THE BRIDGE FAMILY
Herbert Bowen BRIDGE was born in 1849, to Cyprian and Louisa (nee Bowen) BRIDGE. His grandfather, also called Cyprian, was a Major in the British Army, who arrived in New Zealand (Auckland) in 1845 with the 58th Regiment under the command of Lt. Colonel Robert Wynyard to augment the forces deployed in the Bay of Islands against Hone Heke and others who were in defiance of various orders of the newly created colonial government. Cyprian, who became Resident Magistrate at Russell, came from a distinguished military family. An uncle, also called Cyprian, became an Admiral, and he was also related to a General Sir Charles Bridge, and General Dunscombe Bridge.
Herbert was the second child, an older brother who was called Cyprian Wynyard having been born in Auckland in 1846. Herbert was born in a military camp near to Korareraka, now called Russell, in the Bay of Islands, north of Auckland. He was baptised by Henry Williams on 30 September that year. His parents remained in New Zealand until 1858. Herbert was educated at Cheltenham College in England. However, in 1869 he returned to New Zealand, where he took up journalism which became his lifelong career. He married in 1874 Lenore Adele St John GREAVES, daughter of Captain Greaves, who was for many years in charge of the Customs office at Akaroa, Banks Peninsula, South Island. His older brother also returned to New Zealand, where he too married in 1874.
Herbert and Lenore had 10 sons between 1877 and 1890, many of whom were given interesting names - Cyprian, Everard, Percy De Bohun, and Dare. Perhaps not surprisingly the seventh and tenth son’s middle names were Septimus and Decimus.
As well as being a journalist Herbert was a keen playwright, his works including Gareth and Lynette, The Very Witty Diggings (a pun on Terawhiti), Women’s Parliament and The Monarch of Utopia, a comic opera which opened at Wellington Opera House in September 1893.
(Reference: Harcourt, Peter: Fantasy and Folly – the lost world of New Zealand musicals 1880-1940, Steele Roberts, 2002, pp 36-38).
He was also very active in the Freemasons. He died in May 1932, aged 83, and was buried in Karori Cemetery with his oldest son Herbert, who had died in 1909 aged 34. His wife survived him by 15 years till she too died in 1947, aged 90.
Of their 10 sons, two died as infants - Percy De Bohun, and Charles.
Four Bridge brothers served in WW1. Cyprian Everard, 25/72, Cashier, and Lionel Septimus, 25/46, Clerk, survived the war but Private Lance , 8/8255, died from wounds received at Gallipoli on 13 August 1915, and Sergeant-Major Hugh Decimus, 24332, Clerk, was killed in action on 25 November 1917.
Both Lance and Hugh are named on the Roseneath Memorial.
There is also a plaque about Lance and Hugh, and their family background, in St Nicholas' Church in Harwich, Essex, England. The Bridge family were prominent in the area, and there are several memorials to various members of the family in the church.
Researched and written by Barbara Mulligan, with input from members of the the Smythe family, Hugh's grandchildren.