HEAD, Bernard
(Service number 1/05)

First Rank Major Last Rank


Date 12 January 1876 Place of Birth

Enlistment Information

Date 15 Aug 1914-31 Dec 1915 Age
Address at Enlistment Defence Dept, Wellington
Occupation Soldier, 5th Batt Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Dr Henry Head, 4 Montague Square, London
Religion Not recorded
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation Samoan Advance Party
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 5th Wellington Regiment
Date 15 August 1914
Transport Moeraki or Monowai; Willochra or Knight Templar or Waitomo
Embarked From Wellington Destination Apia, Samoa
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Campaigns Samoa (NZ forces) Balkans (Gallipoli) (5th Welsh Fusiliers)
Service Medals
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 Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations


Date 12 August 1915 Age
Place of Death Gallipoli
Cause Killed in action by a sniper
Notices Internal Affairs Notification, Military personnel file
Memorial or Cemetery
Memorial Reference Helles Memorial, Turkey, Panel 77 to 80
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Bernard Head was the son of the late Henry and Hester Head.

An independent researcher submitted the following information about Bernard Head:

“Commissioned as Lieutenant 1st and 2nd Battalions of The King’s Light Infantry (Shropshire Regiment) 1894. Bernard passed military school 16 January 1900. In March 1900 he was given a temporary commission in the army as Lieutenant when he joined the Volunteer Service. Fought 2nd Boer War 1900-1901. Sailed to South Africa on 3/3/1900 from Albert Docks at Liverpool and arrived Cape Town 28/3/1900. Head returned to UK on 11/4/1901 on the ‘Formosa’ which landed 9 May 1901. During the Boer War (QSA and three clasps) Bernard Head was a Captain in the Ellesmere Company of the 2nd Volunteer Battalion Kings Shropshire Light Infantry from 1900-1905. Resigned 1905.”

“Worked for Lord Harlech for 3 years. From 1904-1907 Travelled to NZ and Australia and often returned to UK 1908-1915 ... Major Head was a man of independent, means, a thorough English gentleman and sportsman. He originally came to New Zealand for trout fishing and became very attached to the Dominion, of whose scenery and tourist attractions he always spoke in terms of the highest praise. Head devoted himself to mountaineering and exploration, and in 1909, along with two local guides, made the first ascent of Mount Aspiring in Otago, New Zealand (other peaks and geographical features in the area are still named after Head and his relatives). Bernard Head's life seems to encapsulate the spirit of the Edwardian age: another brother, Christopher, a former Mayor of Chelsea, was drowned on the Titanic in 1912, while a third, Henry, was a pioneering neurosurgeon who famously experimented with the subject of nerve regrowth by severing the nerves of his own arm!”

“[Head was] Commissioned as captain of 1/5 Rwf [Royal Welsh Fusiliers] in 1910 and later in the army it was on He joined RWF as a major in 1913 In 1914 promoted to major in January with [the] NZ army. [He was part of the] Samoan Advance Force … 2nd in command of [the] Wellington Regiment. Departed NZ Auckland on 26 January 1915 for UK. On trips in England he presented the German flag which once flew over the Post Office there to a girl in his home town of Ellesmere, Shropshire)”

“[Head] Rejoined the 1/5 rwf in March 1915 ... [on] 19 July 1915 he sailed from Devonport on the ‘Caledonia’ … via Lemnos and Imbros. Departed 8 August 1915 on HMS Rowan then … to Sulva Bay [Gallipoli]. Arrived early hours 9 August 1915, disembarked at “C” Beach, Suvla Bay, Gallipoli.”

On his enlistment in NZ forces, in addition to his UK family as next of kin he was required to give a NZ contact - so he listed Major Norton Francis of Waimate.

Head was killed by sniper on 12 August 1915 during Gallipoli campaign.


Auckland War memorial Museum Cenotaph Database (January 2015); SCroll web submission by H Fitz-Gerald, 19 July 2023; Commonwealth War Graves Commission [accessed 19 July 2023]

External Links

Related Documents

No documents available. 

Researched and Written by

David Batchelor, South Canterbury Museum

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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