CARR, John Joseph
(Service number 7/28)

Aliases Joseph, Joe
First Rank Farrier Sergeant Last Rank Sergeant


Date 22 July 1894 Place of Birth Temuka

Enlistment Information

Date 14 August 1914 Age 20 years 1 month
Address at Enlistment Waihao Forks
Occupation Farrier
Previous Military Experience 8th Mounted Rifles
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Edward CARR, Waihao Forks
Religion Roman Catholic
Medical Information Height 5 feet 9½ inches. Weight 149 lbs. Chest 33-37½ Inches, Complexion dark. Eyes blue. Hair dark brown. Eyes both 6/6. Hearing and colour vision good. Limbs and chest well formed. Full and perfect movement of all joints. Heart and lungs normal. Teeth fair. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated (12 January 1915). Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects. Scar 5½ inches long, ½ inch wide in right groin.

Military Service

Served with New Zealand Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation Main Body
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Canterbury Mounted Rifles
Date 16 October 1914
Transport Tahiti or Athenic
Embarked From Lyttelton, Canterbury Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With Canterbury Mounted Rifles

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

August 1916 - tonsillitis; 10 September 1916 - No. 31 General Hospital, Cairo - diptheria - good progress; 9 December 1916 - hospital - head contusion; 13 February 1917 - hospital - scarlet fever. Discharged to duty on 2 April.

Post-war Occupations


Date 30 March 1918 Age 24 years
Place of Death Palestine (in the Field)
Cause Killed in action
Memorial or Cemetery Damascus Commonwealth War Cemetery, Syria. Waimate Old Cemetery - memorial on parents' headstone.
Memorial Reference C. 81. Waimate - Roman Catholic Area, Plots 551 & 552
New Zealand Memorials Timaru Memorial Wall; Temuka RSA Roll of Honour; Temuka War Memorial; St Joseph's Church Temuka; Waimate War Memorial; St Patrick's (Waimate) Memorial list (under construction May 2014); Arno Roll of Honour.

Biographical Notes

John Joseph Carr, known as Joseph or Joe, was born on 22 July 1894, the third son and second surviving son of Edward and Sarah (née Dunn) Carr, and was baptised on 12 August 1894 at the Temuka Catholic Church. Edward Carr had come from Tipperary, Ireland, with his parents and married Sarah in 1889 in New Zealand. They lived for many years in the Temuka district, where Mr Carr was a member of the Temuka Football Club’s 1889 team, and a member of the first Temuka Borough Council and the Road Board, as well as being active in athletic circles, before moving to Waihao Forks late in 1908. At Waihao Downs, Mr Carr got involved with forming a hockey club and with the Waimate Racing Club and Waihao Downs School, as well as contributing to the entertainment at Waihao Downs. Joe was educated at St Joseph's School, Temuka.

Prior to enlisting on 14 August 1914, just 20 years 1 month old, Joseph assisted his father in the blacksmithing business and also worked at farming in the surrounding district. He was one of the first volunteers of the district. Single and Roman Catholic, he named his father as his next-of-kin – Edward Carr, Waihao Forks. He was 5 feet 9½ inches tall, weighed 149 pounds, and had a chest measurement of 33-37½ inches. Of dark complexion dark, blue eyes and dark brown hair, he had good sight, hearing and colour vision. His limbs and chest were well formed, the movement of his limbs perfect, and his heart and lungs normal. His teeth were only fair. He had a scar 5½ inches long and ½ inch wide in the right groin, but was in good bodily and mental health, free of all diseases and defects. He was to be vaccinated on 12 January 1915. He was already serving with the 8th Mounted Rifles. John departed with the Mounted Men by the slow train from Timaru on 17 August 1914, amidst much excitement in the town, whilst their horses were trucked at the Smithfield siding, Waimataitai. The Mayor spoke of the pride in them and said that they were going forward with stout hearts and strong arms. "Be true lads to your King and Empire, to yourselves and your country, and put your trust in God," he said. From there they proceeded to Christchurch where they comprised the South Canterbury Squadron.

