(Service number 54027)

First Rank Private Last Rank Private


Date 23 July 1881 Place of Birth Cave

Enlistment Information

Date 20 April 1917 Age
Address at Enlistment Seadown
Occupation Farmer
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs C. FITZGERALD (mother),Seadown, Canterbury
Religion Roman Catholic
Medical Information Height 5 feet 10 inches. Complexion ruddy. Eyes blue. Hair brown.

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 27th Reinforcements F Company
Date 16 July 1917
Transport Athenic
Embarked From Wellington Destination Liverpool, England
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With Otago Infantry Regiment

Military Awards

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 16 June 1919 Reason Termination of period of engagement.

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations



Date 1 April 1972 Age 90
Place of Death Waimate
Notices Timaru Herald, 4 April 1972
Memorial or Cemetery Timaru Cemetery
Memorial Reference Services Section, Row 156, Plot 70
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Thomas FITZGERALD was a son of Thomas and Catherine (nee CAHILL) FITZGERALD. His father Thomas who was elected to the Seadown School Committee in 1902, died later that same year. He may have been baptized Catholic on 8 September 1881 at Timaru. Thomas was drawn in the Third Ballot under the Military Service Act for the South Canterbury district, in January 1917. He first appealed his call-up for service (27 February 1917), but he did not appear before the Military Appeal Board and his appeal was dismissed but he was allowed till the end of March. At the time of enlistment, Thomas had his mother dependent on him. Thomas left Timaru on 30 April 1917, at short notice because of transport rearrangements, which resulted in the abandonment of the farewell entertainment arranged by the Temuka Patriotic Entertainment Committee. There were, however, a few formalities. Mr T. Gunnion in a short speech said that all were proud of the Temuka and geraldine men; and the Rev. C. Macdonald commented that, by the newspapers, things were going well at the front and were moving in the right direction. Thus these men were being sent to make sure of the final victory and to provide backing for the men at the front. If only that had been the case. He wished them God's blessing and a safe return home. Thomas returned to New Zealand on the "Carpentaria", due on 14 May 1919 at Lyttelton, having given 2 years and 48 days of service. He was one of the South Canterbury and Otago men who travelled south by special train on 19 May 1919. On arrival at Timaru the soldiers were given a hearty welcome by relatives and friends. Ladies from the Patriotic Society distributed baskets of fruit and cigarettes. The Mayor (Mr W. C. Raymond) addressed the men extending the heartiest of welcomes on behalf of the citizens of Timaru, he hoped they would soon forsake the uniform for civilian clothes and would take up civilian duties, and he was sure they would be as successful as they had been at the front. Thomas is named on the Seadown honours board (Returned) which was unveiled in a ceremony at the school in August 1920. Thomas seems to have lived quietly both before and after his war service, working his farm. He seems too, to have come through the war relatively unscathed physically. His next-of kin at death was a brother-in-law, Daniel COE. A brother of Thomas, John FITZGERALD (75976), also served in WWI. His youngest brother, David Jeremiah Edward FITZGERALD, was called up for WWI, but didn't enlist.


Cenotaph Database [31 July 2013]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5537 0040382) [22 April 2014]; TDC Headstone image Timaru Cemetery [07 August 2013]; Timaru Herald, 5 May 1902, 3 October 1902, 13 January 1917, 28 February 1917, 30 April 1917, 1 May 1917, 2 May 1919, 20 May 1919, 21 August 1920 (Papers Past) [20 September 2013; 19 April 2014; 16 & 25 September 2014]; Catholic Diocese of Christchurch - Baptism index V.1.2 (South Canterbury Branch NZSG Computer Resources) [27 April 2014]; Timaru Herald, 4 April 1972 (Timaru District Library) [22 April 2014]

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