(Service number 32298)
|First Rank||Rifleman||Last Rank||Rifleman|
|Date||8 May 1887||Place of Birth||Invercargill, New Zealand|
|Date||26 July 1916||Age||29|
|Address at Enlistment||26 Preston Street, Timaru, New Zealand|
|Previous Military Experience|
|Next of Kin||Mrs Elizabeth Blackham (mother), 26 Preston Street, Timaru, New Zealand|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Medical Information||5 foot 5 3/4 inches tall, weight 119 (54 kg), chest 31 1/2 - 34 inches, fair complexion, hazel eyes, brown hair|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||10th Reinforcements|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||3rd Battalion, G Company, NZ Rifle Brigade|
|Date||15 November 1916|
|Embarked From||Wellington, New Zealand||Destination||Plymouth, Devon, England|
|Other Units Served With||2 NZ (Area) Employment Company|
|Last Unit Served With||2 NZ (Area) Employment Company|
|Service Medals||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||18 April 1919||Reason||No longer physically fit for further war service on account of illness contracted on active service (debility)|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
24 April 1918 - gunshot wound to left wrist; admitted to No2 Canadian Stat Hospital; 16 May transferred to No 10 Convalescent Depot; 16 June transferred to No 32 Stat Hosp with influenza; 15 August discharged to No 5 Rest Camp; 6 October 1918 - mAttached to NZ Stationary Hospital
|Date||30 August 1949||Age||62|
|Place of Death||Timaru, New Zealand|
|Notices||Timaru Herald, 31 August 1949|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Timaru Cemetery|
|Memorial Reference||RSA Section, Row 101, Plot 13|
|New Zealand Memorials|
Harry, the sixth son of Richard (1837-1912) and Elizabeth (1837-1924 nee Webb) Blackham, was born in Invercargill on 8 May 1887. He was educated at the Middle and Park Schools Invercargill, where he received an award for excellence in Standard 5. The family originally farmed at Wrey’s Bush, Invercargill, and later moved into Dee Street Invercargill, where his father became a hotel keeper. After his death in 1912, the family moved to 26 Preston Street Timaru.
Prior to the war Harry was a member of the Timaru Pigeon Club and kept and raced birds. He was living at home and employed as a law clerk with the legal firm F.A. Raymond, when he enlisted on 26 June 1916. His mother Elizabeth was nominated as his next of kin and he was described as being single, Anglican, 5 foot 5 ¾ inches tall, weighing 119 pounds, chest measuring 31 ½ to 34 inches, of fair complexion, hazel eyes and brown hair. After training with the New Zealand Rifle Brigade, he embarked from Wellington aboard HMNZT 68 SS Maunganui, on 15 November 1916, as part of the 10th Reinforcements for the 3rd Battalion NZ Rifle Brigade (NZRB).
After arriving in Plymouth England on 29 January 1917, they marched into Sling Camp for further training. Here he was transferred to the 2 NZ (Area) Employment Company and proceeded to France with this unit on 2 November 1917. This unit was part of Divisional Headquarters and had no set area of responsibility, being employed wherever and on whatever task that required urgency, for example POW guard duties, salvage etc. On 24 April 1918, he suffered a gunshot wound to the left wrist, and was admitted to No 2 Canadian Stationary Hospital. Transfer followed on 16 May to No 10 Convalescent Depot and, on 16 June, he was transferred again to No 32 Stationary Hospital after having come down with influenza. On 15 August he was discharged to No 5 Rest Camp, and on 6 October, was attached to the NZ Stationary Hospital. Harry was granted leave to the UK from 11 to 28 November before returning to France.
By the end of the year things has settled down and on 29 December 1918, he was marched in to Codford Camp, England. Here he stayed until 3 February 1919, when he left aboard SS Athenic from Liverpool, for his return home to New Zealand. Discharge from the army followed on 18 April 1919 as no longer fit for war service due to illness contracted on active service (debility). Later, for his two years and 267 days of war service, he was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal.
Shortly after his return, Harry went to live in Roxburgh, where he became very involved in many activities. These included, in 1922, being a founding member of the Roxburgh Volunteer Fire Brigade, committee member of the Southland Pigeon and Canary Club, Bowling Club, Coal Creek Football Club, Athletic Sports Club, and he had possibly entered into a partnership in a grocery, drapery and hardware business with a man by the name of Crockett.
In 1925, at St Mary’s Church Timaru, he married Miss Myrtle Winifred Heath (1893-1972). By 1928, he was again working as a clerk and living at 8 Wright’s Avenue, Timaru. Back in Timaru he again joined the Timaru Pigeon Club where he raced pigeons with his brother George, and was a keen player of bowls for the West End Bowling Club. His name featured over the years in the many competitions he played in.
On 30 August 1949, at the age of 62, Harry died and was buried in the RSA Section of the Timaru. His wife Myrtle died in 1972, and is commemorated on the Wall of Remembrance at Salisbury Park Crematorium, Timaru.
Three other Blackham boys served overseas during this war. 34808 Private William Blackham served with the Otago Infantry Regiment as a farrier in England. 25/948 Rifleman John Blackham served with the NZ Rifle Brigade and died on 26 September 1916 of wounds received during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette at Brockenhurst Hospital England. 12729 BQMS George Thomas Blackham served with the NZ Field Artillery in Western Europe.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [September 2016]; New Zealand ANZACs in the Great War 1914-1918 (University of New South Wales) at http://nzef.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=21283; "Nineteenth Reinforcements, South Canterbury quota" in the Timaru herald 25 July 1916, "Casualty List" in The Colonist 3 May 1919, and "Returning Soldiers" in the Timaru herald 10 March 1919, courtesy of Papers Past at https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/ [November 2016]; Assorted records at Ancestry.com [November 2016]; Timaru District Council cemetery records at https://www.timaru.govt.nz/services/community-and-culture/cemeteries/cemetery-search
No documents available.
Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG; Ted Hansen, SC branch NZSG
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Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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