CRAIGHEAD, William Patrick
(Service number 3/3490)

First Rank Corporal Last Rank Lance Corporal


Date 11 December 1896 Place of Birth Lake Tekapo

Enlistment Information

Date 14 March 1917 Age 20 years
Address at Enlistment Waimate (Royal Hotel)
Occupation Medical student
Previous Military Experience Officers Training Corps, Dunedin - belonging
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs Ann CRAIGHEAD (mother), Royal Hotel, Waimate
Religion Roman Catholic
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 33rd Reinforcements, New Zealand Medical Corps
Date 31 December 1917
Transport HMNZT 99, Athenic
Embarked From Wellington Destination Glasgow, Scotland
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With NZ Medical Corps

Military Awards

Service Medals British War 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 25 March 1919 Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations

Medical student


Date 3 July 1924 Age 27 years
Place of Death Waimate
Cause Due to war service - TB & asthonia
Notices Waimate Daily Advertiser, 3 July 1924; Press, 4 July 1924; Otago Daily Times, 4 July 1924; Timaru Herald, 4 July 1924; Otago Witness, 8 July 1924; NZ Tablet, 16 July 1924
Memorial or Cemetery Waimate Old Cemetery
Memorial Reference Plot 536
New Zealand Memorials On Memorial wall, Timaru

Biographical Notes

William Patrick Craighead was born on 11 December 1896 at Lake Tekapo, the younger son of Scotsman Alexander Craighead and his Irish wife, Annie née O’Sullivan. Alexander and Annie had married in 1894 at Waimate and initially kept a hotel at Lake Tekapo where their two sons were born. Next they took up the Rakaia Hotel. It was at Rakaia that their three daughters were born. In 1907 Mr and Mrs Craighead and their family moved to Waimate, and there they stayed. William’s early education was at the Rakaia Catholic School.

By 1908, William was a pupil at St Patrick’s School, Waimate, where he received second prize for Room I attendance. William scored well in his practical music examination at the Waimate Convent in 1908. In 1909, he and his sisters were pupils, William being awarded 1st Merit in Standard VI. In the same year, he was in first place to be awarded a scholarship for St Patrick’s College, Wellington. He did exceptionally well in his first year there - Fourth Class A - winning second prize for General Excellence, and prizes for first in Christian Doctrine, English and chemistry,and for next in merit for essay, history and georgraphy, French, arithmetic, Algebra and geometry, and physics. Further success followed in 1911, when he was awarded a Third Class Scholarship in Latin and French (value £10), and again second prize for General Excellence and individual subject prizes.He also got a prize in the Junior Debating Society. William Patrick Craighead, Wellington, passed the Junior Civil examination held in November 1911. Is success continued in 1912 and in 191 he was awarded the Senior division gold medal. In the South Canterbury list published in January 1913, William Patrick Craighead came out 107th nationally in the Junior Civil Service passes, while his older brother, Owen Craighead came out 41st.

On leaving school, William commenced medical studies at Otago University. “At the invitation of Mr .and Mrs Alex. Craighead, a large number of friends attended a supper at the Royal Hotel last evening [14 August 1917] to do honour to Lance-Corporal William Craighead, their second son, who is just about to depart for the front. Owen, the elder son, is already at the front.” William Patrick Craighead enlisted on 14 March 1917 at Timaru. He belonged to the Officers Traing Corps at Dunedin. Giving Waimate (Royal Hotel) as his address, single and Roman Catholic, he named his mother as next-of-kin – Mrs Ann Craighead, Royal Hotel, Waimate. Corporal W. P. Craighead embarked with the New Zealand Medical Corps of the 33rd Reinforcements, departing from Wellington for Glasgow, Scotland, per the “Athenic” on 31 December 1917. A year later, in December 1918, William Craighead was invalided home by the “Ruahine”. The Casualty List printed in the Timaru Herald of 23 July 1918 had reported that Corporal W. P. Craighead (Waimate) was not a severe case. He was, however, suffering from tuberculosis. The Waimate Daily Advertiser of 15 January 1919 reported that Lance-Corporal W. P. Craighead, Waimate, would be returning in draft 205, “due shortly”. The mayor received the following telegraphic advice “Returning draft No. 205 Due at Waimate from Auckland express 22nd January”. He was discharged on 25 March 1919 and awarded the British War Medal.

After his return, William resumed his medical studies. W. P. Craighead was present at the ‘Varsity Vacation ball held at Timaru in mid June 1920. He attended his brother, Eugene Craighead, as best man at his wedding in September 1920 at St Mary’s Church, Manchester Street, Christchurch. Sadly, on the eve of his final examination in September 1922, he contracted a chill and again succumbed to tuberculosis. He spent some time at the Cashmere Hills Sanitorium, but when there was no hope of recovery, he spent his last year at home with his family. William Patrick Craighead died on 3 July 1924 at Waimate, aged 27 years. It was determined that his death was due to War Service. He was accorded a military funeral. “The cortege, preceded by a firing party of returned soldiers, left St. Patrick’s Church at 2 o’clock. The Waimate Silver Band played “The Dead March in Saul,” en route. . . . . . A strong detachment of returned soldiers was present and the firing party, . . . . , fired three volleys over the grave, after which “The Last Post” was sounded . . . . . Numerous wreaths were placed on the coffin by friends of the deceased.”

