Topic: Harold William Dawson

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Second Lieutenant Harold William Dawson (service no. 4/1914), was a serviceman with links to Oxford Terrace Baptist Church.

Bailleul Cemetary Extension, Nord, FranceSecond Lieutenant Harold William Dawson (4/1914,) was a serviceman with links to Oxford Terrace Baptist Church. He was born at Gore on 3 December 1895, son of William Taylor and Grace Marion Dawson. He received his education at the Normal School and Technical College He was a prominent member of the Baptist Hockey Club, and the Young Men's Bible Class, and was well-known in athletic circles. Prior to enlisting he was serving a mechanical apprenticeship with Messrs Cooper and Duncan. He was 5ft 4¼ in tall with a fresh complexion, brown eyes and black hair. His brother Arnold also served and a photograph shows them together.

Harold enlisted 17 November 1915 and was posted as a sapper. He left with the Engineering section of the 11th Reinforcements for Suez but within a few days of arriving in Suez he had embarked again for France where he served as a motor dispatch rider for the signals company.

Shortly after his arrival in France he was promoted to corporal, and this was followed by his transfer to England, where he gained a commission in the Royal Flying Corps.  He was one of three successful candidates out of the 350 who sat for the examination.  He resigned from the NZEF to take up a commission in the Royal Flying Corp on 4 March 1917, later flying with No 19 Squadron.  Since entering the Flying Corps he had been stationed first on the English Coastal Defence Stations, and then in France, where he had acted as pilot on scouting machine and on the battle planes.

A few days before his death he had written a letter to his parents about his flying exploits and his safe escapes. Sadly he died on 4 October 1917 in what his record notes was a flying accident. He was taking off for a Ground Attack Patrol at 8.15am when he crashed.  He is buried in Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension ,Nord, France. Reference Ill. F41  

His name appears on the Honour Board of the OxfordTerraceBaptistChurch, Christchurchand in the church's Diamond jubilee souvenir, 1871 - 1931, p 12.

Information supplied by by L. M. Seaton

Image from New Zealand War Graves Project

Related Resources

Military Personnel File from Archway 

Cenotaph Record 

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Harold William Dawson

First Names:Harold William
Last Name:Dawson
Place of Birth:Gore, N. Z.