25075 Sapper John Paris Hooper – NZ Signallers

John Paris Hooper was born in Pauatahanui  on 27th December 1893 the eldest of five children born to
Alice Sinclair ( nee Boulton) and John Hooper[i].

John (snr) Hooper was farming in the Pauatahanui area in the 1880 – 1890’s.  John Paris and his younger brother Sydney Hooper both attended Pauatahanui School. The family moved out of the district to Shannon, by 1903, as their sister
Lindsay Walker Hooper did not enrol at Pauatahanui School when she turned five.[ii]

John is listed in 1909 as from Levin and passing his Junior Civil Servant exam. By 1916 John was working as a clerk for
Wm Battatyne & Co,  Merchants, Wellington[iii].

On 17th March 1916 John enlisted in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) the single man listing his father
J Hooper of Levin as his next of kin. John also listed as serving with Divisional Signals as a territorial prior to enlistment
and this led to him being assigned as 25075 Sapper Hooper, 14th Reinforcements, Divisional Signals. Following basic training at Trentham Sapper Hooper left with the 14th Reinforcements from Wellington on 26th June 1916 for service on the Western Front[iv].

On arrival in England the 14th Reinforcements were first sent on 23rd August 1916 to Sling Military Camp then three
weeks later on 15th September 1916 to Hitchon Camp and specialist training with the NZ Reserve Signal Company.
It was not until 2nd May 1917 that Sapper Hooper was sent to France where he was attached to the Divisional Signal Company, NZ Engineers.  The Divisional signallers were key to the performance of the NZ Divisional ensure commands
and reports moved to and from the rear to the front lines.

1917 NZ Signal Corp Western Front 
operating morse code and telephone system 

Sapper Hooper on 27th December 1917 was wounded by a
shell splinter to the thigh and was evacuated to the 10th
casualty clearing station (CCS) then to the No 55 General Hospital
where he remained until 19th February 1918 when he was
considered fit enough to be transferred to the No 12
Convalescent Depot where he remained until 20th April 1918
where he was posted back to active service.

Sapper Hooper was then transferred to the 3rd Entrenching
Battalion remaining with the unit until October 1918 when he
fell ill. The Spanish Influenza was rife in France and
Sapper Hooper was admitted to hospital and was not discharged
until the 5th November 1918. The Spanish Influenza also had an impact in New Zealand with Sapper Hooper’s younger sister Lindsay Walker Hooper catching the flu and dying on 23rd November 1918, aged 19 years[v].

The Armistice was signed on 11th November 1918 with Sapper Hooper remaining in France until January 1919 when
he was shipped back to England and repatriations to New Zealand.  Sapper Hooper left England on the Port Melbourne
on 25th January 1919 arriving back in New Zealand on 7th March 1919, he  was given special leave on arrival in
New Zealand  from the 5th April 1919 to 11th April 1919 in order for him to be able to vote at the Special Licensing Poll.
It was the returning soldiers who voted to retain licensing that defeated a very strong prohibition movement. 
Sapper Hooper was discharged on 11th April 1919 ‘ on termination of period of engagement.’

John Paris Hooper returned to civil life and possibly re-employment with Wm Battatyne & Co. John Hooper married
Ethel May Tees in 1920. The couple made their home in Khandallah, Wellington living in the suburb until John’s death
on 14th May 1954.

The Boulton family connections to Pauatahanui  was strong  and may have led to John Hooper being  commemorated on the St Alban’s Church, Pauatahanui, Roll of Honour[vi]. 
Sydney Hooper, cabinet maker of Levin was selected in 1917 Military Ballot but either appealed the selection or was not selected on medical grounds,  there is no military file for him.

Paperspast Online
Pauatahanui – a local history 
Pauatahanui School Class lists
Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files

Divisional Signals running wire 1917 – 18: RSA Collection, Alexander Turnbull
Divisional Signals telephone exchange 1917 – 18: RSA Collection, Alexander Turnbull

[i] NZ BDM
[ii] Pauatahanui School Class lists
[iii] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 25075 Sapper John Paris Hooper
[iv] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 25075 Sapper John Paris Hooper
[v] Deaths, 23rd November 1918, Evening Post
[vi] Deaths, 23rd November 1918, Evening Post
NZ Signallers laying cable 1917