Six names added to WWI roll of honour

KATIE KENNY
Last updated 15:57 13/08/2014

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Six names have been added to a roll of more than 18,000 Kiwis killed in service in World War I.

The Defence Force today announced six additional names to be added to the New Zealand and Commonwealth War Graves Commission's official rolls of honour.

Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Tim Keating said the decision to include the servicemen was the result of ongoing research into personnel files carried out by NZDF historian John Crawford.

In most cases the military authorities at the time had acknowledged the men's deaths as a direct result of their service, but for "various reasons" did not include their names on the rolls of honour, Keating said.

"It is important that these soldiers are now formally recognised. They, like more than 18,000 of their countrymen, died as a result of their service to New Zealand in the First World War," he said.

The six soldiers are Private Arthur Joseph Best, Private David Falconer, Trooper Matthew Gallagher, Private Percy Hawken, Sapper Robert Arthur Hislop and Private Lester Edward Quintall.

The names have been forwarded to the Ministry for Culture and Heritage so they can be added to the National War Memorial Roll and to notify the commission.

Spokeswoman Jane Keig said the ministry would take over the care of the graves, making refurbishments where necessary.

Even though the men might already feature on various memorial plaques, this was different from being on a roll of honour, she said.

"The significance of this is that the [commission] will now look after the war graves in perpetuity, for ever and ever."

In some cases requests for acknowledgement came from the men's families, and in other cases the forgotten men "just turned up" as part of the heritage research programme, Keig said.

The NZDF and the ministry have organised a small service with Hislop's family at Waikumete cemetery on Tuesday to mark the centenary of his death. Hislop would also be recognised as the first New Zealand casualty during World War I.

There are 3478 New Zealand casualties of the two world wars commemorated in New Zealand at 433 sites.

This figure includes 570 casualties of both world wars with no known grave who are commemorated on the Auckland Memorial in Devonport and on provincial memorials in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin and Wellington.

SIX SOLDIERS

- Private Arthur Joseph Best

Best joined the New Zealand Expeditionary Force on February 15, 1915. On August 8 that year while serving with the Wellington Infantry Battalion at Gallipoli he suffered severe gunshot wounds to the head and a forearm. On October 19, 1920, he fatally shot himself at his home in Kairanga, near Palmerston North. It is now accepted he suffered severe mental illness owing to his original head wound from Gallipoli. Because evidence strongly indicates his suicide was attributed to his war service, he is to be added to the appropriate rolls of honour.

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- Private David Falconer

Falconer joined the NZEF on December 12, 1914. He served at Gallipoli with the Wellington Mounted Rifles, before transferring to the 2nd Battalion Wellington Infantry Regiment. In France on September 15, 1916, he suffered a serious gunshot wound to the head. On May 15, 1919, he fatally shot himself. Again, his suicide has been attributed to his injury sustained during service.

- Trooper Matthew Gallagher

Gallagher's name is already on the Prebbleton War Memorial, although he has not been acknowledged in the rolls of honour. Although there's no surviving personal file for Gallagher, it's assumed he joined the NZEF before August 16, 1914, and was mostly like one of the volunteers who poured into the mobilisation camp at Addington in Christchurch between August 12 and 16. He was initially enlisted into the Canterbury Infantry Battalion but late in August transferred to B Squadron of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles. On the evening of August 30 that year, he fell from the platform of a tram travelling from Cathedral Square to the mobilisation camp at Addington, hitting his head. He died from a serious head injury.

- Private Percy Hawken

Hawken joined the NZEF on August 13, 1914, and was posted to the Canterbury Infantry Battalion. While at Gallipoli on August 18, 1915, he was admitted to hospital with typhoid fever. He was invalided back to New Zealand, where he died of poliomyelitis at Motueka. Hawken's case has been reviewed by the War Pensions Claims Panel, which found that while polio and typhoid are different disease processes and not related, the risk factors for polio include immune deficiency and malnutrition. It's likely Hawken would have had an increased risk as a result of typhoid. His death is therefore considered attributable to his war service.

- Sapper Robert Arthur Hislop

On August 13, 1914, Hislop fell between sleepers of a bridge onto a roadway below. He suffered serious injuries and died in Auckland District Hospital on August 19 that year. Territorials killed under similar circumstances during World War II are included on the National War Memorial Second World War roll of honour, and it's been ruled that Hislop should also be added to the appropriate rolls of honour. This would make him the first member of the New Zealand Armed Forces to die as a result of service during World War I.

- Private Lester Edward Quintall

Quintall enlisted on December 30, 1914. He sailed for Egypt in February 1915. While serving at Gallipoli with the Auckland infantry he was twice admitted to hospital with influenza, and another time for dysentery. He returned to New Zealand in October 1915. He later died of tuberculosis on Norfolk Island on May 2, 1919. The few surviving references to his medical conditions make it clear he developed serious problems with his lungs while serving in the NZEF.

- Stuff

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