CONNELL, Maurice
(Service number 487)

Aliases Enlisted as Frank
First Rank Last Rank Private


Date 28 May 1887 Place of Birth Temuka, South Island, New Zealand

Enlistment Information

Date 24 August 1914 Age 27 years 3 months
Address at Enlistment Duke of Cornwall Hotel, Broken Hill, NSW
Occupation Labourer
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin J. CONNELL, Temuka, New Zealand
Religion Church of England; Roman Catholic
Medical Information Height 5 feet 7½ inches. Weight 150 lbs. Chest measurement 34 inches. Complexion fair. Eyes hazel; both 6/6. Hair light brown. Free from scrofula; phthisis; syphilis; impaired constitution; defective intelligence; defects of vision, voice or hearing; hernia; haemorrhoids, varicose veins, beyond a limited extent; marked varicocele with unusually pendent testicle; inveterate cutaneous disease; chronic ulcers; traces of corporal punishment, or evidence of having been marked with the letters D. or B.C.; contracted or deformed chest; abnormal curvature of spine; or any other disease or physical defect calculated to unfit him for the duties of a soldier. Can see the required distance with either eye. Heart & lungs healthy. Free use of joints & limbs. Not subject to fits of any description. Fit for Active Service.

Military Service

Served with Australian Military Forces Served in AIF
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation 10th Infantry Battalion
Unit, Squadron, or Ship H Company
Date 20 October 1914
Transport Ascanius
Embarked From Adelaide Destination
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With 10th Battalion

Military Awards

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 27 June 1916 Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

19 May 1915 - bullet wound to finger of left hand at Dardanelles, admitted to hospital; 22 May transferred to Hospital Ship; 8 June admitted to No. 1 Australian General Hospital at Cairo. 29 July 1915 - bomb wound to right thigh; admitted to No.1 Australian Casualty Clearing Station at Anzac; transferred to Fleet Sweeper, sent to Alexandria – gunshot wounds to legs in action; 6 August admitted to No. 2 General Hospital at Cairo. Invalided to Australia on 17 September 1915.

Post-war Occupations

Labourer; miner


Date 9 February 1964 Age 80 years
Place of Death Victoria, Australia
Memorial or Cemetery Cremated; ashes interred Fawkner Memorial Park, Moreland City, Victoria, Australia
Memorial Reference New Lawn Area Wall Niches, Wall L, Row 6, Niche 11
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Maurice Connell was the sixth son of John Connell and Honora (née Moore), of Upper Waitohi, Temuka. His parents who had both come from Ireland had married in 1874 in New Zealand. Born on 28 May 1887 at Temuka, Maurice was baptised Roman Catholic on 8 June 1887 at Temuka. The Upper Waitohi School opened in 1885, about ten years after Mr and Mrs Connell settled there. He was educated at Upper Waitohi School, featuring with some of his brothers and sisters in an 1893 school photo held by the South Canterbury Museum. It was in 1893 that young Maurice Connell received a prize in Primer II. The prizes were presented after a long programme of running, jumping, wrestling, skipping, etc. His father served on the Upper Waitohi School Committee and on the Waitohi Library Committee. He also presented a trophy for competition by the Waitohi Morris Tube Club. Michael Connell, a brother of Maurice, died in January 1906, after a very short illness. He was just twenty years old.

It would appear that Maurice went to Australia when he was quite young. On the outbreak of war he enlisted with the Australian Forces, doing so at Morphettville, South Australia, on 24 August 1914, as Frank Connell. He was a labourer, 27 years 3 months old, but he gave his age as 25 years 3 months. Was this inadvertently? He did state that he was born at East Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia – why? And he did attest as Frank Connell. Frank’s address was Duke of Cornwall Hotel, Broken Hill, New South Wales. On enlistment and embarkation he gave his religion as Church of England, but a hospital report in June 1915 recorded Roman Catholic. His nominated next of kin was J. Connell, Temuka, New Zealand, presumably his father or one of his brothers (John or James). He stood at 5 feet 7½ inches, weighed 150 pounds, and had a chest measurement of 34 inches. His complexion fair, his eyes hazel and both good, and his hair was light brown. He was free of all sorts of diseases and physical deformities. His vision, voice and hearing were all good, his heart and lungs healthy. His constitution was not impaired; his intelligence not defective, and he was not subject to fits.

