Topic: Albert Wilson

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Albert Wilson (Service no. 39135 ) was a First World War soldier and former employee of Christchurch City Council.


 Albert Wilson was born in New Brighton in 1886 to George Edward and Jane Wilson. His father was an English immigrant who worked as a dairyman. Albert also had a younger brother, Alfred (1893). At the time of Albert’s enlistment the family were living at 10 Cranley Street, Linwood.

Prior to his enlistment, Albert was employed by the Christchurch City Council as a gardener, and for seven years he was the assistant sexton at Linwood Cemetery.

In October 1916 he enlisted with G Company of the 22nd Reinforcements. Despite his medical notes recording that he had a deformity in his wrist, he was accepted as medically fit.  Also joining G Company at this time was another Christchurch City Council employee, Edgar Egidio Di Rago.

The 22nd Reinforcements underwent training at Trentham before embarking from Wellington on 13 February 1917.

Albert arrived in England at Plymouth on 2 May and from there proceeded to Sling camp, a bleak training camp on the Salisbury Plains.  

He embarked for France on 6 June and arrived at Etaples, a transit camp to prepare the soldiers for the front line, on 8 June. From there he marched out to Division on 25 June and on the following day he joined A Company of 4th Battalion 3rd New Zealand Rifle Brigade.

On 12 September he was admitted to hospital with bronchitis.  From there he was transferred to the hospital in Etaples on 26 November. In December 1917 he was admitted to the hospital in Boulogne.

By 13 January 1918 he had recovered and was readmitted to military service in Etaples. On 29 January he marched into Abeele, a village on the Belgian border with France. He rejoined his unit in the field on 11 March.

On 21 March the German military launched what came to be known as the German Spring Offensive. Using forces withdrawn from the Eastern Front to increase their numbers, the German military attempted to surround the British Expeditionary Force and cause the French to surrender before the American Expeditionary Force could join the effort on the Western Front.

The 3rd New Zealand Rifle Brigade was deployed to counter attack the German forces which had breached the allied lines.

Albert was killed in action 29 March 1918.

He was buried in an isolated grave in a shell hole, 20 yards south west of the old gun pits near Euston Road. Today the location of his grave is Euston Road Cemetery, Colincamps, France.

On April 18 1918 the flag at the Christchurch City Council Chambers was flown at half mast in honour of Albert. 

Albert is remembered on the Christchurch City Council Roll of Honour and on the family grave at Linwood Cemetery, Block 29, Plot 274.

Related resources

Online Cenotaph record for Albert Wilson. Auckland War Memorial Museum

Albert Wilson's military personnel file. Archives New Zealand (Archway)


Personal notes,’ Star, Issue 12299, 23 April 1918

The call to serve,’ Press, Volume LII, Issue 15521, 23 February 1916

German 1918 spring offensives map, New Zealand History

The Official History of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade, New Zealand Electronic Text Collection


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Albert Wilson

First Names:Albert
Last Name:Wilson
Place of Birth:New Brighton, Christchurch