(Service number 8/3467)
|Aliases||Born Henry ANNALS. Enlisted as William Henry ANDREWS. Personnel File states 'Identical with Annals Henry'.|
|First Rank||Private||Last Rank||Private|
|Date||15 December 1879||Place of Birth||Geraldine, South Island|
|Date||27 October 1915||Age||32 years 10 months|
|Address at Enlistment||Fearnley(?) Coffee Pallace, Palmerston North|
|Previous Military Experience|
|Next of Kin||W. KING (friend), Geraldine|
|Medical Information||Height 5 feet 6½ inches. Weight 9 stone 5 lbs. Chest measurement 32-35 inches. Complexion fair. Eyes blue. Hair light brown. Sight, hearing, colour vision, heart and lungs all normal. Limbs and chest well formed. Full and perfect movement of all joints. Teeth good. No illnesses. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated. Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects. No fits.|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||New Zealand Expeditionary Force|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||9th Reinforcements Otago Infantry Battalion, D Company|
|Date||8 January 1916|
|Embarked From||Wellington||Destination||Suez, Egypt|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||Otago Infantry Regiment|
|Campaigns||Egyptian; Western European|
|Service Medals||British War Medal; Victory Medal|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
15 September 1916 - Reported wounded.
|Date||15 September 1916||Age||36 years|
|Place of Death||Somme, France|
|Cause||Killed in action|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval, Somme, France|
|Memorial Reference||VIII. E. 12.|
|New Zealand Memorials||Timaru War Memorial Wall (as W. H. ANNALS); Geraldine War Memorial (additions, as W. H. ANNALS)|
Henry Annals was the eldest son of James and Sarah Jane (née Evans) Annals, of Pleasant Valley, Geraldine, this appearing to be the only family of the surname in New Zealand. James and Sarah had married in 1873 in England and were living in New Zealand by 1875. Henry was born on 15 December 1879 at Geraldine, South Island, and probably attended Belfield School near Orari, with his siblings. The Belfield School opened in 1884, after a proposed school was mooted in mid 1883, Mr Annals being part of the committed elected for the purpose. He continued to serve on the committee for some years afterwards through the 1880s and 1890s. In March 1897 Mr J. Annals was successful in the ballot for land in the Waiapi Settlement on the Arowhenua estate. Young Harry was bitten by a dog when he was not five years old. A local Belfield man was charged with having a dangerous dog in his possession in May 1885. Mrs Annals said that two of her children were bitten by said dog on their way to school. “I saw the bite made by the dog on my son Henry’s leg. My daughter was bitten on the shoulder. I saw the marks.” Another resident gave evidence of seeing the boy bitten, and Henry’s sister said that her brother did not tease the dog as he was afraid of it, adding that it had bitten her once before. At the weekly meeting of the Star of Orari Lodge, No. 130, held on 4 November 1896, Bro. H. Annals was one of several officers installed. Like his brother Fred, Harry took part in cycling. His handicap for the Orari Bicycle road race on 26 January 1905 was 2¼ minutes, mid way in the rankings.
Harry Annals was recorded as a ploughman and a labourer at Belfield in 1903, 1905-06, 1907. At nearly 36 years of age he enlisted, on 27 October 1915, just two weeks after his younger brother Frederick. But Henry Annals enlisted as William Henry Andrews – Why? No reason or explanation is apparent. Was he perhaps estranged from the family? At the time he was in good physical condition, though of relatively small build - 5 feet 6½ inches tall, 9 stone 5 pounds in weight, and with a chest measurement of 32 -35 inches. His complexion was fair, eyes blue and hair light brown. His teeth were good and he was vaccinated and was free of any diseases or defects. He stated that he was single, protestant, a farmer, and gave his address as Fearnley(?) Coffee Pallace [sic], Palmerston North. William Henry Andrews was a ploughman at Linton near Palmerston North, by the 1914 electoral roll. This may be Henry, who was a ploughman previously. If so, he had changed his name prior to the war. Was it coincidental that a William Henry Andrews died in New Zealand earlier in 1914? His next-of-kin was given as W. King (friend), Geraldine, who has not yet been identified. It appears that he may have started to write Mrs S. Gale – “Mrs S. Ga” crossed out - as next-of-kin, she being his older sister.
Added to his history-sheet is the note “Identical with Annals Henry”. Embarking at Wellington with the Otago Infantry Battalion, 9th Reinforcements, on 8 January 1916 per the “Maunganui”, destined for Suez, Private W. H. Andrews served in Egypt and on the Western front, notably at the Somme. He left Alexandria for France per “Llandovery Castle” in early April 1916. Newspaper records of his fate are very bald and cast no light on this man. Private William Henry Andrews, 8/3467, was killed in action on 15 September 1916, a decision made by a Court of Enquiry on 11 January 1917. He was initially reported wounded on 15 September, then reported missing. He was at death 36 years old and was interred, on 20 March 1917, in the Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval, Somme, France. His brother Frederick is remembered on the memorial in the same cemetery. Both were victims of the massive loss at the Somme.
