I’ve just got details of the death certificate of John Cavers whose death I blogged about the other day. Unfortunately the parents’ details are blank on the certificate, not known. But he was thought to be born in England. I suspect that his age recorded at death was inaccurate, and that he was possibly John Cavers born at Tynemouth in 1869. If so he was the boy who was convicted of theft aged 12 in 1881, and sent onto a local training ship. This would have trained him for working in the merchant navy or similar service at sea, and the man who died in the New Zealand tramcar had occupation “Marine Fireman”. So that fits quite well with someone with that occupation who had ended up in New Zealand. I can’t prove it yet, but I’m pretty confident it’s likely to be correct now.
Another death report, this time from a New Zealand newspaper, many of which have been digitised. This looks like the oldest son of Walter Cavers and Jane Blair who were discussed, including in the comments, in the previous post. There’s a Scottish birth for this John in Stobhill district, Midlothian, in 1875, registered as “John Cavers Irvine”. And there’s a matching New Zealand death certificate for him.
Wanganui Chronicle, 1917 January 31
SUDDEN DEATH ON A TRAMCAR
A man naimed[sic] John Cavers, who resided at 116 Bell Street, boarded a tramcar at King’s Avenue, Gonville, yesterday about 5 o’clock, and was observed to collapse before the car had gone twenty chains. Dr Wilkin was hastily summoned, but could do not[sic] more than pronounce life extinct.
Deceased, who was 42 years of age, had been, until the 20th inst., employed as fireman on the N.Z. Refrigerating Company’s lighter Dorset, but had recently been working on day wages.
A second report, this time in the Evening Post of 1917 January 31, notes that he was a “married man”, and that the death occurred on 30th January.
Was he John Cavers who married Sarah A. Samways at Canterbury, NSW in 1910, with several children born over the next few years?
I previously blogged about known Cavers soldiers in World War One, covering soldiers in the UK, Canada, and Australia. I’ve now learned of a new resource for New Zealanders, who often enlisted in other countries. The Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database, is gathering information on known New Zealand WW1 soldiers.
Searching the database there are currently two Cavers entries in there, and it looks like two brothers from Galashiels, Selkirkshire: Francis Cavers (b. 1891), and David Hunter Cavers (b. 1897), sons of David Cavers the policeman who I blogged about the other day.
Both when they enlisted gave their next of kin as their father David Cavers, of Hauturu, New Zealand. Both were farmers, and both joined the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, specifically the Mounted Rifles division. Both sailed from Wellington, New Zealand to Egypt: Francis in 1916, David in 1917. I don’t know what happened to them after that.
I wonder if there are more New Zealand World War One soldiers to be uncovered. And I wonder if their service records may yet be digitised, as Canada and the UK have done.