Topic: John Erwin

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John Erwin (Service no. 6/953) was a First World War soldier.

John ErwinJohn Erwin was born on 2 August 1888 in Christchurch, son of Dr Robert and Mrs Esther Erwin, 36 Bealey Avenue, Christchurch from whence he left for overseas. His next of kin was his father, at that address. 

His father was a Reverend and the family's religion was Presbyterian.

John had a sister, Jean Neill Erwin (22/117) who also served in WW1 & WW2 as a nurse.

He was one of the Canterbury men at a dinner at Shepheard’s Hotel to celebrate Christmas which was attended by 65. The menu card bears his signature (J Erwin) 3rd name from the top left hand side.

John had a ruddy complexion with dark hair and brown eyes.  He was 5 foot 7 inches in height and weighed 147 pounds when he enlisted on 14th August 1914; he was 26, and single.  Prior to enlisting, he was employed as a clerk at Kaye & Carter Limited, Grain Seed Merchants, Christchurch. John had 5 years secondary education and passed the Fourth Educational Standard. He was in the Christchurch High School cadets during this time.

He left for the war from Wellington 15 October 1914 on board the Tahiti or Athenic disembarking in Alexandria, Egypt, on 4 December 1914.

He was wounded on 25 April 1915 at Dardanelles suffering a gunshot wound. He was transferred from HMT Gosler and admitted to hospital in Cairo No 2 General Hospital on 3 May 1915. John was invalided to New Zealand per SS Tahiti on 7 August 1915.

John was discharged as medically unfit on 26 November 1915 with a pension of 30/- having served a total of 1 year and 105 days, 139 days in New Zealand and 331 days overseas.

On 10 November 1916 John embarked from New Zealand on HS Marama for further medical treatment in England. On 31 December 1916 John had his left arm amputated three inches below the elbow. On 23 February 1917 he was admitted to Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton, south west London for artificial limb fitting and returned to New Zealand on the ‘Rimutaka’ from Plymouth on 12 August 1917.

John enlisted for World War 2 on 9 October 1939 and was based at Burnham Military Camp. His Army number was 807169. On enlisting he stated his next of kin was his wife, Mrs Helen Rosa Erwin of 12 St Albans Street, Christchurch and having one child. He performed mainly clerical duties for the Camp HQ & Camp hospital. He was promoted to T/Sergeant on 6 June 1941.

On 31st October 1941, John suffered a fall on the slippery floor of the Hospital’s N.C.Os shower which resulted in more damage to his left elbow. He was then assigned duties as Quartermaster Sergeant which involved more clerical duties.

John received the War Medal 1939-45 & N.Z. War Service Medal (3/9/39 to 2/9/45).

He was discharged on 19 September 1944 having served a total of 4 years and 347 days.

John Erwin died in New Zealand on 29 January 1965.


Related resources

  • John Erwin's military personnel file. Archives New Zealand (Archway)
  • Online Cenotaph record for John Erwin. Auckland War Memorial Museum



  • Wounded. Dominion, Volume 8, Issue 2457, 10 May 1915, Page 6
  • Personals. Sun, Volume II, Issue 391, 12 May 1915, Page 4
  • Personal notes.  Oamaru Mail, Volume XL, Issue 12539, 10 May 1915, Page 6
  • Invalided soldiers. Sun, Volume IV, Issue 1153, 22 October 1917, Page 7


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John Erwin

First Names:John
Last Name:Erwin
Place of Birth:Christchurch, New Zealand