The story of Ralph Semple Darrach

Born 10 April 1893. Describing himself as a “wireless student” Ralph enlisted on 21 July 1916. He was killed in action at Ypres 28 December 1917 and was buried at Tyne Cot Cemetery, Belgium. His plaque was sent to parents, William and Ada Darach, of “Rosebank”, Mahurangi.

To farming families like the Darrachs, sons going to war resulted in the added pressure of losing essential workers. The New Zealand Herald reported on 13 April 1917 that father, William Darrach, successfully appealed to the Auckland Military Services Board for an exemption on behalf of his younger son, Hugh Alexander. He stated that he had recently had an accident and because …” no farm labour was available in the district…” his son was needed to take on his father’s workload. An exemption of 3 months was granted.

Hugh Alexander enlisted in October 1917, which was just before his brother died. Hugh was posted to Egypt and survived the war. He was discharged in October 1919.

Ralph Semple Darrach bronze plaque. Warkworth Museum Collection