(Service number 46578)
|First Rank||Private||Last Rank||Private|
|Date||22 June 1882||Place of Birth||Pleasant Point|
|Date||22 January 1917||Age||34 years 4 months|
|Address at Enlistment||Clandeboye, Temuka|
|Previous Military Experience||24th Reinforcements|
|Marital Status||Married. Married Mary Ann WILKINS on 30 December 1916 at Knox Church, Christchurch.|
|Next of Kin||Mrs GIBSON (wife), Pareora West|
|Medical Information||Height 5 feet 7 inches. Weight 156 lbs. Chest measurement 36-38 inches. Complexion dark. Eyes brown. Hair dark. Eyes both 6/6. Hearing and colour both normal. Limbs and chest well formed. Full and perfect movement of joints. Heart and lungs normal. Illness - pneumonia in February 1916, 3 weeks in hospital. Free from hernia, varicocele, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Varicose veins in right leg below knee and slightly in left. Vaccinated (left arm). Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects sufficient to cause rejection. No fits. Acne spots on back. Declared 'Class A'.|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||New Zealand Expeditionary Force|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||26th Reinforcements Canterbury Infantry Regiment, C Company|
|Date||9 June 1917|
|Embarked From||Wellington||Destination||Devonport, England|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||Canterbury Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion|
|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
31 March 1917 - admitted to Casualty Hospital at Trentham with herpes. 6 June 1917 - while at Trentham Camp, he was admitted to the Cottage Hospital with influenza.
|Date||11 December 1917||Age||35 years|
|Place of Death||In the Field, Belgium|
|Cause||Killed in action|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Buttes New British Cemetery (NZ) Memorial, Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium|
|New Zealand Memorials||Timaru War Memorial Wall; Temuka RSA Roll of Honour; Temuka War Memorial; Pleasant Point School Memorial; St Mary's Anglican Church Timaru Memorial; Clandeboye Hall Memorial Tablet|
Samuel Gibson was born on 22 June 1882 at Pleasant Point, the son of Irish immigrants, Campbell and Catherine (née Crawford) Gibson. He started at Opihi School soon after his fifth birthday and in 1890 joined his siblings at Pleasant Point School. On leaving school he engaged in farm related work in the South Canterbury area. Samuel’s mother died in 1911 at Pleasant Point. His father remarried in 1912 and again in 1925 after being widowed for a second time.
Samuel Gibson, of the 24th Reinforcements, married Mary Ann Wilkins on 30 December 1916, at the Manse, Knox Church, Christchurch. He had been drawn in the first military service ballot for No. 10 (South Canterbury) recruiting district, in November 1916, when he was farming at Clandeboye. His new wife, residing at Pareora West (perhaps with her family) was his next-of-kin. Mary Ann would not see Samuel again after he embarked with the Canterbury Infantry Regiment on 9 June 1917 on the “Willochra”.
He had spent three weeks in hospital in February 1916, suffering with pneumonia. In March 1917 he was admitted to the Casualty Hospital at Trentham for a month afflicted with herpes, and on 6 June 1917 while at Trentham Camp, he was admitted to the Cottage Hospital with influenza. Otherwise, he was in good physical shape. At Sling on 26 October 1917 he marched out for overseas duty with the 4th Canterbury Regiment, spent some days in camp at Etaples; on 10 November he joined his battalion at Rouen, and was detailed to Brigade School for a week before rejoining his battalion on 27 November. Just two weeks later – 11 December 1917 - he was killed in action in the field.
All within a year, Samuel had married (December 1916), proceeded overseas for war service (June 1917) and had been killed in action (December 1917), with no further health issues while away. His death seems to have gone largely unnoticed in the district, the address being printed as Paeroa (instead of Pareora) in the Timaru Herald of 1 January 1918.
Clandeboye, however, did not forget. In late August 1919 a tablet placed on the wall above the hall stage was unveiled – in “one of the most important ceremonies ever conducted in the district.” The memorial tablet contained six names, one of them being S. Gibson.
