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FINDLATER James Chalmers
56268, Sergeant, 3rd New Zealand Rifle Brigade, WW1
N/N Temp Captain, 2nd Taranaki Regiment, Home Guard, WW2
18770, Commandant, New Zealand Command, Legion of Frontiersmen

OBITUARY: With true sorrow numerous associates and ex-pupils of Horowhenua College read of the sudden death of Mr JC Findlater.
Throughout his 77 years, this gentleman expended himself in voluntary efforts to help others; his courtesy, good humour and debonair
spirit were inexhaustable.
For twenty three years Mr Findlater was on the staff of Hawera Technical High School and the fact that many ex pupils maintained
correspondence with him vouches for his popularity there.  During this time he was President of the New Zealand Technical School
Teachers’ Association

Strongly advocating the value of military camps, he organised these as part of the school cadet system.  A lover of music, he also
materially assisted in school productions, sang in church and men’s choirs, and for twenty years was efficient stage manager for the
Hawera Competitions Society.  The last twenty one years were spent in Levin where he was teaching at Horowhenua College until his
retirement in 1956

At the time of his death, Mr Findlater was secretary of the Levin St John Ambulance Association, and treasurer of CORSO for which
organisation he and his late wife  worked since its formation.  He was a committee member of the Road Safety Council, Church of
England’s Men’s Society, and active in RSA work, being a past president of that bowling club.  He also made stamp collecting a hobby and maintained a volumous correspondence

As Commandant of the New Zealand Legion of Frontiersmen, Mr Findlater was awarded the highest recognition in that organisation.  Fifty of its members attended the funeral, forming a guard of honour and providing pallbearers at the RSA Cemetery, Levin.  In lieu of flowers his family asked that donations be made to the Intensive Care Coronary Trust, Public Hospital, Hawera. (The News, Levin 27 November 1968)


A man who endeared himself to hundreds of school students during his 21 year teaching career at Hawera Technical High School, Mr James Chalmers Findlater, died at the Palmerston North Hospital on Saturday aged 77 years.  The death was announced yesterday in the Press Assoc message from Levin.  Mr Findlater was born near Glasgow in Scotland in 1891, and educated at Hamilton Academy.  At an early age he ran away to sea and served in both sailing and steam ships.  He first arrived in New Zealand as a member of the crew of the SS Hawke’s Bay, which called at Auckland.
Mr Findlater was most impressed with what he saw on this brief visit and after two more trips in the Hawke’s Bay he decided to settle in New Zealand.

On the outbreak of war in 1914, Mr Findlater volunteered for service, but was turned down by the Army.  In 1915 he married Miss May Bell.  In 1917 he again volunteered for service with the forces and this time was accepted and sailed with the 29th Reinforcements. He served in France with the 3rd NZ Rifle Brigade.
On his return from the war, Mr Findlater joined the staff of AS Paterson & Co.
He was appointed commercial master at the Hawera Technical High School in 1927 and was later also appointed as geography master, an appointment he thoroughly enjoyed, and for which he found himself particularly well suited as a result of his worldwide travels as a sailor.

Mr Findlater joined the Legion of Frontiersmen in 1927 and in 1934 was appointed the Commandant for New Zealand, a post he held until 1962.  He held a commission in the Taranaki Regiment and was also an officer in the Schoolm Cadet organisation.
Mr Findlater’s wide sphere of interests includedteacher organisations, and he was New Zealand president of the Technical School Teachers’ Association in 1947 and 1948.  He gave many years of service to the Hawera Competitions Society as stage manager.
Mr Findlater held the Efficiency Decoration, Coronation Medal, the Legion Meritorious Service Medal and the Legion Gold Pioneer Axe
He moved from Hawera in 1948 to take up a post as commercial and geography teacher at Horowhenua College, Levin, until his retirement in 1956.  Subsequently he acted as a marker for University Entrance Examinations.
A wide understanding and sympathetic outlook produced by his colourful career as seaman, Hansard reporter, businessman, and teacher, endeared him to the hundreds of pupils who passed through his hands during his 21 years at Hawera and many Hawera people travelled to Levin for the funeral service today


18770, Hon Lieutenant Colonel James Chalmers FINDLATER, ED, Pioneer, LMSM
On November 8 1968, a great Frontiersman passed away to go into higher service at the age of 77 years.  Fin was born in Scotland and at an early age he went to sea in the British Mercantile, made one trip in sail to Volpo and the remainder in steam, serving five years with the desire to become “an old sailor” and that assoon as possible.  Short voyages were made to the Mediterranean, Spain, and the Baltic countries.  While in Auckland, the American Great White Fleet was there at the same time.  Seeing the reception and entertainment for the visitors and the liking he got for Auckland, he decided to make New Zealand the place for him to live.  The work done for the start was connected with shipping, accountancy and customs.  Two and a half years Fin served with the first NZEF.  This would have been longer but he was turned down for the 3rd Reinforcements because of his stature.  Later he was accepted and turned out to be one of the blankety blanks known as Sarn Major, in the NZ Rifle Brigade. Later on his life followed as, Court reporter, newspaper writer.  The big chance came when the decision had to be made between Hansard in Parliament or the teaching profession, and settled in favour of the last.  He was an executive officer of the New Zealand Technical School Teachers Association for fifteen years and Dominion President in 1947/48.  He was captain in the Taranaki Regiment, 7 years in the Queen Alexandra’s Mounted Rifles, 15 years in the Wellington West Coast Regiment,  Overall a period of 25 years territorial service.  Fin joined the Legion of Frontiersmen in 1927 and was Corporal, Sergeant, Chief of Staff and elected Commandant in 1934, an office which he held for 27 years.  The Legion honoured him with the Legion Meritorious Service Medal in 1938, the Long Service & Efficiency Medal in 1946 and was presented with the Pioneer Axe at the Hastings Conference in 1947.  Fin also held the Efficiency Decoration, Coronation Medal and the World War One service medal.  Fin joined the Legion as a part of 'M' Squadron and was later transferred to 'N' Squadron on 22 April 1948.  Fin is survived by a son and a daughter and to them our greatest sympathy goes.  We have lost a “Great Legionaire” in Fin.  With him we lost a Guide, who was never stuck for an answer in Legion history.  We will miss Fin, but we know how he would like us to carry on and we will go on in the way Fin has shown us to go

British War Medal
Victory Medal
War Medal 1939-45
New Zealand War Service Medal
Coronation Medal
Efficiency Decoration

Gold Pioneer Axe (Awarded 1962)
Pioneer Axe (Awarded 1947)
Legion Meritorious Service Medal (Awarded 1938)
Long Service & Efficiency Medal (Awarded 1946)

Born 14 July 1889, Glasgow, Scotland
Died 8 November 1968, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Buried Levin Old Cemetery, New Zealand [Block: RSA, Row: 14, Plot: 175]
Photographs from Conferences past in New Zealand