FORD, William James
(Service number 80063)

First Rank Private Last Rank


Date 21 March 1881 Place of Birth Christchurch

Enlistment Information

Date 21 March 1918 Age 37 years
Address at Enlistment Chaucer Street, Timaru
Occupation Motor engineer
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Married
Next of Kin Mrs M. FORD (wife), Chaucer 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 41st Reinforcements, F Company
Date 27 July 1918
Transport Ulimaroa
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 21 October 1919 Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations

Motor engineer


Date 4 August 1964 Age 83 years
Place of Death Timaru
Memorial or Cemetery Timaru Cemetery
Memorial Reference General Section, Row 51, Plot 219
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

William James Ford was born on 21 April 1881 at Christchurch, both his birth and his death being registered as James William Ford. He enlisted as William James Ford and his headstone is inscribed William James Ford. Obviously known as William, he was the only son of James and Mary Kate (née Webb) Ford. He had three younger sisters. William (James W.) was admitted to Richmond School, Christchurch in 1886 and left for civil service in May 1895. Starting out as a cycle mechanic, he progressed to a motor engineer. William married Mary Willcocks on 8 August 1906 at Palmerston North. Within afew years they meved from Christchurch to Timaru.

It was at Timaru that William James Ford enlisted on 21 March 1918, his 37th birthday. He named his wife as next-of-kin – Mary Ford, Chaucer Street, Timaru. He was in a large group of men belonging to South Canterbury who left Timaru for camp on Monday, 20 May 1918. Private W. J. Ford embarked with the 41st Reinforcements, departing for London, England, per the “Ulimaroa” on 27 July 1918. Private W. J. Ford returned to New Zealand by the “Hororata” which was due at Wellington on or about 30 September 1919. He actually reached Timaru by the express from Christchurch on the afternoon of 22 September. The soldiers who returned were given a hearty welcome. The Deputy-Mayor “congratulated the men on their achievements, offered them the thanks of the whole community for what they had done, and wished them a speedy return to good health.” He called for cheers from the assembled crowd, and these were given with great heartiness. Discharged on 21 October 1919, he was awarded the British War Medal.

William and Mary continued to reside in Timaru, he carrying on his work as a motor mechanic or engineer. He entered into a business partnership as a motor engineer. By late 1938 the business was failing and the firm’s assets were distributed to creditors. Mary died in February 1949. The following year James William Ford married Hilda Mary Bampton. Hilda was the widow of Robert Bampton, the brother of Walter Bampton who married William’s youngest sister (Violet Elsie). William James Ford died on 4 August 1964 at Timaru, aged 83 years, and was buried with Mary at Timaru. Hilda who died in 1976 was also buried at Timaru. William and Mary had no family, but Mary’s son born in 1901 – John George Douglas Willcocks – was remembered in William’s Will, along with Hilda and two of William’s nieces, daughters of his sister Lucy.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [09 September 2022]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [11 September 2022]; Timaru Herald, 18 May 1918, 28 August 1919, 23 September 1919, 13 February 1940 (Papers Past) [August 2022; 09 & 19 September 2022]; School Admission record (Canterbury Branch NZSG) [19 September 2022]; Timaru Cemetery headstone image (Timaru District Council) [09 September 2022]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [September 2022]

External Links

Related Documents

No documents available. 

Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC Genealogy Society

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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