MILLS, William Henry
(Service number 21855)

First Rank Rifleman Last Rank Lance Corporal


Date 10 March 1887 Place of Birth Riversdale, Southland

Enlistment Information

Date Age
Address at Enlistment
Occupation Farmer
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status
Next of Kin Mrs A.E. Mills (wife), Studholme Junction, South Canterbury
Religion Wesleyan
Medical Information

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
Embarked From Destination
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

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 6 September 1918 Reason No longer physically fit for war service on account of illness contracted on active service (chronic nephits)

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

6 December 1917, sick with severe nephitis

Post-war Occupations


Date 10 May 1972 Age
Place of Death
Memorial or Cemetery Waimate Cemetery
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Mills was farming in Studholme with his wife and children prior to World War I. He was 29 years old when he volunteered for Army and had one son and three daughters. He was 5 foot 6 inches tall and had fair hair with grey eyes. Mills enrolled in the beginning of May 1916 and spent the next three and a half months training in New Zealand before he sailed from Dunedin bound for the Western Front.

Mills served as a rifleman in the New Zealand Rifle Brigade. He fought at Messines and then took part in the disastrous attack at Passchendaele on 12 October 1917. Along with other soldiers in the Rifle Brigade he pushed forward through the mud against murderous fire until the German defences proved too strong. Losing mates all around him and pinned down by machine gun fire Mills waited until dark before he could safely escape No Man’s Land. Later he went back and slogged through the mud to help rescue the wounded.

Mills survived the terrible fighting at Passchendaele but soon after was stricken by severe inflammation of the kidneys. He was admitted to hospital in December 1917 and after treatment at the 1st New Zealand General Hospital in England was sent home in June 1918. After the war he recovered and returned to farming near Waimate. He became heavily involved in charity organisations, including Toc H which was a Christian movement that had its origins in World War I. He also helped war refugees in World War II, was a Leper Trust Board representative and helped patients at Waimate Hospital. Mills died in Waimate in 1972.


Auckland Museum Cenotaph database (July 2015); William H Mills letters, 25-27 October 1917, courtesy of E Sauer

External Links

Related Documents

Researched and Written by

Tony Rippin (South Canterbury Museum)

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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