All German males in the late 19th century had to serve a minimum 12 months military service and could not obtain a passport without having done so. Ernst Friedrich Reye, born in Hamburg in 1874, joined the cavalry in 1895, serving in the 3rd Squadron of Westfalia, Hussar Regiment No. 11.
He arrived in Samoa from Venezuela in 1901, having been brought in by the DH & PG to do pioneering work on cocoa production that he had studied in South America. Mr Reye formed a close friendship with married man Fritz Stunzner and his wife Mary Ellen. During a severe illness Reye was taken in by the Stunzners and nursed by Mary Ellen’s sister, Margaretta Betham. He fell in love with his carer and penned Miss Betham a letter in struggling English.
Credit: Reye Family Collection.
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