ROWE, Thomas
(Service number 19/237 & 14153)

First Rank Private Last Rank Private


Date 11 May 1889 Place of Birth Dunedin, New Zealand

Enlistment Information

Date 12 Janury 1915; 9 March 1916 Age 25; 26
Address at Enlistment Waimate; Pareora, New Zealand
Occupation Labourer; Groom
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs Caroline Rowe (mother), care of A. Eddington, Hairdresser, Newtown, Wellington, New Zealand
Religion Church of England
Medical Information 5 foot 11 inches, weight 158 lbs, chest 33 1/2 - 36 1/2 inches, dark complexion, brown eyes, dark hair, teeth fairly good

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation Samoan Relief Force Infantry; 14th Regiment
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Samoan Relief Force Infantry; Canterbury Infantry Regiment
Date 27 March 1915; 26 June 1916
Transport Talune; Tahiti
Embarked From Auckland; Wellington Destination Apaia, Samoa; Devonport, England
Other Units Served With NZ Vetinary Corps
Last Unit Served With Canterbury Infantry Regiment

Military Awards

Campaigns Samoa & Western Europe
Service Medals 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 18 November 1915; 22 March 1919 Reason End of war

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

19 Feb 1917 - 3 Canadian Gen Hospital - bronchitis - transferred to No 2 Gen Hospital Walton 20 March then to convalescent hospital, Hornchurch 27 March; Aug & Oct 1917 - short spells in hospital France - dysentery; 10 Oct 1918 - wounded - admitted to 1 London Gen Hospital 16 Oct.

Post-war Occupations



Date 8 July 1962 Age 73
Place of Death Mosgiel, New Zealand
Notices Internal Affairs 9 August 1962
Memorial or Cemetery East Taieri Cemetery, New Zealand
Memorial Reference Block R, Plot 1223
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Thomas was born at Dunedin on 11 May 1889, son of James & Caroline (nee Vye) Rowe. In 1900 he was admitted to the Arthur Street School Dunedin, having previously attended the Normal School. A comment on his school record was that he was an incorrigible truant!

Thomas married Alice Charlotte McDonald Lee in 1910. A descendant recounted that Alice had a son, John (believed to have been born David John Alexander Lee). He was later raised by his uncle John A Lee after Alice’s death in 1914. While the birth record for David John Alexander Lee does not record his father, the family understood he was Thomas’ son.

Employed as a labourer by Mr W. Studholme, Waimate, Thomas joined up for service with the Samoan Relief Force on 12 January 1915. He was aged 25 on enlisting, but for some reason, gave his birth date as 15 September 1875. He was described as being single, Anglican, 5 foot 11 inches tall, weighing 158 lbs, chest measuring 33 ½ to 36 ½ inches, of dark complexion, brown eyes, dark hair and his teeth were fairly good. His mother, Mrs Caroline Rowe (care of A. Eddington), Hairdresser of Newtown Wellington, was listed as his next of kin. He embarked from Auckland aboard the SS Talune on 27 March 1915 and arrived in Apia, Samoa, on 3 April. His conduct was not the best, and he found himself in trouble when refusing to leave the soldiers drinking establishment and assaulting a Sergeant of Military Police. This resulted in him being court martialled on 12 October for resistance and disobedience, receiving 45 days detention. He returned to NZ aboard SS Talune on 7 November as a prisoner, shortly after being discharged from the army on 18 November 1915, after having served for 226 days. The Commander in Chief decreed he was not to receive any medallic awards for this service

In 1916, Thomas was working at Pareora as a groom for the Canterbury Meat Company, when he re-enlisted on 9 March into the Canterbury Infantry Regiment. This time he gave his correct date of birth and co-listed his brother, James Rowe of 32 York Place, Dunedin, along with his mother Caroline (care of Mrs Edington of 54 Tainui Terrace, Lyall Bay, Wellington) as joint next of kin. He also stated he had had previous military service with the Samoan Relief Force, and left Wellington with the 14th Reinforcements on 26 June 1916, bound for Devonport, England. Further training followed in England, and he left for France on 26 September 1916. On 19 February 1917, he was admitted to 3 Canadian General Hospital, Boulogne, with bronchitis, and on 15 March was transported aboard SS Newhaven to England, and admitted to No 2 General Hospital, Walton on 20 March. On 27 March he was transferred to the convalescent hospital at Hornchurch and left again for France on 20 August 1917. During his service he had a few run-ins with authority and received some punishments for drinking problems. In August and October 1917, he had a couple of spells in hospital with dysentery. Thomas was transferred to the NZ Vet nary Corps on 2 February 1918 until 3 August, when he again returned back to No 2 Company, Canterbury Infantry Battalion. On 10 October 1918, he was wounded in action, and admitted to 1 London General Hospital, Smithfield, on 16 October. Thomas left Tilbury, England, on 8 January 1919, aboard SS Matatua, arriving home on 22 February. After further service of 2 years and 241 days, he was discharged from the army on 22 March 1919. For this service he was to receive the British War Medal and Victory Medal.

On his return home Thomas went back to Dunedin and lived at 33 York Place with his family. A few years later Thomas married Mary Bridget Perpetua Hayes in 1923. Mary died in 1937, but the couple had three children: Josephine Leonore (b.1923), James (b.1925), and Molly (b.1927). He married his third wife, Miro Freda Russell Manley (nee Duncan), in 1938. Thomas and Miro hey lived at Mosgiel where he was employed as a labourer. Together they had four children: twins Margaret and Jocelyn (b.1938), Robert (b.1940), and Thomas (b.1942).

Thomas died at Mosgiel on 8 July 1962 and is buried in the East Taieri Cemetery.


Birth, Death and Marriage Historical Records at

External Links

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Researched and Written by

Ted Hansen, SC branch NZSG

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