(Service number 21774)
|First Rank||Rifleman||Last Rank||Rifleman|
|Date||14 January 1894||Place of Birth||Christchurch, New Zealand|
|Date||3 May 1916||Age||22|
|Address at Enlistment||48 Theodocia Street, Timaru|
|Previous Military Experience||South Island Railway Battalion|
|Next of Kin||Hector Bond (father), Methven, Canterbury, New Zealand|
|Medical Information||5 foot 7 inches tall, weight 133 pounds (60kgs), chest 32-36 inches, dark complexion, brown eyes, brown hair|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||7th Reinforcements|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||G Company, 3 Battalion NZ Rifle Brigade|
|Date||21 August 1916|
|Transport||HMNZT 62 Mokoia|
|Embarked From||Wellington, New Zealand||Destination||Devonport, England|
|Other Units Served With||1 Battalion, 3 NZ Rifle Brigade|
|Last Unit Served With||1 Battalion, 3 NZ Rifle Brigade|
|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|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
|Date||4 August 1917||Age||23 years|
|Place of Death||Ypres, Belgium|
|Cause||Killed in action|
|Notices||Star, 27 August 1917|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Prowse Point Military Cemetery, Commines-Warneton, Hainaut, Belgium|
|Memorial Reference||III. A. 29|
|New Zealand Memorials||Railways Roll of Honour board, Wellington Railway Station, Pipitea, Wellington, Methven War Memorial, Father's headstone Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch|
Reuben was born at Christchurch on 14 January 1894, the youngest son of Hector (1852-1923) and Sarah Ann (1860-1932, nee Lamport) Bond. At the time of his birth, Reuben’s father was living at St Albans and employed as a carrier. The family later farmed at Highbank, near Methven. Reuben attended the primary school at Highbank (where his father was a member of the school committee), gaining at least his 4th standard. He later joined the New Zealand Railways Department at Timaru as a porter, was a keen cyclist and member of the Railways Social Club.
Reuben volunteered for service in early 1916, and was medically boarded on 23 March. At this time he was living at 48 Theodosia Street, Timaru, and was a territorial member of the South Island Railway Battalion. On 3 May he left Timaru for Trentham with the South Canterbury men of the 16th Reinforcements. Reuben nominated his father Hector as his next of kin, and he was described as being aged 22 years, 5 foot 7 inches tall, single, Presbyterian, weighing 133 pounds (60kgs), having a chest measuring 32-36 inches, a dark complexion, brown eyes and brown hair. On entering Trentham Camp he began three and a half months of intensive infantry there, and then at Featherston
Finally, Reuben embarked from Wellington on 21 August 1916, with the 7th Reinforcements, 3 Battalion, G Company, of the NZ Rifle Brigade (NZRB), aboard HMNZT 62 Mokoia. The convoy was made up of three ships in total – HMNZT 61 Aprima and HMNZT 63 Novua. The convoy travelled via Albany, Australia, and the Cape of Good Hope, before reaching Devonport, England, on 24 October 1916. From here the troops marched in to Sling Camp, which was the main New Zealand training camp, situated in the heart of the Salisbury Plains. Training continued for Reuben, now with the 5th Reserve Battalion, 3 NZRB. From here on 15 November he proceeded overseas to France, where he entered the much detested camp at Etaples near Boulogne, where the men received more training for the front line.
On 16 December Reuben was posted to C Company, 1 Battalion, 3 NZRB in the field. The winter of 1916-1917 was spent on the River Lys, near Armentieres. Here the Brigade was held in reserve from 8-24 January during the most severe winter known in the region for thirty years. In February the battalion moved north from Armentieres into Belgium to the Cordonnerie Section, east of Laventie, where the preparations for the attack on the Messines Ridge began. This battle took place over the period 7–14 June, and was an essential prelude to the main Allied attack which was to become known as the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele). The battle began in July and was to continmue until November 1917. Just days into the attack torrential rain pounded the earth – again the heaviest rain in 30 years. British and Canadian troops found themselves fighting Germans in a swamp of mud that swallowed up artillery, drowning men and horses along with it. It was during this time and in these terrible conditions that Rifleman Reuben Bond was killed in action on 4 August 1917.
Reuben was buried at the Prowse Point Military Cemetery, Commines-Warneton, Hainaut, Belgium. The Timaru Herald reported on August 28: “Rifleman R. Bond, reported killed in action, was the son of Mr Hector Bond, Methven. Rifleman Bond joined the railway service in Timaru about five years ago, and worked here until he enlisted with the 16th Reinforcements. He was about 23 years of age, and had gained many friends by his cheerfulness and obliging disposition”. His mother Sarah was later sent his British War Medal and Victory Medal, along with a scroll and plaque. Reuben’s name is inscribed on the Railways Roll of Honour Board at the Wellington Railway Station, Methven War Memorial, and on his father’s headstone in the Sydenham Cemetery, Christchurch.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [March 2019]; New Zealand ANZACs in the Great War 1914-1918 (University of New South Wales) at http://nzef.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=23402; Ashburton Guardian 24 July 1916, "Roll of Honour" in New Zealand Herald 24 August 1917 and Timaru Herald 28 August 1917, courtesy of Papers Past at https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/; New Zealand War Graves Project at https://www.nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/reuben-bond
No documents available.
Researched and Written by
Ted Hansen, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
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