Eva Peachy Godden
Where Married: Strathfield, NSW, Australia
Photo of Arthur Neech
Following are the titles of photos regarding Arthur Neech
A J Neech & Sisters (1955)
A J Neech (aged 16 yrs)
21 Cotterels, Hemel Hempstead, Herts, England
Ellen Neech (nee Miles) and son Arthur
HMS "Goliath" at Hong Kong & HMAS "Brisbane" at Sydney Harbour
Arthur Neech & Family (abt1924)
Eva Neech (nee Godden)
Note : Arthur was also known as Jack, Snowy & John.
Arthur John Neech was born at 21 Cotterells Road Hemel Hempstead Herts. on 23rd July 1882. He rarely talked about his earrly life, but there a few anecdotes that are worth recording.
When he commenced school he cultivated a passion for not being willing to go and as his parents had decided that he should get some education, they had to find a means of getting him there either by coercion or by force. The solution they found was that he would be wheeled to school in a wheelbarrow by one of his sisters and that one being Ellen (Nell). This presumably ceased when became too heavy to push. Another story he told was also about his early school years. In those days the rules at school were very strict and none of the children were ever given permission to leave the classroom for whatever purpose. Like many children, dislike of school and fear of their teachers affected their bowels . Arthur John was no different from the others and it was not uncommon for him to be seen coming slowly along the street , grasping his trousers tightly above each knee to prevent leaving a trail behind and with his three sisters standing at the front gate calling out loudly "here comes Our Jack".
At another time he spoke about his home and some of his neighbours. It seems that the terrace houses in which their house was situated were divided into pairs with each sharing a common cess-pit separated by the dividing fence. The lavatory block was a common building which straddled the pit and it was divided by a brick wall so that each family had privacy. Also, somewhere in the back garden of his home there grew a blackberry bush. In his teens there were two girls of an age similar to his, living next door. Arthur, with a school-mate accomplice, found it was great fun to break a long blackberry stick from the bush and, when either of the two girls were using the lavatory next door, he with a teen-age friend would poke the bramble under the building and give their bottoms a scratch.
It was necessary for the cess-pit to be emptied each week and his father decreed that as "Our Jack", as he was called, was the only male member who didn't need to sleep all night, it would be his duty to attend to this job, for the comfort of all. The night-cart arrived somewhere between 11:00 pm and midnight and "Young Jack" had to man the pump handle until the pit was emptied. Then back to bed.
As soon as he was old enough he ran away from home to join the Royal Navy as a Boy 2nd Class, and commenced the training ship H.M.S. "Boscawen(?)" on the 4th April 1898. While in the Navy, just before his 18th birthday he, was drafted to H.M.S. Goliath and he stayed in her until 8th October 1903. Goliath sailed from Plymouth on 2nd June 1900 arriving at Hong Kong on the 21st July. She left H.K. on 8th August and arrived at Chusan on 11th August and then stayed in Eastern Waters until 5thJuly 1903.They then sailed for home arriving at Plymouth on 29th August 1903. For this tour of duty he was awarded the China Medal 1900.He then served in many R.N. ships until he was discharged "Time Expired" 22nd July 1912.
On 10th October 1912 he volunteered for service (5 years) with the newly formed Royal Australian Navy joined H.M.A.S. Melbourne on 8th January 1913. Whilst serving on the Melborne, WW 1 broke out and in September 1914 he took part in an expedition into what was then German New Guinea. He was a member of the crew of a gun-boat which penetrated that territory by sailing up the Fly River. For this action he received a Special Commendation. He was later drafted into H.M.A.S. Brisbane on 19th November 1916. He appears to have met his future wife early in 1918 (vide her letter of 5th April 1918 q.v.). He was demobilised in Sydney on 31st August 1919.
He married Eva Peachy Godden in St, Anne’s Church of England, Strathfield, NSW on 29th July 1918 by Reverend H. J. Rose, affectionately known by his parishioners as Parson Rose.
Son John Charles was born on 4th June 1919.
Daughter Joan Eva was born 1920, dcd. 1920
After leaving the Navy he obtained work as an electrical Mechanic with the Commonwealth Naval Dockyard, Cockatoo Island, Sydney, until October 1920 when there was a post-war depression and he was discharged for want of work, or as was stated on his Certificate of Service "owing to slackness of work".
He was then without permanent employment for two years. Fortunately the family into which he had married was reasonably supportive and he was able to find odd jobs to help support a wife and baby son.
Early in 1922 he obtained another position with the then Postmaster General, now Telstra, as a telephone mechanic. This job lasted until January 1928 when thousands were stood down due to a worldwide depression.
Undismayed by this and with his wife's help he bought a mixed business in Burwood, a Sydney suburb. Here they started with a flourish, but the hard times were against them and the business survived for only three years. this depression was so severe that wherever it was possible families were selling their assets, shedding their financial burdens and gathering together as a clan in whichever family member's house could accommodate them all. As he had no immediate family of his own here, he with wife and 9 years old son went to live at Grandma's together with five other members of Grandma's family. Survival was made possible through hard work, a very productive back-yard vegetable garden, a few fruit trees and by all contributing whatever they could, whenever they could. There a few restrictions on luxuries, but nobody went without necessities.
It was not until the middle of 1934 that he was able to find employment as a Patrolman with the Maritime Services Board of N.S.W. and here he remained until he retired in 1947. He then lived a very quiet life until he died at age 81 in 1963.
Last Updated : 29-Jan-09