1918 influenza volunteer certificate: Picturing Canterbury

1918 influenza volunteer certificate. Christchurch Star Archive. In copyright. CCL-StarP-03927A.

Alex Struthers with a certificate for the help he provided to people during the 1918 influenza epidemic as a boy scout in the Sydenham area. 10 January 1983.

Alexander Hewson Struthers was the son of Charles and Caroline Struthers. His father was a labourer and at the time of the epidemic they lived at 6 Kipling Street, Sydenham. During the epidemic, boy scouts were often used to distribute food and medicine to those who had fallen sick. Alex Struthers contacted the Christchurch Star in 1983 after having read an article on the epidemic which featured in the newspaper's "Amazing Scenes" series. One of his memories of the epidemic was having to visit an inhalation chamber. Later in life, he questioned why his mother had allowed him to visit the houses of those who were sick. By the time he contacted the Christchurch Star, Alexander Struthers was retired, after having initially worked as a linotypist, and living in Huntsbury. 

Do you have any photographs of the 1918 influenza epidemic? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

The Discovery Wall is a large interactive exhibition which allows several people to simultaneously explore images and stories of the history of the people and places of Christchurch. It is viewable on the ground floor of Tūranga, 60 Cathedral Square, Christchurch, New Zealand or on the Mobile Discovery Wall. Images displayed on the Wall can also be found on the Discovery Wall website.

More information

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of Christchurch City Libraries