(Service number 14914)

Aliases Jack
First Rank Sergeant Last Rank Private


Date 29 October 1894 Place of Birth Waikari, North Canterbury

Enlistment Information

Date 17 January 1916 Age 21 years 3 months
Address at Enlistment 6 William Street, Christchurch
Occupation Clerk
Previous Military Experience 1st Canterbury Regiment (serving)
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs HORGAN (mother), 6 William Street, Christchurch. Later Cricklewood, South Canterbury; next 10 Middle Street, Timaru; then Bankfield, St Andrews.
Religion Roman Catholic
Medical Information Height 5 feet 8½ inches. Weight 120 lbs. Chest measurement 30¼-35 inches. Complexion fresh. Eyes grey. Hair black. Sight - both eyes 6/10. Hearing and colour vision both normal. Limbs well formed. Full and perfect movement of joints. Chest well formed. Heart and lungs normal. No illnesses. Free from hernia, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Varicocele – slight on left; not sufficient to cause rejection. Vaccinated. Good bodily and mental health. No fits. Small scar in front of left wrist on inner side.

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 14th Reinforcements Canterbury Infantry Battalion, C Company
Date 26 June 1916
Transport Maunganui or Tahiti
Embarked From Wellington Destination Devonport, England
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With Canterbury Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion, 1st Company

Military Awards

Campaigns 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 Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

23 March 1917 - admitted to Field Ambulance, then to 7th General Hospital at St Omers - mumps slight; 5 May 1917 - admiited to Field Ambulance - sprained ankle; 18 July 1917 - to hospital sick; to Field Ambulance - debility.

Post-war Occupations


Date 3 December 1917 Age 22 years
Place of Death France
Cause Killed in action
Memorial or Cemetery Hooge Crater Cemetery, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
Memorial Reference VIII. L. 6.
New Zealand Memorials Timaru Memorial Wall; Fairlie War Memorial (2016 additions)

Biographical Notes

John Horgan, known as Jack, was the third son of Daniel (deceased) and Bridget (née Kelly) Horgan, there being four sons and three daughters in the family. He was born on 29 October 1894, at Waikari, North Canterbury, and baptised Catholic on 7 November in the Hawarden parish. Daniel and Bridget had both come out from Ireland. His father, who was the pound-keeper at Waikari during the 1890s, on one occasion asked the Waipara Road board for assistance towards buying a horse to enable him to carry out his duties, “his own being now past use”. Daniel Horgan, who died on 11 August 1898 at the Christchurch Hospital, was buried in the Linwood Cemetery, after a service at the Pro-Cathedral in Barbadoes Street. About 1906 Mrs Bridget Horgan moved into Christchurch. John was educated at Waikari and at the Marist Brothers’ School and Christchurch Technical School. He was placed first in Standard V Reading at the Marist Brothers’ School in 1905. In 1910 he gained qualifications at the Technical College evening classes – Shorthand, Bookkeeping and Business Methods, Elementary Division, second class; Bookkeeping Theory, second class; Typewriting, Advanced Division, second class; Commercial Arithmetic, Junior Division, second class. On leaving school he engaged in office work. John took part in the Marist Brothers’ Old Boys Club’s miniature rifle handicap trophy competition which was held in July 1911. Firing with a handicap of 6, he finished well down in the rankings. In 1913 he gained a fine – 7 shillings for cycling on the footpath. In 1914 Mrs Horgan was letting out rooms at her William Street address, and in 1917 the cottage at William Street.

J. Horgan was among the recruits who presented themselves for the medical examination at the Barracks on 4 January 1916. He responded to the appeal for infantrymen to leave Christchurch to help fill the shortage in the Eleventh Reinforcements. John Horgan enlisted on 17 January 1916, aged 21 years 3 months. He was a clerk, single, Roman Catholic, and gave 6 William Street, Christchurch, as his address. He named as his next-of-kin his mother - Mrs Horgan, 6 William Street, Christchurch, and later of Cricklewood, South Canterbury. Her son Thomas was with her at William Street in 1911 and her eldest daughter Mary in 1914. Standing at 5 feet 8½ inches and weighing 120 pounds, with a chest measurement of 30¼-35 inches, he had a fresh complexion, grey eyes and black hair. His sight measured 6/10 in both eyes, while hearing and colour vision were both normal. His limbs and chest were well formed, heart and lungs normal. He was clear of diseases (apart from slight varicocele) and vaccinated. Thus he was in good bodily and mental health. There was a small scar in front of his left wrist on the inner side. He was already serving with the 1st Canterbury Regiment and had registered at Christchurch for compulsory military training. In February at Trentham Corporal J. Horgan was posted to the 14th Reinforcements, C Company.

