This page is dedicated to those Missionaries, including their wives and children, who died on or gave their lives on the Mission Fields, including those who subsequently died as a direct result of their Mission service up until 1953. Please read the following short entries and remember for a quiet moment the real sacrifice made by those who gave their lives for furthering the Christian cause including those who now lie at peace among our Christian friends in far off lands. The Children's Roll appears at the bottom of this page.

 

 

Dr Joseph Ings  M.B.,Ch.B.(Edin)

As a youth in St Clair Dunedin, Joseph Ings took a great interest in the Chinese near his own home then later gave valued assistance to the Chinese Mission Church for three years. With the intention of becoming a Medical Missionary to our new Mission in South China, he toured the Chinese Missions in USA, Japan, and China. After studying medicine in Edinburgh, he graduated MB ChB in July 1905. He then sailed for Canton with his wife, arriving on the 29th Dec 1905. 
He was endowed with many gifts and graces, and a long and useful service was hoped for but he developed a fatal tropical related illness and died after six short months service. Our pioneer Medical Missionary to China was buried in the Canton Christian Cemetery (just outside the East Gate of Canton City).

 

Dr Owen L. Eaton  M.B.,Ch.B.

Owen Eaton was born in Johnsonville, Wellington in 1909, being a son of Rev Clarence Eaton of the Methodist Church. He studied medicine in Dunedin and was resident at Knox College during this time. He acted as a tutor in Anatomy at Knox College for three years and one year as a Demonstrator at Otago University Medical School. He passed his primary examination for FRCS in 1934. In September 1936 he was appointed as a Medical Missionary to China and was dedicated at St David's Church Auckland on 6.10.1936. He departed for China 8.10.1936; and after two years language study was appointed Superintendent of the Po Wai Hospital at Kong Chuen. During his short period of service his quality as a Christian Doctor made a profound impression on his colleagues and on the Church at home. 
He was fatally shot by bandits who had broken into the Kong  Chuen Mission Compound in the early hours of Easter Monday, 10th April 1939. Dr Eaton was buried in the Shameen Municipal Council's Cemetery on Honam Island, Canton.  He married Mary Mandeno in 1938. 

 

Dr Alfred. T. Howie  M.B.,Ch.B.

Alfred (Tennie) Howie was born at Waikiwi, Invercargill in 1902. He studied medicine at the University of Otago Medical School, graduating in 1930. He was appointed a Medical Missionary to China 17.12.1931 and sailed for China on 8.1.1932. He spent his first year spent in language study then, owing to shortage of staff at Kong Chuen Hospital, he commenced medical work in 1933. Ill - health overtook him (tuberculosis) in 1936 and he was forced to return with his wife and children to NZ. A few months at Pembroke (Wanaka) seemed to help greatly, but there was a sudden change for the worse in October 1936. He died  4.11.1936 at the Cromwell Hospital,  Central Otago.
"A friendly man, of sensitive nature, he won the affection of  all who knew him. By his insight and tactfulness he won his way with the Chinese people. His life was one of promise, and though short, of real achievement."
He married Edith Seamer in 1931. 

 

Rev Peter Milne (Snr)

The Rev Peter Milne was born at Stains, Aberdeen on the 17th May 1834. A Licentiate of the Free Church of Scotland, he was ordained as a Missionary to the New Hebrides under the Presbyterian Synod of Otago & Southland at Edinburgh on the 26th November 1868. Marrying Mary Jane Veitch in the same year, they departed for the Islands in 1869 via Dunedin, settling on Nguna Island in 1870. Numerous difficulties presented themselves, including learning the local language, limiting the strong influence of the old heathen ways of spirit worship, limiting the influence of unscrupulous European traders, translating religious books into the native language, and educating his people. The first Christian Baptism was performed in 1880 and after subsequent rapid progress in evangelization, the Island was nominally Christian by 1896. Rev Milne encouraged the production of Arrowroot as a means of paying for the printing of religious books in native language as a means of more effectively spreading the Gospel. After the death of his wife in 1908, he continued to live on Nguna with his son the Rev William Milne. His life was entirely dedicated to the Christian cause which he actively promoted up until his death. He died at Nguna on the 24th November 1924 aged 90, being buried in the Nguna Christian Cemetery.

