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John Spencer Somerville

Reverends G A D Spence, J S Somerville, T E Champion, and R Gourdie, at a 4th New Zealand Armoured Brigade in Maadi, Egypt, during World War 2. Photograph taken by M D Elias, 28 January 1943. Image kindly provided by  Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.  Ref: DA-06819-F

Reverends G A D Spence, J S Somerville, T E Champion, and R Gourdie, at a 4th New Zealand Armoured B …

Copyright undetermined - untraced rights owner AWMM


  • Title
  • Forenames
    John Spencer AWMM
  • Surname
    Somerville AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    WWII 81229 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    7 July 1910 AWMM DunedinOtago AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    WW2 Pre 1942 AWMM Tapanui AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    WW2 Mr. J. Somerville, P.O. Box 694, Dunedin (f) AWMM
  • Relationship status


Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    Military Cross (MC) AWMM
    18 October 1945 AWMM
    The National Archives. Recommendation for Award for Somerville, John Spencer. (Ref. WO 373/14/236). Military Cross. AWMM

Training and Enlistment

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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes

Last known rank

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  • Last rank

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Rev. J. S. Somerville, MC; Wellington; born Dunedin, 7 Jul 1910; Presbyterian minister; chaplain 19 Armd Regt 1942–45. (Source: Sinclair, D.W. 19 Battalion and Armoured Regiment. p.310.)

    'Another Presbyterian, Padre J. S. Somerville, had served with the 19th Armoured Regiment from its training days in Maadi and the men had come to see the strong and courageous character which lay behind his friendly and humble manner. His calm demeanour never left him, and in the citation for his Military Cross special mention is made of his influence under trying circumstances. At the Gaiana River the forward tanks met heavy and unexpected opposition. Padre Somerville was in the thick of things and at once organised the evacuation of the wounded. His coolness and cheerfulness played an important part in getting them to safety, but his bearing did more than that, for at a most critical moment it put fresh spirit into all the troops fighting in the vicinity.' (Source: Waters, Sydney D.; Ross, Squadron Leader J. M. S.; Underhill, Rev. M. L.; Winhall, Rev. N. E. Chaplains. p. 106.) AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

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  • External links
  • Documents
    • Sinclair, D. (1954). 19 Battalion and Armoured Regiment. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
      pp.310, 339, 388, 417, 441, 479, 489, 490, 502, 519, 522, 530. AWMM
    • Rev. M. L. Underhill ... [et al.] (1950). New Zealand chaplains in the Second World War. Dept. of Internal Affairs, War History Branch, Wellington, N.Z. AWMM
      p.106. AWMM
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1945). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 9 (Embarkations from 1st July, 1942 to 31st December, 1942). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      p.372 AWMM

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