Farrier Sergeant J. J. Carr embarked with the Canterbury Mounted Rifles, Main Body, at Lyttelton on 16 October 1914, destined for Egypt, where he disembarked at Alexandria on 3 December. He served for some time as a farrier in Egypt before being transferred to the Palestine on active service and there he was to meet his fate. He left Zeitoun for Canal on 21 January 1916. In August 1916 he suffered tonsillitis. On 10 September 1916, while in the No. 31 General Hospital at Cairo, with diphtheria, Joseph Carr made good progress and was discharged on 4 November, only to be admitted to hospital on 9 December with a contusion on the head. Again discharged, he was admitted to hospital on 13 February 1917, with scarlet fever, then transferred from the Casualty Clearing Station to the 34th Stationary Hospital at Kantara, where, on 17 March 1917, he was in a satisfactory condition. After a few days in the 24th Stationary Hospital at Port Said, he was discharged to duty on 2 April and posted to the NZ Mounted Rifles Brigade. It was June 1917 when he relinquished the appointment of farrier sergeant, but remained with the 8th Squadron as sergeant.

Sergeant John Joseph Farr, Canterbury Mounted Rifles, was killed in action on 30 March 1918 in the Field in Palestine, aged 23 years. Joseph was buried initially at Amman in the battle ground where he fell, before being interred in the Damascus Commonwealth War Cemetery in Syria. Joseph was universally liked and respected. Sergeant J. J. Carr was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal, and the Victory Medal, which were sent to his father at Waihao Forks, along with the memorial plaque and scroll.

Mr E. Carr, Joe’s father, received a very touching letter from Sergeant-Major K. B. Tennent, M.M., dated 8 April 1918, in the field, Palestine.

“Mr Carr, —Dear Sir,—-I am sending you a small packet belonging to poor Joe, which was given to me by the padre who buried him; and I will give you what particulars I can: The fight at Amman, on the cast of Jordan, lasted four days, and on the last day, after two costly charges, our boys occupied the Hill overlooking the town. The enemy shelled them all day and made three big counter-attacks. When they were beaten in one of these Joe and another sergeant led their troops out after the retiring Turks; and both were shot dead at the head of their men. During the withdrawal in the evening, we at first could not find the body; but the Auckland chaplain did it and buried him. Try as I can, we can get absolutely no information about Owen; he may be a prisoner of war, but we all fear he is dead, too, although no trace could he found. If anything at all crops up, I will let you know at once. What a blow to you it must he!—two sons together! But you have the pride of knowing that Joe died as glorious a death as anyone could, leading his handful of men at the enemy. . . . . Those of us left are proud of these boys; but please believe, we have the deepest sympathy for those at home; especially for you, when not one, but two fine lads have gone. For myself, I feel it greatly, as Joe had been with me all the time; and we have always been the best of friends and after years of campaigning one’s friends become perhaps more than brothers. The site of Joe’s grave is on Hill 3039, overlooking the town of Amman, on the Hedjez railway; and you can feel assured that as soon as the position falls into my hands again, we will erect a cross to his memory. Please excuse this blunt letter; but you know that I have the deepest sympathy with you all. —Believe me, yours sincerely. KEN. B. TENNENT.”

His brothers Edward Martin Carr and Owen Patrick Carr were both killed in action in March 1918, Ted on 27th, and Owen on 30th in the Palestine, on the same day and in the same conflict as Joe – the battle of Amman and the capture of Hill, and buried in the same cemetery. Thus their parents lost three sons in a matter of four days. In addition, their uncle John Carr, the youngest brother of their father Edward, was killed in action on 13 August 1918. From April 1918, three names were added to Waimate’s Roll of Honour , under the heading “The Supreme Sacrifice”, published frequently in the Waimate Daily Advertiser – Sergeant J. J. Carr, Lance-Corporal E. M. Carr and Trooper O. P. Carr. These same three names also appeared on the Temuka list of the Roll of Honour published regularly in the Temuka Leader – Sergeant J. J. Carr, Corporal E. M. (Ted) Carr and Private O. Carr.

Early in 1928 Mr Edward Carr, of Waihao Downs, attempted suicide. Surely he had suffered since 1918 when he lost three sons within a few days and his brother just months later. Mr and Mrs Carr had also lost their 19 year old youngest son, Francis Claude Carr, in 1924. His health was not good and he was drinking a little. In 1930, their second youngest son, Raymond Carr, died at 27 years of age. Edward Carr died in 1932, and Sarah in 1953. The three sons of Edward and Sarah Carr are remembered on the Carr family headstone in Waimate Old Cemetery –

“Killed in action – Lance Corporal E. M. Carr 27 March 1917 aged 28.

