RAMSAY, Ernest
(Service number 6/1383 (chnaged to 4/1383a))

First Rank Sapper Last Rank Private


Date 23 Sept 1892 Place of Birth Glass Niven, Amberley

Enlistment Information

Date 10 October 1914 Age 21 years 1 month
Address at Enlistment 46 Oxford St, Timaru
Occupation Carpenter (apprentice at Anders & Brown, Maori Hill)
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs L Ramsay, 46 Oxford St Timaru
Religion Prebyterian
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation Canterbury Infantry Battalion
Unit, Squadron, or Ship
Embarked From Destination
Other Units Served With 1 February 1915 - transferred to NZ Engineers
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Campaigns Balkans (Gallipoli) 1915, Egyptian 1915
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 27 October 1916 Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations


Date 5 July 1952 Age 58
Place of Death Timaru
Cause Heart attack
Memorial or Cemetery Timaru Cemetery
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Ernest was the son of Robert and Letitia Ramsay (nee Cairns), whose family arrived in Timaru on the 'Strathallan' in 1859.

He enlisted on 10 October 1914 in Timaru, giving his occupation as carpenter (he was an apprentice at Anders & Brown at Maori Hill, Timaru). He was aged 21 years and 1 month and was single.

Ernest served as a private in the Canterbury Infantry when he departed for Egypt, from where he went on to serve at Gallipoli. On 1 February 1915 though he had been transferred to the NZ Engineers (Field Company), serving as a sapper. He suffered a gunshot wound at Dardanelles, requiring recuperation in England for a time. He re-joined his unit in Gallipoli on 15 August 1915, but was evacuated the following month with myalgia. He was discharged from the army on 27 Oct 1916, as a result of illness suffered on active duty.

The war's effect on Ernest's health impacted his ability to secure full-time employment. Even so he had an active community life, and had a family of five with his wife Violet Edna (nee Ramsay). Their children were: Jean, Allan, Robert, Norma and Ramon.

Community service came in the form of serving with the West End Ratepayer's Association for over 20 years. He was also a supporter of sports, being a keen swimmer himself. The Timaru Herald later reported that:

"Mr Ramsay joined the West End Swimming Club at its inception in 1929, and during the years served as secretary, starter and judge of diving. For many years he was the club's delegate on the South Canterbury Swimming Centre, and was on the panel of judges appointed by the New Zealand Diving Association. Mr Ramsay was elected a life member of the West End Club for his valuable services."

Support of sports did not stop there, as he was also supporter the Timaru Harrier Club, which held a Saturday afternoon run from his home for a number of years.

In 2008 Ernest's granddaughter spoke with her aunt, who commented that Ernest enjoyed his beer, a smoke – and maybe less common – also enjoyed a bacon sandwich for breakfast in bed every day. He was also active, regularly swimming at the rocks at Caroline Bay all year round. Like many of his age he enjoyed. He was a good dancer, and with many of his family regularly went to Scottish Society dances.

Ernest died suddenly on 5 July 1852 at his home in Regent Street in his 59th year and was buried in Timaru Cemetery. Amongst the tributes paid to him after his death, the Timaru Harrier Club stood in silence as a mark of respect to his memory at the end of their club championships shortly after his death.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [21 December 2017]; N Z Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5550 0095745) [3 January 2018]; SCRoll web sumission by S Ramsay, 2 & 9 January 2018; Timaru Herald 7 July 1952

External Links

Related Documents

No documents available.

Researched and Written by

Liz Shea, SC branch NZSG; Tony Rippin, South Canterbruy Museum

Currently Assigned to


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