 

Mrs Mary Jane Milne

Mary Jane Veitch was born at Edinburgh on the 8th June 1849 and married the Rev Peter Milne (Snr), a Minister of the Free Church of Scotland on the 18th December 1868. With her husband being appointed as a Missionary to Nguna in the New Hebrides under the Presbyterian Synod of Otago & Southland, they departed for the Islands in 1869. She ably supported her Husband over many difficult years and took upon herself her own share of the Mission work with the native people which included teaching them sewing and singing. But she found the isolation on the islands, the necessity of sending her children away to New Zealand for schooling, and the loss of her first born son very hard to bear. After selflessly serving on Nguna Island with her husband for 37 years, she returned to Dunedin in October 1906 to 'gather together her family', also with the fervent - but vain - hope that her husband would retire from his life's work and join her. Suffering from the effects of a malarial illness which she had contracted in the Islands, she died suddenly at Dunedin on the 26th February 1908 after a short illness. "God had spared her to see great days, from the one native at the Lord's Table in 1875 to the 600 not long before she left...". She was buried in the Northern Cemetery, Dunedin; her husband being buried on Nguna.

 

Mrs Flora Murray

Flora Cheyne was born in Peterhead, Scotland and trained as a teacher. She married the Rev Charles Murray on 31.1.1883.  He described her as "petite, fair - haired and blue - eyed". Both emigrated to New Zealand in 1884.  Rev Murray was appointed a Missionary to Ambrim in the New Hebrides in 1884, arriving there by the "Dayspring" in June 1885. After spending six months on Ambrim, the Murrays temporarily moved to Futuna so she could be under the care of Dr Gunn during her confinement.  She died in childbirth on the 20th March 1886 and was buried on Futuna Island.

 

Mrs Agnes Watt

Agnes Craig Paterson was born in Scotland on  27.9.1846. She married the Rev William Watt and, after he was nominated as a missionary to the New Hebrides by the Northern Presbyterian Church of NZ, they both sailed for New Zealand in June 1868. They landed on Tanna Island to begin work in April 1869. She learnt the native language and assisted with the women's Sunday School, and reading, writing and sewing classes. She was much loved by the Tannese people who affectionately called her "Misi Bran". She died suddenly on Tanna Island on 26.4.1894  Her grave at the Port Resolution Mission station was always well cared for by the native people. 

 

Rev William V Milne

William Veitch Milne was born to the Rev Peter Milne (Snr) and Mary Jane Milne on Nguna Island on 8.10.1877  He was educated in NZ then returned to assist his Father on Nguna, being appointed an unordained Missionary in 1900. After training for the Ministry in Dunedin from 1900 to 1902, he returned to assist his Father again in 1905. He married Jemima S. Scott on 8.3.1905 He was placed in charge of the station after his Father's death in 1924. Being born on the island he was regarded by the natives as one of themselves and they gave him their implicit trust. He was a skilled boatman and he had a good working knowledge of medicine. He was a teacher and Pastor fluent in the native language, also translating a number of religious books to native language. He was killed by an insane native at Nguna on the 27th April 1937. 
"....The tremendous influence that his personality exerted over both natives and Europeans during his 32 years in the Nguna district can never be expressed." 
Rev WV Milne was buried at Nguna beside his Father. 

 

Rev Thomas Smaill

Thomas Smaill was born at Edinburgh Scotland on 28.7.1857 His family emigrated to Otago NZ in 1858. He was apprenticed as a joiner but then studied for a BA at Otago  University before attending the Theological Hall Dunedin from 1883 to 1885. After postgraduate and City Mission work in Edinburgh, he took medical classes and Hospital practice in Dunedin prior to Missionary work in the New Hebrides. Ordained as a Missionary at Knox Church Dunedin 25.2.1889. Landed at Nikaura, Epi in 1889. He returned to NZ in 1890 and married Helen Grant of Leeston then returned to New Hebrides. First fruits of his work were seen on 21.4.1895 when five men and two women were baptized into the Church membership. By the end of the century membership was close to 100.  Rev and Mrs Smaill lost their 1st and 2nd babies, and only a hurried trip to NZ saved their 3rd child (Nellie). Typical of his devotion, Rev Smaill caught a chill after going out in a hurricane to administer medical aid to a native woman and died on 12.4.1902, aged 44  years. He was buried beside his two children at Nikaura on Epi Island. 

