IVAN AND AUDREY SAVELL
AUDREY DAWSON TOSTEVIN was born 21 Oct 1919 in Sanson, and died 21 Mar 2007 in Palmerston North. Married IVAN SEABORN
SAVELL 21 Jan 1942 in Sanson Methodist Church, Sanson, son of EDGAR SAVELL and EMILY NEWTH. He was born 31 Jan 1917 in Foxton,
and died 19 May 1979 in Palmerston North.
Rest in peace Mum and Dad, I still miss you
[Ivan's Pedigree Chart Here]
Dad was born in Foxton and educated at Foxton High School. The family were transferred to Wairoa where his father, Edgar was working in
the flax industry
They were there during the time of the Napier earthquake. He was in the school playground when the earthquake struck. There were waves
going across the playground and he watched as the school rose up over the first, was hit by the second and collapsed. There would have
been a disaster if all the pupils were not outside. At home, they had a wood burning stove and that was thrown to the other side of the room.
They didn't have any china whatsoever, for quite some time and the house was not suitable to live in. When they came back to Foxton, Ivan's
father was still working in the flax mill in the threshing department - he used to put the fibre over the wires to dry in the paddocks.
His early interest‘s were in radio and he became a registered radio serviceman and also had a ham radio station – ZL2FO. Dad’s first job was
working for a Vance Kyle. He had a small radio shop and also had a broadcast radio station 2FO. It was above Collinson and Cunningham
[Broadway, Palmerston North] Dad was the radio operator and then he went to Berryman's, another radio shop. It was here that Dad and the
boys all decided they would enlist for WW II. Dad was not accepted as a radio serviceman, they wanted electricians and so they took him as an
electrician. A little while later, his brother, Bryan Savell decided to enlist and they took him smartly to be a radio operator and Dad was very
upset about it.
Ivan served at Ohakea, Christchurch, New Plymouth and Levin. They used to parade at night time with broom sticks as there were no rifles. He
then went to Lauthala bay in Fiji working on Catalina flying boats and then to the Solomon Islands. During WW II, Ivan was on leave from the
Royal NZ Airforce to be present at son, Lindsay's birth. Lindsay arrived a week late and Ivan obtained an extra week's leave to stay in NZ. The
plane, which he was originally scheduled to return in to Fiji went missing in transit between NZ and Fiji - there were no survivors
He eventually came home and got out of the Air Force and he started in Berryman’s again . Mum recalls that he decided he would go on his
own and remembers starting up a radio repair business in the garage of their Fergusson St Palmerston North flat. She also recalls him walking
the whole of Milson [suburb of Palmerston North] door to door trying to get repairs. He eventually opened a radio and later television retail
shop in Main St, Palmerston North
Dad’s personal interest were the Masonic lodge, rising to become Master of Lodge Pa-Ka-Ma No 319, He also had an interest in astronomy
and built his own 150mm reflector telescope, grinding the mirror by hand. His main hobby was surf casting, to the point that he built a home at
Himitangi Beach so he could indulge. He also played the double bass and performed for many years in dance bands
Electrician in the Royal NZ Air Force. No 402371. Rank on discharge was Corporal. Joined RNZAF Harewood, Christchurch and was variously
posted to Levin, Christchurch, Bell Block. Then Lauthala Bay in Fiji and the Solomon Islands. Discharged 14th September, 1945, when he had
done 3 years, 251 days service in NZ and 1 year, 157 days service overseas
War medals:- 1939 - 1945 Star
1939 -1945 War Medal
NZ War Services Medal
Aircraft worked on:- Oxford, Vincent, Gordon, Harvard, Hudson, Ventura, Catalina, Kittyhawk
Was posted to No.6 Flying Boat Squadron was formed in Fiji, May 1943, and disbanded September 1945. They flew PBY Catalinas,
(affectionately known as 'Dumbos'). The squadron achieved considerable success with its air sea rescues. Over 80 personnel were rescued
from various ditched aircraft, (RNZAF, USMC, USN, USAAF pilots and crew). Royal New Zealand Air Force’s No 6 Squadron, operating PBY-5
and PB2B-1 Catalina flying boats from Halavo Bay in the Solomon Islands.No 6 Squadron had been flying Operations from Halavo Bay since
Christmas Day 1943, including anti-submarine patrols and SAR cover for Kiwi and American aircrew attacking the Japanese stronghold at
Rabaul. Here is a picture of No 6 Flying boat Squadron, with members of the Squadron lined up on the wings of a PBY Catalina. Dad is
the front figure immediately to the right of the port engines propellor blade at 12 o'clock
[Audrey's Pedigree Chart Here]
"We used to live in Sanson and then we went to a farmlet towards the Himitangi straight, I didn't think that Dad owned it – we just leased it. I do
remember lots of gorse hedges and I used to collect birds eggs - at that time people were vying to see how many birds eggs you could get and
I remember that I had 300 in my bedroom. Shameful now, but that was it. We had a lovely old two story wooden home, where Dad used to put
all the apples to ripen for the winter time. And I also remember when I was washing my hair down stairs and going to bed one night, my hair
caught alight from the candle. I always loved the gardens, the smell of primrose, polyanthus and spring bulbs. The orchard had two great big
Then we came to Sanson and Dad went to work on the Sanson Tramway. Dad also became the secretary of a football club and as he needed
a telephone for the club, we got one of the first telephones in the district - it was on the party line. We also had one of the first electricity
In the house at Sanson, the Sanson Tramway ran past in front of the house. We had a big orchard with all sorts of trees, quinces and
damsons, chestnut tree. A Fruiterer used to call once a week and I remember that he was a Chinese man and I recall we were getting hard up
one day and Mum said "Would you like to have some of my Rhubarb" so he came in and picked the lot of it. The mobile butcher used to come,
put the flap down the back of his lorry, cut up all of the meat that we wanted to have and that was delivered to the door. The bread was also
delivered, we used to go up and get the bread from the front gate.
