Paul Silva

Paul Silva

In December 1914, 17-year-old Paul Silva (1897-1974) enlisted in the Auckland Battalion, New Zealand Infantry Brigade. Having falsified his age to join up, he arrived in Egypt in March 1915 and on 25 April took part in the Gallipoli landings. Shot in the face three weeks later, he spent three days unconscious on the hospital ship Soudan. He received severe injuries to his jaw and his left eye, which surgeons removed before he regained consciousness. He spent most of the remainder of the year recuperating in hospital in Malta.

In January 1916, following an incident at a convalescent camp, Silva received an 11-month prison sentence for mutiny. Released after four months, he went to England and worked at the New Zealand Kit Stores staff base in Bulford until October 1917. Classified unfit for active service, he returned to New Zealand in March 1918.

After the war, Silva worked in bush camps, farmed and built bridges the Taupō area. Despite the loss of his eye, he took up competitive woodchopping, competing successfully in events in New Zealand and Australia.

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