Srgt J. J. Carr d. 30 March 1918 aged 24.

Trooper O. P. Carr 30 March 1918 aged 21.”

Mary Theresa Carr, sister of Ted, Joe and Owen, married returned serviceman, Alfred Thomas Sullivan, who died in 1927 and was buried at Waimate.

The New Zealand Tablet of 2 May 1918 recorded thus: “Much sympathy is felt throughout the whole district for Mr. and Mrs. Edward Carr, of Waihao Forks, who have suffered an exceptional loss in the death of their three sons, Edward, Joseph, and Owen, killed in action in France. Surely a noble sacrifice for King and Country.” Mrs Burnett of Palmerston North, inserted memorial notices in the Manawatu Times on 23 April 1918, in memory of her three Carr nephews. Mrs Burnett was a sister of their mother Sarah. For many years the family regularly inserted memorial notices for all their sons in the several daily newspapers and in The New Zealand Tablet. On 30 March 1928 they had two sons to mourn –

“In loving memory of Sergeant J. J. Carr (Main Body), killed in action in Palestine, March 30th, 1918; also Trooper O. P. Carr, 18th Reinforcements, killed in Palestine March 30th, 1918. R.I.P.

In a heroes’ grave they sleepeth,

Somewhere in Palestine they fell;

How little we thought when we parted,

It was the last farewell.”

The 1920 Tablet notice marked the great loss suffered by the family –


CARR. — Of your charity pray for the repose of the souls of Edward Martin Carr (N.Z.R.B.), eldest dearly beloved son of Edward and Sarah Carr, who was killed in action in France on March 27, 1918, aged 28 years; Sergt. John Joseph Carr (Main Body), second dearly beloved son of Edward and Sarah Carr, who was killed in action in Palestine on March 30, 1918; aged 24 years; Trooper Owen Patrick Carr (18th Reinforcements), third dearly beloved son of Edward and Carr, who was killed in action in Palestine on March 30, 1918; aged 21 years and 8 months. — R.I.P.

Individual notices for each son were sometimes inserted, by their loving parents, sisters and brothers; sometimes a single notice for all three, always reflecting on the same great loss. The 1932 notice was inserted by their loved ones, Edward Carr, senior, having died only a few days before. And a 1938 notice was inserted by their mother, sisters and brothers in the Press, Mrs Carr having gone to Christchurch to live.

Joseph Carr’s name is inscribed on several local memorials - Timaru Memorial Wall, Temuka RSA Roll of Honour, Temuka War Memorial, St Joseph's Church Temuka Memorial, Waimate War Memorial, Arno Roll of Honour – beneath the words “Supreme Sacrifice” and above the words “Erected as a token of Respect”,, and St Patrick's (Waimate) Memorial list (under construction May 2014). The St Joseph’s Church, Temuka, Memorial, an “exceedingly beautiful” monument to the memory of those who had fallen in the war, was unveiled after a Memorial Service on 25 April 1922. During the service appropriate music was provided by the choir and an excellent address was delivered by the Rev. Dr. Kennedy. Four months later the Temuka Borough memorial was unveiled before a very large gathering in the domain, including Temuka Territorials and Cadets, Temuka and Geraldine returned soldiers, the Temuka Pipe Band, the Salvation Army Band, the children of the district schools, national and local dignitaries, and local folk. Opening proceedings, the Mayor said “We regret that this occasion has arisen, but having done so we must look back with pride at the actions of those who rose to the call of the Motherland, which was in peril. Many of those brave boys who left these shores did not return, and we have erected this memorial to their memory, . . .” Following hymns and scripture readings, His Excellency the Governor-General formally unveiled the monument and the local M.P. read out the names inscribed thereon. (Carr E. M., Carr J. J., Carr J., Carr, O. P.)

