“The brothers Richard and William Lee tried hard to enlist with both the First and Second Echelons but were found temporarily medically unfit. They succeeded, however, in being accepted for service with the Third Echelon, said their mother, Mrs W. A. Lee. of Leith Street, Whangarei. Both were serving with the Sixth Field Regiment Artillery. An elder brother, James, is with the First Echelon in Egypt. Mrs Lee, whose husband died some years ago, had a family of five sons. Farmed at Mangapai.
The brothers were born at Mangapai and farmed there all their lives, continuing to work the farm of their father after Mrs Lee had retired to Whangarei seven years ago. For three or four years Mr Richard Lee played hockey for Mangapai. Although prominent in the Mangapai team about 1927, he did not aspire to representative honours. The two remaining Lee brothers are working the Mangapai farm. Of these one is married and the other single. Rumours concerning the casualties took shape in Whangarei this morning.
The happening gave rise to one to the effect that a transport carrying New Zealand troops had been sunk.
Another was that one of the Lee brothers had accidentally fallen overboard and his brother had dived to attempt rescue. Neither of these rumours, as far as can at present be ascertained from official sources, has foundation in fact. Mr J. G. Barclay, M.P., this morning telegraphed Wellington asking for official advice on the matter. P.M.’s Strong Denial In a telephone conversation with the Prime Minister (Mr Fraser), Mr Barclay was told this afternoon, “There is not a word of truth in the rumour that a transport has been sunk. “Transportation of the New Zealand troops has been most satisfactory,” Mr Fraser commented.
[Northern Advocate, 18 October 1940, Page 6]
Their elder brother, James also drowned in 1941 and is buried at El Alamein War Cemetery. It was later reported that Richard and William died in a boating accident on the NIle. (NZWGT)
There are no public contributions written for this casualty
Text in italics supplied by Cenotaph Online, Auckland War Memorial Museum