Arthur Henry Trussell,
(b. 1898, d. 23 October 1983) Coxswain NZEF Rowing Team 1919
Arthur Henry Trussell was born on 14 October 1897 according to his military record; however, his family records show that he was born one year later in 1898. He was the youngest of four sons born to John Trussell and Clara Osborne who lived for many years in Kawakawa Road, Wanganui East.
The first record of Arthur being involved in rowing was in June 1908 when he was listed as a cox for the Union Rowing Club. In 1911 he travelled to Westport as the cox of a Union Rowing Club four.
On Boxing Day 1913 Arthur was part of No’s 10 and 61 Senior Cadet Company’s camp and sports day. He was third in the walking race and was best dressed in his company and second best overall.
By 1917 his three older brothers had joined the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) and departed to fight in the Great War and it appears that young Arthur couldn’t wait to join the fight.
However, less than a month before he enlisted his brother William was one of ten New Zealand soldiers killed in the in
Bere Ferrers Railway Disaster in England on 24 September 1917.
He enlisted the day after his birthday, however, the question was which birthday, was he 17 or 18.
Arthur stated that he was a single shepherd, currently working on a farm up the Wanganui River. He easily passed his medical with his height being recorded as 5” 5’ and his weight as 124 lbs.
He was home for Christmas 1917. He joined C Coy, 37
th Reinforcements in February 1918 and on 9 May 1918 he embarked on the Maunganui for Liverpool, England, arriving on 14 June 1918.
On 10 October 1918 he left Sling Camp for the Western Front in France. Fortunately for Arthur the Allies were on the offensive and the Great War ended a month later on 11 November 1918.
Due to his Union Boat Club connections he was selected for the NZEF Rowing team which was to compete in series of military regattas in England and France during the spring and summer of 1919.
On 28 April 1919 he was the cox of the NZEF eight that won the legendary Battle on the Seine against an American Army eight made up of experienced rowers from Harvard and Yale Universities.
At one point in the race a Seine River barge appeared on a bend and as the cox Arthur generously gave the barge a wide berth to allow the American eight some racing room. After the race he was thanked for his sportsmanship by the cox of the American eight.
On 7 June 1919 he is appointed to the rank of Temporary Sergeant and is recorded as being attached to the NZEF Rowing Crew. On 8 August 1919 he embarked on the
Tainui bound for New Zealand. He was accompanied by several of his team members and the NZEF Army VIII. While at sea he was promoted to Acting Sergeant on 14 August 1919.
He landed in Wellington on 21 September 1919 and was home for his twenty-first birthday and was discharged from the NZEF within two months on 19 October 1919.
By 1940, Arthur was farming near Taumaranui. He died on 23 October 1983 at Wanganui.