Lieutenant Colonel David Cossgrove (DSO) … 1852–1920.
Photograph taken on (or near) 1910 (year DSO awarded).
Photograph & Information: Uploaded today .. by his Great Grandson (myself)
Lieutenant Colonel David Cossgrove DSO
Details of burial:
Buried in Bromley Cemetery, 447 Linwood Avenue, Bromley, Christchurch – NZ (postcode: 8062)
Excerpt as written in NZ Libraries via “on-line” PDF.
(Pages 53 & 54 – of 63)
David Cossgrove was born David Crosgrove at Crosshill, Ayrshire, Scotland. In 1859 the family emigrated to Otago (NZ), on the ship: Alpine, and a year later, changed their name to Cossgrove.
A teacher, David was at Otago Peninsula’s Sandymount School when he met Selina Robertson. On 11 February 1875 the couple married at the home of the bride’s parents at Sandfly Bay; Selina bore eight children. Keen on natural history, Cossgrove had a class museum and wrote an Otago witness column, ‘Natural history for the young’.
In Westport Selina helped establish a women’s ward at the local hospital. She was more satisfied than was her husband who, having fought to establish a district high school, failed to gain the position of headmaster. He accepted a big drop in salary and took charge of the Kaiapoi Native School.
David was an excellent drill instructor and rifle shot. He was a keen member of the Volunteers; if he found that there was no corps in an area to which he moved, he started one. Although 48, he served in the Boer War as quartermaster and paymaster. In 1910 the army sweetened Cossgrove’s placement on the retired list by giving him the title of lieutenant-colonel.
At Tuahiwi Selina trained Maori women in child care, hygiene and health, taught sewing at the school and, with David in South Africa, ran the institution with the help of daughters Catherina, Selina and Elfrida. In 1908 the school was renamed the Tuahiwi School, David finally being given the title of headmaster.
In 1908 David found a local, Ted Mallasche using Robert Baden-Powell Baden-Powell’s Scouting for boys to instruct his sons and their friends. Cossgrove contacted the English general, whom he had known in South Africa and got permission to organise the Boy Scout movement in the Dominion. He wrote a constitution, swore in the existing patrols and, in letters to newspapers, explained the nature of the organisation. By December 1908, 36 troops had been enrolled, mainly in North Canterbury, and Cossgrove was Dominion Chief Scout (later Dominion Chief Commissioner). Small boys, too young to become scouts but whose ambition to emulate them was unbounded, were brought together as Wolf Cubs. Cossgrove wrote their handbook, The story of a bull pup. This was a great success, the education authorities including extracts in the School journal and making it a supplementary reader in schools.
Cossgrove’s youngest daughter, Muriel persuaded 24 of her Rangiora schoolmates to form patrols and thus was born the Girls’ Peace Camp Association which became the Girl Guides. Selina took charge of the new body. David and Selina co-authored Peace scouting for girls. It contained useful information on self-defence and the dangers of corsets and sold well in several countries including the United States and Japan.
David enjoyed scouting activities, especially telling camp-fire yarns, many of which appeared in a periodical, the Dominion scout. He liked the pomp associated with the movement and, when Baden- Powell visited New Zealand in 1912, arranged his itinerary and accompanied him on the tour. He excelled at administration and advocacy. When Parliament drew up the 1918 Military Decorations and Distinctive Badges Act, David ensured that it contained a clause ensuring that only those who belonged to the organisation could wear its uniform. He gave up teaching, became the scout movement’s first paid organising secretary and moved into Christchurch to concentrate on the work which meant so much to the family.
David Cossgrove died of stomach cancer at his residence, 58 Gresford Street, on 9 September 1920. His military funeral attracted over 500 scouts and their leaders. Selina died on 23 October 1929.
The pink gravestone was:
Erected by the Dominion Boy Scouts and Girl Peace Scouts in grateful remembrance of:
Lieutenant Colonel David Cossgrove V.D., founder and first Dominion Chief Scout, died 9 September 1920, aged 68.
Selina, wife of above and with him joint founder of the Girls’ Peace Scouts and Boy Scouts, died 28 October 1929, aged 80.
Muriel Victoria, youngest daughter, 1894-1938
Bertrand 1885-1943: Selina, 1877-1943;
38633 Major D. C. W. Cossgrove, New Zealand Military Forces died 15 September 1951
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