(Service number 6/2984)
|First Rank||Corporal||Last Rank||Lance Corporal|
|Date||5 April 1874||Place of Birth||Nelson|
|Date||12 June 1915||Age||41 years 2 months|
|Address at Enlistment||Waihao Downs, Canterbury|
|Previous Military Experience||South African War - Private, 6th New Zealand Contingent. Discharged on expiration of term.|
|Next of Kin||Miss C. CONNELL (sister), care of G. CONNELL, Tapu|
|Medical Information||Height 5 feet 8 inches. Weight 12 stone. Chest measurement 36-39 inches. Complexion medium (fresh colour). Eyes blue. Hair fair (light brown). Sight - both eyes 6/6. Hearing and colour vision both normal. Limbs and chest well formed. Full and perfect movement of all joints. Heart and lungs normal. Teeth not good. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated. Good bodily and mental health. Recommended for acceptance provided his teeth were put in good order (which he was willing to do), Apart from the teeth issue he was perfectly fit. Tattoo mark on left upper arm.|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||7th Reinforcements|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||Canterbury Infantry Battalion|
|Date||9 October 1915|
|Transport||Aparima or Navua or Warrimoo|
|Embarked From||Wellington||Destination||Suez, Egypt|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||Canterbury Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion. 12th (Nelson) Company|
|Campaigns||Egyptian Expeditionary Force; Egyptian;` Western European (Somme)|
|Service Medals||Imperial South Africa War Medal plus clasps: Transvaal, Orange Free State, Cape Colony; 1914-1915 Star; British War Medal; Victory Medal.|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
16 December 1915 - admitted to NZ General Hospital, Cairo. 27 September 1916, France - gunshot wound to right shoulder; admitted to hospital. 3 October 1916 - admitted to hospital at Brockenhurst, England. 18 December 1916 - admitted to NZ General Hospital, Codford - injury to head. 24 January 1917 - transferred to Convalescent Depot, Hornchurch. 9 April 1917 - admitted to 2nd NZ Hospital, Walton-on-Thames - scabies. 30 June 1917 - admitted to NZ General Hospital, Codford - septic knee.
|Date||27 March 1918||Age||43 years|
|Place of Death||Somme, France|
|Cause||Killed in action|
|Notices||Timaru Herald, 25 April 1918|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Grevillers (New Zealand) Memorial, Grevillers British Cemetery, Pas-de-Calais, France|
|New Zealand Memorials||Timaru Memorial Wall|
Herbert Connell was born on 5 April 1874 at Nelson, the youngest son of Basil Connell and Davida Amelia Monteith née Adam (known as Amelia). Basil who was born in 1836 in Cumberland, England, came to New Zealand with his parents and siblings in 1842, and married Amelia in 1863 at Nelson. Basil and Amelia had four sons and one daughter, Catherine. Basil Connell, senior, died in 1878 at Nelson and was buried in Wakapuaka Cemetery there. By 1893 Amelia had moved to Wellington, and in the early 1900s she was with two sons and her daughter at Waihi. She died in January 1911 and was buried in Pukerima Cemetery. A dispute had arisen in 1869 with regard to the illegitimate child born of Amelia before her marriage, the child having been adopted by another couple. Amelia had had some visits from her child and now wanted the child to have contact with her half-brothers and sisters. The judgment was in favour of the adoptive parents with regards to guardianship but giving access to the mother.
About 1896 at New Plymouth, Herbert Connell, of Inglewood, applied to enrol for the New Zealand Permanent Militia. From 13 January 1901 he served with the Taranaki men in No 18 Wellington Company of the 6th Contingent in the South African War (2nd Boer War). The men were farewelled from Auckland in early February 1901. Private H. Connell was discharged on the expiration of his term, having given one year and 27 days of service (No. 3482). He was invalided through a fall on the ship on his way home. A platelayer, he intended residing at Waiongara, Taranaki. He was described as of good character. In 1909 he was sent his Clasps “South Africa 1901-2”, which he had failed to claim. He had earlier sought payment of £5 overseas Colonial Gratuity money due to him as a member of the 6th N.Z. Contingent.
He then worked as a platelayer at various locations before engaging in labouring for the Waihao Downs Railway Extension. There he was at Waihao Downs, South Canterbury, when he enlisted on 12 June 1915, at the age of forty-one (not thirty-nine as he stated, his birth date being two years out). Single and Presbyterian, he named his only sister as next-of-kin – Miss C. Connell, c/o G. Connell, Tapu. Catherine and two brothers, Basil and Graham, were all living at Tapu at this time. Herbert Connell stood at 5 feet 8 inches, weighed 12 stone, and had a chest measurement of 36-39 inches. He had a fresh-coloured complexion, blue eyes and fair or light brown hair. His sight, hearing and colour vision were all normal, as were his heart and lungs, and his limbs and chest were well formed. His teeth were not good. He was in good bodily and mental health, free of diseases, and vaccinated. He was recommended for acceptance provided his teeth were put in good order (which he was willing to do). Otherwise he was perfectly fit. He had a tattoo mark on his left upper arm.
