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Harry Herbert Ayres



  • Title
  • Forenames
    Harry Herbert AWMM
  • Surname
    Ayres AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    587435 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    1912 AWMM ChristchurchCanterbury AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    Unknown AWMM Hotel, Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    Mrs C.M. Ayres (wife), Hotel, Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Unknown AWMM Married AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    587435 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
    WW2 Alpine guide AWMM
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment


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  • Embarkation details
    WW2 Private AWMM

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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  • Member of the New Zealand Alpine Club: "Harry Ayres was born in Christchurch in 1912. A free spirit from an early age, he loved roaming the Port Hills near his home. He attained manhood during the grim years of the depression, yet found employment in Christchurch. But the restrictions of ordered work as a proof reader left his restless spirit, enterprising nature, huge capacity for work, and physical energy totally unchallenged.

    In 1928 he set off to seek work and adventure on the West Coast, and found it in the first instance on a farm in Inangahua. But it was relief work in 1931 on the Buller railway, followed by work constructing the then remote road between Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier, that brought Harry into South Westland.

    Life in the isolated village of Fox Glacier teemed with possibilities for work and adventure, and Harry was quickly immersed in both. The Sullivans employed him on their farm, finding him to be a hard worker, a competent horseman, and an excellent dog handler. Though light of weight, he was very quick of movement and proved a valuable addition to the local football team. At weekends deep decisions were reached with ever-hopeful punters on who was who on the rack track. And he was a relentless pursuer of gold!

    These two - gold and racehorses - acted as a panacea to Harry's deeper moods, and he approached both with an optimism that was to last throughout his life.

    In 1980, Harry was awarded an OBE for services to mountaineering.

    Right up to the time of his death, Harry was by no means a forgotten man. He was constantly sought by his many friends for all manner of events and for his vast mountaineering knowledge. He seemed mildly surprised by this, but nobody else was." (from the New Zealand Alpine Jounral, 1988) AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    1987 AWMM
  • 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

Roll of Honour

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  • External links
  • References
    • New Zealand Alpine journal AWMM
      The New Zealand Alpine Journal, 1988 (includes photograph) AWMM
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1945). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 12 (Embarkations from 1st July, 1943 to 31st December, 1943). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      p.9 AWMM

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