BAIN, James
(Service number 7/302)

Aliases Known as Jim
First Rank Trooper Last Rank Lance-corporal


Date 8 March 1891 Place of Birth Waimate

Enlistment Information

Date 23 August 1914 Age 23 years
Address at Enlistment Lower Riccarton
Occupation Clerk (Bank of NZ Christchurch)
Previous Military Experience B.H.S. Cadets Christchurch – left school.
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Kenneth B. Bain, 8 Riccarton Road, Lower Riccarton, Christchurch. Also Miss Paterson (aunt), Ladies Imperial Club, Dover Street, London 4.
Religion Presbyterian
Medical Information Height 5 ft 8 in. Weight 147 lbs. Chest measurement 34-39 in. Complexion fair. Eyes blue. Hair fair. Sight, hearing & colour vision all normal. Limbs well formed. Full & perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. Heart & lungs normal. Teeth – ‘Yes’. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated. Good bodily & mental health. No slight defects. Burn scar outer thigh.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

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

Military Awards

Campaigns Egyptian; Balkan (Gallipoli, Mudros); Egyptian Expeditionary Force
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 31 March 1919 Reason No longer fit for War Service on account of illness contracted on Active Service.

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

3 April 1915 - admitted to hospital at Zeitoun - diarrhoea; 11 May 1915 - admitted to hospital at Mudros - diarrhoea. 11 June 1915 - admitted to hospital at Mudros; 18 June discharged. 12 July 1915 - admitted to hospital; 18 July disembarked at Malta from hospital ship - slightly sick - enteritis. Early September 1915 - in hospital at Malta - shrapnel wounds in the knee. 7 September embarked for England & admitted to First Southern General Hospital at Birmingham. 5 November 1917 - Cairo - wounded in action. 7 November admitted to No 27 General Hospital, Cairo - gunshot wounds to leg. 15 November admitted to Aotea New Zealand Convalescent Home, Heliopolis. 4 December discharged to duty. 6 October 1918 - admitted to hospital - sick. 18 October 1918 - admitted to 71st General Hospital, Helonan – severe malaria; 4 November seriously ill. 13 November admitted - sick. Invalided home. 24 December 1918 to 11 January 1919 - in the ship’s hospital at sea.

Post-war Occupations



Date 3 October 1941 Age 49 years
Place of Death Tai Tapu, Christchurch
Notices Press, 4 October 1941
Memorial or Cemetery Waimairi Cemetery, Christchurch
Memorial Reference Block AN17, Plot 45
New Zealand Memorials St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Christchurch, roll of honour (volunteers for the front)

Biographical Notes

James Bain, who was known as Jim, was the fourth and youngest son of Kenneth Burns and Mary Ann (Marian, née Forsyth) Bain. He was born on 8 March 1891 at Waimate. Kenneth Burns Bain came to New Zealand as a three year old with his family in the late 1840s. He married Mary Ann Forsyth in 1875 in Dunedin, where two children, Maxwell Stewart and Kenneth Burns, were born, while Christina Stewart was born in mid Canterbury. In 1884, Mr Bain became manager of Waihaorunga Estate, and their four youngest children were born at Waimate. Mr and Mrs Bain remained in South Canterbury well into the 1890s. In early 1894 Mr K. B. Bain, of Waihaorunga, met with a nasty accident when one of the wheels came off his buggy while he was driving round a corner in Waimate. Mr Bain was a very good farm manager, achieving high lambing percentages and judging stock at many shows. After managing the Waihaorunga Estate for eleven years, Mr K. B. Bain was appointed to take charge of the Temuka property of the Estates Company. Mr Bain has earned and deserves the promotion he has obtained, reported the South Canterbury Times. In mid 1895, Kenneth (born 1883), Mary (born 1886) and Thomas (born 1888) were enrolled at Temuka School, having previously had private tuition.

