ANNALS, George
(Service number 47299)

First Rank Private Last Rank Private


Date 16 March 1883 Place of Birth Belfield, near Orari

Enlistment Information

Date 1 February 1917 Age 33 years 10 months
Address at Enlistment Pleasant Valley, Geraldine
Occupation Farmer
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs James ANNALS (mother), Waiapi, Temuka
Religion Methodist
Medical Information Height 5 feet 5 inches. Weight 146 lbs. Chest measurement 34-38 inches. Complexion dark. Eyes grey. Hair brown. Eyes both 6/6. Hearing and colour vision normal. Limbs well formed. Full and perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. Heart and lungs normal. Teeth good. No illness. Free of hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Good bodily and mental health. Free of physical defects likely to interfer with efficient performance. No slight defects. Never had a fit. Fit Class A. Teeth - 2 fillings required, and partial upper and lower dentures.

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 26th Reinforcements Canterburyy Infantry Regiment, C Company
Date 9 June 1917
Transport Willochra 
Embarked From Wellington Destination Devonport, England
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With C Company, 26th Reinforcements

Military Awards

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 26 June 1919 Reason Termination of period of engagement.

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

14 August 1918 - wounded in action, in the Field, France - wounded in left arm & head. Returned home with scar under left clavicle which caused pain at times, but movement not affected.

Post-war Occupations



Date 9 January 1965 Age 81 years
Place of Death Geraldine. Of "Braeside", Wilson Street, Geraldine
Notices Timaru Herald, 11 January 1965
Memorial or Cemetery Geraldine Cemetery
Memorial Reference Section: Services, Row 503, Plot 3
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

George Annals was the second son of James and Sarah Jane (née Evans) Annals, of Waiapi, Temuka, this appearing to be the only family of the surname in New Zealand. James and Sarah had married in 1873 in England and were living in New Zealand by 1875. George was born on 16 March 1883 at Belfield near Orari, and attended Belfield School with his siblings. The Belfield School opened in 1884, after a proposed school was mooted in mid 1883, Mr Annals being part of the committed elected for the purpose. He continued to serve on the committee for some years afterwards through the 1880s and 1890s. In March 1897 Mr J. Annals was successful in the ballot for land in the Waiapi Settlement on the Arowhenua estate. Young George enjoyed success at school, featuring in the prize list announced at the school’s annual picnic on New Year’s Day 1894, with commendation in Standard I, and again on New Year’s Day 1895, with first placing in Standard II. George also enjoyed success in the work environment, gaining first prizes, a trophy, and cash in the Class C ploughing competition held in September 1903 as part of the Geraldine annual ploughing match – although he was the only competitor in that class. He also won several special prizes – second prize, H. Turner’s trophy and 8 shillings for Best kept Harness; first prize, D.I.C. trophy and 10s 6d for Best Feering Class C; and 5 shillings for Best Finish Class C.

It was in December 1916 that George Annals, farmer of Pleasant Valley, was drawn in the second Military Service Ballot for the South Canterbury recruiting district. He was already listed in the First Reserves. George appealed, stating that he had three brothers in France and he was the only one left to support his aged parents (his father 71 years of age and his mother 65) who lived on a farm of 15 acres, and he himself occupied a leasehold farm of 27 acres, 13 acres in oats, 8 in turnips and 6 in grass, at Pleasant Valley. He looked after his father’s farm as well as his own. Without his help, they would not get any work done. He had five married sisters. The family would not have known at this date that both Harry and Fred had been killed in action on 15 September 1916 at the Somme, France, as no contact had been found for Henry whose death had been determined in January 1917, and Fred’s death was not determined until March 1917. James Annals, George’s father, stated that he and his wife were in receipt of the old age pension and each of his three boys at the front allotted him 3 shillings a day. The chairman said “It seems you’re not badly off. . . . Everybody had to suffer,” and he dismissed the appeal. When the father pointed out that he had three sons away, the chairman said “I admire you for that.” On 20 February 1917 at the Temuka Live Stock Market, Mr George Annals (“who is leaving on active service) offered one half-draught mare, 9 years, in foal to Prince Alexander, and one half-draught colt, 3 years. Back in 1914 George Annals had sold four acres of land at Belfield.

That same day, G Annals left by the second express for Trentham, with a number of South Canterbury men. Prior to this he and sixteen other men were treated to a “send-off” at Temuka, one of the biggest and most successful for the Temuka, Geraldine, and district representatives. They were entertained to afternoon tea by the Ladies’ Patriotic Entertainment Committee, and the abundance of refreshments meant that “the men would depart well fortified for their journey to Wellington.” They were going away with Temuka’s best wishes, and when they came back they would get a hearty welcome. “They were going to the front to stand for truth, liberty and righteous,” Captain Hawkes(S.A.) said. Major Kennedy observed that the training given at Trentham had enabled their men to meet the best trained troops in the world. The men assembled outside and marched to the railway station, headed by the brass band. There the Mayor called for three hearty cheers. As the men joined other South Cantabrians aboard the train, they were cheered again and again, the band playing “Soldiers of the King”. George Annals, Robert Guilford and Private Robinson were farewelled at a social on 10 April 1917 in the Pleasant Valley Schoolroom, to which soldiers were invited.

