Picton's Anzac losses


Many Picton and Sounds families suffered losses during World War One.  The original Jackson settlers lost four grandchildren.  This is the story of two other families.

The Godsiffs

John Godsiff, known as Jack, enlisted in the Canterbury Infantry Battalion early in the war, and sailed from Wellington in August 1915.  He was the fourth son of David Henry (D.H.) and Fanny Godsiff of Waitaria Bay, Kenepuru and, by all accounts, a popular young man.  He was killed on the Somme in France on 11 July 1916, and is buried in the Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery, Armentieres.

Picton godsiff 001The D.H.Godsiff family, probably taken just before Jack went overseas, as he is in uniform. Back row: Albert, Len, Charles, Jack. Courtesy Godsiff family.
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His elder brother, George Leonard Godsiff, known as Len, had enlisted in the 14th Reinforcements, Canterbury Infantry Battalion, and sailed for Europe the previous month.  Len was awarded the Military Medal and promoted to Sergeant for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty at Polderhoek in November 1917.   Although heavily bombed by the enemy he stuck to his post, kept his Lewis gun in action, and gave the greatest assistance in repelling the attack.  He had just returned from leave in England when he was killed in action at Baupaume, France, on 24 August 1918.  He is buried at Pas-de-Calais, France.

Their oldest brother, Charlie, was also called up and went into camp, although a married man with an infant daughter.  After Jack had been killed, he petitioned against his Army service, supported by his father, but in any case caught a bad ‘flu in camp and was discharged and sent home to his Nopera farm.  His baby son, born soon afterwards, was named Jack in memory of his brother.

One of their younger brothers, Albert, became the father of Geoff Godsiff who still lives in Picton. 

Those of us who have not suffered through a war can hardly conceive of the disruption.  The farms were stripped of the young men who worked them, and the young women who might have married them were left, while the parents grieved.

The Bush family
Picton Brothers bandThe Bush brothers in band uniform. Back: L-R:- Launcelot, Stanley, Maurice. Front L-R:- Frederick Bush, Albert (Lully), and Frank. Picton Historical Society
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Launcelot Alfred Bush was the sixth son of Arthur and E. Bush of Buller Street, Picton, and worked as a draper before enlisting with the Wellington Infantry Battalion. 

Two of his brothers, Frank and Fred, had left with the Army in June 1915, and a third, Maurice, left at the same time as Lance.  Another brother, Stanley, had died of appendicitis in Picton early in 1916. Fred Bush was wounded at Gallipoli but survived.  Lance and his brothers were members of the Picton band and later of the 10th Mounted Regimental Band in Blenheim, and he was also a keen hockey player. 

He sailed from Wellington in 1916 and was transferred to the 2nd Battalion of the Canterbury Infantry Regiment to fight in Belgium.  There he died of wounds on the 8th of August 1917, aged 23.  He is buried in the Pont-D'Achelles Military Cemetery, Nieppe, Nord, France.

These articles were originally published in the Seaport News, 2014 (updated July 2020)

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