Profile

HAAR, George Frederic
(Service number 10/424)

Aliases
First Rank Private Last Rank Corporal

Birth

Date 18 June 1892 Place of Birth Winchester, South Canterbury

Enlistment Information

Date 17 August 1914 Age 22 years 3 months
Address at Enlistment 10 Queen street, Palmerston North
Occupation Seed dresser
Previous Military Experience C Company, 7th Regiment (still serving)
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs C. HAAR, Winchester Street, Timaru [Winchester, South Canterbury]
Religion Roman Catholic
Medical Information Height 6 feet. Weight 142 lbs. Chest measurement 30-34 inches. Complexion medium. Eyes blue. Hair brown. Sight, hearing and colour vision all normal. Limbs well formed. Full and perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. Heart and lungs normal. Teeth good. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated. Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects. Fit.

Military Service

Served with New Zealand Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation Main Body
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Wellington Infantry Battalion
Date 16 October 1914
Transport Limerick or Arawa
Embarked From Wellington Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Campaigns Balkan; Egyptian; Western European
Service Medals 1914-15 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

Discharge

Date 7 December 1916 Reason No longer physically fit for war service on account of illness contracted on active service.

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

June 1915 - admitted to Hospital ship "Grantully Castle". 4 July 1915 - admitted to Pont Koubba Hospital from Gallipoli - pleurisy. October 1915 - admitted to Hospital at Mudros - sick, catarrh & jaundice. November 1915 - by Hospital Ship "Aquatania" to England; amitted to london General Hospital at Chelsea - sick. 27 January 1916 - admitted to Grey Towers, London - VD. 17 May 1916 - admitted to hospital at Etaples, France - slight pleurisy but fresh disease supervened. August 1916 - admitted to New Zealand Military Hospital at Walton-on-Thames - valvular disease. September 1916 - invalided home - cardiac dilation.

Post-war Occupations

Dairy farmer

Death

Date 13 February 1969 Age 76 years
Place of Death Wanganui
Cause
Notices
Memorial or Cemetery Aramoho Cemetery, Wanganui
Memorial Reference Public Lawn Extension, Block II, Plot 439
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

George Frederic Haar was the second surviving son of Conrad and Mary Ann Elizabeth (née Coughlan) Haar, of Winchester. The first-born child of Conrad and Mary died in infancy. Born on 18 June 1892 at Winchester, South Canterbury, George was baptised on 14 July 1892 in the Temuka Catholic Parish. He was named for his uncle, George Frederick Haar, who lived most of his life at Winchester and died there in 1931, George junior and his brother Johann being pall-bearers. With his siblings George attended Winchester School, where his father served on the school committee throughout the 1890s and the early 1900s. And again with his siblings he attended the Winchester School jubilee in 1910. George was also educated at St Joseph’s School, Temuka. On the death of Queen Victoria in January 1901, Conrad Haar (senior) was one of the men who went to the Winchester domain and, “bare headed, hoisted half-mast on the high flag pole, the Union Jack and the New Zealand flag.”

Like his namesake uncle, George was keen on angling. Late in 1907, George, his father and his brother Con gathered in some great hauls of eels. One Saturday night they set an eel basket in the Smithfield Creek, and the following morning it was completely filled – 98 good-sized eels. It was in March 1917, after George’s return from the front, that George and his brother Con “enjoyed some splendid sport while fishing in the Rangitata river.” They caught 12 beautiful quinnat salmon, totalling 202 pounds in weight. The four largest fish were magnificent, each weighing 21 pounds. “The fish provided some first-rate sport, but it may be understood that it takes skill and good and strong tackle to land fish of such a size.” (Temuka Leader, 13 March 1917).

George Haar enlisted on the outbreak of war, on 17 August 1914, aged 22 years 3 months. This was the George Haar who had incurred a fine of 40 shillings in March 1914 at Temuka, for a breach of the Defence Act. He had not attended more than one evening drill out of 28. Remission of the fine was sought from Palmerston North. Was it granted? He had registered for compulsory military training at Temuka. The second to enlist at Palmerston North, he was in camp at Awanui (Palmerston North) by September. He had served and was still serving with C Company 7th Regiment. A seed dresser, single and Roman Catholic, he was living at 10 Queen Street, Palmerston North, when he enlisted. He named his mother, Mrs C. Haar, of Winchester, as next-of-kin. Like his father’s generation, he was a tall man – 6 feet, and weighed 142 pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair. He was in good condition in all respects, vaccinated and free of any defects. His teeth were good. Private G. F. Haar embarked on 16 October 1914 for Suez, Egypt, with the Wellington Infantry Battalion of the Main Body. It was 3 December that he disembarked at Alexandria, Egypt.

