(Service number 52605)

First Rank Private Last Rank Private


Date 21 September 1895 Place of Birth Waimate, New Zealand

Enlistment Information

Date 29 January 1917 Age 21
Address at Enlistment Timaru Road, Waimate, New Zealand
Occupation Farm labourer
Previous Military Experience Senior Cadets
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs Eliza Hawkins (mother), Timaru Road, Waimate
Religion Church of England
Medical Information 5 foot 5 inches tall, weight 126 pounds (57 kgs), chest 31-331/2 inches, fair complexion, brown eyes, lt brown hair.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation Wellington Infantry Regiment
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 28th Reinforcements, B Company
Date 24 July 1917
Transport HMNZT89 Waitemata;n transhipped to SS Norman at Capt Town
Embarked From Wellington, New Zealand Destination Plymouth, Devon, England
Other Units Served With 1st Canadian Tunnelling Company
Last Unit Served With Wellington Infantry Regiment

Military Awards

Campaigns Western Europe
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 16 June 1919 Reason End of engagement

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

August 1918 - sick, Field Ambulance - discharged 29 August 1918. 11 October 1918 - wounded in action - discharged 19 October 1918

Post-war Occupations

Farm Labourer


Date 19 August 1963 Age 67
Place of Death Waimate New Zealand
Notices Internal Affairs 5 September 1963
Memorial or Cemetery Waimate Lawn Cemetery
Memorial Reference Plot 0016ME000524
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Walter, eldest son of Walter (1858-1924) and Eliza (nee Doel 1875-1956), was born at Waimate on 21 September 1895. He was educated at the Waimate Public School where he was awarded prizes for attendance in 1903 (Infants) and 1906 (standard 3). His father was born in Stoke Lyne, Oxfordshire, England and had come out to New Zealand, aged about 16, with his family on the Sussex, arriving in Dunedin in 1874 along with his parents and 8 siblings. Walter junior’s mother Eliza was born in Waimate where the Doel family were active in the brick making industry using a kiln on the Timaru Road. When Walter’s parents married he was travelling the countryside with a merry-go-round driven by a three wheeled engine.

When Walter (junior) enlisted on 29 January 1917, he was working as a farm labourer for his father on their 50 acre farm where they were milking cows for a local milk run. In 1916 he had been exempted from territorial drill on account of his health, and had also been earlier discharged from the senior cadets as medically unfit. His enlistment papers described him as being 5 foot 5 inches tall, single, aged 21, weighing 126 pounds (57 kgs), chest measuring 31 – 33 ½ inches, of fair complexion, brown eyes and light brown hair. He nominated his mother Eliza who was living at Timaru Road as his next of kin, and as his address on enlistment. Walter was posted to the Wellington Infantry Regiment where he joined B Company and left with the 28th Reinforcements from Wellington on 24 July 1917, aboard (HMNZT89) SS Waitemata. On arrival at Capet Town he was transhipped to the SS Norman and arrived at Plymouth, England, on 28 September 1917.

A short period of training followed with the Wellington Regiment 4th Reserve Battalion at Sling Camp before he proceeded overseas to France on 26 October. On 8 November he joined the 1st Wellington Infantry Regiment (WIR) and was posted to the 9th Company. On 7 December 1917 he was detached to the 1st Canadian Tunnelling Company who were carrying out work building underground subways and shelters for front line infantry. On 18 January 1918 he rejoined the WIR where they were in the Divisional Reserve at Walker Camp. On 20 January 1918 they moved to Manawatu Camp and took over from the 1st Canterbury where they formed part of the brigade support. Here they supplied working parties for the front line and were to be heavily involved in the German 1918 “spring offensive” and the Allied counter attacks of August.

On 30 June 1918, during a quiet period, he was detached to the Defence Logistic Support School where he received further training in combat support roles and returned to his unit on 12 July. This pleasant interlude was shortly to come to an end, for, on the 1st July, the 1st Battalion relieved part of the King's Own Regiment and part of the 1st Royal Munster Fusiliers, in the line at Rossignol Wood. Large numbers of men of both battalions were at this time suffering from Spanish influenza and over one hundred men were afflicted. In late August he had a short spell sick with the Field Ambulance. From here on the push towards Germany began in earnest. On the 11 October the 1st Wellington’s pushed through Briastre and crossed the river Selle but was met with heavy machine gun fire and Walter was wounded. He was back with his unit on 19 October where the advance was continuing to the Rhine. Finally they reached Cologne, and with the end of hostilities, demobilisation began with drafts leaving for England every few days.

Walter was finally detached to England on 25 February 1919 and boarded the SS Carpentaria at London on 2 April, reaching NZ on 19 May 1919. Leave then followed until his final discharge at the end of his engagement, on 16 June 1919. He had served a total of 2 years and 67 days and was later awarded the British War Medal and Victory medals.

Walter returned to Waimate. On 18 February 1925 he married at Temuka, Miss Amy Knight (1902-1988), the youngest daughter of Mr & Mrs William Knight. They remained in the Waimate district where Walter worked as a farm labourer. Wakter died on 19 August 1963, aged 67 years. He is buried in the Waimate Lawn Cemetery next to his wife Amy. A brother, 80017 Rifleman Harold Hawkins, also served overseas with the NZ Rifle Brigade in England.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [June 2017]; Assorted records at [June 2017]; 'Military Appeal Board' in the Timaru Herald 28 December 1916 p9 and 'Wedding: Knight-Hawkins' in the Temuka Leader 21 February 1925 p2, courtesy of Papers Past at; New Zealand ANZACs in the Great War 1914-1918 (University of New South Wales) at; 'Local family has long association with Waimate timber industry' on Pearls Family History website at

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Researched and Written by

Ted Hansen, SC branch NZSG

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