WEBB, Henry Gordon John
(Service number 12/1123)

Aliases Known as Gordon & enlisted as Gordon WEBB
First Rank Private Last Rank Private


Date 1 July 1894 Place of Birth Arowehenua near Temuka

Enlistment Information

Date 21 September 1914 Age 20 years
Address at Enlistment Paeroa
Occupation Lineman (Railway Dept)
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Andrew WEBB (father), Temuka
Religion Presbyterian
Medical Information At discharge, 1916 - Height 5 feet 11 inches. Complexion fair. Eyes blue. Hair brown.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation Main Body
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Auckland Infantry Battalion
Date 16 October 1914
Transport Star of India or Waimana
Embarked From Wellington Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With Auckland Infantry Battalion

Military Awards

Campaigns Egyptian; Balkan (Gallipoli)
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 10 May 1916 Reason Medically unfit.

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

28 July 1915 - admitted to 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station at the Dardanelles - gastro enteritis; transferred to Fleet Sweeper & admitted to No. 1 Australian Stationary Hospital at Lemnos - diarrhoea. 15 August 1915 discharged from hospital at Lemnos. 1 September 1915 - admitted to hospital at the Dardanelles - sick. 4 September 1915 admitted to Hospital ship “Neuralia” - diarrhoea. 10 September 1915 disembarked, slightly sick, at Malta from Hospital Ship “Neuralia” & admitted to Cottonera Hospital [Malta] - enteritis. 26 October 1915 embarked on Hospital Ship “Braemar Castle” at Malta for England. 22 November 1915 report noted that he had been admitted – sick - to Beaufort Hospital, Bristol, England.

Post-war Occupations

Railway servant


Date 30 October 1975 Age 81 years
Place of Death Christchurch
Notices Press, 1 November 1975
Memorial or Cemetery Waimairi Cemetery, Christchurch
Memorial Reference Block 8, Plot 151
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Henry Gordon John Webb, known as Gordon, was the fourth son of Andrew Webb and Helen Jane née Waddell (Waddel). He was born on 1 July 1894 at Arowhenua near Temuka, South Canterbury. Irish-born Andrew emigrated in 1874 and married New Zealander Helen in 1879 at Temuka. In April 1887, Andrew Webb bought a section at Arowhenua. In December 1889, Mr Andrew Webb, of Arowhenua, sustained serious injury to one of his bands through the bursting of a kerosene lamp. He was progressing fairly well, it was reported, until a week later when it was feared that his hand would have to be amputated, as the injuries are more severe than were at first reported. Mrs A. Webb frequently, and successfully, exhibited at the Temuka Show – crochet, flowers, vegetables, berries, fruit. In March 1899, Mrs A. Webb forwarded to the Temuka Leader office “a large red tomato, which turns the scale at a little over 1 lb weight. The tomato is by no means a beauty, but appears like several strangely-shaped tomatoes joined together.” In mid-February 1905, Mrs A. Webb left at the Temuka Leader office “some excellent samples of vegetables grown by her at Temuka — red cabbage, parsnips, and carrots. Mrs Webb was very successful at the Temuka and Geraldine Horticultural Shows, and the exhibits left at our office are admirable ones.” Andrew Webb placed a notice in the Temuka Leader in November 1907 advising that he would not be responsible for his wife’s debts. Mr A. Webb, senior, was a member of the Temuka Volunteer Rifle Company and later a member of the Temuka Veterans’ Club. In November 1912, Andrew Webb transferred a section (1 acre) at Arowhenua to Helen Jane Webb. In mid-1916, an appeal was being made throughout New Zealand for funds in aid of the dependents of the men of the Royal Navy, who would lose their lives during the war. Andrew Webb, Temuka, subscribed 10 shillings. In 1918 Andrew Webb gave to the Prisoners of War appeal.

Along with his siblings, Gordon was educated at Temuka School, starting in August 1899. In his first year (1899) at Temuka District High School, Gordon was awarded first prize in the Lower Preparatory Class. He received a prize for Attendance in 1901. In 1904, he received an Attendance prize and 1st class certificate in Standard III. In 1905, it was a Second-Class Attendance prize in Standard IV. Gordon was probably the G. Webb who represented Temuka in football in 1911, 1912, and played well. Having passed the medical and regulation examination as a railway porter, Mr Gordon Webb left Temuka for Christchurch on 26 June 1912. On 4 February 1913 at Temuka, Henry Gordon Webb was dealt with for failing to render personal service under the Defence Act. He was fined 20 shillings plus costs. On 27 May 1913, Henry Gordon Webb, Temuka, was committed to military custody for seven days in default of paying £1.13s. fine and costs for a breach of the Defence Act.

