Topic: Remembering World War One: Tauranga Fast Facts

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Facts about WW1 soldiers with connections to Tauranga and surrounding area excluding men from Maketu, Te Puke or Katikati, unless their names appear of the Tauranga Domain War Memorial. Criteria for inclusion: Tauranga born and/or Tauranga enlistment address or name appears on the Tauranga Domain War Memorial. Researched and compiled by Fiona Kean as at 9 February 2015.

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 410 Tauranga men are known to have fought in the First World War.

 110 were killed in action or died as a result of their service (Prior to September 1921 - the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s official cut-off date for inclusion in the roll of honour is September 1921).

 62 Tauranga men were killed in action.

 18 Died of their wounds.

 29 died of illness or disease contracted while on active service.

 1 was killed in a flying accident.

 At 45 Thomas Clemson was the oldest Tauranga man killed during the war. Thomas owned a farm at Gate Pa.

• At 19 John Salt was the youngest Tauranga man killed during the war. John was a labourer for the New Zealand Railway.

• Frederick Dodson was the first Tauranga man to die. He was killed during the landings at Gallipoli, 25 April 1915.

• Charles Lilley and William Poad were the last two Tauranga men to die. They were both killed in action 1 October 1918.

• At 54 John Brown was the oldest Tauranga man to enlist. He was discharged in 1918 due to his age.

• Sapper Michael Tobin is believed to be the first New Zealand soldier to die on the Western Front, 15 April 1916. Prior to enlistment he worked for the Tauranga Public Works Department.

• George Rewa was the first New Zealander to die on the battlefield of the Somme. George was born on Motiti Island.

• Tauranga raised Clive Collett became New Zealand’s first fighter ‘ace’ with 11 victories. He crashed while testing a German Albatross Fighter and was killed, 23 December 1917.

• Tauranga nurses Jeannie Sinclair and Catherine Blackie survived the sinking of the Marquette by German submarine, 23 October 1915. Ten New Zealand nurses were killed.

• John D. Holmes, who enlisted from Tauranga, received a Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O.) for the construction of the Havrincourt Bridge over the Canal du Nord, a major engineering feat.

• Tauranga dentist William Poole was an officer in the New Zealand Dental Corp.

• Matakana Island born George Gardiner received the Cross of Karageorge, a Serbian Decoration for bravery during WW1. He went on to serve with the A.I.F. during WW2 and died of wounds in Libya in 1941.

• Albert Adams, son of Tauranga Mayor John Adams, invented a mounting device for the Stokes Mortar.

• 17 Tauranga born men served with the Australian Imperial Force. 6 died as a result of their service.

• The first Tauranga enlistments left for Trentham on 12 August 1914, eight days after the declaration of war.

• Several Tauranga men were court martialled for misconduct. Offences included drunkenness, desertion and striking a superior officer.

• 3 Tauranga men were taken Prisoner of War by the Germans. 2 were repatriated and one died of disease while a prisoner.

• 7 Tauranga men brought home British War Brides. 

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Remembering World War One: Tauranga Fast Facts


Year:1914