PRIEST, George Gordon
(Service number 21/4)

First Rank Private Last Rank Cpl


Date 23 April 1885 Place of Birth Timaru

Enlistment Information

Date 30 December 1914 Age 29
Address at Enlistment Timaru
Occupation Law clerk
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin William Priest (father), Bank St, Timaru
Religion Anglican
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with New Zealand Armed Forces (?) Served in Army Pay Dept
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation Fourth Reinforcements
Unit, Squadron, or Ship
Date 17 April 1915
Embarked From Wellington Destination Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Campaigns Egyptian, Western Front
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 29 June 1919 Reason Discharged on termination of period of engagement

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations



Date 24 February 1954 Age 68
Place of Death Palmerston North
Memorial or Cemetery Kelvin Grove Cemetery, Palmerston North
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

George Gordon Priest was born in Timaru on 23 April 1885, the son of ironmonger William Priest and his wife Barbara (nee Simpson). As a youth he was involved with local swimming clubs and achieved modest success. He also represented South Canterbury in rugby in 1908.

Priest (service no.21/4) enlisted for service early in the war, on 30 December 1914, at that time a law clerk for Timaru solicitors Tripp & Rolleston, living with his parents in Bank St. His father William was named as next of kin. On 13 March 1915 the Timaru Herald reported that Sergeant G.G. Priest of Timaru had been appointed to the rank of Honorary Lieutenant in the Army Pay Dept as Field Cashier with the 4th Reinforcements. He embarked for Egypt on 17 April 1915, just a week before the attack on the Gallipoli Peninsula, so was at sea during the period of that engagement. Priest stayed with the Army Pay Corps – he was in the Sudan in July 1916 but serving on the strength at Grey Towers Convalescent Camp near Hornchurch, London in the August, then going to France in September. He was back at the Pay Dept in London that December, serving in Southampton Row at NZ’s Military High Commission.

Priest was discharged in March 1917 and returned to NZ on the Maunganui. His brother, Capt Roy Simpson Priest, was killed in Jerusalem on 19 April 1917. The Timaru Herald of 22 May 1917 notes that Lieutenant G.G. Priest, who returned to NZ “last week”, was on leave at his parents’ home. His army record shows him being discharged on 15 June 1917, but he enlisting again on 21st June. He married Kate Emily Beckingham at Timaru on 18 December 1917 and re-embarked for England in March 1918. There he served as a sergeant with Canterbury Coy at Larkhill, in Wiltshire until leaving for France on 10 September, being posted to the NZ Army Ordnance Corps in November. He was finally discharged on 28 Jun 1919.

After the war Priest and his wife moved to Palmerston North and had three sons – Peter Mortimer in 1920, George Basil in 1924 and Denis Gordon in 1927. George Priest died in Palmerston North in 1954 and is buried in Kelvin Grove Cemetery.


NZ Defence Force Personnel Records, Archives NZ; NZ BMD Online at; Assorted articles courtesy of Papers Past at; Palmerston North CIty, cemetery recrods at; Assorted records at

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