Henry Gordon John Webb enlisted simply as Gordon Webb, doing so on 21 September 1914 at Epsom, Auckland. He named his father as next-of-kin – Andrew Webb, Temuka. Gordon was a lineman with the Railway Department at Paeroa, single and Presbyterian. The Police Gazette of 18 February 1914 recorded his height as 5 feet 9 inches, his weight as 11 stone 1 pound, his eyes grey, his hair light and his teeth good. Private G. Webb embarked with the Auckland Infantry Battalion of the Main Body, departing from Wellington for Suez, Egypt on 16 October 1914. While at Zeitoun in February-March 1915, Gordon Webb was confined to barracks for five days for absence from parade and not answering to his name to the Sergeant of the Regiment. He embarked at Alexandria for the Dardanelles on 12 April 1915.

Admitted to the 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station at the Dardanelles on 28 July 1915, suffering with gastro enteritis, he was transferred to a Fleet Sweeper and admitted to the No. 1 Australian Stationary Hospital at Lemnos, with diarrhoea. Discharged from hospital at Lemnos on 15 August 1915, he rejoined his unit at the Dardanelles the next day. But, just sixteen days later, he was admitted to hospital at the Dardanelles, sick. He was admitted to the Hospital ship “Neuralia” on 4 September, with diarrhoea. Private Gordon Webb, 12/1123, Auckland Battalion, disembarked, slightly sick, at Malta from the Hospital Ship “Neuralia” on 10 September 1915 and was admitted to Cottonera Hospital [Malta] - enteritis. On 1 October he was transferred to Ghain Tufficka at Malta. He embarked on Hospital Ship “Braemar Castle” at Malta for England on 26 October 1915. The hospital and progress report on 22 November 1915 noted that Private Gordon Webb, 12/1123, Auckland Battalion, had been admitted – sick - to Beaufort Hospital, Bristol, England.

On 28 January 1916, Gordon Webb was attached to the New Zealand Base Depot at Hornchurch. Private Gordon Webb embarked on the “Turakina” at Plymouth for New Zealand on 17 February 1916. Eighty-five soldiers – Gordon Webb, No. 12/1123, one of them – who were mostly drawn from the New Zealand Base at Hornchurch, were returning invalided to New Zealand and were at sea as of mid-March 1916. They arrived at Auckland early on 10 April and most of the Southern men left by that evening’s Main Trunk train. On arrival, the men were each given £3 on account of their pay, and a complete outfit. A public reception was tendered to the men by the Mayor of Auckland, who said that it seemed but a few months since they had left to take their place as soldiers of the King in the defence of the Empire. Light refreshments were handed to the returned soldiers by members of the Auckland Women’s Patriotic League. The Minister for Munitions said that men of the main body were quick to realise that the Empire was fighting for the ideals of truth, justice and liberty. The proceedings terminated with cheers for the returned soldiers and their nurses. At Paddington Station, London, Captain Conway (in command of the “Turakina”) had been presented with a silk flag and shield by Lady Smith-Dorrien, wife of General Smith-Dorrien. The shield bore the inscription: “To the New Zealand Heroes — Gallipoli — from the Women of England.” Captain Conway took the flag and shield to Wellington, and handed it over to the Defence authorities. The voyage was not without incident. Near Teneriffe the passengers on the Turakina saw a ship sinking. It had fallen into the hands of the German raider Moewe, but they did not realise the fact at the time. The crew of the sunken vessel was in Teneriffe when the Turakina arrived. The soldiers were liberally entertained at Capetown and Hobart. The returned men spoke highly of the hospitality of the people of England, and also had many words of praise for the officers of the Turakina. Splendid progress was made on the voyage by the sick and wounded men, who all landed in good health.

Gordon Webb was discharged on 10 May 1916, medically unfit. His year and 177 days abroad were plagued with illness. At discharge, he was 5 feet 11 inches tall, with a fair complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. For his service in Egypt and at Gallipoli he was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. As of 12 August 1916, Pensions Department advised that no Attestation sheet was found on file. The Temuka Leader regular Active Service List – a list of those who have volunteered to serve the Empire with the New Zealand Expeditionary Forces and who have gone from the Temuka district – recorded on 6 January 1917 Private G. Webb, Auckland Infantry. The same issue recorded Corporal A. E. Webb, Otago Mounted Rifles, and Private W. W. Webb, Auckland Infantry. The supplementary issue of the same date recorded Private W. W. Webb under the Roll of Honour – “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

In 1927 Gordon married Elizabeth Ann Elkis (née Harris), a widow. Gordon and Elizabeth had one son, Thomas Andrew Webb (Andrew), who was born on 27 June 1929 and died in 2015. Gordon became the step-father of Elizabeth’s two sons, Harry and Jack Elkis. While Gordon was at Palmerston North in 1922, he and Elizabeth moved to Christchurch by 1928, Gordon continuing his employment with the railways. Henry Gordon John Webb died on 30 October 1975 at Christchurch, aged 81 years. He was predeceased by Elizabeth, who died just six months before, and her younger son, Jack Elkis, who lost his life in WWII. He was survived by his son Andrew, his step-son Harry, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was buried at Waimairi Cemetery with Elizabeth. Henry William Elkis also served in World War Two. Gordon appointed his son, Thomas Andrew Webb, of Christchurch, as executor and trustee of his estate. He made equal provision for his son, Thomas Andrew Webb, and his step-son, Henry William Elkis. His Will was dated 24 June 1975, two months after Elizabeth’s death. Elizabeth had appointed her husband, Henry Gordon John Webb, as executor and trustee of her estate. He was the first beneficiary, any children to benefit should he predecease her. Her Will was dated 1965.

