Topic: Albert Thomas Courtney Henery

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Albert Thomas Henery (Service no. 43976) was a First World War soldier with links to Wharenui and Riccarton

APte. A.T.C. Henery, Portrait, Auckland Weekly News 1918. AWMMlbert Thomas Courtney (Pat) Henery was born in Glenavy, Waimate, Canterbury, New Zealand.

Albert was the son of William James Henery (1870 - 1946) and Annie  Henery (nee Keenan) (1868-1927). He had 8 siblings, John Keenan Henery (1893-1947), Annie Isabella (Dolly) (1897-1988, Elizabeth Mary Agnes (Sissy) (1900 - 1981, Margaret Fanny (1904-1957), James Stephen (1895-1953), Harriet Edith (Totty) (1899-1964), Ettie Olive Jane (1902-1960), William Samuel Francis (1909-1966). 

Albert attended Wharenui School and was a farmhand on his father's farm. He was 5ft 6" tall with a fresh complexion, hazel eyes and fair hair. He was a Roman Catholic. After leaving Wharenui School Albert became a prominent member of the Addington League Football Club, in which he played wing forward, the Wharenui Swimming Club and the St Mary's Young Mens Guild. 

Albert lived in Cutler's Road, presumably with his parent's and siblings. 

Albert enlisted in the army on 9th November 1916 and entered Trentham Camp on 5th January 1917. After training there and at Featherston Camp Albert embarked along with 1,167 other men of the Twenty Third Reinforcements on troopship no. 80, 'Corinthic' on 2nd April 1917. The following day they sailed from Wellington, the voyage taking them via Capetown and Sierra Leone. The 'Casualty -Active Service' form in his personnel file notes that the Corinthic disembarked at Devonport, England on 10th June 1917. In fact they disembarked at London as the 'List of New Zealand Troopships, 1914 -1919' shows and the troopship magazine for the Corinthic, 'Tiki Talk' states on the back cover that it was published in London 'for the executive committee of "Tiki Talk"'. The contingent immediately proceded to Sling Camp near Salisbury. However the time spent at Sling was short and on 6 July Albert was among a contingent of reinforcements that was sent to Etaples Camp in France. Two weeks later he marched out from  Etaples and joined his permanent unit the 2nd Company, 2nd Battalion, Canterbury Infantry Regiment, N.Z. Expeditionary Force on 25th July 1917.  Although Albert's Battalion was not involved in the attack on La Basseville on the 27th and 31st of July, it did man that new position on the 5th and 6th of August. During the two weeks they were there the weather was poor, the trenches muddy and they were under constant heavy German shelling. After the 28th August 1917, along with the whole NZ Division, they spent the next month training for the upcoming Third Battle of Ypres. 

On September 25th the 2nd Battalion moved up to Wieltje, north east of Ypres, arriving on the 28th September. On the 29th and 30th September, they took over part of the front line positions, where they suffered light casualties, until they were relieved on the 2nd and 3rd of October.  They returned to camp near Ypres where they remained until the Battle of Gravenstafel Ridge on the 4th October. They moved into their final position around Eecke, arriving on the 7th October. The 2nd Battalion was to be in reserve on the right hand sector of the NZ attack on the Passchendaele Ridge on the 12th October. Their role was to follow up the 2nd Otago Battalion and assist in each successive objective. 

The constant rain and shelling had turned the ground to mud, making it impossible for all the artilliery to reach their positions. The barrage that preceded the attack on the 12th October failed to break down the German barbed wire defences and pillboxes. To make matters worse the right-most sector over which the 2nd Brigade had to attack was flooded by the Ravebeek Stream which owing to damage from artillery barrages had dammed up to form a large swamp, thus making the advance extremely difficult.The attack was defeated with extremely high casualties soon after it commenced and well short of the first of the three objectives set for it. The 2nd Otago Battalion almost reached the Bellevue Spur but were pinned down by German wire and pillboxes. Albert's 2nd Company along with the 12th Company were then called in to try to outflank the position from both sides but most got caught in the barbed wire and machine gun fire. It is quite likely that this is where Albert died. He was one of the 109 of the 2nd Canterbury Battalion killed that day.

His body was never found but his Personnel File notes that his remains were identfied by Rev J A Lush which was noted on his record on the 13th October 1917. His name is on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Tyne Cot Cemetery, Zonnebeke, West Vlaanderen, Belgium. 

He is remembered on the Wharenui School Memorial Gates and the Wharenui School Roll of Honour.


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Albert Thomas Courtney Henery

First Names:Albert
Last Name:Henery
Place of Birth:Glenavy, Waimate, Canterbury, New Zealand