HOLDGATE, William Edward
(Service number 6/3352)

First Rank Private Last Rank Corporal


Date 5 January 1895 Place of Birth Timaru

Enlistment Information

Date 25 August 1915 Age
Address at Enlistment Care of Priest and Holdgate, Timaru, New Zealand
Occupation Clerk (Priest & Holdgate)
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Robert Holdgate (father), Timaru, New Zealand
Religion Methodist
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation 8th Reinforcements
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Canterbury Infantry Battalion
Date 13 November 1915
Transport Willochra or Tofua
Embarked From Wellington, New Zealand Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Campaigns Egyptian, Egyptian Expeditionary Force, Western Europe
Service Medals
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 Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations


Date 4 April 1959 Age
Place of Death Hawera
Notices Internal Affairs Notification, Military personnel file
Memorial or Cemetery
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Genealogical notes by Guy Holdate record: "The second Timaru Holdgate to be sent overseas was William Edward Holdgate. He was born in Timaru in 1895, the first son to Robert and Adelaide Holdgate. Robert was the eldest son of Edward and Betty who were amongst some of the first emigrants to South Canterbury. William was educated at Timaru Main School and Timaru Boys High. After school he worked for a period with the family firm Priest and Holdgate until war came along. He joined up with the NZ forces in 25th August 1915, then following his Uncle Ernie’s footsteps he embarked with the Canterbury Infantry Battalion 8th reinforcements C company, 8th Rifles to Egypt (also on HMNZT Willochra) departing NZ on 13 November 1915. He served in Egypt until posted to Rouen on 6th April 1916 where he joined the 1st Battalion Canterbury Regiment. He was temporarily attached to the NZ Infantry Brigade Headquarters possibly after being wounded on 16 September and rejoined the battalion on 14th October. He presumably took part in most of the Canterbury’s battles during the 1916-1917 period including the Somme, Messines, Passchendale. He received promotion to corporal on 10th June 1916. He obtained a one weeks leave in July where he may have gone to see the old Holdgate relatives in the Manchester/Glossop area. On the 12th October the 1st Canterbury’s were put into the front lines at Bellevue near Passchendale where they experienced their greatest casualties for any single day in the war. The Canterbury’s were to advance to the second (blue) line objective following up on the Otago Battalion but the advance of both battalions became stalled in the Ypres mud. William received a gunshot wound to the right thigh. Family story is that he lay unattended but managed to crawl himself back to the NZ front line. His wound was quite large and in the ensuing few months became seriously infected, he was probably lucky not to have his leg amputated. He was first admitted to the General Hospital at Rouen on 14th October, then the NZ General Hospital at Brokenhurst (England). Here he underwent various operations and skin grafts but by 21st November was classified unfit by the Medical Board and placed on the NZ ill health roll. He embarked on the ship NZ Maheno on the 24th December 1917 and arrived back in NZ on 14th March 1918. He was discharged from the NZ armed services on 26th July 1918."


Cenotaph (14 May 2014); Genealogical notes by Guy Holdgate, 2014 (South Canterbury Museum L2014/008)

External Links

Related Documents

Researched and Written by

Tony Rippin (South Canterbury Museum); David Batchelor, South Canterbury Museum

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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