Topic: Oscar William Collings

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Oscar William Collings was a First World War Solider with links to Wharenui Primary School, Christchurch.

Oscar William Collings was born 2 Feb 1896 and died 17 Jan 1945 - in his 49th year, in Templeton, Canterbury , New Zealand. His parents were William Henry Collings (born 11 May 1869 in Canterbury, NZ) and Emily (Voice) Collings (born about 1870 in New Zealand). He had two brothers Hector Thomas Collings (born 17 July 1899 in Templeton, NZ) and Regnald Rewi Collings (born 5 Jan 1910, Templeton , NZ).

In October 1916, Collings aged 20,  was fined 10 shillings and court costs for turning a corner in the city on the wrong side whilst riding a motorcycle.

Collings enlisted on the 28/5/17 in Christchurch, NZ. According to his army medical examination Oscar was 5 feet, 3 inches and his weight was a 125 pounds. His complexion was fair, he had grey eyes and fair coloured hair. Oscar had perfect eyesight and normal hearing. He was considered "Class A" for his physical and mental health.

He was a single man and had no children. Oscar belonged to the Church of England. 

He was a pupil at Wharenui Primary School. In December 1909, when he was in Standard VI, he was  awarded a Certificate of Proficiency and Good Attendance – First Class Certificate. Collings was a member of the Wharenui Cadets whilst a pupil at Wharenui School. All members were given a wooden gun, uniform and practised military drills.

Oscar was a Lino Type Operator and his last known employer before the war was Whitcombe and Tombs in Christchurch.

He departed for the war onboard the Ulimaroa (HMNZT Ship 90) from Wellington on the 26/7/17. The ship Ulimaroa was carrying part of the 28th reinforcements NZ expeditionary forces in conjunction with the Waitemata (HMNZT 89) that also departed the same day. He was accompained on the ship by fellow Wharenui classmate Ernest Frank Fine. They arrived into Plymouth on the 24/9/17. 

Whilst onboard Collings was punished for misconduct and fined seven days pay on the 14/9/17. It is known that many soliders onboard HMNZT 90 were upset that they were no longer allowed shore leave, that they had been promised during the journey and attempted to fight their way off the ship at a docking. Collings misconduct was most likely due to this occurance.

He was part of the 13th company, stationed outside Ypres, Belgium during Jan 1918. He arrived in Ypres on the 19th January 1918 and seven days later was wounded.  The conditions in Ypres at this time October 1917 through to the middle of February 1918 were described as the worst of times for the New Zealand division.

Thomas Eltringham from the 2nd Auckland Battalion recalled about Ypres salient " Mud, slush. You imagine a strip of land from the Belgium border to the Swiss border - but in the middle...nothing but mud and slush, dug up by shellfire...not a green blade of grass, not a leaf on a tree not a cat or a dog or any sort. Just mud and slush.And we had to live in it. Now that was the Ypres front....And  we lived in that. If anyone had told me when I went to war that I would be able to stand up to that. I would have laughed at them. I would have said it's impossible."

The New Zealand Herald ( Roll of Honour 15/2/18) reported he had been wounded on the 26 Jan 1918 just before his 22nd birthday. 

He boarded the H.S. Marama on the 6/4/18 to return to Wellington, NZ due to injury. Whilst on board the H.S. Marama he was assesed by the Medical Board on the 30th April 1918. The results of this showed that Collings had sustained a gunshot wound to the right shoulder and right foot caused by a high explosive shell. Resulting in the removal of his 5th metatersal little toe. He was deemed no longer fit for active service and was given disability for 6 months.

Collings was officially discharged on the 8/7/18 as he was no longer physically fit for service on account of wounds received in action.

 He remained unmarried until his death in 1945 and left his entire estate to his father. It included 4 acres of land on Main South Rd in Templeton , two cars and a fully furnished five room house. 

See related Links

Online Cenotaph Record Oscar William Collings

Collings, O., Collings, W., Collings, E., Collings, H., & Collings, R. (2017). Oscar William Collings (1896-1945) | WikiTree: The FREE Family Retrieved 11 January 2017, from

"COLLINGS, Oscar William - WW1 55426 - Army". N.p., 2017. Web. 27 Feb. 2017.

"COLLINGS, Oscar William - WW1 55426 - Army". N.p., 2017. Web. 5 Mar. 2017.

"FLOTILLA AUSTRALIA". N.p., 2017. Web. 5 Mar. 2017.

Harper, Glyn. Dark Journey. 1st ed. Auckland [N.Z.]: HarperCollins Publishers, 2007. Print.

Wilson, Alan S. History Of Wharenui School, 1907-1982. 1st ed. [Christchurch, N.Z.: Jubilee Committee, 1982. Print.

Zealand, N. (2017). Papers Past | DEATHS (Press, 1945-01-18). Retrieved 11 January 2017, from

Zealand, N. (2017). Papers Past | ROLL OF HONOUR. (New Zealand Herald, 1918-02-15). Retrieved 11 January 2017, from

Zealand, N. (2017). Papers Past | WHARENUI SCHOOL. (Press, 1909-12-27). Retrieved 11 January 2017, from

Zealand, National. "Papers Past | POLICE COURT NEWS. (Star, 1916-10-13)". N.p., 2017. Web. 5 Mar. 2017.

Zealand, National. "Papers Past | THE COURTS. (Press, 1916-10-14)". N.p., 2017. Web. 5 Mar. 2017.

Zealand, National. "Papers Past | Page 8 Advertisements Column 1 (Press, 1945-03-08)". N.p., 2017. Web. 13 Mar. 2017.

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Oscar William Collings

First Names:Oscar William
Last Name:Collings
Place of Birth:Templeton, Canterbury, New Zealand