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William Read Bloomfield

Headstone, Purewa Cemetery, Meadowbank, Auckland (photo J. Halpin 2011) - This image may be subject to copyright

Headstone, Purewa Cemetery, Meadowbank, Auckland (photo J. Halpin 2011) - This image may be subject …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    William Read AWMM
  • Surname
    Bloomfield AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    9 September 1861 AWMM MatawheroGisborne AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
  • Relationship status


Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment


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  • Embarkation details

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
    Accidental Death, Cause of Death AWMM
    Drowned on the Empress of Ireland, St Lawrence River, Canada AWMM

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Husband of Isabella Louisa, father of Hilda Isabella.

    Drowned on the Empress of Ireland when she sunk following a collision in the St Lawrence river in Canada.

    Transcript of the headstone of the Bloomfield family in Purewa Cemetery: In memory of William Read Bloomfield Lieut. Colonel 3rd. (Auckland) Mounted Rifles aged 52. His wife Isabella Louisa aged 46. And daughter Hilda Isabella aged 23. Who lost their lives in the Empress of Ireland Disaster in the St. Lawrence River Canada, 29th. May 1914. They were lovely and pleasant in their lives and in their death they were not divided.

    A transcript of the memorial plaque in St. Mark Church, Remuera, Auckland. In Memory of Lieut Colonel William Read Bloomfield Born at Matawhero Poverty Bay N.Z. 9th September 1861. Officer commanding 3rd. Auckland Mounted Rifles from March 17th. 1911 until his death in the Empress of Ireland Disaster in the St. Lawrence River, Canada on 29th. May 1914. Erected by the 3rd. (Auckland) Mounted rifle Regiment as a mark of the high esteem and respect which his soldierly qualities and devotion to duty inspired in all ranks. 9th. May 1915.


    William Read Bloomfield 1861-1914

    “Thrown overboard in Nightclothes” was the headline in the Poverty Bay Herald on 30 May 1914. Lt Colonel Bloomfield, his wife Isabella and only child Hilda had left Auckland for Vancouver in March bound for a year long trip to the “Old Country.” They were aboard the “Empress of Ireland” when it was hit by another ship in the St Lawrence Seaway. It was a foggy night and the ship was cut in half with the loss of 1032 people. Their bodies were eventually recovered and identified and returned to Auckland for burial. A service was held at St Mary’s Cathedral in Parnell in July and a plaque was erected in the church.

    Born at Matawhero in Poverty Bay on 9 September 1861, William trained in the law and practised as a solicitor in Auckland for many years. The family lived in Owens Road and he was on the Mt Eden Road Board and the Auckland Drainage Board. In his early days he was involved with the Seddon Light Horse Mounted Rifles Volunteers which had been started in June 1900 with the approval of the Premier R J Seddon. It was based around the Waitemata and Lake Takapuna areas. He had always been involved with the Territorials and was active with the Auckland Mounted Rifles serving as Colonel.

    After his death his estate was found to be worth £50,517 and there were some legal challenges to overcome. The will had been written in April 1889 and all proceeds were to go to wife Isabella. But who died first? At the end of 1914, three of William’s brothers George Frederick Read Bloomfield aged 49, Henry Herbert Read Bloomfield aged 47 and Ernest Albert Reginald Read Bloomfield aged 45 gave permission for brother John Lucas Read Bloomfield to administer the will. He died in 1928 leaving part of his brother’s the estate still not fully administered. So his nephew Trevor Read Bloomfield, a run holder of Auckland was appointed to finalise the transactions. Unfortunately he did not complete the task before his death. So in 1953 the General Manager of the Guardian Trust stated that the assets were 1070 shares in Gisborne Sheep Farmers Frozen Meat and Mercantile Co Ltd plus cash in 2 bank accounts and no debts. The total value was under £400. This amount was divided into 80ths and distributed to 7 nieces and nephews and some great nieces and nephews who lived in NZ and England.

    It is quite incredible that a trained solicitor leaving for 12 months overseas did not update his will and it took 39 years to finalise the administration.

    Above biography was transcribed, researched and written by Margaret Nash of Panmure Branch of NZSG
    _____________________________ AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    29 May 1914 AWMM
    Age 52 AWMM
    CanadaNorth America AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Purewa Cemetery and Crematorium, Meadowbank, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM Block D Row 28 Plot 055 AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name
    Memorial plaque, St Mark's Anglican Church, 95 Remuera Road, Remuera, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM

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