BLACKWOOD, William John
(Service number 27207)
|First Rank||Private||Last Rank|
|Date||9 March 1882||Place of Birth||Glenavy|
|Address at Enlistment||Sutherlands|
|Previous Military Experience|
|Next of Kin||Mrs Jessie Blackwood (mother), Glenavy, South Canterbury, New Zealand|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||New Zealand Expeditionary Force|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||17th Reinforcements, J Company|
|Date||25 September 1916|
|Embarked From||Wellington, New Zealand||Destination||Devonport, England|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
|Date||27 March 1950||Age||68 years|
|Place of Death||Timaru|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Pleasant Point Cemetery|
|Memorial Reference||Plot 161, Row 24 General Section, Row 24, Plot 161|
|New Zealand Memorials||Tycho War Memorial; Sutherlands War Memorial|
William John Blackwood was the youngest son of Richard and Jessie (née Hossack) Blackwood. He was educated at Glenavy and Tawai schools. W. J. Blackwood is remembered on two local memorials which record the names not only of those who gave their lives but also of those who served.
The Sutherlands memorial, erected in the grounds of Sutherlands School, was unveiled in early December 1921, in the presence of people from many miles around, all anxious to honour the men who fought for them. The names of the soldiers are inscribed on a marble slab set into the front of a concrete block three feet square – those names including W. J. Blackwell. “The monument had been erected in the school grounds because it was felt that it would there convey to every boy and girl who went through tho school a valuable lesson in loyalty to country and self-sacrifice for the general good. The monument would give a perpetual reminder of what the young men of the present day had done for this and succeeding generations, and would show also that their services had been appreciated.” The ceremony opened with the National Anthem, the hymn, “0 God, Our Help,” was feelingly sung, and several brief addresses were given. Following the unveiling by Mrs Sams, “the mother of Sutherlands,” the ceremony concluded with “The Last Post”.
The Tawai War Memorial was unveiled in August 1923 at the Tawai School. The proceedings opened with the singing of the National Anthem, followed by various speakers.
It was proposed to place a sheet containing the military history of all those on the Roll of Honour, including the place of death and burial, in a drawer of the memorial, so that in the years to come it would be a permanent record of service of all those who had made the supreme sacrifice.The Rev. J. D. Wilson said he was glad of the opportunity to speak on behalf of the men who came not back to tell the message of those fields on the other side of the world, and also on behalf of the men who came back, but were too diffident to tell of the things they had seen enacted in the world tragedy. He never lost an opportunity to tell of the men and women, their brothers and sisters, who played such heroic parts in the western world and the middle of the Far East. Those men and women gave their very best in the harrowing days of 1914-18. “We forgot our little class distinctions, our political and religious differences, and remembered only that we were all equal sons and daughters of the Empire.” He then unveiled the memorial, “To the glory of God, and in memory of the men from Tawai District who made the great sacrifice.” The prayer of dedication was said, the Benediction was pronounced, and the singing of Rule Britannia and the National Anthem concluded the ceremony. The memorial, which is a very beautiful piece of work, contains twenty-two names, including Blackwood W. In the centre is the inscription: “The supreme sacrifice,” and under an emblem of laurel leaves five names, and the inscription: “They died that we might live.”
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [09 February 2020); NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [11 February 2020]; School Admission record [10 February 2020]; Pleasant Point Cemetery headstone image (Timaru District Council) [10 February 2020]; Timaru Herald, 6 December 1921, 24 August 1923 (Papers Past) [29 January 2020; 09 February 2020]
Researched and Written by
Tony Rippin, South Canterbury Museum; Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG
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Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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