Proceedings adjourned

Twenty-two-year-old Gunner Ernest Knight, from Milburn, South Otago, died after being struck by shrapnel in the chest and back on the Somme on 15–16 September 1916.

Prior to his departure for the front, Ernest had worked as an assistant to J. Fitzgerald, the clerk of the Magistrate’s Court at Nelson. Ernest joined the public service in 1911 as a cadet at the Magistrate’s Court in Oamaru and was transferred to Nelson in 1913. He passed the Public Service Senior examination in 1914 and left New Zealand with the Seventh Reinforcements in October 1915.

In August 1916 Ernest wrote to Fitzgerald from France, telling him he ‘had not done much fighting’ but ‘had had an occasional “go” at Fritz’. The various leisure activities available to the troops included ‘lovely swimming baths’, ‘picture entertainments’ and concerts. He ‘was in the best of health and having a fine time’. [1]

The next the court heard of Ernest was that he had died. As a mark of respect to the young soldier, Stipendiary Magistrate J.S. Evans adjourned proceedings for 10 minutes before the next sitting.

[1] Nelson Evening Mail, 21 September 1916, p. 4

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