ROSS, Hugh Chrystal
(Service number 15970)
|First Rank||Rifleman||Last Rank|
|Date||21 January 1888||Place of Birth|
|Date||5 April 1916||Age|
|Address at Enlistment||Three Springs, Fairlie|
|Occupation||Farmer (for self)|
|Previous Military Experience|
|Next of Kin||Miss J. Ross (sister), Three Streams, Fairlie|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||New Zealand Rifle Brigade|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||6th Reinforcements, 3rd Battalion, G Company|
|Date||26 July 1916|
|Transport||HMNZT 59 Waitemata or HMNZT 60 Ulimaroa|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With|
|Campaigns||Western European 1916-1917|
|Service Medals||British War Medal; Victory Medal|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
|Date||19 November 1917||Reason||No longer physically fit for war service on account of wounds recieved in action|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
7 June 1917 - severe gunshot wound to right leg; Admitted to No.77 Field Ambulance; 8 June - transferred to No.11 Casualty Clearing Station (CCS); 10 June - admitted to No.3 Canadian General Hospital, Bolougne; 12 June embarked on the Hospital Ship St David for England, where he was admitted to the No.1 NZ General Hospital, Brockenhurst, on the same day. 2 July - classified as unfit by Medical Board; Embraked for New Zealand on the Hospital Ship Marama on 14 July.
|Date||22 October 1923||Age|
|Place of Death||Oamaru|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Burkes Pass Cemetery|
|New Zealand Memorials|
Hugh, born in 1888, was farming on the family farm Three Streams, Fairlie, prior to enlistment for service in World War One. High's father had died only months prior to his enlistment.
Hugh embarked for the Western European front in July 1916, with the 6th Reinforcements, New Zealand Rifle Brigade ( NZRB). After arriving in Britain, he spent almost a month in Sling camp, before being posted to the 3rd Battalion, 3 NZRB.
Hugh was involved in the major attack at Messines in June 1917. For two years prior to the attack the British had been digging tunnels under the German lines where they laid huge explosives to destroy the defences. The attack aimed to capture a ridge to secure the British line before a large offensive to the North. The goal was not to break through the lines but to attack and hold territory. Early on 7 June the explosives went off and shattered German frontline trenches. The Kiwis surged through the German defences and captured the fortified town of Messines after some hard fighting.
On the opening day of the battle Hugh was grievously wounded by a gunshot wound to his right leg that severed his post tibial artery. Over the following ten days Hugh's injury was initially managed by No.77 Field Ambulance, before being transferred to No.11 Casualty Clearing Station (CCS) which tied off the arterial damage. After then being admitted to No.3 Canadian General Hospital, Boulogne for two days, he travelled on the Hospital Ship St David for England, where he was admitted to the No.1 NZ General Hospital, Brockenhurst, on 12 June where his care continued. On 2 July Hugh was classified as unfit by Medical Board and less than two weeks later, on 14 July, embarked for New Zealand on the hospital ship Marama. Arriving back in New Zealand on 23 August, Hugh received some treatment at the Military Hospital in Auckland and at Timaru Hospital prior to his discharge from the army on 19 November 1917. His Medical Board records show that Hugh was no longer fit for service, due to wounds received in action. A report completed on board the Hospital Ship Marama, shortly before his arrival home noted that, while improving, he was left with a stiff knee and ankle joint and swollen leg that left him reliant on crutches.
Hugh had enlisted with his best friend, Thomas Bruce Smith. Following the war Thomas married Hugh's sister, Jessie, in 1921. Unconfirmed family legend has it that Hgh himself was at one time engaged to a nurse at Timaru Hospital.
Hugh died in tragic circumstances in Oamaru on 22 October 1923. His body was found near the railway line at Oamaru, where it was believed he had fallen under the wheels of the train been attempting to board after leaving the races. Tragically Hugh and his family had only lost Hugh's mother only two weeks earlier on 6 October.
Hugh is buried in the Burkes pass Cemetery with his parents and one of his four sisters.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [22 June 2020]; SCRoll web submission by G Pullar, 20 & 22 June 2020; "Body found on railway" on 23 October 1923 in the Ashburton Guardian, courtesy of Papers Past at https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/
Researched and Written by
Tony Rippin (South Canterbury Museum)
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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