ANNISS, Edward
(Service number 23/991)

First Rank Rifleman Last Rank Rifleman


Date 18 March 1892 Place of Birth Burkes Pass

Enlistment Information

Date 29 May 1915 Age 23 years 2 months
Address at Enlistment Grampions Road, Burke's Pass, Mackenzie Country
Occupation Shepherd
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin John ANNISS (father), Burke's Pass, South Canterbury
Religion Church of England
Medical Information Height 5 feet 9 inches. Weight 166 lbs. Chest measurement 35-38 inches. Complexion fair. Eyes grey. Hair brown. Sight & hearing both good. Colour vision correct. Limbs well formed. Full & perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. Heart & lungs normal. Teeth - upper plate, lower fair. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. No vaccination mark. Good bodily & mental health. No slight defects. Fit.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Rifle Brigade, 1st Battalion
Unit, Squadron, or Ship D Company
Date 9 October 1915
Transport Maunganui or Tahiti or Aparima or Navua or Warrimoo
Embarked From Wellington, New Zealand Destination Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With New Zealand Rifle Brigade, 3rd Battalion, A Company

Military Awards

Service Medals 1914-1915 Star; 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

March 1916 - pneumonia - admitted to hospital; doing well; 16 September 1916 - received wounds. 5 October 1916 to Hospital Ship; 9 October embarked for England; Gunshot wounds to neck & back.

Post-war Occupations


Date 13 November 1916 Age 24 years
Place of Death Southern General Hospital, Oxford, United Kingdom, ex France
Cause Died of wounds
Notices Timaru Herald, 18 November 1918
Memorial or Cemetery Pidley (All Saints) Churchyard, Huntingdonshire, England
Memorial Reference East Part, near North Boundary
New Zealand Memorials Timaru War Memorial Wall; Fairlie War Memorial

Biographical Notes

Edward Anniss was born on 18 March 1892 at Burke’s Pass, the son of John and Margaret (Maggie, née O’Neill) Anniss, of School Road, Fairlie, South Canterbury. He was baptised on 22 May 1893 at St Albans Anglican Church, Pleasant Point, the family being of Burke’s Pass. His father was a waggoner and contractor at Burke’s Pass and often held contracts for shingling and maintenance of roads with the Mackenzie County Council. The winter of 1895 was considered the “most severe ever experienced in the Mackenzie County since the first white man set foot there”. Mr Hope of Richmond Station planned to take his rams down the lake (Tekapo) by boat, and then by the snow-ploughed road to Burke’s Pass. The road was well cleared from the Pass to the Tekapo by means of a snow plough. “The snow plough was a God-send,” Mr Hope wrote, and J. Anniss did his work well under the most trying circumstances, and deserves credit for it. He also engaged in farming, his ewes and lambs in a paddock suffering a good deal in a severe hail storm in October 1905. In May 1906 John Anniss acquired the licence of the Tekapo Hotel, holding it until he transferred it in January 1914. Mr Anniss was a member of the Burkes Pass Householders (School) Committee as early as 1895, and filled this position frequently over the next twenty years. He also served as a committee member of the Mackenzie Collie Dog Club. Edward was educated at Burke’s Pass School, where in 1900 in the Infants class he was awarded a prize. The Burke’s Pass School concert held in September 1905 was exceptionally well supported despite the heavy rain, two drag loads coming from Fairlie, visitors from Tekapo and further up country, as well as “all the Burke’s Pass folk”. Edward and his brother John were amongst the performers, Edward giving a comic song in character with a mate, and in the farce “Caught at Last”, he played the part of a swagger. Perhaps his father was the Mr Anniss who took part in the side-splitting farce “Hoaxed and Coaxed”. Edward featured among the school prize-winners again in 1905 – Proficiency Standard VI and first place in Standard VI for “best kept gardens”.

