DEARING, Thomas William
(Service number 16749)

First Rank Trooper Last Rank


Date 11 May 1895 Place of Birth Stillwater

Enlistment Information

Date 7 March 1916 Age 20 years
Address at Enlistment 24 Kilbirnie Crescent, Wellington
Occupation Labourer
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Married
Next of Kin Mrs Elizabeth DEARIG (wife), care of Empire Hotel, Featherston; C/o Mrs NEESON, Heaton Street, Timaru
Religion Church of England
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 18th Reinforcements, Mounted Rifles, Details
Date 15 November 1916
Transport Tahiti or Maunganui
Embarked From Wellington Destination Plymouth, Devon, England
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

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 Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations

Carter; sawmill hand; labourer


Date 25 December 1949 Age 56 years
Place of Death Grey River Hospital, Greymouth
Memorial or Cemetery
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Thomas William Dearing was born on 11 May 1894 at Stillwater, the youngest son of Henry (Harry) and Caroline Georgina (née Agostini) Dearing. There is some uncertainty over the year of birth, no registration being apparent. (1894 is probably incorrect.) He was a labourer in Wellington and single when he enlisted on 7 March 1916 at Featherston. On 4 September 1916 at the Christchurch Catholic Cathedral, Trooper Thomas William Dearing married Elizabeth Neeson of Timaru. Elizabeth’s brother Patrick Joseph served in the war. He then named his wife as next-of-kin – Mrs Elizabeth Dearing, care of Empire Hotel, Featherston, and care of Mrs Neeson, Heaton Street, Timaru.

Trooper T. W. Dearing embarked with the Mounted Rifles of the 18th Reinforcements, departing from Wellington for Plymouth, England, on 15 November 1916. 16749 T. W. Dearing, of Timaru, came home by Returning Draft 191 (Remuera) which had left Liverpool on 7 September 1918 and was due to arrive in October 1918. In January 1919, having returned from nearly three years’ active service, Thomas, accompanied by his wife, visited his parents at Greymouth. He was discharged on 20 January 1919 and was a warded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Thomas and Elizabeth lived for a few years in Christchurch where their daughter Patricia was born in 1920. Later in 1920 Thomas claimed £1122 in damages after his leg was broken when a stack of timber collapsed on 2 March. “He had only just ceased receiving outpatient treatment at the Christchurch Hospital. His left leg was now more than an inch shorter than the other, and the foot had “dropped.” He had been advised to have a further operation upon the foot. Since his discharge from the hospital he had been unable to work, otherwise than by assisting his wife in a fruit shop she had bought. He could not walk far, and then only with the aid of a stick.” The verdict was not in his favour, unfortunately.

But, in September 1923 Elizabeth Dearing prosecuted against Thomas William Dearing for failure to provide adequate maintenance and for persistent cruelty. She said that her husband had left her because he wanted to live a free life. The case was adjourned and it was suggested that a sum be paid by her husband as maintenance. It was in March 1927 That Elizabeth asked for a divorce on the grounds of adultery. A decree nisi was granted. It appears that Thomas had been living for some time with Lucy Gertrude Pahi née Rickus. It was not until 1949 that they married. Meanwhile, Elizabeth had remarried and their daughter married.

Thomas William Dearing died on 25 December 1949 at the Grey River Hospital, Greymouth, his age registered as 56 years. He was probably buried at Karoro Cemetery, Greymouth, where family members were buried. Alfred Henry Dearing, known as Alf and his only brother to reach adulthood, left with the same reinforcement (service number 16748) and returned to New Zealand six months before Thomas.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [08 August 2022]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [08 August 2022]; Greymouth Evening Star, 11 September 1916, Evening Post, 14 October 1918, NZ Times, 9 January 1919, Sun, 18 & 20 October 1920, Press, 5 September 1923, Grey River Argus, 12 March 1927 (Papers Past) [08 August 2022]

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Related Documents

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC Genealogy Society

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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