Maheno ship brings memories

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The Maheno ship which was turned into a hospital ship in World War 1 is not only close to Maheno School, but also to Oamaruvian Joyce Johnston.

Mrs Johnston’s father John Fridd, was a passenger on the hospital ship after he was wounded at war in Passchendaele in 1918.

He then spent close to two years at the Walton on Thames Hospital in London due to injuries he suffered as a result of shrapnel, before being allowed to board the Maheno to head home in 1920.

Mrs Johnston is incredibly proud of her father and attending war.

“He did us incredibly proud, but didn’t talk much about it when he returned home.”

Her father was a rifleman when he went to war, and spent plenty of time in the trenches.

Mrs Johnston said it was incredibly satisfying to have her father return home from War alive.

“I was only 13-14 when he died at just 54-years-old.”

Mr Fridd was part of a large group that left for war on June 6, 1917 and was wounded at Passchendaele in 1918. He arrived back in New Zealand on April 28, 1920.

He was born in 1888 and grew up in Awamoko later becoming a farmhand on a local farm.

Mr Fridd wasn’t the only one who was went to war from Mrs Johnston’s family. Her husband John served in the air force in World War 2 and her father’s brother Peter died in World War 1.

“I’m just so proud of them all volunteering to go to war and being part of it, and it’s even better that two of them returned home.”

Mrs Johnston got a piece added to her father’s headstone at the Old Oamaru Cemetery in 2012 detailing that he went to war.

By BRAYDEN LINDSAY

PHOTO: BRAYDEN LINDSAY

PLENTY OF MEMORIES: Oamaruvian Joyce Johnston holds photos and medals of her father John Fridd and husband John Johnston who both attended war.