HANDS, William Bernard
(Service number 23/1655)

First Rank Rifleman Last Rank Rifleman


Date 20 March 1895 Place of Birth Cape Foulwind

Enlistment Information

Date 18 October 1915 Age 20 years
Address at Enlistment Geraldine
Occupation Jockey
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs Augusta HANDS (later POLKINGHORNE) (mother), Cape Foulwind, Westport
Religion Roman Catholic
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 3rd Reinforcements, 1st Battalion, E Company
Date 8 January 1916
Transport Tahiti of Warrimoo
Embarked From Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With Rifle Brigade

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

Lost right eye

Post-war Occupations

Bins hand


Date 18 November 1968 Age 73 years
Place of Death Westport
Memorial or Cemetery Orowaiti Cemetery, Westport
Memorial Reference Block 19, Row 7, Plot 573
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

William Bernard Hands was born on 20 March 1895 at Cape Foulwind, the son of Bernard and Augusta Wilhelmina (née Peters) Hands. W. B. Hands passed the medical examination at Timaru in September 1915 and was sworn in for service at the Front. He was part of South Canterbury’s quota for the Ninth Reinforcements which left South Canterbury for Trentham on 18 October 1915. He was a jockey residing at Geraldine when he enlisted. William embarked on 8 January 1916. His father, Bernard Hands, who embarked on the same date and with the same company of the same reinforcements, was killed in action at the Somme eight months later. Mrs Hands married Charles Polkinghorne in 1917. William suffered permanent disability through the loss of his right eye. Father and son had successive service numbers.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [18 September 2020]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [18 September 2020]; Orowaiti cemetery record [18 September 2020]; Timaru Herald, 14 September 1914, 18 October 1915 (Papers Past) [September 2020]

External Links

Related Documents

No documents available. 

Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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