BATHE Claude Thomas
5248, Whakatane Home Guard, World War 2
250, Legion of Frontiersmen

CITATION
Queens Service Medal (QSM)
Gazetted in the New Year 1986 Honours list
For services to the Legion of Frontiersmen and the community.  Mr BATHE served in the Home Guard during World War 2.  Joined the Legion of Frontiersmen in 1944 and recently retired as Adjutant to the New Zealand Command and ‘Y’ Squadron, Whakatane, Records Officer and Editor.  He served as a member of the local Fire Police unit assisting with crowd control.  He received the Pioneer Axe and the Legion Cross of Merit.

KNOWN AWARDS
Queen's Service Medal
New Zealand War Medal

Gold Pioneer Axe
New Zealand Cross of Merit
Legion Meritorious Service Medal
Legion Cross of Merit and bar
Long Service & Efficiency Medal
Silver Fern
Australian Medal of Merit
Canadian Division Service Cross
Canadian Thunderbird Medal

NOTES
Born 17 September 1906
Died 29 May 1991 Whakatane, New Zealand
Buried Unknown location in Whakatane


OBITUARY
Claude BATHE, a Legion Great.  One of the greatest Frontiersmen in New Zealand, Claude BATHE died Sunday.  Mr BATHE, who was 84 years old, was a long time resident of Whakatane.  He was a foundation member of Whakatane’s ‘Y’ Squadron which formed in 1944 and was the last recipient of the Gold Pioneer Axe.  Only three had been awarded in New Zealand since 1904.  Mr BATHE, who is known as ‘Baldy’ and ‘Old Claude’, was described by his friends as the most dedicated man to the community as well as to the Legion.  He was one of the runners-up to the most hours worked in New Zealand, within the Legion.  His only daughter, Audrey, and her husband Ian HENDERSON, said Mr BATHE was a nam of honour.  He was born in Auckland and lived in Whakatane for 54 years.  He served his apprenticeship as a marine engineer but immediately transferred to automotive engineering.  He worked for years as a civil and mechanical engineer at the Waikune Prison at national Park.  Mr BATHE was a keen hunter and supplied meat to the prison during his time there.  When he and his late wife, Min, first moved to Whakatane they ran the Ohope Camp Store, then he obtained a job at the motor garage in Domain Road.  He soon became one of the partners at E. & R. DILLICAR’s (Now known as Shell Ventura) with the TAYLOR Brothers which they ran for 35 years.  He was a member of the Apprenticeship committee and the Motor Trade Association.  He retired from this business and enjoyed a tour of England.  When he returned to New Zealand, Claude began working for the Whakatane Hospital in maintenance.  He was a member of the Whakatane Rifle Shooting Club and the Legion’s smallbore rifle club.  He was also involved in the Whakatane Black Powder Club and the Whakatane Caravaner’s Club.  He was a dedicated member of the Fire Police and in most cases the first at the fire stationin times of emergency.  He was involved in Civil Defence, road safety and mountain safety.  He had just recently become a member of the cartridge collectors club.  His daughter, Audrey, said her father was greatly admired and it was to his credit that he died ‘in action’ as he had been on duty for the Legion on Saturday night.  He had a string of letter after his name relating to his services to the community and the Legion.  These include the Gold Pioneer Axe, the Queen’s Service Medal, the medals for Home Service 1939-45, Legion Long Service & Efficiency Medal, the Knights Templar (an Order of Chivalry recognised by the RSA), The Legion Cross of Merit, Legion Meritorious Service Medal, The Australian Medal of Merit for loyalty, devotion and outstanding service to the Legion of Frontiersmen, and the Canadian Division Service Cross.  The secretary of the Whakatane Agricultural and Pastoral Association, Mr Rex HILL, said Mr BATHE was a dedicated man who had not missed an A&P Show.  A friend, Mr Doug BAKER, said he remembered as a 15 year old being told by his father to take note of Claude BATHE as he was a man to be admired, “I did take note and he definitely was admired,” he said.

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