SEYB, Bernard
(Service number 24/1481)

First Rank Rifleman Last Rank Rifleman


Date 15 May 1895 Place of Birth Timaru, New Zealand

Enlistment Information

Date 24 August 1915 Age 20
Address at Enlistment Public Works Department, Wanganui, New Zealand
Occupation Civil Servant (Clerk)
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Miss Kate (Catherine) Seyb (sister), Wai-iti Road, Timaru, New Zealand
Religion Congregational
Medical Information 5 foot 7 inches tall, weight 134 pounds (60 kgs), chest 31-34 inches, fair complexion, blue eyes, light brown hair, very good teeth

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation 8th Reinforcements
Unit, Squadron, or Ship NZ Rifle Brigade, F Company
Date 13 November 1915
Transport HMNZT 35 Willochra
Embarked From Wellington, New Zealand Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Campaigns Egypt & Western Europe
Service Medals 1914-1915 Star, 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 26 February 1919 Reason No longer physically fit for war service on account of wounds received on active service

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

29 November 1916-2 January 1917 - admitted to hospital, Codford personal problems; 29 September 1917 - admitted to 3 Aust Fieild Ambulance - wounded in action - gunshot wound to chest - transferred to 10 Casualty Clearing Station - transferred to 55th General Hospital, Boulogne - transferred to England & admitted to 4 London General Hospital 20 October; 9 November 1917-26 January 1918 - at Convalescant Hospital, Hornchurch; 19 February-3 April 1918 - admitted to 3 NZ General Hospital, Codford - personal problems; 12 September 1918 - admitted to 1 NZ Field Ambulance - gunshot wounds to right upper arm - transferred to 4 Casualty Clearing Station 14 September - transferred to 5 General Hospital, Rouen - evacuated to England and admitted on 17 Sep to 1 NZ General Hospital, Brockenhurst - transferred to 3 NZ General Hospital, Codford 14 October 1918.

Post-war Occupations

Clerk (Civil Servant)


Date 27 May 1965 Age 70
Place of Death Whangerei, New Zealand
Notices Internal Affairs 19 July 1965
Memorial or Cemetery Maunu Cemetery, Whangerei, New Zealand
Memorial Reference Forest Lawn Block 19, Plot 1466
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Bernard was born at Timaru on August 15, 1895, the fourth son of Michael and Sylvia Louisa (nee Morgan) Seyb. His father Michael was born in Germany in 1850, became a naturalised British Citizen in October 1876, and died at Timaru on October 8, 1932. His mother Sylvia was born at Sandford, Oxfordshire, England, on May 31, 1864, and died at Gleniti, Timaru, on January 8, 1904. Bernard’s parents were married in St Mary’s Church Timaru in 1883, and were farming at Washdyke, later moving to Gleniti, where Bernard was admitted to the Wai-iti (Gleniti) School in 1900. He later attended the Timaru Main School where in 1912, where he won an Education Board Free Place Scholarship. These scholarships in secondary and district high schools were for admission or promotion in the Civil Service or teaching certificates, and were commonly based on the Civil Service Junior Examination. In January 1915 Bernard passed another two subjects in the Public Service Senior Grade Exams.

When he enlisted into the 2nd NZ Rifle Brigade at Wanganui on August 24, 1915, Bernard was employed as a clerk with the Public Works Department, Wanganui, was still single, and nominated his sister Kate (Catherine) Seyb of Wai-iti Road, Timaru, as his next of kin. He was of a slight build as his enlistment papers described him as being 5 foot 7 inches in height, weighing 134 pounds (60 kgs), chest measuring 31-34 inches, having a fair complexion, blue eyes, light brown hair and very good teeth. By the time Bernard had entered camp the Battalion had moved from Trentham to Rangiotu Camp on the Foxton Road near Palmerston North. Here he undertook intensive training before embarking from Wellington on November 13, 1915, with the 8th Reinforcements (2nd Reinforcement’s infantry) NZ Rifle Brigade, F Company, aboard HMNZT35 “Willochra” in company with HMNZT36 “Tofua”. These two ships travelled in convoy carrying 2,585 troops and arrived at Suez, Egypt, on December 18, 1915. Marching in to Moascar, further training following in the desert, and on February 6, 1916, he was posted to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd NZ Rifle Brigade, C Company.