On Anzac Day, 1927, a Requiem Mass was celebrated at St Joseph’s Church, Temuka. The celebrant preached a very stirring sermon based on the Book of Wisdom (Chapter III, Verses 2-5). He pointed out that the Gallipoli campaign and later “gigantic episodes” would remain for all time a wonderful symbol of the age-old courage of men. He reminded the lads present that the enormous sacrifices made by the soldiers of New Zealand and other parts of the Empire were helping them to have brighter and better lives, and that all should render thanks to God, who had delivered them out of the hands of the enemy. They had gathered to commemorate the landing at Gallipoli and also to set aside the day to show their deep and grateful acknowledgement of the services of the men who had fought and died for them on other fields of the great battle-front. ��The light of immortality that flashed from the abandoned tomb of the risen Christ lingers on in every mound of Flanders mud and clay, the gullies of Gallipoli, the sands of Palestine and Egypt, on the quiet churchyards in English villages and on God’s acres in New Zealand. . . . . And to-day, before God’s altar, we remember them with the love we bore them and the pride we shall have in them,” he concluded. Before the Dead March was played by the organist, the names were read of those from the Temuka parish who had died “on the field of honour” – among them those of Edward Carr, Owen Carr, John Carr and Joseph Carr.

The Waimate War Memorial, erected in the form of an arch in Victoria Park as a memorial to those of the town and district who gave their lives for the Empire and civilisation in the war of 1914-18, was unveiled on 25 April 1923. Near the top, in bold brass lettering are the numerals 1914-1918, and above the marble slabs bearing the names are two white marble plates one inscribed: “To our Glorious Dead,” and the other: “Their name Liveth for Evermore.” On each side of the archway there are columns of names in black lettering on white marble. Included in the names inscribed are Carr E. M., Carr Jos, and Carr O. P. Lieutenant-Colonel Wilson (Newman Robert Wilson), a Waimate boy, who gave the address, observed that the memorial was the outward expression of the high regard and appreciation they felt for the men and women from the district who had done their job. Before drawing aside the Union Jacks covering the tablets bearing the names of 149 men and three nurses who lost their lives during the war, the speaker quoted Kipling's Recessional, “Lest We Forget.” He then withdrew the flags veiling the memorial, on which was the inscription: “To the glory of God and the honourable memory of the brave souls of Waimate and district who gave their all for us and freedom.” Three volleys were fired, the “Last Post” sounded, a prayer of dedication offered, and wreaths laid in tribute.

His portrait, printed in the Auckland Weekly News in 1918, is attached to his Cenotaph record.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [08 October 2013]; N Z Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5530 0023017) [18 October 2013]; CWGC [09 October 2013]; New Zealand Tablet, 3 June 1892, 2 May 1918, 1 April 1920, 31 March 1921, 29 March 1923, 1 April 1925, Temuka Leader, 28 November 1908, 10 November 1910, 11 April 1918, 26 April 1922, 12 August 1922, 26 April 1927, 1 September 1932, Waimate Daily Advertiser, 13 October 1911, 29 July 1912, 27 August 1914, 10 November 1917, 9 & 23 April 1918, 2 July 1918, 29 March 1919, Timaru Herald, 30 August 2014, 9 & 10 April 1918, 30 March 1919, 30 March 1920, 30 March 1921, 30 March 1922, 11 August 1922, 13 November 1922, 29 March 1923, 29 March 1924, 28 March 1925, 30 March 1926, 30 March 1927, 30 March 1928, Ashburton Guardian, 9 April 1918, Press, 24 August 1914, 12 April 1918, 28 April 1923, 30 March 1938, Manawatu Times, 23 April 1918 (Papers Past) [09 October 2013; 08 June 2014; 30 August 2014; 01 May 2016; 30 June 2016; 20 August 2016; 21 November 2017; 06 & 16 February 2018; 19 June 2018; 02, 03 & 04 May 2020]; Headstone transcription Waimate Old Cemetery (South Canterbury Branch NZSG Cemetery Records microfiche) [08 August 2014]; Waimate Cemetery Records (Waimate District Council) [23 August 2014]; Christchurch Catholic Diocese Baptisms Index (CD held by South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [19 April 2015]; Timaru Herald, 30 March 1927, 30 March 1932 (Timaru District Library) [01 July 2013; 20 January 2017]; Temuka Through the Years: an informal history (Compiled by Temuka History Book Committee, 2009) [accessed 14 October 2013]

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