Wounded. Dead. Sick. Missing.
Of all the items in the North Otago Museum and the Waitaki District Archive connected with the First World War, I find this one the most moving.
It is a troopship nominal roll for the 10th (North Otago) Company. The 10th were part of the Otago Regiment. The roll was handwritten on the way to Gallipoli. It simply lists the soldiers’ serial numbers, ranks, surnames and initials. Later someone has noted next to each name their fate. It records who is sick, who is wounded, who is missing and who has been killed. Very few soldiers have nothing written next to their name, showing just how destructive the fighting at Gallipoli was.
This roll was presented to the North Otago Pioneer Gallery by Brigadier A.S. Falconer. He had served with the 10th at Gallipoli and his name is recorded in the roll.
There is no note against William Howden’s name, though his personnel file indicates he received a facial wound in August 1915. While William was lucky enough to survive Gallipoli he was later killed in action at the Somme.
James Anderson is listed as sick. James was an Australian labourer working in Oamaru when he enlisted. Initially he recovered from his sickness and was given light duties. Later he was discharged from service due to tuberculosis. His file also notes he had gonorrhea which was a common health problem during the war.
Next to John Booth’s name it is noted that he died of wounds. Before the war John was the Foreman of the Oamaru Volunteer Fire Brigade and he worked as a bootmaker at McDiarmid’s. On 3 May 1915 he received a severe gunshot wound to his right leg and was evacuated to Alexandria. He contracted tetanus and died 12 days later and is buried in Chatby Military and War Memorial Cemetery, Alexandria.
Thomas Dowd was a Tasmanian Boer War veteran. He is noted as missing. His personnel file shows he was reported wounded and missing on 1 May 1915. A board of enquiry was later held and as no further information was available Thomas was declared dead. He is remembered at the Lone Pine Memorial at Gallipoli.
The letter K for killed in action is penciled next to Walter Rae’s name. He was killed in action on 2 May 1915. Walter was 21 years old. He is also remembered at Lone Pine.
This blog is part of the From Little Towns in a Far Land series. Chloe Searle, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions at the North Otago Museum, shares some of the personal stories behind the Waitaki District's contributions to the First World War.