WHITEHEAD, Walter Joseph
(Service number 57644)

First Rank Driver Last Rank Gunner


Date 13 March 1897 Place of Birth Temuka, New Zealand

Enlistment Information

Date 18 June 1917 Age 20
Address at Enlistment 43 Dyson Street, Temuka, New Zealand
Occupation Railway fireman
Previous Military Experience South Canterbury Regiment
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs Louisa Whitehead (mother), 43 Dyson Street, Temuka, New Zealand
Religion Church of England
Medical Information 5 foot 6 1/4 inches tall, weight 144 pounds (65 kgs), chest 33-36 inches, dark complexion, brown eyes, brown hair, small angular scar in centre of forehead

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation NZ Field Artillery
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 34th Reinforcements, 2nd NZ Field Artillery
Date 8 February 1918
Transport HMNZT100 Ulimaroa
Embarked From Wellington, New Zealand Destination Liverpool, Merseyside, England
Other Units Served With 2nd Brigade NZ Field Artillery, Brigade HQ NZ Field Artillery
Last Unit Served With Brigade HQ NZ Field Artillery

Military Awards

Campaigns Western Europe
Service Medals British War Medal; Victory Medal
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 21 August 1919 Reason End of engagement

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations

NZ Railways Fireman & Engine Driver


Date 14 April 1962 Age 65
Place of Death Napier, New Zealand
Notices NZ Internal Affairs 3 May 1962
Memorial or Cemetery Wharerangi Cemetery, Napier
Memorial Reference Ashes Berm, Section 46, Plot 27
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Walter, the fourth son of Edward (1864-1902) and Eleanor Rose Louisa (nee Rutland, 1864-1934) Whitehead, was born at Temuka on 13 March 1897. His mother Eleanor‘s father was Walter George Rutland who had come out to NZ on the “Glentanner” in 1857 and became a well-known builder in the district. Walter was educated at the Temuka Primary and District High School after which he took up employment with the NZ Railways.

Shortly after turning 20 he enlisted at Timaru, giving his preference to joining the artillery. At this time he was still living at home, 43 Dyson Street, Temuka, and was employed as a Railway Fireman in Timaru and was a member of the South Island Regiment (a territorial force). He nominated his mother Eleanor as his next of kin and was described as being single, Anglican, 5 foot 6 ¼ inches tall, weighing 144 pounds (65 kgs), having a dark complexion, brown eyes, brown hair and a small angular scar in the centre of his forehead. Given his preference of units, he was posted to the 2nd NZ Field Artillery and embarked from Wellington on 8 February 1918 aboard the Ulimaroa (HMNZT100) with the 34th Reinforcements, arriving at Liverpool, England, on 29 March 1918, marching into Aldershot the same day.

The New Zealand artillery in England was fortunate enough in August, 1917, to be able to take over a section of an artillery camp at Ewshot. Being a permanent camp, established for the regular army, it had all personal comforts and conveniences for soldiers in residence. Here they received more training before leaving for France. On 26 April Walter embarked for France and was attached to the 2nd Brigade on 3 May before being posted to Brigade Headquarters on 7 June. The 2nd Brigade was part of a movable artillery unit under British Command and was to be part of the main action to oppose the German Spring Offensive in March to July 1918 and in the ‘advance to victory’ from July to November 1918. On 22 October he was transferred to the 2nd Battery followed by a short detachment to the Artillery School from 25 October, until re-joining his unit on 24 November. On 23 January 1919 he was again posted to Brigade Headquarters until going on leave to the UK on 6 March 1919. After his leave he was at Sling Camp until 17 June, when he embarked from Tilbury, London, aboard SS Briton (Transport 268), arriving in Wellington on 23 July 1919. Aboard were 1177 troops and 73 wives plus other passengers. Walter was finally discharged from the army at the end of his engagement on 21 August 1919. Having served a total of 2 years and 58 days, he was later awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal.

On 21 August 1919 at St Mary’s Church Timaru, he also married Myrtle Evelyn Segar (1897-1969), daughter of Arthur Edgar and Isabella (nee Harkess) Segar. In 1919 they were living at 5 Oliver’s Road, Linwood, Christchurch, Wakter being employed as a Railways Fireman. In 1922 a daughter June Shirley was born, a son Noel Keith in 1924 and a daughter Ngaio Adeline in 1926, all born in Timaru. From 1928 to 1938 he was listed an Engine Driver Railways, care of Railways Fairlie, the from 1946 to 1949 at 120 Sunshine Hill, Taumarunui, employed as a Engine Driver, and finally from 1954 to 1957 at 75 Latham Street, Napier, employed as a Locomotive Fireman.

During World War Two Walter was on the 1940-1945 Ballot List but did not enter camp. On 14 April 1962, Walter died at Napier and his ashes were interred in Wharerangi Cemetery, Napier. Later when his wife Myrtle died on 6 November 1969, her ashes were also interred in the same plot.

Two of Walter’s brothers also served during the period of World War OIne: 6/2805 Private Edward Alick Whitehead in France with the Canterbury Infantry Regiment; and 89346 Captain Harry Whitehead who served on Home Service with the Post & Telegraph Corps.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [July 2017]; Assorted records at [July 2017]; New Zealand ANZACs in the Great War 1914-1918 (University of New South Wales) at; Possible wedding photo of Myrtle and Walter Whitehead at Bygone Days Photography blog at [July 2017]; Napier City Council cemetery records at

External Links

Related Documents

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Researched and Written by

Ted Hansen, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to

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