ANNISS, Walter
(Service number 21764)

Aliases Bod
First Rank Rifleman Last Rank Rifleman


Date 12 March 1890 Place of Birth Burkes Pass

Enlistment Information

Date 3 May 1916 Age 26 years
Address at Enlistment Burkes Pass
Occupation Shepherd
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs Margaret ANNISS (mother), Burke's Pass, Fairlie, South Canterbury
Religion Church of England
Medical Information Height 5 feet 9 inches. Weight 126 lbs. Chest measurement 31-34 inches. Complexion fair. Eyes grey. Hair ..... Sight - both eyes 6/6. Hearing good. Colour vision normal. Limbs well formed. Full & perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. Heart & lungs normal. No illnesses. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. No vaccination mark. Good bodily & mental health. No fits.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 7th Reinforcements, 3rd Battalion, G Company
Date 21 August 1916
Transport Mokoia
Embarked From Wellington, New Zealand Destination Plymouth, Devon, England
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With Rifle Brigade

Military Awards

Campaigns Western European
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


Date 12 June 1919 Reason On termination of period of engagement.

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations



Date 29 September 1966 Age 76 years
Place of Death 39 Mt Cook Road, Fairlie (residence)
Notices Timaru Herald, 30 September 1966
Memorial or Cemetery Burkes Pass Cemetery
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Walter Anniss, widely known as Bod, was the son of John and Margaret (Maggie, née O'Neill) Anniss, of Burke’s Pass, Fairlie. He was born on 12 March 1890 at Burke’s Pass. His father was a waggoner and contractor at Burke’s Pass and often held contracts for shingling and maintenance of roads with the Mackenzie County Council. The winter of 1895 was considered the “most severe ever experienced in the Mackenzie County since the first white man set foot there”. Mr Hope of Richmond Station planned to take his rams down the lake (Tekapo) by boat, and then by the snow-ploughed road to Burke’s Pass. The road was well cleared from the Pass to the Tekapo by means of a snow plough. “The snow plough was a God-send,” Mr Hope wrote, and J. Anniss did his work well under the most trying circumstances, and deserves credit for it. He also engaged in farming, his ewes and lambs in a paddock suffering a good deal in a severe hail storm in October 1905. In May 1906 John Anniss acquired the licence of the Tekapo Hotel, holding it until he transferred it in January 1914. Mr Anniss was a member of the Burkes Pass Householders (School) Committee as early as 1895, and filled this position frequently over the next twenty years. He also served as a committee member of the Mackenzie Collie Dog Club. Wat was educated at Burke’s Pass School, where in 1899 he won a prize for first equal, with two others, in Standard II. The Burke’s Pass School concert held in September 1905 was exceptionally well supported despite the heavy rain, two drag loads coming from Fairlie, visitors from Tekapo and further up country, as well as “all the Burke’s Pass folk”. Perhaps his father was the Mr Anniss who took part in the side-splitting farce “Hoaxed and Coaxed”. Both his parents made monetary donations to the Mackenzie Christmas Gifts Committee fund in August 1917.

Walter Annis enlisted on 3 May 1916 at Trentham, aged 26 years, a shepherd, single and Anglican. He had left Timaru at the beginning of May, a Private with the Infantry, part of South Canterbury’s quota for the 16th Reinforcements. The departing men were entertained at luncheon in the Stafford Tea Rooms by the Timaru Ladies Patriotic Committee, before falling in at the Drill Shed and processing to the railway station, led by the 2nd South Canterbury Band. He was 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighed 126 pounds, with fair complexion and grey eye. He was in good health in all respects and had been vaccinated. Walter named as next-of-kin his mother, Mrs Margaret Anniss, of Burkes Pass, Fairlie, where Walter himself, a shepherd, was also residing. In 1914 he was recorded at Curraghmore, Burke’s Pass, the family home won in a ballot in 1911. Attached to the New Zealand Rifle Brigade, Walter Anniss embarked per the “Mokoia” on 21 August 1916, destined for Plymouth, Devon, England – less than a month before his brother, Rifleman Edward Anniss, was to die as a result of wounds suffered at the Somme. Walter reached Devonport on 25 October, in time to be present at Edward’s funeral. Walter was the executor named in Edward’s will, for which he did not seek probate until 1920 when he had returned home from active service. Their oldest brother, Frederick John Anniss, was drawn in the ballot in 1916.

