Tish Ballagh, and Nicky Muir with their grandpa Thomas Richard’s army discharge certificate and Vardon Grip painting

Hororata Harry’s history

by Ann van Engelen

Hororata resident Thomas Henry Allen Richards enlisted in the Army on February 16 1917 at 22 years old and served for two years and 50 days abroad.

“Grandpa was in the third New Zealand Rifle Brigade B Company as a sniper and was commissioned to France,” says granddaughter Nicky Muir.

“He arrived there on February 20 1918, and was wounded in his right hand and left arm on March 17, and was hospitalised in the UK on March 29. His wounds meant he was discharged from service on August 25 1919.

“Grandpa was an absolute character, which is why we think he was a sniper as he would do anything. He was referred to as Horarata Harry.

“He was a senior champion at the Hororata Golf Club three times and club captain from 1926–1941. We have amazing things he brought back with him from the war including a beautiful painting called the Vardon Grip. It is the grip most golfers use today, and Harry Vardon created it.”

The family have continued Harry’s golfing legacy.

“My dad Toby Richards was also captain and senior champion 14 times. His sister and brother also won, and I have won 11 times. My son Timothy is also a member. We are proud to continue on grandpa’s legacy and for us, Anzac day represents what family members went through.”

The Hororata Golf Club hold an Anzac Day tournament called the Split Sixes.

“It is a fun day after a morning of respecting those who fought to give us the life we have. Starting at 1pm, everyone is welcome to join in — it is a great way to end a very special day of remembrance.”

Contact the golf club for more details on 03 318 2887.