SMITH, William James Tayler
(Service number 32585)

Aliases William Taylor
First Rank Private Last Rank Private


Date 15 March 1896 Place of Birth Timaru

Enlistment Information

Date 26 July 1916 Age 20 yrs
Address at Enlistment C/o G. B. Smith, Temuka
Occupation Farm labourer
Previous Military Experience 2nd  S. C. Regt. Senior Cadets
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin G. B. SMITH (father), Temuka
Religion Roman Catholic
Medical Information Height 5 feet 8 inches. Weight 144 lbs. Chest 31-26 inches. Complexion dark. Eyes green. Hair black. Both eyes 6/6. Hearing, heart and lungs all normal. Limbs and chest well formed. Full movement of joints. Teeth good. No illnesses. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects. No fits.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 20th Reinforcements Specialist Company, Machine-Gun Section
Date 2 January 1917
Transport Opawa
Embarked From Wellington Destination London, England
Other Units Served With WWII (Home Defence)
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Service Medals
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 28 March 1918 Reason No longer physically fit for War Service on account of wounds received in Active Service.

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

In November reported wounded (Casualty List No. 709). 

Post-war Occupations



Date 27 February 1961 Age 64 yrs
Place of Death Dunedin
Notices Timaru Herald, 1 & 2 March 1961
Memorial or Cemetery Temuka Cemetery
Memorial Reference Services Section, Row 200, Plot 13
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

William James Tayler SMITH was the third son of George Burnside and Mary SMITH, of Temuka, South Canterbury. He was a brother of George Joseph Enzie SMITH who died in WWI. Their eldest brother Charles Hay SMITH, was called up but not required to serve. At the time of enlistment, William was a farm labourer at Fairlie. He left for camp on 26 July 1916, part of a full quota of South Canterbury men. A civic farewell in the form of a luncheon in Stafford Tea Rooms and speeches at the Drill Shed was provided. He was also farewelled at an enthusiastic gathering in the Temuka Drill Hall. William returned to New Zealand in December 1917, on a hospital ship, with 546 others among whom there were 88 cot cases, two totally blind, ten mental cases, and numerous with artificial limbs. In March 1920 he drew Lot 3, of 932 acres, of the Golden Downs Estate which had been bought by the Government for soldier settlement. This was under renewable lease with right of purchase. On 19th May 1941, he was classified by a Medical Board sitting at Burnham as Grade IV permanently unfit for service. He suffered abdominal pain, flatulence and vomiting while in camp in 1941 and for about two years prior to this. William was of Waimate at the time of his death, and late of Cave.


Cenotaph Database [11 October 2013]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives ref. AABK 18805 W5922 0107264) [24 April 2014]; TDC headstone image (Temuka Cemetery) [27 October 2013]; Timaru Herald, 3 June 1916, 25 July 1916, 26 July 1916, 7 November 1917, 31 December 1917, 1 April 1920 (Papers Past) [24 April 2014]; Timaru Herald, 1 & 2 March 1961 (Timaru District Library) [24 April 2014]

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