TALBOT, Arthur Ernest
(Service number 14037)

First Rank Corporal Last Rank Second Lieutenant


Date 14 September 1876 Place of Birth Temuka, New Zealand

Enlistment Information

Date 12 January 1916 Age 39
Address at Enlistment 47 Shakespeare Street, Greymouth, New Zealand
Occupation School teacher
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs A. Talbot (wife), care of W.H. Talbot, Opupa, Pleasant Point, South Canterbury, New Zealand
Religion Church of England
Medical Information 5 foot 11 1/2 inches tall, weight 135 pounds (61kgs), chest 32-35 inches, dark complexion, blue eyes, dark hair, good teeth

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation 19th Reinforcements
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Otago Infantry Battalion, D Company
Date 15 November 1916
Transport HMNZT68 Maunganui
Embarked From Wellington, New Zealand Destination Devonport, England
Other Units Served With 2 Battalion Canterbury Infantry Regiment
Last Unit Served With 2 Battalion Canterbury Infantry Regiment

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

Post-war Occupations


Date 12 October 1917 Age 41
Place of Death Ypres, Belgium
Cause Killed in action
Memorial or Cemetery Tyne Cot Memorial
Memorial Reference N.Z. Apse, Panel 2
New Zealand Memorials On Memorial wall, Timaru, Temuka RSA Roll of Honour, Timaru Boys High School War Memorial (Library), Lower Waitohi War Memorial, Temuka War Memorial

Biographical Notes

Arthur was born at Temuka on 14 September 1876, son of John and Christiana (nee Smith) Talbot. Albert’s father John was born near Comstock, Devonshire, England, in 1845, and came out to New Zealand with his parents in 1862 aboard the “Zealandia”, arriving at Lyttelton on 24 May 1862. He worked on local farms before going into partnership with his brother and cousin at Springston and later at Selwyn, and road building on the West Coast. In 1867 he took up farming at Rangitira Valley near Temuka. A few years later married married Christiana, daughter of Mr John Smith of South Road, Selwyn in 1871. After Christiana died in 1889 aged 40 years, John remarried to her sister Elizabeth Eleanor Smith in 1890, and in total had a family of twelve sons. John died on December 20, 1923, and is buried with his wife in the Temuka Cemetery.

Arthur was educated at Temuka, Rangitira Valley, Timaru Main and Timaru Boys High Schools. Arthur was gazetted as a school teacher in 1896, and was at one time a master at Timaru Boys High. In 1909 he was appointed as secondary assistant at Greymouth District High School coming from a position at Carterton District High School. He was a well-known New Zealand mountaineer and alpine explorer, and was a member of many New Zealand alpine expeditions which made first ascents such as Mount Murchison in1913. In 1910 together with fellow mountaineer & alpine explorer William Graves of Oamaru, he co-discovered a direct alpine route from Milford to Wakatipu, later named the Graves-Talbot Pass. Later, after his death, a mountain in the Hollyford Valley was named “Mount Talbot” in his honour.

Arthur was medically inspected for service at Greymouth on 14 August 1915, and entered camp at Trentham on 12 January 1916. At this time he was residing at 47 Shakespeare Street, Greymouth, nominating his father John, Woodlands, Temuka, as his next of kin. He was a tall thin man being described as aged 39 years, 5 foot 11 ½ inches tall, single, Anglican, and was recorded as weighing 135 pounds (61kgs), with a chest measuring 32–35 inches, of dark complexion with blue eyes, dark hair and good teeth. On arrival at Trentham he was posted to the 14th non-commissioned officers course, then to G Company on 15 February. On 19 June he was commissioned as a second lieutenant and posted to the non-attached list. During this period he would have undertaken preliminary training including drill, musketry, bayonet-fighting, engineering, map reading, attack and defence, out-posts and other field work plus details of law and administration, and the responsibilities of an officer. On 20 July 1916 Arthur married Miss Olivia Anne Duncan, daughter of Mr Andrew Duncan of Upland Road, Kelburn, at the Wellington Basilica, the service being conducted by the Reverend Father Smyth.

