Topic: Alexander Petherbridge (1891-1920)

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On 23 September 1916 Alexander Petherbridge wrote a postcard to his father from France telling him about his narrow escape from death: "My Dear Father, This is the photo that I promised to send to you and it now bears the additional mark of interest, a shrapnel ball passed through a dozen of these in my pocket tunic. Poor Hugh Stocker was killed that day only a stone’s throw from our guns." Alexander died of tuberculosis in Auckland on 23 September 1920. Story by Debbie McCauley.

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Alexander Petherbridge was born at Culverden in Canterbury, New Zealand, on 7 November 1891 (reg. 1891/14817). His parents were Arthur and Janet Petherbridge (nee Nicol) who married in Christchurch on 21 February 1887.

Alexander worked as a labourer at Motu in Gisborne. His mother Janet died on 11 April 1913.

On 20 October 1914 Alexander enlisted at Gisborne to fight during World War I. He embarked for the Dardanelles on 12 April 1915, serving with the 4th Howitzer Battery (Service No. 2/1078). He was reported as becoming deaf in one ear from June 1915.

On 15 January 1916 Alexander was at Moascar Camp, near the Suez Canal, before leaving for France.

The following year, on 23 September 1916. Alexander wrote a postcard to his father from France telling him about his narrow escape from death:

My Dear Father, This is the photo that I promised to send to you and it now bears the additional mark of interest, a shrapnel ball passed through a dozen of these in my pocket tunic. Poor Hugh Stocker was killed that day only a stone’s throw from our guns.

On 11 March 1917 Alexander was admitted to hospital suffering from mumps. He rejoined his unit on 1 April 1917.

Alexander was admitted to hospital again on 26 September 1917 after his left fibular was fractured. His medical report states that 'while performing recreational training prior to the last operations at Ypres this man had a small bone broken in his leg while wrestling'. He was sent to England to recover and on 8 November 1917 his military record notes that the, 'soldier was injured accidentally in the performance of military duty and was in no way to blame' for his injuries. 

Alexander recovered at Hornchurch before being discharged on leave on 9 December 1917. He reported for duty once again on 27 December 1917.

On 23 January 1918 Alexander was admitted to hospital suffering from phthisis (tuberculosis).

The following month, on 22 February 1918, he was classified, 'no longer physically fit for war service on account of illness contracted on active service'. Alexander was sent back to New Zealand on board the hospital ship 'Mahino' on 14 July 1918. He was discharged on 6 August 1918 and moved to Tauranga where he received treatment at Tauranga Hospital for chronic pulmonary tuberculosis (TB).

Gunner Alexander Petherbridge died of tuberculosis in Auckland on 23 September 1920, aged 29. He was buried in the Waikumete Cemetery on 27 September 1920.

Alexander Petherbridge (1891-1920)

References:

Ancestry.com.

Archives New Zealand: Military personnel file.

Auckland War Memorial Museum: Cenotaph Record.

Births, Deaths & Marriages Online (New Zealand).

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A version of this article was archived in August 2016 at Perma CC https://perma.cc/7AGL-MCRW.

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Alexander Petherbridge (1891-1920)


Year:1920
Note:Service Number: 2/1078
First Names:Alexander
Last Name:Petherbridge
Date of Birth:7 November 1891
Place of Birth:Culverden, Canterbury
Country of birth:New Zealand
Date of death:23 September 1920
Place of death:Auckland, New Zealand
Place of burial:Waikumete Cemetery
Occupation:labourer
Fathers name:Arthur Petherbridge
Fathers date of birth:12 March 1855
Fathers place of birth:Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia
Fathers date of death:29 November 1932
Fathers place of death:Opaheke, New Zealand
Mothers name:Janet Provan Nicol
Mothers date of birth:21 September 1863
Mothers place of birth:Carluke, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Mothers date of death:11 April 1913
Mothers place of death:Motu, Gisborne, New Zealand
Military Service:World War I (1914-1918)