Profile

SHEEHAN, John Maurice
(Service number 58816)

Aliases Also spelt John Morris. Known as Maurice
First Rank Rifleman Last Rank Rifleman

Birth

Date 1 April 1888 Place of Birth Fairlie

Enlistment Information

Date Age 29 yrs 11 mths
Address at Enlistment Georgetown
Occupation Blacksmith
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs Hannah SHEEHAN (mother), 6 Usk Street, Oamaru; later of 49 North Street, Timaru
Religion Roman Catholic
Medical Information Height 5 feet 7 inches. Weight 151 lbs. Chest measurement 37-40 inches. Complexion fair. Eyes hazel. Hair black. Eyes both 6/6. Hearing and colour vision normal. Limbs and chest well formed. Full movement of joints. Heart and lungs normal. No illnesses. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated - right arm. Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects. No fits. Assessed as Fit Class A.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Rfle Brigade
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 29th Reinforcements H Company
Date 13 October 1917
Transport Corinthic 
Embarked From Wellington Destination Liverpool, England
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Campaigns
Service Medals British War Medal; 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

Discharge

Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations

Death

Date 26 August 1918 Age 30 yrs
Place of Death In the Battle of Bapaume, France
Cause Killed in action
Notices Oamaru Mail, 14 September 1918
Memorial or Cemetery Vaulx Hill Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France
Memorial Reference I. C. 2.
New Zealand Memorials On Memorial wall, Timaru; Basilica of the Sacred Heart; Fairlie Primary School War Memorial (as M. SHEEHAN); Fairlie School Hall Memorial (as M. SHEEHAN); Mackenzie War Memorial, Fairlie, 2016 additions

Biographical Notes

John Maurice SHEEHAN (Maurice) was the son of Irish-born parents, David and Hannah (Johanna, Annie; nee SULLIVAN) SHEEHAN, of Fairlie. He was educated at Fairlie and Cricklewood schools. For some time prior to service in the war, Maurice was living and working as a blacksmith at Georgetown, North Otago, where he was very much involved in local activities. In April 1915 he was one of those in charge of the produce tent at the Awamoko Bazaar, a typically large country event. Then in June 1915 he was placed second in a weight-guessing competition to decide the live weight of three sheep, the competition being conducted at the Ngapara Collie Dog Trials. The following month he contributed to the sale of the Belgian Flag at a concert at Awamoko held in aid of the Wounded Soldiers' Clothing Fund. Maurice was firstly on the Reserves Roll, before being drawn in the Fifth Ballot in March 1917. At this time he was still living at Georgetown, where he gave evidence at an inquest. He had initially appealed his call-up on public interest grounds (only blacksmith in the district) and because he was supporting his aged mother. The appeal was dismissed but he was given time to arrange his affairs. At enlistment he stated that his mother was dependent on him. Maurice was one of 70 odd men (including the fifth son of one family to go away) farewelled by the Oamaru Borough Council on 26 June 1917. There were music, toasts proposed, an excellent repast, the National Anthem, and a very emotive address by Mr J. R. Bartholomew, S.M.,in which he said "You are following those who have gone before you in answer to the call. You will be fighting on a winning side for honor and justice against infamy, hypocrisy, and the dastardly crimes committed against humanity.".He was also one of four boys back on final leave from camp, who were farewelled at one of the largest gatherings on such an occasion at Awamoko in early August 1917. After progressive euchre (at which Maurice received a consolation prize), each man was presented with a wristlet watch. and wished every success and a safe return. The men thanked their friends and said that they would always think of them and their kind remarks. They also received a parcel containing articles of clothing from the ladies of the Red Cross. Maurice did incur one punishment in his time with the Forces - on 8 August 1917 at Featherston, he overstayed Leave on Active Service, for which he forfeited one days pay.His medals, plaque and scroll were sent to his mother. On 10 November 1919 David SHEEHAN, father of Maurice, declared that he believed his son had not made a will and he did not intend to take out Letters of Administration. But the Public Trust Office, Timaru, advised (20 January 1920) that Maurice executed a will in which his mother was named as the sole beneficiary. That will was indeed held in the Dunedin Court. A nephew and namesake of Maurice, John Maurice SHEEHAN (son of Maurice's brother Michael David SHEEHAN), served in World War II.

Sources

Cenotaph Database [26 Jul 2013]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives ref. AABK 18805 W5553 0103921) [29 August 2014]; CWGC [26 Jul 2013]; Oamaru Mail, 30 April 1915, 19 June 1915, 21 July 1915, 14 March 1917, 22 March 1917, 03 April 1917, 26 June 1917, 4 August 1917, 14 September 1918, North Otago Times, 14 September 1918, Timaru Herald, 26 August 1919, 26 August 1920 (Papers Past) [04 November 2013; 05 November 2013; 29 & 30 August 2014]

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