Saturday, January 30, 2010

Benge & Pratt Store Fire and Explosion, The Funeral Procession, 31st March 1914, Upper Hutt #6

The Funeral Procession for four of the those killed in the Benge & Pratt store explosion, 31st March 1914. Photo: Joseph Zachariah. Alexander Turnbull Library.

The funeral for four of those killed in the Benge & Pratt store explosion on 28-29 March, 1914 was held on 31st March. Constable Mahoney, Postmaster Comeskey, Messrs Flynn and Toohey were interned in Upper Hutt while separate funerals were held in Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt respectively for Messrs Vivian and Taylor on the same day. The last named was given a military burial in Wallaceville.

The funeral cortege assembled outside the police station and post office directly opposite the site of the disaster. It then proceeded south down Main Street to the Roman Catholic Church where all four of the deceased were members.

The funeral procession was headed by a large contingent of police followed by uniformed railwaymen. They have already passed the place where the above photo is taken as the four caskets borne by pall bearers follow. Immediately following the caskets are family members of the deceased with the next group just making the corner turn including the mayors of Upper Hutt and Wellington, the local MP, Mr Wilford, and the Ministers of Internal Affairs, Justice and Public Works. Some 250-300 members of the public were estimated to have participated in the procession. 

Source: The Evening Post, 31 March 1914, p. 8.

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