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Rolls of honour and obituaries

Page 6 – Railway workers' obituaries

These obituaries were published during the First World War in the New Zealand Railway Review, the journal of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants (ASRS), the largest trade union for railway workers, which had 8000 members in 1914. We've listed them in alphabetical order, with each man's full name, a link to his record on Auckland Museum's Cenotaph database, and a transcript of the obituary notice. A number of joint obituaries are included at the end of this list. Note that six of the men referred to here – Clive Cargill, William Gregory, Alfred Jones, Philip Phelan, John Scanlan and Thomas Sharp – do not appear in the Railways Department’s published roll of honour or on the national memorial tablet in Wellington. It is possible that some may have resigned from the Department prior to enlisting.


Private Edmund Ivon Bannerman

'A Wanganui Hero Mourned'
I have to record, writes our Wanganui correspondent, that another of our members has laid down his life on the altar of loyalty to King and country. Private E. Bannerman was killed in action at the Dardanelles, a place that will never be forgotten by the people of this country. Private Bannerman was a popular member of the service and the society, stationed at Wanganui on the car and wagon inspector’s staff. He was a member of the local Fire Brigade, and took a great interest in all matters pertaining to the welfare of the general community. Deploring his loss, we can take pride in the manner of his death. He and his comrades have shown that the men reared under the Southern Cross are in no way degenerate, but are worthy descendants of the warriors who fought under Wellington. To his family we tender our deep sympathy. Railway review, 30 July 1915, p 336

Private George Beck

'The Honoured Dead'
I regret to state that news was received the day of the meeting that one of our old [East Town] shopmates had died of wounds. Private George Beck went away with the 16th Reinforcements. He was well liked on account of his cheery good nature, and many a kindly thought will be given in the future to one who shouldered his country's burden and carried it cheerfully to the end. 
The shops staff, in the usual manner, assembled around the flag-staff, while the Union Jack was hoisted in memory of the dead soldier. Mr J. Donaldson addressed the men in eloquent eulogy of our departed comrade, and a resolution of sympathy was passed, to be forwarded to Private Beck's widowed mother. At the Branch meeting in the evening a similar resolution was passed all standing in silence. Railway review, 16 November 1917, p 515

Sapper Dennis Patrick Burke

'Death of Ex-Samoan Trooper'
The death occurred at the Wellington Hospital on December 9th, of Trooper Denis P. Burke, after having been operated on for tonsillitis. Deceased, who was well known on the railways of Wellington district, was for a long time associated with the Thorndon Branch, always taking a keen interest in the affairs of the Society.
When the war broke out he was one of the first to volunteer for active service, and he became a member of the Samoan Force. Returning later he re-entered the railway service, but again heeding the call of the Empire, he once more donned the khaki and was in training at Trentham at the time of his death.  Deceased was of an exceptionally bright and cheerful disposition.  He was well known in both cricket and football circles. The entire sympathy of the community goes out to his relatives in their sad loss. Railway review, 14 January 1916, p 12

Lance Corporal Allan Cummock Burns

'Death of Private Burns'
It is with regret that we have to chronicle the death of Lance-Corporal Burns, who was killed at the Dardanelles. Mr Burns was a member of the Masterton Branch, and did duty as platform porter at the Masterton station, and later transferred to Carterton.  When war broke out he enlisted with the Main Expeditionary Force, and saw fighting at the first landing at the Dardanelles.  He was wounded  and sent  to  the  Alexandra Hospital, recovered, and again sent to the front, and in the Suvla Bay landing he was reported missing, and in all probability killed.  A later report coming through confirmed the news that he was killed. The Branch forwarded a letter of sympathy to his parents, who reside in Dunedin. Railway review, 22 October 1915, p 470

Lance Corporal Samuel Goodall Clark

'Frankton Member Gives His Life: Others Answer The Call'
One of our Frankton members, Mr S. G. Clark, having lost his life on the slopes of Gallipoli, a motion of regret at the loss of so valued a member was passed at the last Branch meeting, members standing meanwhile. Secretary was also instructed to write a letter of sympathy to the parents of deceased. Railway review, 22 October 1915, p 469

Private Philip Stanley Coote

'Addington Blacksmith Killed'
The following resolution was carried in deep silence at a meeting of Addington employees: The members of the blacksmithing department, Addington Workshops, desire to express their deepest sympathy with the relatives of our late shop mate, P. S. Coote, who was killed in action, fighting for his country at the Dardanelles. Deceased was formerly a blacksmith, and left with Main Expeditionary Force. Railway review, 30 July 1915, p 336

