APPLEGARTH, Percie Raymond
(Service number 68502)
|Aliases||Enlisted as Percy Raymond Applegarth|
|First Rank||Private||Last Rank||Private|
|Date||6 June 1897||Place of Birth||Lavender Hill, Battersea, London, England|
|Date||10 September 1917||Age||20 years 3 months|
|Address at Enlistment||Elizabeth Street, Timaru|
|Previous Military Experience|
|Next of Kin||Mrs Caroline Applegarth, 16 Elizabeth Street, Timaru|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Medical Information||Height 5 feet 7 inches. Weight 113 lbs. Chest measurement 31-33 inches. Complexion pallid. Eyes blue. Hair fair. Sight - both eyes 6/6. Hearing & colour vision both normal. Limbs well formed. Full & perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. Heart & lungs normal. Illness - gastritis at the age of 7 years. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated (left). Good bodily & mental health. No slight defects. No fits. Class A.|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||New Zealand Expeditionary Force|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||33rd Reinforcements, Auckland Infantry Regiment, A Company|
|Date||31 December 1917|
|Embarked From||Wellington||Destination||Glasgow, Scotland|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||Auckland Infantry|
|Service Medals||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||25 August 1919||Reason||On termination of period of engagement.|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
Labourer; wool classer
|Date||28 November 1968||Age||71 years|
|Place of Death||17 Church Street West, Timaru (residence)|
|Notices||Timaru Herald, 29 November 1968|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Timaru Cemetery|
|Memorial Reference||General Section, Row 39, Plot 426|
|New Zealand Memorials|
Percie Raymond Applegarth was the elder son of photographer Sampson Day and Caroline (Carrie, née George) Applegarth. Born on 6 June 1897 at Battersea, London, England, he was baptized on 8 August 1897 at St Barnabas, Clapham, London. Sampson and Caroline married in 1895 in Battersea. Young Percie attended Gideon Road School, Wandsworth, and Hither Green School, Lewisham. While in 1901 he was at home in Battersea with his parents and younger brother, in 1911 he was residing at the Reedham Orphanage, Coulson, Surrey. Percie’s father died in December 1902 and was buried at Norwood Cemetery, Lambeth, London. Caroline Applegarth and her two sons, Percie and Maurice, emigrated from London to New Zealand, sailing by the “Rimutaka” in August 1912. In October 1912, the two boys were admitted to Timaru Main School. Their sister had died in infancy. Percie’s uncle Albert Lincoln Applegarth had come to New Zealand many years earlier and in the mid-1890s and early 1900s was living at Timaru. This uncle and his older son, Robert, both served in World War One. Percie enjoyed immediate success at Timaru Main School, gaining his Certificate of Proficiency in the 1912 examinations. In October 1913 he gained first class passes in Commercial English (Junior), and Commercial Arithmetic (Junior) and Mechanical Drawing at the Timaru Technical School.
Percie Raymond Applegarth, farm hand, 16 Elizabeth Street, Timaru, whose name was drawn in the Tenth Ballot in early September 1917, and who had previously been rejected as medically unfit for the Military Forces, was medically examined by the Travelling Medical Board on 10 September 1917 at Timaru. He was 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighed 113 pounds, and had a chest measurement of 31-33 inches. His complexion was pallid, his eyes blue, and his hair fair. His sight, hearing, colour vision, heart and lungs were all normal, his limbs and chest well formed. He had had gastritis at the age of 7 years. Free diseases, vaccinated, and in good bodily and mental health, he was classified A. He enlisted that same day at Timaru. He was a farm hand at Cannington, Cave, single and of Church of England allegiance. He named his mother as next-of-kin – Mrs Caroline Applegarth, 16 Elizabeth Street, Timaru.
