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UNREWARDED SERVICES.

The following letter is published in the Wellington ' Post' : Sir,—l see in this morning's ' Times ; that His Excellency has been pleased to appoint Captain G. A. Humfrey a full colonel iu the New Zealand Militia. I heartily congratulate the gallant officer on hif) promotion, and long may he live to enjoy his rank. It seems, however, to me that in these peaceful times promotions come somewhat easily. I recollect that the commissions I have the honor to hold were earned by hard service against savages in the field. My captaincy I received on the recommendation of the late General Cameron, for services against the enemy in the Waikato, at Rangiaowhia, and for volunteering for dangerous service in reconnoitring the rebel position at Paparata in 1863, in company with the gallant Von Tempsky, and subsequently for which General Cameron recommended me for the New Zealand Victoria Cross. My brevet majority I received from our present Premier aH reward for my services at the capture of the famous Wareroa Pah in 1865, which position I had oll'ered to take with the aid of the Wanganui Native Contingent. Here I narrowly escaped being murdered by the Hauhaus, haviug (to try and save bloodshed) gone to one of their positions. The capture of this pah was effected under the immediate command of Sir George Grey, then our Governor. I captured fifty odd prisoners below the pah, which led to the fall of that refuge for murderers and fanatics ; Sir George Grey doing me the subsequent honor to mention my name in his Home despatches. My full majority I gained in 1860, in recognition of what the Hon. Defence Minister was pleased to term my "valuable services during engagements under General Sir Trevor Chute," and when I was severely wounded for the Becond time. For service here Sir Trevor reoom'mended me for the New Zealand Cross, My lieutenantcolonelcy I received " for services in the field on various occasions, both on the East and West Coasts" vide letter Ist May, 1867, Colonial Defence Office. The last campaign ever undertaken in New Zealand was under my command, when I, being weary of warfare, was given the promise of a permanent civil appointment if I would take command of the field force at Taupo, with the Ministerial pledge of a full colonelcy afterwards. This campaign was successful, and the Native troubles were brought to an end ; but, though profusely thanked and praised for the services I had rendered, and again being wounded, neither the pledged appointment nor the promotion was bestowed upon me. The danger was past, and the soldier, who had saved many a homestead and revenged many a woman's and child's cruel torture and death, was thrust on to OHe side. This is now twenty years ago, and I, who, without vanity I may say, saved this country I from much trouble during perilous times, and restored peace, see with a sad heart others pushed in front, and the little I had taken from me. Sometimes I wonder if my gallant friend and companion, the late Von Tempsky, one of New Zealand's true heroes in the past, had lived, whether he too would have shared my fate. If so, he met a better end—shot dead by the Hauhaus in 1868. Truly, it seems that the colony, in return for my many services, intends to force me to walk side by side with the Agnews couple, a suppliant to every Minister and member of Parliament for justice. Gladly would I most humbly, and with due respect, lay my parchment commission, medals, cross, and all, at His Excellency's feet, so little has this country made me value them; except that, perhaps, when X am numbered with the past, my

infant sou may treasure them. The New Zealand Cross was withheld from me for over seventeen years, though both our English generals (Sir Duncan Cameron and Sir Trevor Chute) had for different services repeatedly requested that that decoration should be conferred on me : until two years ago, when the late Governor, Sir William Jervois, did me the great honor to decorate me ; but even then the trifling back pension attached to it was withheld from me, though granted to all others. After being forty odd times under fire, having been repeatedly wounded, thanked by Parliament and various Ministers repeatedly, it is hard to be left now with a few parchment commissions and some scores of letters containing Ministerial thanks and congratulations to remind me of the past years and provide for my family in the future.—l am, etc., Thomas M'Donneix, Lieutenant-colonel New Zealand Militia.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890624.2.36

Bibliographic details

UNREWARDED SERVICES., Issue 7941, 24 June 1889

Word Count
767

UNREWARDED SERVICES. Issue 7941, 24 June 1889

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