SIEGERT, Felix Augustine
(Service number 7/120 - WWI;
806557 - WWII)
|First Rank||Trooper||Last Rank||Trooper - WWI; Corporal - WWII|
|Date||1 January 1893||Place of Birth||Fairlie, New Zealand|
|Date||13 August 1914 - WWI; 16 April 1941 - WWII||Age||21 - WWI; 48 - WWII|
|Address at Enlistment||Fairlie - WWI; 154 Fendalton Road, Christchurch - WWII|
|Occupation||Grocer - WWI; Clerk - WWII|
|Previous Military Experience||8th South Canterbury Mounted Rifles|
|Marital Status||Single - WWI; Married - WWII|
|Next of Kin||Julius SIEGERT (father), Fairlie, New Zealand - WWI; Mrs G. Siegert (wife) 154 Fendalton Road, Christchurch - WWII|
|Medical Information||5 foot 6 1/2 inches tall, weight 133 pounds (xxkgs), chest 33-36 inches, dark complexion, brown eyes, dark brown hair, teeth fair, circular scar in middle of back on right side - WWI|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||Main Body - WWi; Home Service - WWii|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||Canterbury Mounted Rifles - WWI; Home Service Southern Military District - WWII|
|Date||16 October 1914|
|Embarked From||Wellington, New Zealand||Destination||Suez, Egypt|
|Other Units Served With||Otago Mounted Rifles (2nd ANZAC Mounted Regiment)|
|Last Unit Served With||Otago Mounted Rifles (2nd ANZAC Mounted Regiment)|
|Campaigns||Egypt, Gallipoli, Western European|
|Service Medals||1914-1915 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal - WWI; War Medal 1939-1945, NZ War Service Medal - WWII|
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 September 1919 - WWI; 12 February 1943 - WWII||Reason||No longer physicall fit for war service on account of wounds received in action (gas poisoning) - WWI|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
5 Aug 1915 - admitted to St George Hospital, Malta - influenza; 9 Sep 1915 - transferred to King George Hospital Stamford; admitted to Hornchurch on 14 Jan 1916 to recuperate, then to Hospital Walton from 13-19 May 1916. 16 Apr 1918 - gassed and admitted to various hospitals and field ambulance units before being admitted to hospital at Walton-on-Thames on 5 May; transferred to Convalescent Hospital, Hornchurch on 9 Jul. 12 Oct 1918 - admitted to 3 NZ General Hospital, Codford - scabies. Jul - Aug 1919 - outpatient at Timaru Hospital
Clerk, Hotel Keeper
|Date||4 May 1987||Age||94|
|Place of Death||Christchurch, New Zealand|
|Notices||Dept of Internal Affairs 20 May 1987|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Ruru Cemetery, Christchurch, New Zealand|
|Memorial Reference||Block 10, Plot 129|
|New Zealand Memorials|
Felix was born at Fairlie on 2 January 1893, the 5th son of Julius Ernest Anton Paul (1851-1929) and Margaret (nee Morley 1857-1939) Siegert. Julius was born in the Prussian Province of Silesia and came out to New Zealand from Australia aboard the Arawata in 1876. In 1881 he became a naturalised British subject and in the same year, married Margaret Morley. Keen on serving his community, Julius was appointed as a Justice of the Peace in 1899.
Felix received his education at the Cricklewood School where he enjoyed music and dance, and was awarded the Government Standard 6 Proficiency Certificate in December 1907. On leaving school he got a job as a grocer with the Canterbury Farmers Association at Fairlie. Prior to the outbreak of war he was a member of the 8th South Canterbury Mounted Rifles. On August 13, 1914, he enlisted at Timaru for service as part of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles. Described as being aged 21, of the Roman Catholic faith, 5 foot 6 ½ inches tall, weighing 133 pounds (60 kgs), with a chest measuring 33-36 inches, having a dark complexion, brown eyes, dark brown hair, teeth only fair with an upper plate. He also had a circular scar the size of a shilling on the right side in the middle of his back. On August 17, 1914, Felix left Timaru with the rest of the mounted men on the 11.40 am slow train for the central camp in Christchurch. Their horses had been previously trucked to Smithfield. Fairlie farmers had been generous in donating horses to the local mounted men but some had been rejected for being of the wrong colour for military service. In September, shortly after having left for camp, his mother and other Fairlie ladies set up the Fairlie Ladies Patriotic Society to support the boys overseas.
After some initial training at the Addington Camp, on September 23, the 8th SC Mounted Rifles (SCMR) and other mounted units rode their horses to Lyttelton where they embarked on board HMNZT Athenic for Wellington where they were to join the convoy carrying the NZEF Main Body. The convoy was delayed and the 8th SCMR were sent to Trentham Camp until it was judged safe to depart. HMNZT11 Athenic departed Wellington on October 16, 1914, along with the rest of the expeditionary fleet. A stop at Hobart allowed an opportunity for a route march through the town before they re-embarking for Albany in Western Australia. Here they joined the convoy carrying the main body of the Australian Imperial Force and left for Suez, Egypt, via Colombo and Aden, finally arriving in Alexandria to disembark the troops on December 3, 1914. The SS Athenic was the largest troopship to carry NZ forces to the Middle East. From Alexandria they travelled by train to Zeitoun Camp located near Cairo where they settled into a routine of training with the odd bit of sightseeing and sport.
