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Harold William Everard Dawson

Portrait of Flight Lieutenant Harold Dawson, Auckland Weekly News, 29 November 1917. Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19171129-40-3 . Image has no known copyright restrictions.

Portrait of Flight Lieutenant Harold Dawson, Auckland Weekly News, 29 November 1917. Sir George Grey …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Harold William Everard AWMM
  • Surname
    Dawson AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    WWI 4/1914 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi / Hapū / Waka / Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    3 December 1895 AWMM GoreSouthland 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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Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on 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
    Killed on Active Service, Cause of Death AWMM

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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    • Harold Dawson was the son of William Taylor Dawson and Grace Marion Dawson, of 207 Hills Rd., St. Albans, Christchurch, New Zealand. AWMM
    • Flight Lieutenant, Royal Flying Corps, Killed in Action, Passchensale, France, 4/10/17 (Age 21)
      Harold Dawson was born on the 3rd December 1895 in Gore, Southland & was the son of William Taylor Dawson and Grace Marion Dawson, of 207 Hills Road, St Albans, Christchurch. (Although at the time of his death it looked like they were living at 10 Warrington St) [Neither original houses remain – 10 Warrington is now subdivided into 4 townhouses & 207 Hills Rd is now the fish & chip shop alongside the Pizza Hut on Hills Rd]
      At the time of enlistment his occupation was listed as an Engineer and after training Sapper Dawson embarked from Wellington to Suez, Egypt on the 1st Apr 1916 as part of the 11th Regiment, New Zealand Field Engineers, Signal Troop, NZ Expeditionary Force.
      On the first of Feb 1917 Dawson was transferred to the School of Military Aeronautics at Denham, North West London to undergo 2 months of intensive training as a Flight Cadet, where he learnt the theory of flight, compass theory, map reading and aerial navigation. Cadets were taught to start and run these engines, as well as cure common faults with them. Practical photography with aerial cameras was taught as an introduction to the use of aircraft as reconnaissance platforms. Both the Vickers and Lewis .303in machine guns were studied, fired, stripped, cleaned and reassembled until the cadets could do it in their sleep. The current types of bombs were studied, including instruction in fusing and defusing them as well as the theories of dropping them accurately. Basic aircraft handling skills like taxiing, starting up and shutting down were all practiced out on the airfield. Use of the wireless and morse code to assist in the artillery and infantry co-operation roles were taught, and finally the use and workings of flight instruments which completed the course. At the end of these packed eight weeks were a series of examinations which would decide if the cadets passed on to the next phase.
      The next phase was flying, with 25 hours of basic handling being taught over three months at one of Training Depot Stations (TDS). Cadets would stay at the same TDS for the second, advanced phase of their training which consisted of 35 hours of cross country and formation flying, reconnaissance and gunnery and at least five hours of experience on advanced, front line aircraft. Finally, the Cadets earned their “Wings” at one of the specialist combat flying schools. These would teach the student air to air combat, bombing, reconnaissance or artillery observation depending on what kind of unit the student was destined for and were of various lengths depending on the subject. A newly minted Second Lieutenant was paid £5-12s-6d per week, with 12 shillings per day flying pay for every day on which they flew. Incidentally the first couple of months that Dawson was at Denham, he would have been in contact with a senior cadet at the school – Australian Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith, who went on to become the first person to fly the Pacific Ocean and the first to fly non-stop from Australia to New Zealand.
      Dawson graduated as a Flying Officer on the 15th of June 1917 and joined 19 Squadron in France on 8th September, flying French designed & built SPAD biplane fighter aircraft. He would have flown several missions over the lines at Passchendale during September of 1917.
      His death is listed as “Killed on Active Service” (one of only 35 listed as such on the Auckland War Memorial Museum’s on-line Cenotaph) which suggested his death was as a result of an accident rather than enemy action. Further digging revealed a casualty report that on the 4th Oct 1917 his plane SPAD B1533 with a 180HS engine (serial number 5700) crashed in the field adjacent to the aerodrome on take-off for a ground patrol and 2nd Lt HW Dawson was killed.
      One package of Harold Dawson’s effects was shipped back to NZ by Cox & Co by registered post on Feb 26th 1918. Public - David - Researcher - 1 November 2018 - info retrieved from using various links on that site, also links from AM site, finally training background from Denham Airfield
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About death

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  • Death
    4 October 1917 AWMM
    Age 21 AWMM
    FranceEurope AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord, France AWMM III. F. 41. AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
01 November 2018DavidChristchurch, NZResearcher
15 August 2017JeniferWairarapaResearcher
29 November 2016AllanRotoruaResearcher

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