Title / object name
Portrait of Roy Houchen
|Maker ||Role ||Date |
|Berry & Co ||photography studio ||Circa 1914 |
black and white glass negativeMaterials
photographic gelatin, silver, sheet glass, photographic plates
|180 (Height) x 163 (Length) mm|
half plate (1/2)Classification
gelatin dry plate negatives, black-and-white negatives, portraits
Purchased 1998 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds
This photograph is a portrait of Roy Houchen, a soldier with the rank of Private in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force Medical Corps.
Houchen was born in Wellington on the 15th January 1892. He worked as a cabinetmaker for an S. S. Williams and lived with his mother in Constable Street, Newtown. He was also a member of the Wellington Naval Boating Society before he enlisted for war service in 1914. As a volunteer from the early days of the conflict, he left with the Main Body of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force from Wellington in October, bound for Egypt and the Suez.
He served in Malta and at Gallipoli in 1915 but was admitted to the Fifth General Hospital at Leicester in October of that year. When he had recovered, he served in France, but had another stay in hospital at the New Zealand General Hospital No. 2, Walton-on-Thames, in 1917. Recovering again, he continued to serve, but became very ill in May 1918 and was again admitted to Walton-on-Thames hospital. He was discharged as no longer fit to serve as he was unfortunately suffering from chronic diarrhoea, and returned to Wellington in February 1919.
In 1921, Roy Houchen married Eileen May Lake, the daughter of Charles Jessen Lake and Jane Kirkland Lake. The couple lived at 50 Ross Street, Kilbirnie. In 1927 Eileen gave birth to a daughter.
Roy Houchen was a member of the Grand United Order of Oddfellows, a global fraternal organisation which was established in New Zealand in 1843. In England, it is claimed that the brotherhood can trace its roots back to the trade guilds of the 12th and 13th centuries, but is now based in the USA and known as the Independent Order of Oddfellows. The organisation was historically organised by membership to a particular lodge, which also operated a fund to which members contributed, and could then me used to support brethren in their times of need, for example contributing towards the cost of funerals. Membership became less popular throughout the 20th century as governments established public welfare systems, and there was less need for people to contribute to a central fund for times of need.
However, up until his death Roy Houchen belonged to the Loyal William Bain Branch in Kilbirnie, and the Brethren of Tutanekai Lodge were invited in an advert placed in the Evening Post to attend his funeral. Roy Houchen died following illness on 17th July 1934, aged 42. He was buried on the 19th July at Karori Cemetery in Wellington. His grave is in the public section in plot 496N. His wife Eileen had a very sad year in 1934 as her mother passed away just four months after her husband had died.
Roy's service number was 3/172.
The identification of people in the Berry Co. photos is an ongoing project. If you have any information about the soldiers or other people in this collection we would like to hear from you. Please contact a history curator through our enquiry centre 04 381 7000 or email@example.com