BRENT, Theodore Daniel
(Service number 7/312)
|Aliases||Known as Theo, Barney|
|First Rank||Trooper||Last Rank||Trooper|
|Date||24 June 1889||Place of Birth||Outram, Otago|
|Date||20 August 1914||Age||25 years|
|Address at Enlistment||Dominion Hotel, Christchurch|
|Occupation||Steward & groom|
|Previous Military Experience|
|Next of Kin||Septimus Edward BRENT (father), 65 York Place, Dunedin|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Medical Information||Height 5 feet 6½ inches. Weight 141 lbs. Chest measurement 32-34½ inches. Complexion dark. Eyes grey. Hair brown. Limbs well formed. Full and perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. Heart and lungs normal. Teeth - upper false. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated. Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects. Scar inside right ankle.|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||Main Body|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||Canterbury Mounted Rifles|
|Date||16 October 1914|
|Transport||Tahiti or Athenic|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||Canterbury Mounted Rifles|
|Campaigns||Egyptian; Balkan (Gallipoli)|
|Service Medals||1914-1915 Star; British War Medal; Victory Medal|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
17 April 1915 - admitted to hospital at Pont de Koubbeh; 3 June 1915 discharged
|Date||21 August 1915||Age||26 years|
|Place of Death||Gallipoli, Turkey|
|Cause||Killed in action|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Hill 60 (New Zealand) Memorial, Hill 60 Cemetery, Turkey. Andersons Bay Cemetery, Dunedin (memorial on parents' headstone)|
|Memorial Reference||Andersons Bay Cemetery - Block 137, Plot 127|
|New Zealand Memorials||St Clair School, Dunedin, memorial tablet (Theodore D. Brent); Kaikorai School Roll of Honour (as BRENT, T.); Alexandra War MemoriaL (as BRENT Theo)|
Theodore Daniel Brent, known as Theo, was the younger son of Septimus Edward Brent, who had left his native England in 1871, and New Zealand born Susannah Brent (née Susannah Hueston Patterson or Rivers). Septimus and Susannah married in 1881 in the Bank of New Zealand dwelling house at Alexandra South. Theodore was born on 24 June 1889 at Outram, when his father was the manager of the Bank of New Zealand there. He was educated at several schools in Otago, starting at Outram School when he turned five. From there he went to Kaikorai School in Dunedin and on to Andersons Bay and Mosgiel. In February 1899 he went off to Alexandra Public School where he came under the guardianship of his grandfather, Mr James Rivers. Some of his siblings also spent time at Alexandra School. Late in 1899 Theodore returned to Dunedin where he went to George Street School at the beginning of 1900. After stints at St Clair School, Dunedin, and again at Kaikorai, he went off to work just before his seventeenth birthday. As a boy, Theo was an enthusiastic member of both the George Street School and the Kaikorai School cadets. Theodore was known to his Dunedin school-mates as Barney. Young Theodore Brent got into a little bit of strife in early 1901. Three small boys, one of them Theodore, appeared in court to answer a charge of damaging the New Zealand Government’s telegraph wires in the North-east Valley by throwing stones. The case was dismissed as, although there was no doubt that the boys had thrown the stones, the presiding J.P.s considered the case trivial and that it should not have been brought. In April 1913 Theodore Daniel Brent was remanded for sentence for the theft of a bicycle and a door mat. The magistrate said that he had decided to take a certain risk and do what was contrary to the usual rule in such a case (stealing a bicycle). He admitted Brent to probation for six months, believing that it would give Brent “a better opportunity of getting back into a proper frame of mind than if he were sentenced to a term of imprisonment.” The probation officer would lay down some serious conditions. On the other charge he was convicted and discharged.
Sometime after this, Theodore, who had been a labourer and driver in Dunedin, went to work on the land in South Canterbury, where he was when the war broke out. He enlisted on 20 August 1914 at Addington, one of the first to do so, giving his occupation as steward and groom for the New Zealand Government, and his address as Dominion Hotel, Christchurch. He was 5 feet 6½ inches tall, weighed 141 pounds, and had a chest measurement of 32-34½ inches. His complexion was dark, his eyes grey, and his hair brown. His limbs and chest were well formed, his heart and lungs normal. He had false upper teeth. Free of all diseases and slight defects, and vaccinated, he was in good bodily and mental health. He had a scar on the inside of his right ankle. Single and of Church of England affiliation, he named his father as next-of-kin – Septimus Edward Brent, 65 York Place, Dunedin.
The official list of the personnel of the Mounted Brigade as at August 1914 included T. Brent. Trooper T. D. Brent embarked at Wellington on 16 October 1914, with the Canterbury Mounted Rifles of the Main Body, and reached Egypt on 3 December. In February 1915 he was transferred as private and re-transferred as trooper to the Canterbury Mounted Rifles seven weeks later. Having been admitted to hospital at Pont de Koubbeh on 17 April 1915, the reason not disclosed, he was discharged more than six weeks later, on 3 June.
