(Service number 89346)

First Rank Private Last Rank 2nd Lieutenant


Date 5 September 1891 Place of Birth Temuka, New Zealand

Enlistment Information

Date 24 July 1918 Age 26
Address at Enlistment 79 Marine Parade, Napier, New Zealand
Occupation Telegraphist
Previous Military Experience Waimate Rifles, Ranfurly Rifles, 9th Hawkes Bay Regt, P&T Corps [all NZ Territorial Units]
Marital Status Married
Next of Kin Mrs C. F. Whitehead (wife), 79 Marine Parade, Napier, New Zealand
Religion Church of England
Medical Information 5 foot 10 inches in height, weight 140 pounds (64 kgs), chest 30-34 inches, dark complexion, blue eyes

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation Home Service only
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Did not embark (49th Reinforcements)
Embarked From Destination
Other Units Served With NZ Corps of Signals
Last Unit Served With NZ Corps of Signals

Military Awards

Campaigns Home Service only
Service Medals
Military Awards NZ Long and Efficient Service Medal (Territorial Forces)

Award Circumstances and Date

Approved 3 November 1925

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 Placed on Leave Without Pay from 7 December 1918 awaiting demobilisation Reason End of war

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations

Telegraphist and Post Master


Date 11 May 1949 Age 57
Place of Death Otane, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Memorial or Cemetery Otane Cemetery (ashes)
Memorial Reference Plot 421
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Harry was born at Temuka on 5 September 1891, the third son of Edward (1864-1902) and Eleanor Rose Louisa (nee Rutland, 1864-1934) Whitehead. Eleanor’s father Walter George Rutland, had come out to New Zealand in 1857 on the “Glentanner”, and was a well-known builder at Temuka. Harry was educated at the local Temuka Primary and District High School and in January 1906, obtained an appointment as a Telegraph Messenger in the Temuka Post Office. He was to continue with for the NZ Post Office for the remainder of his working life and, in 1908, progressed to the Waimate Post Office. Here, on 12 November 1908, he joined the Waimate Rifle Volunteers. In 1910 he moved to Ranfurly where he transferred to the Ranfurly Rifles. In February 1911 he again moved to Napier to an appointment as Telegraph Officer and became a member of the 9th Hawkes Bay Regiment. In June 1911 he transferred to the Post and Telegraph Corps. On 16 September 1911 at Napier, he married Miss Catherine Fletcher Syme (1891-1974), the Rev J.A. Asher performing the ceremony. In 1917 the family were living at 79 Marine Parade, Napier, where two children, Edward (1912) and Patricia (1915) were born.

Harry was medically boarded for war service at Napier on 24 July 1917 but did not enter camp until 12 September 1918. He was described as being married, Anglican, aged 26, 5 foot 10 inches in height, weighing 140 pounds (64 kgs), chest measuring 30–34 inches, of dark complexion and blue eyes. Posted as a Private to B Company 48th Reinforcements, he was promoted to Sergeant on 18 September and transferred to the Special Training Class the next day. Further promotion to 2nd Lieutenant followed on 8 October and transfer to B Company, 49th Reinforcements. He was then granted leave without pay from 7 December 1918 until further orders on demobilisation.

In 1919 Harry was transferred as a Telegraphist to Christchurch where the family lived at 324 Hereford Street. By this time he had been promoted to Captain and in 1921 his territorial unit was changed from the P & T Corps to the NZ Corps of Signals. Having served continuously from 12 November 1908 until 1 October 1925, Harry was awarded the NZ Long and Efficient Service Medal. By 1928 he was at St Albans Post Office, by 1935 had become Post Master at Linwood then, by 1938 was Post Master at Tuatapere, and finally, in 1946, was Post Master at Ashurst, before retiring to Otane, Hawkes Bay. Here he died on 11 May 1949, aged 57 years, and his ashes are interred in the Otane Cemetery.

Two of Edward’s brother also served during World War One: 6/2805 Private Edward Alick Whitehead served with the Canterbury Infantry Regiment in Egypt, Gallipoli and Western Europe; and 57644 Driver Walter Joseph Whitehead served in Western Europe with the NZ Field Artillery.


Assorted records at [July 2017]; 'New Zealand Army' [promotion to 2nd Lt] New Zealand Times 2 April 1917 p3, courtesy of Papers Past at; Central Hawkes Bay District Coucnil cemetery records at

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Researched and Written by

Ted Hansen, SC branch NZSG

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