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1st Canterbury Battalion, New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Great War - The Wartime Memories Project -

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1st Canterbury Battalion, New Zealand Expeditionary Force

15th Sep 1916 Rescued

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Want to know more about 1st Canterbury Battalion, New Zealand Expeditionary Force?

There are:1 pages and articles tagged 1st Canterbury Battalion, New Zealand Expeditionary Force available in our Library

Those known to have served with

1st Canterbury Battalion, New Zealand Expeditionary Force

during the Great War 1914-1918.

  • Cook Leonard. Pte. (d.7th Jun 1917)
  • Cook Leonard. Pte. (d.7th Jun 1917)
  • Egan Gerald Joseph. Pte.
  • Hazeldine James. Pte. (d.10th May 1915)
  • King John. Pte. (d.19th Aug 1917)
  • King John. Pte. (d.19th Aug 1917)
  • McIsaac Stanley Richard. L/Cpl. (d.11th Oct 1916)
  • Nicholas VC, MM.. Hanry James. Sgt. (d.23rd October 1918)
  • Nicholas VC, MM.. Henry James. Sgt. (d.23rd Oct 1918)
  • Scannell Michael James. Pte. (d.7th Jun 1917)
  • Turner David Doig. Cpl.

All names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

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Dec 2017

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Sgt. Hanry James Nicholas VC, MM. 12th Nelson Coy. 1st Bn. Canterbury Regiment (d.23rd October 1918)

Henry James Nicholas died on the 23rd October 1918, aged 27 and was buried in the Vertigneul Churchyard in France, by the Bishop of Nelson on 29th Oct. He was the son of Richard and Hannah Nicholas.

His Citation States: " form a defensive flank to the right of the advance which was subsequently checked by heavy machine-gun and rifle fire from an enemy strong point. Whereupon, followed by the remainder of his section at an interval of about twenty-five yards, Pte. Nicholas rushed forward alone, shot the officer in command of the strong point, and overcame the remainder of the garrison of sixteen by means of bombs and bayonet, capturing four wounded prisoners and a machine gun. He captured this strong point practically singlehanded, and thereby saved many casualties. Subsequently, when the advance had reached its limit, Pte. Nicholas collected ammunition under heavy machine-gun and rifle fire. His exceptional valour and coolness throughout the operations afforded an inspiring example to all."

s flynn


L/Cpl. Stanley Richard McIsaac 1st Bn. Canterbury Regiment (d.11th Oct 1916)

Stanley Richard McIsaac died on the 11th of October 1916, aged 23 and is buried in the Etaples Military Cemetery in France. He was the son of Richard Dick and Catherine McIsaac, of Renwicktown, Marlborough, New Zealand. He also served in Gallipoli.

s flynn


Cpl. David Doig Turner C Company 1st Canterbury Btn.

Corporal David Doig Turner, Gallipoli Veteran, survived the Somme. Gunshot wound - smashed left femur - shrapnel wounds to the ankle, leg, chest and jaw, collapsed lung, heart displaced to the right side - all on the first day of the battle of Messines. Fought to live. Made it home. Died peacefully at 82 years.

Scott McJorrow


Pte. Gerald Joseph Egan 3rd Btn. 12th Coy. Canterbury Infantry

The New Zealand government started a campaign to provide for sale, at favourable prices, lots of farming land in the Nelson locality on South Island. This involved the break-up of large 25,000 acre, sheep farms. In 1910 William Egan, Maltster, and fourth eldest son of Henry Egan, merchant, Tullamore decided to take advantage of the scheme and emigrated to Marlborough, Blenheim, South Island, at the age of 28. William J. settled and first farmed in the Atatere Valley having lodged at the Marlborough Hotel, Blenheim. As a pioneering farmer, the Awatere was a tough environment and upon hearing of pip fruit orchard land for sale, decided to sell and move further North to Neudorf, Upper Moutere, near Nelson. By now he owned under mortgages both a small hotel in Cape Campbell/Marlborough as well as an apple farm in Neudorf. Around 1912, he was joined at Neudorf by his younger brother Gerald Joseph Egan, a student in the bank in Ireland and sixth son of Henry Egan, at the time aged 20.

