Alexander Thomas Coffin (Long Tom)

This site is for the descendants of, Alexander Thomas Coffin, Born Nantucket Island, USA, 1813 or 1818. Son of Alexander Macy Coffin and Catherine Campbel. Whaler out of USA, Stock keeper/Sawyer in NZ. Married 1st: Mary Ainge, 24th Aug 1853, no children. Unmarried 2nd Caroline Henrietta Bathurst, Born around 1835, Greenwich, England. She moved to New Zealand 1852 (on the settler ship called the Samarang), She Died 19 October 1920 in Stratford. Buried 21 October 1920. He Died 26 July 1901 in O’Kains Bay.
1855 Alexander Bathurst – Coffin, O’Kains Bay, Married 1879 Sophia Dorrett Ridder. He Died 26th Oct 1935, She Died 1st Jan 1951.
1856-1856 William Henry Bathurst (Infant death)
1858 Edward James Coffin, O’Kains Bay, Un-married. Died 22nd June 1941
1860, 11th May. Henrietta Louisa Coffin, O’Kains Bay, married Robert Kean Osborn, from Jamaica b.1878
1862 Silas Augustus Bathurst, O’Kains Bay. Married Catherine Anne Phoebe Thomas. He Died 29th March 1950. She Died 13th Sept 1960. They were 1st Cousins. Her mother was Carolines sister. Silas never took on the Coffin name. His Elderly children didnt even know they were Coffins.
1864 Seth Silverneil Bathurst- Coffin, Married Harriett Elizabeth Reeve, born 20 June 1871.
1865 Philip George Bathurst – Coffin, O’Kains Bay. Married: Elizabeth Peters. He Died 21st Nov 1951
1867 Alfred William Bathurst Coffin, O’Kains Bay. Married: Ellen Martha Rix. He Died 3rd Oct 1951. She Died 20th May 1941.
1870 Richard Uridge Bathurst – Coffin. O’Kains Bay. Married: Eleanor Greenfield. He Died 24th July 1943
1870 Lillian Frances Coffin. O’Kains Bay. Married: William Alfred Reeve
1872-1872 Walter Herbert Bathurst
1873 Charles Samual Bathurst/Coffin, married Ngareta Wairoa (Start of Maori Line)
1877 Peter Coffin Bathurst. O’Kains Bay. Never Married. Died 4th Oct 1895. Killed by Accidental tree falling.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Coffins in the Military

There are records of members of the family in various wars throughout history: General John Pine-Coffin was the officer commanding the troops guarding Napoleon Bonaparte on St Helena. Major John Edward PineCoffin served during the Boer War from 1900. He was mentioned in dispatches many times and was awarded the DSO. During the First World War Major-General Clifford Coffin (1870-1959) was awarded the Victoria Cross.

He was 47 years old, and a Temporary Brigadier General in the Corps of Royal Engineers, British Army, Commander 25th Infantry Brigade during the First World War. On 31 July 1917 in Westhoek, Belgium, when his command was held up in attack owing to heavy machine-gun and rifle fire, Brigadier-General Coffin went forward and made an inspection of his front posts. Although under the heaviest fire from both machine-guns and rifles and in full view of the enemy, he showed an utter disregard of personal danger, walking quietly from shell-hole to shellhole, giving advice and cheering his men by his presence. His gallant conduct had the greatest effect on all ranks and it was largely owing to his personal courage and example that the shell-hole line was held.

After the war he commanded a brigade in the Rhine Army of Occupation, and between 1920 and 1924 commanded all British troops in Ceylon. He retired in 1924, and for most of the next thirty-five years devoted himself to working for ex-servicemen’s causes. He passed away a week short of his 89th birthday at Torquay. His medals, including the VC, DSO and Bar, French Croix de Guerre and Belgian Order of the Crown, are on display at the Royal Engineers Museum, Gillingham, Kent.

As mentioned, J. E. Pine-Coffin served with distinction during the Boer War. His sons came to prominence during the Second World War.

Lieutenant-Colonel Claude Pine-Coffin, served in the Far East but was captured by the Japanese when Singapore fell in February 1942. Fortunately, unlike many of his fellow servicemen, he survived the appalling experience of life as a prisoner of war. Claude’s younger brother, Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Geoffrey Pine-Coffin MC, was amongst the more experienced battalion commanders in the 6th Airborne Division, having transferred out of the Devonshire Regiment to join the 2nd Parachute Battalion at the time of their formation in late 1941, before being transferred to the 3rd Battalion as Second-inCommand. He was later given command of this Battalion and led them throughout the heavy fighting of the Tunisian campaign, from November 1942 to April 1943.

When the 1st Parachute Brigade sailed to North Africa in late 1942, the 3rd Battalion was flown on ahead to Gibraltar in preparation for an operation to capture the airfield at Bone, in Tunisia. The drop took place during the early morning of the 12th November and the airfield was soon in the hands of the Battalion. A formation of German paratroopers had been ordered to carry out the same operation, however when they realised that the British had beaten them to it they returned to their own airfield.

The 3rd Battalion was soon attacked by Stuka dive-bombers but this marked the only resistance to their occupation of the airfield, and several days later they were relieved. Over the following months, fighting as ordinary front-line infantry at Bou Arada and the prolonged Battle of Tamera, the Parachute Regiment earned the respect of Allies and enemy alike for their excellent fighting ability. For his performance throughout the campaign, Lieutenant-Colonel Pine-Coffin was awarded the Military Cross: Lt-Col Trenchard John Pine Coffin (1921-2006), Claude’s son, followed the flag in Burma.

During his 28 years with the Parachute Regiment, Pine-Coffin served with all three battalions and in 1961 took command of 1st Parachute Battalion. His parachuting career was brought to a premature end when he landed in the dark on a tractor and broke several bones in his feet. A series of staff appointments followed. In 1963 he was in Nassau when he was ordered to investigate a party of Cuban exiles that had infiltrated Andros Island, part of the Bahamas. His seaplane landed in thick mud and Pine-Coffin decided that his only chance of reaching dry land was to strip off.

On coming ashore, plastered in mud and wearing only a red beret and a pair of flippers, he was confronted by a party of armed Cubans. Mustering as much authority as he could in the circumstances, he informed the group that they were trespassing on British sovereign territory and were surrounded.

The following morning, when the Royal Marines arrived to rescue him they were astonished to find him and his radio operator in a clearing standing guard over the Cubans and a pile of surrendered weapons. He was appointed OBE.

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