Jim’s first school was Temuka. From there he went to St Alban’s School, Christchurch, then on to Christchurch Normal and West Christchurch before High School in 1905. At the Temuka School prize distribution in December 1897, young James was recognised for boys’ merit third place in the Preparatory Class. The headmaster remarked that he would like to give the boys and girls a little advice. “They (the teachers) were proud of their school, he believed the committee were proud of it, and he was assured the people in the district were. This should be a keynote for them. From pride of their school, they should rise to pride of their country, and thus develop a pure form of patriotism. He did not mean that they need fight for their country, but he did mean that five boys imbued with a love of their country would fight better than fifty who had no such love. ” How little could he have anticipated what lay ahead for many of these children? It was in 1898 Mary, Thomas and James transferred to school in Christchurch. In 1897 Mr Bain was manager of the Albury Estate. Formerly of Waihaorunga and Arowhenua, he was appointed a Crown lands ranger for the Land District of Canterbury later in 1897.

Jim’s secondary education was at the Christchurch Boys’ High School. He contested the cricket ball throw at the school’s annual sports in October 1906, and also started in the 880 yards open. In 1908, with a throw of l00 yards l foot l0 inches, J. Bain eclipsed the record of 98yds 1ft 1½in put up by the late R. G. Deans in 1901, but there was an element of doubt about his performance constituting a record, as a strong southwest wind was blowing in his favour at the time. The record, however, was written into the books (as 100yds 2 in), and was still standing many years later.

Jim Bain was very much into sports, both cricket and rugby football. In 1905 he played for the High School fourth grade cricket team. In one match when the team had a big win, his 56 was the highest run score. By January 1906 he was playing in the Boys’ High School second grade team, gaining the second highest run score on one occasion. He was in the Present Pupils’ team which defeated the Past Pupils in their annual match in March 1906. In November the same year Jim Bain batted and took five wickets for 21 runs to help his school to victory over Christ’s College. The following month his brother Thomas was playing alongside him. Jim represented the Ellesmere Association in a match against the Canterbury Association. From October 1907 he batted and bowled for the Riccarton Club. He played for the right-handers against the left-handers in November 1908, his team coming out on top. He made a good showing in the inter-school match in November 1908, and a few weeks later he was turning out for Riccarton first grade. In the New Year he put in a good performance with both bat and ball for the Canterbury junior representative team in their big win over Otago. He continued playing well for Riccarton’s first eleven in 1909. The tables were turned in December 1909 when he represented the Old Boys’ against the present pupils, and this time it was the past pupils who won, narrowly. He made his appearance in the 1908 annual football match between Boys’ High School and Christ’s College. Jim Bain who played at full-back for the winners was one of the lightest in the team at 10 stone 3 pounds. He played again in school matches in 1909, against Christ’s College and against Nelson College. In 1910 he turned out for High School Old Boys, sometimes giving them the edge with his goal kicking. Cricket and football kept him busy throughout the following years. In August 1913 he was selected to represent Canterbury in football for their southern tour and another game before briefly losing his place in the team because of one bad game.

On leaving school, Jim joined the staff of the Bank of New Zealand at Christchurch. The resignation from the Defence Forces of Honorary Acting Lieutenant J. Bain, No. 2 Company Christchurch Boys’ High School Cadets, was accepted as from 2 February 1910. 1914 started well for Jim, in football especially. In a May match, although his team lost, he “kicked really well, and saved on several occasions. The others hardly played up to form.” He was selected for Canterbury for their northern tour and to play against South Canterbury. The Star of 18 July 1914 reported – “J. Bain, at full-back, seems to have a mortgage on the representative position. He was not infallible, but his line-kicking was superb.” He suffered a fractured rib in a match in July but in no time he “played a first-class game as goal custodian for Old Boys, . . .” His Old Boys’ team won the championship. His [Bain’s] play was pivotal in Old Boys’ narrow win, 14-13. With cricket starting up in October, it was noted by the Riccarton Club that J. Bain was with the Expeditionary Force. As of April 1915, Christchurch High School Old Boys’ Football Club had 35 members at the front, J. Bain one of them. At the annual meeting of the Christchurch Amateur Swimming Club, held in mid December 1915, it was reported that many of the club’s members had answered the Empire’s call, and it was the wish that they would return sound in body and limb. Included in the list of members who had enlisted was J. Bain (wounded). The splendid response which rowing men have made to the Empire’s call is illustrated by the Canterbury Rowing Club’s fine recorded, reported the Sun of 29 September 1916. Hundred members had gone to the front, J. Bain listed as on active service. The Canterbury Rowing Club’s roll of honour stood at 124 in September 1917. Listed among the members on active service was J. Bain. The Roll of Honour of the Riccarton Cricket Club in August 1917 included J. Bain as serving.

