AITCHISON, William Edwin
(Service number 8/2805)

First Rank Sergeant Last Rank


Date 5 December 1895 Place of Birth Dunedin

Enlistment Information

Date 8 May 1915 Age 19 years 5 months
Address at Enlistment 443 Leith St, Dunedin
Occupation University student
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin J. Aitchison (father), Waimataitai, Timaru
Religion Presbyterian
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation 7th Reinforcements
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Otago Infantry Battalion
Date 9 October 1915
Transport Aparima or Navua or Warrimoo
Embarked From Wellington Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Service Medals
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 Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations

Student; teacher


Date *May 1965 Age 69 years
Place of Death Canada
Memorial or Cemetery Necropolis Cemetery, Toronto, Canada
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

William Edwin Aitchison, known as Bill, was born on5 December 1895 in Dunedin, the elder son of John (Jack) and Margaret (née Scott). He was educated at Caversham School, where he was placed second equal in the Infant Room Second Class in 1902. In mid 1909 the family moved to Timaru, and there Bill attended Timaru Boys’ High School. In the 1912 football exchange with Waitaki High School, Timaru was defeated by 33-0 in a wind-affected match. Aitchison was one who did “yeoman service in the backs” for Timaru. “Aitchison’s tackling was extremely good, and the score would have been much bigger but for him.” The following year he was instrumental in Timaru’s 12-3 victory, their first in twelve years. He was still playing for the High School team in 1914, with success. It was in 1914 that he was considered a good prospect for the South Island team for the Inter-Island match and the Australian tour. Also in 1914, William finished second in the school’s senior athletics championship. He was a regular participant in athletic events and probably in cricket. He achieved well academically, gaining national qualifications. At the 1913 prize distribution he was rewarded for progress in all subjects. The 1914 prize-giving brought recognition for W. E. Aitchison – Dux of the school, first in English, Mathematics, Mechanics and French, and second in Latin; and captain of First Fifteen. “He had worked consistently and thoroughly deserved his honourable position,” said Mr Thomas, the Rector. He went on to Otago University, scoring First Class examination results in Mechanics in 1919 and being awarded the Ulrich Memorial Medal at the May 1921 Capping Ceremony.

It was on 8 May 1915, while a university student in Dunedin, that William Edwin enlisted. Sergeant Aitchison was not twenty years old when he embarked on 9 October 1915 for Egypt. In mid 1916 he was wounded in France. His parents and siblings had moved to Wairoa in the North Island in 1916. They later resided at Napier. Post war Bill taught briefly at Timaru Boys’ High School. In 1922 William too, was on the move – to Canada. In 1924 he was resident at Kimberley, British Columbia. He married Edina Corson Fraser on 29 May 1925 at Vancouver. They had a daughter and a son. William died in May 1965 and was buried in the Necropolis Cemetery at Toronto.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [August 2014 & 21 July 2020]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [21 July 2020]; School Admission record (Dunedin Branch NZSG) [21 July 2020]; Otago Daily Times, 19 December 1902, 28 May 1921, Timaru Herald, 15 January 1912, 19 August 1912, 25 July 1913, 12 December 1913, 20 January 1914, 17 March 1914, 24 April 1914, 13 & 19 June 1914, 12 & 14 December 1914, Otago Witness, 9 August 1916, Evening Star, 29 October 1919 (Papers Past) [30 March 2020; 21 July 2020]; Family history ( per Google search) [21 July 2020]

External Links

Related Documents

No documents available. 

Researched and Written by

Carol Bell, SC branch NZSG; Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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