Topic: Alfred William Kent (1891-1915)

Topic type:

Tauranga surveyors assistant Alfred William Kent was killed in action during the Battle of Chunuk Bair at Gallipoli on 8 August 1915. He was a trooper with the Auckland Mounted Rifles. Story by Debbie McCauley.

Does this article look wrong? Click here for an archived version.

Alfred William Kent was born at Oxford in Oxfordshire, England on 18 April 1891. He arrived in New Zealand in 1905 with his siblings and parents, ironmonger Alfred James and Abigail Kent who lived for a time in Gate Pa, Tauranga. The family are shown on the 1901 England census, however Alfred who would have been aged 10, is missing from the list. On the 1881 England census Alfred (Snr) is shown working as an ironmongers assistant for his parents Alfred and Sarah Kent (nee Pearce).

The family comprised:

  1. Catherine Sarah Kent (1883-1904)Born at Oxford in Oxfordshire, England in December of 1883. Occuption on the 1901 English census shown as an ironmongers shop assistant. Her father Alfred is shown as an ironmonger shopkeeper. Catherine died in Buckinghamshire, England in March 1904.
  2. Agnes Jessie Kent (1885-1899). Born at Oxford in Oxfordshire, England in March 1885. Agnes died in Buckinhamshire, England in September 1899.
  3. Abigail Ellen Kent (1886-1921). Born at Oxford in Oxfordshire, England in September 1886. Occuption on the 1901 English census shown as an ironmongers shop assistant. Abigail died of tuberculosis on 12 April 1921 (reg. 1921/1353) in Tauranga Hospital. She was buried in Tauranga Anglican Cemetery. The Bay of Plenty Times reported that Abigail had been ill since the 1918 Infuenza Pandemic and had worked for several years in a Tauranga drapery shop.
  4. Victoria Alice Kent (1887-1946). Born at Oxford in Oxfordshire, England in September 1887. Victoria married Edward Wood in 1917 (reg. 1917/4877). She died in New Zealand in 1946 (reg. 1946/17561).
  5. James Sidney Kent (1888-1904). Born at Oxford in Oxfordshire, England in December 1888. James died in Buckinghamshire in March 1904.
  6. Alfred William Kent (1891-1915). Killed in action during World War I.
  7. Mary Ada Beatrice Kent (1893-1921)Born at Oxford in Oxfordshire, England in March 1893. On 3 December 1921, at age 29, Mary died of tuberculosis (reg. 1921/6446) in Tauranga, just five months after her older sister Abigail. Mary was buried in Tauranga Anglican Cemetery.
  8. Annie Rowena Kent (1896-1982)Born at Oxford in Oxfordshire, England on 26 March 1896. She married Spencer German in New Zealand in 1921 (reg. 1921/5766). Annie died in New Zealand in 1982 (reg. 1982/39699).
  9. Edwin Albert Kent (1898-?)Born at Oxford in Oxfordshire, England on 13 January 1898. He worked as a baker for Hammond's Bakery in Tauranga. Edwin served during World War I (Service No. 76931). In 1923 he left from Auckland for Vancouver on board the 'Makura', arriving on 5 April 1923.

Alfred worked as a surveyors assistant for Tauranga Borough Council.

His mother died in Tauranga on 28 October 1911, at the age of 56 (reg. 1911/1648) and was buried in Tauranga Anglican Cemetery. The Bay of Plenty Times reported on 30 October 1911:

We regret to record the death of Mrs A. J. Kent, which occurred at her residence, Monmouth Street, on Saturday afternoon, at the age of 56 years. Deceased had been in ill-health for about a year. A few weeks ago she was compelled to take to her bed, and despite all medical and nursing efforts passed away as above stated. She was born in Berkshire (England), and accompanied her family to New Zealand about six years ago, shortly afterwards settling in Tauranga. Deceased was held in high esteem by all who knew her, and leaves to mourn their loss a husband, four daughters, and two sons, for whom the greatest sympathy is felt in the irreparable loss which they have sustained. The funeral takes place tomorrow afternoon.

Alfred's father moved to Greerton in 1914 where he purchased a section and built a house on the corner of what is now Kent Street and Cameron Road.

Alfred enlisted to fight in World War I on 15 August 1915 (Service No. 13/376). He was a Trooper with the Auckland Mounted Rifles.