Corporal Peter Couperthwaite

Corporal P. Couperthwaite was born at Otaria in 1887, a son of Mr R. Couperthwaite. He joined the Railway Department at Waipahi as surfaceman in 1911, transferred to No. 2 length, Tapanui Branch, in December, 1913. He volunteered for the first Railway Contingent, and not being accepted, he volunteered for the First Expeditionary Force as a private, subsequently being promoted to corporal. He died on 1st May, 1915, from wounds received when landing at the Dardanelles. Members of the Gore Branch or A. S. R. S. extend their heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved relatives, and his many friends. Railway review, 2 July 1915, p 293

Second Lieutenant Edward Ernest Farnsworth

'Lieut. E. Farnsworth, Masterton'
It is with regret writes our Masterton correspondent, that we learned of the loss of one of our most respected members, Mr E. Farnsworth, who was killed in France on September 12th. He went away in the 9th Reinforcements in No.3, Ambulance Brigade, distinguished himself, and was awarded the Military Medal.  Things were apparently too slow in the Ambulance for his pushing disposition, and he joined the Infantry, got his lieutenancy on the field, and did good work after receiving his commission. He was of a genial disposition, and exceedingly good-natured. He was always active at Branch Meetings, and had just completed a term as Chairman before enlisting. It is with deep regret we have to write him off as “Killed in Action.” He leaves behind a widow and one boy aged 7 years. To the widow, the Branch expresses its deepest and lasting sympathy in her sad loss. A letter of sympathy has been sent from the Branch Members. Railway review, 18 October 1918, p 523

Lance Corporal William Loftus Fotheringham

'Railway Soldiers Suffer'
Major Barclay, N. Z. E., writes as follows from France:-
During the past few weeks we have had a fairly strenuous time of it. The strain is beginning to tell upon all ranks, and we are looking forward to having a well-earned rest.  Casualties have been heavy, and amongst the wounded in my company have been the following railway lads:-
T. H.  Rae, Traffic, Auckland.
H. B. Gwilliam, Loco., Auckland.
T. H. Burton, Maintenance, Auckland.
F. T. Brockliss, Traffic, Morrinsville.
A. W. Ashley, Traffic, Auckland.
H. McIlroy, Traffic, Auckland.
Lance-Corporal W. L. Fotheringham (Loco., Invercargill) was killed a few days ago, a fragment of  shell piercing his heart, and causing instantaneous death. Fotheringham was one of the brightest lads in the corps, and a most promising N.C.O., and one whose loss is much regretted. Lieutenant Dollimore is at the time of writing in hospital at Manchester, England, suffering from the effects of German gas. Railway review, 15 December 1916, p 534

Private William John Gregory

'Addington Soldier Gives His Life'
On November 19th the employees in the Car Shop at Addington met together to pass a vote of sympathy and condolence with the parents of the late Wm. J. Gregory, killed in action at the Dardanelles.
Mr Smith, W. S. Foreman, who was in the chair, made feeling reference to our late shopmate, and stated that no man could do more for his country than lay down his life. The following resolution was carried in silence:
It is with deep regret we have heard the sad news of the death of our late shopmate, William Gregory, and extend to his sorrowing parents and family our heartfelt sympathy in their sorrow.  Trusting that the knowledge of his having answered his country's call, and died upholding the honour of the Empire, thereby proving himself a worthy and brave son of the Dominion, will help to soften the blow which has fallen upon them. Railway review, 17 December 1915, p 558

Private Archie Campbell Hall

HALL. – On the 18th December, at Featherston Military Hospital, from spinal meningitis, Private Archie Campbell Hall, N.Z.M.C., 22nd Reinforcement, eldest son of Mrs M. Hall, of Huntly; aged 27 years. (Late relief staff, N.Z.R.)
Greater love hath none than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Railway review, 9 March 1917, p 101

Private Leonard Charles Harding

'Private C. Harding, Formerly of Addington Shops. Died of Wounds.'
Private C.  Harding, whose death from wounds was announced early in May was employed at the Addington Workshops prior to enlisting, and he was well known and popular amongst sportsmen. Not very long ago Mr Harding wrestled with Mr L. Emery for the Bantam Catch-as-catch-can Championship of Canterbury, in which Mr Emery won. Mr Harding was a light man, but with particularly fine muscular development and scored good marks in the physical development competition held in connection with Mr F.  Hornibrook's Physical Culture Institute. He was a member of the Sydenham League Junior Football team last season. Railway review, 4 June 1915, p 250

