HAAR, Johann Diedrich
(Service number 6/4050)

Aliases Johann Didrick (on personnel file). Also known as Jack or John.
First Rank Private Last Rank Private


Date 13 October 1894 Place of Birth Winchester

Enlistment Information

Date 17 November 1915 Age 21 years
Address at Enlistment Winchester
Occupation Labourer
Previous Military Experience B Company, 2nd South Canterbury Regiment (still serving)
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs Mary HAAR (mother), Winchester
Religion Roman Catholic
Medical Information Height 5 feet 10¼ inches. Weight 154 lbs. Chest measurement 32½-36 inches. Complexion fair. Eyes blue. Hair light brown. Eyes both 5/5. Hearing very good. Colour vision normal. Limbs well formed. Full and perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. Heart and lungs normal. Teeth mostly artificial. No illnesses. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated. Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects. No fits.

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 10th Reinforcements, Canterbury Infantry Battalion, C Company
Date 4 March 1916
Transport Willochra or Tofua
Embarked From Wellington Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With Canterbury Regiment

Military Awards

Campaigns Egyptian; Egyptian Expeditionary Force; Western European
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 17 November 1919 Reason In consequence of being no longer physically fit for war service on account of wounds received in action.

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

June 1916 - admitted to hospital; to England by Hospital Ship & admitted to 2nd London General Hospital, Chelsea - paresis (paralysis) of right arm, tweakness of thumb & index finger. July transferred to NZ Military Hospital at Walton-on-Thames. 1 August transferred to NZ Convalescent Camp at Hornchurch. 20 August 1917 - proceeded to France. Week later admitted to No. 4 NZ Field Ambulance - sprained right ankle - accidental, disability trivial - fell on uneven ground during physical drill. 31 October 1917 - discharged to England on special leave (to marry). But, 17 November 1917 admitted to Walton-on-Thames - sprained left ankle.Mid March 1918 rejoined Battalion in the Field. 5 April 1918 gunshot wounds to right buttock, left arm, left foot. 16 April to England - operation, treatment

Post-war Occupations

Labourer; linesman


Date 4 August 1957 Age 62 years
Place of Death 24 Hayhurst Street, Temuka (residence)
Notices Timaru Herald, 5 August 1957
Memorial or Cemetery Temuka Cemetery
Memorial Reference General Section, Row 225, Plot 519
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Johann Diedrich Haar was the third surviving son of Conrad and Mary Ann Elizabeth (nee Coughlan) Haar, of Winchester. The first-born child of Conrad and Mary died in infancy. Born on 13 October 1894 at Winchester, he was baptised (John Diedriech) on 15 November 1894 in the Temuka Catholic Parish. He too was named for an uncle, Johann Diederich Haar, who lived at Winchester, Rangitata and later at Tinwald. When Johann, senior, and his wife celebrated their Golden Wedding (1936), Johann, junior, and his wife were there to convey their best wishes and honour them. With his siblings Johann attended Winchester School, where his father served on the school committee throughout the 1890s and the early 1900s, and where young Johann won second prize in Standard I in 1902. And again with his siblings he attended the Winchester School jubilee in 1910. On the death of Queen Victoria in January 1901, Conrad Haar, his father, 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.” Johann was probably the Mr Jack Haar who dressed as a Mexican Cowboy at the very successful Temuka Caledonian Society’s ball held in July 1912, he and his sister Ethel (Highland Lassie) being among those who wore fancy costumes. Johann was a competitor in cycling. In March 1914 he started in the Temuka Bicycle Club’s junior road races with a 1½ minute handicap. In the last race in the series, with his handicap reduced to 1 minute, he finished in third place, three lengths behind the winner.

A lovely tribute to Mrs Haar 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. 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 their son 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.

Johann Diedrich Haar enlisted on 17 November 1915, aged 21 years. A labourer residing at Winchester (and like his brother Conrad, employed by Mr Richard Maddren), single and Roman Catholic, he named his mother, Mrs Mary Haar, Winchester, as next-of-kin. He was reasonably tall - 5 feet 10¼ inches, weighed 154 pounds, and had a chest measurement of 32½-36 inches. His complexion was fair, eyes blue, and hair light brown. He was in good condition, vaccinated and free of diseases and defects. His teeth were mostly artificial. He was still serving with B Company 2nd South Canterbury Regiment. Johann was posted to the Canterbury Infantry Battalion, 10th Reinforcements. On the eve of his departure, in early February 1916, to rejoin the Tenth Reinforcements, he was presented with a wristlet watch, a shaving outfit, a case of pipes with numerous fillings, a diary, and other tokens of esteem, at his home at Winchester. Private Haar embarked on 4 March at Wellington, destined for Suez, Egypt; from Port Said he embarked for France on 13 April, after only a few days at Suez.

