Topic: Stanley Natusch

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Stanley Natusch (Service no. 6/109) was a First World War soldier

Stanley Natusch, Service no.  6/109, Canterbury Infantry Battalion, 1st NZEF

Stanley NatuschStanley Natusch was born on 7 January 1889 in Wellington (or Otaki?), son of Lewis (always known as Charles) Tilleard and Ada Natusch. His address on embarkation was Balance Street, Wellington. His next of kin was his father, at that address. He was an architect, together with his brothers Aleck and Rene, in the family firm established by his father, of Natusch & Sons, based in Wellington, also in Napier, Palmerston North and Hastings and later in Gisborne. They designed the first building erected in Napier after the 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake. The slow return of staff and work following the Second World War prompted the decision to close the Wellington office and centralise in Napier. Stanley was a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Architects.

In March 1894 he received a prize at St Matthew’s Sunday School. In December 1902, while living in Napier, gained a scholarship from the Hawke’s Bay Education Board. In December 1909 he performed at a concert of Leo Buckeridge’s pupils in St Andrew’s hall, The Terrace; in June 1911 he sang a solo at a concert in St James Hall, Lower Hutt, organised by his mother; in May 1912 at the Napier Savage Clug korero; and at a Wellington Liedertafel concert in December 1913. In July 1914 he contributed to a concert in the Khandallah Hall to raise funds for the local school.

He signed up as a Private nine days after the war started. Initial training began at Addington, with a range at Redcliffs being used for musket practice. He left for the war from Lyttelton on 16 October 1914 on board the Tahiti or the Athenic, arriving in Suez on 3 December. The Battalion camped at Zeitoun, four miles out of Cairo in a sandy and dirty site, where further training was held. He was one of the Canterbury men at a dinner at Shepheard’s Hotel to celebrate Christmas which was attended by 65. The menu card bears his signature (Stanley Natusch) in the middle. In late January news was received that the Turks were advancing on the Suez Canal and the Battalion was ordered to garrison posts at El Ferdan and Battery Post. The Turk attack took place early on the morning of 3 February 1915 and was repulsed by the next day. The Battalion remained in the Canal area, manning a few posts north of Ismailia till it returned to Zeitounon 26 February. They embarked on 13 April and landed at Mudros on the island of Lemnos and travelled on to Anzac Cove on 25 April where they were immediately involved in heavy fighting. The troops had to attack, over precipitous country totally strange to them, an enemy who was invisible to them, and who was established in formidable defensive positions. He stayed at Gallipoli until the evacuation in November 1914. He won his sergeant’s stripes on the peninsula and was mentioned in despatches for his work at the evacuation. He went back to Egypt where he got his commission as a second lieutenant.

He later served in the Balkans in 1915 and in western Europe in from April 1916. During the battle of the Somme in the latter half of 1916 he was appointed Lieutenant. He was wounded at Messines, Belgian west Flanders, in 1917. He received a bullet wound and a broken right forearm, and was sent to No. 2 General Hospital in London. He was made Captain in November 1917. He was later awarded the Military Cross, receiving the decoration from King George V at Buckingham Palace.

During the attack he most ably led his platoon to its objective, doing excellent work, until he fell severely wounded. Previous to the attack he had distinguished himself greatly whilst in charge of patrols, gaining information which was of the greatest value to his division.

He remained in England, in charge of troops at the New Zealand convalescent hospital in a large country mansion called Grey Towers at Hornchurch, east London. His discharge date from the Army was 18 May 1919.

