WARNOCK, William
(Service number 38998)

First Rank Private Last Rank Private


Date 3 May 1877 Place of Birth Dunedin

Enlistment Information

Date 23 September 1916 Age 39 years
Address at Enlistment Normanby, Timaru
Occupation Farmer
Previous Military Experience Studholme Mounted Rifles - 1 year
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Miss Janet Fleming WARNOCK (sister), Wyndham, Southland; later of Nelson Street, Hawthorn, South Invercargill
Religion Presbyterian
Medical Information Height 5 feet 6½ inches. Weight 124 lbs. Chest measurement 32-37 inches. Complexion dark. Eyes grey. Hair brown. Sight - both eyes 6/6. Hearing good. Colour vision correct. Limbs well formed. Full and perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. Heart and lungs normal. No illnesses. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated. Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects. No fits. Small fatty tumour lower end of sacrum.

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 22nd Reinforcements Canterbury Infantry Regiment, C Company
Date 16 February 1917
Transport Navua
Embarked From Wellington Destination Devonport, England
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

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 22 June 1919 Reason Termination of period of engagement.

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

1 July 1917 - sent to hospital, sick. 4 July 1917 - wounded & admitted to hospital; progressing favourably (9th Field Ambulance); 3 August 1917, rejoined unit. 14 October 1917 - admitted to hospital at Boulogne, France, with vomiting; 21 October transferred to convalescent depot. 2 November 1918 - self-inflicted wound (gunshot wound to right hand) & admitted to NZ Field Ambulance - injured; 12 November discharged from hospital. 28 December 1918 - admitted to the NZ General Hospital from leave in UK.

Post-war Occupations

Farmer; labourer


Date 25 August 1934 Age 57 years
Place of Death Invercargill
Memorial or Cemetery Wyndham Cemetery
Memorial Reference Section XI, Plot 14
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

William Warnock was born on 3 May 1877 at Caversham, Dunedin, the eldest son of Gavin and Mary (née McLachlan) Warnock. Gavin and Mary, both from Scotland, had married in January 1875 at Dunedin. By 1878 the family was in the South Canterbury area, the birth of their third child and second daughter being registered at Timaru in that year. Gavin and Mary, with their young family, were living in the Waimate district by 1880. There four more children were born, including twins, Gavin and Mary. Mr Gavin Warnock was a farmer and contractor at Waimate. William was surely educated at Waimate District High School, where his older sister Flora received a prize in 1887 and his sister Margaret in 1892. The following year his father received a prize at the Waimate Agriculture and Pastoral Association’s annual show. Mr Warnock was possibly one who made land available for a rifle range for the Studholme Mounted Rifles (1901-1903). G. Warnock won two prizes for butter at the 1905 Waimate Show, while Miss Warnock was mentioned for her scones. The third Warnock daughter, Margaret Helen, died at Waimate in 1899, aged 18 years. In November 1905, Mr Warnock sold his property at auction – “That Well-known Freehold Property of 149 Acres, Situated within 1 Mile of Waimate and Consisting of Rich Agricultural and Grazing Land now being worked successfully as a Dairy Farm. . . . . . .” It was described by the auctioneers as “a model dairy farm”. The following month, “near mouth of gorge, Waimate”, he sold the “whole of his live and dead stock”, which included not only good dairy cows and horses, but 20 hives bees.

From Waimate the Warnock family moved to Normanby, near Timaru, where Mr Warnock again took up farming. Mr Warnock soon became involved in the Kingsdown community. The first ordinary meeting of the Kingsdown Mutual Improvement Society, when a programme of songs, recitations, and readings was provided, several selections were given by Mr G. Warnock’s gramophone. He was appointed chairman for the next meeting. He was elected secretary at the annual meeting in May 1909, and regularly presided throughout the year. William had been a contractor at Waimate before taking on farm labouring at Kingsdown, along with his youngest brother David; while his brother, Gavin, became a farm labourer at Pareora West. It was at Normanby that Mrs Mary Warnock died in January 1910. She was buried at Timaru, their youngest daughter, Mary, buried with her in 1911 and a little grandson, Gavin James, also in 1911. William Warnock was elected to the Kingsdown School Committee at the householders’ annual meeting in April 1913, and again in 1914. He was the donor of a special prize at the 1913 picnic and prize distribution. He also took a leading part in district sports and social functions.

It was in September 1914 that young Lachlan Warnock, from Wyndham, and another boy from Sherwood Downs, each took in a canary to O’Callaghan and LeCren’s mart, requesting that they be sold for the home Relief Fund. The two birds were knocked down to numerous bidders (who gave them back to the fund) and finally realised £26.10s. Lachlan, 6 years old, was the son of William’s youngest brother, David. In October 1914 David Warnock of Redan donated to the Southland Patriotic Fund. David Warnock returned to the Kingsdown area for some years, his children attending school there until 1920 when he sold his property and they moved back to Southland. Mr D. Warnock was added to the Kingsdown Patriotic Committee in mid 1917.

