Photos of Stanley Murcott and souvenir cloth World War One

Dear Gladys

Many soldiers bought embroidered items like this cloth to send home to their mothers, sisters, wives or sweethearts. I have already written about another embroidered cloth in our collection.

Stanley Murcott had grown up in Hampden and was working as a clerk for the railways in Port Chalmers, Dunedin in 1914. He was quick to enlist, signing up for service only 3 weeks after war was declared. He sailed from Dunedin on 15 October 1914 and arrived in Egypt 49 days later.

While he was in Egypt he purchased this cloth and sent it back to New Zealand to his 16 year old niece, Gladys Elliott. (Later it was given to another niece, Gladys Murcott.)

Stanley was killed in action at Gallipoli on 3 May 1915. He was 24 years old.

This blog is the last in our series accompanying the From little towns in a far land exhibition. I have enjoyed having the opportunity to share some more detailed stories behind the items on display. I have learnt a lot, especially from the original letters and diaries. There is a huge amount of excellent research about World War I and I encourage people to look at the free online courses from Future Learn if they want to discover more.

This blog series opened by looking at the words on Oamaru’s First World War Memorial. I would like to conclude it by giving the last word to local soldier Andy Dewar:

“To the uninitiated ‘War’ is the path that leads to glory; the duty of taking abnormal risks for honorable purposes!
To the initiated, it is a duty that takes one through Hell in a bondage of slavery and oft-times cruelty!”

This blog is part of the From Little Towns in a Far Land series. Chloe Searle, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions at the North Otago Museum, shares some of the personal stories behind the Waitaki District's contributions to the First World War.

Chloe Searle