Vivian Horrocks
photographer Patea
born 15 March 1891 New Plymouth
no. 24/458 NZ Rifle Brigade
died 21 September 1977, reg. 1977/52512 
buried Aramoho Cemetery, Whanganui, plot 57 RSA Lawn/B/1

Eltham Horticultural Society Annual Show  1908
Amateur photography -
Vivian Horrocks 1
Miss W. Johnson 2
R. W. Baker 3

Landscape photograph -
Fred. Card 1 
Vivian Horrocks 2

Seascape -
T. Thomas 1
Vivian Horrocks 2
R. W. Baker 3

Oil painting -
Vivian Horrocks 1
F. H. Morgan 2
Ivy Dixon 3
Hawera & Normanby Star, Volume LIII, Issue 0, 28 February 1908

A Long Felt Want
The Ruskin Studios.
A long felt want in Patea has now been supplied by the up-to-date photographic studio that has been opened by Mr Vivian Horrocks, at Mr Well's premises, Oxford Street. Mr Horrocks comes with a reputation of being a complete master of up-to-date photography in all its branches. Patrons can rely on obtaining every satisfaction. Mr Horrocks also makes a speciality of enlarging and outside photography and in addition is prepared to take pupils for oils, pastels. and black and white work.
Patea Mail, Volume XXXIX, 28 August 1914

Patea Mail, Volume XXXIX, 31 August 1914

Some exceptionally fine specimens of the photographers art are to be seen at the Ruskin Studio, Oxford Street, at the present time. Mr Vivian Horrocks is evidently an artist as well as a photographer judging by the specimens of his art which are now on view.
Patea Mail, Volume XXXIX, 9 September 1914

Patea Mail, Volume XXXIX, 30 October 1914

Patea Mail, Volume XL, 14 May 1915

Patea Mail, Volume XL, 21 May 1915

Mr V. Horrocks desires to notify the public of Patea and district that he has disposed of his photographic business to Mr F. W. Ross, [W. F. Ross] of Hawera who will visit Patea on Tuesdays and Fridays in future.
Patea Mail, Volume XL, 21 May 1915

Pte Vivian Horrocks who left with the last batch of recruits from Patea for the Trentham Camp has been appointed a Lance Corporal on probation in the Expeditionary Force. 
Patea Mail, Volume XL, 9 June 1915

The many friends of Sergt. V. Horrocks will he glad to learn that according to a letter received from him a few days ago he is “all well” and eager Jo be in the firing line shortly.

Patea Mail, Volume XL, 29 December 1915

A Patea Boy in Flanders
Letter from Sergt Horrocks
In the course of a long and interesting letter to a Patea resident Sergt Vivian Horrocks has the following graphic story of his life from the time he left Egypt to August 9th last. Sergt. Horrocks says;-

 “We were part of the Suez Canal defences. Yes, we had hard work to do there. Day and night out in the desert on bully and biscuits. “No bon” at all. I see by this week’s paper that there has been a smack up on the Canal. We all wish it had come off while we were there. Still, New Zealand is well represented in the strafe there. We put in two weeks at Ferry Post which is a big camp across the Canal and then we went back to our old camp at Moascar, Ismailia, to be inspected over and over again by generals and old buffers. The Prince of Wales even had a peep at us. 

Then a rumour went around that we were going to France. Packing up and all kinds of inspections took place then, which lasted for a week and finally on April 6th we left Inmailia [Ismailia], trained to Alexandria and boarded the “Arcadian.” We had a grand trip across the Mediterranean, calling at Malta for about 15 minutes on the way. We had to zigzag all the way to dodge submarines, and we had a good escort of destroyers. Never will I forget the beauty of the scenes I saw on that voyage. We passed Tunis, Malta, Sardinia and lots of islands, the names of which I forget at present. Sardinia is very hilly, but oh, what a treat to see grass again.