Private Haar joined his battalion at Armentières in May 1916. Just a month later he was admitted to hospital. He proceeded to England by hospital ship and admitted to the Second London General Hospital at Chelsea, with paresis (paralysis) of the right arm. He had been ill for four weeks and complained of weakness of his right arm and hand, but no pain. He went to sleep at night and on waking up could not use his right arm. This occurred after he had been on sentry duty and in the trenches. Muscles of the wrist were weak; some weakness in thumb and index finger. He regained movement in all his muscles. Pressure neuritis was the diagnosis. He was recommended for massage. In July he was transferred to the New Zealand Military Hospital at Walton-on-Thames, and on 1 August transferred to the New Zealand Convalescent Camp at Hornchurch. It was reported in the newspaper that J. D. Haar was in France in August 1916 when his brother George was admitted, very ill, to the Military Hospital at Walton-on-Thames. As it were, Johann was already hospitalised in England. On 31 August it was recorded that he was almost fully recovered and required only exercise. His arm was still a little weak with slight wasting of muscle. More massage was recommended. From 5 October he was given mechano treatment and electrical treatment. Two weeks later his grip was firm and his arm movements good.

On 18 May 1917 he was transferred to Codford from Hornchurch on leave. He proceeded overseas (France) from Sling on 20 August 1917, joining his Battalion on 8 September. A week later he was admitted to the No. 4 NZ Field Ambulance. The next day he was admitted to hospital with a sprained right ankle – accidental, disability trivial. He had fallen on uneven ground during free exercises at physical drill, on 13 September. The Commanding Officer stated he was on duty at the time and was not to blame. Pte P. D. Haar’s statement – ‘While at Physical Exercise having a game of “Cockfighting” slipped and fell into a Hollow other three of the players falling on top of my legs.’ Thus on 21 September he was evacuated from the Field to hospital – sick, and he was subsequently admitted to the 4th Canadian Casualty Clearing Station. At the end of October Haar was discharged to Special Leave to England. On 17 November he was admitted to Walton-on-Thames, England – sprained left ankle while on leave from France. This special leave had been granted so that he could marry. He complained of pain on walking, could not bear the weight of his body on his right foot, and walked with a stick. In mid December, his condition being much improved, he was transferred to the NZ Convalescent Hospital at Hornchurch, and on 13 January 1918 discharged to Codford from Hornchurch on furlough. He had hydrology treatment in early January.

He again joined his Battalion in the Field in mid March 1918. Johann Dedrich Haar, 6/4050, appeared again in a hospital list (Casualty List No. 834) in April 1918. Mrs Haar received advice that her son had been wounded. His, however, was not a severe case. He had in fact been suffered multiple wounds in Action in France about 5 April – right buttock, left arm, left foot. He was admitted to the No. 1 New Zealand Field Ambulance. On 16 April he embarked for England and was admitted to the New Zealand General Hospital at Brockenhurst. An operation was performed on his hip on 25 April and sutures inserted. He suffered stiffness of the thigh muscles and a loss of muscle. He was discharged to furlough on 18 October and was to report to the Discharge Depot at Torquay, England on 8 November 1918. Draft 211 - “Briton” - which carried 1070 men, including Johann D.Haar, reached Lyttelton in January 1919, having left Plymouth on 24 December 1918. His parents were by this time living at Rata. On return, Johann was referred to the Military Hospital at Timaru as an out-patient with regard to the gunshot wound to his right buttock.

A concert, dance, and presentation of medals to returned soldiers was held in Victoria Hall, Winchester, in late October 1919. Mr T. Gunnion expressed pleasure at seeing so many soldiers present. Mr Macdonald, Mayor of Geraldine, made the presentation of medals to the returned soldiers. He knew they had nobly done their duty to help end the war. Among those to have a medal pinned on by four school girls was Private J. D. Haar. A similar occasion occurred in July 1920; it appears to be to present medals to those who had not received them earlier. A social was held in the Victoria Hall, Winchester, as a welcome home to the Returned Soldiers and presentation of medals to those who had left Winchester to take part in the Great War. The attendance was the largest that had ever gathered in the Victoria Hall, despite the foggy night. The Temuka R.S.A. was well represented, and also present was Mr T. Gunnion, Mayor of Temuka. Following a variety of entertainment, the chairman of the R.S.W.H. Committee spoke. The presentation had been lingering on for a long time, but they had met together that night to show their appreciation of the work that the soldiers had done for them. He spoke feelingly of the parents who had lost their boys at the front. The soldiers were asked to come forward as their names were read and receive their medals. As the medals were pinned on by two girls, each recipient was loudly applauded. The residents were thanked for the welcome, and the ladies for their splendid work for the soldiers during the war. Dancing continues till 3.30 am, when “Auld Lang Syne” was sung. And in the list of medal recipients was Private J. D. Haar. Those who had made the supreme sacrifice were remembered by the presentation of certificates to their next-of-kin – Rifleman C. J. Haar, Johann’s brother, was one of those men.

