80846 Corporal Richard (Dick) Sievers – 50th Reinforcements NZFA

The Sievers family originated in what now is Leipzig, Saxony, Germany. In the 1840 Leipzig was within the Kingdom of Prussia and while the Napoleonic Wars had ended in 1815 there were many factors effecting Germany resulting in a
large scale movement of Germans / Prussians to other lands[i]. Two Sievers brothers arrived in New Zealand in the
1850’s and settled in the Wellington / Makara areas[ii].

Richard Sievers was second generation New Zealand born Sievers’ the son of Mary Ellen (nee Kelly) and William Louis Sievers. Richard was born in Wellington on 1st January 1883 the 9th child in the family of fifteen which included
5 females and 10 males[iii].

Richard was educated at the Marist Brothers, Thorndon before going on to study to be an accountant. On
2nd March 1908 Richard Sievers married Mary Anne Josephine McKeown  and the couple moved to Fairview Terrace.

On 27th February 1918 Richard wrote to the Evening Post[iv]:

I see that my brother’s name Arthur Sievers, 27 Glenbervie Terrace , is posted along with others,
as being one whom military authorities have been unable to find. For the benefit of the authorities
in charge of the Wellington city area who have apparently allowed someone to bungle, and for the
purpose of clearing my brother ( a married man with two children) from any suspicion of neglecting
his military duties, might I mention that he enlisted last June, went into camp last September, and is
in the 37th N.Z.F.A. at Featherston. He was called in the ballot by error and the Government Statistician
caused a correction to be published at that time.

Richard was subject to an article in the Evening Post:[v]

The choir of the Sacred Heart Church, Hill-Street, has sustained a heavy loss by the resignation
of Miss Putnam, organist, who is retiring for health reasons, and the call to arms of Mr. R Sievers,
who is about to go into camp. After Mass yesterday the members of the choir, together with
representatives of the Thorndon branch of the New Zealand Catholic Federation and the School
Committee, of which Mr Sievers has been a valued member for several years, assembled at the
Presbytery, and the Rev. Father Smyth, S.M., Adm., on their behalf, presented Miss Putnam and
Mr Sievers with farewell marks of esteem, at the same time referring in terms of high praise to
the valuable work both have done in the interests of the Church and the parish.

On 22nd May 1918 Richard Sievers entered military camp as a member of E Company 41st Reinforcements[vi].
80846 Private Sievers’ military records note his wife Mrs Mary Josephine Sievers as his next of kin. Private Sievers
had been working as an accountant for the Wellington tailoring firm of D Milligan. Private Sievers also had served for
seven years in D (Wellington ) Battery and this may have resulted in him being transferred as  Gunner Sievers with the
42nd Reinforcements, NZ Field Artillery. On 22nd June 1918 Gunner Sievers was transferred to the 50th Reinforcements and then promoted to Corporal Sievers. On 11th November 1918 the Armistice was signed and the New Zealand Army started the process of demobilising men in New Zealand and repatriating those overseas. It likely that Corporal Sievers accountancy skills were utilised as he was transferred on 26th November 1918 to the Demobilisation Staff at the
Quarter Masters store in Wellington. Corporal Sievers was finally discharged on 17th December 1918.

Richard Sievers returned to civilian life and with his brothers Arthur and
George purchase land in Porirua. Richard’s brothers  Arthur and family
moved out in the early 1920’s with George and then Richard following him.
The Sievers Brothers farmed in what would become Cannons Creek.

Mary Anne Josephine Sievers c1919 

Arthur and George later left farming but Richard continued with the farm
through to the late 1940’s when the New Zealand Government began the
compulsory purchase of farms for state houses.

Richard and Mary Sievers did not have a family but did have a large
extended family of nieces and nephews in Porirua. The couples home was
build on land where the present Holy Family Catholic Church,
Cannons Creek is now located[vii].

Richard (Dick) Sievers died on 23rd September 1952 and his buried in
Mary Anne Josephine Sievers died in 1938

The Sievers name is remembered with Sievers Grove, Porirua East which
is located, in part, on land that was the Sievers Farm.

Four of Dick’s brothers were in the NZ Army:–
65495 Gunner Arthur Sievers NZFA
75668 Private Frederick Bernard Sievers – discharged C2
50236 Gunner George Sievers NZFA
67262 Rifleman James (Jim) Sievers NZ Rifle Brigade

Oral history Brown / Sievers family
Pataka historic photos
Archway Archives New Zealand Military files
Archway Archives New Zealand Works and Development (1950)
Paperspast Online

Cannons Creek Pataka Museum
Mary Anne Josephine Sievers and possibly Richard : Pataka Museum P.1.212

[i] Brown / Sievers family genealogy – unpublished
[ii] Brown / Sievers family genealogy – unpublished
[iii] NZ BDM
[iv] Letters to the Editor, 27th February 1918, Evening Post
[v] Personal Matters, 20th May 1918, Evening Post
[vi] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 80846 Corporal Richard Sievers
[vii] Pataka Museum biography on Mary Josephine Sievers photo
[viii] NZ BDM  

Porirua developing c1954 (looking up to Cannons Creek