GUTHRIE, Alexander Hudson
(Service number 2/2138)
|First Rank||(1) Sapper; (2) Gunner||Last Rank||Bombardier|
|Date||20 December 1892||Place of Birth||Auckland|
|Date||(1) 10 August 1914; (2) 23 August 1915||Age||(1) 21 years; (2) 22 years|
|Address at Enlistment||(1) 44 William Street, Timaru; (2) 18 Steven Street, Christchurch|
|Previous Military Experience||Hillside Railway Pioneers - one year - disbanded; NZ Railway Engineers - still serving|
|Next of Kin||(1) Mrs T. HOLT (sister), 16 Melbourne Road, South Dunedin; (2) Mr A. GUTHRIE (father), C/o Hansen, Sailmaker, Greymouth|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||(1) New Zealand Expeditionary Force; (2) 7th Reinforcements|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||(1) Samoan Advance Party; (2) New Zealand Field Artillery|
|Date||(1) 11 August 1914; (2) about September 1915|
|Embarked From||Destination||(1) Samoa|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||NZ Field Artillery|
|Campaigns||Samoan; Egyptin; Egyptian EF; Western European|
|Service Medals||1914-1915 Star; British War Medal; Victory Medal|
|Military Awards||Military Medal (MM)|
Award Circumstances and Date
For acts of Gallantry in the Field. September 1918
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
|Date||12 June 1919||Reason||On the termination of his period of engagement.|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
|Date||24 August 1975||Age||82 years|
|Place of Death||Manuka Street Hospital, Nelson|
|Notices||Press, 26 August 1975|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Marsden Valley Cemetery, Nelson|
|Memorial Reference||Block 11A, Plot 90|
|New Zealand Memorials|
Alexander Hudson Guthrie was born on 20 December 1892 at Auckland, the second son of Alexander Hudson and Isabella (née Tate) Guthrie, both natives of Scotland. His mother died on 17 April 1902 at Dunedin, when the youngest child was only 16 months old. The younger of his two sisters, Wilhelmina, died on 10 August 1906 at Dunedin, just 9 years old. Alexander Hudson Guthrie, senior, died on 2 November 1938 at Dunedin, and was buried at Andersons Bay Cemetery, his other two sons with him. William Tate Guthrie, the eldest son, who also served in World War One, died on 4 July 1947 at Dunedin, and James Arthur Guthrie, the youngest son, died on 1 May 1947 at Dunedin. Isabella had been buried at Southern Cemetery, her little daughter Wilhelmina with her and also Magdalene Guthrie, a 97-year-old widow who died on 2 December 1923 at Ross Home – probably Isabella’s mother-in-law.
Enlisting on 10 August 1914 at Wellington, Alexander joined the Railway Battalion of the New Zealand Engineers. His next-of-kin was his sister, Mrs T. Holt, 16 Melbourne Road, South Dunedin. He was a railway fireman, residing at 44 William Street, Timaru. It was at Timaru that he had registered for compulsory military training. He had served one year with the Hillside Railway Pioneers until disbandment, and was currently serving with the N.Z. Railway Engineers. Sapper A. H. Guthrie, N.Z. Railway Engineers, embarked with the Samoan Advance Party of the Expeditionary Force per No. 1 Troopship “Moeraki”, on 11 August 1914. He arrived at Apia on 29 August. Embarking at Apia on 10 February 1915 and arriving back at Wellington on 22 February, he was discharged on 22 March 1915, at his own request. At the annual meeting of the Star Football Club in April 1915, correspondence was received from the South Canterbury Rugby Union, requesting the club to let them have a list of all members at present on active service, for the compilation of a New Zealand Roll of Honour. The information was to be given. Among the members of the club attached to the Expeditionary Forces at that time was A. Guthrie.
