Marietta Victorina van Aerde was born on 2 December 1888 or 1889 in the suburb of Berchem, Antwerp, Belgium, one of four children born to Frans Joename van Aerde and Celestine nee Parfondevaux . The other children were Terrese, Seraphine and Pauline and a brother Alexander. Frans, her father’s occupation was given as a gentleman on Maria’s marriage certificate.
Nothing further has been discovered about her early life.
Marriage 1: Charles Augustin Somers,
28 Oct 1908: Baptism or birth of son Victor Aldolphus François Somers.
On the staff of a hospital in Antwerp, Belgium.
Aug- Oct: Rescued three British marines from a burning hospital in Antwerp. She was captured and shot in the neck, whipped, stabbed, cut, starved and imprisoned by German troops.
Her service in the War is detailed in the full Biography available on the Nelson Provincial Museum website.
Awarded L'Ordre de Leopold II and Militaire War Cross.
Marietta Victorina Somers (nee van Aerde) married George Edward Dixon on 6 February 1919 at the Register Office, Romford, Essex.
George Edward Dixon’s war record (no. 12153) states he suffered multiple gunshot wounds on 19 July 1918 in France, following which, he was sent to No.1 NZ General Hospital at Brockenhurst on 30 July. George, a New Zealander, had been suffering from gas poisoning and was transferred to NZ Convalescent Hospital Hornchurch on 25 September 1918. He was subsequently discharged from Hornchurch to duty at Torquay, in the south of England. Maria was nursing wounded servicemen at NZ Convalescent Hospital Hornchurch, where she probably met George.
9 May 1922: Her passport states she travelled to UK on Tainui.
Maria made a passport application to enter New Zealand in 1922. This records that she had a scar on her left cheek and right neck and was described as a British subject. The passport includes details of her son Victor, born 28 October 1908, aged 14 (son by first marriage). It appears that Maria made the passport application in NZ to enable her to return to Belgium to collect Victor, as she and George arrived in NZ on the ship Corinthic on 25 September 1919. The ship sailed home via the Panama Canal, arriving in Wellington. The passengers, "comprising 404 troops, 358 wives and 78 children, was accorded the usual hearty reception on the wharf by next-of-kin and friends, and by the Patriotic Society’s band, which played lively airs".
George Dixon was discharged from the army 22 October 1919, no longer fit for service, probably due to gunshot wounds to the thigh. His war file notes his death on 14 May 1923 from pneumonia and pericarditis.
Marriage 3: Henry Stanley Hull in 1924.
Stan Hull and Maria were custodians of the Shirley Golf Club in Christchurch. During the 1940s they lived in New Brighton and at some stage in the late 1950s moved to Motueka. Stan Hull was also a war veteran.
On 27 January 1979, the Nelson Evening Mail reported Stan and Maria Hull were both residents of Wakatu Lodge where Maria was having her 90th birthday.
Stanley Hull died on 7 March 1980 in Motueka aged 88.
Maria Hull died a few months later on 1 July 1980, aged 91 and is buried in Motueka Cemetery RSA Section.