PILKINGTON, Ronald Frank
(Service number 8/267)
|First Rank||Corporal||Last Rank||Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant|
|Date||29 October 1893||Place of Birth||Christchurch, New Zealand|
|Date||18 August 1914||Age||20|
|Address at Enlistment||Clydevale, New Zealand|
|Previous Military Experience||14th South Otago Regiment|
|Next of Kin||Mr George Merritt Pilkington (father), Carleton School, Bennett's Junction, Woodbury, New Zealand|
|Medical Information||5 foot 7 inches tall, weight 140 lbs, chest 34-37 1/2 inches, fair complexion, grey eyes, medium hair, good teeth|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||Main Body|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||Otago Infantry Battalion|
|Date||16 October 1914|
|Transport||Ruapehu or Hawkes Bay|
|Embarked From||Port Chalmers, Dunedin, New Zealand||Destination||Suez, Egypt|
|Other Units Served With||NZ Base Depot; 14th Company, 3rd Battalion, Otago Infantry Regiment|
|Last Unit Served With||Otago Infantry Battalion|
|Campaigns||Egyptian, Gallipoli, and Western Europe|
|Service Medals||1914-1915 Star, 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||27 November 1918||Reason||Physically unfit|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
10 September 1914: admitted St John's Hospital Malta (cause unknown). 18 October 1914: admitted to 21st General Hospital, Alexandria: jaundice. 25 February 1918: pleurisy - admitted 1NZGH Bethnall Green London 12 March 1918, transferred to 1NZGH Brockenhurst on 20 April 1918.
|Date||30 September 1986||Age||92|
|Place of Death||Auckland, New Zealand|
|Memorial or Cemetery||North Shore, Auckland, crematorium|
|New Zealand Memorials|
Ronald, eldest son of George Merritt and Ann Welby (nee Hadfield) Pilkington, was born at Christchurch on 29 October 1893. He was educated at Woodbury and Christchurch Boys High.
When he enlisted at Milton, Otago, on 18 August 1914 he was employed as a labourer by H.S. Mishall of Clydevale. His file described him as being single, living at Clydevale, Presbyterian, 5 foot 7 inches tall, chest measuring 34-37 ½ inches, of fair complexion, grey eyes, medium hair, having good teeth, and distinct mark of vaccination. His father, George Merritt Pilkington, who was principle teacher at Carleton School, Bennett’s Junction, Woodbury, was nominated as his next of kin. Having previous military experience with the 14th South Otago Regiment, he enlisted as a Private in the 1st Battalion, Otago Infantry Regiment, and embarked with the Main Body from Port Chalmers for Suez, Egypt, on 16 October 1914, aboard the SS Ruapehu or Hawkes Bay. After arriving in Alexandria, Egypt, on 3 December 1914, he was marched in Zeitoun Camp. On 12 April 1915, embarked for the Dardanelles with the Otago Infantry Battalion, and on 6 May, was promoted to Corporal. During this time his younger brother, Corporal Charles Merritt Pilkington (no.7/801) of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles, was also serving in Gallipoli. Ronald was admitted to the hospital at Dardanelles on 2 September, and then sent to Malta aboard the Hospital Ship Neuralis and on to St John’s Hospital on 10 September. No particulars are listed as to his illness or wounds. Taken on strength NZ Advance Base Depot, Mustapha Egypt, from Malta on 9 October, he again embarked on HM Transport ship Minneapolis back to the Dardanelles. A short time later, on 18 October, he was admitted to 21st General Hospital, Alexandria, suffering from jaundice and, on 20 November, admitted to the convalescent depot at Luxor. Discharged back to duty on 21 December 1915, he was attached to the strength of NZ Base Depot, Ghezireh and on 1 February 1916, and promoted to Sergeant.
On 1 March, at Moascar Camp, he was again promoted, this time to Company Quartermaster Sergeant, and embarked for France on 6 April 1916. On 25 March 1917, he was evacuated from his unit, 1st Battalion Otago Infantry Regiment to base depot at Etaples, attached to the strength of NZ Base Depot and on 28 March was sent to England, and attached to the NZ Command Depot, Codford. On 2 April he was posted to the 14th Company, 3rd Battalion, Otago Infantry Regiment, promoted to Warrant Officer Class 2 and appointed Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant. Posted back to France on 28 May, he rejoined his unit in the field. On 8 February 1918, he was attached to 22nd Corps Reinforcement Camp at Abeele and evacuated from there sick with pleurisy on 25 February. He arrived back in England on 12 March after having passed through No 1 and 2 West Riding Field Ambulance, the 3rd Canadian Casualty Clearance Station and No.4 General Hospital, and admitted to the Military Hospital at Bethnall Green, London. He was again transferred to the 1st NZ General Hospital, Brockenhurst on 20 April 1918. After being medically boarded and found unfit for further service on 8 June, he was discharged to the NZ Discharge Depot at Torquay, and embarked on SS Paparoa, for return to New Zealand from Plymouth, on 8 August. After further treatment at Christchurch Hospital, he was finally discharged from the army on 27 November 1918, as permanently unfit for active service. Ronald was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal for his 4 years and 102 days of service.
In March 1921 he married Miss Daisy Winifred Neale at St Mary’s Church, Springston. Also in 1921, he won a soldier’s settlement ballot for one of the Homebrook sections, and was to call his farm “Homebrook” which he farmed until he retired to Christchurch in the early 1950s, living there up to the 1980s. Whilst farming at Springston, he and his wife were very involved in the local community, being members of St James Church, secretary of the Ellesmere RSA, the Druid’s Lodge and other organisations. Ronald died on 30 September 1986, aged 92 years, and was cremated at the North Shore City Council crematorium..
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotpah Database (August 2015); Military Personnel file at NZ Archives (August 2015); Fam Net, The Family History Network at http://famnet.net.nz; Auckland Council Cemetery records at http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/parksfacilities/cemeteries/Pages/northburialcremationrecords.aspx# (2 September 2015); Ancestry at http://search.ancestry.com.au (2 September 2015); Papers Past at http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz: Ellesmere Guardian 2 April 1921 "Weddings: Pilkington-Neale" and many more (2 September 2015); New Zealand ANZACs in the Great War 1914-1918 at http://nzef.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=205404 (2 September 2015)
- Waimate Trooper casualties - Waimate Daily Advertiser 21 August 1915 (pdf, 154.8 KB updated 20-Feb-2018)
Researched and Written by
Ted Hansen, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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