ELWORTHY, Percy Ashton
(Service number )

Aliases Willie
First Rank Lieutenant Last Rank Captain


Date 27 March 1881 Place of Birth Timaru

Enlistment Information

Date *1915 Age
Address at Enlistment
Occupation Farmer
Previous Military Experience New Zealand Motor Reserve
Marital Status Married. Four children
Next of Kin
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with Imperial Forces Served in
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation Life Guards
Unit, Squadron, or Ship
Date *1915
Embarked From Destination
Other Units Served With Leinster Regiment
Last Unit Served With Life Guards

Military Awards

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 Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations

Sheep farmer


Date 10 July 1961 Age 80 years
Place of Death "Ringstead", Havelock North, Hawke's Bay
Memorial or Cemetery Hawke's Bay Crematorium
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Percy Ashton Elworthy was born on 27 March 1881 at Timaru, the youngest son of Edward, Lord Elworthy, and Sarah Maria née Horrock. Like his siblings, he was baptised on 8 May 1881 at St Mary’s Anglican Church, Timaru. He was educated at Cathedral School, Christchurch, and Christ’s College, Christchurch, from 1894 till 1899, when his father died suddenly in 1899 while he was at school. He was then admitted to Trinity College, Cambridge, England. In 1902, Percy took over “Gordon’s Valley”, a portion of the original “Holme Station” which his father had acquired after emigrating in the 1860s. After Edward Elwothy died in 1899, “Holme Station” was divided among his three surviving sons. Percy married Bertha Victoria Julius, the daughter of Bishop Julius, on 1 October 1908 in The Christchurch Cathedral. Two daughters and two sons were born before war broke out.

Lieutenant P. A. Elworthy, New Zealand Motor Reserve, was appointed on probation to the garrison in Samoa, but an operation was needed. Mr and Mrs Elworthy left for England by the “Remuera” in mid-February 1915, arriving there three months later. It was found that the serious surgical operation was not necessary, and Percy offered his services at the War Office. He received a commission in the Leinster Regiment. After a few months, he obtained a commission in the 1st Life Guards. He cabled in November 1915 that he had been at the front for a month and was quite well. [Timaru Herald. 24 November 1915.] Lieutenant Percy Elworthy, First Lifeguards, has been admitted to the Red Cross Hospital at Etaples, France, reported the Timaru Herald of 5 September 1916. A few days later, it was reported that he had undergone an operation and was making a good recovery. He relinquished his commission in June 1917 on account of ill-health and was granted the honorary rank of lieutenant. In September he was appointed Lieutenant Household Cavalry. On 11 June 1918 it was reported that he was promoted to the rank of captain and was on staff duty.

In May 1919 Captain P. A. Elworthy arrived back New Zealand. Elworthy and three comrades were welcomed home in the Southburn School in early July 1919. The chairman of the local Patriotic Society expressed the pleasure of the residents to see them back safe and well. “He assured his hearers that while welcoming home those who had come through the war, those of our boys who had made the supreme sacrifice were especially held in affectionate remembrance by all, and he wished to extend the deepest sympathy of the district to the relatives of these.” In presenting medals to the returned men, Mr Anstey, M.P. for Waitaki, “expressed his pleasure at being present to welcome home any of the New Zealand boys, sons of pioneers, who with duty done as theirs had been were worthy of all honour, . . . . . They had helped to bring about the worlds’ peace.” He called on the secretary of the Ladies’ Patriotic Guild to fasten the medals on the breasts of the returned soldiers. The returned soldiers suitably replied, “Captain Elworthy holding his audience with some interesting and thrilling accounts of his experiences with Germans, for whose ways both in warfare and in their treatment of prisoners he entertains a feeling of well-deserved loathing. He gave a high meed of praise to England’s share in the war, in supplying 75 per cent. of the fighting forces. England had nothing but praise for New Zealanders and for New Zealand’s war efforts. For his own part, Captain Elworthy was very well pleased to be home again after about five years’ absence.” After the singing of “Soldiers of the King” and “They are Jolly Good Fellows,” and hearty cheers for the guests of the evening, the National Anthem closed this part of the evening’s proceedings. The usual bountiful supper was supplied by the ladies of the district, after which dancing was continued.

Sadly, his elder daughter, Janet Mildred Elworthy had died on 20 January 1919 in London, from appendicitis. She was just nine years old. Alice Diana Elworthy, known as Di, was born on 28 November 1919 at Gordon’s Valley, Timaru, where in 1909 Janet had been born. Percy returned to Gordon’s Valley where he farmed until about 1949 when he and Bertha retired to Havelock North. Percy Ashton Elworthy died on 10 July 1961 at his home, “Ringstead”, Havelock North. He was cremated at the Hawke’s Bay Crematorium, as was Bertha when she died on 4 December 1974. They were survived by their two sons and two daughters – Samuel Charles Elwotrthy, Baron Elworthy, Marshall of the Royal Air Force, Anthony Churchill Elworthy who farmed at Maungati, Antoinette (Anne)Jeffares and Alice Diana (Di) Wilson.

Interesting information and recollections can be found on "The King's Candlesticks: Pedigrees Percy Ashton ELWORTHY [544]" at


Christ’s College Old Boys Register [05 January 2023]; Timaru Herald, 3 October 1908, 24 November 1915, 5 & 9 September 1916, 8 July 1919, Press, 18 June 1913, 27 June 1917, 26 September 1917, 1 August 1918, 4 December 1974, Lyttelton Times, 9 June 1915, Sun, 23 November 1915, Otago Witness, 14 May 1919 (Papers Past) [30 May 2014; 05 January 2023]; St Mary’s Timaru baptism record (South Canterbury Branch records) [06 January 2023]; The King's Candlesticks: Pedigrees Percy Ashton ELWORTHY [544] (

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC Genealogy Society

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