SPURDEN, Edward William
(Service number 23/603)

First Rank Rifleman Last Rank Rifleman


Date 8 March 1885 Place of Birth Winchester

Enlistment Information

Date 28 May 1915 Age 30 years 2 months
Address at Enlistment Elizabeth Street, Timaru
Occupation Labourer
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin W. T. SPURDEN (father), Elizabeth Street, Timaru
Religion Church of England
Medical Information Height 5 feet 5½ inches. Weight 147 lbs. Chest measurement 34½ -37 inches. Complexion fair. Eyes grey. Hair brown. Sight and hearing both good. Colour vision correct. Limbs well formed. Full and perfect movement of joints. Chest well formed. Heart and lungs normal. Teeth good. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated. Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation 1st Battalion, New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Unit, Squadron, or Ship B Company
Date 9 October 1915
Transport Maunganui or Tahiti or Aparima or Navua or Warrimoo
Embarked From Wellington, N.Z. Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With New Zealand Rifle Brigade, 1st Battalion, 3rd

Military Awards

Campaigns Egypt; Western Europe (Somme)
Service Medals 1914-15 Star; 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


Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

17 December 1915 till 10 January 1916 - at Australian Berm Hospital, Abbassia - venereal.

Post-war Occupations


Date 19 July 1916 Age
Place of Death Somme, France
Cause Killed in action
Memorial or Cemetery Brewery Orchard Cemetery, Bois-Grenier, Nord, France
Memorial Reference IV. E. 22.
New Zealand Memorials On Memorial wall, Timaru; Timaru Main School Roll of Honour

Biographical Notes

Edward William Spurden was the second son of Walter Thomas and Sarah (nee Binskin) Spurden, of Elizabeth Street, Timaru, and the Atlas Mills. His parents were both from England, and their's appears to be the only Spurden family in New Zealand. The family lived initially at Winchester, where Walter was a miller. By 1890 they had moved to Timaru. Edward was born in 1885 at Winchester near Temuka, and baptised on 17 May 1885 at St John the Evangelist Anglican Parish at Winchester. He was educated at Timaru Main and Waimataitai Schools. In June 1909 Edward was reported as the one who found the body of a deceased fisherman on the North Mole in Timaru's harbour .

After offering his services he had only a few days before leaving with South Canterbury's extra quota, which was given a rousing farewell in late May 1915. Following afternoon tea in the Drill Shed and an address by the Mayor, amidst much cheering from the crowds they joined recruits from the south (Invercargill, Dunedin, and Oamaru) on a very long special troop train, going to camp at Trentham, and then to the front. Edward embarked for Suez, Egypt in October 1915. There, at Aerodrome Camp, on 17 November 1915, he forfeited four days pay for being absent without leave while on active service. He again forfeited fourteen days pay for being absent without leave from 6am till 1.30pm on 6 June 1916, in the Field, and for drunkenness on duty the following day.

On 17 December 1915 Edward was hospitalised at Abbassia, where he remained until 10 January 1916. He rejoined his Battalion a few days later. On 16 April 1916 he embarked for France, where he was again hospitalised, this time in July with influenza. Again he rejoined his Battalion at the Somme, on 7 July, only to be reported "missing believed buried by shell explosion". Subsequently it was declared he had been killed in action on 19 July.

In his August 1916 report to the school committee, the headmaster of the Timaru Main School noted that the name of Edward Spurden, a former pupil of the school who had been killed in action, had been added to the Roll of Honour. The committee passed a motion of sympathy with his parents. And at the Timaru Main School committee meeting in April 1917 it was recorded that no fewer than 300 old boys of the school had joined the Expeditionary Forces, of whom 30 had made the supreme sacrifice - one of them being E. Spurden.

Edward's medals were sent to his father at the Atlas Mills, Timaru. Edward's father was the beneficiary and executor of his will written in his pay-book and dated 28 June 1915, but he did not apply for probate. Edward's name is recorded on the Timaru Memorial Wall.

His brother Leonard Joseph Spurden had also been killed in action in 1915 at Gallipoli. His oldest brother, Frederick Walter Spurden, was listed on the Reserve Rolls, being (by 1916) married with two children. Frederick's son, who was born in 1920 and served in World War Two, was named for his two uncles who lost their lives in World War One - Leonard Edward Spurden.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [03 December 2013]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK18805 W5553 0108244) [04 April 2014]; CWGC [03 December 2013]; NZ BDM indexes (DIA) [04 December 2013]; Timaru Herald, 21 June 1909, 26 & 31 May 1915, 03 August 1916, 24 August 1916, 28 April 1917 (Papers Past) [04 December 2013; 08 March 2015]; School Admission Registers (South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [2013]; Winchester Anglican Baptism Records (South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [08 March 2015]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [09 March 2015]

External Links

Related Documents

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to


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