(Service number 6/3979)

First Rank Private Last Rank Private


Date 15 March 1890 Place of Birth Glasgow, Scotland

Enlistment Information

Date 16 November 1915 Age 25
Address at Enlistment Winchester
Occupation Labourer
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin W Aitken (brother), care of D.I.C., Kaikoura
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 10th Reinforcements Canterbury Infantry Battalion, C Company
Date 4 March 1916
Transport Re-embarked at Suez for France, 13 April 1916 on "Kinfannis"
Embarked From Wellington, NZ Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With Canterbury Infantry Battalion

Military Awards

Campaigns Western Front
Service Medals 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 Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses


Post-war Occupations


Date 5 November 1918 Age 28
Place of Death Le Quesnoy, France
Cause Killed in action
Memorial or Cemetery Cross Roads Cemetery, Fontaine-au-Bois, Nord, France
Memorial Reference III. C. 13
New Zealand Memorials On Memorial wall, Timaru; Temuka RSA Roll of Honour; Temuka War Memorial; Winchester War Memorial; Chunuk Bair NZ Memorial; Auckland War Memorial Museum, WW1 Hall of Memories

Biographical Notes

Son of Walter and Christina Aitken, of Govan, Scotland.

Prior to enlistment he was working as a labourer for J. McInnes at Winchester. He was medically boarded at Temuka by Dr F A Scannell and described as weight 162 lbs, chest 33 inches, height 5 foot 9 1/2 inches, fair hair and complexion and eyes blue. He served from 16 Nov 1915 to 5 Mar 1916 within NZ prior to embarkation on 4 Mar 1916 for Suez, arriving 8 Apr 1916, then onwards to France per "Kinfannis" 13 Apr 1916, arriving 24 Apr 1916.

John suffered being wounded three times prior to his death

- 25 Sep 1916 – Cas. List No.428/16 (GSW to right foot). Embarked on hospital ship "Cambria" for England 30 Sep 1916. Admitted to 2 Gen. Hosp. Chelsea, 30 Sep 1916 and returned to France 27 May 1917.

- 17 Aug 1917 - Cas. List No.650/2 (remained on duty)

- 5 Apr 1918 – Cas. Lis. No.829/5 (gassed).

Aitken’s war medals, scroll and plaque were sent to his NOK Walter Aitken (brother) care Barton Ross Ltd, Hamilton.

A descendant of John's sister-in-law recalls "My grandmother, (wife of John's older brother Walter), always told us he died the day of the armistice but that is probably when they heard the news."


Cenotaph (August 2013); Temuka through the years: an informal history (Temuka History  Book Committee, 2009); CWGC; Archives NZ; SCRoll web submission by C Gilbertson, 1 July 2022

External Links

Related Documents

No documents available.

Researched and Written by

Carol Bell, SC branch NZSG & Timaru Herald, Ted Hansen

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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