McCLEERY, Samuel Aird
(Service number 6/512)

Aliases Known as Aird
First Rank Private Last Rank


Date 14 December 1886 Place of Birth Outram, Otago

Enlistment Information

Date Age
Address at Enlistment 7 Grey Street, Timaru
Occupation Grocer's assistant
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Hugh McCLEERY (father), 1 St Andrew Street, Dunedin
Religion Presbyterian
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation Main Body
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Canterbury Infantry Battalion
Date 16 October 1914
Transport Tahiti or Athenic
Embarked From Destination
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Service Medals
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

Gunshot wound to head

Post-war Occupations

Storeman; pensioner


Date 19 January 1940 Age 53 years
Place of Death Timaru
Memorial or Cemetery Timaru Cemetery
Memorial Reference General Section, Row 44, Plot 712
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Samuel Aird McCleery was born on 14 December 1886 at Outram, Otago, the elder son of Hugh and Mary Murdoch (Minnie, née Alley) McCleery. He was known as Aird and enlisted with this name only. Aird was educated at Outram School, leaving at the age of fifteen. By 1905 the family had moved to Pleasant Point, South Canterbury, where Aird worked as a baker’s assistant, after a stint as a butcher in Otago. By 1914 he was a grocer’s assistant, living in Timaru. During the war years his parents were in Dunedin, moving to Otipua, near Timaru, in about 1919. Aird was called up in 1916 but had already left with the Main Body in 1914 and had been wounded at the Dardanelles in 1915. He was for some time with the Timaru Volunteers. “Private McCleery was four days in the trenches at a stretch, and he had one bag of biscuits and one bottle of water for three days.” He suffered a bullet wound in the head and, after time in hospital, was invalided home.

In November 1915 he announced his engagement to Margaret Harrison. They married in June 1916 and had a son was born on 21 November 1918 at Timaru. That son, Robert (Bob) Aird McCleery, was drawn in the ballot for World War II. Samuel Aird mcCleery, a war pensioner, died on 19 January 1940 and was buried at Timaru. His younger brother, Thomas George McCleery, also served in World War I for close on four years, only to die unexpectedly in July 1919, three weeks after his return home.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [23 July 2002]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [23 July 2002]; School Admission record [24 July 2020]; Timaru Cemetery headstone image (Timaru District Council) [24 July 2020]; Otago Daily Times, 21 June 1915, 4 December 1918, Otago Witness, 23 June 1915, Timaru Herald, 16 & 20 July 1915, 13 November 1915, Evening Star, 19 July 1915 (Papers Past) [2015; 07 April 2020; 26 July 2020]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [24 July 2020]

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