Johann (John) D. Haar married Olive Louisa Farrow on 6 November 1917 at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, Islington, London, England. Surely they met during his time in hospital and on leave in England. On their marriage, his wife became his next-of-kin. Their first child was born in London the next year. After the war, Johann and Olive settled at Temuka, and there they had seven more children. Private J. D. Haar was discharged on 17 November 1919, in consequence of being no longer physically fit for war service on account of wounds received in action. He gave a total of 4 years and 1 day of service during the First World War, in both Egypt and Europe, and was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. From January 1917, the name of Private J. D. Haar was recorded in the Temuka Leader Active Service List.

His older brother Conrad James Haar died of disease in 1918 in England. Another brother, George Frederick Haar, also served in World War I, as did a cousin, Wilfred John Haar. When Johann’s younger sister, Rose Lilian (Lily), married Benjamin Jones in November 1921 at St Joseph’s Church, Temuka, she was given away by this brother, her parents then living in the North Island. A euchre party, social and dance were held in the Winchester Sunday School in November 1928, to raise funds for the parish. Mr J. D. Haar won first prize for the men in the euchre. Tragedy struck the family in 1930, when their three-year-old son, Francis Stanislaus Haar, was struck by a motor-car on the Temuka bridge and died at Te Rata Hospital soon after. Sadly, the little boy had rushed across in front of the car. He had gone with his older brothers to the bridge to see the flood water. When his uncle, George Frederick Haar, who had lived most of his life at Winchester, died there in 1931, Johann and his brother George junior were pall-bearers.

His father Conrad Haar, who had come to New Zealand as a child with parents, died at Johann’s residence 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. John Dedrick Haar, Johann’s oldest son, was drawn in the ballot in 1942 for World War II; Lawrence Reginald Haar (Reg) was also drawn in the ballot and went on to serve. Johann Dedrick Haar died on 4 August 1957 at his residence, 24 Hayhurst Street, Temuka, aged 62 years, and was buried in the Temuka Cemetery, a services plaque affixed to his grave stone at a later date. Temuka RSA members attended his funeral. By his Will (signed just days before his death) he left his dwellinghouse, land and household articles in Trust for his wife, and after the deaths of both of them, in equal shares for his surviving children. His wife Olive died in 1960. He was survived by six of his eight children.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [09 October 2013]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5539 0048720) [20 March 2014]; Timaru Herald, 05 June 1891, 29 April 1896, 24 January 1901, 11 & 27 March 1914, 27 July 1917, 20, 22 & 24 April 1918, 10 September 1919, 19 July 1920, Press, 26 December 1902, 13 May 1936, Lyttelton Times, 7 February 1916, Otago Daily Times, 8 September 1916, Temuka Leader, 27 July 1912, 6 January 1917, 25 April 1918, 28 October 1919, 15 July 1920, 10 November 1928, 18 January 1930, 20 October 1921, New Zealand Times, 22 April 1918, 23 January 1919, New Zealand Herald, 24 January 1919, New Zealand Tablet, 15 December 1921, Press, 18 January 1930, 17 April 1940, Manawatu Standard, 19 April 1940 (Papers Past) [20 October 2013; 08 & 09 August 2015; 23 May 2016; 06 February 2017; 30 July 2019, 04 August 2019]; School Pupil Index (South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [2013]; NZ BDM historical records indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [2013]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [2013]; Probate record (Archives NZ/FamilySearch) [31 August 2014]; Temuka Cemetery headstone image (Timaru District Council) [October 2013]; Timaru Herald, 5 & 6 August 1957 (Timaru District Library) [18 July 2016]; Baptism record (Catholic Diocese of Christchurch CD held by South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [27 November 2016]; Marriage & birth registration index, England (Free BDM)

External Links

Related Documents

Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to


Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Logo. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.

Tell us more

Do you have information that could be added to this story? Or related images that you are happy to share? Submit them here!

Your Details
Veteran Details
- you may attach an image or document up to 10MB