Profile

MONSON, Harold Frederick John
(Service number 10/3405)

Aliases
First Rank Second Lieutenant Last Rank Second Lieutenant

Birth

Date 9 October 1890 Place of Birth Dunedin, New Zealand

Enlistment Information

Date 5 August 1915 Age 26
Address at Enlistment Timaru New Zealand
Occupation Law Clerk
Previous Military Experience High School Cadets in all 10 years
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin F.J. Monson (father), care of Neill and Co., Dunedin, New Zealand
Religion Anglican
Medical Information Upper teeth false. Height 5 feet 4¼ inches. Complexion Fair. Eyes Brown. Hair Brown.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation 8th Reinforcements
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Wellington Infantry Battalion
Date 13 November 1915
Transport Willochra or Tofua
Embarked From Wellington, New Zealand Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With Canterbury Infantry Regiment

Military Awards

Campaigns
Service Medals
Military Awards Mentioned in Dispatches

Award Circumstances and Date

Operations Somme - 20th September - 2nd October 1916. This Officer performed excellent service throughout the past nine months as bayonet fighting instructor to his Battalion. He always displayed the greatest courage under fire and his conduct was particularly gallant when leading his men in a night attack against Goose Alley and Drop Alley on the night of the 20th/21st September 1916, where he was killed. He was a great example to his Battalion and it is mainly due to his efforts in training that the 2nd Canterbury Battalion excelled in bayonet fighting

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date

Discharge

Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations

Death

Date 20 sept 1916 Age 26
Place of Death Somme, France
Cause Killed in action
Notices
Memorial or Cemetery Caterpillar Valley (New Zealand) Memorial, Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval, Somme, France
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials On Memorial wall, Timaru, Dunedin High Street Primary School

Biographical Notes

Harold Monson was born in Dunedin in 1890 and was a law clerk in Timaru when he enlisted in August 1915. He gave his next of kin as his father F.J. Monson, c/- Neill & Co, Dunedin and cited previous military experience of 10 years worth of high school cadets. He embarked with the 8th Reinforcements, Wellington Infantry Battalion in November 1915, sailing for Suez, Egypt, and at the end of the Dardanelles engagement was sent on to the Western Front at the Somme and later transferred to the Canterbury Infantry Battalion. Second Lieutenant Monson was killed in action on 20 September 1916 on the Somme and is remembered at Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval, France, aged 26. He was mentioned in dispatches after his death: Operations Somme 20th September - 2nd October 1916. This officer performed excellent service throughout the past nine months as bayonet fighting instructor to his battalion. He always displayed the greatest courage under fire and his conduct was particularly gallant when leading his men in a night attack against Goose Alley and Drop Alley on the night of the 20th/21st September 1916, where he was killed. He was a great example to his battalion and it is mainly due to his efforts in training that the 2nd Canterbury Battalion excelled in bayonet fighting.

The Timaru Herald of 24 February 1917 recorded: In connection with the death in action of Lieutenant Monson of Timaru, Brigadier-General Braithwaite has written to the deceased’s father, from Sling Camp, the following letter: “If I may, I want to tell you how deeply grieved I was when your gallant son was killed in action. He was a special favourite of mine on account of his sterling qualities. He was the best trainer at bayonet fighting and physical training that we had in the brigade, and when there was any special work to be done in that time, I always sent for him. Nothing was too great a trouble to him. The pages of history do not contain a finer story than that of the fighting of the 2nd Canterbury Battalion, during those 23 consecutive days on the Somme, and their bayonet work was what enabled them to turn the Germans out four times and at length hold the position. This was to a great extent the result of your son’s work. I am well aware that no words of mine can be of any comfort to you or your family in your sorrow, but I trust that as time goes on, the memory of his glorious life and death as a soldier may be a proud memory to you. He is a very great loss to my brigade, and to his own battalion in particular.”

Sources

Auckland War Memorial Cenotaph Database, August 2013, CWGC.

External Links

Related Documents

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Researched and Written by

Carole Bell, SC branch NZGS

Currently Assigned to

LSh

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Logo. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.

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