Topic: Eric Corbett (1886-1918)

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World War I Rifleman Eric Corbett died of his wounds in France on 17 July 1918. His parents were Bowyer and Eileen Campbell Corbett who established Bureta Farm in Tauranga.

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Eric Corbett (1886-1918)

Eric Corbett was born in Fiji on 4 August 1886 to Bowyer and Eileen Campbell Corbett. After thirty years in Fiji and a successful career, forty three year old Bowyer Corbett and his family left Fiji in 1900 for the sake of his health. They established Bureta Farm in Tauranga. The name Bureta (pronounced Mbureta in Fijian) comes from the island of Ovalau where he settled. The translation suggested by a Fijian specialist is ‘muddy water’.

Bowyer took up farming in Otumoetai, but despite the change of climate died in April 1909. His wife, Eileen, remarried in 1910, and with her husband, Caldwell McMaster Ashworth, retained ownership of Bureta until 1914 when they moved, first to Ngawaro, and later to Norfolk Island. At the time of the clearing sale in 1914 the Ashworth's had 45 choice dairy cows. The Ashworth’s were part of the social scene and entertained members of the Waikato Hunt on the farm in 1912.

On 26 January 1910 the Bay of Plenty Times reported: Mr Eric Corbett, of Auckland, who has been staying at Bureta for some weeks, left for Auckland yesterday afternoon (p. 2).

Eric worked as a Chemist at Woollams in Auckland and became President of Chemists' Employees Union. He enlisted for World War I on 13 March 1917, becoming a Rifleman with the New Zealand Rifle Brigade (1st Battalion). They embarked from Wellington aboard the Mokoia for Glasgow, Scotland on 13 August 1917. He served in France and was wounded at Etaples on 5 April 1918.

Eric was again wounded in the field on 16 July 1918. He received a gunshot wound to the chest and wrist, dying of his wounds at No. 3 Casualty Clearing Station in France the following day. He was aged 32. Eric was buried in Bagneux British Cemetery, Gezaincourt, Somme, France.

Eric Corbett (1886-1918)  ........



Births, Deaths and Marriages (New Zealand)

Cenotaph Database

Military Personnel File

Papers Past  Bay of Plenty Times (26 January 1910, p. 2)



A version of this article was archived in July 2016 at Perma CC

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Eric Corbett (1886-1918)

First Names:Eric
Last Name:Corbett
Date of Birth:4 August 1886
Place of Birth:Suva
Country of birth:Fiji
Date of death:17 July 1918
Place of death:France
Place of burial:Bagneux British Cemetery, Gezaincourt, Somme, France
Name of the ship:Mokoia
Fathers name:Bowyer
Fathers date of birth:7 May 1857
Fathers place of birth:Tenbury, Worcestershire, England
Fathers date of death:5 April 1909
Fathers place of death:Tauranga, New Zealand
Mothers name:Eileen Campbell
Mothers date of birth:1863
Mothers place of birth:Auckland, New Zealand
Mothers place of death:Sydney, Australia
Name of sibilings:Olive Corbett and Oscar Bowyer Corbett
Military Service:World War I (1914-1918)

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