He had registered for compulsory military training at Lumsden, presumably when he took a break from bank work and was engaged for a while in farming operations in Southland, in about 1911. James Bain was 23 years old when he enlisted on 23 August 1914. A clerk with the Bank of New Zealand, single and Presbyterian, he named his father as next-of-kin – Kenneth B. Bain, 8 Riccarton Road, Lower Riccarton, Christchurch. As for his brother Max, another contact was added – Miss Paterson (aunt), Ladies Imperial Club, Dover Street, London 4. This was probably Mary Bain Paterson, who was a sister of his father and was born Bain but took the name of her step-father, James Paterson, who had married her widowed mother in 1856. He was 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighed 147pounds, and had a chest measurement of 34-39 inches. His complexion was fair, his eyes blue, and his hair fair. His sight, hearing and colour vision were all normal, as were his heart and lungs, and his teeth. His limbs and chest were well formed. He was free of diseases and defects. With only a burn scar on his outer thigh, he was in good bodily and mental health.

The official list of the Mounted Brigade as at August 1914 included Trooper J. Bain. At the Canterbury Rowing Club function in August 1914, speeches were made, wishing “God-speed” and a safe return, and a pipe was presented to each member going to the front. Among those members was J. Bain. On 29 August 1914 the “men for the front” played a benefit football match. “The standard of play was high, and at times even spectacular.” In the first of four spells, “from a penalty Jim Bain kicked a fine goal, amidst a round of great applause.” Later he added two points with a splendid kick, to put the win to the Cavalry beyond doubt. The full complement (1734 men) at Addington Camp was “ready to go at a moment’s notice.” The mounted men also had the required number of horses. While departure was not as close as expected and a longer stay in camp was anticipated, the training of the men went on steadily.

Embarking at Wellington with the Main Body, Canterbury Mounted Rifles, on 16 October 1914, Troopers J. Bain and M. S. Bain disembarked at Alexandria, Egypt, on 3 December 1914. In a letter written from Zeitoun camp, Egypt, on 10 February 1915, Trooper Jim Bain describes his experiences thus far. “We are still in Egypt, and Max [brother] and I are very well. Our infantry have been in the firing line on the Canal. On Saturday next we will have completed our training, and we are now combined with the Queensland Light Horse, so you can imagine what a sight it is when we are all out together. This is supposed to be our hardest week. Certainly in the way of hours it has been strenuous, but it is very, very interesting, and one does not notice the hours at all. On Monday last we did 19 hours, and the other days have not been quite so long, but we go out at night and dig trenches. I had not been in the machine-gun section long before I was put up No. 4 of No. 1 gun. That is sixth in the section, so I have not done so badly.”

Bain was admitted to hospital at Zeitoun on 3 April 1915, with diarrhoea. It was 9 May 1915 when he embarked for the Dardanelles, only to be admitted to hospital at Mudros on 11 May, with another bout of diarrhoea. Sergeant H. McD. Vincent, of the Canterbury Infantry Battalion, wrote to a staff member of “The Press” in mid 1915 — “It is hardly the best of jobs writing about the old crowd that have gone. “Jim” Bain, who I ran across the other day, summed it up when he said: ‘Well, Mack, I suppose you feel pretty lonely now.’ And it is. . . . . . There is one thing, there is not a man who has disgraced the old Christchurch Football Club. . . . . . The Battalion is having a strenuous time — (words censored). . . . .” Trooper J. Bain, Canterbury Mounted, was admitted to hospital at Mudros on 11 June 1915 and discharged a week later. He was admitted to hospital again on 12 July. He disembarked at Malta from a hospital ship on 18 July 1915, slightly sick - enteritis. This was Jim Bain the well-known Old Boys’ Club and Canterbury football representative and cricketer, who left with the main force.

