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Object: Portrait of Eric Marchant

This image has No Known Copyright Restrictions.

Title Portrait of Eric Marchant
Production Berry & Co (photography studio), circa 1918, Wellington
Medium summary black and white glass negative
Materials photographic gelatin, sheet glass, silver, photographic plates
Classification studio portraits, portraits, black-and-white negatives, gelatin dry plate negatives
Technique black-and-white photography
Format half plate (1/2)
Credit line Purchased 1998 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds
Registration number B.043971

Eric Edward Marchant

This studio portrait shows Eric Edward Marchant, service number unknown.

Eric had been part of the New Zealand Garrison Artillery in Wellington for 8 months before enlisting for the New Zealand Expeditionary Force on 1st February 1918 at the age of 20. Medical examination judged him to be under-size and underweight, and therefore unfit for active service, but he was judged fit for Samoa. He was 5 feet and 3 inches tall but weighed only 97 pounds. His service was complete and he was discharged on the 13th March 1919.

Eric was born to parents Henry Edward Marchant and Henrietta Laura Marchant (nee Freeman), both of Wellington, on 30th January 1898. The family was still in Wellington in 1905 – Eric was enrolled at the Te Aro School at that time but in 1906 the family moved to Sydney and three of Eric's siblings are recorded as being were born there.

The family’s connection to Wellington continued and is very interesting. Eric’s paternal grandfather was Nicholas Marchant, a civil engineer in Wellington and his grandmother was Margaret McGowan (nee Blundell). Margaret was the 2nd daughter of Henry Blundell, the founder of the Evening Post who came to New Zealand from Ireland in about 1861. Margaret's brother John was the grandfather of Sir Denis Blundell the first New Zealand born Governor General, 1972-77.

After the war Eric lived in Australia. It appears he had a relationship with a woman recorded on the electoral roles as 'Charlotte Marchant' but there is no record of their marriage. He married Margaret Doreen Ledran in Sydney 1940 but the pair didn’t have any children. Eric mainly worked in hotels as a steward or porter.

Eric died in Nottingham England on the 29 March 1957, he was 59 years old.

I know who this is

The Berry Boys
During World War I, around 120 Kiwi soldiers had their photograph taken at Wellington’s Berry & Co photography studio before they left New Zealand to fight in the war . These portraits are now in Te Papa’s collection.

In the lead-up to the World War I centenary (2014-18), Te Papa is working to identify these soldiers and the loved ones they are pictured with. We want to make contact with their descendants, and to record their stories.

Some soldiers have already been identified. For others, we only have the surname etched on the glass negative.

Contact us
If you have any information you can share about the Berry Boys - either a soldier or someone they are photographed with - please use the online form above. You can also email or leave a phone message for us on 04 381 7129. You can also write to Berry Boys Project Team, Te Papa, PO Box 467, Wellington 6140.

To aid identification, please be sure to include the Te Papa registration number (B.044366, for example) for the photo in question.

Related information

Disclaimer: This information was created from historic documentation, and may not necessarily reflect the best available knowledge about the item. Some collection images are created for identification purposes only and may not be of reproduction quality. Some images are not available due to copyright restrictions. If you have information or questions about objects in the collection, contact us using our enquiry form. You can also find out more about Collections Online.