He marched in at Zeitoun and, within days of joining his battalion at the Dardanelles on 9 May 1915, he was promoted to Corporal. Only a month later he was admitted to the Hospital Ship “Grantully Castle”. In July 1915 it was reported and cable advice was received that George Frederick Haar had been admitted to Pont Koubba Hospital from Gallipoli on 4 July, suffering from pleurisy. Nearly two months later, after some time at the Convalescent Depot, he was one of those who had recovered and been sent to the Front (Dardanelles) from Cairo. Sick to Hospital at Mudros was the report on 21 October – catarrh and jaundice, and a month later admission to the Hospital Ship “Aquitania”. From there he was admitted, sick, to the London General Hospital at Chelsea (V.D.H.).

Private Haar, finding himself short of writing material, wrote to his mother in mid 1915 on a playing card – the two of hearts. In addition to the address, he wrote a line or two to the effect that he was well and enjoying a few days’ rest behind the firing line. The censor stamped the card as having been passed.

George was on furlough in London for two weeks in January 1916. On 27 January he was admitted to hospital at Grey Towers (Venereal) and on 16 March discharged from various hospitals to which he had been transferred. He proceeded from Hornchurch, England, on 12 May to rejoin his Unit in the Field in France. He was again admitted to hospital suffering from pleurisy, this time at Etaples on 17 May 1916; slight pleurisy but fresh disease supervened. In August 1916 he was admitted to the New Zealand Military Hospital at Walton-on-Thames. Mr Conrad Haar, of Winchester, received advice from the High Commissioner that his son had been suffering from valvular disease for some time. He had contracted pleurisy at Gallipoli, and had also been wounded, from which he had not fully recovered. Letters from his companions in 1916 stated that he had been removed from the trenches with creeping paralysis. On 6 July 1916, the Medical Board determined that he was suffering from cardiac dilation, which originated at Lemnos on 15 September 1915. G. F. Haar stated that on 15 September 1915 at Gallipoli he was lifting a sandbag when he got sudden pain in heart and palpitation. He had lost 2½ stone in weight since joining up. His discharge was recommended.

In January1916 and again in May, George Haar earned a few “black marks” – absence without leave, absence from quarters, non-compliance with camp orders, being out of bounds. On being found guilty, he was sentenced to a reduction to rank of Lance Corporal in January.

Mr and Mrs Haar received word that their son was returning invalided, expected to arrive at Port Chalmers on or about the 29 September 1916. “He was the first one of Winchester’s brave lads to enlist, and he is the first to return home.” [Timaru Herald. 12 September 1916]. G. F. Haar, 10/424, Wellington Battalion, returned by the “Willochra”, one of a large number of sick and wounded soldiers. He had been discharged from Hornchurh to the Hospital Ship “Willochra” on 11 August 1916, and embarked four days later. He claimed pension, which was assessed at 25%. Total incapacity for three months – or half earning capacity for six months - was recorded. The pension was cancelled on 1 April 1924.

On 28 September 1916, a large crowd gathered at the Temuka railway station to welcome home Corporal Haar, who arrived by the troop train. The Brass Band led a procession to the Post Office, where George was honoured by Mr Gunnion and cheers were heartily given by those assembled. He expressed his appreciation and said that he “did not expect anything of the sort as he had only done his duty.” He was proud to be a New Zealander. Back home at Winchester he received an enthusiastic reception and rousing cheers. Shortly after his return, he was invited by the headmaster to visit Winchester School. There he gave a most interesting insight into his experiences, “new and graphic”. On his return he was granted sick leave and had dental treatment authorized. There followed a period at Queen Marys Hospital, Hanmer, which he left on 16 November 1916. He was discharged on 7 December 1916, being no longer physically fit for war service on account of illness contracted on active service. He was described as of good character. He had seen two years’ service in the Balkans, Egypt and Europe. For which he was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.

