(Service number 9/615)

First Rank Trooper Last Rank Private


Date 23 September 1881 Place of Birth Temuka

Enlistment Information

Date 23 September 1881 Age 31 years 10 months
Address at Enlistment Middlemarch
Occupation Railway relayer (NZ Govt)
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs M. FLAHERTY (mother), Cheviot, North Canterbury
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation Main Body
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Otago Mounted Rifles
Date 16 October 1914
Transport Ruapehu or Hawkes Bay
Embarked From Port Chalmers, Dunedin Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Campaigns Egyptian; Balkan (Gallipoli); Egyptian EF; Western European
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 1 June 1918 Reason No longer physically fit for War Service on account of illness contracted on Active Service.

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations



Date 5 January 1938 Age 56 years
Place of Death Christchurch
Notices Press, 6 January 1938
Memorial or Cemetery Homeview Cemetery, Cheviot
Memorial Reference Plot 211
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

John Flaherty was born on 23 September 1881 at Temuka, the first-born of Martin and Honora (née Griffin) Flaherty. His parents who were both from Ireland, married at St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Temuka. Nine children were born at Temuka before the family moved in the mid-1890s to Cheviot where three more were born. John was educated at St Joseph’s School, Temuka, and at Mackenzie School in Canterbury. After the 1890 St Patrick’s day Mass at Temuka, the children indulged in all sorts of sports. The small boys’ race was won by J. Flaherty. He also came third in the consolation for small boys. The treat which was held annually in connection with the Temuka and Kerrytown Convent Schools on St. Joseph’s Day was a greater success than ever in 1891. And success there was for J. Flaherty who won the 8 to 10 years boys’ race. Master Flaherty took the part of Guy in a drama performed on 16 December 1891 at the annual entertainment given by the children of St Joseph’s Convent School, Temuka. His sister, M. Flaherty (Mary), also took part in the programme. At the 1892 St Joseph’s Day sports, John again won his race (10 to 12 years). It was the part of a dwarf, in unique attire, which he played at the annual entertainment in December 1892. John took a keen interest in running and went on to become a well-known athlete.

John was a railway relayer at Middlemarch when he enlisted on the outbreak of war – on 18 August 1914 at Dunedin. A single man, he named his mother as next-of-kin – Mrs M. Flaherty, Cheviot, North Canterbury. There, alongside him at Dunedin, was his Temuka childhood acquaintance – Alexander Elder Webb. Trooper J. Flaherty embarked with the Otago Mounted Rifles of the Main Body, departing from Port Chalmers for Suez, Egypt, on 16 October 1914, and disembarking at Alexandria on 4 December.

“Trooper J. Flaherty (wounded) is the eldest son of Mr M. Flaherty, of Cheviot and is 33 years of age. He was born at Temuka. and educated at Temuka and Cheviot. He went away with the Main Body. He was a prominent footballer, and runner. His brother, Private Peter Flaherty, is at present in camp at Trentham, and leaves with the Seventh Reinforcements.” [Press. 17 Sep 1915.] In October 1915, Mr and Mrs Flaherty received a letter written from their son John at Valletta Hospital (Malta). He gives a very graphic account of his experiences at the Dardanelles. [See newspaper attachment.] In the letter, John mentions that Ted Webb from Temuka is there at Valletta, too, and that his brother (William Webb) had been killed.

Private J. Flaherty, 9/615, returned to New Zealand per the “Remuera”, embarking at Plymouth on 14 March 1918 and arriving on 9 May. His mate, A. E. E. Webb, was on the same returning draft. John was discharged on 1 June 1918, no longer physically fit for war service on account of illness contracted on Active Service. He had given well over three years of service overseas in all theatres of war, and was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

After the war John Flaherty drew a farm by ballot at Port Levy where he lived. He died at Christchurch on 5 January 1938, aged 56 years. He was buried at Homeview Cemetery, Cheviot. His brothers Martin and Peter, who had also served in the war, were pall-bearers at his funeral. His youngest brother, James, who also did not marry, was laid to rest with him in 1961. In the same cemetery are his parents (Martin in 1931, Honora in 1946) and sisters (Elizabeth in 1923, Sarah in 1986).


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [22 June 2023]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [22 June 2023]; School Admission records (South Canterbury & Canterbury branches NZSG) [22 June 2023]; Homeview Cemetery burial record & headstone inscription (Hurunui District Council) [22 June 2023]; NZ Tablet, 28 March 1890, 3 April 1891, 1 January 1892, 1 April 1892, 30 December 1892, Otago Daily Times, 25 September 1915, Press, 17 September 1915, Lyttelton Times, 27 October 1915, Sun, 16 April 1918, Press, 6 & 11 January 1938 (Papers Past) [16 & 22 June 2023]

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, South Canterbruy Genealogy Society

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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