McINNES, Donald
(Service number 22068)

First Rank Lance Corporal Last Rank Lance Corporal


Date 15 March 1892 Place of Birth Temuka

Enlistment Information

Date 5 May 1916 Age 24 years
Address at Enlistment 53 Bradshaw Street, Dunedin South
Occupation Labourer (Defence Department)
Previous Military Experience Rifles 2nd South Canterbury Regiment (still serving). B Company, Coast Defence, St Kilda, Dunedin (serving)
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs G. JACKSON (sister), Gammock Street, Temuka. Later of Taylor Road, Addington; then of Studholme Street, Temuka
Religion Presbyterian
Medical Information Height 5 feet 5 inches. Weight 148 lbs. Chest measurement 33-36 inches. Complexion dark. Eyes brown. Hair black. Sight - both eyes 6/9. Hearing & colour vision both good. Limbs well formed. Full & perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. Heart & lungs normal. No illnesses. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. No vaccination mark. Good bodily & mental health. No slight defects. No fits. No distinctive marks, & no marks indicating congenital peculiarities or previous disease. Never absent from work. Fit.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 16th Reinforcements, Otago Infantry Battalion, D Company
Date 21 August 1916
Transport Navua
Embarked From Dunedin Destination Devonport, Devon, England
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With Otago Infantry

Military Awards

Campaigns Western European
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 12 June 1919 Reason On termination of period of engagement.

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

May 1918 - sent to hospital.

Post-war Occupations



Date 9 February 1969 Age 76 years
Place of Death Cherry Farm Hospital, near Dunedin
Memorial or Cemetery Andersons Bay Cemetery, Dunedin
Memorial Reference Services Section, Block 70A, Plot 6
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Donald Hercules McInnes was the youngest son of Scottish-born John McInnes and his wife Jane Ann née Nelson. (His birth was registered as Donald Erkules McInnes.) Born on 15 March 1892 at Temuka, he was only five months old when his mother died. John and Jane Ann had married in 1881 at Temuka. Jane Ann McInnes died on 31 August 1892 at Arowhenua, just 30 years old and leaving up to six or seven young children. Donald attended Winchester and Waimataitai (Timaru) schools, transferring to Temuka with his brother Hugh in 1902. His three older sisters - Mary Jane, Catherine (Katie) and Ann (Annie) – and his older brother John had all been to Temuka School.

The Police Gazette of 18 February 1914 published the following notice – Temuka. 27th May last, on warrant of commitment to military custody for fourteen days in default of paying £2 10s. fine and costs for a breach of the Defence Act, Donald Erkeles McInness [sic], age twenty-two, height 5 ft. 5 in., hotel-porter and labourer, native of New Zealand, weight 9 st. 11 lb., dark hair and eyes. Donald Erkoles McInnes, a transport guard, whose address was South Dunedin, was listed in the World War One 1916 Reserve Rolls.

When he enlisted on 5 May 1916 at Trentham (simply as Donald McInnes), he was working as a labourer for the Defence Department in Dunedin. He belonged to B Company, Coast Defence, St Kilda, Dunedin, and was still serving with the 2nd South Canterbury Regiment. He had been medically examined in April 1916. He was 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighed 148 pounds, and had a chest measurement of 33-36 inches. His complexion was dark, his eyes brown, and his hair black. His sight in both eyes measured 6/9. His hearing and colour vision were both good, his limbs and chest well formed, his heart and lungs normal. He had had no illnesses or fits and had never been absent from work. Free from diseases and in good bodily and mental health, though not vaccinated, he was classified fit. Single and Presbyterian, he named his sister as next-of-kin – Mrs G. Jackson, Gammock Street, Temuka, later of Studholme Street, Temuka. Annie McInnes married George Richard Jackson Griffin in 1911, George belonging to the family who also went by the name of Jackson, as did Annie and George. His address was 53 Bradshaw Street, South Dunedin.

On 1 June 1916, Donald was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal. The four companies of the 16th Reinforcements, who “swung through” Dunedin on 19 August 1916 had taken part in the record march over the Rimutakas, covering 27 miles of mountain road in a single day — a magnificent achievement. Eleven hundred infantrymen of the Sixteenth Reinforcements – a fine draft - paraded and received a stirring reception. The Right Hon. the Prime Minister sent a message to the troops: “Our boys, like thousands who at the Empire’s call have gone before them, are going out to face danger and difficulty and hardship in the cause of their country and their fellow-citizens. They are going in defence of that Civilisation, Liberty, and Freedom which have taken many generations of their ancestors to build up, and which is now being attacked by a cruel and unscrupulous foe. The best wishes of all New Zealanders go with them. We are confident they will worthily uphold the honor of the Dominion and the reputation of the New Zealand troops, whose courage and military capacity have already been tested in attack and in defence. I sincerely trust that they will be in at the finish, when the last fight takes place on German soil, and when as a result victory will come to Great Britain and her valiant Allies, assuring the peace of the world for many years to come. I can promise our soldiers that great as will be their send-off (and I am only sorry I cannot be present to join with the patriotic citizens of Dunedin on this occasion) it will be nothing to the reception which will await them on their return to the Dominion. Kai Ora, and best wishes.”

