Harry Herbert AWMM
Also known as
Date of birth
Place of birth
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
POW liberation details
POW serial number
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
Date of death
Age at death
Place of death
Cause of death
Roll of Honour
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Harry Herbert Ayres
- 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
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