3/1271 Corporal George Harper – Otago Infantry Regiment  

George Harper is listed as born in Montreal, Canada in June 1894[i] and was living in Wellington, New Zealand when he enlisted in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF). The 21 year old was working as a storeman for A G Saunders, Thorndon. As George had no family in New Zealand he was required to have a New Zealand contact point and Mrs Ethel Kaywood, Wadestown, Wellington is listed as a friend to be contacted in the event of George being killed or wounded.

3/1271 Private George Harper entered military camp on 24th September 1915 and following basic training left with the
8th Reinforcements on 13th November 1915. The crowded troops ships were a breeding ground for common diseases of the times and Private Harper was hospitalised with Scarlet Fever when the 8th Reinforcements arrived in Egypt on 18th December 1915.

Private Harper rejoined his unit on 16th April 1916 as the main body of the NZEF was shipped to France and the Western Front. In France Private Harper was assigned to 2nd Field Ambulance serving with this unit until 26th October 1916 when he was detached to the 1st Battalion, Auckland Infantry during the last days of their commitment to the Battle of the Somme. Private Harper remained with the unit for three weeks before rejoined the 2nd Field Ambulance. On 25th January 1917 Private Harper was detached to the 1st Battalion Otago possibly for first aid or stretcher bearer duties serving with the unit for six months returning to the 2nd Field Ambulance on 27th June 1917 just prior to the Battle of Messines. On the 7th November 1917 Private Harper was attached again to the 1st Battalion Otago Infantry this was confirmed as a permanent transfer on 1st May 1918 with as promotion on 8th June 1918 to Corporal Harper, 14th (South Otago)
Company, 1st Battalion, Otago Infantry Regiment.

Corporal Harper remained with the 14th Company following the end of the war returning to England in January 1919
where he was granted leave without pay prior to being repatriated back to New Zealand in March 1919.

In New Zealand on 2nd June 1919, 3/1271 Corporal  George Harper was discharged ‘on termination of his period of engagement.’

George Harper by 1920 was working as an attendant at the Porirua Mental Institute
where he was a member of the Hospital AFC team winners of the Wellington First
Division Championship in 1921 and was still working there when his medals were
dispatched in 1924.

George Harper 1921 

George Harper died on 17th August 1936 from myocardial degeneration associated
with epilepsy and is buried in the Porirua Cemetery[ii].

Porirua City Council Cemetery records note his age at death as 51 and NZ BDM as 57
It is possible that he married there are two records in NZ BDM  

Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files

Porirua  Hospital Association Football Team 1921: Pataka Museum 

[i] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 3/1271 Corporal George Harper
[ii] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 3/1271 Corporal George Harper
Porirua  Hospital  AFC  1921