Corporal Joshua Graham Jackson

'Corporal J. G. Jackson'
Acting-Corporal Joshua Graham Jackson, who when he enlisted was storeman on the Auckland goods staff, died of wounds on the hospital ship Neuralia,  on November 11, from gunshot wounds in the abdomen, was the second son of Mrs Joshua Jackson, of Northcote. He was employed on the Government railways, and left with the First Expeditionary Force with the Wellington Battalion, subsequently transferring in Egypt to the Auckland Infantry.  He took part in the landing on Gallipoli Peninsula, and was wounded the same day, receiving a bullet in the body. He was in hospital at Alexandria and Birmingham, England. Corporal Jackson had been back in the firing line about a month when he received the wounds which proved fatal. He was very popular in the railway service, and took an active interest in cricket and League football. Two brothers are on active service, Private John Frederick Jackson being at present in hospital in Epsom, England, and Private Herbert Jackson, sixth reinforcements, in the firing line. Railway review, 14 January 1916, p 12

Trooper Frederick George Kelly

'Strange Misfortune To Gore Railway Recruits'
Eight members of the Gore railway staff have enlisted during the war and two died violent deaths before they could leave the Dominion to face the risk they were prepared to undertake for the Empire’s sake. Private Sharp was killed through a railway accident soon after being farewelled. Now we regret having to record the death by drowning at Ngapara of Private Kelly, late of the Gore railway staff. A picnic party had been organised a compliment to Trooper F. G. Kelly, who was spending his final leave with his relatives at Ngapara, prior to leaving for the Front. The party had arrived at the picnicking place, and while the ladies were preparing dinner, some of the party indulged in a bathe in the river. Mr Kelly, senr, Trooper Kelly, and Mr Addison had been in the water some little time and Mr Kelly was engaged teaching a younger son the art of swimming, when some members of the party raised the alarm that Trooper Kelly was in difficulties. The father, who, by the way, was somewhat exhausted after his exertions managed to reach his son just as he was sinking for the third time, and caught him by his bathing costume, which, unfortunately, gave way.  A further attempt to secure the drowning man, in which Mr Kelly himself became seriously endangered, was unavailing, and the party were forced to witness the disappearance of the unfortunate soldier. Trooper Kelly was said to be a good swimmer, and it is surmised that when he first got into difficulties his set of false teeth became lodged in his throat and increased his discomfiture. The body was recovered about half an hour after the accident happened, but life was then quite extinct. Trooper Kelly was 20 years of age, and belonged to the mounted section of the 11th Reinforcements.  Prior to enlisting he was in the employ of the Railway Department as a cadet. Railway review, 7 April 1916, p 151

Rifleman John Kerambrun

'Napier - Killed In Action'
It is with deep regret we chronicle the death of Corporal J. Kerambrun, late labourer, Napier running shed. To his wife we extend deepest sympathy. Railway review, 8 February 1918, p 80

Sergeant Edward Lambert

'Newmarket’s Fine Record - Death of the First Recruit'
It is with deep regret that we have to report the death of Sergt. E. Lambert (painter) who was killed in action at the Dardanelles.  He was the first member of Newmarket Branch to offer his services for the Empire.
Sergt. Edward Lambert, painter, of Newmarket Workshops, previously reported missing, now reported killed in action. He was the first member of the Branch to enlist. Railway review, 10 March 1916, p 101

Private Robert Lewis Barnett Lockett

'Among The Missing'
Our Wanganui correspondents adds: I regret to have to record that one of our boys is reported as “missing, supposed to be killed.” I refer to R. L. B. Lockett, one of the first five that left the Easttown shops for the front. It is no mere figure of speech to say that a gloom was cast over the shops when the news was received. “Little Bob,” as he was generally called, was one of the most popular men at Easttown, cheery and light-hearted. His disposition to look at the bright side of everything would, we are sure make him as popular in the trenches as he was here. While the flag was hoisted to his memory the men stood bareheaded. Mr W. Cuttle paid an eloquent tribute to the soldier lad we mourned, and proposed a vote of sympathy to his relatives, the motion being carried in silence. Railway review, 22 October 1915, pp 468-469