Frank Connell was appointed to H Company, 10th Infantry Battalion. Two months later he embarked at Adelaide per the “Ascanius” for active service abroad. On 2 May 1915 he embarked for Gallipoli, only to be wounded on 19 May 1915 at the Dardanelles and admitted to hospital. He was transferred to the “Franconia”, with a slight bullet wound to a finger in his left hand. The “Franconia” had been converted to a troopship which took casualties from Gallipoli to safety in Egypt. Private Connell was, thus, evacuated to the 1st Australian Clearing Station and on 8 June admitted to the No. 1 Australian General Hospital at Cairo. He rejoined his unit on the Gallipoli Peninsula in July. When he suffered a bomb wound to his right thigh in action on 29 July 1915, he was admitted to the No. 1 Australian Casualty Clearing Station at Anzac. He had been initially reported as missing, but he had been wounded. Transferred to the Fleet Sweeper, he disembarked at Alexandria on 6 August and was admitted to the No. 2 General Hospital at Cairo, as a result of the gunshot wounds to his legs. It was in mid August1915 that Mr John Connell, Upper Waitohi, was informed by the Defence Department, Melbourne, that his son Maurice, a member of the First Australians, was wounded for a second time, suffering a shell wound in the legs at the Dardanelles. Consequently Private Frank Connell was invalided to Australia from Suez per the Hospital Ship “Beltana” on 17 September 1915.

Private Connell, 487, Returned Soldier, was discharged to duty from hospital on 9 March 1916, and allotted to 16/10th Battalion. Although he was posted as a Deserter on 27 June 1916, he was finally discharged on 27 June 1916. As no claim for War Gratuity had been made, it was automatically forfeited, although restoration was recommended. In 1923 Frank Connell claimed for War Gratuity. This claim necessitated a complete statement of service showing forfeitures and full reason of discharge. The reason is not recorded in his file. Private Frank Connell, 487 AIF, was awarded the 1914/15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Frank Connell married Fanny Bester on 12 September 1917 at Balaklava, South Australia. Frank and Fanny Elizabeth Connell lived for a time in Queensland before settling in Victoria, Australia. He worked as a labourer and a miner. On 26 March 1953 at Ivanhoe, Melbourne, Frank Connell, who was then residing at 1032 Heidelberg Road, Darebin, Melbourne, made a statutory declaration to the effect that he had lost his Discharge. It had been lost, he declared, about 20 years before “in a fire in a camp on a station on the Darling River near Wentworth”; and further, it was not in the hands of any other person. He gave his mother, of Temuka, Timaru, as the name and address and relationship of recorded next-of-kin on enlistment, whereas his father had been named. In his letter he outlined that he required the Discharge so that he could get a war mortgage on a little house. He was 65 years old, had TB, and was living in two rooms at the back of a butchers shop, but had been told by his doctor that he should not be sleeping in the same room as his wife. “I may have used Maurice I forget.”

Maurice Francis O’Connell – the son of John Connell and Onora Moore - died on 26 February 1980 in Victoria, aged 92 years. He was probably cremated, his ashes interred at Fawkner Memorial Park, Moreland City, Victoria, and the site marked with a services plaque. Fanny Elizabeth Connell died on 4 May 1982, aged 92 years, and her ashes were interred alongside Frank’s. Interestingly, on the deaths of his parents in 1934 and 1948, Maurice is known as Maurice, yet, on the death of his brother John in February 1975 and that of his sister Cicely in July 1977, all their siblings, living and deceased being named on both occasions, he is named as Frank of Melbourne. His own death and burial were registered as Maurice Francis Connell, and his plaque is inscribed M. F. Connell.

