SHIRLEY, Samuel George
(Service number 6/3155)

First Rank Private Last Rank Private


Date 30 August 1885 Place of Birth Caterham Valley, Surrey, England

Enlistment Information

Date 12 June 1915 Age 29
Address at Enlistment Canterbury Hotel, Methven
Occupation Barman
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Miss Annie Adams (friend), Waimate Hotel, Waimate, New Zealand
Religion Church of England
Medical Information 5 foot 7 inches tall, weight 138 pounds (63 kgs), chest 34 1/2 - 37 1/2 inches, fair complexion, blue eyes, black hair, good teeth.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation 7th Reinforcements
Unit, Squadron, or Ship C Company, 2nd South Canterbury Regiment
Date 9 October 1915
Transport HMNZT32 Aparima
Embarked From Wellington, New Zealand Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With 2nd Canterbury Battalion
Last Unit Served With 2nd Canterbury Battalion

Military Awards

Campaigns Egypt
Service Medals 1914-1915 Star, 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 28 August 1916 Reason No longer physically fit for war service on account of illness contracted on active service

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

1-10 Jul 1915 - Trentham Camp Hospital - influenza. 28 Mar 1916 - admitted to NZ Base Hospital, Cairo; transferred to Aotea Convalescent Home, Heliopolis 10 Apr; transferred to NZ Base Hospital, Cairo on 6 May with Nephritis; transferred to Aotea Convalscent Home, Heliopolis on 15 May. Jul 1916 - outpatient at Waimate Hospital.

Post-war Occupations

Barman, Linesman & Labourer


Date 12 June 1954 Age 68
Place of Death Christchurch, New Zealand
Memorial or Cemetery Christchurch Crematorium Woodlawn Memorial Gardens
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Samuel was born at Caterham Valley, Surrey, England, on 30 August 1885, fourth son of Henry William (b.1854) and Mary Ann (1851-1903 nee Churchill) Shirley. Little is known of his early life but he appears on the 1891 census as aged 5, listed as a scholar, and on the 1901 census aged 14, employed as a butcher boy.

In 1915 Samuel was out here in New Zealand, working for Mr Peter Miller, Canterbury Hotel (locally known as the Brown Pub) at Methven where he was employed as a barman and listed in the census as a Billiard Marker. His brother Sydney was also living at Waimate and had earlier enlisted into the Canterbury Infantry Regiment on December 12, 1914. On June 12, 1915, Samuel also enlisted into the Canterbury Infantry Battalion, and was posted to C Company, 2nd South Canterbury Regiment. He was described as being aged 29 years, 5 foot 7 inches tall, single, Anglican, weighing 138 pounds (63 kgs), with a chest measuring 34½-37½ inches, of a fair complexion, with blue eyes, black hair, and had good teeth. He nominated a friend, Miss Annie Adams of the Waimate Hotel, as his next of kin.

During his infantry training at Trentham, Private Shirley was admitted to the Trentham Hospital from July 1–10, with influenza. He later left with the 7th Reinforcements, C Company Canterbury Infantry Brigade aboard SS Aparima. The Aparima had been especially designed for the Union Company’s India service, making over 30 voyages to Calcutta, and was known as a slow boat with a top speed of only 13.5 knots. On October 9, 1915, as HMNZT32, she departed from Wellington in convoy with HMNZT30 Maunganui, HMNZT31 Tahiti, HMNZT33 Navua and HMNZT34 Warrimoo, arriving in Egypt on November 18. The Aparima carried out a total of six convoys from New Zealand to Egypt and England and on November 19, 1917, was torpedoed by UB40 in the English Channel with the loss of 54 crew, including 17 cadets. In Samuel’s case, on arrival in Egypt the whole of the Canterbury draft of the 7th Reinforcements were delayed in Cairo due to being assigned guard duty over Turkish prisoners.

Private Samuel Shirley finally joined his Battalion at Ismailia on February 4. In the meantime the NZ Division was being established and in March he was reposted to the new 2nd Canterbury Battalion which had been allotted a portion of the Canal defences, and on March 6, they moved to Ferry Post. However, on March 28, he took ill and was admitted to the NZ Base Hospital at Cairo with an undiagnosed condition. From there he was transferred on April 10 to the Aotea Convalescent Home at Heliopolis. On May 6 he was again sent back to NZ General Hospital at Cairo with the diagnosis of Nephritis, then back to the Aotea Convalescent Home on May 15, to await repatriation to New Zealand. On June 11, 1916, he left Suez aboard SS Ulimaroa, arriving at Port Chalmers on July 16.

Samuel returned to Waimate where he received further treatment as an outpatient at the Waimate Hospital and was finally medically boarded in Timaru on August 4, where he was found unfit. Samuel was finally discharged from the army on August 28, 1916, as no longer physically fit for war service on account of illness contracted on active service. Having served a total of 1 year and 78 days, he was later awarded the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.

In 1919, Samuel was working as a barman at the Prince of Wales Hotel in Christchurch, and on August 3, 1921, he married Ruebina Eliza Millicent Hands (1896-1989), daughter of Josiah (1861-1951) and Bridget (1866-1918 nee Corboy) Hands. From 1928 to 1935 the family lived at 42 Alpha Avenue, Riccarton, where Samuel was employed as a linesman. From 1938 to 1949 he lived at 459 Hereford Street, Avonside, and worked as a labourer.

Samuel died at the age of 68 years on June 12, 1954, and his ashes are buried in the Christchurch Crematorium Woodlawn Memorial Gardens. His brother 6/1713 Private Sydney Shirley aslo served with the 2nd Battalion Canterbury Infantry Regiment in Egypt, Gallipoli and Western Europe, but died of wounds received at Passchendaele on October 21, 1917.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [January 2018]; New Zealand ANZACs in the Great War 1914-1918 (University of New South Wales) at; "More enlistments" in the Ashburton Guardian 26 May 1915 p5, "Returning Soldiers" in the Star 8 July 1916 p10, "Troopship Ulmiroa" [returning soldiers] in the Evening Star 15 July 1916 p8, and "Auction sale" in the Press 29 April 1936 p22, courtesy of Papers Past at; Assorted records at [January 2018]

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Researched and Written by

Ted Hansen, SC branch NZSG

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