SMITH, Cornelius
(Service number 55189)

First Rank Rifleman Last Rank


Date 10 October 1885 Place of Birth Timaru

Enlistment Information

Date 12 February 1917 Age 31 years
Address at Enlistment Mangaweka
Occupation Farmer
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single; married; one child
Next of Kin Mrs C. SMITH (wife), Mangaweka
Religion Roman Catholic
Medical Information Height 5 feet 5½ inches. Weight 132 lbs. Complexion medium. Eyes blue. Hair brown.

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 Reinforcements, H Company (part)
Date 26 July 1917
Transport Ulimaroa
Embarked From Destination Plymouth, Devon, England
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With New Zealand Rifle Brigade

Military Awards

Campaigns Western European
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 21 June 1919 Reason End of period of engagement.

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

26 August 1918 gunshot wound to left shoulder

Post-war Occupations



Date 11 May 1973 Age 87 years
Place of Death Taihape
Memorial or Cemetery Taihape Cemetery
Memorial Reference Block 2, Row 69, Plot 9
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Cornelius Smith was born on 10 October 1885 at Timaru, the third son of Scottish-born James Smith and his Irish-born wife, Mary née O’Neill. James and Mary married in 1881 and seven children were born at Timaru. Three more were born in the North Island.Cornelius was baptised Roman Catholic on 8 November 1885 at Timaru. He was educated at the Timaru Roman Catholic School and at Waimataitai School, Timaru, leaving there at the end of 1894, when the family moved to the North Island, settling at Mangaweka, where Mr Smith took up farming, his sons following him.

Cornelius Smith and his brother John, both farmers at Kawhatau, Mangaweka, were listed on the Reserve Rolls. Both men appealed, Cornelius on the ground of hardship. He stated that he wanted a few months to “close up his affairs”. After a lengthy examination, his appeal was dismissed and one month allowed before he had to go into camp. When Cornelius enlisted on 12 February 1917, he was single, Roman Catholic, and farming at Mangaweka. He married Ellen Gladys Moon on 23 April 1917 at Wellington, and their son, Cornelius John Smith, was born on 29 November 1917 at Taihape.

C. Smith, who had “donned His Majesty’s khaki”, was farewelled at a social in Kraiger’s Hall, Kawhatau, in early April 1917. Rifleman Cornelius Smith nominated his wife as next-of-kin and embarked with the Rifle Brigade on 26 July 1917. In August 1918, Cornelius Smith was wounded, his name appearing in the casualty lists at the same time as his brother John’s.

His brother, John Smith, died of illness on 19 February 1919 in England. His oldest brother, James Smith, also served in World War I, possibly with the Australian Forces.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [01 October 2020]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [01 October 2020]; Taihape Daily Times, 23 & 24 February 1917, Rangitikei Advocate, 7 April 1917, 7 September 1918, 3 May 1919 (Papers Past) [01, 02 & 03 October 2020]; Baptism Index (Christchurch Roman Catholic Diocese CD held by South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [02 October 2020]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [02 & 03 October 2020]; Taihape Cemetery headstone image & burial record (Rangitikei District Council) [02 October 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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