BUCKTHOUGHT, Kerwin Richard
(Service number 82041)

First Rank Private Last Rank Private


Date 29 March 1892 Place of Birth St Enoder, Cornwall, England

Enlistment Information

Date 18 May 1918 Age 26 years
Address at Enlistment 29 Davey Street, Temuka
Occupation Bricklayer
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Married. One child.
Next of Kin Mrs Lizzie BUCKTHOUGHT (wife), 29 Davey Street, Temuka
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 43rd Reinforcements, A Company
Date 2 October 1918
Transport Matatua
Embarked From Destination London, England
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Service Medals British War 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


Date Age
Place of Death
Memorial or Cemetery
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Kerwin Richard Buckthought was born on 29 March 1892 at St Enoder, Cornwall, England, the eldest son of Richard and Mary (née Stephens) Buckthought. He was baptised on 6 May 1892 in Cornwall, the surname transcribed as Bookthought. In 1901 Kerwin was at home at St Enoder with his parents and siblings; by 1911 he was nowhere to be found in the United Kingdom – he was in New Zealand. In 1914 he was a bricklayer at Palmerston North, New Zealand. On 26 May 1914 in a quiet ceremony at the Temuka Presbyterian Manse, Kerwin Richard Buckthought, eldest son of Richard Buckthought, Cornwall, England, married Lizzie Blyth, second daughter of Mrs Robert Blyth, Temuka. “After the ceremony, the bride’s mother entertained a small party to the wedding breakfast at her residence. Mr and Mrs Buckthought left by the first express for their future home in the North Island.” Their son, Douglas Kenneth Buckthought, was born on 15 June 1917 at Temuka.

Kerwin Buckthought attested on 18 May 1918. The Government Gazette issued on 21 May 1918 named a list of men belonging to Class B of the Second Division Reserve, and among those registered in South Canterbury was Kerwin Richard Buckthought, bricklayer, 29 Davie Street, Temuka. He was in the big draft which left for camp, under orders, on 17 June, as South Canterbury’s quota of the 43rd Reinforcements. There was a big gathering at the Temuka Drill Hall to farewell local members, K. R. Buckthought among them. “The reservists were formed up at Gunnion’s corner and headed by the Temuka Brass Band marched to the hall, entering which, they received an enthusiastic welcome.” The excellent programme provided by the South Canterbury Orchestra and a few Timaru singers was much appreciated. “During the evening Major Kennedy, chairman of the Geraldine Patriotric Committee, gave a short address, and said that they must toil on to final victory. He wished the men God speed. They were going to fill the gaps and he trusted that the training would do them good, and that they would live up to the high standard set before them. He was sure that the Allies would be victorious in the end.” Each soldier was presented with a hold-all. Cheers were given for the departing men and for the boys at the front. The singing of the National Anthem concluded the evening.

Kerwin named his wife as next-of-kin – Mrs Lizzie Buckthought, 29 Davey Street, Temuka. Private K. R. Buckthought embarked with the 43rd Reinforcements, departing for London, England, per the “Matatua” on 2 October 1918. Private K. R. Buckthought returned to New Zealand by the “Hororata” which was due at Wellington on or about 30 September 1919. He actually arrived at Temuka by train on the afternoon of 22 September. There the four Temuka men were met by a large crowd and the Temuka Municipal Brass Band played “Home Again”. In welcoming the men at the Post Office, the Mayor said they were very glad to have them back. “They had been away a very long time, . . . . . . They went away to help to win the war and the war had been won. These soldiers were deserving of all honour.” Hearty cheers were given for the men and appreciation of the kindly welcome extended to them was expressed. He was awarded the British War Medal.

A second son (Peter Richard) was born to Kerwin and Lizzie on 28 February 1921 at Nurse Storey’s, Timaru. But all was not well. When Kerwin’s name appeared in the Police Gazette in 1911, it was as the victim. At Rakaia, his tweed suit (made in England), a rainproof overcoat and a pair of boots had been stolen, suspicion being attached to a circus employee. On 30 September 1921, a warrant was issued for Kerwin Richard Buckthought, alias James Anderson, native of England, for failing to maintain his wife, Lizzie Buckthought, Temuka, and two children. “He may endeavour to leave this Dominion.” He was, however, arrested by the Blenheim police on 8 March 1922. Another warrant was issued on 31 May 1923 for failing to comply with the terms of a maintenance order for the support of his wife and children. The Gazette of 10 October 1923 revealed further information. A warrant was issued on 28 September at Auckland for failing to provide for the future maintenance of his unborn illegitimate child. The complainant was Lillie Geraldine Washington, a domestic of Marshlands, Spring Creek, near Blenheim. Lillie, who was born at Geraldine, later married a returned serviceman, Robert Mitchell Gibson, who was born at Pleasant Point and served with the Australian Navy. The child, James Desmond Washington, was born in Auckland in October 1923.

Lizzie sought a dissolution of her marriage on the ground of desertion. “Petitioner said that she married respondent in Temuka in May, 1914. In 1921, her husband sent her to her aunt at Staveley, but sent her no money. When she returned, her husband had disappeared. She found her husband in Timaru, where he was living under the name of James Anderson. He was then engaged to marry a girl. She received maintenance from him for a few months. The last she heard of him was when he was in Auckland.” [Star. 25 Nov 1925.] A decree nisi, to be made absolute in three months, was granted, petitioner to have custody of the two children. Lizzie was at Allenton near Ashburton in 1922 and at Staveley in 1925.

A colourful account, as was the way of the NZ Truth, was published on 5 December 1925. “It was in the first year of the Great War that Kerwin Richard Buckthought married his Lizzie. Many things have been broken since then, including the Buckthought marriage. Lizzie successfully sought divorce in the Christchurch Supreme Court, because her husband had done the disappearing trick. She said they had got along till 1921. But then Lizzie went away for a holiday. On returning to the village of Temuka, she found no husband with the larder filled and everything in order. Instead, she found Kerwin in neighboring Timaru, where, as James Anderson, he had made such a hit with a girl that he had agreed to marry her. Kerwin fled from Timaru to Blenheim, where he was arrested after his wife had instituted proceedings. He paid up for a few months, but disappeared again. The two children were given to the wife to care for.”

And disappear Kerwin Richard Buckthought did. His brother, Harold Ray Buckthought, the second-born in the family, served with the UK forces in World War One and later emigrated to Canada where he died in 1964. In 1931, Lizzie Blyth married Charles William Frederick Gutberlet (Gutbertlet), by whom she had another son. Thereafter, Douglas Kenneth and Peter Richard went by the Gutberlet name. Both boys served in World War Two, Douglas losing his life in March 1943 in Tunisia. Lizzie died in 1980 at Palmerston North and was cremated there. Her ashes were interred at Hokitika where she had lived for many years.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [18 August 2022]; England Baptism record ( [20 September 2022]; NZ Police Gazette, 25 January 1911, 2 November 1921, 8 March 1922, 12 September 1923, 1 October 1923, Temuka Leader, 30 May 1914 [x 2], 23 September 1919, Timaru Herald, 22 May 1918, 15 June 1918, 28 August 1919, 3 March 1921, 7 September 1925, Star, 25 November 1925, NZ Truth, 5 December 1925 (Papers Past) [August 2022; 09, 11 & 21 September 2022]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [September 2022]; England 1901 Census return ( [21 September 2022]

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC Genealogy Society

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Not assigned.

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