William Warnock enlisted on 23 September 1916, from Kingsdown, aged 39 years. A farewell social was tendered to Privates W. Warnock and E. Westgarth, in the Kingsdown School in early January 1917, when many friends and well-wishers gathered to honour them. Private Warnock, of the 22nd Reinforcements, was down on his final leave. The National Anthem was sung and musical items were given. Mr Craigie, M.P., complimented the Kingsdown district on the large proportion of young men who had volunteered for the front. “It was now quite likely, he said, that the war would be over next July or August, and we would be all glad to welcome the boys back again.” He presented wristlet watches to both men, who duly acknowledged the gifts. An enjoyable evening was then spent in dancing. Single, Presbyterian, and farming at Normanby, he nominated his sister as next-of-kin - Miss Janet Fleming Warnock, Wyndham, Southland. Janet was later of Nelson Street, Hawthorn, South Invercargill. He had previously served one year with the Studholme Mounted Rifles. He stood at 5 feet 6½ inches, weighed 124 pounds, had a chest measurement of 32-37 inches, and was of dark complexion, grey eyes and brown hair. His sight, hearing and colour vision were all good, his limbs and chest well formed, his heart and lungs normal. He was in good bodily and mental health, being vaccinated and free of diseases, illnesses, defects and fits.

Private W. Warnock embarked with the 22nd Reinforcements per “Navua” on 16 February 1917, destined for Devonport, England. Having marched into Sling on 26 April, he marched out to proceed overseas on 26 May. Private William Warnock, 38998, Canterbury Infantry Regiment, was wounded in the legs on 4 July 1917 and admitted to hospital. He had previously been sent to hospital, sick, on 1 July. He was progressing favourably in the 9th Field Ambulance and rejoined his unit on 3 August. On 14 October 1917 he was admitted to hospital at Boulogne, France, with vomiting, and transferred to the convalescent depot a week later. On 2 November 1918, he suffered a self-inflicted wound (gunshot wound to right hand) and was admitted to the New Zealand Field Ambulance. The casualty was to be reported as injured. Having been discharged from hospital on 12 November, he rejoined his unit before going on leave to England on 14 December. Two weeks later he was admitted to the New Zealand General Hospital. He was again on leave in the UK from 15 January 1918 and rejoined his unit in February. At the Kingsdown School picnic in late December 1917, the Mayor read a list of names of those who had been educated at other schools but enlisted from Kingsdown, among them William Warnock, still on active service in France.

W. Warnock remained with his unit, and embarked on “Paparoa” at Glasgow on 1 April 1919. The Paparoa’s draft (No. 246) was due at Wellington on 13 May 1919, and it brought home to Invercargill, where their sister Janet was living, two brothers - W. Warnock, 38998, and G. Warnock, 65163. William had initially intended to return to Normanby but then amended that to Mataura. He was discharged on 22 June 1919 on the termination of his period of engagement. William was, however, a guest at a social held in the Kingsdown School in early July 1919. This was held in honour of soldiers who had recently returned from active service. The evening began with dancing, followed by the singing of the National Anthem, a solo and a brief address, after which a gold medal was presented to each of the three returned soldiers present. The recipients were all heartily applauded. All three had been wounded in France but were quite fit again. After refreshments were served and people had had an opportunity to chat, dancing resumed.

As of October 1919, William’s postal address was Box 42, Mataura. His account for Overseas War-Service Gratuity was Account Warnock Bros with the Bank of New Zealand, Mataura. All his service had been in Western Europe. He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. In about 1914 Gavin Warnock, senior, had moved to Redan, Wyndham, Southland, perhaps to be closer to family members. After the war William was farming at Mataura, and some years later a labourer with his brother-in-law at Wyndham. The Will which he had made before leaving New Zealand was in the custody of his sister Janet. When he signed his new Will in 1932, he was a labourer at Morton Mains, where his youngest brother David was living. He bequeathed to his sister-in-law, Mrs David Warnock, his half-share in the real property which was owned by her and William as tenants in common in equal shares. He bequeathed the residue of his property to his sister, Janet Fleming Warnock, and appointed her as sole executrix. William died on 25 August 1934 at Invercargill, aged 57 years and is buried with his father in the Wyndham Cemetery. His father, Gavin Warnock (late of Timaru), had died in September 1923 at his daughter’s residence at Redan. His brother Gavin Warnock, also served in World War I.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [19 July 2014]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5557 0119203) [11 December 2015] ]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [18 August 2014]; Otago Daily Times, 20 January 1875, 24 July 1917, 1 May 1919, 6 September 1923, Timaru Herald, 24 December 1887, 14 November 1888, 28 December 1892, 7 April 1902, 1 April 1903, 15 November 1905, 18 November 1905 [x 2], 30 December 1905, 24 May 1907, 26 May 1908, 28 June 1909, 23 August 1909, 4 October 1909, 2 February 1910 [x 2], 30 April 1913, 30 December 1913, 5 May 1914, 7 September 1914, 8 January 1917, 27 June 1917, 28 December 1917, 14 July 1919, Otago Witness, 9 February 1910, Southland Times, 8 October 1914, 24 July 1917, 2 August 1917, 2 May 1919, New Zealand Times, 1 May 1919, (Papers Past) [19 August 2014; 11 September 2014; 13 December 2015; 03, 04 & 06 September 2020]; Wyndham Cemetery headstone transcription (South Canterbury Branch NZSG Cemetery Records microfiche) [10 April 2015]; Probate record (Archives NZ/FamilySearch) [23 June 2017]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [03 September 2020]

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