Topic: Eric Percy Greenwood

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Eric Percy Greenwood (Service no. 54684) was a First World War soldier with links to New Brighton.

Eric Percy Greenwood was born 15 October 1888, the second son of Cecil Danforth Greenwood (surgeon) and Annie Beatrice Greenwood (nee Jenkinson). He had four siblings - two brothers Gascoigne and Roy, and two sisters, Beatrice and Irene.

In 1894 the family moved to New Zealand where Eric’s father, Cecil, had been born. His grandfather, John Greenwood, was a well-known dentist from the Nelson area. Shipping records show the family arrived in New Zealand aboard the Ruahine in September 1894.

During their first years in New Zealand the Greenwood family lived in Ashburton. Cecil set up a medical practice there and the children attended Miss Barratt’s School in Ashburton where Eric received prizes for English. In 1896 his mother, Annie Beatrice, died and the family moved to Christchurch, setting up residence in New Brighton. Eric’s father, Cecil, ran a medical practice here and also became a councillor for the New Brighton Borough Council. In 1898 Cecil remarried, wedding Lottie Annie, the daughter of Alexander Bickerton and they later went on to open the ‘Avon Pine’ sanatorium. Eric received his schooling at New Brighton School and Christ’s College.

Like his older brother, Gascoigne, Eric was a farmer when the war broke out. Electoral rolls for 1914 show both of them listed as residing at Oponae, Opotiki in the Bay of Plenty. Both of Eric’s brothers had enlisted in 1915 - Gascoigne, serving with the Auckland Mounted Rifles, 5th Reinforcements, and Roy, serving with the Australian Army. Newspaper reports from January 1917 show Eric appealed against service on the grounds that he was the only son of three brothers at home (Gascoigne had been killed at Gallipoli and Roy was still serving at the front) and was looking after his own and his brother’s farms. The Board adjourned his case indefinitely and Eric enlisted on 15 January 1917.

Eric served in the 30th Reinforcements, New Zealand Machine Gun Battalion, “C” Company. He was killed in action at Le Quesnoy, France, on 4 November 1918. His army record noted that he was first buried in an isolated grave 8 and 3/4 miles South East of Valenciennes, France but is now buried at Cross Roads Cemetery, Fontaine-au-Bois, Nord, France.

Eric was awarded a British War Medal and a Victory Medal and is listed on the Roll of Honour at New Brighton School.

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Eric Percy Greenwood


First Names:Eric Percy
Last Name:Greenwood
Place of Birth:England