BOND, Reuben
(Service number 21774)

First Rank Rifleman Last Rank Rifleman


Date 14 January 1894 Place of Birth Christchurch, New Zealand

Enlistment Information

Date 3 May 1916 Age 22
Address at Enlistment 48 Theodocia Street, Timaru
Occupation Railway porter
Previous Military Experience South Island Railway Battalion
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Hector Bond (father), Methven, Canterbury, New Zealand
Religion Presbyterian
Medical Information 5 foot 7 inches tall, weight 133 pounds (60kgs), chest 32-36 inches, dark complexion, brown eyes, brown hair

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

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

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 Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations


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

Biographical Notes

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; 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; New Zealand War Graves Project at

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Researched and Written by

Ted Hansen, SC branch NZSG

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