Topic: William John Burrows

Topic type:

William John Burrows (Service Number 3/3808) enlisted for the First World War with a Peterborough Street address.

William John Burrows (Jack) was born in Lowestoft, Suffolk, England on the eighth of October 1889. His parents were John and Elizabeth Burrows, and he had 2 younger brothers, Reg and Frank.

Jack's name was one of 8117 men drawn in the 9th ballot on June 26 1917, to fill the shortage of 1802 needed for the 33rd Reinforcements.

He lived at 175 Peterborough Street, and worked as a machinist for J Carter, Engineer and Machinist, of 104 St Asaph St.  William was 5'6", with a fair complexion, grey eyes and brown hair. His religion was listed as Brethren.

Jack's application as a conscientious objector was considered by the No. 2 Canterbury Military Service Board on Wed 25 July 1917.

He enlisted on 10 July 1917 and joined the NZ Medical Corps on 20 August 1917.  He embarked on 31 Dec 1917 from Wellington on HMNZT 99 aboard the Athenic, and arrived (via the Panama Canal) in Glasgow, Scotland eight weeks later on 25 Feb 1918.

He served with the NZMC in the UK and at the military hospital in Etaples, France, and in August 1918 was attached to the No. 3 NZ Field Ambulance.

He returned to NZ on the Chupra, leaving Tilbury Docks on 8 June 1919 and arriving in Lyttelton on 28 July 1919, having sailed via the Suez Canal, Colombo and Freemantle.  Between Port Said in Egypt and Colombo in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) the vessel ran into the monsoon and "all on board had a fairly bad time for three days".  The Chupra had no refrigerator space and during this stage of the voyage "the meat was affected by the heat and the men could not eat it".  Despite this, the officer commanding the troops reported "they are the most contented and best behaved lot of men I ever had anything to do with".

After 2 years and 6 days of service, Jack was discharged on 25 August 1919, on the "termination of period of engagement".  He was awarded the British War Medal.

On returning from the war he married his long time sweetheart Minnie Gertrude Cooper 2 days before Christmas, on Tuesday 23 Dec 1919.

Minnie died in 1946, and William married Marjorie Frances New in England in 1949.

William John Burrows died aged 97 on 2 April 1987, having lived at 137 Somerfield Street for more than 40 years.  William and Marjorie are buried at Ruru Lawn Cemetery.


Related resources

  • Military personnel file for William Burrows. Archives New Zealand (Archway)

  • Online Cenotaph record for William Burrows. Auckland War Memorial Museum


Discuss This Topic

There are 0 comments in this discussion.

join this discussion

William John Burrows

First Names:William John
Last Name:Burrows
Place of Birth:Lowestoft, Suffolk