DWYER, Francis Patrick
(Service number 44098)

First Rank Rifleman Last Rank Rifleman


Date 1 December 1893 Place of Birth Rushcutters Bay, Sydney, Australia

Enlistment Information

Date 4 January 1917 Age 23
Address at Enlistment 8 The Terrace, Wellington, New Zealand
Occupation Railway Fireman
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs J. Dwyer (mother), Temuka, New Zealand
Religion Catholic
Medical Information 5 foot 5 1/4 inches tall, weight 152 lbs, chest 34-38 inches, fresh complexion, fair hair, grey eyes

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation 24th Reinforcements, New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Unit, Squadron, or Ship G Company, New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Date 5 April 1917
Transport HMNZT 81 Devon
Embarked From Wellington, New Zealand Destination Devonport, Devon, England
Other Units Served With A Company, 2 Battalion, 3 NZ Rifle Brigade
Last Unit Served With Reserves NZ Rifle Brigade

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 21 July 1919 Reason Termination of his period of engagement

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

12 October 1917 - Field Ambulance - gun shot wound to left thigh - transferred NZGH Brockenhurst 22 October - discharged 17 February 1918. 12 September 1918 - 3rd Stationary Hospital - gun shot wound to neck and right shoulder - transferred 2 NZGH Walton, England 15 September - discharged from Codford 10 October 1918.

Post-war Occupations



Date 5 February 1945 Age 51 years
Place of Death Temuka(?), New Zealand
Memorial or Cemetery Temuka Cemetery, New Zealand
Memorial Reference General Section, Row 214, Plot 361
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Francis was born at Rushcutters Bay, Sydney, Australia, on 1 December 1893, son of John (1854-1934) and Mary (1866-1934, nee O’Neil) Dwyer. His parents had come out from Ireland around 1887 and had settled on a small block at Arowhenua, but later moved into Temuka, where they lived on the corner of Guise and Denmark Streets. Francis’ mother Mary was a registered midwife and used their home as a maternity unit.

Francis was employed as a Railway Fireman when he enlisted at Wellington on 4 January 1917, and gave his address as 8 The Terrace, Wellington. Previous to this, in 1914, he had been employed as a Fireman at Bennett’s Railway Station, Canterbury. His enlistment papers described him as being aged 23 years, single, of the Catholic faith, 5 foot 5 ¼ inches tall, weighing 152 pounds, of fresh complexion, fair hair, grey eyes and his chest measuring 34-38 inches. He nominated Mrs J Dwyer, his mother of Temuka, as his next of kin. Posted to the NZ Rifle Brigade, G Company, he left with the 24th Reinforcements from Wellington aboard HMNZT81 (SS Devon) on 5 April 1917, arriving at Devonport, Devon, England, on 10 June. Further training followed at Sling Camp before he left for France on 6 July, where he joined A Company, NZ Rifle Brigade.

From 28 September to 5 October 1917, Francis attended a course at the Brigade School. Returning to his unit they were heavily involved in the first battle of Passchendaele. On 12 October 1917 he was admitted to the Field Ambulance with a gunshot wound to his left thigh, transferred to NZ General Hospital at Brockenhurst, England, on 22 October. He was eventually discharged from Brockenhurst on 17 February 1918 to convalesce at Codford. On 15 May 1918 he was sent back to France as a reinforcement and on 6 July was transferred to A Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd NZ Rifle Brigade. In September 1918 his new unit was in the hotly contested Bapume area, and from 12 to 14 September, were heavily engaged in the battle of Havrincourt, attacking the Trescault Spur. On 12 September he was again wounded for the second time, and admitted to the 3rd Stationary Hospital with gunshot wounds to his neck and right shoulder. Transfer followed on 15 September to No2 NZ General Hospital at Walton, England. On 1 October he was transferred again to the Convalescence Hospital at Codford, where he stayed until 10 October when he was given some leave. On 28 November he was posted to the Reserves, NZ Rifle Brigade at Brockton. He remained there until 17 February 1919, when he boarding the SS Maunganui at Liverpool for his return to New Zealand, arriving at Dunedin on 21 June 1919.

Having served a total of 2 years and 199 days in uniform, he was discharged from the army on 21 July 1919. For this service he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. After returning to Temuka, on Thursday 7 August 1919, a presentation and social evening was held in his honour at the Arowhenua Maori Hall.

In 1922 Francis married Rhoda May Kennedy (1891-1963), and they were to have three children: Betty, Dawn Patricia and Thomas Michael. In 1928 they were living at 36 Caledonian Road, Christchurch, where he was employed as a labourer, and from 1935 to 1938, was at 1 Grafton Street, Christchurch. Around about this time (circa 1935) it appears that the marriage broke up, and Rhoda continued to remain in Christchurch. Francis died 5 February 1945, and is buried in the Temuka Cemetery along with his brother William Edward (1895-1945) who died less than a month earlier after accidentally swallowing poison (disinfectant). Another brother, Corporal Joseph Patrick Dwyer (service no. 14082, NZ Rifle Brigade), also served overseas during the period 1916 to 1919.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [4 May 2016]; University of New South Wales, Canberra NZEF Project "New Zeland Anzacs in ther Great War 1914-1918" at; Assorted records from [accessed 2016]; The Official History of the NZ Rifle Brigade at; SCRoll web submission from A Toledo, 4 May 2016; Timaru District Council cemetery records avaialble at [accessed August 2016]; The Timaru Herald 30 October 1917 p5, 26 September 1918 p5, 16 June 1919 p5, 23 July 1919 p1, and the Dominion 4 January 1917 p5, courtesy of Papers Past at [accessed August 2016]

External Links

Related Documents

No documents available. 

Researched and Written by

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

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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