Topic: George Weir Ferguson

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George Weir Ferguson (Service no. 7/841) was a First World War soldier with links to Halswell.

George Weir Ferguson was born 19th July 1883 in Halswell, Canterbury, New Zealand to stock trader Mr John Ferguson of "Melrose" Halswell, Christchurch, New Zealand and Lillian Ferguson (nee Harris). George's parents married in 1877 and had five children, William Eccles (1878), Elizabeth May (1879), George Weir (1883), Elsie (1886) and Lilly Isabel (1888).

John Ferguson led a life of adventure and this trait was passed onto his son George. John was born in 1830 in Liscansey, County Tyrone, Ireland. He went to America when he was only seventeen years old and spent five years there carting produce. He returned to Ireland for another five years before he set out for the goldfields of Bendigo, Australia where he did not make his fortune. In 1861 he relocated to New Zealand to try his luck in the newly discovered Otago goldfields. He walked from Dunedin to Queenstown with an 80lb pack on his back. Once again the gold did not pan out for him and he ended up making his first fortune carting supplies between Queenstown, Shotover and Moa Creek and later to the West Coast goldfields. In 1866 he came to Christchurch where he made his second fortune trading stock and, after developing the Melrose estate, breeding award winning cattle.

Young George Ferguson began his education at Halswell School in 1888 and left in 1897. He completed his education at Christchurch Boy's High School, Christchurch, New Zealand. After leaving school he served in the South African (Boar) War, joining the Fifth Contingent as orderly to the late Dr. De Renzi. He completed his training in 1900 at Addington, Christchurch, Canterbury before embarking on the Maori to South Africa where he joined the firing-line and was wounded. Soon after he secured a commission (before reaching the age of 17) and returned to New Zealand to recuperate. When he recovered from his wounds he returned to South Africa as a lieutenant in the Eighth Contingent. At the close of the war he returned to New Zealand in charge of the troops on H.M.T Britannic. He received the Queen's South Africa Medal (Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal, South Africa 1902 Clasps).

George married Ruby Constance Le Lievre in Akaroa on 24th September 1906. Ruby was a descendant of Francois Etienne Le Lievre, one of the original Akaroa settlers who arrived on the Comte de Paris in 1840. Together they had three children John Xavier born 22nd March 1908 (in Hawera), George Lional born 19th March 1911 (in Hawera) and Rex born 16th September 1913 (in Akaroa). At the time of George's death his three sons were 6 years, 4 years and 14 months respectively.

George Weir Ferguson Photo

George promptly reenlisted in the army on the 29th December 1914 at Trentham, five months after the commencement of World War One. At the time of enlistment he gave his profession as a Stock Agent, his address Mount Possession, New Zealand and his religion as Church of England. George's medical records describe him as 6 foot tall, with blue eyes, fair coloured hair and weighing 187 lbs. He embarked for World War 1 on 12th of February 1915 from Wellington, New Zealand on the vessel; HMNZT 17, Maunganui arriving in Suez, Egypt 26th March 1915. His rank at this time was Trooper with the Canterbury Mounted Rifles; 3rd Reinforcements. On 18th April 1915 he was promoted to Acting Corporal in the 3rd Reinforcements, and shortly thereafter to Lance Sergeant (unpaid) on the 9th May 1915.

Tragically 3 months later George was killed in action at the age of 32 on the 21st August 1915 at the Dardanelles, Gallipoli, Turkey. He is buried at Hill 60 Cemetery, Turkey. Grave reference 11.D.2.

George was posthumously awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal 1914-1920 and the Victory Medal. His medals were sent to his widow Ruby.

Ruby Ferguson remained in Akaroa until the 23rd May 1928 when she married Alfred Leonard Stych and they went to live in Christchurch.

George Weir Ferguson is remembered on the Halswell War Memorial, the decorated Roll of Honour established by St. Mary's Parish at the Public Hall in Halswell and his headstone at Hill 60, Gallipoli, Turkey.

George Weir Ferguson' grave at Hill 60 Cemetery, Gallipoli..

 

 Related resources

  • George Ferguson's military personnel file (1899-1915). Archives New Zealand (Archway)
  • George Ferguson's military personnel file (1914-1915). Archives New Zealand (Archway)
  • Online Cenotaph record for George Weir. Auckland War Memorial Museum

References

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George Weir Ferguson


First Names:George Weir
Last Name:Ferguson
Place of Birth:Halswell, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand