CLEAVE, George Briar
(Service number 8/1216 or 4/1216A)

First Rank Private Last Rank Driver


Date 5 October 1885 Place of Birth Ngapara

Enlistment Information

Date 21 October 1914 Age 29 years
Address at Enlistment Hakatarmea
Occupation Farm hand
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Richard CLEAVE (father), North-east Valley, Dunedin
Religion Presbyterian
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation 2nd Reinforcements
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Otago Infantry Battalion
Date 14 December 1914
Transport Willochra
Embarked From Wellington Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With 1st Field Company NZ Engineers

Military Awards

Campaigns Balkan; Egyptian; Egyptian E.F.; Western European
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 13 April 1919 Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations



Date 14 June 1957 Age 71 years
Place of Death Bluff
Cause Disease - Coronary Thrombosis, Chronic rheumatic myocarditis, arteriosclerosis & hypertension
Memorial or Cemetery Bluff Cemetery
Memorial Reference General Section, Block 8, Plot 126
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

George Briar Cleave was born on 5 October 1885 at Ngapara, near Oamaru, the second son of Richard Cleave and his first wife, Isabel née Drake. His mother died on 24 June 1899 at Dunedin, leaving four sons and two daughters, the oldest just fifteen. Some time later his father married again and had four more children. George started his schooling at Ngapara Schoolthree weeks after his fifth birthday. When the family moved to the Dunedin area in April 1891, he transferred to Ravensbourne School, mvong on to Wakari School, Dunedin, in July 1892. Mr Richard Cleave was elected to the Upper Junction School Committee in 1903, when the younger family members would have been pupils there.

Among the North Otago men who proceeded to Wellington on 20 October 1914 to join the reinforcements for the Expeditionary Force was G. B. Cleave, Hakataramea. George enlisted on 21 October 1914 at Trentham. A farm hand at Hakataramea, single and Presbyterian, he named his father as next-of-kin – Richard Cleaves, North-east Valley, Dunedin. Private G. B. Cleave embarked with the Otago Infantry Battalion of the 2nd Reinforcements, departing from Wellington for Suez, Egypt, on 14 December 1914 May 1917 per the “Willochra”.

George Briar Cleave was discharged on 13 November 1919, having served in all theatres of the war, for which he was awrded the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. “The determination oi the Hakataramea Patriotic Association to combine in one final welcome to the returned soldiers of the district was amply justified by the success of the grand ball, held in the Hakataramea Hall last night. Preparations could hardly have been carried further or have provided better for the occasion, but the record gathering of residents completely baffled the organisers.” [Oamaru Mail. 14 October 1919.] The soldiers were assured that they were regarded with the highest feelings of appreciation and gratitude by the people of Haka and district. The hope was that they would all settle down immediately into civilian life, and that their future life might be as prosperous and bright as they deserved. Fifty-five men had gone from te district. Those who had not returned were honoured. And most who had returned were presented with a gold medal on the night. Driver G. B. Cleave and Trooper H. C. Walker briefly replied on behalf of their comrades, and cheers were given by the soldiers for the kindnesses received from the district.

George B. Cleave died on 14 June 1957 at Bluff, aged 71 years. He was buried at Bluff with his oldest brother, James Henry Cleave and his wife. (There is a discrepancy in the service number inscribed on his headstone.) After the war George had suffered the effects of mustard gas poisoning. His brother, John Charles Cleave, also serve din World War One. At the sitting of the Military Appeal Board in Timaru on 6 November 1917, it was noted that Joseph Richard Cleave (Hakataramea) had been classed by a Medical Board as C2 (fit only for home service). His appeal was consequently dismissed, and he was to be held for home service. Joseph was another brother. Two nephews served in World War Two - William Richard John Cleave and James Henry (Jim) Cleave.


Auckland War Memorial Museumm Cenotaph Database [04 July 2022]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [07 July 2022]; School Admission records (Oamaru & Dunedin Branches NZSG) [20 July 2022]; Bluff Cemetery headstone image & burial record (Invercargill City Council) [20 July 2022]; Evening Star, 28 April 1903, 18 January 1908, Oamaru Mail, 20 October 1914, 11 October 1919 (Papers Past) [20 July 2022]

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Related Documents

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, Teresa Scott, South Canterbury Genealogy Society

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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