25/226 Regimental Sergeant Major John (Jack) Porteous MSM – New Zealand Rifle Brigade

John (Jack) Porteous was born in Christchurch on 30th December 1893[i]  the son of Alice and John Porteous. As the
eldest son he had his father’s given name but was known as Jack.[ii]

The family moved to Wellington prior to 1910 and lived in ‘Snug Harbour, ’Woodland Street, Johnsonville. Jack is noted at age 17 as playing in goal for a team of Third Division Association Football (Soccer) players to play against the Wednesday Representatives.[iii] Jack represented Wellington in 1913 playing in a selected Third Division team.

Jack was serving his compulsory military training with the 5th (Wellington) Regiment at the outbreak of World War One.
Jack enlisted on 12th August 1914 and sailed on 15th August 1914 as part of the Samoa Expeditionary Force.
1/466 Private Jack Porteous, B Company, 5th (Wellington) Regiment served seven months in Samoa. The biggest threats
to the Samoa Expeditionary Force were tropical sickness and boredom. Private Porteous returned to New Zealand and
was discharged ‘at his own request’[iv]  from the army on 22nd April 1915.

Jack at this stage transferred from the Johnsonville Association Football club and began playing for the Porirua Mental Hospital team. The Hospital team was playing in the first division and had been one of the top Wellington teams prior to the war. In a report on the Charity Cup played in 1915 the Evening Post reported.[v]

                ‘The game between Thistle and Hospital was throughout of an interesting
                description although it must be stated that neither team displayed first-
                class form Hospital particularly disappointed their supporters  . . . . . .
                but spectators were regaled to some splendid goal keeping by Belhamie
                (Thistle). Porteous (Hospital) was also in good form between the posts. . ‘

It was shortly after the end of the season that Jack again enlisted in the army. On the 10th September 1915 he entered camp as 25/226 Rifleman John Porteous, B Company, 3rd Battalion, New Zealand Rifle Brigade (NZRB).[vi]  Rifleman Porteous was promoted to Lance Corporal in December 1915 and Corporal prior to sailing for England in February 1916.
Corporal Porteous and other members of the 3rd Battalion, NZRB were disembarked at Suez and then sent directly to France. Corporal Porteous was temporarily promoted to Lance Sergeant in France but in August 1916 was reduced to
the ranks for ‘drunkenness while on duty.

On the 15th September 1916 the New Zealand Division was committed to the Battle of the Somme. Private Porteous was wounded on the first day gunshot wound (GSW) back and evacuated by the 2nd NZ Field Ambulance to the 45th Casualty Clearing Station (CCS) then to the St John’s Hospital where he was stabilised before being shipped on the Hospital Ship Maheno to England. On 20th September 1916 Private Porteous was admitted to the No1 NZ General Hospital, Brockenhurst.

Private Porteous remained at Brockenhurst for two weeks before being transferred to the Convalescent  Hospital and
then to the Reserve Battalion of the NZRB. Private Porteous had a number of minor breeches of military discipline but
was promoted up through the ranks. Corporal Porteous attended instructor courses and 18th July 1917 was appointed
to Temporary Company Sergeant Major. This was amended to CSM Porteous on 4th April 1918 when he was attached to the NZEF Head Quarters in England. CSM Porteous was finally appointed to Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) on
6th May 1918.

RSM Porteous remained with the NZEF HQ (UK) through to the 7th August 1918 when he underwent a medical
examination and was declared unfit for Active Service on the account of goitre. RMS Porteous continued to serve at the NZEF HQ through to October 1918 when he was admitted to hospital with goitre remaining in hospital until
25th January 1919 when he  was repatriated back to New Zealand.

In the extract of the 6th Supplement to the London Gazette dated 21st February 1919:[vii]

His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the Meritorious Service Medal
to the undermentioned  Warrent Officer, Non-commissioned Officers and Men in recognition of valuable services rendered in connection with the War.

25/226 R.M.S.,  J Porteous  NZ Rifle Brigade.

RSM Porteous arrived in New Zealand on 3rd March 1919 and was granted leave and while on leave the award of the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) was followed on 19th March 1919 with another gazetted notice:

The names on the undermentioned have been brought to the notice of the Secretary of State of War for valuable services rendered with the War, and when applicable, an entry will be made in the Record of Service of Officers and other ranks:

Porteous,  25/226   R.S.M.   J.  3rd Bn NZ Rifle Brigade

Jack was discharged from the NZEF on the 28th April 1919 ‘as no longer physically fit for war service (goitre)’.

Jack went to work as an attendant at the Porirua Mental Hospital, his MSM, British War and Victory Medals were sent to
him at the hospital in 1921.

Jack also returned to keep goal for the Porirua Mental Hospital Association
Football team and represented the Hospital as a Wellington representative
in 1920. Jack was also a member of the team that in 1921 won the
Wellington 1st First Division Championship. Jack continued to play in
Hospital teams through to 1926[viii].

Jack married Eileen Catherine Saunders in 1925.[ix] The couple had at least
one child, John Timothy Porteous born in 1926.

By 1928 Jack and Eileen Porteous were living in Wellington where Jack is
listed as a Harbour Board Employee.

John (Jack) Porteous died in 1953[x].

Snug Harbour was the residence named by Captain William Darling Dawson. Captain Dawson a sea captain died in 1900 but the house retained the name. It was located in Woodland Road, Johnsonville.

Paperspast Online
Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files   
Mental about Wests: 100 years of fame, Fortune, Drama Despair

Porirua Hospital Team 1921 – Pataka

[i] NZ BDM
[ii] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 1/466 Private Jack Porteous (Samoa Expeditionary Force)
[iii] Saturday’s Matches, 6th October 1911, Dominion
[iv] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 1/466 Private Jack Porteous
[v] End of the Season –Charity Cup Final, 20th August 1915, Evening Post
[vi] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 25/226 Regimental Sergeant Major John Porteous
[vii] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files:25/226 Regimental Sergeant Major John Porteous
[viii] Mental about Wests
[ix] NZ BDM
[x] NZ BDM
1921 Porirua Hospital Team