(Service number 10/2902)
|First Rank||Lieutenant||Last Rank||Sergeant|
|Date||15 February 1888||Place of Birth||Kensington, Timaru|
|Date||14 June 1915||Age|
|Address at Enlistment||13 Hall St, Wellington|
|Previous Military Experience|
|Next of Kin||Mrs Elizabeth Amy Courtney (wife), 2 Arnold Street, Grey Lynn, Auckland|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||New Zealand Expeditionary Force|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||Wellington Infantry Battalion, 7th Reinforcement: 39th Reinforcements, B Company|
|Transport||HMNZT Apoarima, HMNZT 33 Navua, or HMNZT Warrimoo; HMNZT 106 Athenic|
|Embarked From||Wellington||Destination||Suez, Egypt|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With|
|Campaigns||Eguptian 1915-1916, Egyptian Expeditionary Force 1916, Western European 1916-1918 (Somme, Les Quesnoy)|
|Service Medals||1914-1915 Star, British War Medal; Victory Medal|
|Military Awards||Military Cross|
Award Circumstances and Date
London Gazette, 3 October 1919: “For marked gallnatry and leadership. On 4th November 1918 during our operations near Villereau, he was in charge of leading a platoon. Wehn the advance was held up by machine gun fire, he personally reconnoitered forward, then leading a party of his men to the flank rushed the machine gun, killing a number of the crew and taking the remainder prisoners, also capturing the gun. The capture of this gun undoubtedly saved many casualties.”
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
|Date||21 July 1919||Reason|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
|Date||22 June 1934||Age||46|
|Place of Death||TePuke|
|Cause||Died of sickness (Pneumonia)|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Te Puke (old) Cemetery|
|Memorial Reference||Block 8, Plot 39|
|New Zealand Memorials|
James, born on 15 February 1888 at Kensignton in Timaru, was the son of Joh and Ellen Courtney (nee Keane). James married Elizabeth Amy Cartwright on 25 October 1911. The couple had two children, Frederick James (b. & d.1912) and Joyce Dean (b.1920).
James, a police constable, enlisted in June 1915, joining the Wellington Infantry Battalion. While training he was promoted to Corporal, then Sergeant before embarking from Wellington. He left with the 7th Reinforcements, Wellington Infantry on 9 October 1915, headed for Suez.
In early January 1916 Courtney reverted to the ranks temporarily, but soon rose back through the ranks to Sergeant by March. Later in the year he was briefly a temporary Company Sergeant Major, before being sent to Officer Cadet Battalion at Pembroke College in Cambridge in November 1916. Three months later he had made 2nd Lieutenant and was seconded for duty in New Zealand. In April 1917 he embarked from Plymouth for New Zealand on the RMS Tanui. In July he reported back to duty at Trentham camp. Later he returned to the European war on the Athenic in June 1918.
Lt. James Courtney, 2nd Bn Wellington Regiment was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry. The London Gazette reported the award on 3 October 1919, citing the circumstances:
“For marked gallnatry and leadership. On 4th November 1918 during our operations near Villereau, he was in charge of leading a platoon. Wehn the advance was held up by machine gun fire, he personally reconnoitered forward, then leading a party of his men to the flank rushed the machine gun, killing a number of the crew and taking the remainder prisoners, also capturing the gun. The capture of this gun undoubtedly saved many casualties.”
In France Courtney had reached the full rank of Lieutenant, before leaving for New Zealand to be demobilised in May 1919.
Following the war, in 1919, he was successful in a ballot for 83 acres Waiari Soldiers Settlement, 3 kilometres up Te Matai Road (reported in the Te Puke Times). Jmaes also became a foundation member of the TePuke RSA and served as Vice President.
James died on 22 June 1934 at TePuke, aged 46. Later, in 1939 his widow, Elizabeth, married again in 1939, to William Crellin. She dies in Auckland on 14 September 1954.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [25 October 2018]; SCRoll submission by D Parris (including copies of service records)
No documents available.
Researched and Written by
Tony Rippin, South Canterbruy Museum
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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