Topic: Keith Munro Weir
Keith Munro Weir (Service No. 2/2564) was a First World War soldier with links to Heathcote
Keith Munro Weir was born on the 23rd October 1896. He was the third son of James and Jessie Weir. James, an engineer in charge of the Lyttelton Borough Council Waterworks and Jessie McDonald were married on November 4th 1891 in Heathcote. Keith had three brothers. The Munro family lived at the Pumping Station situated in the Heathcote Valley in Christchurch.
Keith attended the Heathcote Valley School and achieved the Forth Educational Standard. In 1915 he was a single man employed as a Clerk at the Canterbury Seed Company in Christchurch and was a member of the 1st regiment of the Canterbury Coast Defence Territorials.
The family were well known in the Heathcote Valley and were involved in community activities such as, the Heathcote Patriotic Committee; Methodist Sunday School; Heathcote Valley School Committee; Literary and Debating Society and Heathcote Club well as tennis events in the local area. His father was the vice-president of the Tennis Club.
Keith enlisted on the 23rd August 1915 at the age of 18 years for service in World War I. His physical appearance was described as 5 foot 10 inches in height, weight 154 pounds, hair dark brown, eyes blue and religion Presbyterian. On the 23rd November 1915, Keith embarked at Wellington and arrived at the Suez, Egypt on the 20th of December, 1915. Keith then left by ship from Alexandria, Egypt on 7 April 1916 for France on the SS Eboe.
All four brothers went on active service and all were wounded. Their war service was acknowledged in the Star newspaper, 1917-01-16; “there are families who have shouldered the burden of war” and a letter was forwarded by the Lyttelton Borough Council “expressing appreciation of the patriotism of their family”.
Keith suffered a number of health issues such as boils, pneumonia and measles requiring medical assistance and was admitted to the New Zealand Field Ambulance Service on a number of occasions. He was placed on the seriously ill list for measles on 10 January, 1918 and was discharged fit for duty on the 2nd of March 1918.
Keith was wounded in action and died the following day on the 24th April 1918 in France. Keith was 21 years of age and held the rank of Sergeant (service number 2/2564) of the 5th Battery, New Zealand Field Artillery at the time. Keith had recently been promoted to Sergeant on the 18th March 1918 after being appointed temporary Sergeant on the 28th September 1917 and was recognised as a soldier of "sterling merit"
Sadly a letter from Keith was received by the family after he had died, stating he had been placed first for an officers commission, where he would undergo training in London for the rank of lieutenant.
Keith’s memorial grave (Plot V, Row B, Stone 16) is situated at Haringhe (Bandaghem) Military Cemetery, West Vlaanderen, Belgium.
Keith is remembered on the Heathcote War Memorial.
- Online Cenotaph record for Keith Munro Weir. Auckland War Memorial Museum
- Military personnel file for Keith Munro Weir. Archway, Archives New Zealand
- Personal. Star, Issue 11907, 16 January 1917
- HEATHCOTE NOTES. Star, Issue 12333, 1 June 1918