RAINEY, William James
(Service number 47076)

First Rank Rifleman Last Rank Rifleman


Date 31 March 1881 Place of Birth Winchester, Canterbury, New Zealand

Enlistment Information

Date 26 January 1917 Age 35
Address at Enlistment Danebury, Mayfield, Mid Canterbury, New Zealand
Occupation Farm Labourer
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Miss Margaret Rainey (sister), Clandeboye, Temuka, New Zealand
Religion Presbyterian
Medical Information 5 foot 5 inches in height, weight 9 stone, chest 33 1/2 - 35 inches, dark complexion, brown eyes, dark brown hair

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 25th Reinforcements, J Company
Date 26 April 1917
Transport Tofua (HMNZT 83)
Embarked From Wellington, New Zealand Destination Plymouth, England
Other Units Served With C Company 3rd Battalion, 3rd NZ Rifle Brigade
Last Unit Served With C Company 3rd Battalion, 3rd NZ Rifle Brigade

Military Awards

Campaigns Western Euope
Service Medals British War Medal and Victory Medal
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

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


Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

28 June 1918 - evacuated sick from the field and admitted 3 NZ Field Hospital - pyrexia (fever of unknown origin - further transfers to other hospitals in France; 27 July 1918 - admitted to No1 NZ General Hospital Brockenhurst - valvular disease of the heart; Died 21 August 1918

Post-war Occupations


Date 21 August 1918 Age 37
Place of Death No.1 NZGH, Brockenhurst, Hampshire, England
Cause Died of heart disease - ulcerative endocarditis
Memorial or Cemetery Brockenhurst (St Nicholas) Churchyard, Hampshire, England
Memorial Reference Plot A, Row 3, Grave 18
New Zealand Memorials On Memorial wall, Timaru; Temuka RSA Roll of Honour; Temuka War Memorial

Biographical Notes

William, the youngest son of William (1850-1922) and Agnes (nee Shanks, 1853-1921) Rainey, was born at Winchester, South Canterbury, on 31 March 1881. His parents had come out to NZ from Belfast, Ireland, and married here in 1880. William was educated at the Geraldine Flat and Orton schools.

When he enlisted for service at Ashburton on 26 January 1917, William was working as a farm labourer for Mr Richard Austin of “Danebury” Mayfield. Described as being single, aged 35 years, Presbyterian, single, 5 foot 5 inches tall, weighing 9 stone, his chest measuring 33 ½ - 35 inches, having a dark complexion, brown eyes and dark brown hair. He had previously been rejected for military service with foot problems. He nominated his sister Margaret, whose address was Clandeboye, Temuka, as his next of kin and the beneficiary of his will.

After training with J Company, NZ Rifle Brigade, he left with the reinforcements from Wellington aboard Tofua (HMNZT 83) bound for England on 26 April 1917. Further training followed in England at Sling, Codford and Brocton camps until leaving for France on 7 December and posted to C Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd NZ Rifle Brigade. On 28 June 1918, he was evacuated sick from the field and admitted to 3 NZ Field Ambulance suffering from pyrexia (fever) of uncertain origin. Further transfers to other hospitals in France followed until 27 July, when he was transferred to England on SS Western Australia, and admitted to No1 NZ General Hospital, Brockenhurst on 27 July with valvular disease of the heart. On 10 August he was placed on the seriously ill list and died on 21 August, the cause of death being ulcerative endocarditis. William was buried two days later by the Rev W.R. Hutchinson in the Brockenhurst (St Nicholas) Churchyard, Hampshire, England in Plot A, Row 3, Grave 18.

After the war William’s father was forwarded a scroll and plaque along with his British War and Victory Medals. Williams name is commemorated on Temuka War Memorial, the Mayfield Memorial Hall and the Timaru Cenotaph. His brother George (48863 Private, 13th Company, 2 Battalion, Canterbury Infantry Regiment) also served overseas in France in 1918.


New Zealand ANZACs in the Great War 1914-1918 at; Every Man Remebered at; NZBDM Historical Records at;; Nelson Evening Mail 21 August 1918 p3 and Timaru Herald 21 August 1919 p6, courtesy of Papers Past at; Clare Church “New Zealand Graves Brockenhurst” p208

External Links

Related Documents

No documents available.

Researched and Written by

John Sutherland (SC branch NZSG); Ted Hansen, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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