Following his death, attempts to find relatives or next-of-kin were unsuccessful. “All attempts made to trace relatives & nom N/K have been fruitless. P. T. (Public Trustee) has been asked to administer the estate.” There was no evidence of a will. His medals were to be held pending an application for same. It was stated that there were no known relatives and no known address for W. King. James Annals, who was later identified as his father, was resident at Pleasant Valley, Geraldine, care of Mrs S. Gale (daughter). Henry’s medals – British War Medal and Victory Medal - were sent to his father in 1922, as was the plaque, and the scroll in 1923. His Personnel File notes “deceased served under name of Andrews Wm Hy but it has been ascertained that he is identical with the son of the above named [James Annals] (Henry Annals)”. Why did Henry serve under another name? Unlike his brother Fred, Henry has no death notice, no family memorial notices in subsequent years. His name is inscribed on the Timaru Memorial Wall and included in the additions to the Geraldine War Memorial (both as W. H. ANNALS).
His brother Frederick James Annals, 25/481, was also killed in action in the same battle and on the same date, 15 September 1916, both within the first hour of the Battle of Flers, the Somme, Henry near High Wood, on the left flank of the New Zealand offensive, and Frederick near Delville Hill, on the right flank. [Richard Powell, great-nephew]. Thus James and Sarah Annals lost two sons on the same date and in the same conflict. Were Henry and Frederick aware that they were treading the same ground on the same day in the same battle – headed to the same fate? Or did they not cross paths? All four Annals served in World War One. Henry’s brothers Walter and George also both served in World War One, as did his brother-in-law, Robert Guilford, (husband of Ethel Kazia Annals). Henry and Walter had embarked on the same date, 8 January 1916, on the same troopship, “Maunganui”. Were they conscious of this? The family was surely aware in February 1917 that Henry had gone to the front, when George Annals appealed his call-up – “George Annals, . . . . . . , stated that he had three brothers in France, and he had to support his aged parents . . . . .” They would not have been aware, however, that both Henry and Fred had been killed in action, as no contact had been found for Henry and Fred’s death was not determined until March 1917. George Nelson Gale, a nephew of the Annals brothers, son of their oldest sister Mary Harriett Annals and Samuel Gale, died on 15 December 1944, in Italy, while serving in World War II (aged 36 yrs), of Geraldine. Nephew William Patrick Guilford also served in World War II, as did Walter’s son, Roderick Bruce Annals. In June 1918, Mr J. Annals, who had by this time lost two sons in the war, donated to the Prisoners of War Fund in the Opihi-Rangitata district. Mr and Mrs Annals died within six weeks of each other in 1933. The only recorded mention, so far, of Henry following his death has been found in his father’s obituary (Timaru Herald, 4 July 1933) – “Two sons, Henry and Frederick, were killed in the Great War.”
The British War Medal and Victory Medal named to 8/3467 RFLM William Henry ANDREWS were acquired by MRNZ (Medals Reunited) from a deceased estate in 2016. Henry’s assumed name and misleading next-of-kin information resulted in a lengthy and complex search to find descendants. The note on his file “Identical with Annals, Henry” proved crucial. Fortunately a grandson and a granddaughter of Harry’s brother Walter Annals were traced and happy to be reunited with the medals. And Henry’s grave marker in the Caterpillar Valley Cemetery is inscribed with the name H. Annals.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [03 August 2013]; N Z Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5520 0008811) [28 August 2013]; CWGC [03 August 2013]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [August 2013; 08 September 2013]; NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au); Temuka Leader, 5 July 1883, 2 February 1884, 9 June 1885, 23 April 1891, 12 November 1896, 26 January 1905, Timaru Herald, 28 April 1893, 1 April 1897, 24 June 1918, 9 October 1916, 12 & 22 January 1917, 6 February 1917, Evening Post, 7 October 1916, Otago Daily Times, 9 October 1916, Evening Star, 9 October 1916, 20 January 1917, Press, 22 January 1917 (Papers Past) [10 November 2014; 11 & 12 July 2015; 7 February 2016; 19 December 2018]; NZ Electoral Rolls & Directories (ancestry.com.au) ; "Robert and Ethel Kezia Guilford" on 150th Anniversary William and Mary Benbow at http://winsomegriffin.com/Benbow/RobertGuilford2.html [August 2013]; SCRoll web submission by R Powell, 22 April 2016; https://medalsreunitednz.co.nz/ (https://medalsreunitednz.co.nz/william-henry-andrews-alias-henry-harry-annals-brothers-kia-on-same-day-in-battle-of-flers-somme-1916/) [24 May 2019]; Timaru Herald, 4 July 1933 (Timaru District Library) [28 May 2019]
No documents available.
Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
Tell us more
Do you have information that could be added to this story? Or related images that you are happy to share? Submit them here!