates, H. Goodrick J. Mealing, A. J. White, G. Stewart, P. L. Cxillen, S. Callaghan, A. Hutchison, J. H. Stephen, D. Stephen, James Scott, John Scott, T. Forrest, A. Grant, J. G. Lucas, C. G. Thomson, W. Green, J. Allan, J. A. Kennedy, W. E. P'earce; Troopers, Geo. Hewitt, John Smith; Signaller L. G. Winnicott, Flight Cadet E. C. Ruddenclau. The. certificates for the deceased soldiers' relatives contained the name of the next of kin with the following:—

Dear Sir, —It is our sad privilege to mourn with you in the great loss you have sustained by the death of your brave son, '-, while fighting against the Empire's foes. We realise that no mere words of sympathy can compensate for the loss and sorrow that have come to you, but we trust it will bring some comfort to your bereaved heart to know that he foil doing his duty for liberty, truth and, righteousness. _ We will be your debtors for all time in the great sacrifice you have been called upon to make, and in the noble achieve-

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RETURNED SOLDIERS, Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9582, 9 April 1919

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RETURNED SOLDIERS Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9582, 9 April 1919

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