Title / object name
Portrait of Eric Marchant
|Maker ||Role ||Date |
|Berry & Co ||photography studio ||Circa 1918 |
black and white glass negativeMaterials
photographic gelatin, sheet glass, silver, photographic plates
half plate (1/2)Classification
studio portraits, portraits, black-and-white negatives, gelatin dry plate negatives
Purchased 1998 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds
This studio portrait shows Eric Edward Marchant, service number unknown. The photo was taken at the Berry Co. photographers in Wellington, a well-known studio established in 1897 by William Berry. Many servicemen had their photos taken while on leave or before they left to fight in World War One.
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.
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