DWYER, Joseph Patrick
(Service number 14082)

First Rank Rifleman Last Rank Corproal


Date 24 December 1897 Place of Birth Temuka, New Zealand

Enlistment Information

Date 8 March 1916 Age 18
Address at Enlistment Care Hally's Garage, Temuka, New Zealand
Occupation Motor Truck Driver
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mr John Dwyer (father), Guise Street, Temuka, New Zealand
Religion Catholic
Medical Information Height 5 feet 8 inches, weight 10 stone 2 pounds, dark complexion, brown hair, grey eyes, chest 31-33 1/2 inches, teeth fair

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 5th Reinforcements, 3rd Battalion, G Company
Date 26 June 1916
Transport HMNZT 57 Tahiti
Embarked From Wellington, New Zealand Destination Devonport, Devon, England
Other Units Served With B Company, 4 Battalion, New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Last Unit Served With New Zealand Rifle Brigade, 5th Reserve Battalion

Military Awards

Campaigns Western Europe (France)
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 6 June 1919 Reason Termination of his period of engagement

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

24-28 October 1916 - No1 NZ Field Ambulance - influenza, 22 October 1917 - 10th Stationary Hospital - 23 October - transferred to 21st General Hospital - personal problem - back to duty 23 December. 28 March 1918 - Somme, gunshot would to face & nose - 22 General Hospital - 3 April transferred No 1 NZGH England - 13 April transferred to Hornchurch and to Brockton in June.

Post-war Occupations

Wool & skin buyer


Date 25 August 1994 Age 96 years
Place of Death Napier, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Notices Hawkes Bay Herald-Tribune, 26 August 1994
Memorial or Cemetery Purewa Cemetery and Crematorium, Meadowbank, Auckland
Memorial Reference Block M, Row 18, Plot 18 (ashes)
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Joseph Patrick (born Joseph) was born at Temuka on 24 December 1897, son of John (1854-1934) and Mary (1866-1934) Dwyer. His parents had originally come out from Ireland and lived on a small block at Arowhenua, but later moved into, Temuka, where they lived on the corner of Guise and Denmark Streets. From here Mary operated as a midwife and maternity home.

Joseph was working for Mr W. Hally, Temuka, as a motor truck driver, when he enlisted on 8 March 1916, and put his address down as care of Hally’s Garage, Temuka, and listed his father John, as his next of kin. Joe's niece recounts “On his service record it says that his name was Joseph Patrick Dwyer, but he wasn't actually given a middle name when he was born. He lied about his age when he enlisted, ageing himself by two years. He gave his birth date in December 1895, but he was actually born in December 1897. He was described as being single, aged 20 (really only aged 18), Roman Catholic, 5 foot 8 inches tall, weighing 10 stone 2 pounds, chest measuring 31-33 ½ inches, of dark complexion, brown hair, grey eyes, and having fair teeth. Joseph was posted to the NZ Rifle Brigade, 3 Battalion, G Company. He left NZ for Devonport, England, with the 5th Reinforcements from Wellington on board SS Tahiti (HMNZT 57), on 26 June 1916, arriving 22 August.

After further training at Sling Camp, Joseph embarked for France on 19 September 1916, as a reinforcement for 4 Battalion, B Company, NZ Rifle Brigade. On 24 October 1916 he spent four days in No1 NZ Field Ambulance suffering from influenza. Later, from 8 to 22 July 1917, he attended a course at the Lewis Gun School. In October 1917, he had leave in England but on his return, he was admitted to the 10th Stationary Hospital on 22 October with a personal problem. He was transferred to the 21st General Hospital on 23 October until his discharge back to duty on 23 December. He eventually rejoined his unit on 17 January 1918, and was promoted to Lance Corporal only weeks later on 9 February. On 28 March 1918, during fighting at the Somme, he received a gunshot wound to his face and nose, was admitted to 22 General Hospital, then transferred on 3 April to the 1st NZ General Hospital, England. Transfer to hospital at Hornchurch followed on 13 April, and later in June, to Brockton. Posted to the 5th Reserve Battalion in the UK, he was further promoted to Corporal on 13 December 1918. At some point during his service overseas he visited County Kerry. Joe's niece again recounts: “Joseph's parents were both from Ireland and when he was wounded in the face during the war he went back to County Kerry to visit family. NZ uniforms were virtually identical to the British ones, and he was beaten up in the pub in Tralee. (Kerry was a hotbed of Nationalist fervour)”

Joseph‘s overseas service ended however when, on 17 March 1919, he left Liverpool, England, aboard the SS Kia Ora for New Zealand, arriving home on 9 May. After a total of 3 years and 91 days service, Joseph was discharged from the army on 6 June 1919. For this service he later received the British War Medal and Victory Medal. Joseph was interviewed about the war years in 1988, along with a number of other surviving veterans. The audio interview is held by National Library in Wellington.

In 1919, Joseph returned home to Guise Street, Temuka, and was employed as a labourer. For the remainder of his working life he was a wool and skin buyer. By 1928 he had relocated to 16 Elizabeth Street, Timaru. In 1937, he married Nora Elizabeth Lawlor (1905-1991). The couple moved several times: from 1938-1949 they lived in the Kurow district, from 1949-1957 were at 98 Reed Street in Oamaru, from 1963-1972 at 50 June Street, Timaru (by now Joseph was retired), and from 1978-1981, they were living at 13 Merchant Avenue, Te Atatu, Auckland.

Joseph died at the grand old age of 96, at Napier, Hawkes Bay, on 25 August 1994. His ashes are buried in the Purewa Cemetery, Auckland, in Block M, Row 18, Plot 18, with his wife Nora, who predeceased him in 1991.

Another brother, Rifleman Francis Patrick Dwyer (1883-1945, service no. 44098), also served overseas with the NZ Rifle Brigade, and made it back home in one piece. Both brothers had presentations made to them on their return, by the people of Arowhenua.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [4 May 2016]; SCRoll web submission from A Toledo, 4 May 2015; University of New South Wales, Canberra NZEF Project "New Zeland Anzacs in ther Great War 1914-1918" at; Assorted records from [accessed 2016]; Birth, Deaths, and Marriages at; NZSG Marriages Index 1836–1956; Purewa Cemetery and Crematorim records at [accessed August 2016]; Timaru District Council cemetery reciords at [accessed August 2016]; The Official History of the NZ Rifle Brigade at; "Joseph Dwyer" on Geni at; Marlborough Express 18 April 1918 p3, Colonist 13 April 1918 p3, and Timaru Herald 10 May 1919 p5, courtesy of Papers Past at [accessed August 2016]

External Links

Related Documents

Researched and Written by

Tony Rippin, South Canterbury Museum; Ted Hanson, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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