Anzac Day 1924 was fittingly marked when a procession of school children and the general public, including many returned soldiers and relatives, marched to the Clandeboye Hall, where the memorial tablet to the fallen was hung and where those gathered paid honour to those whose names were inscribed on the memorial. Mingled with the feeling of grief were thankfulness and gratitude and above all pride in the great achievement, according to one speaker. The poem “In Flanders Fields” was rendered and Mr Gunnion, the Mayor of Temuka, opened his address with the words “Lest we Forget”. The soldiers whose names were inscribed on the memorial had given their all that we might live in peace, he impressed on the children, before finishing as he had begun – “Lest we Forget”. The names were read out, wreaths placed and the National Anthem sung.
The Anzac Day 1930 observance in the Clandeboye Hall was simple, yet fitting and reverent. The Mayor stressed that it was the duty of the residents to see that the sacrifice made by their boys was kept green for ever. The Deputy Mayor noted that the day was a mark of gratitude and remembrance to those men who had fought and willingly given their lives that those gathered might retain their independence. With both pride and sorrow they honoured the memory of those men. He concluded his address with the quotation: “Their glory will never be dimmed, and for all time, at the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.” Hymns were sung, the names were read out, and floral tributes were placed at the foot of the memorial.
A large gathering of residents, visitors and guests marked Anzac Day 1931 in the Clandeboye Hall with sixty minutes of solemn commemoration. The service opened with the hymn “O God Our Help in Ages Past” and the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. The Mayor of Temuka, Mr Gunnion, said that he was proud of the Clandeboye effort to remember, year after year. The chief speaker, Rev C. A. Kennedy, spoke thus: “We meet not to express pity for those who fell, but gratitude to them; we meet to express to those who still feel their loss most keenly not so much condolence as congratulation: because they offered the most costly gifts that anyone can offer for the cause of liberty and truth. . . . . . Of those who made the supreme sacrifice . . . We thank God for their splendid, self-denying devotion to duty, sacrificing all that a man holds dear . . . .” In an impressive closing to the service, hymns were sung, two minutes’ silence was observed, and the names on the memorial tablet were read aloud and clearly following the reading of the inscription:
“Gone to their rest,
The striving years are o’er.
Their arms laid by, their fighting done.
So it is best.
Lord forgive their failings and their faults, and
Take them home.”
And the National Anthem was then sung enthusiastically. Another very touching service was conducted in 1932, to pay tribute to the memory of those men who made the supreme sacrifice in the Great War, the Memorial Hall again being packed full. Stirring addresses, scripture readings, hymns and wreath laying honoured the loyalty, courage and sacrifice of those whom they were commemorating.
Samuels’ medals were forwarded to his wife, then living at Pleasant Point. He left no will. His brother Andrew Alexander Gibson, who also served in World War One, drowned in the Clarence River in 1926. His oldest brother William Crawford Gibson, was called up but did not serve. His widow, Mary Ann, married William Earl Home in 1925, had three children, and lived to 1968.
The name of Private Samuel Gibson is inscribed on the Buttes New British Cemetery (NZ) Memorial, Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium; and on the Timaru War Memorial Wall, the Temuka RSA Roll of Honour, the Temuka War Memorial, the Pleasant Point School Memorial, the Clandeboye Hall Memorial Tablet, and maybe the St Mary's Anglican Church Timaru Memorial.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [20 October 2013]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5539 0044455) [30 October 2013]; CWGC [21 October 2013]; Timaru Herald, 11 March 1911, 25 November 1916, 31 March 1917, New Zealand Times, 1 January 1918, Temuka Leader, 30 August 1919, 29 April 1924, 26 April 1930, 28 April 1931, 26 April 1932 (Papers Past) [23 October 2013; 16 September 2014; 15 & 16 May 2017]; NZ BDM historical indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [October 2013]; Electoral Rolls (ancestry) [29 October 2013]; School admission records (South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [2013; 15 May 2017]
- Great War Stories - Private Samuel Gibson - Timaru Herald 3 June 2017 (pdf, 70.2 KB updated 15-Sep-2017)
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.
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