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DEATH OF AN OLD VETERAN.

The lato Mr Joe Swan, who passed away at his home, Egmont Village, at the advanced age of is/ years, on Sunday, 7th inst., was a very old colonibt, having come to Australia with a draft of his regiment, the y^th Infantry, as a guard over convicts shipped to Sydney, in 1842. From New South Wales the 99th, under Colonel Despard, sailed for the Bay of Islands in 1845 to assist in the suppression of the Natives under Hone Heke, then at war with the British. The regiment took part in the disastrous attack and repulse gn Heke's pa at Oheawai, and also at the capture of Ruapekapeka. The British loss at Oheawai amounted to 34 killed and 66 wounded, many of the latter succumbing to their wounds. This desperate affair is graphically described in "The Story of New Zealand," by Dr. Thomson, of tbe 58th Regiment.- At the close of Heke's war, the 99th was ordered to Wellington, where the Natives under Rangihaeata were in rebellion. This was in February, 1846. In May following 50 soldiers of the 58th Regjment, stationed at Bou^ott's Farm, in the Hutt Valley, were surprised an hour before daylight by 70 Natives under the Chief Mamaku, and six of their number were slain and four wounded. A noble deed was done on this occasion, j Allen, the bugler of the detachment, a, mere lad, was struck on the right arm with a tomahawk while sounding the alarm ; raising the bugle with his left, he blew a blast which roused his slumbering comrades before another blow laid him dead. Mr W. H. Free, of Eliot Street, to whose company this heroic boy bugler .belonged, is the possessor of Allen's sword. This and numerous other attacks on the military and murders 61 settlers threw the Wellington Settlement into confusion, and Governor Grey determined to make a bold stroke, and capture the notorious Chief Rauparaha, who was suspected, although nominally a supporter of the British, to be the head centre of the Native aggression. A party, of whom the late Mr Swan was a member, consisting of 130 soldiers, sailors and police, landed from H.M.S. Driver on 23rd June, 1846, an 'hour before daylight, near Rauparaha's residence at Porirua, now PHmmertown on Wellington-Mana-watu Railway. The force secretly surrounded the old warrior's abode and seized him asleep in his whare, and conveyed him on board the ship. This bold and cunning seizure astonished the colony, and no event ever caused so much sensation among the Natives. From Stewart's Island to the North Cape the Maoris speculated on his probably fate, and it was rumoured that the Governor was to hang Rauparaha, then dry his body, and it to the Queen at Windsor!! During the time the 99th was stationed in Wellington, Swan and others of the Regiment were allowed to do a certain amount of labour on public works and for the colonists. Amongst such work was the draining of the Te' Aro flats, town of Wellington, at this time for the most part a dismal swamp. When the 99th Regiment returned to England Mr Swan transferred into the 65th and came to Taranaki in the ranks of that regiment and took part in the early part of the Maori War of 1860-3. Taking his discharge after serving 21 years in the army, the deceased settled in Taranaki and about 1872 went on to his "Soldiers' Grant," Upper Egmont Road, eventually settling down at the Egmont Village, of which community he coirld in truth be called the "father," being its earliest and oldest inhabitant. The late Mr Swan was a Lancaster man, and came of a long-lived stock, his father living to be 101 years, and during the whole of this long life never left his native village, and never saw the sea! The deceased is survived by a widow and three children. W. H. S.

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DEATH OF AN OLD VETERAN. Taranaki Herald, Volume LIV, Issue 13471, 10 July 1907

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