G. F. Haar was allotted Section 11 of 81 acres in the Putorino Settlement, where land was balloted for soldiers in June 1917. A lovely tribute to Mrs Haar, George’s mother, was paid by ‘Patriotic’ in a letter to the Lyttelton Times of 26 November 1915. “A little item of interest for those who are working for our boys at the front:—Mrs Conrad Haar, of Winchester, has hand-knitted fifty pairs of socks, forty balaclavas and twenty pairs of gloves, and is still knitting, and will continue to do so, health permitting, until the end of the war.—Trusting others will follow her example.” In December 1915 Mrs Haar paid 7 shillings and sixpence for temporary possession of the flag auctioned at the Temuka Catholic school concert in aid of the local Red Cross fund. Now, in July 1917, at a surprise party Mr and Mrs Haar were farewelled from Winchester, where they had resided for nearly forty years. By this time George had returned from the War and had drawn a section of land near Marton. Mr and Mrs Haar were leaving to go and help “this soldier son”. They had been excellent neighbours and pioneers. Mr Haar was presented with a case of pipes and Mrs Haar with a travelling rug. On this occasion it was made known that since the war began, Mrs Haar had knitted 337 pairs of socks, as well as balaclavas, scarves, mittens, etc., in all 312 pounds of wool (enough for 900 pairs of socks). Their son Johann and a son-in-law (Daniel O’Connor, 21879) were still at the front. Mary Haar (late of Winchester) was awarded the Order of St John by Lord Liverpool in September 1919, for Red Cross work during the war.

At Putorino George took up dairy farming. On 12 August 1919, at the Catholic Church at Hunterville, he married Elsie Maud Hunt. He became the local representative for the Dominion Dairy Farmers’ Union, regularly attending the annual conference, and was a vocal advocate. In 1925 he spoke of the advantages of dehorning cattle. In 1926 during consideration of the bacon and pork subject, he “rather startled the executive of the Dairy Farmers’ Union . . . . . by stating that pigs in Australia were bringing as much as £13/12/6 each.” George was placed first in the root competition for carrots (white), held in conjunction with the Marton Ploughing Match in June 1926.

His older brother Conrad James Haar died of disease in 1918 in England. A younger brother, Johann Diedrich Haar, also served in World War I, as did a cousin, Wilfred John Haar. His father Conrad Haar, who had come to New Zealand as a child with parents, died at Temuka in 1932. Mrs Mary Haar died in 1940 at Nazareth House in Christchurch, where she had lived for some years after her husband’s death. George Frederick Haar died on 13 February 1969 at Wanganui (Whanganui) where he and Elsie were living in retirement. He was 76 years old. Elsie died twenty years later, aged 96. George and Elsie are buried in the Aramoho Cemetery, Wanganui.

Sources

Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [09 October 2013]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5530 0048719) [20 March 2014]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5562 0131492) [09 August 2015]; Timaru Herald, 5 June 1891, 29 April 1896, 24 January 1901, 05 March 1914, 22 January 1916, 12, 29 & 30 September 1916, 05 October 1916, 27 July 1917, 20 November 1919, Temuka Leader, 24 December 1907, 13 March 1917, 11 September 1919, 18 January 1930, 20 October 1931, 13 February 1932, Press, 05 March 1914, 14 July 1915, 09 November 1915, 28 August 1916, 30 September 1916, 13 February 1932, 17 April 1940, Manawatu Standard, 4 September 1914, 19 April 1940, Sun, 12 July 1915, 11 June 1925, Star, 15 July 1915, Lyttelton Times, 26 November 1915, 17 August 1916, New Zealand Times, 22 January 1916, 21 September 1916, Rangitikei Advocate and Manawatu Argus, 22 January 1916, Otago Daily Times, 14 September 1916, Evening Post, 21 September 1916, New Zealand Herald, 23 September 1916, Dominion, 30 June 1917, Manawatu Times, 12 June 1925, 30 October 1925, 26 February 1926, 25 June 1926 (Papers Past) [20 October 2013; 04 & 07 November 2013; 16 December 2014; 01, 08 & 09 August 2015; 30 July 2019; 03 & 04 August 2019]; School Pupil Index (South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [2013]; NZ BDM historical records indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [2013]; NZ electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) [2013]; Aramoho Cemetery, Wanganui, burial records (Wanganui District Council) [2014]; Aramoho Cemetery headstone transcription (South Canterbury Branch NZSG cemetery records microfiches) [07 November 2014]; Baptism record (Catholic Diocese of Christchurch CD held by South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [27 November 2016]

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to

TS

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