FITZGERALD, William Francis Joseph
(Service number 7/1356)
|First Rank||Trooper||Last Rank||Gunner|
|Date||24 November 1890||Place of Birth||Temuka|
|Date||12 June 1915||Age||24 years 7 months|
|Address at Enlistment||Kerrytown|
|Previous Military Experience||2 S.C. Regt.|
|Next of Kin||Mrs W. FITZGERALD Senr (mother), Temuka|
|Medical Information||Height 5 feet 5 inches. Weight 119 lbs. Chest 32-35 inches. Complexion medium - between dark & fair. Eyes blue. Hair dark brown. Both eyes 6/6. Hearing good. Colour vision correct. Limbs and chest well formed. Full movement of joints. Heart and lungs both normal. Teeth fair. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated. Good bodily & mental health. No slight defects.|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||6th Reinforcements|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||Canterbury Mounted Rifles|
|Date||14 August 1915|
|Transport||Willochra or Tofua|
|Embarked From||Wellington||Destination||Suez, Egypt|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||Field Artillery|
|Service Medals||1914-15 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|
|Date||21 May 1919||Reason||Termination of period of engagement.|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
17 March 1917 admitted to Northumbrian C. C. - sick. 22 March 1917 rejoined unit from hospital. On 1 February 1919 at the N.Z. Command Depot, William was diagnosed with defective hearing (Medical Board report); deaf in right ear - not attributed to active service.
|Date||3 February 1965||Age||74 yrs|
|Place of Death||Timaru|
|Notices||Timaru Herald, 4 February 1965|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Temuka Cemetery|
|Memorial Reference||Services Section, Row 200, Plot 19|
|New Zealand Memorials|
William Francis Joseph FITZGERALD was the fourth son of William and Elizabeth (nee IRWIN) FITZGERALD, of "Derry" Farm, Kerrytown. He was baptized Catholic (William Francis) on 26 November 1890 at Temuka. William was a brother of Thomas Bernard FITZGERALD who was killed in action on 12 Sep 1918, and of James Patrick FITZGERALD who also served in WWI. William was one of three sons of this family who left for active service and gave a long period of service in the war - 3 years and 341 days; all but 91 days overseas, at Gallipoli and in France. There is only one known report of sickness for William in his time at the Front, but when he was about to return home, defective hearing and deafness were detected in his right ear. Though this deafness was not attributed to his war service, it must have been a handicap in the Field. He returned to New Zealand on 22 April 1919 per S.S. Corinthic, and resumed farming at Kerrytown. When the special troop train reached the Temuka Station on 23 April 1919, the soldiers were met by a large crowd and greeted with a rousing cheer. They marched in procession to the Post Office, preceded by the Pipe Band, and there they were hailed as "one of the finest lot of boys that had reached Temuka." The Mayor added "The men had been more or less damaged, but they had brought victory with them." His next-of-kin at death was Mrs M. SCOTT, No 4 R.D., Kerrytown. William died in 1965 in Timaru where he had been living at the Beverley Home. He was buried at the Temuka Cemetery after a Requiem Mass at St Joseph's Church there. The Temuka RSA members met at the cemetery to pay their respects. His father had died in an unfortunate accident in 1912. Elsewhere in Personnel file, birthdate is given as 24 March 1891, which is incorrect (cf. baptism date).
Cenotaph Database [31 July 2013]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5537 0040393) [20 April 2014; NZ BDM historical records (Department of Internal Affairs) [18 April 2014]; TDC headstone image (Temuka Cemetery) ; Catholic Diocese of Christchurch - Baptism index V.1.2 (South Canterbury Branch NZSG Computer Resources) [27 April 2014]; Timaru Herald, 26 April 1912, 10 April 1919, 24 April 1919 (Papers Past) [11 August 2013; 20 September 2013; 16 September 2014]; Timaru Herald, 4 February 1965 (Timaru District Library) [19 September 2014]; NZ electoral rolls (ancestry.com.au) 
No documents available.
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