LYNCH, William Joseph
(Service number 52627)

Aliases Willie
First Rank Private Last Rank Private


Date 27 September 1887 Place of Birth Seadown

Enlistment Information

Date 21 February 1917 Age 29 years 5 months
Address at Enlistment Seadown, South Canterbury
Occupation Shearer
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs Hanora LYNCH (mother), Seadown, South Canterbury
Religion Roman Catholic
Medical Information Height 5 feet 2 inches. Weight 133 lbs. Chest measurement 34¼-36½ inches. Complexion dark. eyes blue. Hair brown. Sight - both eyes 6/6. Hearing - right ear normal, left ear deaf. Colour vision normal. Limbs well formed. Full and perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. heart and lungs normal. No illnesses. Free from hernia, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated (right arm). Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects. No fits. Varicocele. Moderate degree of flat foot. Scar on forehead. Class A

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation
Unit, Squadron, or Ship
Embarked From Destination
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

Farm labourer


Date 29 April 1973 Age 85 years
Place of Death 91 Grants Road, Timaru (residence)
Notices Timaru Herald, 30 April 1973 & 1 May 1973
Memorial or Cemetery Temuka Cemetery
Memorial Reference General Section, Row 215, Plot 544
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

William Joseph Lynch stated that he was born on 27 September 1876, whereas it is believed that he was born on 27 September 1887, at Seadown, and baptised twelve days later, on 9 October 1887, in the Temuka Catholic Parish. William was the oldest of the eleven children of Irish born John and Hanora (Nora, née Hayes) Lynch. He was educated at Seadown and Kerrytown schools. At Seadown he made his mark especially in performing. Following the Seadown School traditional picnic in December 1899, he was awarded a prize for “not having missed more than 15 half days”, while his brother Maurice and sisters Dora and Katie were awarded standard prizes. Like his father he was into dancing. At the annual Seadown School concert held in May 1899 “Master Willie Lynch danced an Irish Jig so meritoriously that he was recalled.” At the 1901 concert he again danced an Irish jig while his father performed the hornpipe dance. At a social at Seadown School in May 1900, Master Willie Lynch provided an item – step dance, as did his father – step dance and jig. He was very likely the Master Lynch who danced the Sailor’s Hornpipe at the annual musical and dramatic entertainment by the pupils of St Joseph’s School, Kerrytown, in November 1901. On the same occasion Master William Lynch played the part of Mr Pickwick in a charade. Perhaps he appeared again in the Kerrytown School entertainment in November 1902, one of six budding athletes, dressed in blue jerseys and white trousers, who gave a first-class exhibition of a dumb bell exercise. On this occasion Mr Lynch danced the sailor’s hornpipe and the “Misses and Master Lynch in the four hand reel were a sight worth seeing.”

He enlisted on 21 February 1917 after being drawn in the Third Ballot and called up for service. He appears to have put his age up 10 or 11 years, his age being recorded as 40 years 5 months rather than 29 years 5 months . He was a shearer and ploughman at Temuka, and he said that six people were absolutely dependant on him. These were presumably his elderly parents, his brother, and maybe two younger siblings. He was single, Roman Catholic, and living at Seadown. He nominated his mother Mrs Hanora Lynch, of Seadown, as his next-of-kin. W. J. Lynch was one of about 50 men who were to leave South Canterbury to strengthen the 27th Reinforcements. The Temuka and Geraldine men (12 in total) were to be bade farewell on 13 March, with afternoon tea in the Temuka Drill Hall and a march, headed by the Band, to the railway station.

But, in March 1917, William Joseph Lynch appealed his call up, saying that he was a shearer and general farm labourer; he had to help support his aged parents; he had one brother at home but he was ill. He was allowed till April 10, (although he had requested till about June 20), to dig a few acres of potatoes for his father and a few acres for himself. On 11 April he left Temuka to join the 28th Reinforcements and “for the Front”.

William Lynch was of relatively slight build, being only 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighing 133 pounds. He was in good physical and mental health, and although he was deaf in the left ear, was affected by varicocele, and suffered from a moderate degree of flat foot, he was classified A. There was also a scar on his forehead. His complexion was dark, his eyes blue and his hair brown. On 22 October 2018 Maureen McNamara wrote that the scar on his head and the deafness were due to an accident when he was a child. Something fell on his head as the family was building a house. Consequently he never kept good health.

Private Lynch was transferred to Details soon after arriving at Trentham. From April 1917 he was regularly transferred, until 24 July when he was posted as a Deserter. In June he had forfeited 24 days for overstaying his leave. Among the names of men belonging to the Timaru district, whose names appeared in a list of military defaulters published on May 14, 1919, in the New Zealand Gazette by the Minister of Defence was that of W. J. Lynch, Seadown. 52627 Private William Joseph Lynch of C Company, 28th Reinforcements, was discharged on 4 August 1919 under a specific paragraph, having seen no overseas service. His brother, Maurice Patrick Lynch, was also called up later in 1917, as was his uncle, Michael Thomas Lynch. Both were listed on the New Zealand Army World War I Reserve Roll. Another brother, John Gabriel Lynch, was drawn in the ballot for World War II. William’s cousin, Timothy Joseph Breen, died of wounds in 1917 in France.

Until the 1950s William lived on Lynch Road, which was named after his grandfather and namesake, William Lynch who died in 1902. William’s mother Nora died in January 1920, and his father John in a tragic accident in September 1922 when he was hit by a car as he was cycling home in the evening. William married Eda Isabella Hanson in 1934. He engaged in farm work at Seadown, until he and Eda moved from Seadown into Timaru in the 1960s. There he died at his home, 91 Grants Road, on 29 April 1973, survived by Eda, their son and three daughters. He was buried in the Temuka Cemetery, Eda buried with him in 1997.


NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5544 0070105) [19 February 2016]; Temuka Leader, 20 May 1899, 23 November 1901, 15 November 1902, 13 March 1917, 14 April 1917, 05 September 1922 [x 2], Timaru Herald, 26 December 1899, 21 May 1900, 8 September 1902, 13 January 1917, 17 March 1917, 10 April 1917, 27 May 1919, 26 June 1919, 19 & 28 January 1920 (Papers Past) [14 & 15 February 2016; 28 & 29October 2018]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [15 February 2016; 29 October 2018]; Christchurch Catholic Diocese Baptisms Index CD (held by South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [21 February 2016]; School Admission records (South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [14 February 2016]; Temuka Cemetery headstone image (Timaru District Council) [14 February 2016]; Timaru Herald, 30 April 1973 & 1 May 1973 (Timaru District Library) [19 February 2016]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [28 & 29 October 2018]; SCRoll submission from Maureen McNamara [22 October 2018]

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

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