On the 13th we arrived, after a stormy day, at Marseilles. At the entrance to the harbour we passed quite close to the Isle of the Chateau d’lf where Dumas’ hero was confined for so long. By Jove, yes Dantes had a long way to drop, The old Chateau is there still, looking very gloomy and sombre. The cliff all about the harbour is just bristling with big guns. Well, it is a glorious city and well worth defending. From the “Arcadian” next morning I looked across the city with my glasses and could get a grand view of the famous church of Notre Dame, which is on top of a high pointed hill, overlooking the city. On top of the steeple is a full size figure of the Madonna, in beaten gold and the sun shining on it made it look splendid. We did not get any leave in Marseilles. Only saw enough of the city from the ship to make me thirst to see more.
Le Chateau d'If

We left there in the train at about 7 p.m. The journey lasted three days and nights. We passed through some beautiful, cities on the way, Lyons being about the best. We passed through the beautiful Rhone Valley. It is a most lovely valley. The river would knock shots out of any New Zealand river. Here and there we would pass through an old, old town each with its old Chateau up on a pinnacle of rock, high up in the hills. One’s thoughts go back to the old bow and arrow days at once, when gazing at the old places. In some places the old moats are still there. France is a glorious country. I am proud to be helping her along. I do not wonder the French being such patriotic people. Such a place to fight for. We were greatly struck with the way in which the farming is done. One can go for miles and miles and will see women doing the farm work, ploughing and all. Here and there one sees an old man, a cripple or some children, helping the peasants to till the soil, all the young men being at the front. Well, we just saw a wee bit of Paris, just about half of the Eiffel Tower, we passed the old city some miles to the left.

On the 3rd morning we landed at our destination, up in the north. I can’t say where, of coarse, just a little village where the same thing was noticeable, viz, the absence of men. Here and there a soldier home on leave and a few old men and children. Our platoon was billeted in a room over an Estament. The people of the house spoke a little English and were very good to us. It was a grand change after the Gippo [Egyptians]. I had a sleep and then went for a look round the village. New Zealand troops everywhere. We had a hard job trying to speak French. It was rather hard to purchase things at first but we are experts now. ’Tis all “bon” here and “compres.” I will be a linguist when the war is over. Gippo and French, and German next.

It was here that we first heard the sound of the guns, miles away but they made us wonder. Well, we drilled here for some weeks and had long marches and finally marched many miles towards the firing line. Still more marches, with packs up etc, until we were ready to take up our task. During this time we were billetted in farmhouses. One word about these homes. The house is bungalow shaped, thatched and painted white. At right angles from the house is built a cow house, pig sty, fowl house and a dog kennel. Built on to their building is a barn. The square place in the centre is paved with cobbles and a, huge hole is dug there where all the hay, straw and refuse is put. The smell on a hot day is about the limit. Otherwise the peasants are spotlessly clean and tidy. It is only this weird idea of having the rubbish pit in the centre of the homestead that amazes me. After lots of drilling and marching we got closer and closer to those guns. Three months ago we landed at this town, where I am writing now. We were billeted in a large stone building, where we were for 8 days.

The town is as large as Wanganui and has been badly knocked about by shell fire. In fact nearly every day a new shell hole is made in a shop or house. During the 8 days in the billets we used to go into the trenches on fatigue. We lost our first man on fatigue one night—young Fairburn. He was hit in the chest. My baptism of fire was the night we first took over for 10 days. Fritz shelled the road in front and in the rear, and set a building on fire,  but did no damage to any of us. I can tell yon I felt queer, and when the shrapnel flew about, my steel helmet felt about as large as a sixpence. I have been in the trenches on and off for the last three months and have been through some pretty hot strafes. Luckily, I happen to belong to a lucky company and we have only had one killed and few have “ baksheesh” wounds and, lucky dogs, are now in England.

You will see by our casualty list that things have been lively here. We pound away at Fritz and he pounds back at us, but I think we have got him thinking. One night we had to “stand to” for three hours while our gunners banged away at Fritz with shells, mortars, bombs and gas and smoke. He retaliated with shells and minniwerfers and all sorts of weird things, but he did not do much damage. One whiz bang, which is a very fast high explosive, burst on top of my dugout and next morning I had to go without mug, plate and knife. Also a row of sand bags had disappeared.
Some of the sights are fearful. Too terrible to write about. One thing is that it is surprising what a lot of shells can burst near one and do no harm. Some of the shells holes you could put the Patea cab into. Last time we were in the trenches for 21 days and nights in the front line, I had 5 men and our work was to go out to No Man’s Land each night for 3 hours and watch. It is great out there. Star shells and bullets all the time, and at times a bomb, and now and then a flash from a search light. Well this will be a young book if I go on much longer.

I am writing this in the Y. M. C. A. Things are up to date in this town although we are so close to Fritz. The French people are here and shops are still doing business. We have a military picture show. It would make Tip Wilson’s heart glad to start an opposition show here. Plenty of soldiers to spend francs. We have also cold swimming baths and not mud baths where we get clean and fresh underwear. Now and again a shell lands in the bath hut that is part of the performance.