Alfred William Kent (1891-1915)

Trooper Alfred William Kent was killed in action during the Battle of Chunuk Bair at Gallipoli in Turkey on 8 August 1915 (reg. 1918/41493), aged 24. He is remembered on the Chunuk Bair (New Zealand) Memorial in the Chunuk Bair Cemetery, Gallipoli, Turkey.

On 14 September 1915 the Bay of Plenty Times reported: 

The Mayor moved at the meeting of the Borough Council last night - That this Council desires to place on record its profound sorrow at the loss the community has sustained by the death in action, in defence of the liberties of his country, of Mr A W Kent. Mr Macmillan stated that the late Mr Kent had worked for the Borough as surveyor's assistant and was one of the first to volunteer. Later, when the war was over, it was his intention to have a permanent memorial placed in the Town Hall in honour of those who had fallen in their country's service, - The motion was passed in silence, all members standing. 

Alfred William Kent (1891-1915)

On 19 November 1915 the Bay of Plenty Times published more details on Alfred's death:

DEATH OF A TAURANGA SOLDIERWriting to his brother at Matangi, under date of September 5, from a hospital in Egypt, Corporal Thomas W. Phillips, who has since died of his wounds, described how he received his injuries. "Our regiment charged the Turkish outpost, a high, steep hill, covered with scrub," he wrote. "We stood in the trench all night, and in the morning carried the wounded away. We then shifted up the valley, and in moving back five men were hit. About 2 a.m. next day we got to the second firing-line, and then had to charge across a place riddled with bullets. We stayed on this awful hillside while the enemy 'peppered' us with shrapnel. One-shell killed a man and wounded two others, who died soon after. We then ran in fours over into the gully after having been on the hillside for six hours. We were now at the first firing line. I was feeling ill, so was told to gather in the wounded. I put them in a row under shelter. We had no tunics for five days, and it was bitterly cold at night. Next morning Alf Kent and I started to dig a dug out to escape the shellfire of our own guns. We had it finished, and I was just getting in, when a high explosive shell burst and threw me about 10ft into the air; I thought it was the finish, but I got to my feet and made for the gully. I dropped at last after a man had bandaged me. My left arm was blown away from half-way up the wrist. I was lying in the gully for 16 hours, and was then shifted. I have two wounds in the neck, six big holes in my leg, one in the right leg and one in the hand." Mr A. Kent referred to above enlisted in Tauranga, where he was well known as an employee of the Borough Council. 

Alfred's father died, aged 91, in 1947 (reg. 1947/23604). He was buried in Tauranga Anglican Cemetery on 8 August 1947.


References: 1881 English Census. 1891 English Census. 1901 English Census. Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at Seattle, Washington.

Archives New Zealand: Military Personnel File.

Auckland Star (20 September 1915, p. 8).

Auckland War Memorial Museum: Cenotaph Record.

Bay of Plenty Times (1911 October 30, p. 4).

Bay of Plenty Times (1915 September 14, p. 2).

Bay of Plenty Times (1915 November 19): Death of a Tauranga Soldier.

Bay of Plenty Times (1921 April 13): Death Notice.

Births, Deaths & Marriages Online (New Zealand).

Burial Records, Tauranga, New Zealand 1881-1992.

Fiona Kean (Tauranga Heritage Collection).

Greerton School Centennial Jubilee: Souvenir History 1876-1976 (p. 91).


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

Discuss This Topic

There are 0 comments in this discussion.

join this discussion

Alfred William Kent (1891-1915)

Note:Service Number: 13/376
First Names:Alfred William
Last Name:Kent
Date of Birth:18 April 1891
Place of Birth:Oxford, Oxfordshire
Country of birth:England
Date of death:8 August 1915
Place of death:Gallipoli, Turkey
Place of burial:Chunuk Bair (New Zealand) Memorial, Chunuk Bair Cemetery, Gallipoli, Turkey
Occupation:surveyors assistant
Date of arrival in Bay of Plenty:1905
Fathers name:Alfred James Kent
Fathers date of birth:c1857
Fathers place of birth:Wantage, Berkshire, England
Fathers date of death:August 1947
Fathers place of death:New Zealand
Mothers name:Abigail ?
Mothers date of birth:c1856
Mothers place of birth:Denchworth, Berkshire, England
Mothers date of death:28 October 1911
Mothers place of death:Tauranga, New Zealand
Military Service:World War I (1914-1918)