The men comprising the South Canterbury quota of the 35th Reinforcements left Timaru by the express on 15 October 1917, after a brief farewell at the Drill Shed. One of those men was P. R. Applegarth. They had been entertained by the Soldiers’ Reception Committee at a farewell social on 12th in Olympia Hall. The hall was decorated with the flags of the Allies, and great entertainment, refreshments were provided. The mayor remarked that “during the past week they had heard of some great exploits performed by the New Zealanders in France. They had been in a great advance and they knew that very soon long lists of casualties would be coming through, bringing sadness to many homes. They could only hope that the late victories would bring the day of peace nearer.” He extended the best wishes of the citizens to the men leaving for camp.
Private P. R. Applegarth embarked with the Auckland Infantry Regiment of the 33rd Reinforcements, leaving from Wellington on 31 December 1917 per the “Athenic”, and disembarking at Glasgow, Scotland, on 25 February 1918. He marched in to camp at Larkhill on 26 February 1918, then in to Sling from Larkhill on 6 April. It was 8 May 1918 when he proceeded overseas to France, joining his Battalion a few days later. After marching out to the No. 1 New Zealand Entrenching Battalion on 12 May, he was transferred to the 2nd Auckland Battalion in the Field on 24 August 1918. Applegarth was detached to the UK on 8 March 1919 and, detained from leave, he reported at Sling on 31 March.
P. R. Applegarth, 68502, of Timaru, embarked for the return to New Zealand aboard the “Chupra” on 8 June 1919, one of 732 soldiers due at Lyttelton about July 22nd, 1919. His medical examination on the “Chupra” on 27 July 1919 was all good. The troops actually disembarked on the morning of 28 July 1919, and the southern men left at 1.50 p.m. by a special train going through to Dunedin. The Press Association reported that the transport Chupra had left Tilbury docks on June 8th and had a fairly good trip until Port Said was reached. The next port of call was Colombo, and about half-way across the Indian Ocean the vessel ran into a monsoon and all on board had a fairly bad time for three days. The Chupra had no refrigerator space, which was given as the reason for her coming via Suez instead of through the Panama Canal. “They are the most contented and best behaved lot of men I ever had anything to do with,” said Major J. Evans, M.C., Officer Commanding the troops on board. “The vessel is most unsuited for a troopship as there is practically no deck, but the men made the most of their time and contrived to get a good deal of pleasure out of the voyage.” There was no sickness on board and the food was stated to have been good from London to Port Said, and from Colombo to New Zealand, but between Port Said and Colombo the meat was affected by the heat, and the men could not eat it. Apart from this the men had no complaints to make except that they did not like the way they were cooped up, with practically no opportunity of getting any exercise.
P. R. Applegarth was discharged on 25 August 1919, on the termination of his term of engagement, and was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. All his service was in Western Europe. Percie settled at the Bungalow, Meadows, Washdyke, with his mother and brother. After the war he was very active with the Miniature Rifles. Both Percie and Maurice shot for the Washdyke team and with some success within the club and against other teams. At the 1922 annual meeting of the Washdyke Miniature Rifle Club, Mr P. R. Applegarth was elected secretary, and again in 1923. He was elected a judge of targets in 1928.
A very pretty wedding took place at Chalmers Church, Timaru, on 2 January 1924, between Miss Annie Helen Browne, third daughter of Mr and Mrs R. R. Browne, “Meadows,” and Mr Percie R. Applegarth, elder son of Mrs C. Applegarth, Timaru, and the late S. D. Applegarth, London. The bridegroom was attended by his brother Maurice. Among the guests was Percie’s uncle, Mr A. L. Applegarth, Dunedin. Thereafter, Percie and Annie lived at Washdyke, where he contributed so much to the community. They had three children – Mary Caroline, George Raymond and Jack Douglas, who were all educated at Washdyke School, where Percie served on the school committee. In 1835 Percie assisted on the Washdyke Tug-of-War Committee.