The news reported in mid September was not good. Trooper Theodore Daniel Brent, 7/312, Canterbury Mounted, had been killed in action on 21 August 1915 at the Dardanelles. He was just 26 years old. Fifty-seven deaths were reported, thirty men being killed in action. “Apart from his relatives, he will be missed by a number of people to whom he endeared himself by many thoughtful, kind actions.” [Evening Star, 14 September 1915.] His name is inscribed on the Hill 60 (New Zealand) Memorial in Turkey. This memorial records the names of officers and men of New Zealand who fell in the actions of Hill 60, August 1915, and in September 1915, and who have no known grave. Theodore is remembered on his parents’ headstone in Andersons Bay Cemetery, Dunedin. Septimus Brent died in 1934 ans his wife Susannah in 1937. “In loving memory of Trooper Theo. Brent (C.Y.C., Christchurch), who was killed while in action at Gallipoli on August 22 [sic], 1915.” reads the In Memoriam notice in the Otago Daily Times of 22 August 1916. The estate of Theodore Daniel Trent was administered by the Public Trustee, the total of £17.5.8. consisting of deferred pay. His medals – 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal – were forwarded in 1921 to his father who had moved to 152 London Street, Dunedin. The scroll was also sent in 1921 and the memorial plaque in 1922.
At the St Clair School Committee meeting in November 1915, it was reported that concerning ex-pupils who had gone to the war, Theo Brent and one other had been killed, another was missing, two were wounded and one ill. By March 1916, St Clair School had a roll of honour on the wall bearing 53 names, one of them, T. D. Brent (killed in action). A large gathering attended the unveiling of the roll of honour to fallen ex-pupils of St Clair School on 26 September 1921. Addresses were given, the “Last Post” sounded, the tablet dedicated, and the National Anthem sung. Seventeen names are engraved on a brass tablet beneath this inscription - “Roll of honour. In memory of ex-pupils St. Clair School who fell in the Great War, 1914-1918.” One of those names engraved is Theodore D. Brent. On 20 September 1929, memorial gates, to commemorate the action of ex-pupils who served in the Great War, were officially opened at St Clair School. The gates, which bear two plaques – In memory of those who fell Their name liveth for evermore, and In memory of our old boys who served their King & Country, were funded by parents as a lasting memorial. A psalm was sung, prayer was offered, a dedication address was given, “The Last Post” sounded, a hymn was sung, and the children marched through the gateway, the boys saluting as they walked under the arch.
In November 1915 the headmaster of Kaikorai School was seeking information regarding old pupils who had served or were serving at the front before a permanent record was established in the school. Already on his list were Theodore Brent and Percy Brent, a cousin of Theo. At the Kaikorai School 1915 break-up ceremony, the headmaster reported: “There was one roll of which they were all exceedingly proud, and that was a list of those who had gone to fight, and who would never return.” Listed there with twenty-one former school mates was Theo. Brent. On the occasion of Kaikorai School’s jubilee in November 1919, a memorial honour board was unveiled. One of the ex-pupils named as killed was Theodore Brent. The memorial tablets, now erected at the current entrance to the school, carry the inscription – 1914-1918 Roll of Honour Our Glorious Dead Kaikorai School – above the names. A list of ex-pupils of Alexandra District High School who enlisted in the Great War was published in November 1920. The name of Theo Brent is inscribed on the Alexandra War Memorial, beneath the inscription – For Humanity The Great War 1914-1918 In Honoured Memory of the Men Who From This District Gave Their Lives for Righteousness, Justice and Liberty Unveiled on Armistice Day 1921. The portrait of Trooper T. D. Brent printed in the Auckland Weekly News, 1915, is attached to the Cenotaph record.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [05 June 2016]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5520 0017738) [07 June 2016]; CWGC [05 June 2016]; Dunstan Times, 2 September 1881, Evening Star, 25 January 1901, 14 September 1915 [x 2], 6 & 12 November 1915, 23 December 1915, 10 March 1916, 27 September 1921, 28 May 1934, 15 June 1937, Otago Daily Times, 29 April 1913, 12 November 1915, 23 December 1915, 22 August 1916, 11 October 1919, 27 September 1921, 21 September 1929, 28 May 1934, Press, 24 August 1914, 15 September 1915, Lyttelton Times, 2 September 1914, Sun, 5 September 1914, 15 September 1915, Auckland Star, 15 September 1915, Waimate Daily Advertiser 1915, Evening Post, 15 September 1915, Alexandra Herald and Central Otago Gazette, 27 November 1920, 16 June 1937 (Papers Past) [05 June 2016; 24 & 31 March 2021; 01 April 2021]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [05 June 2016]; School Admission records [05 June 2016]; Probate record (Archives NZ/Family Search) [05 June 2016]; Andersons Bay Cemetery headstone image (Dunedin City Council) [24 March 2021]; NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) [24 March 2021]; Kaikorai School war memorial photo (nzhistory.govt.nz/) [02 April 2021]; St Clair School Memorial Gates photo (nzhistory.govt.nz/); [02 April 2021]; Alexandra War Memorial (rootsweb.com./~sooty/); nzhistory.govt.nz/) [02 April 2021]
Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
Tell us more
Do you have information that could be added to this story? Or related images that you are happy to share? Submit them here!