 

Rev Dr Robert Lamb M.A., MB.,Ch.M., B.D., Ed.

Dr Robert Lamb was born at Matakana in 1862, latterly studying at Canterbury College where he graduated MA with first class honours in English and Latin. Robert Lamb then studied medicine in Edinburgh together with Divinity studies with a view to entering Missionary service. After graduating MB., Ch.M. with honours, he acted as Superintendent of the Cowgate Children's Church, working among the poor in the slums.  He married Mary Reiache (who took training as a nurse to assist him) prior to returning to NZ.  He was then formally engaged by the Northern Presbyterian Church as a Missionary to the New Hebrides, setting up a Mission Hospital and base on Ambrim Island.  After arrival in 1892, they first lived in a tent until Mission premises were built. A devastating hurricane then demolished their station with their twin children dying from exposure. After rebuilding the station, together with a hospital building, all was again lost in a fire, all hospital equipment and personal effects were lost. Undaunted, all was rebuilt, the busy hospital serving a great need with patients also being sent from neighbouring islands. After contracting Tuberculosis of the lungs in 1896, he was advised that it would be "suicidal" to return to the humid tropics. He settled at Wentworth Falls, NSW, Australia where he was appointed Honorary Superintendent of the Mission Hospital, continuing to receive a salary for two more years. He died of tuberculosis on the 17 June 1907 aged 45 years and was buried at Wentworth Falls. 

"Thy Will Be Done"

 

Mr John R Wilson
(Lay Artisan Carpenter)

Mr John Reid Wilson of Roslyn, Dunedin was engaged in 1892 by the Foreign Mission Committee of the Synod of Otago and Southland to accompany the Rev Peter Milne back to the New Hebrides to assist with building tasks including the enlarging of the Nguna Church and the construction of a Mission House on Emae. His return passage was paid by the Synod and he was paid a wage of £1 per week. He enjoyed good health until February 1893 when he suffered sunstroke from running 1½ miles across the island carrying a hastily written note to his wife in order to catch the steamer which had arrived unexpectedly early. His condition was undiagnosed and a walk through long wet grass to the Church the following day and consequently sitting in damp clothes did not aid his recovery. His condition deteriorated each day from initially feeling unwell to later suffering from fever and delirium until he died on the 13 February 1893, aged circa 39 years. He left a wife and family in Dunedin to whom the Synod sanctioned a grant of £25 as an  expression of their sympathy. He was buried in the small Christian Cemetery on Nguna. A marble headstone was later sent out by his widow. 
He was married to Alice Ann Donald.

 

Mrs Alice H Muir

Miss Alice Howie  was born on the 20th April 1916. Partly inspired by Dr Stanley Jones whom she heard speak at the World Christian Endeavour Convention in Melbourne in 1938, she entered the Presbyterian Women's Training Institute in Dunedin for a two year course. This was followed by several months' work at the Presbyterian Support Services Papanui Boys' Home in Christchurch while she waited to begin a Nursing course at Christchurch Hospital. At this time she became engaged to the Rev Ivan Muir, both deciding to offer themselves for Missionary Service in the New Hebrides. After Alice and Ivan married 1943, they spent 18 months in the Parish of Taihape until arrangements could be made for them to go to the New Hebrides where they were stationed on Emae Island. After a busy 18 months of being involved in Mission activities with her husband and the constant demands of being a Mother and effectively running a household on an isolated island, Alice fell ill from the effects of malarial fever. She died on Emae on the 28th November 1945 as is buried at Leputo on Emae Island.

