WHITEHEAD, Edward Alick
(Service number 6/2805)
|First Rank||Private||Last Rank||Private|
|Date||18 April 1889||Place of Birth||Temuka, New Zealand|
|Date||17 April 1915||Age||26|
|Address at Enlistment||43 Dyson Street, Temuka, New Zealand|
|Occupation||Monoline (Linotype) Operator|
|Previous Military Experience||Temuka Defence Rifles|
|Next of Kin||Mrs Eleanor Whitehead (mother), 43 Dyson Street, Temuka, New Zealand|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Medical Information||5 foot 5 inches tall, weight 136 (62kgs), chest 32-34 1/2 inches, dark complexion, brown eyes, black hair, teeth fair, 1/2 inch square mole on his upper right buttock|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||6th Reinforcements|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||C Company, 1st Battalion, Canterbury Infantry Regiment|
|Date||14 August 1915|
|Embarked From||Wellington, New Zealand||Destination||Suez, Egypt|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||C Coy, 1 Battalion, Canterbury Infantry Regiment|
|Campaigns||Egypt, Balkans (Gallipoli), & Western Europe|
|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|
|Date||11 August 1918||Reason||No longer physically fit for war service on account of wounds received on active service|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
17 September 1916 - shrapnel wounds to right ear, right side of spine, right thigh, and right upper arm - admitted to No 9 General Hospital, Rouen 20 September - embarked to UK 23 September - admitted to No 1 NZ General Hospital, Brockenhurst 24 September - transferred to No 1 NZ Convalescant Hospital 16 February 1917. In NZ further treatment during 1917 in Timaru Hospital, Quartine Hospital Port Chalmers & Dunedin Hospital
Printer & Compositor
|Date||12 March 1947||Age||57|
|Place of Death||Christchurch, New Zealand|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Christchurch Crematorium|
|Memorial Reference||Woodlawn Memorial Gardens|
|New Zealand Memorials|
Edward, second son of Edward (1864-1902) and Eleanor Rose Louisa (nee Rutland, 1864-1934) Whitehead, was born at Temuka on 18 April 1889. His mother was the daughter of Walter George Rutland, a well-known builder at Temuka, who had come out to NZ on the “Glentanner” in 1857. After attending the Temuka School, where he passed the fifth standard in 1901, Edward took up employment as a monoline (linotype) operator with the local Temuka Leader newspaper. He played hockey for Temuka, was a member of the St Peter’s Miniature Rifle Club, Caledonian Society and the local Temuka Defence Rifles.
On Saturday 17 April 1915 Edward enlisted into the army at Timaru, giving his address as 43 Dyson Street, Temuka, where his mother was living, nominating her as his next of kin. He was described as being aged 25 years, 5 foot 5 inches tall, weighing 136 pounds (62 kgs), chest measuring 32 – 34 ½ inches, having a dark complexion, brown eyes, black hair, teeth were fair and a mole ½ and inch square on his upper right buttock. That same day, with the rest of the local 6th Reinforcements, he was fare welled from the Timaru Railway Station by the Mayor, Mr E.R. Guiness. After initial training, he left from Wellington aboard the SS Willochra (HMNZT27) with the 6th Reinforcements, 2nd Company, 1st Battalion Canterbury Infantry Regiment, bound for Suez, Egypt, arriving at Alexandria on 19 September 1915.
By the end of the month (30 September) Edward had joined the Battalion at Mudros. In mid-September some of the exhausted NZ Infantry at Gallipoli were briefly withdrawn to Lemnos to rest and receive reinforcements before returning to the fray in November. By this time the future of the campaign had been determined and the decision to evacuate was made. On 30 December 1915 the Battalion disembarked at Alexandria. After re-organising and re-equipping, the Battalion was allotted a part of the Suez Canal to defend before returning to Moascar on 21 March.
On 6 April 1916 the 1st Canterbury Battalion entrained fro their transfer to the Western front at Ismailia, arriving at Port Said the same day and embarked aboard the “Franconia”, arriving at Marseilles on 11 April. On 13-14 May they entered the front line at Armentieres, a so called quiet area to accustom the troops to trench warfare. On 1 July the Battle of the Somme began and the Battalion was moved south to take up their new positions. The New Zealand Division joined the offensive in September of 1916 with 15,000 troops. During this battle, 2000 Kiwi soldiers died and another 6000 were wounded. One thousand Kiwi men who died at the Somme have no known graves. The battle overall lasted almost five months and no more than six miles on a 16 mile front of German held territory was regained and on all sides there were 1.2 million causalities killed or wounded. The New Zealanders fired their first poison-gas shells on enemy lines on 12 September and sent about 6000 troops up ladders and over the top for the first time on 15 September 1916. It was during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, on 17 September 1916, that Edward was wounded when a high explosive shell burst near him, resulting with him receiving shrapnel wounds to right ear, right side of his spine, his right thigh and the front of his right upper arm.
On 20 September Edward was admitted to No 9 General Hospital at Rouen, then embarked on a hospital ship for England on 23 September. He was then admitted to No 1 NZ General Hospital at Brockenhurst on 24 September where he was operated on for the removal of pieces of bone and metal. By 16 February 1917 he was well enough to be transferred to No 1 NZ Convalescent Hospital at Hornchurch. Classified as unfit on 21 June, he was placed on the NZ Roll and marched out to Torquay. From there, on 23 July 1917, he embarked at Plymouth aboard SS Ionic, arriving back in NZ on 25 September 1917. He then spent some time in Timaru Hospital being treated for his wounds and personal problems before being transferred to the Quarantine Hospital at Port Chalmers on 17 October, then to Dunedin Hospital on 21 December. From 24 January 1918 he was placed on leave without pay until his final discharge as no longer physically fit for war service on account of wounds received in action on 11 August 1918. Having served a total of 2 years 232 days, Edward was later awarded the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
In 1919 Edward married Miss Alexanderina McLeod (1893-1974). From 1919 until his death on 12 March 1947, at the age of 57, the family lived at 45 Malcolm Avenue, Sydenham, Christchurch, where Edward continued in his trade of printer and compositor. His ashes are interred in the Woodlawn Memorial Gardens at the Christchurch Crematorium, along with his wife Alexanderina’s, who died on 12 June 1974.
Two of Edward’s brothers also served during World War One: 56744 Driver Walter Joseph Whitehead served in France with the NZ Field Artillery; and 89346 2nd Lieutenant Harry Whitehead served in New Zealand in the Territorial P & T (Signal) Corps.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [July 2017]; Assorted records at Ancestry.com [July 2017]; New Zealand ANZACs in the Great War 1914-1918 (University of New South Wales) at http://nzef.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=272768; 'More recruits leave Timaru' Timaru Herald 19 April 1915 p2, 'Roll of honour' Evening Post 2 October 1916 p7, 'Personal' [column] Temuka Leader 27 Februaryt 1917 p3, and 'Dominion War News' Timaru Herald 19 April 1915 p2, courtesy of Papers Past at https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/; Billion Graves at https://billiongraves.com/grave/person/8738279#/
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Researched and Written by
Ted Hansen, SC branch NZSG
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