By May 1915 the New Zealand Mounted Rifles (NZMR) received order to proceed to Gallipoli as infantry and the main body left Zeitoun Camp on May 7. Trooper Siegert embarked for the Dardanelles on July 9 and joined his unit in the field on July 14. On August 5 the Canterbury Mounted Rifles (CMR) took part in the Battle of Chunuk Bair, but that same day Felix was admitted to the St George Hospital on Malta with influenza so was fortunate to avoid the heavy casualties suffered by the rest of his unit. He was then transferred on the Hospital Ship Demosthenes to England and admitted to King George Hospital at Stamford on September 9, 1915. He was then discharged to furlough on November 10, until being transferred to the depot at Hornchurch to recuperate on January 14, 1916. He was again admitted to hospital at Walton from 13 to 19 May and then attended a course of instruction at the Port Royal in Transport duties where he qualified as a 1st Line Transport Driver. From here he was taken on strength at Codford before transfer to the Reserve Group at Sling Camp on August 24.
On October 7, 1916, Felix was transferred to the Otago Mounted Rifles (OMR) and proceeded to France on October 24. Here he marched in to the depot at Etaples where further in depth training in all aspects of trench warfare took place. On May 20, 1917, he re-joined the OMR which was now part of the 2nd ANZAC Mounted Regiment. They were to fight at Messines (June 1917), and Passchendaele in October 1917.
In the spring of 1918 the Germans launched an offensive to smash through the Allied front and the Mounted Regiment was heavily engaged around the Mont Kemmel region. It suffered more casualties in April 1918 than the rest of the war combined. It was during this period that the Germans used great amounts of gas which Trooper Siegert became a victim of on April 16. The Timaru Herald dated 4 May 1918 reported “Mr Julius Siegert, Kimbell has received word that his son, Felix F. Siegert, was admitted into hospital somewhere in Flanders, having been gassed. Felix Siegert went with the Main Body, was in active service in Gallipoli, and afterwards was on active service in France, and about six months ago was “Somewhere in Flanders” where he was gassed on April 21st.” Transfer followed to hospital and Field Ambulance units before being sent to England aboard the Hospital Ship St Dennis and admitted to Walton-on-Thames on May 5. Transfer to the Convalescent Hospital at Hornchurch took place on July 9 before being discharged back to duty on August 24. On October 12 he was again admitted to the 3 NZ General Hospital at Codford, suffering from scabies, before being discharged to the Command Depot at Codford on November 9, 1918.
Finally on March 12, 1919, he was headed back to New Zealand. He boarded SS Corinthic at Tilbury Docks, London, arriving at Lyttelton on April 22, 1919. On his return home to Fairlie, he was greeted with the band playing, and long and loud cheering. Felix was to spend some time as an outpatient at Timaru before being medically boarded at Timaru on August 21, where he received his final discharge from the Army as no longer physically fit for war service on account of wounds received in action (gas poisoning) on September 18, 1919. Having served a total of 5 years and 37 days in uniform, Felix later was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
On June 14, 1932, Felix was married at Christchurch to Gwendoline Prebble (1907-1966), daughter of Thomas Thompson and Mary (nee Blumsky) Prebble. From 1935 to 1938 they lived at 154 Fendalton Road, Christchurch, where Felix was employed as a mercer. During World War Two Felix served again, a total of 1 year and 303 days from 16 April 1941 to 12 February 1943, as a Corporal in the Southern Military District. For this service he was later awarded the War Medal 1939-1945 and the New Zealand War Service Medal.
From 1946 to 1954 Felix was a hotel keeper at the Zetland Hotel, and then in 1957, was found at 88 Cashel Street, still working as a hotel keeper. In 1963 he was listed as being retired and living at 167 Deans Avenue, and from 1969 was residing at 7 Rolleston Court, 35 Cambridge Terrace, Christchurch. Felix died on May 4, 1987, at age 94 years,. Felix was buried in the Ruru Lawn Cemetery, Christchurch with his wife Gwendoline. She had predeceased him on May 5, 1966.
Felix’s brother 83786 Trooper James Francis had also served in the Territorial Force with the 8th South Canterbury Mounted Rifles and was called up for service on July 1, 1918. He entered camp at Featherston and was posted to the 45th Reinforcements but did not proceed overseas and was later demobbed on November 29, 1918. Another brother Leo was passed fit for home service only. A nephew of Felix, Cyril Laurence Siegert, was a distinguished officer during WWII in the RAF and later in the RNZAF, reaching the rank of Air Vice Marshall.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [01 November 2016]; National Anzec Centre at http://www.nationalanzaccentre.org/felix-augustine-siegert;"Proficiency Certificates" in the Timaru Herald 18 August 1907, "More farewells" in the Timaru Herald 18 August 1914 p5, "Welcomed Home:" in the Timaru Herald 29 Apr 1919 p4, and "Fairlie Notes: Oddfellows Social" in the Timaru Herald 6 May 1919 p11, courtesy of Papers Past at https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/; New Zealand ANZACs in the Great War 1914-1918 (University of New South Wales) at http://nzef.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=232852;'Felix Augustine Siegert' on Find A Grave at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/167640451/felix-augustine-siegert; "St Oran's teacher [Debs Siegert] wins place in ballot to Gallipoli for ANZAC day centenary" on Sporty at http://www.sporty.co.nz/asset/downloadasset?id=5e69c94c-c2aa-4000-addd-17edb975b126; Timaru District Council hall of fame at https://www.timaru.govt.nz/community/our-district/hall-of-fame/category-one/air-vice-marshal-siegert
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Researched and Written by
Ted Hansen, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
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