Primary Data Sources

Follow the following steps, in sequence, to access the range in internet based information available for your soldier

The Cenotaph database contains biographical records and some photos for over 135,000 deceased New Zealanders, many of whom gave their lives as a result of war. Although the main focus is World War One, there are entries for men and women who served in South Africa in the 19th century, through the First and Second World Wars to Korea, Malaya and Vietnam in the 1950s to 1970s, and even recent peacekeeping deployments.

This Series covers the original personnel files, military history sheets, and microfilm strip copies of original personnel files of New Zealand Defence service personnel. Generally the files in this series start from 1899 and the commencement of recruitment for the South African (Boer) War although a few of the files were created, and record military service, prior to that date. Most of the original personnel files were destroyed by Defence after being microfilmed in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Those original files which were retained mainly cover officers and some senior non-commissioned officers, but also include some other junior military ranks.

The “Debt of Honour Register” is the Commission’s database listing the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died during the two world wars and the 23,000 cemeteries, memorials and other locations worldwide where they are commemorated. The register can also be searched for details of the 67,000 Commonwealth civilians who died as a result of enemy action in the Second World War.  The register is also searchable by cemetery / memorial and will provide a list of all those interred or remembered there.

“These names came from a file at National Archives in Wellington. Unfortunately there is no description in the file advising on the origin of the information, nor the reason for the list. For some of the names there is further information under the Cause of Death.” Note: some of these names do not appear in CWGC Debt of Honour Register.

There are a variety of histories published based on information sourced from regimental diaries (now held in Archives New Zealand).  These books are often not well indexed (if at all).  Each covers the period in chronologically and can therefore be read in conjunction with an individual’s service record to provide context for the personnel file entries.  

Copies of the original books exist in the Armoury Reference Shelf.  Also research sections of most major public and university libraries will have copies.  Facsimile copies can be purchased by mail order over the internet from Naval & Military Press for a fraction of the cost of an original (now rare) copy.

also Bibliography of New Zealand Military History Royal New Zealand Army

Honours and Awards: London Gazette

The London Gazette is the Official Newspaper of Record for the United Kingdom. It is a cross-governmental resource, bringing together data from numerous official sources and enabling users to cross-reference official information easily.  A number of supplements are published.  The best-known are Honours and Awards supplements (including the Queen’s Birthday and New Year Honours and awards for valour).  These supplements provide details such as citations for honours and awards, including those to NZEF.

also McDonald, W. (2001). Honours and Awards to the NZEF in the Great War 1914-18. Napier, New Zealand: McDonald.

Wayne McDonald’s book provides an alphabetical listing of award winners, including nurses. Notes rank, regiment, citations (with original London Gazette references). Includes Mentioned in Despatches.

Copies can be located in The Armoury Information Centre, Auckland War Memorial Museum as well as research sections of most major public and university libraries.

This  book contains invaluable detail particularly referring to awards and honours and details of rank held by all Officers, Nurses and WO1.  Details included in the book include:
•  Officers career summaries
•  Troopship movement details (departure and arrival dates and places)
•  Lists of award recipients (no citations).

Copies of this publication are difficult to find.  The information relating to each serviceman is also recorded in their individual personal file. Listed by unit are:
•  Killed in Action
•  Died of Wounds
•  Wounded
•  Missing (including POW’s)
•  Died from other Causes.

Includes name, rank, service number, unit and date casualty reported.  Each book is indexed by serviceperson’s name.

  • Photographs. Auckland Weekly News

Auckland War Memorial Museum holds copies of the Auckland Weekly News for the war period containing  photos of the soldiers reported as casualties.  Some photos have been  digitally scanned and are on Cenotaph Database

also Auckland Public Libraries

Auckland City Libraries holds a collection of around 26,000 half plate and whole plate negatives, saved from the attic of a building about to be demolished in Queen Street. It is likely the building housed Schmidt’s studio. About 4,500 of these form the First World War Soldier Portrait series, which have been scanned and are now available in Heritage Images Online.

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