Profile

CURTIS, Arthur Humphrey
(Service number 3/960)

Aliases
First Rank Captain Last Rank

Birth

Date 3 March 1881 Place of Birth Alton, Hampshire, England

Enlistment Information

Date 14 September 1915 Age
Address at Enlistment Temuka
Occupation Doctor
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs W. Pearse (sister), Temuka
Religion Anglican
Medical Information At enlistment Curtis was 5ft 9 1/2 inches tall, with a chest measurement of between 32 1/2 and 36 inches. He had a clear complexion, grey eyes, dark brown hair, had sound hearing, and was generally. in good bodily and mental health.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Medical Corps
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Field Ambulance, 6th Reinforcements
Date 14 August 1915
Transport Willochra or Tofua
Embarked From Wellington, NZ Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Campaigns
Service Medals 1914-1915 Star; British War Medal; Victory Medal
Military Awards New Zealand Medical Corps

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

Discharge

Date 25 May 1918 Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations

Doctor, Medical Superintendant

Death

Date 17/6/1936 Age
Place of Death Marton, New Zealand
Cause
Notices
Memorial or Cemetery St Stephen's Anglican Cemetery, Marton
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Arthur Humphrey Curtis was born in Alton, Hampshire, England on 3 March 1881, to Arthur and Maria Curtis. In 1891 English census records record Arthur (junior) and his family In Devon, but by 1901 he had relocated to London where the now 20 year old was a medical student.

Prior to the war Curtis was a medical practitioner (listed as a surgeon in 1911), residing in Temuka. He listed his sister, Mrs W. Pearse of Temuka as his next-of-kin. Before leaving for the war, Curtis had in fact given away his sister at her marriage to Warne Pearse (brother of inventor Richard Pearse) in July 1915. The couple were entertained at Dr Curtis’ residence for afternoon tea before they left for their honeymoon. A month later, on 14 August 1915, Curtis embarked from Wellington, New Zealand with the New Zealand Medical Corps, Field Ambulance, 6th Reinforcements.

Captain Curtis moved between posts in Cairo, then England, and France (where he served in a Field Hospital), but also spent time in hospital in most of the same places with influenza (January 1916) or bronchitis (March 1916, then again in 1917). Looking after patients in the main hospitals would have made good use of Captain Curtis’ professional skills, but he also served some time with Field Hospitals near the front. Here Field Ambulance troops took the wounded from the front after initial treatment at a Regimental Aid Post a few hundred metres behind the frontline to an Advanced Dressing Station which processed and evacuated men as quickly as possible. Here fatally wounded were made as comfortable as possible as they died. The situation and conditions could no doubt be fairly brutal at times.

Suffering from “T.B. Brochitis”, Curtis was finally discharged from service on 25 May 1918 after returning to New Zealand on the Remuera in August 1917. He was warmly welcomed home in November 1917 at Temuka. The Mayor, Mr A Frew, “…believed every citizen in Temuka had welcomed the doctor back in their hearts …”, and commented that he had been a very popular citizen before he had left to attend to our sick and injured boys. Curtis spoke briefly to thank them all for his welcome home, but was “… very disappointed to leave the work in France, but it had to be on account of his health.”

In total Curtis had served 2 years and 274 days, 2 years and 37 days of which was overseas. For his service he was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal, and the Victory Medal. Curtis’ military service continued to be recognised after the war, as he appeared in the New Zealand Gazette of 28 June 1928, on the retired list of the NZ Medical Corps – still entitled to retain his rank and wear his uniform.

Shortly after his return from the war and discharge (in May), Arthur married. He and his bride, Winifred Inez Rix-Trott of Nelson, were married at the Cathedral, Nelson, on 1 June 1918. The couple had two sons: Peter Humphrey, born in 1919, and Anthony Henry, born in 1921. Curtis returned to the medical profession, being appointed the Superintendent of the Otaki Hospital and Sanatorium a few years later in 1921.

Arthur Humphrey Curtis died at Marton on 17 June 1936.

Sources

Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database (October 2014); SCRoll submission by M Mowat, March 2017 & 19 February 2018; 'Wedding Pearse-Curtis' in the Timaru Herald 10 July 1915 p3, 'Marriage' in the Nelson Evening Mail 5 June 1918 p4, 'Birth' in the Nelson Evening Mail 13 January 1931 p4, 'Personal' column in the Temuka Leader 30 June 1921 p2, courtesy of Papers Past at https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/; "England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008", database, FamilySearch at https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2XVX-43N : 1 October 2014)

External Links

Related Documents

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Researched and Written by

Carol Bell, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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