In 1926, all was not well in the Webb household. In November 1919, an order had been made for Mr Andrew Webb to pay 15 shillings per month towards his wife’s maintenance. In May 1926, he was in arrears and applied for a variation of the maintenance order. He was 73 years old, was earning only £1 per week, and had been in failing health during the past few winters. He lived at home occasionally but was not going to do so any longer. He had paid sums of money to his wife but could not continue. His youngest son (Seddon), aged 26, lived at home with his mother and was able to support her. He had three sons in the Railway Department (Andrew, Alexander and Gordon?). Although it was alleged that a separation order was in existence, Mr and Mrs Webb had been living together. The magistrate said that the separation order had been broken and he thought that the sons should be communicated with. Come October 1926, and Helen Jane Webb made an application for maintenance order from her four sons – Seddon, L. R. S., H. G. J., and Alexander Webb. Seddon who appeared in court, was a widower with one child, and said that he was not prepared to contribute towards his mother’s maintenance. Mrs Webb said that she was 67 years of age and had no money whatsoever. She owned a house and section; she received a pension which had been cancelled because they were not legally separated and 5 shilling per week from her husband. Seddon had been living with her until very recently. She kept his child in clothes and shoes, but he made no regular payments. Seddon asked his mother what she did with the money in the Post Office – “You drew it out and planted it, as you thought you would be shrewd.” In the end, each son was ordered to pay 5 shillings per week towards their mother’s maintenance, starting from 19 October.

Mrs Helen Jane Webb, one of South Canterbury’s oldest identities and the oldest pupil at the Milford School, died at her home (Princes Street, Temuka) in October 1938. She was survived by her husband, five sons (one having been killed in the Great War) and four daughters. Mr Andrew Webb, one of the oldest settlers in the Temuka district, died at the Timaru Hospital in January 1939. He, too, was survived by five sons (William having died in the Great War) and four daughters. All six sons of Andrew and Helen Jane Webb signed up for service in World War One. The eldest, Andrew Webb, had served in the South Africa War and was ruled out of further service on medical grounds; the second son, William Winnett Webb, was killed in action in 1915 at Gallipoli – “the eldest of the three brothers with the Main Body, sons of Mrs Webb, senr., Temuka”; the third son, Alexander Elder Edward Webb (Ted), served with the Otago Mounted Rifles; the fourth son, Henry Gordon John Webb (Gordon), was invalided home in 1916; the fifth son, Leslie Robert Sydney Webb, enlisted but saw no overseas service; and the youngest son, Seddon David Waddell Webb, served with the Otago Infantry Regiment and returned home invalided. Three cousins of the Webb brothers also served with the New Zealand Forces in World War One – Alexander Marshall whose death in 1961 was attributable to his service with the Forces, David Waddel and Edwin Waddel.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [09 April 2023]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives New Zealand Collections record number 0120153) [09 April 2023]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [2013]; School Admission records (South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [09 April 2023]; Temuka Leader, 12 April 1887, 12 & 17 December 1889, 14 March 1899, 16 December 1899, 12 December 1901, 24 December 1904, 16 February 1905, 16 December 1905, 25 April 1911, 21 May 1912, 27 June 1912, 16 November 1912, 6 January 1917, 2 June 1917, 22 June 1918, 14 October 1926, Timaru Herald, 5 February 1913, 24 June 1916, 12 May 1926, 23 June 1926, 14 October 1926, 4 October 1938; 16 Jan 1939 [x 2], 17 Jan 1939, 19 Jan 1939, NZ Times, 30 September 1915, 16 & 23 November 1915, 18 March 1916, Dominion, 16 & 23 November 1915, 18 March 1916, NZ Herald, 11 April 1916, Press, 5 & 6 October 1938, 1 & 2 May 1975, 1 November 1975 (Papers Past) [09 April 2023; 14, 16, 19 & 20 June 2023]; Waimairi Cemetery burial records (Christchurch City Council) [09 April 2023]; Waimairi Cemetery headstone transcription [09 April 2023]; NZ Police Gazette, 18 February 1914 [09 April 2023]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [16 June 2023; 06 July 2023]; Probate record (Archives NZ Collections record numbers CH1710/1975 & CH742/1975) [14 July 2023]

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