In mid-March the 1st, 3rd and 4th Battalions joined at Moascar and on April 7, left from Alexandria for Marseilles, France. After further training, in May, the brigade entered the so called “quiet area” east of Armentieres to get used to trench warfare. The brigade’s first major offensive was during the Battle of the Somme when it first attacked on September 15 as part of the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. In late October 1916, Bernard was reported as being missing in action but there is no detail of this on his file. He is recorded as being detached from his unit and sent to Base at Rouen on August 14, and on August 24, proceeded to England. August 31 he was taken on strength at Hornchurch, then to Sling [Camp] on September 4, before proceeding to the Records Office, London, on September 27, “On Command records of enemy extraction[?]” He then returned to Sling Camp on October 21, and on November 29 to January 2, 1917, was admitted to the hospital at Codford with personal problems.

At Codford on February 3, 1917, he was posted back to the 2nd Battalion, NZ Rifle Brigade, B Company, and proceeded back to France on March 1, re-joining his unit from base on May 21. On September 29, 1917, during the third and final part of the Somme Battle, the Brigade was in the Flers area, when Private Seyb received a gunshot wound to the chest and was admitted to 3 Australian Field Ambulance, then to 10 Casualty Clearing Station before being evacuated back to the 55th General Hospital at Boulogne. From here he was sent back to England aboard the Hospital Ship “St Andrew” and admitted on October 20, to 4 London General Hospital. From November 9 to January 26, 1918, he was at the Convalescent Hospital at Hornchurch before going on leave. February 19 saw him again admitted to 3 NZ General Hospital, Codford, with personal problems before being attached to the Command Depot on April 3.

On May 13, he marched in to the NZ Rifle Brigade Depot at Brockton Camp, and was posted to B Company before proceeding back to France on August 24, 1918. He again rejoined the 2nd Battalion, 3 NZ Rifle Brigade on August 31. On September 12, during the battle for Trescault Spur, he was wounded in action for the second time, when he received gunshot wounds to his right upper arm. This day in the unit’s official history is described as follows:

“So ended this day of fierce struggle. A competent authority has stated that there was more long-sustained close fighting on the 12th of September than the Division had experienced on any other single day since Gallipoli. A Special Order was issued by General Hart, congratulating all ranks upon their splendid work, and praising the gallantry, skill, determination and assurance displayed throughout the operations just concluded. The order recalled that, during a period of twenty-two days, the Brigade had taken part in eight engagements, capturing 1,281 prisoners and very large quantities of war material.”

As a result of his wounds in this actionBernard was admitted to 1 NZ Fd Amb, and on September 14, to 4 Casulaty Clearing Station before taken to 5 General Hospital at Rouen. On September 16, he was placed aboard the Hospital Ship Guildford Castle and admitted to 1 NZ General Hospital at Brockenhurst on September 17, before transferred to 3 NZ General Hospital, Codford, on October 14. On December 24, 1918, he boarded the SS Briton at Plymouth for his return home to New Zealand, arriving at Lyttelton on 28 January 1919. Bernard’s final discharge from the army followed on February 26 as no longer physically fit for war service on account of wounds received in action. Having served a total of 3 years and 187 days, he later was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medals.

Bernard returned to Timaru for a short time, but was soon back in his old employment as a clerk with the Public Works Department at Tauranga. On November 15, 1928, at the Presbyterian Church, Tauranga, he married Miss Ethel Eunice Bak, daughter of Peder Cristan and Mary Elizabeth (nee Hutchins) Bak. From 1928 to 1935 they lived at Portia Street, Stratford. Bernard moved around quite a bit in his employment, and in 1938, was at Peel Street, Westport, 1946 at 11 Fow Street, Hamilton, 1949 in Onerahi, Northland, 1954–1957 at 90 Fourth Street, Whangerei, and from 1963, at 19 Mercer Street, Whangerei, where he had retired. It was here that he died on May 27, 1965, aged 70 years, and was buried in the Forest Lawn Block of the Maunu Cemetery, Whangerei. When Ethel died on October 27, 1976, aged 74 years, she was buried with her husband.

Two of Bernard’s brothers also served in the First World War: 24/1808 Private William Seyb (1896-1916), Canterbury Infantry Regiment, who was killed in action on the Somme on 21 September 1916; and 8/3397 Private Henry Michael Seyb (1889-1975), Otago Infantry Battalion, who served in Egypt and Western Europe.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [July 2017]; Assorted records at [July 2017]

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Researched and Written by

Ted Hansen, SC branch NZSG

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