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Elizabeth Pinfold


Elizabeth Pinfold became involved in charitable causes to support the war effort shortly after war was declared in August 1914, an activity she continued throughout the war’s duration. A central figure in the creation of the Belgian Relief Fund, Elizabeth wrote to newspapers around the country urging those who could to donate old clothing for needy Belgians and Britons, and calling for help in managing the large project. Many other women’s societies throughout New Zealand subsequently took up the scheme. For her efforts on the part of Belgian refugees during the First World War, Elizabeth received the Médaille de la Reine Elisabeth (Queen Elisabeth Medal).

Family information

Parents: Hannibal Marks and Mary Jane Marks (née Vercoe)
Born: 1859
Died: 30 June 1927, aged 68 years
Buried: Karori Cemetery, Wellington, Section Public 2, Plot 189 X
Married: Rev. James Thomas Pinfold, 1887


  • James Thomas, b. 1888 d. 1888
  • James Thomas, b. 1889
  • Cyril Morley, b. 1890
  • Francis Dewsbury, b. 1892
  • William George, b. 1893
  • Louisa Gladys, b. 1894
  • Basil Henry Blackwell, b. 1896
  • Doris Carter, b. 1899
  • Frederick Murray, b. 1899
  • Hugh William Eric, b. 1902

Active in: Dunedin

Obituary/death notice:

Mrs. Elizabeth Pinfold, who died as a result of being knocked down by a motor car in Wellington this week, was well known throughout New Zealand, having lived with her husband, Rev. Dr. Pinfold, in many parts of the Dominion. A sad feature of her death is the absence from the Dominion of Rev. Pinfold, who is at present in London. Mrs. Pinfold was a daughter of the late Captain Marks, of Tauranga, who was drowned in that harbour in attempting to save some men in a swamped boat. Mrs. Pinfold was the recipient of the Belgian decoration La Medaille de la [Reine] Elis[a]beth in recognition of her benevolent work on behalf of distressed Belgians. At the outbreak of the Great War, Mrs. Pinfold, reading that there were some 11.000 Belgian refugees being cared for in London, and knowing that they would require clothing as well as food, wrote to all the papers urging that the ladies of New Zealand should form an organisation to make and send Home clothes for the refugees. The idea was taken very generally, and grew too big for one to control, and was taken over by the Overseas Club. Mrs. Pinfold lived for some years in Auckland, where she has a wide circle of friends. Dr. F. D. Pinfold, of Hamilton, is a son.

'Obituary', Auckland Star, 1 July 1927, p. 10

Selected sources

'An appeal', Evening Star, 12 September 1914, p. 8

'Left-off clothing', Press, 14 September 1914, p. 9

'Women and the Education Board', Otago Daily Times, 24 October 1914, p. 10

'Dunedin Women's Association', Otago Daily Times, 24 October 1914, p. 13

'The starving Belgians', Otago Daily Times, 24 February 1915, p. 8

'Wet canteens', Otago Daily Times, 13 March 1915, p. 10

'Personal', Otago Daily Times, 18 March 1915, p. 6

'Letters to the editor', Otago Daily Times, 25 February 1916, p. 3 

'German goods', Otago Daily Times, 22 January 1917, p. 6

'Women in print', Evening Post, 28 April 1921, p. 7

'Mrs Pinfold's death', Evening Post, 2 July 1927, p. 10

Remembering Mrs. Elizabeth Pinfold’. Radio interview with descendents of Elizabeth Pinfold. RNZ, 23 July 2017


Private collection

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Elizabeth Pinfold, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated