TANGNEY, Walter Bernard
(Service number 18871)
|First Rank||Private||Last Rank||Private|
|Date||8 May 1898||Place of Birth||Temuka|
|Date||28 January 1915||Age||17|
|Address at Enlistment||Te Aroa|
|Previous Military Experience|
|Next of Kin||J. Tangney (father), Temuka, Canterbury, New Zealand|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||New Zealand Expeditionary Force|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||15th Reinforcements Auckland Infantry Battalion, A Company|
|Date||26 July 1916|
|Transport||Waitemata or Ulimaroa|
|Embarked From||Wellington, New Zealand||Destination||Devonport, England|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With|
|Service Medals||No medals issued|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
|Date||7 March 1918||Reason||Declared a deserter after a court of enquiry held on 30 March 1918.|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
Hospitalised March 1917 with mumps; 27 Decemeber 1917 with dysentry and left hospital in Hornchurch on 6 February 1918 to return to Codford camp, but never turned up. Court of Enquiry (COE) declared him a deserter
|Date||26 January 1964||Age||66|
|Place of Death|
|Memorial or Cemetery|
|New Zealand Memorials||St Patrick's (Waimate) Memorial list (June 2015)|
Son of Jeremiah and Margaret (Maggie) Tangney (m.1883). Walter's other brothers who enlisted were: Francis Patrick, Robert Edward, Patrick William, and William Patrick. Two step brothers, Tom and John Tagney, also enlisted but were reported as killed in action. Their parents are buried in Temuka Cemetery along with Jeremiah's first wife, Ellen, three daughters Cissie (Catherine), Gertrude and Lucy Anastasia, plus a son, Jeremiah. Other brothers who did not serve were: Joseph, Michael James, and two Jeremiah's. Note though that on 24 March 1887 the Timaru Herald reported Jeremiah (snr) was fined for not registering births of his children, so not all his children's names are recorded.
Walter falsified his birth date as 27 April 1896 (or 1895) and altered his name to Walter George in order to join up with brother William Patrick. His family advised the army he was underage and he was discharged, resulting in no record of this enlistment. Walter then moved up to Auckland and enlisted there, again under the false age. He was sent to England but after several hospital visits, he deserted in March 1918, which is why no medals were issued to him.
Walter was called up in the ballot during World War Two, where he gave is correct age and name - i.e. Walter Bernard. He was sent to camp in March 1941 but was eventual discharged as being unfit for camp and not fit for home guard. His story came to light when his brother William Patrick wrote to the army in 1964 asking for his serial number so this could be put on his grave following Walter's death in 1964. It was then realised that he had registered under two different names. Walter never married and his next of kin was given as Winifred McGrath, his niece.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph database (May 2015); Archives New Zealand; New Zealand BDM Historical Records online; Timaru District Council Cemetery Database online at http://www.timaru.govt.nz/; Waimate Cemetery records; Commonwealth War Graves Commission website; Paperspast - Timaru Herald 21 May 1918
- Timaru Herald 21 May 1918 - William Tangney's return from the war (pdf, 316.5 KB updated 01-Sep-2015)
Researched and Written by
Tony Rippin (South Canterbury Museum); Liz Shea, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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