After his return from Samoa, Alexander Hudson Guthrie enlisted again – on 23 August 1915 at Trentham and joined the New Zealand Field Artillery. This time his next-of-kin was his father – Mr A. Guthrie, C/o Hansen, Sailmaker, Greymouth. Alexander’s address was now 18 Steven Street, Christchurch. Having disembarked at Suez, Egypt on 18 November 1915, he left for France on 8 April 1916. Newspapers of 23 November 1918 printed names and next-of-kin of New Zealanders who had had honours and awards conferred on them, most recipients still being on active service. Among them was 2/2138 Gnr. Alexander H. Guthrie (Mr. A. Guthrie, father, South Dunedin), who had been awarded the Military Medal, as reported on 30 September 1918, for acts of Gallantry in the Field. “Mr A. Guthrie, sailmaker, of Waverley, Anderson Bay, has received word from Sir James Allen that his son, Gunner Alexander Hudson Guthrie, has been awarded the Military Medal for gallantry on the field of action. He was educated at the Macandrew Road School, and volunteered for service with the first lot of young men from Timaru, where he was employed as fireman on the railways. He was sent to Samoa, and on being released from there he left New Zealand with the 7th Reinforcements for Egypt, and he has been in France for over two years. In his last letter home he says that he has never been wounded or sick since leaving New Zealand.” [Evening Star. 26 November 1918.]
Alexander H. Guthrie, 2/2138, returned home per the “Arawa” (Draft No. 244) which was due at Lyttelton on 12 May 1919, having left Tilbury on 1 April. His intended address was C/o Mrs Roberts, 44 William Street, Timaru; and in 1919 he was indeed at William Street. His final discharge was on 12 June 1919, on the termination of his period of engagement. He gave over four years of overseas service – in Samoa, Egypt and Western Europe, for which he was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. In January 1920, the Canterbury District Headquarters received a number of war medals from General Headquarters, Defence Department, for presentation in the Canterbury District. Among the recipients of the Military Medal was Bombardier Alexander H. Guthrie, Timaru.
Alexander Hudson Guthrie resumed his railway employment. He married Lilian Howe on 11 May 1921 at Timaru, as recorded in a Silver Wedding notice. In 1946, Alexander and Lilian were residing at Kaikoura. He had been a senior driver at Kaikoura, with responsibility for allotting firemen and drivers. At the beginning of April 1948, he was called on to give evidence on the Seddon train derailment and wreck which occurred on 25 February. Having retired on 8 March 1948, Alexander and Lillian had returned to Timaru where they lived for many years. It was not long before Lilian’s death that they moved to the Nelson area, perhaps to be close to their son Doug. Alexander died on 24 August 1975 at Manuka Street Hospital, Nelson, aged 82 years, and was buried with his wife, who had died in April 1967, at Marsden Valley Cemetery, Nelson. He had well outlived all his siblings. His sister, Annie Isabella Magdalen Guthrie, had married Thomas Holt in 1910 and was Alexander’s next-of-kin in 1914. Annie and Thomas were victims of the 1918 influenza epidemic, both dying on 26 November 1918 at Dunedin Hospital, Annie 31 years old and Thomas 30 years old. They left orphaned five little girls. Alexander was survived by two sons – Alexander Hudson Guthrie (known as Hudson or Hud) and James Douglas Guthrie (known as Doug), their wives and children. Both Hudson and Doug served in World War One and are buried in RSA plots.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [21 May 2023]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [21 May 2023]; Dominion, 15 August 1914, 23 November 1918, Timaru Herald, 16 April 1915, Evening Star, 27 April 1918, 26 November 1918, 14 February 1919, Otago Daily Times, 29 April 1918, 27 November 1918, NZ Times, 29 April 1919, Press, 24 January 1920, 11 May 1946, 2 April 1948, 14 April 1967, 26 August 1975 (Papers Past) [21 May 2016; 21 May 2023]; Marsden Valley Cemetery headstone transcriptions [21 May 2023]; Marsden Valley Cemetery burial records (Nelson City Council) [21 May 2023]; NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) [21 May 2023]
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