Topic: John Frederick Haynes

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John Frederick Haynes (Service no. 4/408) was a First World War soldier with links to New Brighton

John Frederick Haynes John Frederick Haynes, a dark-haired, blue-eyed boy, was born in Christchurch on 15 th February 1894.   He was baptised by Reverend H.C.M. Watson at St John's Anglican Church, Latimer Square. He was the fourth child of Thomas Francis Haynes and Susan Johanna Haynes (nee Shaw). He had two older sisters, Violet and Elizabeth, an older brother, Francis, and a younger brother named Lawrence. His father worked as a travelling salesman and driver, and the family moved about quite a lot over the years. When John's sister Elizabeth was born, the family was living in Kaiapoi, then they moved to central Christchurch, and by the time John started school, they were living in New Brighton. John attended New Brighton School, and his name is on the school Roll of Honour. By the time John left school, the family was living in Linwood. He went on to get a job as a gas fitter for the Christchurch Gas Company.  

Just eleven days after Britain declared war on Germany, John enlisted. He was 20 years old when he embarked with the first contingent of New Zealand troops on 16 th October 1914. His slight build was listed as minor defect on his military medical record.  On 3 rd December 1914 the troop ship Maunganui arrived in Alexandria, Egypt with John aboard.  He served as a sapper with the New Zealand Engineers, in Gallipoli, Turkey, and the Western Front.  Sappers acted as infantry soldiers as well as constructing the military infrastructure for the main forces.  During his service, John was hospitalised a number of times for a variety of gastro-intestinal illnesses.

One evening when John was resting, a shell exploded inside his hut, which burst into flames. Company Sergeant Major John Woodhall and Sergeant John Deem, fellow engineers, bravely entered the burning hut to rescue John. However he was severely wounded and died in the field ambulance in France on 6 th May 1917. He was buried at Maple Leaf Cemetery, Comines-Warneton, Hainaut, Belgium. He was 23 years old.

John's younger brother, Lawrence, tried to enlist several times, but he was turned away because he was underage.  He eventually enlisted on 2 nd March 1918 just days after his 19 th birthday. The next day, their older brother Francis also enlisted.  Francis was already married with a young daughter when the war broke out. Did he perhaps enlist to keep an eye on his younger brother?  Both brothers embarked on 27 th July 1918, and returned home safely from service after the war.

John was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal in 1921.

Soldiers at the burial of Sapper J. F. Haynes, National Library of New Zealand


Related Resources


  • The Fallen and Wounded, Press, Volume LIII, Issue 16065, 22 November 1917, Page 8
  • St John the Baptist Anglican Church, Latimer Square: Transcript of Baptismal Registers, 1866-1902
  • Burial Image - New Zealand. Army. NZEF. New Zealand Engineers. World War I New Zealand soldiers at the burial of Sapper J F Haynes, Romarin, France. Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association :New Zealand official negatives, World War 1914-1918. Ref: 1/2-012759-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

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John Frederick Haynes

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