Topic: John Robert Raxworthy

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John Robert Raxworthy (Service No. 34731) was a First World War soldier with links to Upper Riccarton.

John Robert Raxworthy was born on the 10th April 1897 at Upper Riccarton, Christchurch. He was the fourth child of Isadore Maud Williams and Thomas Herbert Raxworthy. Alice Maud Raxworthy (born 1889) was the oldest of the ten children, followed by Charles Herbert (1891), Thomas Arthur (1893), John Robert (1897), Raymond Wyman (1898), Alfred Redvers (1900), Leslie Edward (1902), Hugh James (1903), William Stanley (1905) and Richard Cecil (1907). Isadore Maud Williams and Thomas Herbert Raxworthy were married in 1889 in New Zealand.

The Raxworthy family lived at 89 Waimairi Road. John and his siblings attended Riccarton School (now known as Riccarton Primary School). His father Thomas was on the school committee for over 23 years. His father also worked as an engineer.

John signed up for the war effort on 23 August 1916. He was only 19 years old so gave his date of birth as one year earlier to qualify. He was working as a lithographic apprentice for Smith and Anthony Ltd, printers of Christchurch. He is described on his medical examination form as being 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighing 9 stone 7 pounds. He had a fresh complexion, grey eyes and dark brown hair. He belonged to the Church of England. John's colleagues at Smith and Anthony Ltd presented him with a watch on his last day at work as he left for the war.

On 7th December 1916 Private J R Raxworthy Service No. 34731) shipped out from Wellington with the 1st Company, 3rd Battalion, Canterbury Regiment for England. They arrived in Devonport, England on 18th February 1917 and proceeded to Sling Camp on the Salisbury Plains for training. John was transferred to Codford Camp in April before finally shipping out for France on 28th May 1917. John spent almost four months in the field before being injured on 4th October 1917. He was admitted to No. 3 New Zealand Field Ambulance but sadly died later that day. He was twenty years old.

John Robert Raxworthy is buried at Brandhoek New Military Cemetery No 3, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. He is remembered on the Roll of Honour plaque at the Upper Riccarton Memorial Library.

Related resources


  • DEPARTING SOLDIERS., Press, Volume LII, Issue 15675, 22 August 1916, page 2
  • DIED OF WOUNDS., Press, Volume LIII, Issue 16033, 16 October 1917, page 8
  • SCHOOL JUBILEE, Press, Volume LXIX, Issue 20974, 30 September 1933, page 6
  • IN MEMORIAM., Auckland Star, Volume L, Issue 137, 10 June 1919, page 10

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John Robert Raxworthy

First Names:John Robert
Last Name:Raxworthy
Place of Birth:Upper Riccarton, Christchurch, New Zealand