Private Charles Frederick Martin

It is with regret that we have to announce the death of Private C. F. Martin, "killed in action.'' on the 4th October. Charley was a popular member of the Paekakariki staff, and well known in Otaki and the Hawke's Bay district.  Our sincere sympathy goes out to the mother, who resides in London. Railway review, 16 November 1917, p 519

Sergeant David Stewart McFarlane

'Killed At The Dardanelles'
The Wellington Branch desires to place on record its deepest sympathy with the relatives of the late D. S. McFarlane, killed in action at the Dardanelles. His old comrades mourn the loss of one whose life was clean, his actions and dealings above reproaches, and a staunch comrade in every sense of the word. Railway review, 24 September 1915, p 425

Lance Corporal Frank Nelson McGee

'The Supreme Sacrifice'
Since writing the above notes, we have received the sad tidings that Mr F. N. McGee, fitter, of the local shops, had paid the supreme sacrifice, being killed in action on May 2nd. Mr McGee enlisted and went to the Front with the 5th Reinforcements. Prior to enlisting he took a very keen interest in all local social matters. He was a past-Chairman of the Napier Branch, Secretary of the Railway Library, and a prominent member of St. John Ambulance; in fact, he was always to the front in anything that would assist his fellow-workers in the struggle for existence. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to his mother and father, who have lost a son any parents might be proud of. The railway men have lost a good comrade and friend, the Railway Department a very efficient officer. Railway review, 31 May 1918, p 279

F. N. McGee, who paid the supreme sacrifice in France some months ago, left with the 5th Reinforcements, and saw a considerable amount of fighting. Prior to going to the Front, he was a very active member of the A.S.R.S., joining the Petone Branch in March, 1908. From Petone to Cross Creek he occupied the vice-chair of that Branch. He was then transferred to Napier. The Napier Branch recognised Mr McGee’s ability, and elected him as Chairman, in which position he proved that their confidence was not misplaced. Frank took a very keen interest in ambulance work and life-saving, and will be remembered by many for his numerous kinds actions, his great desire being at all times to leave the world the better for having lived in it. Railway review, 15 November 1918, p 545

Private James Henry McGinn

General regret was felt throughout the Wellington section when it became known that Private James McGinn had been killed in action in France. He joined the service as a junior porter some eleven years ago, and at the time of enlistment was stationed at Palmerston as a shunter. During his long service, he proved himself to be a most capable railwayman.  As a member of the Thorndon Branch he took a very keen interest in the Society's affairs, and held several offices with credit. He was transferred to Palmerston eighteen months ago, and six months later enlisted in the Second N.Z. Rifle Brigade. After leaving New Zealand, he spent several months in Egypt, and from there proceeded to France, where he fought in several engagements, being almost continuously in the trenches for twelve months. He was killed in action on September 15th, 1916, at the battle of the Somme. Railway review, 9 February 1917, p 53

Private Dennis O’Donnell

'Another Life For His Country'
A Southland reader sends an appreciation as a slight token of respect to the memory of the late Private Dennis O’Donnell, who recently gave his life for the Empire’s cause at the Dardanelles. Previous to enlisting with the Expeditionary Force, Denny was employed as a surfaceman, and was stationed at Waimatuku, Southland. As a young man, somewhat of a roving and adventurous spirit, he had seen a good deal of life for one of his years, having worked in various parts of New Zealand and the Australian states. So when the call came he was one of the first to respond. Of Irish parents, the late Private O’Donnell was in many respects a splendid man, standing well over six feet in height, and weighing about fifteen stone. He was the possessor of great strength and endurance, ideal conditions in a soldier. Mentally he was rather above the average, having a goodly share of the ready wit and keen intelligence so characteristic of the Irish race. Given the opportunity, he would had gone far in the service, for he had both the will and the ability to achieve. But it was otherwise decreed, and like so many more of the best and bravest of New Zealand’s sons, he lies dead in a foreign land. We trust that not in vain was his life given for a great cause. Peace to his ashes! Railway review, 30 July 1915, p 336

