Topic: John Graham Snodgrass (1888-1917)

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Tauranga surveryor's assistant John Graham Snodgrass saw action at Gallipoli before being killed in action at Ypres in Belgium on 10 December 1917. Story by Debbie McCauley.

John Graham Snodgrass was born at Otumoetai in Tauranga on 1 February 1888. His parents were David Graham and Jane Elizabeth Snodgrass (nee Burkitt) who married in New South Wales, Australia, on 16 March 1886. Jane was known as 'Jeannie'. 

In around 1904 John's father David disppeared in Australia in mysterious circumstances. Jane moved with the family to Te Puke. In 1910 she married widower Thomas Patrick Lemon (1863-1933).

Known as 'Jack', John worked as a surveyor's assistant and was a member of the Tauranga Mounted Rifles.

He enlisted to fight during World war I on 5 December 1914. He served with the British section New Zealand Engineers, No. 4 Field Company (Service No. 4/209A). On 12 April 1915 he departed for Gallipoli. Two months later he was in hospital at Moudros, on the island of Lemnos in Greece, suffering from dysentery.

On 12 September 1916 it was reported that John had been gassed in France. By 26 October he was recovering in Brockenhurst Hospital in England. At the end of October he was transferred to Hornchurch. He was discharged in November, and rejoined his unit.

On 5 March 1917 John was admitted to hospital again suffering from measles. After rejoining his unit he suffered a strained back on 16 June 1917 and was discharged from hospital on 25 June.

Lance Corporal John Graham Snodgrass was killed in action at Ypres, Belgium on 10 December 1917, aged 29. He was buried in the Ramparts Cemetery at Lille Gate, Leper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

John's medals were sent to his brother, Archibald Hamilton Snodgrass (1899-1969) in Te Puke.

John Graham Snodgrass (1888-1917)


Archives New Zealand: Military personnel file.

Auckland War Memorial Museum: Cenotaph Record.

Births, Deaths & Marriages Online (New Zealand).

Clement, Christine2011). The Pioneers, Settlers and Families of Te Puke and District (pp. 312-314).


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

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John Graham Snodgrass (1888-1917)

Note:Service Number: 4/209A
First Names:John Graham
Last Name:Snodgrass
Date of Birth:1 February 1888
Place of Birth:Otumoetai, Tauranga
Country of birth:New Zealand
Date of death:10 December 1917
Place of death:Ypres, Belgium
Place of burial:Ramparts Cemetery, Lille Gate, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
Occupation:surveyors assistant
Fathers name:David Graham Snodgrass
Fathers date of birth:1857
Fathers place of birth:Hollyport, Wexford, Ireland
Fathers date of death:c1904 disappeared
Fathers place of death:Australia?
Mothers name:Jane Elizabeth Burkitt
Mothers date of birth:23 May 1866
Mothers place of birth:Bensfieldside, County Durham, England
Mothers date of death:29 August 1920
Mothers place of death:No. 2 Road, Te Puke, New Zealand
Military Service:World War I (1914-1918)