A travel blog of Ireland, Europe, and New Zealand

Fred and Girlie Annan

FamilySearch Codes LV82-K9D (Fred) L5LY-YN1 (Girlie)

Frederick John Andrew Annan was born in Auckland on 18th January 1895. He died in Auckland on 29th September 1969.

Annie Isabel Macrae was born in Middlemarch, Otago, on 29th January 1897. She died in Napier on 11th December 1971. She was the eldest of five daughters of Donald Macrae (1860-1934) and Christina Isabella Macrae (1872-1950). Her parents, both born Macraes, were descended from two brothers some 5 or 6 generations earlier. Her nickname in the family, from quite a young age, was Girlie, and this was how she was known to friends and relatives throughout her life.

How did Fred and Girlie meet? We don’t know. Fred worked on coastal shipping throughout NZ, as a ship’s engineer, so he may have travelled frequently to Port Chalmers in Dunedin.

They were married on 18th December 1918 at Chalmers Church in Dunedin, where Gaelic was still the preaching language.

Soon after they were married, Fred apparently left his seafaring life and started up in business with his father and two others: Annan, Annan, Peach and Williams was a taxi and service car business in Napier.

On 4th September 1920, the East Coast Journal Vol 1 No. 1 was published and a small banner at the very top advertised A.A.P.W. MOTOR TAXI SERVICE, Dickens St, Napier, Tel.1429.

By September 1919, they had their first child, Donnie, and then Joyce came along 16 months later in January 1921. July 1922 saw the arrival of Raymond and then a gap until June 1925 when the youngest, Edith, was born.

Fred was probably not the best businessman in the world, and AAPW did not last past the end of the 1920s decade. However, he was probably still regarded as a man of substance, being a Justice of the Peace and sitting regularly in Napier as a Magistrate.

The Annans c.1939

They all survived the Napier earthquake in 1931, although for Edith, the quake occurring on her first day at school, it left its mark permanently on her and she lived with what can only be called a phobia of earthquakes for the rest of her life.

Life for the Annans changed dramatically in 1940 when Donnie was killed over Holland during the second world war, aged just 20.

A second dramatic event, at around the same time (whether before or after Donnie’s death is not presently clear) came with Fred’s desertion of his wife and children to live with a woman 18 years his junior, Jennie Slater.