14607 Rifleman Edward Kenneth (Ken) Gardner – NZ Rifle Brigade

Edward Kenneth (Ken) James was born in Pauatahanui on  22nd April 1894  the youngest  son of Elizabeth Ann (nee Boulton) and James Gardner.[i] James had two older sisters and two older  brothers.
In the 1890 there were a number of Gardner’s livings in the Pauatahanui area with the ‘Gardner Brothers’ operating a saw mill in the area in the 1890’s.[ii] On the Boulton side of the family James’ grandfather had run one of the first hotels in Pauatahanui up to 1877 and then had retired to become a full time sheep farmer.[iii]
The is no direct information on what James Gardner worked at but tragedy would hit the family when Ken was five with
the early death, at 44 years old, of James Gardner. James Gardner was buried at the Pauatahanui Cemetery.
Elizabeth Anne and her five children left Pauatahanui at some stage after the death of her husband. All of Ken’s  his
siblings went to Pauatahanui School with Ken the last to enrolling in 1899 but he does  not appear in the 1908 photo of school children at Pauatahanui School.[iv]

Gardners  ( Shannon pre 1916 )

L to Right
James (Jim )
Mrs Elizabeth
Edward Kenneth (Ken)
Alice Margaret 

Edward Kenneth (Ken) Gardner was 21 year
old single man working as a Clerk in the
Shannon Post and Telegraph Department
when, on 7th March 1916, he enlisted. Ken
entered Trentham Camp, on 6th March 1916
as 14607 Private Gardner and after training
left New Zealand, on 26th June 1916, in
B Company, 14th Reinforcements, Wellington Infantry. It is probable that Private Gardner was informed while at sea that his older brother James (Jim) Gardner had died of wounds on 9th July 1916 in the Armentieres Sector of the Western Front.

On arrival in England Private Gardner was posted as Rifleman in the NZ Rifle Brigade Reserve Battalion before being sent, on the 19th August 1916, to France.

In France Rifleman Garner was posted, on 4th September 1916 to B Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Brigade of the NZRB.
Also in this Company was 20166 Rifleman Norman Jones who had also attended Pauatahanui School. While with this Company, Rifleman Gardner, as did his brother, was sent to Lewis Gunner training.[v]

Lewis Gun training at Sling.

On the 7th June 1917 a carefully planned assault began with
the explosion of mines under the German lines. The 2nd and 3rd Rifle Brigades then left their trenches and advanced on Messines following behind a sequence of creeping barrage.
The casualties were light with German artillery being disrupted and the first day objectives were taken. As the Germans recovered from the attack they proceeded to shell the newly captured areas in Messines and at this stage Rifleman Gardner was wounded.

The report was that on the 7th June 1917 he was hit on the left side of his chest with shrapnel and was evacuated to the rear and then England. Also reported to be wounded was his ex-schoolmate 20166 Rifleman Norman Jones.

Rifleman Gardner was reported in July 1917 as seriously ill but he slowly improved but it  was quickly assessed he had wounds that would prevent him from returning to active service. On 7th July 1917 he was assessed as unfit and
after convalescence left, on 16th November 1917, from Liverpool for New Zealand.

At sea aboard the ‘Ruahine’  Rifleman Gardner, on 17th December 1917, was again assessed and it was determined he
was permanently unfit for service and would require three months leave before he would be able to take up Civilian employment.

On 3rd February 1918 Rifleman Gardner was discharged from the NZEF ‘as being no longer physically fit for war service
on account of wounds received in Action.’ Ken Gardner returned to Shannon.

Elizabeth Ann Garner (nee Boulton) died in 1921 and is buried in the Pauatahanui Public Cemetery.

Edward Kenneth (Ken) Gardner died, on 16th November 1953, at Shannon.

Both Ken and his brother Jim Gardner are commemorated on the Pauatahanui Roll of Honour held at the St Alburn's Church, Pauatahanui.

20166 Rifleman Norman Keith Jones initially reported wounded was infact killed in action on the 7th June 1917 and is commemorated on Pauatahanui's War Memorial. 

Helen Reilly (2013) Pauatahanui – a local history. Pauatahanui Residents Association
Archway Archives New Zealand-Military records:  17/64 Corporal James Gardner
Archway Archives New Zealand- Military records: 14607 Rifleman Edward Kenneth Gardner

Gardner Family: Kete Horowhenua – Adopt an Anzac
Gardner family gave – Pauatahanui Public Cemetery: Allan Dodson
Otago Battalion receiving Lewis gun training at Sling Camp : RSA Collection

[i]    Archway Archives New Zealand – Military records: 14607 Rifleman Edward Kenneth Gardner 
[ii]  Gardner Brothers: Pauatahanui-a local history: page 94
[iii]  Boulton family: Pauatahanui-a local history: page 231
[iv] 1908 Pauatahanui School: Pataka
[v]  Archway Archives New Zealand – Military records: 14607 Rifleman Edward Kenneth Gardner 

Lewis Gun training Sling Camp