BLACKWOOD, William John
(Service number 27207)

First Rank Private Last Rank


Date 9 March 1882 Place of Birth Glenavy

Enlistment Information

Date Age
Address at Enlistment Sutherlands
Occupation Farmer
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status
Next of Kin Mrs Jessie Blackwood (mother), Glenavy, South Canterbury, New Zealand
Religion Presbyterian
Medical Information

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 17th Reinforcements, J Company
Date 25 September 1916
Transport Devon
Embarked From Wellington, New Zealand Destination Devonport, England
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Service Medals
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 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

Biographical Notes

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]

External Links

Related Documents

Researched and Written by

Tony Rippin, South Canterbury Museum; Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Logo. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.

Tell us more

Do you have information that could be added to this story? Or related images that you are happy to share? Submit them here!

Your Details
Veteran Details
- you may attach an image or document up to 10MB