86347 Private William Martin – 52nd Reinforcements NZEF

William Martin was born in Lower Hutt, on 20th May 1885[i], the youngest son of Ann and Simon Martin.

William Martin married, on 3rd June 1910, Emily Florence Sarah Sanson at Glen Oraua, Palmerston North.[ii] William
and Emily, in 1916/1917, bought the store & Post Office in Steyne Avenue, Plimmerton from Mrs M A Johnston. Mrs Johnston had run the store and first Plimmerton Post Office from 1896/97.

William’s older brother Simon also moved to Plimmerton probably to assist in the store and his three children, Rio James, Melvin Noel and Mona were enrolled at the Plimmerton School in 1917[iii].

In 1917 William Martin was selected in the military ballot, that now included married men with no dependants. William appealed against the ballot and while, in February 1918, he was granted an extension of three months to tidy up his commercial arrangements, entering Trentham Camp in August 1918 with the 45th Reinforcements. Emily went to live in
the Hutt while her husband was in the army.

86347 Private Martin was transferred and promoted to temporary Corporal with the 52nd Reinforcements.
Corporal Martin was still training with the 52nd Reinforcements when the Armistice was signed and he was demobilised
on the 20th November 1918.

William and Emily returned to the store.

W Martin Store & Post Office c1920

William was a very active sportsman playing bowls and tennis often
with his older brother Simon. William also was a member of the
Plimmerton Picnics Sports Club that arranged sports events in
Plimmerton to attract visitors from Wellington and Palmerton North.
In the 1920 Sports Day William won the Taupo Dash a 75 yard foot race for men and was awarded a small trophy.  

The first official Plimmerton Post Office opened in 1923 and the agency move to the PO Building also in Steyne Avenue.

The Martin brothers were also musical and formed part of the All Blaxs Minstrel Troupe the group played not only at Plimmerton but also other venues in the Porirua Harbour area.

All Blaxs Minstrel Troupe C 1925
(William seated with arm on piano)

William’s brother died in 1941, William and Emily continue the store for another three years finally selling the store in 1944[iv].
William’s wife Emily Florence Sarah Martin died in 1959.    

Without a death certificate to confirm the potential date of William’s death 1968-72 (there are three who would meet the possible birth year of 1885)

The Martin brothers Simon and William were keen tennis players at Plimmerton. Simon was born in 1874 in the UK
William’s nephew Melvin Noel Martin served in WW2 spending three years as a POW.

Archway Archives New Zealand – Military records: 86347 Private William Martin
Paperspast Online
Seventy Five Years 1904 - 1979 Plimmerton School and its Environment

Postcard - Plimmerton No2 Marshall: Private collection
All Blaxs Minstrel Troup: Pataka Museum 

[i]    NZ BDM
[ii]   Archway Archives New Zealand – Military records: 86347 Private William Martin
[iii]  Pupils Enrolled:  Seventy Five Years 1904-1979
[iv]  Public Notices, 25th March 1944, Evening Post

W Martin's Post Office Store c1920