Neuve-Chapelle road roller

This road roller was imported by the Christchurch Tramway Board in 1915. If anyone can provide information about what happened to this roller after the First World War please email info@nzhistory.net.nz

It bears the name 'Neuve-Chappelle' which is the name of a French town where a First World War battle took place on 10-13 March 1915. These articles from the Press tell the story.

Reported 29 April 1915:

Mr James Macalister of Invercargill, sole New Zealand agent for Messrs Richard Garrett and Sons, Leiston received word on Tuesday of the death of Captain Stephen Garrett who was killed in action at Neuve-Chapelle on March 15th. The late Captain Garret commanded the H Company of the 4th Suffolks, comprised almost entirely of men from Garrett's works, no fewer than one thousand of whom are at present fighting for their country. The latest production from the Garrett works for New Zealand is a steam road roller for the Christchurch City Council due in the Mamari in a few days.

Reported 10 June 1915:

The new road roller imported by the Christchurch Tramway Board ran its official trials yesterday morning. This roller has had an interesting history. Twelve months ago James Macalister, Ltd. of Invercargill, the successful tenderers for the roller sent an order for it to Richard Garrett, and Sons, Ltd., Leiston, Suffolk. Work on the roller had hardly been commenced when the war broke out and one-third of Garrett's iron enlisted for service at the front, including Captain Stephen Garrett, a member of the firm. Then the British Government commandeered the works to supply tractors for the Army in France, and work on the roller was suspended. Finally, after many months of delay, it was completed and shipped to New Zealand, but on the voyage the vessel conveying it was chased, though unsuccessfully, by an enemy submarine. Captain Stephen Garrett and many of his firm's men were killed in the operations at Neuve-Chapelle, and in memory of this the roller has has been named Neuve-Chapelle. The roller more than comes up to the Tramway Board's expectations. Guaranteed to travel seven mile an hour, it did an average of 15 in the trials yesterday. It is a specially constructed roller with springs on the front and back axles.

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