CONNELLY, John Thompson
(Service number 49874)
|First Rank||Rifleman||Last Rank||Rifleman|
|Date||25 August 1883||Place of Birth||Dunedin New Zealand|
|Date||3 February 1917||Age||33|
|Address at Enlistment||Peel Forest, Geraldine, New Zealand|
|Previous Military Experience||9 years Dunedin Volunteers|
|Next of Kin||Mrs Mary Stewart (Sister) 40A Bay View Road, Dunedin. Later chaned to Mr William Connelly (Brother) 21 Elizabeth Street, Timaru|
|Medical Information||5 foot 6 inches tall, weight 148 lbs, chest 35-371/2 inches, dark complexion, grey eyes, black hair, scar above right knee, small tumour inside left thigh, slight varicose veins|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||NZ Rifle Brigade|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||26th Reinforcements J Company|
|Date||12 June 1917|
|Transport||HMNZT 86, Maunganui|
|Embarked From||Wellington, New Zealand||Destination||Devonport, England|
|Other Units Served With||No2 Field Company NZ Engineers|
|Last Unit Served With||D Company NZ Rifle Brigade|
|Service Medals||British War Medal and 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
19 April 1918 - Wounded in action - gunshot wounds to neck and left arm (paralysed) - admitted to No.1 NZ Field Ambulance, then transferred to No3 CCS (in field); 21 April transferred to No.9 General Hospital Rouen; 23 April embarked on hospital ship for England; 24 April admitted to No.1 NZ General Hospital Brockenhurst.
|Date||26 April 1918||Age||34|
|Place of Death||No1 NZGH, Brockenhurst, Hampshire, England|
|Cause||Died of wounds|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Brockenhurst (St Nicholas) Churchyard, Hampshire, England|
|Memorial Reference||Plot A, Row 3, Grave 16|
|New Zealand Memorials|
John was born at Dunedin on 25 August 1883, the youngest son of a family of four boys and three girls, to William Henry (1836-1916) and Susannah (nee Thompson, 1840- 1916) Connelly. Both parents were born in Ireland and had immigrated to New Zealand in the 1870’s.
John had been employed as a mill hand for Ross Glendinning & Company, Dunedin, and was living at Peel Forest, Geraldine, when he enlisted at Timaru on 3 February 1917. His enlistment papers described him as being aged 33 years, single, of the Presbyterian faith, 5 foot 6 inches tall, weighing 148 lbs, chest measuring 35 – 37 ½ inches, of dark complexion, grey eyes, black hair and having a scar above his right knee, a small tumour inside his left thigh and slight varicose veins. He also stated that he had had 9 years’ service with the Dunedin Volunteers and nominated his sister, Mrs Mary Stewart of 40a Bayview Road, South Dunedin, as his next of kin. This was later changed to his brother, Mr William Connelly of 21 Elizabeth Street, Timaru. Posted to the NZ Rifle Brigade, J Company, he left from Wellington on 12 June 1917 with the 26th Reinforcements aboard the Maunganui bound for Plymouth, Devon, England, arriving 16 August. Further training followed at Tidworth Camp on Salisbury Plains and at Brocton, Staffordshire, before leaving for France on 23 October.
On 2 November 1917 John was posted to D Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd NZ Rifle Brigade and on 25 November, was detached to No2 Field Company NZ Engineers. Here he was involved in helping construct huts and stables for horses, repairing road, building protective walls against enemy bombs and various other tasks in preparation for the spring offensive. He returned to his unit on 23 February 1918. On 19 April 1918, whilst in action in the Hebuterne area, he received serious gunshot wounds to his neck and left arm which resulted in him being paralysed. He was admitted to No1 NZ Field Ambulance and then transferred to No 3 Casualty Clearance Station and on 21 April, was admitted to No 9 General Hospital at Rouen. On 23 April he was embarked on a Hospital Ship for England and admitted on the 24th to No1 NZ General Hospital at Brockenhurst.
Unfortunately John died of his wounds on 26 April and was buried on 29 April in the Brockenhurst (St Nicholas) Churchyard, Hampshire, England, in Plot A, Row 3, Grave Number 16. For his service, John was awarded the British War and Victory Medals which were forwarded after the war, along with a scroll and plaque, to his brother William, who by this time had been nominated as his next of kin and lived in Timaru. John’s name is included on his parent’s headstone in the Anderson’s Bay Cemetery, Dunedin, Block 44, Plot 21.
New Zealand ANZACs in the Great War 1914-1918 at http://nzef.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=51178; NZ BDM Historical Records at https://bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz; Ancestry.com.au; Evening Star 28 April 1919 p4, and Otago Daily Times 29 April 1919 p4 courtesy fo Papers Past at http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz - both memorial notices by his sister Mrs H Cameron); Clare Church “New Zealand Graves Brockenhurst”, page 211
- Great War Stories - Rifleman John Thompson Connelly - Timaru Herald 15 April 2017 (pdf, 77.4 KB updated 15-Sep-2017)
Researched and Written by
Liz Shea, SC branch NZSG; Ted Hansen, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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