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11981 Private Thomas Bruce Wallace – Wellington Infantry Regiment

Thomas Bruce Wallace was born in Otaki on the 23rd July 1895 the son of Margaret and Charles Wallace[i].

Thomas initially enlisted when he turned 20 but was rejected for varicose veins. He had these operated on when he enlisted a second time with the 12th Reinforcements. Thomas also was employed as a letter carrier for the New Zealand Post Office so could show he was usually walking. Thomas’s recruitment papers indicate he was living with his mother at Johnsonville and while he was considered ‘fit’ to service there was some concern over his eyesight but it as he ‘shoots
with left eye.’

11981 Private Thomas Bruce Wallace entered the Trentham Military camp on 11th January 1916 with others in the
12th Reinforcements, B Company, Wellington Infantry Regiments. Following basic training Private Wallace left
New Zealand on 1st May 1916.

Private Wallace arrived in Suez on 9th June 1916, on 30th June 1916 he was admitted to the Citadel Military Hospital
with bronchitis. Private Wallace’s military records note that two months later he was to be invalided back to New Zealand still suffering from bronchitis, the medical report noting that Private Wallace was suffering from Tuberculosis (TB).   
 
Private Wallace arrived back in Dunedin on the Paloona one of 35 soldiers being invalided to New Zealand:[ii]

                         There are only two cot cases and most men showed little outward trace of their experience.
                         The cot cases are Driver Brown, of Westport, who is badly wounded in the leg and was
                          mentioned in dispatches, and Pte T.B. Wallace, of Wellington. ‘

Private Wallace was transported from Dunedin to Otaki Sanatorium where, while still under treatment, he was
discharged from the NZEF ‘on account of sickness contracted while on active service.’

Thomas was finally moved to the Cambridge Sanatorium,
where on 20th August 1917, he died of TB. Thomas’s body
was returned to his family in Johnsonville and he is buried
in a family grave in the old Porirua Cemetery.

References
Porirua Cemeteries  Records online
Archway Archives Military Files
Paperspast online
NZ BDM

Photos
Private Thomas Bruce Wallace’s grave: Simon Strombom June 2018

[i] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 11981
[ii] 35 onboard the Paloona, 12th October 1916, Dominion
Thomas Bruce Wallace's grave - Porirua