"Till the Day Dawn and 
the Shadows Flee Away"

 

Mrs Jessie McNaughton

Miss Jessie Gillan was brought up at Bannockburn, Victoria Australia, three members of the family being Missionaries. She married Mr Robert McNaughton who was engaged by the New Zealand Presbyterian Church as an Assistant to Dr Bowie at Ambrym Hospital, Dip Point on Ambrym (Ambrim) Island in 1902. Five weeks later on the 3 October 1902, Mrs McNaughton died after an unspecified illness. Her husband returned to Victoria with their 3 infant children. 

 

Dr John Kirk Brown  M.B.,Ch.B.

Dr John Brown was brought up at Gore before studying to become a Doctor. After a time in General Practise at Gisborne, he offered his services to the "Friends Ambulance Unit", a mobile medical team working in China under the auspices of CORSO.  In the latter part of 1947 his services were offered by CORSO to the Presbyterian Church of NZ Mission Hospital at Kong Chuen who urgently required additional Medical Support. Only a few days after his arrival at the end of December 1947, he fell ill with what was quickly diagnosed as encephalitis. Despite expert care and medical attention from Doctors in Canton (including an internationally qualified Doctor who specialized in tropical medicine and who happened to be visiting Canton at the time), he tragically died on the 12th January 1948. After his death his parents in Gore paid for the building of a 'Godown' (storage building) on the Mission Compound in his memory, the memorial plaque still being in situ up to the 1980's before the buildings were demolished in the 1990's.
Dr Brown was buried in the new Christian Cemetery at Paak Shui Tong near Kong Chuen, South China.

 

Sr. Annie M. McEwan

Sr Annie M.McEwan of Havelock North joined the Canton Villages Mission in 1909 after completion of her training as a Deaconess. She undertook work amongst the women and children in the villages where she served with wholehearted devotion. During most of her 13 years in China she put up a brave fight against ill-health. Returned to New Zealand on medical advice after contracting tuberculosis, being unable to return to China. She spent some years recuperating in Central Otago and Roxburgh where she undertook successful Sunday School work amongst children then later moved to Caversham, Dunedin, Despite her own failing health, she then carried on a successful ministry amongst the elderly, infirm and sick.
"Her gracious personality and never-failing optimism endeared her to all, and she was generous almost to a fault."
Sr Annie died on the 16th Nov 1939, aged 52 years, after "a painful illness bravely and patriently borne", being buried in the Anderson's Bay Cemetery, Dunedin.

 

 

Dr Joseph K Venables
M.C., M.B., Ch.B., L.R.C.P.& S.E., L.F.P.S.G. 

While Dr Venables lost his life on the Field of Battle rather than the Mission Field, this entry is a quiet reflection on what he might have achieved had he lived to fulfil the considerable promise he offered in Medical Mission Service. Dr Venables was a volunteer for medical missionary work in India and after study in New Zealand and overseas both Dr and Mrs Venables looked forward to commencing Mission service in India at end of World War One. While serving as a Doctor with the 1st NZEF Army forces in France he was killed in action on Thursday, 9th May 1918.
"He gave to his comrades always a splendid example of devotion to duty." 
Dr Venables was buried at Esquelbecq Military Cemetery, Nord, France. 


 