Private John O’Keeffe

Our Wanganui correspondent states that word was received on the morning of the 18th May that our late shopmate, Private J. O' Keefe, had died of wounds received at the landing of the N.Z. troops at the Dardanelles. Deep regret was felt that our popular young comrade should so soon have been called upon to answer the last roll call. The flag was hoisted in honour of his memory, the men standing bare-headed.
Mr T. Carlyle spoke a few words, eulogistic of the dead soldier and moved that a Ietter of sympathy be sent to  the  relatives, and also that we express our appreciation of the patriotism displayed by  the young New Zealander, whose loss we deeply deplore. The motion was carried in silence.
The late Private O'Keefe was one of the five from the Easttown Shops who left New Zealand with the main body. He was very much esteemed by all who knew him. His cheerful and unaffected disposition made him much liked by all with whom he came in contact, and it seems hard that a promising life should be cut down in the full flush of early manhood. He was 23 years of age, and was an iron machinist. To his parents and family we offer our sincere sympathy. Railway review, 2 July 1915, p 293

Private Phillip Phelan

'Greymouth Railwayman’s Death'
Word was received by Mr J. Robertson, of Greymouth, on October 7th that his wife's brother, Philip Phelan, died from enteric at Malta.  Private Philip Phelan was a member of the Greymouth Branch of the A. S. R. S., and when the war broke out he enlisted at Dunedin for the front, and during the campaign he got wounded, and when better he returned to the front, only to succumb to disease. Railway review, 22 October 1915, p 469

Private Richard Quigley

'Westport’s Roll Of Honour'
Private R.  Quigley, porter, who joined the Main Expeditionary Force, has been officially reported died of wounds. Messrs B. Ibbotson and J. Godfrey went with the same contingent, and the three of them have been wounded. The Branch Secretary, on behalf of the Branch, forwarded a letter of condolence to Private Quigley's mother, expressing our sincere sympathy on the death of her gallant son, who gave his promising life for his country. Railway review, 22 October 1915, p 469

Corporal John Michael Scanlan

Corporal J. M. Scanlan, reported died of sickness, enlisted at Timaru, and left with the 18th Reinforcements. His father resides in Dunedin.  Previous to enlisting, Corporal Scanlan was for nine years employed in the Timaru railway goods sheds. When last heard from he had joined the Railway Operating Section in Belgium. He was of a genial disposition and will be much missed by his work­mates. Railway review, 11 January 1918, p 42

Sergeant Michael James Scannell

'Lyttelton - The Great Sacrifice'
The monthly meeting was held in Social HaIl on Thursday, July 3rd, Mr W. Huston in the chair. Before commencing business, a motion of sympathy was passed to the relatives of the late Sergeant Mick Scannel. "Mick" was a good mate, and a thorough Unionist. Although a good number have enlisted out of the Branch, he is the first to pay the great sacrifice. Railway review, 27 July 1917, p 345

