LEE, William Addy
(Service number 12/3384)

First Rank Lance Corporal Last Rank Sergeant


Date 15 January 1882 Place of Birth Methley, Leeds, Yorkshire, England

Enlistment Information

Date 24 August 1915 Age 33 years 7 months
Address at Enlistment Y.M.C.A., Auckland
Occupation Accountant
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single on enlistment. Married Gertrude Marguerite SCHMIDTon 4 November 1915 in Wellington, New Zealand.
Next of Kin Mrs Gertrude M. LEE (wife), Trafalgar Street, Maori Hill, Timaru. Initially: John LEE (father), Methley, Leeds, England
Religion Church of England
Medical Information Height 5 feet 10 inches. Weight 11 stone 4 lbs. Chest measurement 32-36 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. No previous fits. No previous illness. Malaria (not recently). Appendicitis (12 months since operation). Tattoo dragon right arm.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation 8th Reinforcements
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Auckland Infantry Battalion
Date 13 November 1915
Transport Willochra or Tofua
Embarked From Wellington, N.Z. Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With Auckland Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion

Military Awards

Campaigns 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


Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

25 August 1915, Trentham Camp - admitted to hospital with influenza. 29 February 1916 admitted to New Zealand General Hospital at Cairo - influenza; progress satisfactory. 10 August 1916 admitted to No. 32 Stationary Hospital - malaria. Wounded 15 September 1916.

Post-war Occupations


Date 18 September 1916 Age 34 years
Place of Death France
Cause Died of wounds
Notices Timaru Herald, 14 October 1916
Memorial or Cemetery Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-l'Abbe, Somme, France
Memorial Reference II. H. 43.
New Zealand Memorials On Memorial wall, Timaru; Memorial plaque, St Mary's Church, Timaru; Roll of Honour: Auckland Provincial War Memoraial Museum (W. A. LEE)

Biographical Notes

William Addy Lee was the son of John and Fanny (née Ogley) Lee, and the husband of Gertrude Marguerite Schmidt whom he had married shortly before embarkation in 1915. William was born on 15 January 1882 at Methley, Yorkshire, England, and baptised on 12 February 1882 at St Oswald’s Anglican Church at Methley.

In 1891 William was a scholar living at home at Methley with his parents and siblings. In 1901 he was still at home, now a clerk. William, a clerk, came out to Melbourne, Australia in early 1911, by the “Afric”. From there he went to Samoa, where he had charge of a large trading station. After a trip to England he went again to Australia in 1914, this time to Sydney. He left Samoa for Auckland, in order to enlist.

William enlisted on 24 August 1915 in Auckland and joined the Eighth Reinforcements. He was then residing at the Y.M.C.A. in Auckland and working as an accountant for Burns Philp and Company. Initially William’s next-of-kin was given as his father, John Lee, at Methley, Yorkshire. This changed to Mrs G. M. Lee, wife, of Trafalgar Street, Maori Hill, Timaru. On 4 November 1915 in a quiet wedding at St Peter’s Church, Wellington, William Addy Lee married Gertrude Marguerite SCHMIDT (Daisy). Daisy was of Timaru but had moved to Wellington in 1914.

William Lee was hospitalised with influenza while at Trentham in August 1915. At Tauherenikau Camp, in October 1915, he was appointed a lance-corporal, and the day before embarkation he was promoted to corporal. Then on 13 November, just nine days after his marriage, he left with the Auckland Infantry Battalion, for Egypt.

Leap day 1916 was not a lucky day for William. He was admitted to the New Zealand General Hospital at Cairo, suffering from influenza, His progress, however, was satisfactory. On 8 April 1916 he embarked at Alexandria for France. He was promoted again, this time in May 1916 at Armentières, to the rank of sergeant. On 10 August 1916 he was admitted to the No. 32 Stationary Hospital, with malaria. After convalescence at Boulogne and a brief attachment at Etaples, he rejoined his unit – two weeks before his death.

In October 1916 reports reached the newspapers that Sergeant W. A. Lee had been wounded. In effect he had been wounded on 15 September in action in the field and had died of his wounds three days later, on 18 September 1916, at the Somme, France, aged 34 years. He was buried in the Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt L’Abbe, Somme, France. The burials in this cemetery were carried out under extreme pressure. Consequently many of the graves are too close together to be marked individually or they contain multiple burials. W. A. Lee is buried with 18 year old T. E. Coventry, of the Duke of Cornwall’s.

His medals – 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal – were sent to his widow at her parents’ address at Timaru. And later the plaque and scroll were sent. In 1929 Gertrude married Archibald Robert Brooker. She died in 1961 at Tauranga.

William Abby Lee is remembered in New Zealand on the Timaru War Memorial Wall, St Mary’s Anglican Church Timaru Memorial, and the Auckland Provincial War Memorial Museum Roll of Honour.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [07 May 2014]; NZ Defence Force Records (Archives NZ ref. AABK 18805 W5544 0067356) [04 November 2015]; CWGC [07 May 2014]; Evening Post, 22 October 1915, Star, 13 November 1915, 2 October 1916, North Otago Times, 5 October 1916, Timaru Herald, 14 October 1916 [x 3], Otago Daily Times, 14 October 1916, Press, 16 October 1916, New Zealand Herald, 27 June 1931 (Papers Past) [09 August 2014; 05 October 2014; 31 March 2016; 01 April 2016]; Yorkshire Baptism record ( [09 August 2014]; Yorkshire Marriage record for parents ( [31 March 2016]; 1891, 1901 census records ( [09 August 2014 & 04 November 2015]

External Links

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to


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