FREDERICK NORMAN TOOSE – Fielding medals reunited with Australian family.


MRNZ was recently able to close another case after tracing a descendant of the family of Frederick (Fred or Freddie) Norman Toose of Fielding.  Fred Toose was 9 yrs old when his family emigrated from Somerset and arrived in Wellington in 1904.  Fred had been an Insurance Agent for the AMP Society in Fielding at the time he enlisted as a Rifleman with the 27th Reinforcements, the New Zealand Rifle Brigade.  

41934 Rifleman Frederick Norman TOOSE was 23 years old when he embarked for service on the Western Front in July 1917.  After three years and 20 days service, including sustaining a non-life threatening wound, Fred was discharged from the NZEF at the conclusion of hostilities and returned to the family farm in Fielding in 1919.  For his service, Sgt. Freddie Toose was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Frederick Norman Toose medals.

Medals of Frederick Norman Toose

Fred’s parents, his two brothers, Fred himself after his return from the war, and their wives, all worked the Toose family farm for the rest of their lives.  The farm was located on the outskirts of Feilding, along Kimbolton Rd, in the Manawatu.  Fred and his remaining brother Edwin both married but neither had children.  Both of Fred and Edwin’s older brothers had died bachelors at relatively young ages, so the quest to find a descendant of Fred’s family was somewhat challenging.  Fred Toose did have one other Toose relative in NZ – an older and only child who was born of Fred’s father’s first marriage – William Reginald Toose was a butcher in Featherson and had enlisted for military service, but he died unmarried in 1918 as a result of the influenza epidemic.

Fred outlived his wife and all other family members including his surviving sister-in-law who had resided with Fred after Edwin’s death, until she died in 1977.  Retired by this time, Fred eventually died on 16 October 1981 aged 87 years.  With no other family or direct descendants, his medals were presumably disposed of by being sold along with the remainder of his estate.  As Fred had been the only WW1 war veteran of the Toose family in New Zealand, Medals Reunited New Zealand acquired his medals in an attempt to locate Toose family descendant to reunite the medals with.   

After exhausting all New Zealand electoral roll and Ancestry potential connections without success, we turned our attention to Fred’s father’s cousin James who had migrated to Australia about the same time Fred’s family had migrated to New Zealand.  A search of various Toose family trees eventually revealed one that contained members of Fred’s extended family which led us to place an advertisement on the Ancestry site.  As a result contact was made with Jon D. in New South Wales, a distant relation by marriage but whom fortunately was a wealth of knowledge regarding the Toose family in Australia.  Jon was also most helpful in identifying an appropriate descendant and custodian for Fred’s medals.   MRNZ’s Australian based researcher, Sqn Ldr Lindsay Campbell, was sent the medals and made the necessary contact with the Toose family to arrange for their presentation.  Deep in rural New South Wales, Lindsay met with Frederick Norman Toose’s great-great nephew (twice removed), Billy Toose. 

Billy Toose & Lindsay

Billy Toose &  Sqn Ldr Lindsay Campbell

On 27th March 2015, Lindsay made the long journey from Adelaide SA, via Sydney, to Kempsey NSW where William (Billy) Toose, his daughter Nyree and a number of Toose relatives and friends had gathered at the Kempsey Hotel to proudly witness the return of the medals.  The Hotel had been chosen as the most appropriate place for the hand-over ceremony as various items of photographic memorabilia which acknowledged the Toose family’s contribution to sport and the district, were permanently displayed there. 

Billy , daughter Nyree and husband

Billy Toose, daughter Nyree and husband Andrew

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