The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts]
The West Coast is part of the Nelson military district, of which Major G. C. B. Wolfe, N.Z.M., is the commanding officer, and Lieutenant H. S. Trask, N.Z.M., adjutant. The second battalion of the Nelson Infantry Volunteers has its headquarters at Greymouth, with Lieutenant-Colonel C. G. F. Morice as major, Captain A. P. Harper, adjutant, and Surgeon-Captain E. Teichelmann, medical officer. The corps that constitute the battalion consist of the First Westland Rifle Volunteers, stationed at Hokitika, and known as A Company; Greymouth Rifle Volunteers, B Company; Denniston Rifle Volunteers, C Company; Reefton Rifle Volunteers, D Company; and Millerton Rifle Volunteers, E Company. Of the fifteen Defence Rifle Clubs in the district, four are on the West Coast; namely, at Waimangaroa, Murchison, Charleston and Birch-field. The second battalion Nelson Infantry Volunteer Band is stationed at Greymouth.
The First Westland Rifles are known as No. 1 Company of the Second Nelson Battalion. New Zealand Rifles. The corps was one of the first volunteer corps formed in New Zealand. It has a strength of sixty-two men including officers; and periodical parades are held in the local drillshed. Officers for the year 1905: Captain, Mr. J. C. Macfarlane; Lieutenants, Mr. F. McGregor, and Mr. W. Winchester: Secretary, Mr. C. Sellers; Dr. H. Macandrew, Surgeon-Captain; and Mr. R. Millar, Sergeant-Major and Drill Instructor.
Lieutenant Francis McGregor has held office in connection with the First Westland Rifles since the year 1898. Prior to his present appointment he was lieutenant in the Grey Rifles for about nine years, gained his captain's certificate, and was for a time acting-captain. Mr. McGregor served with the Second New Zealand Contingent in the South African Boer war, as farrier sergeant. He is further referred to as a coachbuilder.
Sergeant-Major Robert Millar was appointed Drill Instructor to the Second Nelson Battalion New Zealand Rifles, in the year 1901. He was born in the year 1849 at Belfast, Ireland, where he was educated. Sergeant Millar had considerable experience in the British Army in various parts of the world, especially in India, before he received his present appointment.
Mr. James Benning , formerly Drill Instructor for the Westland district, was born in London, England, in the year 1854, and joined the 77th Regiment in 1870. For eight years he was in various parts of the East Indies, and was then in Ireland for four years with the rank of Colour-Sergeant. He came to New Zealand in 1883 by the ship “Lusitania,” and landed in Wellington, whence he proceeded to Hokitika, where he was in the employment of Mr. G. Benning for twelve months. Prior to his engagement as drill instructor, Mr. Benning was First Lieutenant in the Westland Rifles. He now (1906) resides in Christchurch.
The Hokitika Volunteer Band was established some years ago, and is equipped with complete brass instruments. The band competed successfully at the Greymouth contest. Officers for the year 1905; Rev. Father P. Aubrey, conductor; Mr. A. S. Sargison, bandmaster; Mr. D. Grecney, sergeant; Mr. C. Beale, drum-major; and Mr. F. Angel, secretary. Practices are held in the Hokitika drillshed.