FOWERAKER, Charles Ethelbert
(Service number 15514)

First Rank Corporal Last Rank Corporal


Date 24 April 1886 Place of Birth Waimate, South Canterbury

Enlistment Information

Date 6 April 1916 Age 29 years
Address at Enlistment
Occupation University demonstrator
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Miss R. S. FOWERAKER (sister), 9 Wesley Street, Dunedin South
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 15th Reinforcements, Canterbury Infantry Battalion, C company
Date 26 July 1916
Transport Waitemata or Ulimaroa
Embarked From Wellington Destination
Other Units Served With NZ Medical Corps
Last Unit Served With Canterbury Infantry Regiment

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 24 March 1964 Age 77 years
Place of Death 102B Hackthorne Road, Cashmere, Christchurch (residence)
Notices Press, 25 March 1964
Memorial or Cemetery Canterbury Crematorium, ashes interred Woodlawn Memorial Gardens
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Charles Ethelbert Foweraker was born on 24 April 1886 at Waimate, South Canterbury, the younger son of William Foweraker and his 2nd wife, Harriette Frances née Morgan. Charles was educated at Waimate District High School, where he did exceptionally well, winning the Dux gold medal in 1902. He continued his studies at Canterbury College, with distinction. From a young age, Charles had a great interest in botany. He started as a pupil-teacher at Waimate and gained his teacher’s certificate while teaching there. He also studied extramurally for a B.A. at Canterbury College, and in 1914 accepted a position as demonstrator in biology. His mother died in July 1914 and his father, who was the postmaster at Waimate, in December 1915, both buried at Waimate Cemetery.

Charles Ethelbert registered for enlistment on 2 December 1915 when there was a shortage in the Christchurch quota for the 11th Reinforcements. At the December 1915 meeting of the Canterbury College Board of Governors, the committee recommended that “Mr C. E. Foweraker, assistant to the professor of biology be permitted to enlist with the New Zealand Reinforcements for the front, and that his position be kept open for him on the same terms and conditions as in the case of other members of the college staff who are on active service, viz., on full salary, less half the cost of a substitute. That applications for the position of assistant to the professor of biology, during the absence of Mr Foweraker on active service, at a salary at the rate of £l50 per annum, be called for.”

Charles Ethelbert Foweraker, a university demonstrator at Canterbury College, Christchurch, enlisted on 6 April 1916. He named his sister as next-of-kin – Miss R. S. Foweraker, 9 Wesley Street, Dunedin South. Rhoda Selina Foweraker was born in 1871 at Waimate, a daughter of William Fowraker and his first wife, Martha Mary Rabjohns, who died in 1882 at Pleasant Point. Corporal C. E. Foweraker embarked with the Canterbury Infantry Battalion of the 15th Reinforcements, departing from Wellington on 26 July 1916. He wrote on 1 August 1916 from his troopship to the Lady Liverpool Committee in Christchurch –

“I am writing this to the accompaniment of “You are My Baby,” played by one of the Lady Liverpool Fund’s gramophones a few yards away. On the floor beside me, a …….e is enjoying a noisy game of euchre (gift cards). In a neighbouring alley-way (between the bunks), a crew is playing quoits (gifts again), and the other denizens of my particular corner are either writing or reading (gifts likewise).

We are in smooth water just now, and nearly everybody has recovered from his sea-sickness . . . . . It will interest you to know that these gift goods are plentiful, and very much appreciated. With best wishes, — Yours very sincerely, CHARLES E. FOWERAKER.”

In June 1917 it was reported that Private C. E. Foweraker had been wounded and admitted to hospital. He had suffered a serious hand wound while serving with the Medical Corps in France. While convalescing, he took botany lectures in London. The recommendation of the Canterbury College Board in December 1918 was that “Mr C. E. Foweraker, who is on active service, be granted an additional six months’ leave of absence (or 12 months if necessary), to enable him to attend some ol the main zoological and botanical laboratories in England, on similar conditions to those attached to Mr Condliffe’s leave [preceding recommendation].”

Charles E. Foweraker was discharged on 13 March 1919 to take up a NZEF Scholarship at Cambridge University. At this point Foweraker’s studies included both botany and forestry. Charles married Margaret Jane Baker-Willis, of Southbrisge, Canterbury, New Zealand, on 16 August 1919 at St Paul’s Church, Cambridge, England. Corporal C. E. Foweraker returned to New Zealand by the “Tainui” which was due at Auckland on 2 April 1920. The name of C. Foweraker appeared regularly on the Waimate Daily Advertiser Roll of Honour under the sub-title of Answered the Call. Charles and Margaret settled in Christchurch, but not before visiting Waimate.

After his return to New Zealand, Charles Fowraker resumed a position at Canterbury College. In August 1921, when he held a position in the Biological Laboratory, permission was given to undertake botanical survey work in native forests for the State Forestry Department. In 1928 he was appointed acting Professor in charge of the Biological Laboratory. When a Waimate High School Old Pupils’ Association was formed in 1929, Mr C. E. Foweraker was elected one of the patrons. In early 1936, Mr Foweraker took a trip to England to study “present methods of botanical teaching and research in a number of universities in Great Britain.”

Charles Ethelbert Foweraker died on 24 March 1964 at his Christchurch home (102B Hackthorne Road, Cashmere), aged 77 years. He was cremated at Canterbury Crematorium, his ashes interred in Woodlawn Memorial Gardens. He was survived by his wife, Margaret Jane, who died in May 1989, and his daughter Margaret (Peggy) and son John. A neat synopsis of the career of Charles is provided in the obituary printed in the Press of 28 March 1964. [See attachment.]


Auckland War Memorial Museumm Cenotaph Database [05 July 2022]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [05 July 2022]; Canterbury Crematorium & Memorial Gardens plaque image & record (Find A Grave) [15 July 2022]; Timaru Herald, 7 February 1903, Sun, 3 & 20 December 1915, Waimate Daily Advertiser, 7 April 1916, 14 February 1917, 30 May 1918, 17 April 1919, 31 October 1919, 23 April 1920, 31 August 1921, 2 November 1921, 28 September 1927, 1 August 1929, Press, 19 December 1918, 28 April 1919, 4 February 1936, 25 & 28 March 1964, NZ Times, 19 February 1920, Evening Star, 23 March 1920 (Papers Past) [18 September 2019; 15 & 16 July 2022]

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, Teresa Scott, South Canterbury Genealogy Society

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