Along with the rest of the 19th Reinforcements Second Lieutenant Talbot boarded HMNZT68, “Maunganui” on 15 November 1916. In convoy with HMNZT69 “Tahiti” they set sail for Devonport, England, arriving on 29 January 1917. On arrival he marched into Sling Camp where he was posted to the Canterbury Regiment. From here on 13 March Arthur left for France where he was attached to the Base Depot at Etaples before joining the 2nd Battalion Canterbury Regiment in the field on 29 March 1917. At this time the Battalion was in the Messines area, preparing for the Battle of Messines.

On 8 May Arthur was detached to the Brigade School, and appointed Brigade Salvage Officer just over a week later. From 22 May to 25 June he served with Headquarters 2nd NZ Infantry Brigade as Salvage Officer before re-joining his unit. At this time they were in the Battle Reserve trenches and were relieved by the 4th Australian Division on 30 June. A period of leave was spent in Paris from 20 July to 1August before re-joining his unit which were then supplying working parties to the front line. On 6 August the battalion relieved the 2 Otago Battalion in the outpost line at La Basse Ville with the 1 Canterbury Battalion on its immediate right. Second Lieutenant Talbot���s 13th Company occupied the new posts to the east and north-east of La Basse Ville, with company headquarters in the village. The enemy concentrated its fire on their area, and the 2nd Battalion casualties were heavy with no respite. It was the general opinion that this period in the line was the worst in its experience on an inactive front. Up to 17 August casualties suffered were one officer and 33 other ranks killed, plus one officer and 113 other ranks wounded - 35 of which were evacuated to hospital. Relieved by 2 Auckland and 1 Wellington Battalion on 17 August the 2nd Canterbury Battalion moved to billets at Nieppe, then to Caudescure on the western outskirts of the forest of Nieppe, before finally proceeding to Bayinghem on 29 August.

Training now took place for Ypres and by 28 September Arthur’s unit was holding the old German front line at Wieltje, two miles north east of Ypres. The third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) had now been raging continuously for nearly two months. On 9 October the British had made another attack on a front of six miles. A further attack was fixed for 12 October with the NZ Division sector being a strip of country about a mile wide running north-east, with the Wieltje-Gravens-tafel road sub-dividing it into two almost equal strips. It was during this attack that Second Lieutenant Talbot was reported, and later confirmed, as being killed in action.

Arthur was buried at Passchendaele, Belle Vue Spur by Rev JH Lush in grave D.9.d.88. After the war his wife Olivia was sent his medals which included the British War Medal and Victory Medal, along with a scroll and plaque. Unfortunately Arthur was never to see his daughter Mary Lorraine who was born in 1917 whilst he was serving overseas. Arthur’s name is commemorated on the Timaru Memorial Wall, Temuka War Memorial, Opihi College Roll of Honour, Temuka RSA Roll of Honour, Lower Waitohi War Memorial and the Timaru Boys High School War Memorial.

Arthur’s brothers also served: 6/1734 Private Basil Herbert Talbot, Canterbury Infantry Battalion, was killed in action at Chunuk Bair at Gallipoli on 7 August 1915; 27392 Lance Corporal Christopher Mark Talbot, 1 Battalion Canterbury Infantry Regiment and 6/4359 Private Francis Matterson Talbot, Canterbury Infantry Regiment, both served in Western Europe. Another brother Lawrence Henry enlisted at the outbreak of war with the Canterbury Mounted Rifles but no record can be found of his serving at home or overseas. Well known brother, ENT Surgeon Leonard Smith Talbot, also served overseas during World War Two as a Major with the 7th Field Ambulance.


New Zealand ANZACs in the Great War 1914-1918 (University of New South Wales) at; "Civil service and teachers examination" in the Timaru Herald 21 February 1895, "Personal itmes" in the Timaru Herald 8 April 1909, "The social reoud" in the Sun 1 August 1916, "Boys' High School"in the Timaru Herald 1 December 1917, "education Board" in the Lyttelton Times 8 December 1917, "Waitohi: a patriotic gathering" in the Timaru Herald 10 November 1919, and "Temuka : citizen's service"in the Temuka Leader 26 April 1921, all courtesy of Papers Past at; The Colonist 21 January 1910, reported in "Talbot's of South Canterbury" on Rootsweb at;

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Researched and Written by

Ted Hansen, SC branch NZSG

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