HAROLD GEORGE TARLTON ~ Medals gifted to Stoke boy are reunited with marine archeologist Kelly Tarlton’s descendant family.


Harold George TARLTON was born in 1896 in Johannesburg, South Africa, the second son of NZ born Howard Sidney Tarlton and his wife Louisa ACKERST.  As a result of the imminent start of the Boer War in 1899, the Tarlton family of four returned to New Zealand with Howard returning to his former job with the Bank of New Zealand in Christchurch.  In 1912 Howard, a pacifist, decided to relocate his family to the remote D’Urville Island at French Pass in the Marlborough Sounds.  Howard and his family settled into farming at Whareatea Bay.  It was from here that one of Howard and Louisa’s sons, 44606 Pte. Harold George TARLTONwas called up for war service with the 24th Reinforcements of the Canterbury Regiment in January 1917.  Harold embarked for France in October where he served until being gassed in August 1918.  Following a period of recovery in the UK he re-joined his unit and was promoted to L/Cpl to replace a fallen unit NCO.

L/Cpl Tarlton returned to New Zealand in June 1919 after 2 yrs and 61 days overseas service and was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal for his service.

After the war Harold Tarlton returned to the family farm in Whareatea Bay until acquiring his own property in Motueka.  Harold married a Nelson born lady, Adeline (Dell) SMITH.  Harold and Dell did not have any children to help with the farm and so managed it themselves until Harold’s retirement in the 1950s.  The Tarlton’s then moved to Stoke in Nelson to be nearer Harold’s widowed mother Louisa who was also living in Nelson by then.

Dale Shattock hands over L/Cpl. Harold Tarlton’s medals to Bryan Ramsay, MRNZ.

The Shattock family were one of Harold and Dell’s’s neighbours in Stoke.  Harold and Dell had never had children and there were no close relatives of his family remaining, so decide to give young Dale his WW1 service medals in the early 1970s.  Harold’s mother had passed away and so had his Dell.  There was nothing  left in Nelson for Harold so he decided to be with his only remaining sibling brother, Roy Tarelton, his youngest brother who was living in the Waikato at Te Aroha. 

It was here Harold George Tarlton died in March 1976 aged 79 years.  Dale Shattock had treasured and safeguarded Harold’s medals since that time until recently when he contacted Brian at MRNZ saying he thought it was appropriate the medals be returned to the Tarlton family if at all possible. 

Our research showed that Harold George Tralton was one of five sons, the others being Eric Howard, Roy Francis (Engineer), Ivan Maurice (Chimney Sweep) and Ewart Fritz Tarlton (Farmer), all of whom were deceased.   As Harold and Dell had had no children, we focused on his Harold’s next eldest brother Ewart and his family which we found quite easily in the electoral rolls.  It transpired that one of Ewart’s sons, Kelvin Ewart Tarlton we recognised as being the well known New Zealand diver and underwater photographer, Kelly Tarlton of the ‘Eligamite’ treasure recovery and Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium fame.  From this connection we located Rosemary Tarlton, Kelly’s widow, who was still living in the Auckland area.  Rosemary advised me that in the absence of any other Tarlton family members, she had become the custodian of Kelly’s and the wider Tarlton family’s memorabilia, including a number of the family’s war medals.  Rosemary was delighted to hear from me when I called and explained the situation with Harold’s medals, and even more so when she learned she would be the recipient of the medals.  Brian dispatched the medals to Rosemary this week.

Thanks to Dale for contacting us with Harold’s medals, and to Julie for her research assistance.

The reunited medal tally is now 41.