"The circumstances preceding the death of Private Roy Clemens, a returned wounded soldier, are the subject of an open letter which his father, Mr. C. H. Clemens, has addressed to members of Parliament.
Mr. Clemens states that his son returned by a hospital ship on Juno 12, 1918, and was placed in the annexe to the Auckland Hospital. As the result of representations to Dr. Maguire, he was removed to the main hospital, and "no person could have been treated with more kindness and consideration" than Private Clemens received from Dr. Maguire and his staff.
Complaint is made by Mr. Clemens regarding the manner in which hie son was transferred from Auckland to Hanmer. For several months he had been kept in a heated room, but on October 37 he was sent to the station in an ambulance, and subsequently travelled from Auckland to Hanmer by train, steamer, and motor-car, in ordinary passenger accommodation, without special provision for his comfort as an invalid. On arrival at Hanmer "he was in such a condition that even before his uniform was removed he was packed in hot water bottles, but was so ill that Colonel Bernan formed the opinion his life could not be saved." He died on November 3. Mr. Clemens states that the published report attributed his son's death to gas poisoning, but he was informed at Hanmer that it was due to influenza and pneumonia. He alleges that the orderly who accompanied his son to Hanmer had been immediately before their departure nursing patients from the Niagara, and remarks upon the outbreak immediately after their arrival of influenza at Hanmer. The letter concludes:—" I desire to place on record that Dr. Maguire did everything he possibly could for my boy, and this statement also applies to the orderly sent from Auckland. At Hanmer nothing was left undone which could be done. "The question as to who is at fault does not concern me. I should like to think that no similar case has occurred in New Zealand, but evidence points strongly in the other direction."
The letter was referred to-day to the Minister for Defence, who said that Private Clemens had been transferred from one hospital to another apparently for his own good. "Whether he was in fact fit to travel at the time is a medical question which I will not attempt to decide," added Sir James. "I am getting reports on tho matter, I may say Mr. Clemen's has been to see me and he is concerned only in ensuring that there shall be no similar trouble in future in regard to any other cases." [New Zealand Herald, Volume LV, Issue 17027, 7 December 1918, Page 10]
Submitted by: Lorraine Andrews
Relationship to casualty: NoneDOB: 4/01/1894; DOD: 3/11/1918 aged 24years deceased in Queen Mary Hospital Hamner Springs NZ; Enlisted on 24/11/1915; 31/10/17 Awarded the Military Medal for Gallantry bringing wound under fire at B... Read More
Text in italics supplied by Cenotaph Online, Auckland War Memorial Museum