(Service number 55604)

First Rank Rifleman Last Rank Rifleman


Date 28 May 1885 Place of Birth Waimate, NZ

Enlistment Information

Date Age
Address at Enlistment Morven, South Canterbury
Occupation Farmer
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Martin David McDONOUGH (brother), Waihao Forks, South Canterbury
Religion Roman Catholic
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Reinforcements, G Company
Date 15 August 1917
Transport Ruahine
Embarked From Destination Glasgow, Scotland
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Service Medals
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 Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations

Sheep farmer


Date 7 March 1927 Age 41 years
Place of Death Gore
Cause Bright's disease
Notices Timaru Herald, 10 March 1927
Memorial or Cemetery Gore Cemetery
Memorial Reference Block 64, Plot 11A
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

John McDonough was born on 28 May 1885 at Waimate, the elder son of Martin and Bridget (née Toomey) McDonough, both of whom had come from Ireland. Martin McDonough, senior, died on 11 June 1888 and was buried in the Waimate Old Cemetery. His funeral was one of the largest ever known at Waimate, 500 people following on foot, in traps, and on horseback. John was educated at Waihao Native School near Waimate, leaving to go home when he was twelve. Mrs Bridget McDonough died on 19 September 1915 after about forty years residence at Morven.

John McDonough was a farmer at Morven when he was called up in 1917. His appeal was heard at the Waimate Courthouse in mid-March. “HARD-WORKING MORVEN FARMER.

John McDonough, farmer (Mr Fitch) classed as A, holding 519, acres freehold, stated that he would require to sell out if compelled to go. He was able, if left, to work hard himself. This year he had 80 acres in grain; 430 ewes; lived by himself; and did all his own work. His mother died 18 months ago, and it was the family estate. Had been trying to sell, but got no reasonable offer.

By Capt. Spratt: He was co-owner with his brother, who was in the First Division also. His brother had enlisted once, but been turned down, but not by the Military Medical Board. His brother had 200 acres. Witness had done none of his own ploughing yet this year, but he did it all himself last year, and was going to do it again if his appeal were granted. The- two properties were so far apart that amalgamation was out of the question. His brother's intention was to sell if he had been accepted. Mr Bishop said the trustees were making no effort to release this man, and he had never offered for service, which his brother had.

Mr Fitch said the trustees had tried to sell, but failed; and now tiiey would accept a lease if they could get. one. In fact, they would have to. But this appeared to be a case where the Efficiency Board might well consider leaving a man in the country. There was to be a meeting to launch the “efficiency” idea in Waimate next Saturday, but it might be too late before they got under way.

Mr Bishop (to appellant): The Board will give you till 29th May and you will have to make some effort. You will do well to have your case put before the Efficiency Board.” [Waimate Daily Advertiser, 14 March 1917.]

John was, it seems, although the newspapers recorded M. McDonough, one of the eleven men on the express when it arrived at Timaru from Waimate, to proceed with the South Canterbury quota of the 30th Reinforcements. But then, his brother Martin David McDonough had also been called up in 1917, when his name was drawn in the seventh ballot. The men had been entertained at luncheon at Waimate. “A large crowd gathered at the railway station to bid the men farewell. The men are apparently not very keen on send-offs as only about half of them turned up at the station, the others joining the train at Studholme.” The Mayor farewelled the men, and expressed the confidence of all that they would do their duty nobly, and trusted they would return safe to those dear to them. A selection was played by the band as the train left the station to the accompaniment of hearty cheers.

John McDonough named his brother as next-of-kin – Martin David McDonough, Waihao Forks, South Canterbury. Rifleman J. McDonough embarked with the New Zealand Rifle Brigade on 15 August 1917, headed for Glasgow, Scotland, per the “Ruahine”. J. McDonough, 55604, of Waihao Forks, returned to New Zealand by the “Ajana” (Draft 224), which was due to reach Auckland on 26 March 1919. After his marriage to Edith Gertrude Bamford in 1919, his wife became his next-of-kin – Mrs Edith McDonough, Albany Street, Gore.

He returned to Morven, then moved to Wakaia, where he was a sheep farmer. John McDonough died on 7 March 1927 at Gore, aged 41, and was buried in the Gore Cemetery, where a beautiful stone graces his grave. His second daughter, Mary Monica Malone, who died in 1988, was buried with him. Edith Gertrude McDonough died in 1967 and was buried in Ruru Lawn Cemetery, Christchurch. Their older daughter, Edith Bridget Julia McDonough, was buried with her in 1979.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [06 October 2021]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [06 October 2021]; Timaru Herald, 14 June 1888, 29 May 1917, Waimate Daily Advertiser, 22 September 1915, 17 March 1917, 25, 26 & 28 May 1917, NZ Times, 12 March 1919, Timaru Herald, 10 March 1927 (Papers Past) [04, 06, 07, 10 & 11 October 2021]; School Admission record (Waimate Branch NZSG) [06 October 2021]; Gore Cemetery headstone transcription (Gore Branch NZSG) [06 October 2021]; Gore Cemetery headstone image (Gore District Council) [06 October 2021]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [11 October 2021]

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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