 After the Armistice he took up one of the New Zealand war scholarships of £200 a year to pursue his architectural studies. He became an associate do the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1919 and an associate member of the Institute of Structural Engineers in 1921. With J.H. White, another New Zealand architect, he gained first place in a public competition for the design of an up-to-date inn and café for the Worshipful Company of Brewers. He was engaged in casual work with a number of leading architects, gaining valuable experience. In 1922 he assisted  S. Hurst Seager to prepare working drawings for the New Zealand war memorial at Messines, Belgium. After about three months in North America where he spent some time in the office of Alfred  Bossom, a leading New York architect, he returned to New Zealand aboard the Tahiti on 10 August 1923 and rejoined the family firm in Wellington. In 1925 he was one of the architects for the Wellington-Nelson Provincial Court at the New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition in Dunedin and was congratulated on the splendid work.

He married Elizabeth (Betty) Richmond Blake (born 18 July 1893 in Crewkerne, Somerset) on 8 March 1928. She was the granddaughter of Mr Justice Richmond, Judge of the Supreme Court of New Zealand, and had been closely associated with repertory production, an interest she continued in New Zealand, mainly with the British Drama League, as adviser, producer and judge. She was responsible for the establishment of the New Zealand Branch.

In February/March 1929 Stanley performed in the Wellington Players’ production of Tchehov’s The bear, directed by his wife. In 1932 they lived in Mrs Charles Melvill’s house in Selwyn Terrace. They were actively involved in the Unitarian Church. In February 1933, together with J.A. Louis Hay, he worked on plans for a radical redesigning of the beach line of the Napier Marine Parade and of borough land fronting the Parade. They were honorary architectural advisers and members of the Reconstruction Committee. In March 1933 Stanley and Elizabeth Natusch gave an ‘at home’ function in the reception room of the Pioneer Club at which Stanley spoke on the construction of buildings to withstand earthquakes, illustrating his talk with photographs of Napier scenes before and during reconstruction work. In May of that year he stood for the Wellington City Council. In November both danced at the Old Colonial Ball in the Town Hall. In 1934 and 1935 he was the director of the annual Auckland summer school of the New Zealand Branch of the British Drama League. In December 1938 they attended a cocktail party at the United Services Club. In June 1939, on the death of his father-in-law, Stanley and his wife left on the Rotorua for England, expecting to return within a year. The outbreak of World War II upset arrangements and he remained in England on home service.

Few details of his later life have been found, because they did not return to New Zealand. In the late 1940s and 1950s the British telephone books have entries for him, living in Langport and later in Hilltop Park Road, Bridport, Devon. The entry in findNZartcles relating to the article about the firm in NZIA journal says he died in 1973. Possibly this was in Wales. A death notice for Elizabeth on 1 August 1987 appeared in The times, London.



Births, Deaths & Marriages Online - Registration Number Birth: 1889/8461

Stanley Natusch on Online Cenotaph, Auckland War Memorial Museum

Discovering Anzacs (1st entry)

Discovering Anzacs (2nd entry)

St Matthew’s Sunday School : presentation of prizes: Wairara daily times, volume XV, issue 4662, 2 March 1894, page 3

Canterbury men in Cairo: Press, volume LI, issue 15198, 9 February 1915, page 2

Johnny Enzed : the New Zealand soldier in the First World War 1914-1918, by Glyn Harper, has mentions of Natusch

All sorts of people: Free lance, volume XVI, issue 886, 29 June 1917, page 4

Battle honours : New Zealand Army: Evening post, volume XCIV, issue 106, 1 November 1917, page 8

London personals : New Zealanders abroad: Evening post, volume CV, issue 64, 16 March 1923, page 7

A Somerset wedding:  New Zealand herald, volume LXV, issue 19929, 24 April 1928, page 7

New parade for Napier: Auckland star, volume LXIV, issue 28, 3 February 1933, page 6

Enjoyable “At home” : many guests present: Evening post, volume CXV, issue 64, 17 March 1933, page 11

Charles Natusch

Natusch and Sons: NZIA journal, volume 30 no. 6, July 1963, pages 98-107

Maria Wilson & Christopher Richmond

History of the Canterbury Regiment, NZEF 1914-1919












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Stanley Natusch

First Names:Stanley
Last Name:Natusch
Place of Birth:Wellington