Maurice’s (Frank’s) father, John Connell, who had come from Ireland to New Zealand in 1865 and was a long-time resident of Upper Waitohi before retiring to Timaru, died in April 1934 at his Timaru residence, aged 91 years. He was survived by Mrs Connell, six sons and four daughters. Mr Connell named his wife and all his children in his will, including his son Maurice Connell of Broken Hill, Australia, paying most of them pecuniary legacies. Maurice’s inheritance was one hundred pounds (£100). Mrs Honora Connell, who had come from Ireland to New Zealand at the age of nineteen, died in August 1948, aged 98 years. Her two married daughters lived at Pleasant Point; the two single daughters lived at Timaru; M. Connell (Maurice) in Melbourne , Daniel and two other sons at Waitohi Flat, another at Levels and another at Ashburton.

His youngest brother, Daniel Connell, also served in World War I. Mr James Connell (brother), of Waitohi, presented a flag which was sold at the conclusion of the Waitohi concert presented in October 1915 by the Point Amateur Theatrical Society, realising £216 for the Sick and Wounded Soldiers’ Fund. The following month, Maurice’s sister, Cecily (Ciceley), was one of those in charge of the Jumble stall at the Waitohi Carnival in aid of the Fund for Sick and Wounded Soldiers and Dependents. In December 1916, James Connell, farmer, of Upper Waitohi, appealed. He had a farm of 280 acres and provided particulars of crop and value. It was all agricultural land and harvest would start about the end of January. “His father was 79 or 80 and the son who lived with him had been drawn in the ballot and did not intend to appeal. As soon as he went, some arrangement would have to be made for carrying on the father’s farm.” The case was adjourned sine die. Was he the same James Connell who was passed as Class C2 (fit only for Home Service) in August 1917?

William Connell of Levels – Maurice’s oldest brother, was called up in June 1917 to explain why he had not been up for medical examination. He said he had not received his letter in time. He was told that he treated the matter too lightly and was liable to arrest. In reply, William said he was in the Second Division, in any case, as he had been married since 1912 and had two children. “Well, why did you not say that before? And why did you not take steps to prove it? We can’t take your word for it. We want documentary proof of it. You must go to a little trouble over these things and supply us with a copy of your marriage certificate.” William said he did not know where the certificate was; perhaps his wife had it; he would ask her. He was advised to ask his wife, and if she had not got it, to get another from the Registry Office and forward it to the Board at Christchurch, which he said he would do. A year later he was drawn in the South Canterbury District first ballot for Class C of the Second Division Reserve.

A Roll of Honour of ex-pupils of Upper Waitohi School contains the names of twenty men who served in World War I and three who served in the South African War. Of the twenty, six lost their lives. M. Connell and D. Connell are two of the names inscribed thereon.


Australian Imperial Force Attestation Records (National Archives of Australian, Series No B2455, Item ID 3277177; per [25 January 2021]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [03 April 2014]; Catholic Diocese of Christchurch baptism index (CD held by South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [29 May 2015]; Temuka Leader, 5 May 1892, 30 December 1893, 18 December 1900, 2 May 1901, 11 July 1903, 23 January 1906, Timaru Herald, 20 August 1915, 19 October 1915, 26 November 1915, 29 December 1916, 22 June 1917, 19 June 1918, 4 & 7 April 1934, 13 July 1935, Press, 4, 7 & 10 April 1934, Ashburton Guardian, 21 August 1948, (Papers Past) [03 April 2014; 16 December 2020; 03 & 26 January 2021]; Upper Waitohi School, 1893 – photo held by South Canterbury Museum (Google search) [28 August 2014; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [14 April 2015; 01 January 2021]; Australian Electoral Rolls ( [25 January 2021]; Victoria, Australia, Death Index ( [03 January 2021]; South Australia Marriage Index [January 2021]; Fawkner Memorial Park, Victoria, Australia, headstone image & burial records (Find A Grave) [January 2021]; Timaru Herald, 4 February 1975, 1 August 1977 (Timaru District Library) [28 January 2021]

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

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