SEYB, Henry Michael
(Service number 8/3397 (WWI); 3/24/171 (WWII))

Aliases Harry
First Rank Private (WWI); Sapper (WWII) Last Rank Private (WWI); Sapper (WWII)


Date 13 June 1889 Place of Birth Timaru, New Zealand

Enlistment Information

Date 24 August 1915 (WWI); 18 April 1941 (WWII) Age 26 (WWI); 51 (WWII)
Address at Enlistment Glenross Station, Hastings, New Zealand (WWI); North Belt, Temuka, New Zealand (WWII)
Occupation Station Hand (WWI); Road Contractor (WWII)
Previous Military Experience School Cadets
Marital Status Single (WWI); Married (WWII)
Next of Kin Miss K (Catherine) Seyb (sister) , Wai-iti Rd, Timaru, New Zealand (WWI); Mrs Marion Seyb (wife) North Belt, Temuka, New Zealand (WWII)
Religion Church of England
Medical Information WWI: 5 foot 5 1/2 inches tall, weight 156 pounds (71 kgs), chest 35 1/2-38 1/2 inches, fair complexion, blue eyes, fair hair, teeth good, small mole & pigmentation on left shoulder blade, large mole under left breast and hammer toes on second toe of each foot.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation Otago Infantry Battalion
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 8th Reinforcements, D Company
Date 13 November 1915
Transport (HMNZT35) Willochra or (HMNZT36) Tofua
Embarked From Wellington, New Zealand Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With 7th Works Company NZ Engineers (WWII) - Home Service
Last Unit Served With Otago Infantry Battalion (WWI); 7th Works Coy NZE (WWII)

Military Awards

Campaigns Egypt & Western Europe (WWI); Home Service (WWII)
Service Medals 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal (WWI); War Medal 1939-1945 & NZ War Service Medal (WWII)
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 25 July 1919 (WWI); 27 September 1942 (from active service) - downgraded to Grade IV 26 January 1943 and released back to civilian occupation - on reserve until final discharge 1 September 1948 (WWII) Reason No longer physically fit for war service on account of wounds received on active service (WWI); Downgrade to Grade IV (WWII)

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

14-28 December 1917 - admitted sick to Field Ambulance, in field. 25 August 1918 - shrapnel wounds to right arm and compound fracture right humorous; admitted to No.3 British Casualty Clearing Syation; 30 August transferred to 2 NZ General Hospital at Walton-on-Thames.

Post-war Occupations

Road Contractor and Farmer


Date 19 December 1975 Age 86 years
Place of Death Ashburton, New Zealand
Notices Internal Affairs 22 January 1976
Memorial or Cemetery Ashburton, New Zealand
Memorial Reference Old Lawn, Plot 424
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Henry (known as Harry), the eldest son of Michael and Sylvia Louisa (nee Morgan) Seyb, was born at Timaru on 13 June 1889. His father was born in Germany in 1850, was naturalised a British Citizen in October 1876, and died at Timaru on 8 October 1932. His mother Sylvia was born at Sandford, Oxfordshire, England on 31 May 1864 and died at Gleniti, Timaru, on 8 January 1904.

Henry’s parents were married in St Mary’s Church Timaru in 1883, and were farming at Washdyke when Henry first attended the Washdyke school, his first day being 6 April 1892. He later attended Timaru Main School before the family moved to Gleniti, where he attended the local school. During his education he had been a member of the School Cadets.

On 24 August 1915 Henry enlisted for war service. At this time he was employed as a station hand by Mr Duncan Sanderson on the Glenross Station at Hastings. He was described as being single, Anglican, aged 26 years, 5 foot 5 ½ inches in height, weighing 156 pounds (71 kgs), of a fair complexion, blue eyes, fair hair, having good teeth, a small mole and pigmentation on his left shoulder blade, a large mole under his left breast and hammer toes on the second toes of each foot. He nominated his sister Kate (Catherine), who was living in Wai-iti Road, Timaru, as his next of kin.

On 13 November 1915 he left from Wellington with the 8th reinforcements, D Company, Otago Infantry Battalion, aboard HMNZT 35 Willochra or HMNZT 36 Tofua. These two ships travelled in convoy carrying 2,585 troops and arrived at Suez, Egypt, on 18 December 1915. Further training followed in Egypt. The Battalion saw service in the Suez area before returning to Mouscar in preparation for moving to France. On 5 April the 1st Battalion entrained at Ismailia for Port Said, where on the following day, the greater part of its strength boarded the Franconia, arriving at Marseilles on 13 April 1916. In May the Battalion was in the Armentieres area, a so called quite zone, to accustom them to trench warfare.

By August 1916 Henry’s Battalion was fighting on the Somme, and on 30 August 1916, Henry was sent to England and attached to the strength of Hornchurch. His file does not say whether he was sick or wounded but, by 2 September 1916, he was back in Sling Camp where he stayed until leaving again for France on 26 October 1917, rejoining his unit in the field on 11 November 1917. At this time his battalion was preparing to return to the Ypres area after the Passchendaele operations. From 14 to 28 December 1917 he was admitted to the Field Ambulance, sick. From 14 to 22 January 1918 he attended a course at the 2nd Brigade School. 1918 saw much heavy fighting on the Somme, and during the Battle of Bupume, on 25 August 1918, Harry was wounded with shrapnel wounds to his right arm and a compound fracture of the right humorous and was admitted to Number 3 British Casualty Clearance Station before, on 30 August, being transferred, ex-France, to 2 NZ General Hospital at Walton on Thames.

On 19 December 1918 he left from Southampton on the SS Marama for his return to New Zealand, arriving home on 13 March 1919. He was finally discharged as no longer physically fit for war service on account of wounds received in action on 25 July 1919. Between March 1919 and January 1920 he underwent orthopaedic treatment at Timaru Hospital. Having served a total of 3 years and 336 days, he was later awarded the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal, plus a monthly pension of 3 pounds 15 shillings and 10 pence.

In 1920 Henry married Miss Marion Elizabeth Sim, born in Moray, Scotland in 1893. From 1928 to 1938 the family lived at Washdyke where he operated as a road contractor, and from 1946 until 1975, they farmed in the Winslow (Ashburton) district.

During World War Two Harry also served from April 1941 to September 1942 as a Sapper in NZ with the NZ Engineers, later receiving the War Medal 1939-1945 and NZ War Service Medal.

Henry died at Ashburton, aged 86, on 19 December 1975, and is buried in the Old Lawn section of the Ashburton Cemetery in Plot 424. His wife had preceeded him, dying at Ashburton on 25 October 1967. Their son Michael (1921-1969), served in the Royal NZ Navy from 1939 to 1969.

Two of Henry’s brothers also served in the First World War: 24/1808 Private William Seyb (1896-1916), Canterbury Infantry Regiment, who was killed in action on the Somme on 21 September 1916; and 24/1480 Rifleman Bernard Seyb (1896-1965) who served with the NZ Rifle Brigade.


Auckland War memorial Museum Cenotaph Database (June 2017); New Zealand ANZACs in the Great War 1914-1918 (University of New South Wales) at; 'First Division - 8th BALLOT - June 1917 - South Canterbury, N.Z.' NZ GenWeb project at;.Assorted records at Ancestry at; Personal details and portiat can be found at Find a Grave at; 'Casulaty List' in the Colonist 10 September 1918 p1 and 'Soldiers returning' in the Otago Daily Times 21 January 1918, courtesy of Papers Past at; Ashburton District Council cemetery records at; The National Museum of the Royal New Zealand Nay also has information about Henry's son at

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Researched and Written by

Ted Hansen, SC branch NZGS

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