Corporal Herbert Connell embarked with the Canterbury Infantry Battalion of the 7th Reinforcements, leaving from Wellington for Suez, Egypt, on 9 October 1915. Disembarking there on 8 November, he was admitted to the New Zealand General Hospital at Cairo on 16 December 1915. Private Connell had just been promoted at camp to Corporal of the 7th Reinforcements. He reverted to ranks at Ismailia in February 1916 when he was posted to 12th Company, and was then appointed temporary lance-corporal in August 1916 in the field. On 6 April 1916 he had embarked at Port Said for France per the “Franconia”.
Lance-Corporal Herbert Connell suffered a gunshot wound to the right shoulder in the Battle of the Somme, France, on 27 September 1916, and admitted to the Stationary Hospital at Rouen. Having embarked for England, he was admitted to hospital at Brockenhurst, England, on 3 October following. He was discharged on 15 November, but on 18 December 1916 he was admitted to the 3rd New Zealand General Hospital at Codford, on a daily return basis, after suffering an injury to the head the day before. This was reported to be not a severe case. He was transferred to the convalescent Depot at Hornchurch on 24 January 1917, and left there on 10 February on leave, to report at Codford on the expiry of his leave. On 29 March 1917 he was transferred to the New Zealand Infantry Brigade. On 9 April 1917 he was admitted to the 2nd New Zealand Hospital at Walton-on-Thames, afflicted with scabies. A septic knee brought about admission to the New Zealand General Hospital at Codford on 30 June 1917. This, too, was reported as not a severe case. Private H. Connell marched into Sling on 23 August 1917, but it was not until 13 December that he proceeded overseas from Sling. In France on 5 February 1918, he was again appointed Lance-Corporal.
The Somme region was to haunt Lance-Corporal Herbert Connell, 6/2984, Canterbury Infantry, once more. He was killed in action on 27 March 1918, just nine days before his 44th birthday. “On March 27th, killed in action in France, Lance-Corporal Herbert Connell, 7th Reinforcements (late of Timaru and West Coast), youngest son of the late Basil Connell, of Nelson; aged 43 years. A soldier and a man.” [Timaru Herald, 25 April 1918.] He was buried in an Isolated Grave (10 yards N. E. of Windsor Lane, 44 miles N. of Albert). His name is inscribed on the Grevillers (New Zealand) Memorial, Grevillers British Cemetery, Pas-de-Calais, France.
His sister, Miss C. Connell, Tapu, Thames, was sent his medals on 17 September 1921. Herbert Connell was awarded the 1914/15 Star, the British War Medal, and the Victory Medal. He had already received the Imperial South Africa War Medal, and Clasps - Transvaal, Orange Free State, Cape Colony. His legal next-of-kin was his brother, Mr Basil Connell, P. O. Tapu, Thames. The scroll and memorial plaque were going to be sent to his brother Graham, but were received by his brother Basil in 1922. Herbert Connell is honoured on the Timaru Memorial Wall. Catherine Connell outlived her brothers Basil and Graham, both of whom died in 1923, Basil as the result of an accident. Catherine died in 1941. The portrait of Lance-Corporal H. Connell, of Tapu, Thames, printed in the Auckland Weekly News in 1918, is attached to the Cenotaph Database. Three brothers - Christopher William Connell (known as Billy), Graham Basil Connell and Leslie Herbert Connell - all served in World War One, Billy dying after discharge, on 25 November 1918, at Stewart Hospital, Wanganuil. His death was from pneumonia following on influenza. The three were sons of William Connell, believed to be Herbert’s brother, and Naomi née Clark. William Connell burnt to death in a fire in his hut in 1928. Their sister Amelia Connell married in 1916, her husband dying of wounds in 1917 in France. She married again in 1923.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [08 October 2013]; N Z Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5515 0001121) [26 March 2014]; CWGC [09 October 2013]; ancestry.com.au [28 October 2013]; Colonist, 8 & 11 June 1869, Taranaki Herald, 5 January 1901, Evening Post, 5 October 1915, 10 July 1917, Timaru Herald, 12 October 1916, 11 & 25 April 1918, New Zealand Herald, 12 October 1916, Waimate Daily Advertiser, 12 October 1916, Hastings Standard, 10 July 1917, New Zealand Times, 4 January 1917, 11 July 1917, North Otago Times, 12 April 1918 (Papers Past) [26 March 2014; 05 September 2014; 12 & 15 March 2021]; NZ BDM Indexes (DIA) [26 March 2014]; NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) [08 July 2020]
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Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG
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