Occupation: Factory hand
1888 14 February: Valentine Julius Blake Huffam born to T. Blake Huffam and Jane Huffam (nee Jacobsen) in Richmond, Nelson.
The Huffam family had roots in the Motueka region since 1869 when Timothy Huffam and his four sons landed at Bark Bay in what became the Abel Tasman National Park. Later the Huffam family became boatbuilders and opened a boat-building business at Port Nelson. Timothy Blake Huffam, Julius’s father, had a stationers and book store on Trafalgar Street, before owning a music business in Hardy Street, which he sold to Charles Begg, before moving to Richmond.
Valentine, known as Julius, was in the Nelson Territorial Reserve Force, 1903-1914. Julius was 15 years old when he left Nelson to go to sea. His travels on board ship took him all around the world over the next 11 years.
May: Julius arrives in Brisbane and works on board the ship Amra. 5 August: Julius records in his diary the news that Great Britain has declared war on Germany. “War news very exciting and demonstrations in street. Dense crowds everywhere and newspaper offices besieged by crowds awaiting news. Shrill screams of newspaper boys is deafening. Wild reports and rumours are circulated every now and then.” September: When his work on the Amra finishes and work proves hard to find in Brisbane, Julius signs up for the Expeditionary Force and hopes it won’t be long before he is called up for active service. Eventually he decides to try his luck in Sydney where he finds it equally difficult to get work.
January: Julius returns to Nelson from Australia and gets work at Kirkpatrick’s factory until he is called up for active service. 13 June: Julius embarks with the New Zealand Medical Corps on board the Maunganui bound for the Suez. 24 July: the Maunganui arrives in Egypt.
July: Julius is transported by ship to England, where he is stationed with the New Zealand No.1 General Hospital in Brockenhurst, Hampshire where he worked as a cook. November: Julius is transferred to France where he joins the No.2 Field Ambulance at Eaton Hall in Nouveau Monde near Sailly, west of Armentieres. Field ambulance units were close to combat zones and took wounded soldiers from near the front line before moving them to casualty clearing stations.
Julius remains with the New Zealand No.2 Field Ambulance.
October/November: Julius takes a two week leave break in the south of France. He returns to the unit just days before the end of the war.
13 January: Julius is admitted to a casualty clearing station at Namur, Belgium, suffering from bronchopneumonia following influenza. 22 January: Julius dies and is buried in Germany’s Cologne Southern Cemetery. His French fiancée apparently kept in touch with his family for some time after his death.