Topic: Gordon Wilson Moore

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Gordon Wilson Moore (Service number 7/2082) enlisted for the First World War with a Peterborough Street address.

Gordon Wilson Moore, nicknamed Gasper, was born on the 13th of July 1894 in Christchurch. The youngest child of ten, Gordon’s parents were Scottish-born Margaret Montgomery and William John Moore. Married in Port Glasgow, Renfrewshire in 1872 they arrived in New Zealand prior to 1877.

A builder to trade William John, and his large family lived for many years Street. First at number 38 and later in a two storey, 7 roomed house at 189 Peterborough Street. Gordon attended the Normal school, then Christchurch East. He left school in October 1909 to start an apprenticeship.

Gordon was a carpenter working for Painter and Hamilton when he joined up on the 20th of October 1915. 5ft 7 inches with a sallow complexion, blue eyes, black hair and a scar on his right wrist, he was first placed with the Canterbury Mounted Rifles C Squadron. After arriving in Egypt he was transferred to the New Zealand Field Artillery, 3rdBattery as a gunner in March 1916.

Gordon left for Alexandria for France on the troopship Manitou in May 1916. Arriving at Etaples,France he was admitted the same day to the No 20 General Hospital.

At the end of August he was marched out for England and marched into Sling Camp. The next stop was Aldershot in Hampshire, known as the “Home of the British Army”. Aldershot was also an important base for the New Zealand artillery after Gallipoli. Gordon arrived at Aldershot in January 1917 and was now listed as a Trumpeter. The artillery traditionally used the trumpet for signalling, the role in the First World War still involved signalling but also manning the telephone and assisting with range-taking.

Gordon was on the move again in March 1917, this time posted to the 5thBattery as a gunner. He quickly became seriously ill. Posted to Steenwerck in French Flanders Gordon was admitted to No 32 Stationary Hospital at Boulogne in April 1917 with chest pains, shortness of breath and coughing.

Examination by X-Ray revealed a cyst on his right lung caused by a parasitic infection. Hydatid disease (Echinococcosis) is caused by tapeworms which create cysts often in the lungs and liver of the host. Gordon probably became infected while still in New Zealand and the disease had taken many months to manifest.

He was transferred to No 2 New Zealand General Hospital at Walton-on Thames in Surrey,England and operated on in May 1917. The cyst was removed and a drainage tube inserted by Major Unwin the Chief of the Surgical Division at No 2 New Zealand General Hospital. The wound healed well and Gordon’s progress was considered satisfactory.

Signed off sick for 12 months, Gordon was returned to New Zealandon the Hospital Ship Marama from Avonmouth, Bristol on 14th of July 1917. He arrived in Christchurch on August 26th with some 580 other invalided officers and soldiers.

Hospital Ship Marama, Stuff article April 24 2015

Gordon was discharged as unfit for war service on 13th of Oct 1917 and received the British War Medal and Victory Medal.

Later in 1919 Gordon married Jeannie McHaffie Young. Jeannie was previously married to William Bowen with whom she had two daughters. That marriage broke down and Jeannie had a child with Gordon. William Bowen petitioned for a divorce in May 1919 which came into effect 3 months later. According to the Sun newspaper of May 21st 1919 Gordon when challenged by Bowen said “All right. I will stick to her.” 

 In the 1919 electoral roll Gordon is back at 189 Peterborough Street living with his parents and working as a bootmaker. 

 The young couple lived for a period in Hororata and had another child but eventually the relationship failed and they separated in the late 1920s.

Gordon’s health was still delicate and he spent some time in the Cashmere Sanatorium with tuberculosis in the 1920s. His Father died in 1924 and his Mother in 1927. After the end of his marriage he lived with his sister Annie (Sissy) and later his son Donald, also a boot maker.

Gordon served his country again in the Second World War, first in the Interim Army, then from 1948-1951 with the Regular Force Home Service Section.

During the war he used his civilian skills and worked at the boot repair depot at Burnham Camp. His health continued to trouble him. Later in the regular army he served as a mess orderly at Burnham and achieved the rank of Lance-Corporal. He also received the NZ War Service Medal and War Medal 1939-45.

Gordon died on the 9th of February 1969 aged 75. His funeral service was held on the 11th of February at the Canterbury Crematorium Chapel in Linwood. His estranged wife Jeannie died in 1978.

Related resources

Online Cenotaph record for Gordon Wilson Moore

Gordon Wilson Moore's military personnel file, Archives New Zealand (Archway)


"Supreme Court undefended divorce cases" Sun Volume VI, Issue 1643, 21 May 1919, Page 7

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Gordon Wilson Moore

First Names:Gordon
Last Name:Moore
Place of Birth:Christchurch