The menace of war was on the horizon in Europe and the young six foot tall and fit Gerald J. enlisted at Nelson on the 18th August 1914, three weeks after Britain declared war on the Germans. He joined the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. After 88 days of training drills Private Gerald Joseph Egan bade farewell to his brother William for the last time as he was shipped off to Egypt. He was to spend 3 years and 155 days in action in the Great War. It was not Private Gerald Egan who was to die prematurely, but sadly, his older brother William who died of heart failure at Moutuka Hospital interred therein for seven days suffering pneumonia. William had spent six years in New Zealand and at the tender age of 34 passed away on the 18th November 1916.

From Alexandria, Gerald served time with the ANZAC forces, having fought and survived at the Dardanelles, as well as at Mudros and Imbros and Galapolli in 1915. He was discharged to base at Alexandria, suffering dysentery, and later jaundice. Once discharged from hospital, he was then shipped to the Western front in Belgium after training at 2nd Army Sniper school at Sling, Wiltshire. As part of the 3rd Canterbury Infantry Battalion he was to serve and survive the brutality of the Battle of Messiers, a prelude to the Battle of Ypres. In taking the strategically important and well-fortified German held village of Messiers, Egan sustained a gunshot wound to his right knee and was removed via field ambulance to the South African field hospital on the 7th June 1917. Between 1st and 14th June ANZAC forces lost 4,978 men and the Germans lost 23,000.

He was transferred to Abbeville, Rouen in France and onto Bathurst and lost his right leg to amputation on the 22nd Jan 1918. He was declared unfit for further action on 28th January 1918 and was shipped back to home-base through Liverpool bound for Mauaganui, New Zealand on board the Encouibo.

He was decorated with three medals: the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. Gerald Joseph was discharged on army pension on the 16th April 1918. He died unmarried and alone on the 31st January 1959 at 44 Austin Street, Wellington. The Coroner conducted a post mortem but decided, under the circumstances, not to conduct an inquest. His remains are interred at Karori, Wellington.

Maurice Egan


Pte. James Hazeldine Canterbury Regiment (d.10th May 1915)

James Hazeldine died on the 10th of May 1915 and is commemorated on the Commemorated on the New Zealand Memorial in the Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery, Gallipoli, Turkey. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Hazeldine, of Brunnerton, Greymouth.

s flynn


Pte. Leonard Cook 1st Battalion Canterbury Infantry Regiment (d.7th Jun 1917)

One of my ancestors, Leonard Cook, who my late father was named after was killed at the Battle of Messines. I think that he was my grandfather's uncle perhaps, however this is unkown. We do know however that the Cook family were originally of German origin - Koch who owned delicatessen shops in Hamburg. Some emigrated to Liverpool, England, apparently running pork shops and some to New Zealand, Wellington and Palmerston North and Wanganui. This is all I know on this side of the family, it is a work in progress.

I understand that Leonard departed NZ via Wellington and served and survived the Battle of Gallipoli, Sinai, Palestine, then finally meeting his death at the Battle of Messines Ridge, Belgium. I would be immensely grateful for any information to assist my geneaological research, especially in time for the 100yr anniversary of ANZACs 2015. Many thanks.

