79092 Bombardier William (Bill) Read – 45th Reinforcements

In 1979 Mary Taylor (nee Bilton) wrote in the booklet prepared for the seventy-fifth anniversary of Plimmerton School:[i]

            ‘In 1918 Miss lorns was Headmistress and Miss Rayne taught me.
Mr Bill Read was a popular figure with us in those days. He, a returned
soldier, used to wear his “lemon squeezer” hat and ride his horse back
and forth from the Extension, the name that Karehana Bay was then
known by. My sister and I were occasionally given rides on the saddle in
front of Bill either to or from school, and sometimes to the beach and into
the sea. This was most exciting! Bill’s wife was formerly Miss McCarty –
whose parents home was at the entrance to the Reserve in Cluny Road.’

Plimmerton with railway access from Wellington and Palmerston North was a premier holiday beach destination. 
A large subdivision was created, in 1912, in Plimmerton Extension (Karehana Bay) for sale. The subdivision included
Cluny Road up to the Plimmerton Reserve and it was later in the 1920’s sub-division that created the present Cluny Road and Reserve Road.

Elizabeth Martha McCarty was born in 1879 the daughter of Selina & George McCarty[ii]. George McCarty was a prominent contractor in Palmerston North. In 1908 Elizabeth married William Read. William was born in Wellington on
14th September 1879 the only son of Mary Ann and Ezekiel Kemp Williams.

On 5th September 1912 the McCarty family purchased a section for their holiday home[iv] the title was entered to
Selina Harriet McCarty, George’s wife. No 4 Reserve Road, Karehana Bay was the address that Bill’s 1917 ballot papers
were sent to, addressed to his mother-in-law.  

In 1917 the Military Service balloted include married men, with no children, and William Read was selected. In 1918
William (Bill) was a 39 year old clerk, working for Bell Gully Bell & Myers in Wellington and living at Kilbirnie, Wellington.
On 1st June 1918 Bill entered Trentham Camp as 79092 Private Read, B Company, 40th Reinforcements. Bill on
his enlistment papers had requested service with the artillery so on 6th June 1918 he was transferred as Gunner Read,
41st NZ Field Artillery.  During training Gunner Read was transferred to the 45th Reinforcements’ and promoted to Bombardier. Bombardier Read was with the 45th Reinforcements when the Armistice was signed on 11th November
1918 so was granted ‘leave without pay on demobilisation’[v] and returned to civilian life on 18th November 1918.

In 1929 Selina died, her husband George McCarty died in his Reserve Road home in 1932. The Reserve Road house was then owned by Bill and Elizabeth Read until 1939 when they sold the property to Eric Sexten Gudmund Wikstrom[vi]. 
Eric Gudmund was the director of the SKF Company and also the Honourary Swedish Consul.

Mary and Betty Bilton were the daughters of Captain Bilton, corner of Moana and Airlie Road, Karehana Bay, Plimmerton

Kathleen E Gibson, Plimmerton School 1904 – 1979 (1979) Apex Print Ltd; Petone
Archway Archives New Zealand – Military records: 79092 Bombardier William Read
Lot 1 Deposited Plan 465904: Computer Freehold Register

No 4 Reserve Road – Allan Dodson

[i] Seventy-five Years 1904-1979, page 54
[ii] NZ BDM
[iii] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 79092 Bombardier William Read
[iv] Lot 1 Deposited Plan 465904: Computer Freehold Register
[v] Archway Archives New Zealand: 79092 Bombardier William Read
[vi] Lot 1 Deposited Plan 465904: Computer Freehold Register
4  Reserve Road, Karehana Bay, Plimmerton