(Service number 24259)
|First Rank||Private||Last Rank||Private|
|Date||23 August 1888||Place of Birth||Waimate, New Zealand|
|Date||9 February 1916||Age||27|
|Address at Enlistment||Care F.H. Smith, Waratah, Albury|
|Previous Military Experience|
|Next of Kin||Mrs Charlotte Wild (grandmother) 8 Belt Street, Waimate, New Zealand|
|Medical Information||5 foot 11 inches tall, weighed 154 pounds (70kgs), chest 35-38 1/2 inches, fresh complexion, grey eyes, black hair, teeth fair|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||13th Reinforcements|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||Canterbury Infantry Battalion, C Coy|
|Date||27 May 1916|
|Transport||HMNZT 54 "Willochra"|
|Embarked From||Wellington, New Zealand||Destination||Devonport - diverted to Plymouth, England|
|Other Units Served With||1st Battalion Canterbury Regiment|
|Last Unit Served With||1st Battalion Canterbury Regiment|
|Service Medals||British War Medal & Victory Medal|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
|Date||Reason||Killed in action|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
26 February 1916 - Admitted to Trentham Camp Hospital - influenza; 14 June 1917 - Admitted to 12 Australian Ambulance with gunshot wound to back. Discharged 14 July 1917.
|Date||12 October 1917||Age||29|
|Place of Death||Passchendaele, Belgium|
|Cause||Killed in action|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Tyne Cot Memorial|
|Memorial Reference||NZ Apse, Panel 2|
|New Zealand Memorials||On Memorial wall, Timaru; Waimate First World War Memorial (as H Wilds?); Fairlie War Memorial, Father's headstone Waimate Cemetery|
Harvey Wild was born at Waimate on 23 August 1888 and was raised by his grandmother Charlotte. The family had come to New Zealand with five children from Chute in Wiltshire, England, on assisted passage aboard the Peerless, arriving at Lyttelton on 23 July 1874. Here they were almost immediately trans-shipped to the SS Wellington and PS Comerang, arriving at Timaru on 25 July. Grandfather William, recorded as a farm labourer, was born at Chute about 1834 and grandmother Charlotte (nee Smith) was also born there about 1839, where they had married in 1858. The family settled in the Waimate district where another seven children were born. William and Charlotte both died at Waimate, in 1910 and 1920 respectively, and are buried in the local cemetery. Harvey would have been educated at the local Waimate School and reached at least the 4th standard. In 1911 he was working as a labourer at Saltwater Creek in Timaru, but in 1914 had moved on to be a labourer at Sambrook, Fairlie.
When Harvey enlisted at Fairlie on 9 February 1916 he was employed as a gardener by Mr Frank H Smith, a sheep farmer at Waratah, Albury. Whilst in the Mackenzie District he was a member of the St Stephen’s Church at Fairlie, and was to leave them a legacy of thirty pounds on the event of his death on active service. Harvey left for Trentham Camp where he was posted to the 13th Reinforcements of the Canterbury Infantry Battalion, C Company. His enlistment papers described him as being single, aged 27 years, Anglican, 5 foot 11 inches tall, weighed 154 pounds (70kgs), had a chest measuring 35 to 38½ inches, had a fresh complexion, grey eyes, black hair, and his teeth were fair. He also nominated his grandmother Charlotte of 8 Belt Street, Waimate, as his next of kin. Here, and at Featherston Camp, he began three and a half months of intensive infantry training. He was admitted on 26 February to the Trentham Camp Hospital with influenza for a time. Training completed, he then embarked from Wellington on 27 May7 aboard HMNZT 54 Willochra as part of the 13th Reinforcements, Canterbury Infantry Battalion, C Company. The Willochra travelled in convoy with HMNZT 56 Tofua. The two ships were carrying the 7th Reinforcements for the 1st & 2nd New Zealand Rifle Brigade (NZRB) and the 4th Reinforcements for the 3rd & 4th NZRB - a total of 2123 troops. The convoy travelled via Albany, Australia, and the Cape of Good Hope, bound for Devonport. A few days out of Albany the Willochra was instead diverted to Plymouth, England, where they landed on 26 July 1916.