Thomas Sharp

'A Soldier’s End: Sad accident near Gore. Farewell followed by fatality'
It is with very deep regret that we have to chronicle the death of one of our members, Mr Thos. Sharp, who was accidentally killed at Pukerau on October 11th, whilst on his way to Trentham prior to proceeding to the Front.  He was given a send-off by his fellow-boarders at the Commercial Hotel, Gore, being presented with a wristlet watch by the railway employees, and again when he was entertained by the townspeople and presented with a shaving outfit.  A large crowd gathered on the platform to bid him farewell, and many of them had not reached home when they received the sad news of his death.  It is impossible to describe the gloom that was cast over the whole of Gore on receipt of the news.  It appears that he alighted from the train at Pukerau (which is the first stop after leaving Gore) for the purpose of bidding farewell to some of his friends and fellow-employees, and as the train commenced to pull out he waited until the guard's van came up and jumped on, but missed his footing, with the result that the last bogie of the guard's van and those of the postal car went over him, killing him instantaneously. His body was brought back to Gore, where an inquest was held the following day, when the jury brought in a verdict of "Accidental Death," no blame being attachable to anyone.  The jury also expressed their sorrow and deep regret that a young- man of the stamp of the deceased, who had offered his life service to his King and country, should meet with such an untimely end, and desired to express their sincere sympathy with the relatives and friends of the deceased in their sad bereavement.
Private Sharp was accorded a military funeral, which was one of the largest ever taken place at Gore, there being full 400 Territorials, Cadets, and members of both branches of the National Reserve on parade, while more than a thousand people assembled at the graveside. The coffin, which was draped in the Union Jack, was conveyed to the cemetery on a 15-pounder gun-carriage and limber, which was obtained from Invercargill, and was drawn by four horses kindly lent by O. M. S. Jackson Munro. Private Sharp's cap and side arms were placed on the coffin. The funeral, which left the Gore Hospital at 3 p.m., was headed by 12 Territorials (who comprised the firing party) with reversed arms, followed by the Gore Municipal Brass Band playing the "Dead March" from "Saul.” The gun-carriage, conveying the  coffin, came  next,  followed  by the chief mourners, including  several members of the railway staff, after whom  followed the members of the Oddfellows' Lodge, several  returned  troopers, Gore Territorials, Gore Cadets,  and the  Gore  Pipe  Band.  Six fellow-employees of the deceased (Messrs Verev,  Sleeman, White, Welsh, Strang and Murphy), dressed in railway uniform, with black sashes, acted as pallbearers. Captain Stevens, N.Z.S.C. (Balclutha), had charge of the funeral, and Lieutenant P.  Boyne commanded the Territorials and Cadets, while Lieutenant J.  E. Winsloe was in charge of the National Reserve.  Lieutenant Craigie commanded No. 3 troop of the National Reserve. On arrival at the graveside, Captain Chaplain J.  M.  Simpson conducted the burial service, and Bro. J. Boyne, P.N.G., on behalf of the Oddfellows also read a short service.  The firing party fired three volleys over the grave, and Buglers McCorkindale and D. Harland sounded the "Last Post." Deceased was a trustee of the local branch  of the  A.S.R.S. since its inception, and at a  meeting of the Gore Branch, held on October 23rd, the  following  resolution  was carried by all present standing in silence: That  the  members of the  Gore Branch of the  A.S.R.S. wish to  express their deepest sympathy and condolence with the relatives and friends of the late Mr Thomas Sharp,  who was  accidentally killed at Pukerau on October 11th whilst on his way to fight for his king and country.
Deceased was a native of Denniston, where he was born on January 1888. When he was scarcely three years of age his parents moved to Branxholme, Tasmania, where the family has since resided. A little over four years ago deceased returned to New Zealand, joined the railway service, and was for the last three years stationed at Gore, where his quiet and unassuming manner gained for him the esteem of all he came in contact with. He was appointed Trustee to the Gore Branch A.S.R.S. when it was first opened, which position he held up to the  time of  his death.  He was a member of a Tasmanian Order of Oddfellows, and also the Invercargill Railway Sick Benefit Society. He leaves a widowed mother, two sisters, and three brothers to mourn their loss. Railway review, 19 November 1915, pp 513-514

Private William Henry Roy Simmonds

It is with regret that we have to report the death of one of our members, Private W. H. R. Simmonds, who was killed in action, somewhere in France, on the 7th June, 1917. This makes the sixth member of our Branch who has given his life for King and country. To the members of his family we extend our deep sympathy, and trust it will be some consolation to them to know that Roy responded to his country’s call, leaving all he loved to go and fight for the cause of right. Though he sleeps in a far off land, away from kith and kin, we will cherish his memory as one who made the supreme sacrifice. Railway review, 27 July 1917, p 337

Rifleman Walter Leslie Smith

'Mr. W. L. Smith, New Market'
It is with regret that we have to report the death of one of our members, Mr W. L. Smith, striker, late of Newmarket, who was killed in action on September 12th, 1918. He left with the 33rd Reinforcements. To the members of his family we extend our deep sympathy. Railway review, 18 October 1918, p 523

Rifleman John Burtman Sullivan

'Marton Member Killed In Action'
Our Marton Junction correspondent writes: We receive the sad new that Rifleman J. B. Sullivan had been killed in action. Jack was a real “white man,” and everyone had a good word for him. His relatives have the full and heartfelt sympathy of the staff at this station Railway review, 30 June 1916, p 272

Private James Todd

A meeting of workers was held in the car shop, Addington, recently, when a resolution was passed expressing sympathy and condolence with the parents of Private James Todd, who was killed early in June in the great push on the Somme. "Little Jim" was held in great esteem by all with whom he came in contact, and his death cast quite a shadow over  the works.  Mr and Mrs Todd have still two sons fighting in France. Railway review, 24 August 1917, p 397

Private Samuel Henry Whitehorn

General regret was expressed when the news came through that one of our members had made the supreme sacrifice, viz., Mr S. Whitehorn, surface-man, of Pukerua. Sam was one of those good fellows that the community can ill afford to lose, and will especially be missed around the Pukerua district. Railway review, 5 April 1918, p 185

