Richard Francis Bale was born in Plymouth, Devon, in 1889.
In 1906 aged 15, he entered the Royal Engineer School of Military Engineering to train as a military engineer. NZ aviation historian, Errol Martyn, comments he immigrated to New Zealand in 1912 then ranked as Sergeant Major in the Air Battalion [formed in April 1911, a year later became the Military Wing of the Royal Flying Corps], also that Bale was recommended to the NZ government as someone with aeroplane experience.
Richard states he was loaned in 1912 for five years from the War Office to the NZ government as an instructor in military engineering, later extended until 1920.
During World War I Bale served in the New Zealand Engineers.
A] August 1914 – March 1915: in Samoa in the Advance Force, rank of lieutenant in a contingent of field engineers, signalling & railway division. Organized accommodation and water supplies for troops, prepared defence lines around Apia
B] March 1915 - June 1918: service in Trentham Camp as engineer instructor to New Zealand Field Engineers and New Zealand Signal Corps.
14th June 1916 Bale was wounded by a bomb while serving as an instructor at Trentham. He received wounds to his left hand and left thigh, and needed nine months recuperation.
27th March 1918 he married Lorna Evelyn McHardy, daughter of Percy McHardy, a major Manawatu landowner, at Palmerston North. Best man was Lieutenant Fred Waite [later Major Waite, author of the official World War I history on Gallipoli]. Miss McHardy was noted for her patriotic work for soldiers; this may be how they met.
C] Palestine: 13 June 1918 - 12 Jan 1920. [Palestine campaign was March 1917 - September 1918]. Served with the NZ Engineers, carrying out quarrying, road construction, bridging and water supply.
Post-war he was appointed Adjutant New Zealand Training Units & Depots in Egypt.
In 1919 he was appointed Staff Captain New Zealand Headquarters in Cairo, charged with returning all NZ equipment, offices etc. to British Headquarters. He was among staff mentioned in dispatches for gallant service to the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, March 1919.
Richard returned to NZ in December 1919, with three years of military service at home and two years abroad.
In the 1920s, Richard and Lorna had three children:
1] Richard Devon, born 1920 in Wellington, died 2006.
2] Geoffrey Forbes, born 1923, died 1982
3] Derek Alexander, born 1925, died 2003
1920- 1923: Richard worked for a civil engineering firm as a steel structural and concrete engineer
1923 - 1926: Assistant Engineer, electrical reticulation for Manawatu-Oroua Electric Power Board.
1926 - 1931: Assistant Engineer, electrical reticulation for Poverty Bay Electric Power Board.
The Bale's marriage broke down about 1928. Lorna returned with her young sons to live with her parents.
1931 - 1934: Employed by Waikohu County Council inland between the Bay of Plenty and Gisborne. Quarry manager, road construction, bridge repairs, river engineering
1935 - 1939: employed by the New Zealand Tourist Bureau, Auckland as receptionist and publicity officer.
During World War II, 1940 - 1943, Richard again served as an engineering instructor at Trentham for the NZ Army. He was then in his late 40s, living in central Auckland.
In late 1942 he married Miss Ida Jean Lockwood of Wellington. Ida was then aged 34, 19 years younger than her husband and was a nationally renowned solo violinist.
Post-war the couple lived in central Auckland. Richard was still there in 1957 when he officially retired as an army captain.
Richard died 4th October 1968, aged 80 and listed as a pensioner / engineer. He is buried in the soldiers section, Waikumete cemetery, Auckland. There was no death notice in the NZ Herald.
First wife Lorna died in 1978 aged 83 then living with her son Geoff
Second wife Ida died 10th Jan 1978 aged 70, and is also buried in Waikumete cemetery. Her death notice in the NZ Herald does not mention husband Richard or any children. Public - Cindy - Researcher - 20 July 2016 - Errol W. Martyn: 2013: A passion for flight. NZ aviation before the Great War Volume 3, Volplane Press, NZ
NZ military personnel files for Richard Francis Bale
Rosemary Bale, Raumati, grand-daughter
NZ electoral rolls
Auckland cemetery records
NZ Herald newspaper