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Our namesake

Charles Upham (1908-1994)

Charles Hazlitt Upham was born in Christchurch in 1908 and worked as a shepherd and musterer before qualifying as a valuer. When war broke out he volunteered and joined the 20th Battalion, training at Burnham.

Charles Upham became an internationally recognised hero after winning the Commonwealth’s highest honour for bravery – the Victoria Cross – twice. He is the only combat soldier ever to win two of the awards.

Charles Upham did not like the fame that came with his success. He always remained immensely modest, insisting that it was the work of his men that deserved praise, not him.

After the war he married Molly McTamney, a Red Cross nurse from Dunedin, and returned to New Zealand to farm and start a family. Charles and Molly had three daughters – Amanda, Virginia and Caroline. The couple farmed for more than 40 years at Conway Flat.

Charles Upham died in 1994 at the age of 86. The Mark of the Lion, the story of his exploits by Kenneth Sandford, became a bestseller in the 1960s.