PILKINGTON, Charles Merritt
(Service number 7/801)

First Rank Sergeant Last Rank Lance Corporal


Date 2 August 1896 Place of Birth Christchurch, New Zealand

Enlistment Information

Date 13 December 1914 Age 18
Address at Enlistment Woodbury, South Canterbury, New Zealand
Occupation Bank Clerk
Previous Military Experience 8th South Canterbury Rifles
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs G.M. Pilkington (mother), Carleton School, Bennett's Junction, Woodbury, New Zealand
Religion Presbyterian
Medical Information 5 foot 10 inches tall, weight 141 lbs, chest 33 inches, dark complexion, dk grey eyes, black hair, false upper teeth, good lower teeth

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation 3rd Reinforcements
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Canterbury Mounted Rifles
Date 14 February 1915
Transport Maunganui, Tahiti, Aparima, or Navua
Embarked From Wellington, New Zealand Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With Canterbury Mounted Rifles

Military Awards

Campaigns Egyptian & Gallipoli
Service Medals 1914-1915 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 12 September 1916 Reason Physically unfit

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

1 December 1915: Gunshot wounds to right arm. 5 December 1915: admitted to No.2 NZGH Alexandria. 21 December: transferred to NZGH Cairo. On return to New Zealand treated at Christchurch Hospital

Post-war Occupations

Farmer, Traffic Inspector, Civil Servant


Date 31 August 1983 Age 87
Place of Death Auckland, New Zealand
Memorial or Cemetery Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland New Zealand
Memorial Reference Ashes Protestant Berm B, Row 8, Plot 41
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Charles, second son of George Merritt and Anne Welby (nee Hadfield) Pilkington, was born in Christchurch on 2 August 1896. He received his primary education at the Silverstream and Woodbury Schools and secondary at Christchurch Boys High School.

Prior to enlisting on 13 December 1914, he was employed as a bank clerk at the Geraldine branch of the Bank of New South Wales. On his enlistment papers he made out he was two years older than he was by quoting his aged as 20 years, and his date of birth as 2 August 1894. This was quite common for those who were underage for overseas service. He was described as being single, Presbyterian, 5 foot 10 inches tall, weighing 141 lbs, chest measuring 33 inches, of dark complexion, dark grey eyes, black hair, having false upper teeth and the lower teeth good. He gave his next of kin, his mother, Mrs G.M. Pilkington of Carleton School, Bennett’s Junction, Woodbury, where his father was principal teacher, and his last New Zealand address as Woodbury, South Canterbury. Having had previous military service with the 8th South Canterbury Rifles he was enlisted with the rank of Sergeant in C Squadron, Canterbury Mounted Rifles. After training, he embarked for Suez, Egypt, with the 3rd Reinforcements from Wellington on 14 February 1915, aboard the Maunganui, Tahiti, or Aparima. While on route to Egypt his rank was reverted back to Corporal on 24 February. After Egyptian service he was posted, on 3 October 1915, to the 8th Mounted Rifles at Mudros, where he again dropped his rank back to Lance Corporal.

On 1 December at Gallipoli, he received a gunshot wound to his right arm, and on 5 December was admitted to 2 NZ General Hospital Alexandra. On 21 December he was transferred to NZ General Hospital Cairo. After further treatment, he was found unfit for further military service, and on 14 April 1916, discharged to New Zealand aboard the Hospital Ship Maheno, arriving in Lyttelton on 14 April. Further treatment followed at the Christchurch Hospital, and he was finally discharged from the Army on 12 September 1916, as physically unfit due to wounds received in action. Charles was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medals for his service. His elder brother, Corporal Ronald Frank Pikington (no.8/267) was also serving in Gallipoli during this period with the Otago Infantry Battalion.

In October 1920 Charles married Miss Louisa Clare Bailey at St Mary’s Church, Addington. In May 1921, he was granted land under the Returned Soldiers scheme, and farmed at Southbridge for some years. There he was secretary of the Southbridge RSA, a keen rifle shooter, member of the Southbridge Athletics Club and tennis player. In 1935, he had moved to the Hawkes Bay area and was working for the Public Works Department at Tuai. During the Second World War he joined the 1st Battalion of the National Reserve on 9 July 1940 with the rank of Lieutenant, listing his current occupation as a Traffic Inspector. On 7 May 1942, he was discharged to join the Home Guard Traffic Control Section. On 5 March 1943 he was promoted to Captain and placed in charge of Number 1 Company at New Lynn and, in 1944, was the Traffic Inspector for schools. After the war he was recorded as a Traffic Inspector at Waitakere, chairman of the New Lynn RSA, and member of the New Lynn Bowling Club.

Charles' wife died in 1947. In 1948 he married again, this time to Frances May Thuell (nee Wade) and was farming at Henderson. 1957 saw him at Massey employed as a civil servant, 1963 at Greerton, Bay of Plenty, retired, and 1978, was living at Te Atatu, Auckland. In 1983, he was at Mt Roskill, Auckland, where he died on 31 August. Charles was cremated, his ashes being interred at the Waikumete Cemetery.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotpah Database (August 2015); Military Personnel file at NZ Archives (August 2015); Fam Net, The Family History Network at; Auckland Council Cemetery records at 1 (2 September 2015); Papers Past at The Sun 14 April 1916 "Home again: The Maheno's Men", The Press 15 April 1916 "Sick and wounded: arrival of Maheno's contingent", Ellesmere Guardian 2 October 1920 "Pilkington-Bailey" wedding report, The Otago Daily Times 9 December 1915 "The Roll of Honour", and many more (2 September 2015); Ancestry at (2 September 2015); NZSG NZ Burial Locator V2 NZSG NZ Marriages 1856-1956; New Zealand ANZACs in the Great War 1914-1918 at (2 September 2015)

External Links

Related Documents

Researched and Written by

Ted Hansen, 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