Topic: Cyril Gordon McSeveny

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Cyril Gordon McSeveny a first world war soldier who lived for a time in the Wharenui, Riccarton area.

Cyril Gordon McSeveny was born 3 October 1896 in Belfast, Christchurch, New Zealand to Robert and Elizabeth McSeveny. He had older siblings, Ellen, Kathleen and Robert Reginald.

Prior to enlisting in the New Zealand Army he worked as a jockey for J. Cameron, and his last known New Zealand address was Heretunga Street in Hastings.

He is described in his military records as being 5 ft 4 1/3 inches tall, fair skinned, with brown hair and eyes, and a good physique. He enlisted on 3 May 1917, and headed for overseas service in November 1917 abroad  Troopship 95, the Willochra. It appears Cyril may have tried to avoid an earlier embarkation in October 1917 when he was charged at Trentham Camp for being absent without leave for 5 days. He forfeited 21 days pay for this offence.

After spending time at Sling Camp he left for the front in France in April 1918, joining his battalion in the field on 20 April. Cyril would then spend a period of time moving between the field and being hospitalised. He finally returned to England in September 1918.

Cyril returned to New Zealand in May 1919, and was discharged from the army on 21 July 1919. He had spent a total amount of 2 years and 20 days in service to the New Zealand Army, 1 year and 214 days of this abroad. 

After the war Cyril married Kathleen Ansley McCleary on the 30 April 1926. Cyril and Kathleen would move around various addresses in Christchurch over the years, and Cyril had various occupations including working as a gardener in 1935, and as a conductor at CCC Tramways Museum in 1944. In the World War II ballot lists from 1942 he was listed as being a truck driver, living in Perth Street, Richmond.

His name would also crop up in the papers over the years for minor offences including an article in The Press on 4 September 1931 where he was charged with driving a vehicle over an unsafe railway line resulting in fines of $2. He only narrowly avoided causing a larger accident by swerving in the same direction as the train, with minor damage to the side of the car door.

Cyril passed away on 23 December 1974, and was buried with his brother Reg (Robert) in a family plot in the Upper Riccarton Cemetery.

He is remembered on the Wharenui School Roll of Honour board.


Related resources

  • Online Cenotaph record for Cyril McSeveny. Auckland War Memorial Museum
  • Military personnel file (10927271). Archives New Zealand (Archway)
  • Military personnel file (20549466). Archives New Zealand (Archway)
  • RETURNING SOLDIERS.,Press, Volume LV, Issue 16549, 14 June 1919
  • THE COURTS., Press, Volume LXVII, Issue 20333, 4 September 1931
  • MAGISTRATE'S COURT, Press, Volume LXXI, Issue 21432, 26 March 1935
  • New Zealand, World War II Ballot Lists, 1940–1945. [Extracted from the New Zealand Gazette.] via
  • New Zealand Cemetery Records. New Zealand Society of Genealogists Inc. via

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Cyril Gordon McSeveny

First Names:Cyril, Gordon
Last Name:McSeveny
Place of Birth:Christchurch, New Zealand 03/10/1898