The members of the Christchurch Celtic Club met on 25 May to farewell Corporal J. Horgan as he prepared to leave for the front. A programme of music, elocution and dancing was given, and the chairman wished him a speedy and safe return, presenting him with a safety razor on behalf of members. John was a well-known member of the Marist Old Boys’ Football Club. He embarked with the 14th Reinforcements of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, Canterbury Infantry Battalion, C Company, on 26 June 1916 at Wellington, destined for Devonport, England, where he disembarked on 22 August. His mother had received advice that Corporal John (Jack) Horgan had been promoted to the rank of sergeant, this being effective from 20 June.

After a temporary posting as Corporal at Sling, he proceeded overseas to Etaples, France on 26 September and was posted to Rouen on 10 October, as a Private, which rank he was to hold until his death. He forfeited 14 days pay on 24 December 1916, for what was a regular offence – absence without leave while in the field. On 23 March 1917 John was admitted to the No. 5 NewZealand Field Ambulance and then to the 7th General Hospital at St Omers, suffering slightly with mumps. He was able to rejoin his battalion in the field on 19 April. Following another admission to the Field Ambulance (New Zealand No. 1) on 5 May, with a sprained ankle, he rejoined his battalion from hospital on 19 June 1917. He was sent to hospital again on 18 July, sick, and spent two weeks in the Field Ambulance suffering from debility, before rejoining his unit on 2 August. On 2 November 1917 he rejoined his battalion after more than a month at the Reinforcements Camp.

Private John Horgan was killed in action on 3 December 1917, in the Battle of Cambrai, aged 23 years. Casualty list No. 744, circulated mid December, named 60 men killed in action, the majority from the Canterbury Infantry, as well as other casualties. The message sent read – “Mrs Horgan Cricklewood 14914 J Horgan was Killed in Action December 3rd 1917”. He was buried in Hooge Crater Cemetery, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, these to be sent to Mrs Horgan, initially at 10 Middle Street, Timaru, but subsequently at Bankfield Street, St Andrews. Likewise the memorial plaque and scroll were sent to Mrs Horgan in 1922 at her new address. His name is inscribed on the Timaru Memorial Wall and on the Fairlie War memorial (2016 additions).

By 1917 Mrs Horgan had moved to Cricklewood. There her sons William and Charles continued to farm after their return from the war. About 1919 she moved into Timaru where her daughters Mary and Kathleen resided with her before their marriages in 1924 and 1922 respectively. Kathleen married a returned serviceman at St Andrews Catholic Church. In 1928 Mrs Horgan was residing with her son Charles at St Andrews before returning to Christchurch to live with her daughter Mary. Mrs Horgan died on 27 November 1940 and is buried at Timaru. Two brothers of John also served in World War I – William and Charles Michael. Their eldest brother, Thomas Daniel Horgan, was listed in the 1916-1917 Reserve Rolls, when he was already resident at the Sanatorium, a victim of consumption. As early as 1914 he was at the Cashmere Sanatorium. He died on 19 November 1918, at the Cashmere Sanatorium and is buried in Linwood Cemetery.

“A true friend and a sterling comrade” was the sentiment of a memorial notice inserted in the Evening Post of 4 December 1918. In Memoriam notices in the Evening Post followed on 4 December 1919 and 4 December 1920, inserted by B.P. and B. and L.S.P. respectively – “In memory of my mate, Sergt. Jack Horgan” and “In proud and loving memory of our chum, Sergeant Jack Horgan, 14181”.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [08 October 2013]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ ref. AABK 18805 W5541 0056649 [24 June 2014]; CWGC [09 October 2013]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs); Press, 14 January1891, 3 & 17 May 1898, 19 December 1906, 21 December 1910, 30 August 1913, 5 January 1916, 29 June 1916, 21 April 1917, 19 & 26 December 1917, Lyttelton Times, 7 January 1892, 17 August 1898, 26 December 1917, Star, 14 July 1911, 1 August 1914, 18 January 1916, 29 June 1916, 21 November 1918, Evening Post, 16 February 1916, 4 December 1918, 4 December 1919, 4 December 1920, New Zealand Tablet, 8 June 1916, Sun, 28 June 1916, Timaru Herald, 19 December 1917, New Zealand Herald, 19 December 1917, New Zealand Times, 19 December 1917 (Papers Past) [02 April 2015; 28 September 2015; 30 April 2018, 11, 12, 13 & 19 March 2019]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [08 April 2014; 12 March 2019]; Linwood Cemetery records (Christchurch City Council); Timaru Herald, 29 November 1940 (Timaru District Library) [07 April 2015]; marriage record for Kathleen Horgan sighted at Holy Family Parish, Timaru [15 March 2019]; Christchurch Catholic Diocese Baptisms Index (CD held by South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [17 March 2019]

External Links

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to


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