William Reece

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Typical Fencible Cottage 1860s










William REECE was born in the Parish of Pyle & Kenfig in Glamorgan, Wales, in 1802, the son of William REES and Lena NICHOLS. William was in the Royal Marines for nearly nineteen years, retiring late 1840 because of 'caries of upper jaw', when he was 38 years old.

In the 1841 Census for Bridgend, the family is living at Kenfig Hill.

William, his wife, Mary and their three children - John, Elizabeth REECE and Delina, arrived aboard "Ramillies" on 05Aug1847 as part of 1st Detachment of Royal New Zealand Fencibles - retired British Ex-Regulars who had been recruited to settle the N.Z frontier and act as local Militia.

The Fencibles' duties were far from strenuous. They were required to do six days drill in Spring and six in autumn. Every Sunday the Fencibles had to parade in full uniform as part of their duties. William often took this parade, training them in the use of the cutlass. Pay was one shilling and three pence per day in addition to any pension. Free passages were granted to New Zealand for the soldiers and their families. Each Fencible was granted an initial acre of land with a small duplex home built on the boundary, with a separate entrance door, a tiny attic and two small rooms for each family.

Sadly his wife died before the family could move into their newly built home. They had waited over four months for the buildings to be completed.

William was given an additional grant of 480 acres of timber country at Laingholm reaching from Muddy Creek to Bunker Hill at Titirangi. It was not much us to him as it was covered in dense bush and forest. The land grant was resumed by the Crown on his death by pulmonary consumption on 17Jun1860, aged 53.


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