Uncle Howard Thompson was on a farm at Rongotea and I would often get a ride down their and stay with him. My cousin Ngairie and I used to
go down and stay with Mavis and Ken - they used to live opposite the Ohakea Air Force Base to who Mum used to send, the first of the figs
and peaches down on the tram with Dad. WE also used to sometimes go down to the Rangitikei River and try and bathe, but I could never swim
Dad was always hard up and used to work 3 weeks and then have one week off - it was the depression time and things were very hard. We
were very lucky because Mum had this orchard. She used to go and milk a cow on somebody's farm and bring the milk home. We also used to
have to go out and get find blackberries and mushrooms. Dad always used to say "don't worry about money because we have got money
coming from Guernsey sometime". Well eventually Grandma Tostevin did die in Guernsey and left the members of the family a house each
and Uncle Mark Hart [Tostevin] and Dad were given a house. Of course they could not go back and live there so they sold it, and the proceeds
of it was about £1,400 Pounds. Well, we built our house for £725 and he also bought a Ford Pilot V8 car car for about £390 Pounds and a
little bit extra for the furniture – after that there wasn't a great deal left.
The house was built about 1935 and dad died in 1936. We had just gone into the House on New Year's Day and Dad took sick and went into
hospital and died in April. Mum couldn't drive the car at the time and she evidently persuaded my uncle to teach her. We used to go down to
the beach sometimes and she learned to drive down at Foxton Beach on the sand. Mum was very hard working; she used to sing in the choir,
with Dad using a big black baton to conduct the choir. Dad also used to conduct the Sunday School anniversaries which we had .
It was happy times. Mum used to work very hard to make some money and of course when Dad died she was upset as to how was she going to
manage, as in those days there was not much in the way of a widow’s pension. When I was going to Girls High School in Palmerston North, I
used to board during the week with Uncle Fred Thompson. On a Monday, to pay for my bus fare to Palmerston North, Mum would pack flowers
in a suitcase which I would take and then sell to florists in Palmerston North. On a Friday she would send in another suitcase of flowers and this
would pay for my fare home.
I was a short hand typist and started work at Hopwood Hardware in 1936, the year that dad died. I was still studying and used to go to night
school four nights a week and achieved my senior Government Short Hand Typing exams and was offered a job in the Government Life
Insurance Office, which I took and was there for several years. I was very active in the sports teams - the marching girls - the teams name was
the Civil Service Marching Team. Our team was asked to go down to Wellington to the 1940 New Zealand Exhibition and we put on a display.
We also used to do tabloid sports which were a group sport, each firm would have a team of so many people and you would run as a team.
There were potato races and sack races, running races, high jumps, I could never jump very far.
After we got married, Ivan and I lived in Burns Avenue for a while, then moved to the flat in Ferguson Street. When Ivan was away in the Air
Force, I shared this flat with a friend of mine whose Husband was also in the Airforece – the rent was £4-5-o per week.The house we built at 5
Tasman Place was Council leasehold land. We went into a ballot for sections and we were successful in getting it. We financed the house
through a Returned Servicemen Loan, that we obtain at 3%. The house cost £1,500 – tha later alterations were £3,000. Although we
eventually did, we had difficulty in Freeholding the property as each time we were going to, the land values has risen too much. Also, at the
time, television had just come on stream and we needed the money to buy stock for the business".
Source Transcript [edited] of a tape recording with myself 15th November, 1997
90 Mile Beach with Max Jordan
Flat in Fergusson St
5 Tasman Place
Centre, left of