Mark, youngest son of Edwin John Moses (1845-1919) and Elizabeth Ann (1844-1883 nee Goldsworthy) Atwill, was born at Waimate on 31 August 1883. Unfortunately his mother died a few weeks after his birth. Edwin, his father, was born in Devonshire and had served in HM Navy as a boy before coming out to New Zealand in the ship St Lawrence, arriving in Timaru in 1874. He then proceeded to Waimate, where he worked as a saddler, and was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1899. In 1868 Edwin married Elizabeth, daughter of Mr Goldsworthy, of Devonshire, and had a family of three sons and two daughters. After Elizabeth died in 1883, he remarried in 1905 to Mrs Annie Jane Ottley (1867-1909 nee Lack).
When Mark enlisted on 13 January 1916, he was employed as a traveller and was residing at 44 St Asaph Street, Christchurch. Mark had had some previous military experience with the South Canterbury Mounted Rifles. He was described as being single, aged 32, a Wesleyan, 5 foot 7 inches tall, weighing 10 stone 9 pounds, chest measuring 34 ½ to 38 ¼ inches, of fair complexion with blue eyes, brown hair, but his teeth were requiring attention and he had tattoos on both arms. His initial posting was to C Squadron, 12th Reinforcements, Canterbury Mounted Rifles, but he was transferred to the reserve squadron on 4 April 1916, then to the Headquarters Staff on 11 May. He was then discharged after serving 233 days, as medically unfit on 2 September 1916, suffering from chronic rheumatism.
In 1918 he was balloted back into the army under the Military Service Act, entering camp at Awapuni on 14 May 1918. At this time he was a self-employed fancy goods salesman living at 6 Tennyson Street, Wellington. His posting this time was to the Army Medical Corps on Home Service. On 28 June 1918 he was transferred to the NZ Medical Corps at Featherston, then on 30 July to Hanmer, again on 18 February 1919 back to Featherston, and finally on 25 February was granted leave without pay until demobilization. On 11 April he was back in camp at Featherston until 23 April when he was transferred to Hanmer Sanatorium. A little over a month later, on 7 June he was moved back to Featherston Military Hospital until on 19 August he was transferred to the Dunedin Military Hospital. It is not clear if these postings were as a serving soldier or patient.
In the 1919 Electoral Rolls he is listed as residing at 6 Picton Avenue, Wellington South, occupation soldier, 41 Frederick Street Dunedin, NZ Army Medical Corps, and Hanmer Springs, NZ Army Medical Corps. He died in Wellington on 11 August 1921, aged 37, and his name is inscribed on his parent’s headstone in the Waimate Old Cemetery. Two other brothers also served during World War 1: 14049 Trooper Thomas Atwill who served in France with the 5th Reinforcements, NZ Rifle Brigade; and 47300 Private Joseph Henry Atwill who served in France with the Canterbury Infantry Regiment. AWMM