KING, James
(Service number 55508)

First Rank Sergeant Last Rank Rifleman


Date 6 July 1887 Place of Birth Reefton

Enlistment Information

Date 19 February 1917 Age 29 years
Address at Enlistment Waimate
Occupation Watchmaker
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs Eliza KING (mother), 14 Russell Street, Dunedin
Religion Methodist
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 35th Reinforcements, D Company
Date 2 March 1918
Transport Tofua
Embarked From Destination Southampton, Hampshire, England
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 18 June 1958 Age 70 years
Place of Death Christchurch
Notices Press, 20 June 1958
Memorial or Cemetery Cremated Christchurch
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

James King was born on 6 July 1887 at Reefton, the eldest son of Andrew and Eliza (née Eddy) King. Andrew from Scotland and Eliza from Cornwall, England, married in New Zealand in 1883. James was their only son to survive infancy. He had four sisters. James started at Reefton School when he turned five. In 1899 the family moved to Dunedin where he was educated at Arthur Street School, leaving at sixteen to work for Stewart Dawson & Company, a jewellers and watchmakers business. By 1911 James was living at Waimate where he plied his trade. His father died in 1915.

James King, a jeweller at Waimate, volunteered for service with the Expeditionary Force in February 1917 and enlisted on 19 February at Timaru. He named his mother as next-of-kin – Mrs Eliza King, 14 Russell Street, Dunedin.

J. King was one of the eleven men on the express when it arrived at Timaru from Waimate, to proceed with the South Canterbury quota of the 30th Reinforcements. The men had been entertained at luncheon at Waimate. “A large crowd gathered at the railway station to bid the men farewell. The men are apparently not very keen on send-offs as only about half of them turned up at the station, the others joining the train at Studholme.” The Mayor farewelled the men, and expressed the confidence of all that they would do their duty nobly, and trusted they would return safe to those dear to them. A selection was played by the band as the train left the station to the accompaniment of hearty cheers.

Sergeant J. King embarked with the 35th Reinforcements, leaving on 2 March 1918 by the “Tofua” for Southampton, England. He returned to New Zealand by the “Somerset”, leaving from Liverpool on 2 July 1919 and arriving on 20 August 1919.

James married Eva Mabel Heartsease Sapsford in 1928. She was probably a sister of James’s sister’s husband. Eva died in Christchurch the following year. James died on 18 June 1958 at his Christchurch residence, aged 70, and was cremated privately. He was survived by his four sisters, one of whom had married.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [15 October 2021]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [15 October 2021]; Evening Star, 13 December 1915, Inangahua Times, 13 December 1915, Waimate Daily Advertiser, 17 February 1917, 25 May 1917, Timaru Herald, 29 May 1917, Press, 20 June 1958 (Papers Past); 07 & 15 October 2021]

External Links

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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