There are beautiful cathedrals here. There is one big and beautiful church near us and one morning, Sunday it was and all the people inside we heard the old sound and a bang. Sure enough it landed in the church, the people came out all except a few who stayed in the cellar. Fritz put 85 shells into the church that morning. It was cruel to see the old priceless windows and the statues and paintings getting strafed. We were out in the square watching the “hate” the whole time. For Fritz is a good shot. If he aims at an object it is quite safe for anyone to be within 150 yards.

It is great to watch our airmen. They are always up and are getting thousands of shells fired at them but I have only seen one brought down so far. Our air service is wonderful. I saw over 25 of our machines pass over recently. We have to wear our tin hats when the planes are being shelled as the the shrapnel and shell cases come down with a bang.

I could write lots about the things I have seen, out it is tea time. The Patea Company are all over the show. Leo Hall and Ward are in England, lucky devils, being on the sick list. H Christiansen I saw this morning looking very fit. Saw Harry Southcombe too. He looks quite “it” with a military moustache. I often see T M B Williams, he is great. As usual he is the soldiers’ favourite, always for the boys. He looks very well and quite enjoys it all. At present he is at a dental hospital in a town not far distant. Hunter Booth [T. H. Booth] is here also. I noticed that he was wearing a lance corporal’s stripe and he looks well, although I believe he has recently been a measles victim. Gendie Foden [E. G. Foden] did not last long. Was lucky enough to land a “backsheesh ” at the kick-off. ”
Patea Mail, Volume XLI, 13 October 1916

The many friends of Sergeant Vivian Horrocks formerly of the Rue-kin Studios, Patea, will be glad to learn that he has come through the Big Push unscathed and has beer promoted to the rank of Company Sergeant-Major.
Patea Mail, Volume XLI, 20 December 1916

Mr Leslie Horrocks, of Maramaratotara, has received word that his brother. Sergeant Vivian Horrocks, who went away with the Rifle Brigade, has been wounded in the chest and arm, and has been admitted to the Brancourt Hospital.
Wanganui Herald, Volume LI, Issue 15253, 21 June 1917

Sergeant Vivian Horrocks (Patea) and Pte J. L. Edwards (Waverley) are among the “not severe” cases in hospital at Home. Sergt Horrocks who took part in the capture of Messines was wounded in the chest and arm.
Patea Mail, Volume XLII, 22 June 1917

Taranaki Boys in France
Letter from Sergt Horrocks.
The Eltham Argus prints the following extract from a letter recently written to some Eltham friends by Sergt Vivian Horrocks who will be remembered as the proprietor of the Ruskin Studio, Patea, prior to his leaving for the front. 

Sergt Horrocks says “The way things are moving at present I have hopes that the war will finish before many mouths have elapsed. l am in a working battalion and am having a jolly good time. It is a great change after 11 mouths of trench warfare. I do not go near the trenches, but get shelled occasionally. That is because we work near our own guns, and Fritz has a habit of strafing them at times. In the next billet to me there are two Eltham boys, Ced. Hunter and Bert Tayler. Both look extremely well and are buckling down to warfare good oh! Good on old “Mick.” I think he has shown a splendid spirit in tackling this outfit after all that has happened to others of his family. Neville Arden is here too. He is on the Brigade Staff. Lots of the Eltham boys were knocked out at the Somme as you now. Poor old Charlie Ford had jolly stiff luck. I last saw his genial face in Egypt. Roy Taylor is hereabouts, also Collingwood, Billy Hill, Alf Hill, Terry Lewis, Drew, Murdoch, and many others.  I often run into these boys and hear a “hallo Squib” or Hi Eltham, old 'un” and see a smiling Eltham face. All the chaps are cheerful and all are confident of winning—let it be soon.
Patea Mail, Volume XLII, 22 June 1917

Mrs Horrocks, accompanied by her daughter, left Eltham this morning for Wellington to meet her son, Sergeant-Major V. Horrocks; who is returning to New Zealand on duty.
Hawera & Normanby Star, Volume LXXIV, Issue 0, 5 March 1918

Mr Vivian. Horrocks, well-known in Eltham, and now of Makirikiri, near Wanganui, has suffered the loss of his left eye. He is at present in the Wanganui Hospital, where he was conveyed directly after the accident. Mr Horrocks was straining barbed wire, we are informed, when the wire broke, sprang back and pierced his left temple, severing the optic nerve. He has lost the sight of his left eye, but otherwise is getting on all right.
Stratford Evening Post, Volume XXXXI, Issue 26, 29 January 1924

No comments: