BAIN, Maxwell Stewart
(Service number 7/600)

Aliases Known as Max
First Rank Trooper Last Rank Trooper


Date 6 August 1877 Place of Birth Dunedin, Otago

Enlistment Information

Date 28 August 1914 Age 37 years
Address at Enlistment 8 Riccarton Road, Christchurch
Occupation Shepherd
Previous Military Experience 10th Contingent, South African War (9370). Discharged at end of war.
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Kenneth Burns BAIN (father), 8 Riccarton Road, Christchurch; later of Eskvale, Amberley. Also Miss Paterson (aunt), Ladies Imperial Club, Dover Street, London 4.
Religion Presbyterian
Medical Information Height 5 feet 11 inches. Weight 172 lbs. Chest measurement 38-42 inches. Complexion fair. Eyes blue. Hair fair. Sight, hearing & colour vision all normal. Limbs well formed. full & perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. Heart & lungs normal. Teeth require attention. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Good bodily & mental health. No slight defects. Fit (Teeth require attention). Scar over bridge of nose, another over right eyebrow.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation Main Body
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Canterbury Mounted Rifles
Date 16 October 1914
Transport Tahiti or Athenic
Embarked From Wellington Destination
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With Canterbury Mounted Rifles

Military Awards

Campaigns Egyptian; Balkans (Gallipoli)
Service Medals Imperial South African Medal & Clasp for South Africa 1902; 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 Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations


Date 25 August 1915 Age 40 years
Place of Death Gallipoli, Turkey
Cause Killed in action
Memorial or Cemetery Hill 60 Cemetery, Turkey. Balcairn Cemetery (memorial on parents' headstone)
Memorial Reference Special Memorial 2 Balcairn Public Cemetery - Presbyterian Section, Plot 276
New Zealand Memorials Waitaki Boys’ High School War Memorial; Upper Riccarton Memorial Library Roll of Honour; St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Christchurch, Memorial

Biographical Notes

Maxwell Stewart Bain, known as Max, was the first-born of Kenneth Burns and Mary Ann (Marian, née Forsyth) Bain. Kenneth Burns Bain came to New Zealand as a three year old with his family in the late 1840s. He married Mary Ann Forsyth in 1875. Maxwell was born on 6 August 1877 at Dunedin. His early education was at Kensington School, Dunedin, followed by a week at George Street School, Dunedin, leaving there in February 1884. Probably Maxwell continued his education, publicly or privately, in the Waimate area, where his father managed the Waihaorunga Estate. Maxwell had three brothers and three sisters, the four youngest all born at Waimate (1885-1891). Mr and Mrs Bain remained in South Canterbury well into the 1890s. In early 1894 Mr K. B. Bain, of Waihaorunga, met with a nasty accident when one of the wheels came off his buggy while he was driving round a corner in Waimate. Mr Bain was a very good farm manager, achieving high lambing percentages and judging stock at many shows. In mid 1895, Kenneth (born 1883), Mary (born 1886) and Thomas (born 1888) were enrolled at Temuka School, having previously had private tuition. James (born 1891) started his schooling at Temuka. After managing the Waihaorunga Estate for eleven years, Mr K. B. Bain was appointed to take charge of the Temuka property of the Estates Company. Mr Bain has earned and deserves the promotion he has obtained, reported the South Canterbury Times. In 1898 Mary, Thomas and James transferred to school in Christchurch. In 1897 Mr Bain was manager of the Albury Estate. Formerly of Waihaorunga and Arowhenua, he was appointed a Crown lands ranger for the Land District of Canterbury later in 1897. Maxwell went on to Waitaki Boy’s High School. After education at the Waitaki High School, he was sheep-farming with his father on the Arowhenua Estate at Temuka, before moving to the Islington works.

Maxwell Stewart Bain (Service No. 9370) served in the South African War with the South Island Regiment, G Squadron of the 10th Contingent. A drover, residing at 298 Cashel Street, Christchurch, he named his mother, Mary Bain of the same address, as next-of-kin, and signed as Max. S. Bain. He looked his age and was in good physical and mental shape. Private Bain embarked on 19 April 1902. Bain was in Natal when the war ended on 31 May 1902. Discharged after 127 days of service, he was described as of very good character. After returning he took up employment as a shepherd at Islington for the Christchurch Meat Company, where he remained until 1914. Maxwell Stewart Bain signed up for service again on the outbreak of World War One, enlisting on 18 August 1914 and being posted to the Canterbury Mounted Rifles. He had just turned 37 years, was still single and was of Presbyterian allegiance. He was a well-built man, standing at 5 feet 11 inches, weighing 172 pounds and with a chest measurement of 38-42 inches. His complexion was fair, his eyes blue and his hair fair. His sight, hearing, colour vision, heart and lungs were all normal, his limbs and chest well formed. He was in good bodily and mental health, free of diseases and slight defects, though his teeth required attention. He bore a scar over the bridge of his nose and another over his right eyebrow. He gave his address as 8 Riccarton Road, Christchurch, the same as that of his father, Kenneth Burns Bain, whom he named at next-of-kin. As for his brother Jim, another contact was added – Miss Paterson (aunt), Ladies Imperial Club, Dover Street, London 4. This was probably Mary Bain Paterson, who was a sister of his father and was born Bain but took the name of her step-father, James Paterson, who had married her widowed mother in 1856.

Embarking at Wellington with the Main Body, Canterbury Mounted Rifles, on 16 October 1914, Troopers M. S. Bain and J. Bain disembarked at Alexandria, Egypt, on 3 December 1914. He had arrived at Anzac on Command to the New Zealand Army Corps on 9 August 1915. He had been sent to Gallipoli and fought for 123 days in the trenches, before he was reported missing on 21 August, the first day of the Battle for Hill 60. The following week it was determined that he had been killed in action at Gallipoli on 25 August 1915, aged 38. It is believed that he was buried in the Hill 60 Cemetery, an isolated cemetery on the Gallipoli Peninsula, where there is a memorial plaque for him (Special Memorial 2). “Their glory shall never be blotted out” reads the inscription. A discrepancy in date of death arises because he was reported missing on 21 August and confirmed killed in action on 25 August.

The Manawatu Times of 21 September 1915 relays a correspondent’s vivid description of the situation at Anzac in the last week of August 1915. “The gallant Australians and New Zealanders were galled on for yet another effort and responded with their usual courage and devotion. As the result Knoll 60 passed finally into our hands and 400 acres of ground were added to Anzac knoll, the last crest of the last ridge separating Anzac from the northward plain. The Turks clung to the knoll with the utmost determination. When flung out of their trench by the irresistible rush of the Australians and New Zealanders the enemy would bomb their way back again, accepting terrible loss unflinchingly. When the trenches were finally captured they were full of the enemy’s dead. It took three days’ hard fighting to turn out the Turks and the ground over which we charged is still thickly strewn with the bodies of the enemy’s dead and our slain. . . . . . . . . . The world realises now how the Australians and New Zealanders fought but it is not known how they dug in, heaved and carried when not fighting.” But the digging in, heaving, carrying, pushing, advancing, attacking were not without significant casualties and loss. Many Canterbury men were wounded or killed in action, Trooper Bain being one of them. [See newspaper attachment.]

A memo from the Public Trust office dated 1.8.19 advised that Maxwell’s medals were to go to K. B. Bain at Eskvale, Amberley. The 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal, and the Victory Medal were awarded, to be added to the Imperial South African Medal and the Clasp for South Africa 1902, which had been issued to Maxwell at his “Doonside”, Lower Riccarton, address in December 1904. The memorial scroll and the plaque were sent to his father at the same address in 1921 and 1922 respectively.

The Public Trustee administered his estate. His assets amounted to £19.17.00. James Bain, the youngest brother of Maxwell, also served in World War One, he and Maxwell embarking together in 1914. Jim, as he was known, was wounded at Gallipoli not long before Maxwell was reported killed in action. Kenneth Burns Bain, senior, and his wife Mary Ann, lived for many years in Christchurch, retiring to their son’s place at Amberley, where Mr Bain died in 1922, followed by Mrs Bain in 1930. They are buried at Balcairn Cemetery, where their headstone carries a memorial to their son - Maxwell Stewart Bain, killed on Gallipoli, 21st August 1915 aged 38. Was Maxwell Stewart Thacker a son of Mary Stewart Bain and thus a nephew of Maxwell Stewart Bain? John William Joynt Thacker, a son of Mary Stewart Bain, had enlisted for service in the Royal New Zealand Air Force when he was accidentally killed in April 1940 at the station where he was head shepherd. Thomas Maxwell Bagarie Bain, a son of Thomas Bain and nephew of Max and Jim, served in World War Two. Max’s brother, Kenneth Burns Bain, was drawn in the Tenth Ballot in 1917. He was the manager of the State Fire Insurance Office at New Plymouth. His employer lodged an appeal, stating that it was not possible to find a replacement for Bain, and claimed an exemption. Finally the Appeal Board agreed that the case was a special one and granted a sine die adjournment. Thomas Bain, who was another brother of Max and Jim, and works manager of the Christchurch Tramway Board, fell to his death from a water tower at the tram depot in November 1939.

In early August 1915, St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Christchurch unveiled a Roll of Honour bearing the names of volunteers for the front from St Andrew’s Church, which had been founded in 1856. First among the many names were M. S. Bain and J. Bain. At the 1916 AGM, it was noted that a few of those on the Roll had lost their lives, but M. S. Bain was not one. On Anzac Day 1920 a tablet commemorating all the members of the congregation who had fallen in the War was unveiled. A former minister who unveiled the memorial tablet said that it was fitting that such a ceremony should take place on Anzac Day. It [Anzac] was “a name which made one think of mighty deeds, of unparalleled heroism, and of courage and sacrifice, a name to which future generations would look up.” The tablet, of white marble and containing 24 names, M. S. Bain one of them, was inscribed with the words, “In honoured memory of those of this congregation who fell in the Great War, 1914-1919.” And below the names were the words “They shall see His face.”

The Waimate Daily Advertiser of 15 October 1915 observed that the roll of honour of the Oamaru [sic] Boys’ High School contained the names of thirty old boys who had given their lives for the Empire, while two were reported missing, and that there were some Waimate names among the Waitakians who had fallen. By October 1915 more than thirty ex-pupils of Waitaki Boys' High School had given their lives, among them Maxwell Stewart Bain, whose name was recorded on the school's Roll of Honour, with pride in the part Waitakians had “played in this titanic struggle”. They, along with well over 200 on active service at this time, conveyed “very concrete and convincing instance of the effect of the imperialistic training that has characterised the school for so many years”. The record of those who had died was “a splendid one” and pupils past and present might “well feel proud of the achievement that their Alma Mater has established in so short a time, and in so great a field.” A deeply impressive service in memory of the ex-pupils who had lost their lives in the war was held in the Oamaru Opera House on 12 December 1915. The service opened with the singing of the hymn “Oh God! Our help in ages past” to the accompaniment of the 10th Regimental Band, followed by prayers, biblical readings, the hymn “For all the Saints, who from their labours rest”, the reading of the Roll of Honour, the playing of “The Dead March in Saul” and a lengthy address by a minister of religion. The singing of the National Anthem and the sounding of the Last Post concluded the service. A similar service was held on 4 April 1920, but then the Roll of Honour was much longer - 118 old Waitakians had given their lives for God and Empire. Maxwell and many others were remembered and honoured by their Alma Mater.

Maxwell Bain is remembered also on the Upper Riccarton Memorial Library Roll of Honour, his name being one of thirty-eight recorded beneath the inscription: THEIR NAME LIVETH 1914 – 1919. Prior to going out of office in June 1920, the members of the Hornby-Islington Patriotic Committee presented a little token to the relatives of the late Private Maxwell Stuart Bain (son of Mr and Mrs K. B. Bain, late of Riccarton road), who, at the time of his enlistment in the Main Body, was engaged as a shepherd at the Islington Freezing Works, and who was killed in action on Gallipoli in August, 1915. A copy of “The New Zealanders at Gallipoli” by Major Fred. Waite, D.S.O., N.Z.E., specially bound in blue padded morocco, was forwarded to Mr and Mrs Bain.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [05 June 2016]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5515 0000198) [07 June 2016]; CWGC [05 June 2016]; South Canterbury Times, 29 January 1894, 13 February 1895, Evening Star, 13 February 1895, 15, 16 & 23 September 1915, Sun, 9 August 1915, 15 September 1915 [x 2], 8 September 1916, 26 April1920, Waimate Daily Advertiser, 15 October 1915, Press, 16 & 22 September 1915, 26 April 1920, 16 June 1920, 5 August 1922, 20 November 1939, 14 December 1939, North Otago Times, 13 February 1895, 5 October 1915, 13 December 1915, Oamaru Mail, 17 September 1915, 19 October 1915, 13 December 1915, 5 April 1920, Manawatu Times, 21 September 1915, Lyttelton Times, 21 September 1915 [x 2], 26 April 1920, Taranaki Herald, 23 September 1915, 3 September 1917, Otago Witness, 29 September 1915, Evening Post, 10 October 1917, 14 & 29 January 1918, Star, 15 January 1918 (Papers Past) [05 June 2016; 07 October 2016; 21 February 2018; 20, 22 & 23 March 2021]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [05 June 2016; 22 & 26 March 2021]; Probate record (Archives NZ/Family Search) [05 June 2016]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [23 March 2021]; Balcairn Cemetery headstone transcription [05 June 2016]; Balcairn Cemetery headstone image (Find A Grave) [20 March 2021]; Upper Riccarton Memorial Library Roll of Honour (Kete Christchurch) [20 March 2021]: Hill 60 Cemetery memorial stone (NZ War Graves Project)

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