As of early September 1915 he was in hospital at Malta, suffering from shrapnel wounds in the knee. “Of all the wearers of the Senior white jersey who enlisted “Jim” is about the last one to be accounted for, practically all the old boys of the High School who went away with the main force having been either killed or wounded.” [Lyttelton Times. 8 September 1915.] Wounded, he embarked for England on 7 September 1915 and was admitted to the First Southern General Hospital at Birmingham. He was discharged to furlough and in mid November returned to Active Service. In mid December he went off again to the Dardanelles, returning to Alexandria in mid January 1916. Trooper James Bain was appointed lance-corporal (Machine Gun Squadron) on 15 July 1916. As of 1 August he was stationed in Egypt. Another trooper of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles, who had also been wounded and invalided to England, wrote to his own mother from Mudros on 12 December 1916, after leaving Weymouth for Liverpool. He had proceeded to Mudros by the “Olympic”, one of his cabin mates being Jim Bain.

For absence without leave on 21/22 January 1917 at Masara, Bain was severely reprimanded and lost a day’s pay. A week later he relinquished the appointment of lance-corporal at his own request and was detached to the Anzac Division. In April 1917 he was appointed acting sergeant while employed on clerical duties with the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade Machine Gun Squadron. On 1 June he was promoted to sergeant specifically for the clerical posting to the General Officer Commanding the N.Z.E.F. in Egypt. In late August he reverted to trooper at his own request and was transferred to the Canterbury Mounted Rifles. Casualty List No 721 advised that James Bain, of Lower Riccarton, had been wounded in action on 5 November 1917 at Cairo. On 7 November he was admitted to No 27 General Hospital at Cairo, suffering from gunshot wounds to the leg, and on 15 November he was admitted to the Aotea New Zealand Convalescent Home at Heliopolis. Discharged to duty from Aotea on 4 December, he was detached to Rest Camp at Port Said. In May 1918 he was transferred to the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade, and in July appointed lance-corporal.

He was admitted to hospital, sick, on 6 October 1918. Afflicted with severe malaria, he was admitted to the 71st General Hospital at Helonan on 18 October 1918. As of 4 November he was reported to be seriously ill. Although he had been removed from the seriously ill list, on 13 November he was again admitted to hospital, sick. Transport No. 208, “Malta”, was due at a New Zealand port in late January 1919, bringing home invalided soldiers, among them J. Bain, of Lower Riccarton. He had embarked at Suez on 14 December 1918. While at sea he was in the ship’s hospital from 24 December 1918 till 11 January 1919.

Lance-corporal J. Bain was discharged on 31 March 1919, being no longer fit for War Service on account of illness contracted on Active Service. Lance-corporal J. Bain had given well over four years of service overseas, in Egypt and in the Balkans. He received the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. Very soon after his arrival home, Jim was spotted among the spectators at Hagley Park. It was suggested that he would be assisting his old team (Riccarton) for the remainder of the season. “While in Egypt Jim made a name for himself as a fast bowler.” He got back into cricket but was said to be not the player of old. At a gathering of the Merivale Football Club, a welcome was extended to two well-known who had just returned – Mr J. Bain, of the Old Boys’ Club, and another of the Christchurch Club. He also got back into rugby. He was prominent for the soldiers in a match (ten aside) played against the Peninsula team, although the returned men lost. In November 1919 he met with a slight accident when he was breaking in a youngster, which threw him and tramped on his chest. As a result he had to “lay up” for a few days. August 1920 found him playing full-back for the North Canterbury Sub-Union.

Kenneth Burns Bain, senior, and his wife Mary Ann, lived for many years in Christchurch, retiring to their son’s place at Amberley, where Mr Bain died in 1922, followed by Mrs Bain in 1930. They are buried at Balcairn Cemetery, where their headstone carries a memorial to their son - Maxwell Stewart Bain, killed on Gallipoli, 21st August 1915 aged 38. “We are still in Egypt, and Max and I are very well,” Jim Bain wrote home in February 1915, but that was not to last for Max. Thomas Maxwell Bagarie Bain, a son of Thomas Bain and nephew of Jim and Max, served in World War Two. Jim’s brother, Kenneth Burns Bain, was drawn in the Tenth Ballot in 1917. He was the manager of the State Fire Insurance Office at New Plymouth. His employer lodged an appeal, stating that it was not possible to find a replacement for Bain, and claimed an exemption. Finally the Appeal Board agreed that the case was a special one and granted a sine die adjournment. Thomas Bain, who was another brother of Jim and Max, and works manager of the Christchurch Tramway Board, fell to his death from a water tower at the tram depot in November 1939.