Children's Roll 

"Suffer the Little Children"
Mark 10:14

Nancy Miller : Daughter of Rev AL & Mrs EE Miller, Canton Villages Mission. Died at Hong Kong 20 July 1926 from an unspecified tropical fever (similar to dengue fever). 
Buried at Happy Valley Cemetery, Hong Kong.
Robert James (Robin) Sutherland : Daughter of Dr AL & Mrs ME Sutherland, Punjab Mission. Born at Inch Hospital, Oyne, Scotland 4th Dec 1929 while Dr Sutherland was on study leave in Britain during his first furlough. Died 8th August 1930 aged 8 months having been born with an inoperable heart defect. Buried at Oyne Church Cemetery, Scotland.
Margaret Jean (Jeanette) Sutherland : Daughter of Dr AL & Mrs ME Sutherland, Punjab Mission. Died from an unspecified illness (teething and sore throat) at Jagadhri at 9pm on the 23 Nov 1932 aged about 12 months. She was buried in the Christian Cemetery at Jagadhri. Their first son had previously died in Edinburgh while Dr Sutherland was studying for his medical degree.
Shirley Lundie Gray : Daughter of Mr IL & Mrs LF Gray, New Hebrides Mission. Died on Efate Island, New Hebrides 21 Dec 1953 aged 1 year. Accidental death, buried in Christian cemetary on Nguna Island.
Kirk - a still-born son (second child) of Dr John & Mrs Norah Kirk, at the home of Dr RM Gibson of the London Missionary Society, Hong Kong, born 24th Sept 1916.
Helen Isobel (Biddy) Riddle : Daughter of Rev TE & Mrs I Riddle, Punjab Mission. Born 1919, died 1920 aged 16 months from accidental drowning while she was being carried across the Giri River in the Punjab by a coolie during a flood, the coolie losing his footing in the fast flowing water. Buried in the Cemetary at the Military Cantonment of Solon. 
Thomas Henderson Riddle : Son of Rev TE & Mrs I Riddle, Punjab Mission.  Born 9 Oct 1918, died October 1934 at Landour after a severe attack of diptheria. Buried in the cemetary at Landour.
Daughter of Rev Oscar & Mrs Jane Michelsen : Their first born child, a Daughter, was born on Tongoa Island on the 8th November 1881 and died at Selembanga Mission Station on the 30th December 1881, aged 7 weeks. She was buried at Selembanga on Tongoa.
James (Jamie) Milne : First born son of Rev Peter & Mrs Mary Jane Milne, New Hebrides Mission. Born 26 May 1876, died at Taloa on Nguna Island 5 July 1879 from Malarial fever. James Milne was apparently buried in the "Mission compound" at Taloa on Nguna. In "Christina's Story", Mrs Christina Crump relates that after a visit to Nguna by Mrs Isobel Riddle (née Milne) sometime after 1938 Mrs Riddle asked the Missions Committee to move the headstones from the Mission House garden to the Island's Christian Cemetery as "she felt it was unfair for a young couple to have to live beside them [the headstones]. There is no mention of exhumation of the remains which included the grave and headstone of James Scott Milne (b. 1906) but this is probable.
James Scott Milne : Son of Rev William V & Mrs Jemima S Milne, New Hebrides Mission. Born 3 Aug 1906, died at Ambrym Hospital 5 March 1907 from whooping cough. James Scott Milne's headstone was moved after 1938 from the Mission House garden to the Christian cemetery on Nguna (refer entry for James Milne b.1876).
Daughter of Rev Thomas & Mrs Helen J Smaill : New Hebrides Mission. Their first born Daughter did not survive the birth. Burial place unknown but almost certainly on the bluff at Nikaura.
Son of Rev Thomas & Mrs Helen J Smaill : New Hebrides Mission. Their first born son was born at Nikaura on North Epi and died at North Epi in 1891 from sickness (probably malarial fever). Buried on the bluff at Nikaura close to his Father and Brother.
Son of Rev Thomas & Mrs Helen J Smaill : New Hebrides Mission. Their second born son died on North Epi in July 1893 from sickness (probably malarial fever). Buried on the bluff at Nikaura close to his Father and Brother.
James Castor Lamb and George Pollux Lamb : "They shall shine as the stars forever". Twin first born sons of Dr Robert & Mrs Mary Lamb, New Hebrides Mission. "One fair the other dark".
Born 31 Dec 1892, died at Dip Point, Ambrym Island March 1893 from exposure and malnutrition after a hurricane. Buried at Dip Point, Ambrym. 
"Laid to rest in the bower of the Banyan tree".
Note : This peaceful resting place was most likely destroyed in the Volcanic Eruption on Ambrym (Ambrim) in December 1913 which totally obliterated Dip Point and the Mission Hospital. Their names were also recorded on Dr Lamb's gravestone at Wentworth Falls cemetery, NSW, Australia. This headstone has recently been restored by a generous and Christian minded benefactor.

Return to Missions Home Page