(Service number 47378)

First Rank Private Last Rank


Date 17 October 1887 Place of Birth Scotland

Enlistment Information

Date Age
Address at Enlistment
Occupation Farm hand
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin
Religion Presbyterian
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation
Unit, Squadron, or Ship
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

Post-war Occupations


Date Age
Place of Death
Memorial or Cemetery
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

John Watters was born on 17 October 1887 in Scotland, the son of Thomas and Isabella Watters [source – Personnel file]. John stated that his parents were both deceased and he had been in New Zealand for six years when he enlisted. John Watters, a farm labourer of Clandeboye, was called up in 1917. He had handed in his name at the Timaru Defence Office in March 1916 and had been medically examined at Temuka but rejected because of bad feet. He did have a flat foot but was able to plough and work horses all day. He was assessed as Fit Class A. John Duncan Watters, a farmer labourer at Factory Road, Temuka, was registered on the 1914 and 1919 Temuka electoral rolls.

A “send-off” for the Temuka, Geraldine, and districts’ representatives for the 25th Reinforcements was held on 20 February 1917. The men, their relatives and friends were entertained at afternoon tea by the Ladies’ Patriotic Entertainment Committee. The men were bade farewell with best wishes. “Everyone knew they would do their duty, and when they came back they would get a hearty welcome.” Captain Hawkes (S.A.) said, “The men were going on a journey they never made before; on a journey it was not often given to a man to take. . . . . . . They were going to the front to stand for truth, liberty and righteousness, . . . . .” The men marched in procession to the railway station, headed by the Brass Band, along crowded streets. There the Mayor called for three hearty cheers. Major Kennedy reiterated that the men going away were leaving the civilian life that day to take up the life of a soldier, and that they were going to fight for the freedom of the whole human race. When the men took their seats in the train and left, they were cheered again and again, the Band playing “Soldiers of the King”. One of those who left was John Watters, of Clandeboye, one of about 90 South Canterbury men on the train. Private Watters was a guest at a farewell social in Clandeboye Hall on 13 April 1917.


Timaru Herald, 29 March 1916, 3 April 1916, 20 February 1917, Temuka Leader, 17 & 22 February 1917, 10 April 1917 (Papers Past) [24, 27 & 28 August 2020]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [27 August 2020]

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

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