Also known as
WWI 2/2587 AWMM
Date of birth
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Next of kin on embarkation
Mrs H. Brokenshire (mother), Henderson Point, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
POW liberation details
POW serial number
- Ernest Brokenshire was the son of Elijah Brokenshire, of Te Aroha, Thames, New Zealand
Brothers Albert (7/280) and Ernest (2/2587) both saw active service in WW1. Ernest was KIA whilst Albert returned to New Zealand. A third brother, Norman (64431) did not embark and was charged with desertion after he absented himself without leave at Trentham Camp.( Source: Military Personnel File of Norman Brokenshire) AWMM
- 28 Sep 1915, at the age of 21 years and 3 months Ernest Brokenshire was examined by an Army
Medical Officer. Ernest was then formerly enlisted into the New Zealand Expeditionary Force on 20 October 1915 at Trentham, where he was posted to the NZ Field Artillery with the rank of Gunner (Gnr), 9th Reinforcements. Prior to enlistment Ernest was working as a farmer and living at the residence of Mr Hogan, Te Aroha West.
After a period of training NZ he left with the 9th reinforcements on 8 Jan 1915. After just over a months sea voyage he disembarked at the Suez in Egypt on 14 Feb 1916. During his time in Egypt he would have completed more training and was no doubt there for the Inspection of the Division in the desert by Lieutenant-General Sir Archibald Murray, on the 3rd of April, an account of the inspection... "The 3rd of April
must have been a proud day for Major-General Russell to see the New Zealand Division on parade for the first time, and the severity of the test that many had passed on the cliffs of Gallipoli no doubt strengthened his confidence in his command for the future." [Lt.-Col. C. H. Weston, Three Years with the New Zealanders]. The parade was no doubt held before the troops left for France for 2 days later on the 5th Apr Ernest Embarked for France from Alexandria.
The NZ Division arrived at Marseilles France in April and were moved into the trenches for the first time on 13 May on the Armentieres front. On 21st May, Ernest was sent to the No 1 NZ Field Ambulance where he spent some time in hospital for an unknown reason until his discharge 6 days later when he was posted from Hospital back to 4 Brigade Ammunition Column. On 10 Jun 1916 he was attached to the Medium & Heavy Trench Mortar Batteries of the NZ Divisional Ammunition Column as a Driver.The Somme Campaign began further north around the town of Albert on July 1st 1916. The NZ Division's first action there was on 15 September when they attacked the village of Flers. This was the first time tanks were used in battle. The Division was in the line on the Somme for 23 days. 1,560 were killed and 5,440 were wounded. The Division left the Somme on November 10 and spent the winter on the River Lys.
By the 26th of November 1916 Ernest was a Gunner again and part of a 2" trench Mortar team with Gnr Percy Codlin and Gnr Arthur Board firing at the enemy lines when tragedy struck. 23/730 John Dick. Who was observing the situation made the statement " Gnrs Board, Codlin and Brokenshire formed a gun detachment firing a 2" trench mortar in 5 line at 12:30pm 26th Nov I was observing the fire from the 5.5. line behind the gun. I saw three rounds fired by this gun trench correctly. The fourth I saw burst in the air eight feet above the parapet." An unknown soldier went to their aide "... Gnrs Board & Codlin badly shattered & dead - Gnr Bokenshire lying in the corner groaning. I got a stretcher immediately to get the wounded man away. These three were experienced gunners & I couldn't account for the accident" Thomas Munro stated "I left this gun a few minutes before the accident occurred in order to go to the other guns. No 107 fuses with instantaneous detonator were being used. The bombs could easily clear the parapet at an elevation of 45 degrees. The gun was firing at 63 degrees. There was no hostile shelling at the time of the accident." Ernest was rushed to the No 2 Australian Casualty Clearance Station with multiple Head, back and arm shrapnel wounds. Despite reaching medical assistance his wounds proved to be mortal and Ernest died at 11:45pm on 27 Nov 1916.
An investigation into the incident found that “From the evidence available there is nothing to show the cause of the accident or that there was negligence on the part of anyone. It is clear that the round burst after clearing the gun pit. The court (Board of Enquiry) considers that the accident could only be due to some defect in the ammunition. “ Public - Daryn - Other relative - 30 March 2017 - Military Personnel File
27 November 1916 AWMM
Age 21 AWMM
Date of death
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Trois Arbres Cemetery, Steenwerck, Nord, France AWMM I. C. 15. AWMM
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|30 March 2017||Daryn||Canberra, Australia||Other relative||
|02 September 2015||Online Cenotaph||Auckland, New Zealand||Researcher||
The development of the Online Cenotaph is an ongoing process; updates, new images and records are added weekly. In some cases, records have yet to be confirmed by Museum staff, and there could be mistakes or omissions in the information provided.