PURDOM, Lionel Saunders
(Service number 9/340)

First Rank Trooper Last Rank Sergeant


Date 4 January 1890 Place of Birth Timaru

Enlistment Information

Date 15 August 1914 Age 24
Address at Enlistment Mt Linton, Nightcaps
Occupation Shepherd
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs Purdom (mother), Rathmore St, Timaru
Religion Anglican
Medical Information 5ft 5in, 133lbs, dark complexion, dark grey eyes, black hair

Military Service

Served with New Zealand Armed Forces (?) Served in Otago Mounted Rifles
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation Main Body
Unit, Squadron, or Ship
Date 15 October 1914
Transport Ruapehu or Hawkes Bay
Embarked From Port Chalmers Destination Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Campaigns Egyptian
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 17 July 1918 Reason No longer physically fit for war service on account of illness contracted on active service (dysentery)

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations



Date 6 June 1952 Age 62
Place of Death Palmerston North
Memorial or Cemetery Kelvin Grove Cemetery, Palmerston North
Memorial Reference Section D Block 9 Plot 10
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Lionel Saunders Purdom was born in Timaru on 4 January 1890, one of eight children born to Selina (nee Taylor) and William Purdom of Dee St, Timaru. His father William died in 1899 aged 45 when Lionel was aged nine. He played football in his teenage years and became involved with boy scouts, in 1910 instructing the Geraldine troop in signalling which led to him being promoted to signalling corporal in November 1914.

Purdom was attested at Invercargill on 14 October 1914 (service no. 9/340), then working as a shepherd for W.J.A McGregor at Mt Linton, Nightcaps. He claimed previous military service with the South Canterbury Mounted Rifles. He was 24 years old, 5ft 5in, and 133lbs, with a dark complexion, dark grey eyes, and black hair. He embarked for Egypt at Port Chalmers on 15 October, disembarking at Alexandria on 3 December 1914. His mother Selina died in Timaru on 26 February 1915. Purdom took part in the first attack on Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 but was admitted to a field hospital at Anzac suffering from debility on 17 August 1915 and transferred to hospital at Malta 10 days later. From there he went to England and was admitted to hospitals at Farnham and London. He was discharged from hospital on 31 December 1916 and in January 1917 he began a series of desk jobs while doctors tried to get his persistent dysentery under control, being variously posted to military bases at Hornchurch, Codford, Tidworth, Torquay, Brockenhurst and London. He was promoted to sergeant in November 1917. Purdom returned to New Zealand on the Athenic in July 1918, still suffering from clinical dysentery. He was assessed as requiring a convalescent home for three months, and being unfit for service for at least 12 months. He had served three years 213 days.

After the war he married Clara Elsa Alve in 1920 and the couple made their lives in Palmerston North. Purdom was attested again during World War Two in November 1940 with the 12 Company National Military Reserve. At that time he was recorded as being 50 years old, a married salesman on his own account, living at 67 Stanley Ave, Palmerston North. He had one child under 16 and expressed a preference to serve in the transport or signalling corps. He was struck off the strength in 1941 for failing to attend the requisite number of parades. He died in Palmerston North in 1952.


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

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