No finer tribute can be paid to William Patrick Craighead than that published in the NZ Tablet of 16 July 1924. “The sympathy of very many friends, all over New Zealand (writes a correspondent), goes out to Mrs. A. Craighead and family of Waimate, South Canterbury, on the death of William Patrick Craighead, who passed away peacefully on Thursday, July 3, at his mother’s residence; and the whole Catholic community has suffered a great loss, for he gave every promise of becoming a great and good Catholic doctor. He was born on December 11, 1896, and so was in his 28th year. He received his early education from the Sisters of St. Joseph, and winning a scholarship, entered St. Patrick’s College in 1910, There he spent the years 1910-1915, and his scholastic course was brilliant, and he was beloved of Fathers and boys. Leaving college, he commenced his medical studies at Otago University and was successful in all his examinations until he went on war service in 1917 with the N.Z.M.C. After demobilisation, in 1920, he resumed his medical studies, and, it was on the eve of his final examination in September 1922, that he contracted a chill and fell a victim to tubercular disease. Some time was spent at the Cashmere Hills Sanitorium, but about twelve months ago he returned to his home with all hope of recovery gone. His deep faith, beautiful piety and calm resignation were most edifying to all who were privileged to know him, and a balm of swift comfort to his devoted mother and family. Father Peoples was devoted in his spiritual ministration, and when death came it was to a soul made ready with a perfect Catholic preparation, such as a saint might envy. Of all other visits those he welcomed most were from his old masters of St. Patrick’s College. His love for his old school was a beautiful and most pronounced trait in his character. No Patrician of the years 1910-1915 was lost to his memory, and he loved to speak of them. A few days before his death he was visited by Father Kimbell (Fairlie), and Father Bartley (Temuka); and. another old teacher friend in Father More O’Ferrall (Timaru) was with him at the end. These priests assisted at the last sad rites: Father Peoples celebrated the Requiem Mass and officiated at the graveside. May his soul rest in peace.”

Mr Alexander Craighead had died on 14 July 1920 at his residence, the Royal Hotel, Waimate, after several months of illness. Wiliam’s older brother, who also served in World War One, abandoned his studies to go back to Waimate and help his mother with the hotel. The Craighead family then suffered a trio of losses within three years. Catherine, the second daughter, died at the Royal Hotel on 2 June 1923, aged 23 years. Catherine (Kathleen) had joined the Sacred Heart Convent in Sydney. She, however, took ill and had returned home, where she died just 20 hours after taking her vows. Then followed the immensely sad death of William Patrick. Mary (May), the youngest daughter, died on 5 April 1926 at Waimate, aged 24 years. Mrs Annie Craighead, a strong mother, a much respected hostess, and a devout Catholic, died on 8 December 1931 at Waimate, and was buried at the Waimate Cemetery, along with her husband, one son and two daughters who all died in their 20s. Funeral services for all were at St Patrick’s Church, Waimate. Margaret (Madge), the eldest daughter, married in March 1931. She died in 1975, aged 76 years and her husband in 1976. They, too, were buried at Waimate. Eugene (Owen) died on 28 June 1961 at Waimate, aged 65 years, and was buried at Waimairi Cemetery, Christchurch, with his wife who had died in 1958. Nether Eugene nor Margaret had children. There are, therefore, no surviving descendants of Alexander and Annie Craighead.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [20 October 2014 & 10 July 2022]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [10 July 2022]; Waimate Cemetery headstone transcription (South Canterbury Branch NZSG records) [13 July 2022]; Waimate Cemetery headstone image & burial record (Waimate District Council) [14 July 2022]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [14 July 2022]; NZ Tablet, 12 November 1908, Waimate Daily Advertiser, 21 December 1908, 24 December 1909, 12 January 1910, 20 December 1911, 14 August 1917, 15 & 21 January 1919, 15 July 1920, 2 June 1923, 3 & 4 July 1924, 6 April 1926, Dominion, 14 December 1910, 15 December 1911, 18 January 1912, 11 December 1913, Timaru Herald, 23 July 1918, 19 June 1920, 16 July 1920, 4 June 1923, 4, 5 & 7 July 1924, 6 April 1926, 9 & 14 December 1931, Evening Star, 15 July 1920, NZ Tablet, 19 August 1920, 21 June 1923, Sun, 16 September 1920, Press, 4 July 1924, 6 April 1926, NZ Tablet, 19 August 1920, 21 June 1923, Sun, 16 September 1920, Press, 4 July 1924, 6 April 1926, Otago Witness, 8 July 1924 (Papers Past) [12 & 13 July 2022]

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Researched and Written by

Liz Shea, SC branch NZSG; Teresa Scott, South Canterbury Geneology Society

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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