Topic: Joseph Henry Reeves

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Joseph Henry Reeves (Service no. 63050) was a first World War soldier with links to the suburb of Woolston.

Joseph Henry Reeves was born 24 May 1886 and killed in action 24 August 1918 near Bapaume, France.

Joseph worked as a tanner at the Woolston Tannery and lived at 45 Regent Street, Woolston. His parents were George and Caroline and he had 8 siblings - four older brothers George, Arthur, John and William, two older sisters Annie (later Ann Howell) and Frances and 2 younger sisters Eva and Martha. Joseph was 5ft 5" (152cm) with blue eyes, dark hair and a "fresh" complexion.

He enlisted, age 34, on 16 July, 1917 and was assigned to The Otago Regiment D Company with the rank of private. After training, he was transported on the Willochra on 22 November with the 31st/32nd Reinforcements and 23rd/24th Reinforcements Maori contingent. He arrived at Liverpool 7 January, 1918 and marched with the Reinforcements to Sling Camp for further training before leaving for France on 20 March. From Etaples base, Joseph joined the 2nd Otago Battalion Regiment 10th Company in the field on the outskirts of Amiens 28 March, 1918.

The New Zealand Division was tasked with closing the gap in the Front Line near Colincamps, France to prevent the German Army from advancing further into France. The Otago Regiment experienced one of the heaviest and most sustained artillery bombardments ever experienced along the Divisional Front on 6 April, 1918. The task at this time was to "hold the line".

Joseph was in hospital for one week from 25/5. He rejoined the battalion on 8/6 at Colincamps. From early June, 1918 the New Zealand Division was at "rest" and training. Recreational activities included a Divisional horse show, military tournament and Divisional band contest. Training invoved practicing attacks. On 22 June, the 2nd Otago Battalion reinforced the purple line between Arras and Amiens until 2nd July, then moved to the rear of Bayencourt.  From mid-July, The New Zealand Division was based in Hebuterne with the Otago Regiment near Rossignol Wood.

Joseph died during the second battle of Bapaume near Grevillers and is buried in the Grevillers British Cemetery a few kilometres west of Bapaume.

He was remembered on the Roll of Honour, Woolston War Memorial, Cricket Pavilion, Woolston, Christchurch.


Related Resources


  • Byrne, A. E. Lieut. Official history of The Otago Regiment, N.Z.E.F in the Great War 1914-1918 Dunedin, 1921.
  • Sling Camp in H.T.B. Drew, The War Effort of New Zealand. Whitcombe and Tombs Limited. Auckland, 1923. NZETC
  • A view of Bapaume after entry by New Zealand troops, World War I. Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association :New Zealand official negatives, World War 1914-1918. Ref: 1/2-013563-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
  • Steamship Willochra, World War I troopship 35, probably in Wellington Harbour. Dickie, John, 1869-1942 :Collection of postcards, prints and negatives. Ref: 1/2-016772-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
  • Battle of Bapaume map', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage)

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Joseph Henry Reeves

First Names:Joseph Henry
Last Name:Reeves
Place of Birth:Christchurch, New Zealand