Biographical information, provided by family (Glennis Bullen) Private William (Bill) Templeton of Otaitai Bush
After training in Egypt, Tom and Bill Templeton went to Gallipoli. For their service in Gallipoli, William Templeton got a dose of enteric fever, and Thomas a serious wound. But there were no medals for our most famous campaign. What did they remember best about Gallipoli? Was it the worn-out uniforms loaded with fleas, lice and ticks? No wonder the ordinary soldiers cursed Winston Churchill. Was it the constipation, with Bowels bound up under shell fire with their diet of bully beef and biscuits and brackish water? Was it the constant headache from the hot sun, the burning heat and the lack of water? Was it 'Johnny Turk', sitting just ten yards away, potting anything that moved? Was it the burial parties that made the details 'deadly sick'?
How did the soldiers fight on under such conditions? Duty held them firm amidst an incredible muddle in London, where the 'cabinet of indecisions' had a field day. And an even worse situation at the Dardanelles. The Anzacs there were part of a much larger allied force. The commander was a Boer War officer, Ian Hamilton, who accepted an impossible brief. Yet the New Zealanders showed a stubborn constancy amidst the chaos of the landings on 25 April 1915 on the wrong beach under cliffs, where there is a story of young Southlanders from the Bluff being killed like bushed cattle in the scrubby ravines. The call came again in a brutal bloody Sunday night attack of 2 May. With no decent reconnaissance, no artillery, no phones and no periscopes, and too little ammunition, the Otagos were cut to pieces. When the Battalion mustered on the beach the following afternoon, scarcely 330 remained from the 900 that went up the hill the night before.
We suspect this was when William fell ill and was evacuated to Lemnos. His family heard nothing of his fate until long after he reached England. Corporal William served at Sling after being invalided out of Egypt.
122 The Problematical Journey
Sling, the main New Zealand training camp in the heart of the undulating Salisbury Plain was 'unlovely, bleak and lonely', 'the one the British did not want'.
With the role of supplying reinforcement battalions for the division in France, the camp held over 4,000 soldiers. In the camps the unblooded troops trained intensively so that they would integrate into depleted battalions at the front.
Few ever forgot the follies the excessive parades, the apparently soul-less system, the limited rations and the poor medical services.
Future ministers and moderators of the kirk like Hubert Ryburn and Fraser Barton found little good in Sling. One Sling doctor was thought to have deserved shooting for his callous disregard of the sick at the time thousands were dying in France.
Another soldier, J. E. Tomlinson, wrote that 'Sling was run by tough Sergeant-Majors and snooping Lieutenants, many of whom had not been to France . . . discipline was very severe, food scarce, and work hard . . . It was like getting out of prison and I was glad to leave it.'
William married Isobel Melrose Kennedy Brown and had two sons. He was a school teacher and store keeper in the Wanganui area before retiring in Canterbury. He also served as Lieutenant in 1941 in the Home Guard.
Brother of Muir Campbell Templeton, John (Jack) Templeton, James George Templeton
Son of William Templeton (1857-1933) born in Glasgow, the third son of John Templeton and Mary Campbell Muir who arrived in Sept 1862 on the ship Robert Henderson with children: Andrew, John, Mary, William and Agnes. The family, joined by Southland born James became involved with transport and business as merchants, storekeepers, farmers and William farming in Thornbury before establishing a Flaxmill at Otaitai Bush, Riverton in 1911.
The steam driven mill provided employment for up to 25 men and became an essential industry during both World Wars. The ‘golden years of milling’ were experienced prior to the end of the war in 1945 and the mill continued to produce baling twine and rope, woolpacks, flax matting and slips until its eventual demise and closure in 1972. The Templeton Flax Mill has been successfully operating under three generations of the Templeton family and now open to the public on the Southland Heritage Trail.
William married Jessie Milne Dawson daughter of Thomas Augustus Forbes Leith Dawson in 1885 and had a family of ten AWMM