Topic: Claude Montefiore Samuel (1889-1918)

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Long-time Tauranga resident and Bank of New Zealand Clerk, Claude Montefiore Samuel served during World War I with the New Zealand Machine Gun Corps, 34 Specialist Company. He was taken Prisoner of War in Germany and said to have died of disease there on 13 September 1918, burial place unknown. Story by Debbie McCauley.

Claude Montefiore Samuel was born in Wellington, New Zealand, on 1 February 1889 (reg. 1889/18301) to Edward and Annie Maud Samuel (nee Miles) who married at All Saint's in Sumner, New Zealand on 28 March 1883.

In 1895 the family moved to Tauranga and after leaving school Samuel was employed by the Bank of New Zealand as a Bank Clerk. He was also a member of the College Rifles Rugby Football Club.

His father, Edward, died at their home 'The Cliff' in Elizabeth Street, Tauranga on 30 August 1914 at the age of 63. He was buried in Tauranga Presbyterian Cemetery. On 31 August 1914 his obituary appeared in the Bay of Plenty Times:

OBITUARY: MR E. SAMUEL The death of Mr E. Samuel occurred at his residence, Elizabeth Street, yesterday at 1pm with somewhat tragic suddenness. The immediate cause of death was heart failure, although for many years past the deceased gentleman has on account of ill-health been forced to live a retired life. Born in London in 1850 the late Mr Samuel was educated at University College, and for several years lived and travelled with the late Sir Moses Montefiore in the Holy Land and elsewhere. He came to New Zealand in 1875, and for several years held, various important appointments under the Wellington Education Board. In 1879 he established the “Wairawpa Daily Times,” at Masterton, with the late Mr Joseph Payton, but ill-health compelled his retirement. Moving to Wellington, be was one of the original directors of the “New Zealand Times” edited the catalogue of the General Assembly Library, and compiled the “New Zealand Reader” for the Minister of Education. In 1895 the deceased gentleman moved to Tauranga, and has resided here ever since. After coming here he took an active part in local affairs and was a member of the Borough Council and Hospital and Charitable Aid Board, besides occupying many offices on various athletic clubs etc. Possessed of a rare intellect, and highly versed in all current topics, Mr Samuel’s enforced retirement from active life robbed the community of one of its best and most useful citizens. Having travelled over all these parts of Europe now affected by the war he was able to follow the events of the past few weeks with extreme interest. Mr Samuel leaves a widow and six children, three sons and three daughters, to whom will be extended the sincerest sympathy of the community in their sad and sudden bereavement.

On 24 November 1916 Samuel enlisted to serve during World War I (1914-1918). He married Grace Flora Morrell Vizer just a few days later, at St. Peter's Church in Wellington, on 4 December 1916.

He was part of the New Zealand Machine Gun Corps, 34 Specialist Company (Service No. 41998). 

Samuel was reported missing on 13 September 1918. He was able to communication with authorities and tell them that he is a prisoner of war in Germany and in good health.

Second Lieutenant Claude Montefiore Samuel died of disease in Germany on 13 September 1918, aged 29. His death notice appeared in the Bay of Plenty Times on 25 October 1918 (p. 2):

SAMUEL Advice has been received that Second Lieutenant Claude M Samuel has died while a prisoner of war. Deceased resided in Tauranga for many years and after leaving school joined the service of the Bank of New Zealand. He was held in high esteem by all who knew him and the news of his death will be received with deep regret.

Claude Montefiore Samuel (1889-1918)

Samuel's name is recorded on a memorial plaque at the Bank of New Zealand Arcade in Wellington:

In Memoriam: The names inscribed upon this tablet are those of officers of the Bank of New Zealand who laid down their lives in the Great War AD 1914-1919 waged against the nations of central Europe - Germany, Austria, Turkey and Bulgaria - who sought by force of arms to obtain world-wide dominion. In honour of their patriotism and valour. In admiration of their sacrifice. And in grateful perpetuation of their glorious and ennobling memory this monument is reverently dedicated. Their Name Liveth for Evermore.

He is also remembered on the Grevillers (New Zealand) Memorial in the Grevillers British Cemetery, Pas-de-Calais, France and the Roll of Honour, College Rifles at the Rugby Union Football & Sports Club, 33 Haast Street, Remuera, Auckland.

Samuel's mother, Annie, died in Christchurch on 21 April 1935. She was buried in Barbadoes Street Cemetery. 

In 1923 Grace remarried to William Rognvald Fea (1898-1988). She died in Hamilton on 14 November 1991 and was buried in Hamilton Park Cemetery.



Archives New Zealand: Military Personnel File.

Auckland War Memorial Museum: Cenotaph Record.

Auckland War Memorial Museum: Cenotaph Record.

Births, Deaths and Marriages Online (New Zealand).

Death Notice: Samuel (Bay of Plenty Times, 1918, October 25, p. 2).

Obituary: Mr. E. Samuel (Bay of Plenty Times, 1914 August 31, p. 2).

Wedding: Rice-Samuel (Bay of Plenty Times, 1914, June 26, p. 5).


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

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Claude Montefiore Samuel (1889-1918)

Note:Service Number: 41998
First Names:Claude Montefiore
Last Name:Samuel
Date of Birth:1 February 1889
Place of Birth:Wellington
Country of birth:New Zealand
Date of death:13 September 1918
Place of death:Germany
Place of burial:not recorded
Occupation:bank clerk
Spouses name:Grace Flora Morrell Vizer
Spouses date of birth:23 November 1895
Spouses place of birth:Wellington, New Zealand
Spouses date of death:14 November 1990
Spouses place of death:Hamilton, New Zealand
Spouses place of burial:Hamilton Park Cemetery
Date of marriage:4 December 1916
Place of marriage:Wellington, New Zealand
Fathers name:Edward Samuel
Fathers date of birth:c1850
Fathers place of birth:London, England
Fathers date of death:30 August 1914
Fathers place of death:Elizabeth St, Tauranga, New Zealand
Mothers name:Annie Maud Miles
Mothers date of birth:20 October 1857
Mothers place of birth:Christchurch, New Zealand
Mothers date of death:21 April 1935
Mothers place of death:Christchurch, New Zealand
Military Service:World War I (1914-1918)