Both Percie and his brother, Maurice Leigh Applegarth, were drawn in the ballot for World War Two. Percie served with the Timaru Battalion, Home Guard. A farmer and wool classer, he resided at Meadows, Washdyke, Timaru, when he signed up on 30 October 1941. On 1 October 1942, Lieut. P. R. Applegarth applied to be transferred from the Washdyke Platoon of the Timaru Battalion to the Mackenzie Battalion, Home Guard. The Taiko and Washdyke Platoons had been incorporated in the Mackenzie Battalion. The transfer took effect on 10 December 1942. He was posted to the Reserve of Officers on 1 January 1944. At a function convened by the Washdyke Platoon of the Home Guard in June 1944, a presentation was made to Mr P. R. Applegarth, who “had been a worthy commander of the Platoon which had attained marked efficiency under his guidance.”
It was only three months before his death that Percie and his wife moved into Timaru. A devoted husband and father, Percie Raymond Applegarth died on 28 November 1968 at his Timaru residence (late of Meadow Settlement, Washdyke), aged 71 years. After a funeral service at the Washdyke Presbyterian Church, he was buried at Timaru Cemetery, members of the South Canterbury Returned Services Association attending. He was joined by Annie in 1983. He was survived by Annie, his daughter and two sons, and 14 grandchildren. Percie bequeathed all items of personal wear and adornment to his wife, and if she should predecease him, to his daughter. He bequeathed his estate to his wife, and in the event of her death, it was to be divided into sixteen equal parts – eight for his grandchildren, three parts for one son, three for his daughter and two for the other son. His Will had been signed in September 1965, but at death in 1968 he had 14 grandchildren! Percie Applegarth had been awarded life-membership of the Washdyke Miniature Rifle Club which he founded in 1922, the Hall Committee and the Progress League. He was also an elder of the Presbyterian Church and chief fire and civil defence warden in the district for several years. Caroline Applegarth, the loved mother of Percie and Maurice, died in September 1944 at Timaru and was buried in the local cemetery. Maurice died in 1970, having lived at Timaru from 1912, and was buried there with his wife.
Two uncles of Percie served in World War One - Albert Lincoln Applegarth with the New Zealand Forces and Robert George Applegarth, who had lived for many years in New Zealand, in hospitals and with the Red Cross in France. Three cousins saw service – Robert with the New Zealand Forces; and two English cousins - Frederic Arthur Applegarth Hudson with the Machine Gun Company of the UK Forces, and Jack Alexander Ingle, who was killed in action on 16 July 1918 with a submarine off the coast of Ireland.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [19 March 2017]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5520 0009514) [21 March 2017], NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5937 0361052) [21 March 2017]; School Admission records (South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [19 February 1917]; 1901, 1911 Census returns England (ancestry.com.au) [20 March 2017]; England Baptism record (ancestry.com.au) [20 March 2017]; Timaru Herald, 8 January 1913, 15 October 1913, 13 October 1917, 7 & 29 July 1919, 5 & 21 July 1921, 10 April 1922, 6 April 1923, 9 January 1924, 24 June 1944, Sun, 3 September 1917, Star, 3 July 1919, NZ Times, 4 July 1919, Temuka Leader, 25 August 1921, Press, 21 April 1928, 27 November 1935, 23 December 1942 (Papers Past) [20 March 2017; 25 March 2020; 2021; 02 & 04 May 2021; 13, 14 & 17 September 2023]; Timaru Herald, 29 November 1968 (Timaru District Library) [21 March 2017]; Timaru Herald, 30 November 1968 (Timaru District Library) [March 2017]; Timaru Herald, 20 September 1944 (Timaru District Library) [23 March 2017];London School Admission registers (ancestry.com.au) [20 March 2017]; NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) [19 February 2017; 15 September 2023]; Timaru Cemetery headstone image (Timaru District Council) [19 February 2017]; Presbyterian marriage record [21 March 2017]; Probate record (Archives NZ Collections – Record number TU2/1969) [15 September 2023]
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