In early August 1915, St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Christchurch unveiled a Roll of Honour bearing the names of volunteers for the front from St Andrew’s Church, which had been founded in 1856. First among the many names were J. Bain and M. S. Bain. At the 1916 AGM, it was noted that a few of those on the Roll had lost their lives, but Jim’s brother, M. S. Bain, was not one. On Anzac Day 1920 a tablet commemorating all the members of the congregation who had fallen in the War was unveiled.

James Bain married Doris Annie Rosena Thacker in 1930. Doris was a sister of John H. C. Thacker who had married Jim’s sister, Mary Stewart Bain, in 1911. While Jim Bain turned again to farming on his return, at Tai Tapu, in 1935 he was at the Christchurch Sanatorium. James Bain, late N.Z.E.F., died on 3 October 1941 at his residence at Tai Tapu, near Christchurch, aged 49. He was buried at Waimairi Cemetery, Christchurch, his grave marked by a services memorial stone. Doris was buried with him in 1987. Two brothers and two sisters are also buried at Waimairi Cemetery. His obituary in the Press read in part – “Mr James Bain who died last week was one of the best footballers in Canterbury in the years preceding the Great War and was also a prominent member of the Riccarton Cricket Club. . . . . On the outbreak of war he joined the forces and went away with the Main Body as a member of the C.Y.C. He saw much service on Gallipoli, where he was wounded.”


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [22 March 2021]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5520 0011384) [25 March 2021]; South Canterbury Times, 29 January 1894, 13 February 1895, Evening Star, 13 February 1895, 28 September 1915, North Otago Times, 1 September 1897, Temuka Leader, 18 December 1897, Press, 27 November 1905, 26 February 1906, 15 March 1906, 26 November 1906, 10 & 18 December 1906, 20 & 27 January 1908, 15 August 1908, 8 & 10 October 1908, 19 November 1908, 7 December 1908, 27 August 1909, 9 September 1910, 3 & 24 August 1914, 25 March 1915, 30 July 1915, 8 & 28 September 1915, 10 March 1916, 7 October 1916, 1 & 29 September 1917, 20 November 1917, 16 January 1919, 10 February 1919, 5 August 1922, 20 November 1939, 14 December 1939, 4 October 1941, Lyttelton Times, 29 January 1906, 29 November 1906, 3 December 1906, 19 November 1908, 4 October 1909, 29 August 1914, 2 September 1914, 20 March 1915, 10 August 1915, 8 September 1915, Star, 12 & 27 October 1906, 5 August 1908, 9 October 1908, 14 July 1909, 8 December 1909, 8 April 1910, 7 May 1910, 8 August 1913, 20 September 1913, 18 July 1914, 3, 4 & 24 August 1914, 20 March 1914, 23 May 1914, 18 July 1914, 4 & 8 August 1914, 22 April 1915, 8 September 1915, 25 November 1915, 15 January 1918, 15 January 1919, 3 February 1919, Sun, 20 March 1914, 6 April 1914, 31 July 1914, 1, 3 & 29 August 1914, 5 September 1914, 5 October 1914, 9, 10 & 11 August 1915, 17 & 29 September 1915, 14 December 1915, 8 & 29 September 1916, 26 April 1920, 24 August 1920, Timaru Herald, 10 August 1915, 21 November 1917, Southland Times, 11 August 1915, Evening Post, 25 November 1915, 10 October 1917, 14 & 29 January 1918, Taranaki Herald, 3 September 1917, Oamaru Mail, 20 November 1917, New Zealand Times, 20 November 1917, 31 October 1918, 11 November 1918, Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, 5 September 1919, Mataura Ensign, 25 November 1919 (Papers Past) [22, 23, 26 & 28 March 2021]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [05 June 2016; 22 March 2021]; School Admission records (South Canterbury & Canterbury branches NZSG) [22 March 2021]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [23 March 2021]; Waimairi Cemetery headstone transcription [23 March 2021]; Waimairi Cemetery burial records (Christchurch City Council) [23 March 2021]

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