2/85 & 2/2303 Gunner Victor John Wise - NZ Field Artillery 

Victor John Wise was the born in Wellington on 21st June 1894 the second of three sons of Alice Mary (nee Walters) and Frank William Wise, There was also a younger sister Dorothy Gilbert, born in 1898,  but is listed as having the surname McKenzie.[i]

Frank William Wise was a Wellington Pool Hall owner in 1903 when he was made bankrupt. It was not a good year for him as Alice left with the children to live in the Paremata / Plimmerton area.

In 1904 Victor, his younger brother, Dudley Gilbert (1895) and sister Dorothy Hinemoa all are listed in the Plimmerton school roll. 

In 1908 Alice and Frank’s separation was formalised with a divorce with Alice subsequently taking the surname of
McKenzie.[ii]  Victor John Wise was recommended for a scholarship, awarded by the Wellington Board of Education, as
he had come second in the 1908 examination. Victor is listed as being at Plimmerton School, which in 1908 was a sole teacher school. In 1911 Victor’s sister, Dorothy, representing Plimmerton School, also won a Board Scholarship.

In August 1914, on the outbreak of war, Victor was living in Petone with his mother and working as a Clerk with the Australian Mutal Protection (AMP) society. As a 20 year old single man he was completing his compulsory training with
D Battery (Wellington) Field Artillery and enlisted on the 8th August 1914 as 2/83 Gunner Wise in the Samoa Advanced Party. The invasion of German Samoa went without a hitch and the force then settled down to the boredom of an occupation force. Gunner Wise returned to New Zealand on 13th April 1915 and was discharged, at his request, from the army.

Victor returned to work as a clerk with the AMP Society but four months later re-enlisted in the New Zealand Field Artillery. Now 2/2303 Gunner Wise entered camp on 23rd August 1915 and sailed for Egypt on the 9th October 1915 with the 7th Reinforcements arriving in Egypt in November 1915 as the Gallipoli campaign was coming to an end. Gunner Wise remained in Egypt until April 1916 when he along with the majority of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force was shipped
to France and the Western Front.

In France Gunner Wise was attached to the 9th Battery, 2nd Brigade of the New Zealand Division and was with the battery in the Battle of Flers-Courcelette.  The tasks of the Divisional artillery on the 15th September 1916 was to lay down a creeping artillery barrage for the advancing infantry regiments and then supporting and counter battery fire as the objectives were taken including the village of Flers. Another attack on the 18th September 1916 was delayed because of poor weather conditions and the New Zealand Division look to consolidate gains but was subjected infantry counter
attacks and artillery fire. On the 18th September 1916 the 9th battery was hit by German shell fire and Gunner Wise was wounded by shrapnel and another from the battery  2/2819 Gunner John (Jack) William Fisher being killed.

Insert photo of Gunner Fisher

Gunner Wise was evacuated by the 7th Field Ambulance to the 45th Casualty Clearing Station (CCS) before, on 21st September 1916, being sent to the No4 General Hospital for more extensive treatment. On the 27th September 1916 Gunner Wise was evacuated to England to the 3rd Southern General, Oxford where he remained for two months. In December 1916 Gunner Wise was transferred to the NZ Convalescent Hospital at Hornechurch. Gunner Wise remained
at Hornechurch until April 1917 when he was discharge to the NZ Field Artillery depot at Aldershot. In September 1917,
a year after being wounded, Gunner Wise was declared unfit for active service and arrangements were set to return him
to New Zealand.

In New Zealand on 26th March 1918 Gunner Wise was discharged as ‘no longer physically fit for active service on account
of wounds received in action.’[iii]
Victor Wise returned to work in the AMP Society, a company he would remain with until he retired. He married
Grace Evelyn Chapman in 1925/7046 and following retirement moved to Christchurch where he died in 1974.


NZ Samoa Expeditionary force landing in Samoa 1915