On arrival in England Harvey marched into Sling Camp which was the main NZ training camp situated in the heart of the Salisbury Plains, where he was posted to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion Canterbury Regiment. They immediately commenced a course of training which varied according to the urgency of the demand from France. This training was severe, lasting from 6.30 in the morning until 9 pm at night, often seven days a week, and consisted of refresher courses in musketry, gas, and trench warfare. On 5 September 1916 Private Wild left for France where he was attached to the Depot at Etaples, and from here was posted to the 1st Battalion Canterbury Regiment in the field on 22 September. At this time the unit was in trenches at Thistle Dump just north of the Longueval-Bazantin le Grand road. There was little time for rest as working parties had to be supplied to repair the roads in the wet weather. From September to November the Battalion was part of the first major action near Flers during the Somme offensive. The rest of the year the Division kept nibbling away at the German line until the Battle of Arras began on 9 April 1917, continuing until 16 May. In June 1917 the Battle of Messines began and on 12 June the Division pushed the German outposts back to La Basseville. On 14 June Harvey was wounded in action, receiving a gunshot wound to the back, and was admitted to the 12th Australian Ambulance.
By 14 July Harvey was well enough to be discharged back to duty in the field. From 28 August to 11 September 1917 he was granted leave in England. He returned to France in time to take part in “New Zealand’s Blackest Day”, the attack on Bellevue Spur on 12 October. The advance began at 5.25am with the preliminary artillery barrage being largely ineffective because of the mud making it almost impossible to bring the heavy guns forward and to stabilise those already in position. Exposed to raking German machine-gun fire from both the front and the flank, and unable to get through uncut barbed wire, the New Zealanders were pinned down in shell craters. Orders for another push at 3 p.m. were postponed and then cancelled. The troops eventually fell back to positions close to their start line. For badly wounded soldiers lying in the mud, the aftermath of the battle was a private hell; many died before rescuers could reach them. The toll was horrendous: 843 New Zealand soldiers were either dead or lying mortally wounded between the lines. Private Harvey Wild aged 29 years, was one of the causalities of this day. The 2nd ANZAC Burial Corps reported his body was buried in and around the region of Passchendaele/Bellevue Ridge but the site was subsequently lost, thus his name is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial at Tyne Cot Cemetery at Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. This Memorial to the Missing at Tyne Cot, Belgium, includes the names of 1166 men who served with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the First World War whose bodies were never identified. The cemetery is 9 kms north east of Ieper Town and is the largest Commonwealth military cemetery in the world.
Harvey’s medals, the British War Medal and Victory Medal, were later forwarded to his brother James Wild at 21 Princess Street, Waimate. On 4 November 1917, a memorial service was held for Harvey in the St Stephen’s Church Fairlie, and a motion of sympathy was passed at the Mackenzie County Council monthly meeting on 6 November. His name is commemorated on the Timaru War Memorial Wall, Waimate, and Fairlie War Memorials, and on his father’s headstone in the Waimate Cemetery.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [March 2019]; New Zealand ANZACs in the Great War 1914-1918 (University of New South Wales) at http://nzef.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=273962&printFormat=print; "Dominion war news" in the Timaru Herald 29 January 1916, "Personal items" in Timaru Herald 2 July 1917, "Fairlie news" in the Timaru Herald 1 November 1917, and "Mackenzie County Council monthly meeting" in the Timaru Herald 7 November 1917, courtesy of Papers Past at https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/; New Zealand War Graves Project at https://www.nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/harvey-wild; Assorted records at Ancestry.com [March 2019]
No documents available.
Researched and Written by
Ted Hansen, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
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