Private David Mitchell Wilson

Private David Mitchell Wilson, killed in action on the 8th June “somewhere in France,” was the eldest son of Mr and Mrs D. N. Wilson, N. Z. Railways, Milton, and had just recently celebrated his 21st birthday in the trenches. He was a native of Romahapa, Catlin’s River District, and started his school career at Kokonga and Rough Ridge, Otago Central, and completed his education at Windsor, North Otago. After leaving school, he joined the Railway Department’s service at Dunedin, as a cleaner in the loco. Department. He enlisted at Oamaru at the age of 19 years, and left New Zealand with the 11th Reinforcements on 2nd April, 1916. Private Wilson was wounded in the left arm and left leg on September 19th during the Somme fighting, and was admitted to the hospital at Etaples, France, where he was discharged after six weeks’ treatment. After eleven days at the base he re-joined his regiment, and was in the firing line until he met his death on 8th June. Of four cousins who have been in action, three are railwaymen, two of whom have been seriously wounded, and one has made the supreme sacrifice, whilst one only, so far, has escaped injury, though he has had the sad misfortune of losing his wife since leaving New Zealand. Private Wilson was beloved by all who knew him, and many friends will miss his bright and cheery face, and his comrades of the footplate, to whom he was known as “Wee Scottie,” will sadly mourn his loss. Railway review, 24 August 1917, p 397

Joint obituaries

Private Reginald James Ahearn

Rifleman Edward Frederick Ander

'Wanganui Roll Of Honour'
Our Wanganui correspondent reports: It is with deep regret that I have to record the death (killed in action) of Private E. F. Ander, a member of the 8th Reinforcements, and one of the youngest to volunteer from the Easttown shops. On receipt of the sad news, the staff of the shops assembled whilst the Union Jack was hoisted in honour of our late comrade. Mr W. J. Cuttle made a brief speech eulogistic of the dead soldier and proposed that a vote of sympathy be forwarded to the parents and family. This was carried in silence, Private Ander was a quiet lad, unassuming in manner, and popular with everyone. His younger brother Albert is also at the Front and has been twice wounded.  To the parents and family we tender our sincere sympathy.
To our old member and shopmate, Mr J. Ahearn, his wife and family. We offer our sincere sympathy in their sad loss by the death of their son Reggie.  He was killed in action in the big fighting on the west front in September.  Another son (Len) is now on his way to the Front, having left with the 17th.
Mr R. Wilson, of the Easttown shops, has received word that his son George was wounded during the recent heavy fighting on the West front. Another son (Bob) is also in hospital in England, but from latest accounts is progressing favourably. Railway review, 17 November 1916, p 507

Rifleman Harry Osbourne Bateman

Lance Corporal Alexander Angus Charleston

'The great sacrifice. Two Newmarket members killed. Five enlist'
Our Newmarket correspondent  reports that during October, five of the Branch members enlisted, viz.,  Messrs H. McGrath (lifter), W. Leitch, A. Hedlund, E. Ferrall, and C. A. Nelson (carpenters), making a total  of 32 from our Branch.
Since our last meeting, he adds, many of our members have been in the danger zone, and many of the sons of our Empire have fallen.  We regret to report that two of our members, Messrs H. O. Bateman and A. A. Charleston, have been killed in action, having responded to their country's call and leaving all they loved to go and fight for the cause of right. Though they sleep in a far-off land, away from kith and kin, we will cherish their memory as men who made the great sacrifice. To their sorrowing parents and relatives we extend our heartfelt sympathy.
Alexander Angus Charleston, killed recently while serving with the Expeditionary Forces in France.  He joined the service as apprentice fitter in July, 1906, serving his time at Invercargill, and later at Hillside, where he was subsequently employed as fitter.  He returned to Invercargill (where his people still reside) in 1912, but a year later was transferred to the Auckland running shed, remaining there till he joined the Expeditionary Force in August, 1914.  He left with the Main Body as a member of a machine gun section, and served all through the Gallipoli campaign, with the exception of a  few  months spent at Malta, to recover from shell concussion, but he was fit and well again when the forces embarked for the Western battlefield. The news of his death comes with sincere regret to the many friends who had hoped to see him return safe and sound, and Alick’s sterling worth, both as a tradesman and a genial, trustworthy fellow-worker, earned for him deep and lasting friendship in the several workshops where he served. Railway review, 17 November, 1916, p 508

