Lieut. Colonel James Hargest, D.S.O., M.C., (d.), [f.]

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    liverpool annie New Member

    Lieut. Colonel James Hargest, D.S.O., M.C., (d.), [f.]

    James Hargest, generally known as Jim or Jimmy, was born in Gore on 4 September 1891, the son of Mary Prosser and her husband, James Hargest, a labourer. He was educated at Gore and Mandeville schools, before joining his father farming at Mandeville in central Southland.

    In February 1911 Hargest joined the Territorial Force. He volunteered for service with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force on 12 August 1914 and the following month was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Otago Mounted Rifles Regiment. He was seriously wounded at Gallipoli in early August 1915. After months of medical treatment and rest, Hargest joined the 1st Battalion of the Otago Infantry Regiment in France in July 1916. He quickly emerged as one of his unit's most promising officers. By the end of 1916 he had attained the temporary rank of major and been awarded the Military Cross.

    At Christchurch, Hampshire, on 29 September 1917, Jim Hargest married Marie Henrietta Wilkie, a theatre sister serving at the New Zealand military hospital at Brockenhurst. Their happy marriage produced a family of three sons and one daughter. In September 1918 Hargest was given command of the 2nd Battalion of the Otago Infantry Regiment, which he led with distinction for the rest of the war. An exceptionally capable battalion commander, he combined personal bravery, tactical flair and great organising ability. He was made a DSO, mentioned in dispatches and awarded the Croix de chevalier, L├ęgion d'honneur. Marie Hargest was awarded the Royal Red Cross, second class, and mentioned in dispatches. The couple returned to New Zealand in May 1919.

    Shortly after his return, Hargest purchased a farm at Rakauhauka, near Invercargill. He continued his involvement in the Territorial Force, rising to command the 3rd New Zealand Infantry Brigade between 1925 and 1930. In 1931 he narrowly succeeded in taking the Invercargill parliamentary seat for the coalition government. Four years later he switched to the rural Southland seat of Awarua, which he held until his death. Hargest took a significant part in debate on both Southland and national issues, and after the founding of the New Zealand National Party in 1936 he emerged as one of its leading figures.

    At his own suggestion, Hargest was appointed New Zealand's observer with the Allied armies preparing to invade France. He was attached to the British 50th Division, which landed in Normandy on D-Day. Hargest spent a great deal of time near the front line and wrote perceptive reports on the campaign. Wounded in June, Hargest was killed by shell fire on 12 August 1944. He was survived by his wife and three children. One son had been killed in action earlier in the year. He is commemorated in James Hargest High School in Invercargill.

    In Memory of

    Brigadier JAMES HARGEST
    C B E, D S O and Bar, M C, E D, Mentioned in Despatches

    New Zealand Infantry
    who died age 53
    on 12 August 1944
    Chevalier de la Legion D'Honneur, Greek Military Cross, 1st Class. Husband of Marie Henrietta Hargest, of Rakauhauka, Southland, New Zealand.

    Remembered with honour

    Brig James Hargest
    Birth - unknown
    Death - Aug. 12, 1944

    Note: Brigadier, New Zealand Infantry. Husband of Marie Henrietta Hargest, of Rakauhauka, Southland, New Zealand. C.B.E., E.D.; Awarded the Distinguished Service Order and Bar, the Military Cross, the Chevalier de la Legion D'Honneur, the Greek Military Cr

    Burial - Hottot-les-Bagues War Cemetery
    Basse-Normandie, France
    Plot: I. C. 2.
  2. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

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