On first registering for compulsory military training, Edward Anniss was rejected. He appeared to be a fit healthy young man, standing 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighing 166 pounds. He had a fair complexion, grey eyes and brown hair. His sight and hearing were good and he was free of any health defects. With regards to his teeth, he had an upper plate, while his lower teeth were only fair. He was a shepherd, an occupation he was following at Burke’s Pass in 1914, Anglican and single. Edward nominated his father, John Anniss, of Burke’s Pass, as his next-of-kin. His own address was Grampions Road, Burke’s Pass, probably at Curraghmore, which the family had won in the 1911 land ballot. Having enlisted on 29 May 1915 at Timaru, aged 23 years 2 months, Edward embarked on 9 October 1915 from Wellington, bound for Egypt, with the 3rd Battalion of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade.

In March 1916 he had pneumonia and was admitted to hospital in Egypt but he was doing well. Late May 1916 he left for France and marched into base at Etaples. But, less than a year after leaving New Zealand, on 16 September 1916 in the field at the Somme, he suffered gunshot wounds to his neck and back. His name was included in a very big list of casualties issued on 16 October. He was first admitted to the dressing station and then hospital at Etaples before being transported on 9 October per the hospital ship to Oxford, England, where he was admitted to hospital suffering with cold. These wounds resulted in his death on 13 November 1916 in the 3rd Southern General Hospital at Oxford, England.

Three days later twenty-four year old Edward was buried in a family vault at Pidley All Saints Churchyard, Somersham, Huntingdonshire, as was reported by Miss J. L. Broughton, of Bermondsey, London. His brother Walter had reached England and was able to be present at his funeral. Edward was remembered by his parents, sister and brothers with an In Memoriam notice in 1917 – “He did his duty.” One of those brothers was Walter who also served in World War One. Their oldest brother, Frederick John Anniss, was drawn in the ballot in 1916.

Initially his brother Walter, the executor named in Edward’s will, did not intend to seek probate, but in 1920 he did so. The delay was brought about by Walter’s being abroad on active service. This will, dated 29 May 1915, named Walter as the sole beneficiary, provided he was living. Edward Annis is remembered on the Timaru War Memorial Wall and on the Fairlie War Memorial. The Fairlie World War One Memorial bears the inscription “Remembering These Dead Let The Living Be Humble”. It was unveiled on 16 December 1929, when a parade which included the Timaru Municipal Band, Returned Soldiers, the War Memorial Committee, The Mackenzie Pipe Band and local school children, marched from the Post Office to the site. After the singing of the National Anthem, the Chairman expressed gratification that at long last they had come to dedicate the memorial to the soldiers from the Mackenzie County who had fallen in the Great War. He noted that the memorial was a county one, not just a Fairlie memorial. It took the form of a cairn upon which symbolically the remains of the Unknown Warrior were elevated in a ‘casket’ at the top. The memorial was constructed of local stone – glacial boulders and limestone blocks. The tablet on which the names were inscribed was made of marble.

Edward’s medals – 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal – were forwarded to his father at Fairlie, as were the plaque and scroll. Both his parents made monetary donations to the Mackenzie Christmas Gifts Committee fund in August 1917. A photo of Rifleman E. Anniss, Burke’s Pass, who died of wounds, was printed in the Otago Witness of 6 December 1916.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [02 August 2016]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5520 0008930) [02 August 2016]; CWGC [02 August 2016]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [02 August 2016]; South Canterbury Times, 26 April 1895, 6 June 1899, 26 April 1901, Timaru Herald, 9 July 1895, 29 April 1905, 8 September 1905, 17 October 1905, 26 December 1905, 17, 18 & 25 November 1916, 2 August 1917, 13 November 1917, Temuka Leader, 6 July 1899, 1 May 1900, Evening Post, 16 October 1916, 17 November 1916, Otago Witness, 8 November 1916, 6 December 1916, Press, 20 November 1916, Star, 17 February 1920 (Papers Past) [02 August 2016; 08 May 2017; 20 January 2018; 12 & 13 May 2019]; Probate record (Archives NZ/FamilySearch) [02 August 2016]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [02 August 2016]; School Admission record (South Canterbury Branch NZSG); Timaru Herald, 17 December 1929; Baptism Record (South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [12 May 2019]

External Links

Related Documents

Researched and Written by

Carol Bell, SC branch NZSG & Timaru Herald; Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

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