From 15 April till 17 April 1917, while in camp at Featherston, George was absent without leave, for which he incurred a fine of 4 days pay and forfeited ½ day’s pay. Private George Annals embarked at Wellington for Devonport, England, per the “Willochra” on 7 June 1917, with the Canterbury Infantry Regiment of the 26th Reinforcements. He was only 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighed 146 pounds, and was in good condition in all respects, vaccinated, and classified Fit Class A. His complexion was dark, his eyes grey and hair brown. Single, a farmer at Pleasant Valley, and of Methodist persuasion, he nominated his mother, Mrs J. Annals, of Waiapi, Temuka, as his next-of kin.

Having marched into Sling on 16 August, he was admitted to the 3rd NZ General hospital at Sling on 10 September and discharged to Codford on 20 September. He marched into Sling again on 3 October before proceeding overseas to France on 26 October and marched into camp at Etaples. He was admitted to hospital, having been wounded on 14 August 1918, as advised by cable to Mrs Annals. He had suffered a shell wound, in action, to the left arm and hand, and was admitted to the Casualty Clearing Station. His case was not a serious one. After time in convalescence he was attached to the General Base Depot, before rejoining his Battalion on 23 October.

After serving in Western Europe, 1917-1918, G. Annals embarked at Tilbury for the return to New Zealand on 18 April 1919, by the “Tofua”. A day’s delay occurred when the “Tofua” had a grounding mishap going up the Dunedin harbour to Dunedin. At Temuka, on 29 May, after a tedious wait for the troop train, the locals turned out in force – as they had been asked to do - to welcome several of their own, including Private G. Annals, who actually detrained at Temuka. The cheers of the crowd and the playing of the band compensated for the cold night. Because of the lateness of the hour, the public welcome took place at the railway station. The Mayor thanked the men for their services and assured them that their friends were very proud of them. Mr Charles Talbot, M.P., congratulated the men on their safe return with victory. “They were going into civilian life again, and if they were as honourable and as manly as they were in their soldiers’ life they will get happiness and prosperity, and our little country will laugh and sing from one end of it to the other.” His brother Walter had arrived back at Timaru by train on 19 May 1918, having come by the “Carpentaria”.

George Annals was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. On discharge in June 1919, at end of his service engagement, George returned first to Waiapi, Temuka, and by 1924 to Pleasant Valley, Geraldine. There he continued to farm well into the 1950s. Although a medical examination on leaving War Service revealed deterioration in his eyesight and a painful scar under the left clavicle, there was no impairment or disability such as to reduce his earning capacity. Mr Annals had the good fortune to win the competition for a tennis racquet at a function in October 1929, to raise funds for the laying down of a tennis court for the newly-formed Pleasant Valley Tennis Club. In September 1930 Mr George Annals, of Pleasant Valley, Geraldine, met with an accident. Out rabbiting with two companions, he fell and broke one of his legs. His companions carried him down the steep mountain side to a pack horse and accompanied to Meikleburn Station. From there he was conveyed by tip-dray to Clayton Station, and then by motor car to Fairlie, reaching the hospital there at midnight, after a very painful journey.

His brothers Henry and Frederick were killed in action in the same battle and on the same date, 15 September 1916, both within the first hour of the Battle of Flers, the Somme. Thus James and Sarah Annals lost two sons on the same date and in the same conflict. All four sons served in World War One. George’s brother Walter also served in World War One, as did his brother-in-law, Robert Guilford, (husband of Ethel Kazia Annals). George Nelson Gale, a nephew of the Annals brothers, son of their oldest sister Mary Harriett Annals and Samuel Gale, died on 15 December 1944, in Italy, while serving in World War II (aged 36 yrs), of Geraldine. Nephew William Patrick Guilford also served in World War II, as did Walter’s son, Roderick Bruce Annals. In June 1918, Mr J. Annals, who had by this time lost two sons in the war, donated to the Prisoners of War Fund in the Opihi-Rangitata district. Mr and Mrs Annals died within six weeks of each other in 1933. In 1930 it was George’s turn to make a donation, his to the cancer campaign.

George died on 9 January 1965, at Geraldine, aged 81 years. His next of kin at death was his brother Walter Annals, then living at 34 Memorial Avenue, Timaru. George Annals, 47299, was accorded RSA honours at the Geraldine Cemetery.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [03 August 2013]; N Z Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5520 0008896) [08 September 2013]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [August 2013; 08 September 2013]; NZ Electoral Rolls (; Temuka Leader, 5 July 1883, 2 February 1884, 23 April 1891, 6 January 1894, 26 January 1895, 12 February 1914, 6 & 22 February 1917, 31 August 1918, 20, 29 & 31 May 1919, 26 July 1930, Timaru Herald, 28 April 1893, 1 April 1897, 12 September 1903, 15 December 1916, 6, 19 & 20 February 1917, 3 & 7 April 1917, 24 June 1918, 29 August 1918, 19 & 20 May 1919, Nelson Evening Mail, 29 August 1918, Evening Post, 29 August 1918, Lyttelton Times, 29 August 1918, Press, 21 October 1929, Otago Daily Times, 24 September 1930 (Papers Past) [05 & 18 November 2013; 12 July 2014; 11 July 2015; 04 September 2015; 31 March 2018; 19 December 2018; 26, 27 & 28 May 2019]; NZ BDM Indexes (DIA) [August 2013]; "Robert and Ethel Kezia Guilford" on 150th Anniversary William and Mary Benbow at [August 2013]; Geraldine Cemetery headstone image (Timaru District Council) [28 August 2013]; Timaru Herald, 11 January 1965 (Timaru District Library) [11 April 2014]; WWI CD 3rd edition (NZSG production; SC Branch NZSG CD collection) [07 Aug 2013]

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

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