Lance Corporal D. McInnes embarked with the Otago Infantry Battalion of the 16th Reinforcements, departing from Dunedin for Devonport, England on 21 August 1916 per the “Navua”. Disembarking at Devonport, he marched in to Sling on 25 October 1916 and marched out on 15 November, joining his Battalion in France on 4 December and reverting to Ranks (Private). He was appointed cook on 11 June 1917 in France, relinquishing that appointment on 6 May 1918 when he was sent to hospital and assuming the rank of Private.

Private D. McInnes incurred a big punishment in March 1918 – 28 days Field Punishment. He had been absent from his billet while on Active Service; he broke arrest; and he made a false statement to a Commanding Officer of the Military Police. He was again appointed cook on 11 May 1918 after rejoining his Battalion from the Field Ambulance. He enjoyed a month in Paris on leave in December 1918. The appointment of cook was relinquished on 14 January 1919 when he was detached to the U.K. for return to New Zealand.

D. McInnes, of Temuka, returned by the “Arawa” (Draft 244), embarking at Tilbury Docks, London, on 1 April 1919. The vessel, which had on board fifty-six officers, six nurses, 526 other ranks, ninety-five women and thirty-three children, reached Colon, Panama Canal, on 19 April and arrived at Lyttelton on 15 May. The health of all on board was good. Private McInnes and six others left the special troop train at Temuka. “There was a large gathering of the public at the railway station to welcome the men, and the Temuka Juvenile Brass Band (under Mr Burtenshaw), played lively airs as the train steamed in. The first greetings over, the returned soldiers, preceded by the Band, were driven to the Post Office where the usual public welcome was accorded them.”

He was discharged on 12 June 1919 on the termination of his term of engagement, having served for more than three years. All his overseas service was in Western Europe, for which he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. As of July 1922, his address was Care of Returned Soldiers Association, Moray Place, Dunedin. Donald remained in Dunedin for the rest of his life, working for a few years as a labourer. By the early 1940s he had retired, and in 1954 he was listed as a war pensioner. Donald Hercules McInnes married Helen Dorothy Mabel Cook in 1939, in New Zealand. With the help of the Dunedin Returned Services Association, Donald McInnes, 11 David Street, Caversham, Dunedin, made a statutory declaration on 29 February 1968, declaring that he had lost the British War Medal and the Victory Medal issued to him by the New Zealand Army on 7 March 1925. They were lost on or about 1 February 1968 during shifting. The loss was unavoidable. They may have been stolen from his home. Replacements were probably despatched on 22 March 1968.

Donald Hercules McInnes died on 9 February 1969 at Cherry Farm Hospital, near Dunedin, aged 76 years. He was a patient, from 11 David Street, Dunedin. He was buried in Andersons Bay Cemetery, Dunedin, a services headstone marking his grave. Helen Dorothy McInnes, wife of Donald McInnes, signed her Will on 29 April 1968. She made provision for her husband during his life. After his death, friends in Dunedin were to be the beneficiaries. Helen Dorothy McInnes died – as Doris Helen McInnes - at Wakari Hospital, Dunedin, from 11 David Street, Dunedin, on 27 January 1969, aged 76 years. Her Will went to probate on 4 February. A lovely headstone stands in Andersons Bay Cemetery in memory of Doris, dearly loved wife of Donald McInnes and a dearly loved aunt. Two brothers of Donald also served in World War One – John and Hugh.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [10 August 2016]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ ref. AABK 18805 W5544 0073811) [12 August 2016]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [10 August 2016]; School Admission records (South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [10 August 2016]; Andersons Bay Cemetery burial record & headstone image (Dunedin City Council) [10 August 2023]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [14 August 2016; 07 September 2023]; Evening Star, 19 August 1916, Otago Daily Times, 29 April 1919, Timaru Herald, 1 & 16 May 1919, Star, 12 May 1919 (Papers Past) [12 May 2019; 10 August 2023]; Probate record for Helen Dorothy McInnes (Archives Collection) [11 September 2023]

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