Two weeks after Edward’s funeral, Walter proceeded overseas, where he joined his battalion. W. Anniss lost four days pay in July 1917 for being in possession of a dirty rifle. And in June 1918 he forfeited two days pay for failing to salute an officer. In January 1918 he was detached to Pigeon School at Rouen for a few days. All his overseas service was in Western Europe, following which he was detached to the UK on leave in February 1919. His medical examination at Sling in March was all good, although he had gained 14 pounds in weight. Rifleman Anniss returned home per the “Arawa”, leaving Tilbury, UK, on 1 April 1919. The returned soldiers arrived in Timaru by special troop train shortly before noon on 15 May. An enthusiastic crowd had gathered to cheer them heartily. The Mayor congratulated them on their gallant deeds abroad, and expressed the hope that they would be as successful in their civil occupations as they had been in war. Mr Craigie, M.P., welcomed them and thanked them for the noble work they had done.

Walter Anniss and twelve comrades were to be welcomed home at a social in the Fairlie Public Hall on 30 May 1919. A social and dance, with music supplied by the Albury Band, were held at Burke’s Pass on 4 July to welcome home Rifleman Anniss and three other returned soldiers. This was a most successful evening, the soldiers being welcomed back “to their true homeland”, all being native born, reared and educated at the local school, with credit. It was, therefore, no surprise that “they had gone through the supreme trials of the late war with no less honour”. Each was asked to accept a small token, “not as arecord for their great services as soldiers, but as small tokens of the appreciation felt on their return to civil life in their native district”, and they were wished along and prosperous life. A very fine gold medal was pinned to each soldier, amid hearty applause and the enthusiastic singing of “For he’s a jolly good fellow”. The “ball of the season” went for several hours and was accompanied by supper.

He was discharged on 12 June 1919, on the termination of his period of engagement. He was awarded the the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. Walter Anniss married Ethel Gertrude (Gertie) Smith, on 23 May 1923, Fairlie. Their only daughter was born the following year. Walter pursued farming at Sherwood after the war, he and Ethel moving into Fairlie just prior to retiring. In March 1938, he had 200 Romney cross ewe Lambs a, 100 5-year Romney cross Ewes on offer at the Fairlie Ewe Fair. He had an offering at the Fairlie Ewe Fair again, in March 1943, when a bus for intending patrons would leave Mt Cook Tourist Company’s Office at 8am on the day of the sale. The arrangement were the same the following years when Walter again had stock on offer.

Walter died on 29 September 1966 at his residence, 39 Mt Cook Road, Fairlie. After a service at St Stephen’s Church, Fairlie, he was buried in Burke’s Pass Cemetery, where he has two memorials – “Bod Walter Anniss” and “Rfm W. Anniss”. Members of the Mackenzie RSA paid tribute at his funeral, He was survived by his wife and daughter, to whom he bequeathed his property at Mount Cook Road, Fairlie, and his possessions – plate, linen, china, glass, books, pictures, prints, furniture, and “other articles of household use or ornamentation”, and all personal articles.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [02 August 2016]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5520 0008931) [02 August 2016]; Timaru Herald, 30 September 1966 (Timaru District Library) [02 August 2016]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [02 August 2016]; South Canterbury Times, 26 April 1895, 6 June 1899, 26 April 1901, Timaru Herald, 9 July 1895, 29 April 1905, 8 September 1905, 17 October 1905, 2 May 1916, 25 November 1916, 2 August 1917, 16 & 29 May 1919, 1 July 1919, 6 August 1919, Temuka Leader, 4 March 1899, 6 July 1899, 1 May 1900, Otago Daily Times, 5 March 1938, Press, 15 February 1939, 13 March 1943, 4 March 1944 (Papers Past) [02 August 2016; 12 & 20 May 2019]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [02 August 2016]; School Admission record (South Canterbury Branch NZSG); Burkes Pass Cemetery headstone transcription [02 August 2016]; Probate record (Archives NZ/FamilySearch) [12 June 2017]; Burke’s Pass Cemetery records

External Links

Related Documents

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Researched and Written by

Tony Rippin, South Canterbury Museum; Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to


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