FIFIELD, Frederick
(Service number 55592)

First Rank Last Rank Corporal


Date 1 August 1891 Place of Birth Woodbury, South Canterbury, New Zealand

Enlistment Information

Date 4 May 1917 Age 25 years 6 months
Address at Enlistment Woodbury, New Zealand
Occupation Engine driver
Previous Military Experience 2nd South Canterbury Regiment, Reserves
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Joseph Fifield (father), Woodbury, New Zealand
Religion Anglican
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation 7th Reinforcements
Unit, Squadron, or Ship New Zealand Engineers, Tunnelling Company
Date 22 November 1917
Transport HMNZT 38 Tahiti or HMNZT 39 Warrimoo
Embarked From Wellington, N.Z. Destination Liverpool, Merseyside, England
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Campaigns Western European, 1918
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 August 1919 Reason Discharged at the termination of his period of engagement

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

18 June 1917: Featherston Hospital - Synovitis

Post-war Occupations



Date 11 July 1972 Age 80 years
Place of Death
Notices Timaru Herald 12 July 1972
Memorial or Cemetery Woodbury Cemetery
Memorial Reference 5/35
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Frederick Fifield was born on 1 August 1891 in Woodbury, the second son of Joseph and Sarah Ann Fifield (nee Evans).

Joseph and Sarah had seven children; Edward, Frederick, Leslie, Doreen, Joseph, Allan and Henry. Edward, Frederick, Leslie and Joseph all served during the First World War. Joseph died of illness on active service.

Frederick was an Engine Driver and worked for Mr E. W. Dann, of Woodbury.

Frederick enlisted at Timaru on 4 May 1917. George Lyon the Medical Officer, conducted Fredericks medical exam and described him as a 25 and a half year old Anglican, 5 feet 11 and a half inches tall, weighing 147 pounds, with a maximum chest measurement of 37 inches and a minimum measurement of 33 and a hald inches. He is of a fair complexion, with grey eyes and dark brown hair.

Francis was stationed at Tauherenikau Military Camp for his training (originally a temporary camp used until Featherston Military Camp was ready for occupation). Before being shipped to war. while he was there he slipped and fell into a storm water trench, there was an inquiry into the incident:

First Witness: 55592 Private F. Fifield, G Company 29th Reinforcements having been duly sworn states :- " at Tauherenikau Camp on the night of 16/17 June 1917, I was on duty as cook at No 2 Cook house. About 5.30 a.m. I was going to the latrines and on my way I fell into a trench dug for drainage purposed for the head cookhouse on the back side of the camp. It was very dark at the time and no protection was provided around the trench. When I returned to the cookhouse I reported the accident to my mates. I paraded sick on the afternoon of the 17th June 1917 and was sick to hospital on the 18th June 1917"

Second witness 57078 Private Walter Hodgetts J Company 29th Reinforcements having been duly sworn states:- "During the night on which Private Fifield was injured I was on duty at No 2 cookhouse as cook for J Company, 29th Reinforcements, Private Fifield went out at about 5.30 a.m. for the purpose of going to the latrines. When he returned he was covered with dirt and blood. He informed me that he had fallen into the trench that had been dug for drainage from the new cookhouse. He complained that he had hurt his knee, and was bleeding from the nose. Private Fifield and I were relieved about 6 a.m. and the next thing I heard of Fifield was that he had been admitted to hospital.

Third Witness 49133 Private Thomas H. Welch quarter master stores states:- "I am employed on the staff of the QM Stored Tauherenikau as permanent night cook, I remember the morning of the accident to Private Fifield who was employed at No 2 Cookhouse as Reinforcement night cook. I was sitting in the storeroom a little after 4am. Private Fifield was out. I cannot say definitely on what particular business he was out. The next thing I know was Private Fifield came into the kitchen, His face and denim jacket were covered in blood and his knees were covered with mud. His nose was bleeding, and this was the blood that was on his face and tunic. I got some warm water and bathed and washed his face. As far as I could see the skin on his knee was not broken. It appeared to be more of a twist or a wrench. I sent him off duty to bed. I asked him what had happened to him and he said he fell down the soakage hole in the dark. He was absolutely sober. I knew the soakage hole where he said the accident occurred. It was about 5 feet deep and was unlit and unprotected at the time of the accident.

The court found that 55592 Private F. Fifield, G Company 29th Reinforcements received the injury to his knee during the performance of his military duty.

The finding concurred in Lights were ordered by me to be placed on these trenches at Tauherenikau immediately. I heard about the accident but this should have been done by the works department in the first place. Adams (Colonel)

55592 Private Fifield of G Company, 29th Reinforcements was treated at Featherston Military Hospital for Synovitis. His medical records state:- 18 June 1917 This injury was caused while attending to duties as night cook. He slipped on his was from the cookhouse to tank used for boiling water for washing up.

Corporal Fifield embarked from Wellington with the 32nd Reinforcements on 21 November 1917 with HMNZT 96 onboard the Maunganui and disembarked in Liverpool on 8 January 1918. 12 Janurary 1918 the 7th New Zealand Engineers marched into Sling Camp at Boscombe. Corporal Fifield reverts back to the ranks and joins the 5 Reserve Brigade.

On the 7 March 1918 the company left for France from Boscombe and marched into camp at Etaples. On 16 March 1918 marched out to the New Zealand Engineering Tunnelling Corp and on 17 March 1918 was posted to strength and was operational in the field.

Frederick was given several promotions while he was overseas, Lance Corporal on 12 October 1918, promoted to Corporal on 11 January 1919.

Corporal Fifield embarked for New Zealand onboard the Briton from Tilbury, Essex, England on 17 June 1919 and was discharged on the termination of his period of engagement on 21 August 1919. He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Frederick married Frances Katrina Fergusson on 12 May 1920.

Frederick and Frances had four children: Jean Evelyn, b. 18 June 1922; Laurence Thomas, b. 5 April 1925; Maurice Frederick, b. 6 November 1920 and Paul Alexander, b. 15 May 1926.

Frederick died on 11 July 1972 and is buried in the Woodbury Cemetery.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [16 September 2016]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ ref. AABK 18805 W5539 0039807) [17 September 2016].

External Links

Related Documents

No documents available. 

Researched and Written by

Dianne Hall

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Logo. 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!

Your Details
Veteran Details
- you may attach an image or document up to 10MB