11/632 Sergeant John Henry Gardner – Wellington Mounted Rifles

John Henry Gardner was born on the 17th September 1890 at Pahautanui[i] the third of seven children of Flora (nee London) and William Gardner.

The Gardner family were farming in 1886 in Upper Hutt when their first child James William Harold Gardner was born.[ii]
It is possible that Flora who was from a long established Pauatahanui / Paremata family returned to Pauatahanui for the birth of John Henry as the family moved across to Judgeford, Pauatahanui in 1893 / 1894 as the two eldest children
William and his sister Gertrude Elizabeth Gardner (1888) were enrolled at Judgeford School in 1894.[iii] John Henry,
Marjory Eleanor and Francis Noel Gardner also attend the school but the family had left the district by 1901 / 1902 as Bertha Isabel Gardner was not enrolled at the school.

The Gardner family moved to Riverlea, Wanganui and this is the address the John Henry Gardner gave when he enlisted
on the 21st August 1914 in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. Enlisted as 11/632 Trooper Gardner, Wellington Mounted Rifles,  the military files note that he was a single man working on the farm of D Malone, Riverlea, Wanganui[iv].

11/632 Trooper Gardner, Queen Alexandra’s 2nd (Wellington West Coast) Mounted
Rifles left New Zealand on the 22nd October 1914 for Egypt. The Wellington
Mounted Rifles were used in the early stages of the campaign in the Middle East
to defend the Suez Canal from attacks by the Ottoman forces in the Sinai Desert.
However as casualties mounted in the Dardanelles the decision was made to use 
elements of the WMR as infantry. The WMR left for ANZAC Cove on the 9th May 1915
and were involved in the heavy fighting on the Peninsular. On the 8th August 1915
the WMR was one of the New Zealand units involved in the fighting for Chunuk Bair.
Trooper Gardner was wounded with ‘bomb wound to right eye’ on the 9th August
1915 and admitted to the 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station and then
evacuated to Murdos.

11/632 Trooper John Henry Gardner  c1914 

While at Murdos Trooper Gardner was appointed as Acting Corporal Gardner on the
8th October 1915, returning to Anzac Cove on the 9th November 1915 and remained
on the Peninsular until the Allied Forces were evacuated in December 1915.
A / Corporal Gardner was landed at Alexandria, Egypt on Christmas Day 1915.

A/ Corporal Gardner was then posted to the NZ Mounted Rifles Training Battalion at Zeitoun and was promoted to
Corporal Gardner on the 16th March 1916. There was a period of two months in hospital with a viral disease before he rejoined the WMR at Tel el Kebir in June 1916. Corporal Gardner was in Bir et Maler when he was promoted to A/Sergeant on the anniversary, 9th August 1916 of him being wounded at Gallipoli. The WMR had moved to Bir Mosefig by October 1916 where A/Sergeant Gardner was promoted to Sergeant Gardner. In February 1917 Sergeant Gardner was a El Arish, Palestine when he was admitted to hospital. Sergeant Gardner’s military file is then has a  period of  four month where he was in and out of hospital eventually being admitted on the 7th June 1917 with a tumour on the right arm.

In the 27th General Hospital, Cairo on the 23rd July 1917 Sergeant Gardner’s right arm was amputated at the shoulder due to carcinoma of the right ulna. Sergeant Gardner was given time to recover then on the 22nd August 1917 was evacuated
to the 2nd London General Hospital, England for further treatment.

Sergeant Gardner was well enough by the 9th October 1917 to be given three weeks furlough and then spent time in the NZ Convalescent hospital before being medically assessed on the 14th November 1917 where the process of returning him the New Zealand was started.

Sergeant Gardner left England on the NZ Hospital ship Maheno arriving in New Zealand in February 1918 and on the 2nd March 1918 was discharged from the
NZEF as ‘ no longer physically fit for war service.’

John Henry Gardner returned to his family at Riverlea but in November 1918 was admitted to the Hawera Hospital where he died on the 26th November 1918. John Henry Gardner’s military file notes that he died of sickness and as he is included in the New Zealand Roll of Honour, section 2, the cause of death was the result of an illness contracted while on active service.

John Henry Garner is buried in the Hawera Cemetery

Pahautanui is the historic spelling of Pauatahanui. 
See also XXX and YYY Gardner possibly cousins

Paperspast Online
Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files
Judgeford School Class lists 1879 – 1935

Trooper J H Gardner: Otago Witness 1915
Grave John Henry Gardner: NZ War Graves Project
ANZAC Cove 1915: Private Postc ard 

[i] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 11/632 Sergeant John Henry Gardner
[ii] Gardner Family Website
[iii] Judgeford School class lists
[iv] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 11/632 Sergeant John Henry Gardner
ANZAC Cove - April 1915