Lara Hawkes


Pte. John King 1st Btn. Canterbury Regiment (d.19th Aug 1917)

John King served with the 1st Btn. Canterbury Regiment of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. He was executed for desertion on 19th Agust 1917 aged 32 and is buried in Trois Arbres Cemetery, Steenwerck, France. He had a long record of going absent, deserting and illness; perhaps alcoholic.

s flynn


Pte. John King 1st Btn. Canterbury Regiment (d.19th Aug 1917)

John King served with the Canterbury Regiment 1st Battalion and was one of 28 New Zealand servicemen who were court-martialled and sentenced to death during the First World War. He was executed in August 1917, one of five New Zealand soldiers who were executed during the First World War for mutiny and desertion and pardoned by Parliament in 2000.

s flynn


Pte. Michael James Scannell 13th Company 1st Canterbury Btn. (d.7th Jun 1917)

Michael Scannell was my grandfather's cousin. My grandfather (Dan Brosnahan), Michael and Michael's brother Charlie Scannell had their photograph taken together in uniform, presumably before they all went off to war. Of the three, only Dan Brosnahan survived the war. He served with the Imperial Camel Corps in Palestine and was wounded in the second battle of Amman. He also survived the influenza epidemic in 1918. Michael on the other hand was killed in the attack on Messines on 7 June 1917. Charles had died just a couple of weeks earlier in South Africa, having fallen down a hold on the troop ship en route to Europe and being put off in Durban due to his injuries. He died there.

Michael Scannell was a railway porter in Timaru when he enlisted in May 1916. He came from the small farming district of Lyalldale just south of Timaru and was born 5 February 1888. He served with the NZ Railway Engineers as a territorial before transferring to the Canterbury Regiment. On his enlistment record the medical officer wrote "a very suitable man". I have never heard any stories about Michael's character from the family but he looks like a really solid bloke in the photograph and the enlistment annotation is unusual in my experience.

Michael went overseas with the 16th Reinforcements and was a member of the 13th Company, 1st Canterbury Battalion, 2nd Brigade when he participated in the attack on Messines. He has no known grave. On Anazc Day 2013 I had the privilege of visiting the New Zealand Memorial to the Missing at Messines and paying my respects. I don't think any members of the family had been there before. My connection with Michael has made Messines a special place to me and I am very pleased to support your efforts to commemorate all those who perished in the battle there in 1917.

Seán Brosnahan


Sgt. Henry James Nicholas VC, MM. 1st Btn Canterbury Infantry Regiment (d.23rd Oct 1918)

Henry James Nicholas was a 26-year-old private in the 1st Battalion, Canterbury Infantry Regiment, New Zealand Expeditionary Force when he was awarded the VC:

"On 3rd December 1917, at Polderhoek in Belgium, Private Nicholas who was one of a Lewis Gun section, which was checked by heavy machine-gun and rifle fire from an enemy strong-point, went forward followed by the remainder of his section at an interval of about 25 yards, shot the officer in command of the strong-point and overcame the remainder of the garrison of 16 with bombs and bayonets, capturing four wounded prisoners and a machine-gun. He captured the strong-point practically single-handed and thereby saved many casualties. Subsequently he went out and collected ammunition under heavy machine-gun and rifle fire."

Later promoted to sergeant, Nicholas was killed in action on 23rd of October 1918, near Vertigneul in France. He is buried in the Vertigneul Churchyard.

S. Flynn

Recomended Reading.

Available at discounted prices.

New Zealand and the Great War: A Photographic Record of New Zealanders at War 1914-1918

Glyn Harper

They shall not grow old...In 1914, despite being forbidden, many a Kiwi soldier's kitbag included a portable camera, known as 'The Soldiers' Kodak'. In a major research project, Glyn Harper and the Queen Elizabeth II Army Memorial Museum have combined official war photographs with more informal images to produce a moving visual history. While primarily drawn from the Museum's collection, many photographs from private sources have been included. From more than 25,000 photographs, just over 800 have been selected - most of which have never been published. Chosen to depict each theatre of the 1914-18 war, including Gallipoli, Sinai-Palestine and the Western Front, poignant images from the home front are also included, along with graphic portraits of wounded soldiers, whose treatment marked the beginnings of modern plastic surgery. Despite the First World War being described as the most important and far-reaching political and military event of the twentieth century, pivotal in forging our


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