McGOWAN, Herbert Edward
(Service number 6/4181)

First Rank Lieutenant Last Rank


Date 28 July 1870 Place of Birth New Zealand

Enlistment Information

Date Age
Address at Enlistment Willowbridge, South Canterbury
Occupation Armourer
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Married. Three children
Next of Kin Mrs H. E. McGOWAN (wife), Willowbridge, South Canterbury
Religion Presbyterian
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 11th Reinforcements, Canterbury Infantry Battalion, C Company
Date 1 April 1916
Transport Tahiti or Maunganui
Embarked From Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Service Medals
Military Awards Member of Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) (Military)

Award Circumstances and Date

London Gazette, 1 January 1919

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 Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations

Sheep farmer


Date 22 November 1950 Age 80 years
Place of Death Avondale
Memorial or Cemetery Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland
Memorial Reference Service Persons Area K, Row 11, Plot 51
New Zealand Memorials Willowbridge & Studholme District Roll of Honour

Biographical Notes

Herbert Edward McGowan was born on 28 July 1870 in New Zealand, the eldest son of Edward McGowan and his first wife, Sarah Ann née Vickery. In 1890 he went to Willowbridge to manage the Willowbridge Estate. On 28 June 1894 at Waimate he married Margaret Davidson Cochrane. Herbert and Margaret had three children who were all born and educated at Willowbridge – Herbert Stanley (known as Stanley, born in 1896), Margaret Evelyn (born in 1898) and John Adinell (known as Jack, born in 1903). Their first-born, Ann Constance Rose, died at 15 months.

Herbert McGowan served as a JP at Waimate. He was an armourer, residing at Willowbridge when he enlisted. Lieutenant Herbert Edward McGowan, NZ Motor Service Corps, was appointed an officer to the 11th Reinforcements, effective from 1 April 1916. He embarked with the Canterbury Infantry Battalion of the 11th Reinforcements on that date, headed for Suez. In early June Mrs H. E. McGowan received a cable from her husband from “Somewhere in France”. A few months later an interesting letter, with observations of Herbert’s early days abroad, was received. [See attachment.] In early 1918 Lieutenant McGowan was promoted to captain for service in the field.

Henry Edward Mcowan was made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE Military), the honour being gazetted on 1 January 1919. Captain H. E. McGowan returned to New Zealand by the “Bhamo” (Draft 234), which was due at Auckland on 24 April 1919. Captain Herbert Edward McGowan, Willowbridge, South Canterbury, was influential in having the correct name inscribed on the grave of Horace Lancelot Parker, who had served as Charles Holdsworth, sending a statutary declaration dated 6 November 1920 to the authorities.

Herbert and Margaret divorced in 1940. He died at Auckland while she died at Waimate. Their older son, Herbert Stanley McGowan, was called up for service in the war. Ernest James McGowan, a younger brother of Herbert, served in the South African War. Lester Vickery McGowan, a nephew, served as a sergeant in World War Two.

The name of H. McGowan is inscribed on the Willowbridge and Studholme District First World War Roll of Honour.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [25 November 2020]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [25 November 2020]; Waikumete Cemetery burial record (Auckland Council) [27 January 2021]; Press, 1 April 1916, Waimate Daily Advertiser, 9 June 1916, 13 & 16 February 1918, 30 April 1919, 6 June 1919, Timaru Herald, 25 September 1916m 11 April 1919 (Papers Past) [16 July 2021

External Links

Related Documents

Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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