Corporal Morris Brown

Sapper Clive Napier Cargill

Private Ambrose Leonard Ward

Private George Williams

'Four Hillside Men Gone'
The results of battle are reaching Hillside. The homes of not a few are stricken with sorrow. We have to record the death of four of our members who went forth in the strength of youth to take their place in the defence of the Empire. The sting of sorrow is in a measure taken away in the thought that these have died as Men die, fighting for a just cause. New Zealand may well be proud of her sons, and we are proud of the men who represent Hillside on the field of battle. Our sympathy is extended to the relatives of those who are gone, never more to return. We honour them, too, for their sacrifice in giving their best in the nation's hour of need.
Geo. Williams, wood-working machinist, was the first to fall.  He was respected by all - straight as a die, and as independent as Caesar; kind hearted, and always ready for a joke. His widowed mother and sister have our especial sympathy.
Clive Cargill (fitter) had not long completed his apprenticeship.  He was an especially bright and promising young fellow, and has by his actions proved that he was made of the stuff that men are made of.
Ambrose Ward (striker) and Morris Brown (fitter) were comparatively new arrivals, the latter being transferred from Wanganui.  Both were members of the local Branch, and were highly respected.
These four have closed the book of life, but not until they had added "Hero" to their names. Railway review, 30 July 1915, p 336

Private Thomas Stephen Downes

Private Alfred Ernest Jones

'Two Gore railwaymen killed. More members join the ranks'
Members of the Gore Branch desire to express their deepest sympathy with the relatives of two of our late members, who were killed in action during the recent severe fighting at the Dardanelles – Privates T. Downes and E. A. Jones.  Both of the late members were staunch unionists, Private Jones acting as collector at Seacliff up till the time he enlisted. Railway review, 24 September 1915, p 426

Private Charles Agustus Nelson

Sapper Frank Gladstone Rameka Young

It is with regret that we have to report that two of our members Messrs C. A. Nelson and F. G. R. Young (carpenters) have been killed in action. We desire to express to the members of their families our deep sympathy, and trust it will be some consolation to them to know that they responded to their country’s call, leaving all they loved to go and fight for the cause of right. Though they sleep in a far-off land, away from kith and kin, their memory will be ever cherished by all who knew them, as those who made the supreme sacrifice. This makes nine members of our Branch who have given their lives for King and country. Railway review, 8 February 1918, p 75

Ernest Walter Gambling

Private Gerald Edwin Shaw

'Two Railway Men Killed. How They Died'
Major G. Barclay, of the New Zealand Engineers, in a letter from France, writes as follows: I have just got a few particulars with respect to the death of two members of the New Zealand Railway Service, namely Private G. E. Shaw and E. W. Gambling, of the 1st Battalion, Auckland Infantry. Both lads, at the time of their enlistment, were on the staff of the Morrinsville Station, and were well known in the Auckland District. On the night of the 10th July, a somewhat severe bombardment took place. Shaw, Gambling, and another comrade were occupying a dug-out in the trenches when a German high-explosive shell came over and landed right on top of their shelter crushing it in, and bringing the occupants what must have been instantaneous death. Both lads were held in high esteem by the members of the Battalion. Railway review, 22 September 1916, p 405

Private Herbert Simpson

Private George Swann

'Two Hillside Men'
Private H. Simpson, who died from wounds received in action, was born in New South Wales. He came to New Zealand with his parents when quite young, and was educated at Shag Point School. While in Hillside Workshops, his quiet, unassuming manner made him a general favourite. He was a promising member of the Cricket Club, and was one of eleven who left Hillside to join the Sixteenth Reinforcements.
We have just received news, adds our Hillside correspondent of the death, killed in action, of another of our brave boys, Private George Swann, who left with the 13th Reinforcements, and so was about two and a half years on active service. He was also a member of the Cricket Club, a bright, manly lad, and well-liked by all with whom he came in contact. Our sympathy goes out to his widowed mother and the family. They have only the memory of the life cut short. He bravely fought and nobly died. Railway review, 20 September 1918, p 436

Simpson – On January 10th, died from wounds received while in action, Private H. Simpson (16th Reinforcements), dearly beloved second son of George and Susan Simpson, 52 Brunswick Street, South Dunedin; aged 22 years and 9 months. (Sailed from Port Chalmers August 20th, 1916). Railway review, 20 September 1918, p 477

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Railway workers' obituaries, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated