You are not logged in.
1st Battalion, Otago Regiment, New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Great War - The Wartime Memories Project -

The Wartime Memories Project

- 1st Battalion, Otago Regiment, New Zealand Expeditionary Force during the Great War -

Great War>Allied Army
skip to content

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site you agree to accept cookies.

If you enjoy this site please consider making a donation.

    Site Home

    Great War


    Add Stories & Photos


    Allied Army

    Day by Day

    War in the Air

    Prisoners of War

    War at Sea

    Training for War

    The Battles

    Those Who Served


    Civilian Service

    Women at War

    Life on Home Front

    Central Powers Army

    Central Powers Navy


    World War Two


    Add Stories & Photos

    Time Capsule


    Help & FAQ's

    Our Facebook Page




    Contact us

    Great War Books



World War 1 One ww1 wwII greatwar great

1st Battalion, Otago Regiment, New Zealand Expeditionary Force

6th Oct 1914 NZ infantry field day at Miramar  The Wellington Infantry Battalion took part in a field day at Miramar against the Otago Battalion.

If you can provide any additional information, please add it here.

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

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

Those known to have served with

1st Battalion, Otago Regiment, New Zealand Expeditionary Force

during the Great War 1914-1918.

  • Spencer Victor Manson. Pte. (d.24th Feb 1918)
  • Spencer Victor Manson. Pte. (d.24th Feb 1918)
  • Swain Harold George Selwyn. Pte. (d.15th Jun 1917)
  • Swain Harold Selwyn george. Private (d.15th June 1917)
  • Sweeney John Joseph. (d.2nd Oct 1916)
  • Sweeney John Joseph. Pte. (d.2nd Oct 1916)

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

Looking for help with Family History Research?   

Please see Family History FAQ's

We are unable to provide individual research free of charge, but do offer a paid service at competitive rates, the small profit from these services will be put towards the costs of keeping this website running. For more information please see our Research Services Leaflet

Can you help?

The Wartime Memories Project is run by volunteers and this website is funded by donations from our visitors.

If the information here has been helpful or you have enjoyed reaching the stories please conside making a donation, no matter how small, would be much appreciated, annually we need to raise enough funds to pay for our web hosting or this site will vanish from the web. In these difficult times current donations are falling far short of this target.

If you enjoy this site please consider making a donation.


  • The Wartime Memories Project is the original WW1 and WW2 commemoration website

    This website has been running for 18 years and receives in excess of a million hits per month. The website and our group will continue long after the 2014-18 events are over. We hope that people will continue to support us by submitting material and stories in addition to submitting to the new websites set up for the anniversary.

  • We are looking for volunteers to help with researching the activities of units of the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, Territorial Force, Regular Army, Pals Battalions, Kitchener's New Armies, Voluntary Organisations and the Ships of the Royal Navy. We currently have a huge backlog of stories and historical documents which need to be edited or transcribed for display online, if you have a good standard of written English, an interest in the two World Wars and a little time to spare online we would appreciate your help. For more information please see our page on Volunteering.

Wanted: Digital copies of Group photographs, Scrapbooks, Autograph books, photo albums, newspaper clippings, letters, postcards and ephemera relating to the Great War. If you have any unwanted photographs, documents or items from the First or Second World War, please do not destroy them. The Wartime Memories Project will give them a good home and ensure that they are used for educational purposes. Please get in touch for the postal address, do not sent them to our PO Box as packages are not accepted.

We are now on Facebook. Like this page to receive our updates, add a comment or ask a question.

If you have a general question please post it on our Facebook page.

Feb 2018

    Please note we currently have a backlog of submitted material, our volunteers are working through this as quickly as possible and all names, stories and photos will be added to the site. If you have already submitted a story to the site and your UID reference number is higher than 239080 your submission is still in the queue, please do not resubmit without contacting us first.

World War 1 One ww1 wwII greatwar great
Did you know? We also have a section on World War Two. and a Timecapsule to preserve stories from other conflicts for future generations.


Private Harold Selwyn george "Mick" Swain 1st Otago Btn. (d.15th June 1917)

Harold Swain was born in Brisbane, Queensland on 26 August 1885. Parents were William John Cowling Swain and Grace Elizabeth Swain (nee Carpenter). The family moved to Napier, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand around 1905. Mick worked in a menswear shop in Hastings (Reardon & Wright).

He enlisted on 7 March 1916 and departed from Wellington on 26th of June 1916, arriving at Devonport on 22nd of August 2016. He arrived at Sling Camp on 23rd of August 1916 and moved to Etaples on 27th of September 1916. On 14th of October 2016 he was in the field until he was killed in action on 15th of June 1917. He is listed among the missing at the Messines Ridge (New Zealand) Memorial, Belgium.

Brian Bray


Pte. Harold George Selwyn "Mick" Swain 1st Otago Btn. (d.15th Jun 1917)

Mick Swain was my grandmother's brother. He was born on 26 Aug 1888 in Brisbane Australia. His family moved to New Zealand in 1910. He was living in Christchurch, occupation Tailor before signing up with the 1st Otago.

He was killed in action on the 15th June 1917 and is buried in Messines Ridge British Cemetery, Belgium. He also has a memorial at the family grave in Eskdale Cemetery, Eskdale Lane, off Highway 5 (Napier-Taupo Road), Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.

Brian Bray


Pte. John Joseph Sweeney 1st Btn. Otago Regiment (d.2nd Oct 1916)

John Joseph Sweeney was executed for desertion 02/10/1916 age 37 and buried in Dartmoor Cemetery, Somme, France. He was an Australian of Tasmanian origin. His brother died on the Western Front in 1918 and his father committed suicide in 1925, just before details of execution were made public

S. Flynn


Pte. Victor Manson Spencer 1st Bn. Otago Regiment (d.24th Feb 1918)

New Zealander, Victor Manson Spencer, was born in 1894 and died in February 1918. He was executed for desertion on 24th February 1918 and is buried in The Huts Cemetery, Belgium. A volunteer member of the NZ Otago Regiment, Pte. Spencer was the last soldier to be executed during the First World War. His official crime was desertion, but the reason, as with so many others, was probably 'shell-shock', since he had been involved in a number of battles. In 2005, the New Zealand government granted him a posthumous pardon.

s flynn


Pte. Victor Manson Spencer 1st Btn. Otago Regiment (d.24th Feb 1918)

Victor Manson Spencer was a volunteer from Invercargill, New Zealand who served with the 1st Battalion Otago Regiment of the New Zealand Expediionary Force in World War I. Victor was executed for desertion on 24th February 1918,[1] despite later suggestions that he was severely traumatised by shellshock, having fought and survived several campaigns.

s flynn


John Joseph Sweeney 1st Btn. Otago Regiment (d.2nd Oct 1916)

John Sweeney was an Australian of Tasmanian origin. He was shot for desertion. It is though that Sweeney was suffering from battle fatigue after having spent time doing perhaps one of the hardest war jobs - tunnelling under enemy lines. His courageous service as one of our original ANZACs at Gallipoli was not taken into account at the time of his court-martialling for desertion. After spending time in an Egyptian hospital recovering he was sent to France but couldn't face going to the front any longer - so he never turned up. Arrested after several weeks wandering behind the lines, his files show he was court-martialled and sentenced to “suffer death by being shot” on the very day of the first New Zealand attack on the Somme. His brother died on the Western Front in 1918 and his father committed suicide in 1925, just before details of execution were made public. He was posthumously pardoned on 14 September 2000, when New Zealand's Pardon for Soldiers of the Great War Act became law.

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


    Suggest a link

    Items from the Home Front Archive

    Do you have any photos, postcards, documents or memorabilia relating to this unit? Please add to this archive.

    The Wartime Memories Project is a non profit organisation run by volunteers.

    This website is paid for out of our own pockets, library subscriptions and from donations made by visitors. The popularity of the site means that it is far exceeding available resources.

    If you are enjoying the site, please consider making a donation, however small to help with the costs of keeping the site running.

    Hosted by:

    The Wartime Memories Project Website

    is archived for preservation by the British Library

    Website Copyright MCMXCIX - MMXVIII
    - All Rights Reserved