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10/3741 Serjeant Bernard Arthur Smith

2nd Company,1st Battalion

New Zealand Canterbury Regiment

11th December 1917

pw30Serjeant bernard Arthur Smith.jpg

Born in Winchester, South Canterbury, New Zealand on 24/10/1886.

His parents were George Arthur Evans Smith(1865-1888) and Josephine Bernardine Brinkmann(1865-17/05/1935).

They married in 1882.

Following the death of her husband, Josephina remarried on 03/02/1900 to William Auguste Peez(1871-1943).

Bernard had a brother, George Arthur Edward(1889-15/09/1916) and 2 half brothers, Reginald(1902-1987) and Norman(1905-1991).

He also had 3 half sisters, Millicent Ellen Margaret(1903-1987),Myra Josephine(1907-1993) and Maisie(1912-1986).

In the1914 NZ Electoral rolls, Bernard was recorded as living on Kent Street, Frankton, Waikato and was a railway employee.

When war broke out, Bernard enlisted on 11/08/1914 as Sapper(R/165,later 4/223) in the New Zealand Railway Engineers.

The details of his medical are as follows;

Apparent  Age 28 years, Height 6ft, Weight 12st, Chest Measurement - Minimum - 35 inches, Maximum - 39 inches, Complexion - Dark, Colour of Eyes - Grey, Colour of Hair Brown, Religious Profession - Church of England.

Tattoos on both arms and chest and also has a rupture scar.

 Bernard was posted to Samoa the next day(12/08/1914), where he served until 22/03/1915(his discharge actually came through on 19/03/1915),when a hernia caused him to be invalided home.

Once fully recovered, Bernard re-enlisted with the 9th Reinforcements on 04/09/1915 and was posted to B company.

He was promoted to Corporal on 07/09/1915 and then to Lance Serjeant.

Bernard embarked for Egypt on 08/01/1916 and whilst at sea on 11/01/1916, he was promoted to Serjeant. 

Disembarkation at Suez came on 12/02/1916.

On 07/03/1916, he was posted to 2nd battalion and reverted back to the ranks.  

Bernard was granted the rank of lance Corporal on 14/05/1916.

It was from Alexandria, that Bernard embarked on 29/05/1916 for the Western Front, arriving in Devonport, England on 09/06/1916.   

He was then marched into Sling Camp on Salisbury Plain and was appointed temporary Serjeant on 29/07/1916.

Bernard then went to the school of musketry on Hayling Island, where on 10/11/1916 he qualified 1st class.

He then returned to Sling Camp ,being promoted to Serjeant on 09/10/1916 and stayed there until the following year, when he headed for France on 23/07/1917.

He entered the Etaples base depot on 27/07/1917 and just over a week later, on 06/08/1917, he was transferred to the Canterbury Regiment. He joined his battalion in the field ands was posted to 2nd Company on 10/08/1917.

He was killed in action on 11/12/1917.

In his will, that he had written back on 27/08/1914, he left everything to his mother. 

He was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the 1914-1918 British War and Allied Victory medals.


His brother George, Corporal 24/286 in 2nd Battalion 3rd New Zealand Rifle Brigade was killed in action on 15/09/1916.

He is remembered on the Caterpillar Valley New Zealand Memorial , Albert Department de la Somme, Picardie, France.


Ashburton Guardian - 4 January 1918   

"Sergeant Bernard Arthur Smith , killed in action on December 11, was the eldest son of Mrs Peez, Ashburton. He was born in Winchester and was educated at the Winchester and Temuka School. Sergeant Smith was in the Navy for nine years, but prior to enlistment was employed on the railways. When war broke out, he enlisted and was sent to Samoa, where he remained for eight months, being invalided home. On his recovering, he joined the Ninth Reinforcements and was for some time in Egypt.

He was sent to Sling Camp, remaining there for 15 months on the training staff. He left for France early September last. His brother George was killed in action on September 15 on the Somme."   

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