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William Joseph Cunningham

Family portrait, William Joseph Cunningham (11422) standing at the rear; photographed outside, children and baby on a woman's knee; 2 men in civilian clothes The Family photograph was taken at Tauriko on the family farm. The names of those and their relationship to William is as follows: Seated on Left, Marea (Ridder) Cunningham, William's sister in law. Seated on Right is John Thomas (Jack) Cunningham, William's brother. Standing at rear William Joseph Cunningham (11422) in uniform and Herbert Walton (Herbert married Marea's sister, Sophie) On Marea's Knee is her daughter Winifred Cunningham, and seated on the ground in front wearing the hat is my Lena Alice Cunningham (Marea's oldest child). The young boy seated in front is Ken Walton (son of Herbert and Sophia). - No known copyright restrictions

Family portrait, William Joseph Cunningham (11422) standing at the rear; photographed outside, child …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    William Joseph AWMM
  • Surname
    Cunningham AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    WWI 11422 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi / Hapū / Waka / Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    25 April 1882 AWMM MossvaleNew South Wales AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    Thomas Cunningham (father), Ninth Avenue, Tauranga, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Pre 1 May 1916 AWMM Single AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    WWI 11422 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
    WW1 8 January 1916 AWMM Farmer/Civilian AWMM
    TrenthamUpper Hutt AWMM
  • 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 in Action, Cause of Death AWMM

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Son of Mr Thomas Cunningham and Alice Cunningham (nee Costello) of Tauranga. Brother of John Thomas; Stanley and Edward.

    Both William and his brother Jack were born in Australia, but Jack always had a yearning to travel to America to seek his fortune. So in 1903 the brothers, set sail from Australia on board the SS Sonoma. However life aboard ship did not agree with William and he became terribly seasick. The brother's decided to disembark at the next port of call and so on the 9th of February they arrived in Auckland. The brothers decided to stay and were soon working on the land. Their Parents and also emigrated to New Zealand not long after.

    Served overseas from 1st May 1916 till 12 October 1917. William was a stretcher bearer with the New Zealand Medical Corps. He had been wounded in a previous engagement and had spent come time recovering in England in early 1917 before being sent back to the front.

    Letter one transcribed: No.2 N.Z General Hospital. Walton on Thames

    London. England. Feb 23rd 1917. Dear Jack and Mary, I received cable for $10 very promptly about a week after I cabled, Thank you very much for acting so swift, I am as happy as a King now that I have got some brass. I am sending you a bit of a form filled in you will be probably able to cash it but if you can’t I’ll make it right in the sweet bye & bye when beautiful peace is again hovering over the land. I have made it out for $11 as it would cost you something to spend it. Let me know if you get this form cashed all right, as I may want some more cabled next time I get into hospital and if I do I will just cable the one word “money” which will mean send a tenner to bank of Australia, London. My wound is not right yet. I was sent back to Hospital again last Friday and have been under another operation, that’s three I’ve had now. I am getting quite used to them now. I rather like them. I won’t be doing any more scrapping for a few months yet. Lucky devil ain’t I ? I am afraid things will be looking pretty blue over here before she is all over. Potatoes and Sugar and meat and butter are very scarce now these U-boats seem to be making their presence felt somewhat. I am at a place called Walton on Thames now, which is a very nice place about 16 miles south east of London. I just got up today for the first time after my operation. We get 3 hours leave every day to walk about the town. I wish I was back farming again the old military life is no fun. The weather is getting warmer lately, I think the snow is about done. How is your dear little Mary getting on, I think you were right whyen you said you were going to be the Father of a great Nation, I guess you will have to do my share and your own too, although Ned seems to be making the pace a bit hot. I suppose he will make up for Stan’s deficiencies. A felloe could get married here very easily if he wanted to, there is a great pre-ponderance of girls but some how I have no mind for it, as Old Bill Fitzgerald used to say. I receive quite a continuous flow of correspondence from Clara Malone no very loving passages in them certainly but still they give one the impression that all may yet be well. How is poor old Dad getting on ? I suppose he is showing his patriotism by producing all the foodstuffs he can, while this great war of nations is on. I don’t think I have any more news to tell you so I will say Good Bye for the present. Write soon, Best Wishes to all from. O11422 Pte. Bill

    No.11422. 2nd Auckland Brigade. N.Z Convalescent hospital. Hornchurch

    Essex. England. April 7th 1917. Dear Jack and Mary.

    I had a pleasant surprise this morning in the shape of a parcel from N.Z addressed in your handwriting so I presume it was you who sent it. The old tin of Havelock Mixture filled me with indescribable joy. It is unprocurable over here, and presently I dislodged a pair of sox & on bringing them up for inspection out rolled two lovely half crown pieces, which I intend to drink your health with shortly. I think I told you before I was snet to Walton on Thames for another operation which proved successful. The result is that my wound has healed up and I have returned to Hornchurch where I am undergoing massage treatment and I think in about a months time I will be back with the boys again. I think in all probability when the Kaiser learns that I am going over again he will surrender at once. Hospital life is getting rather dreary although everything is done by the W.C.A to make life as pleasant as possible for us. We have billiards, concerts, free trip to London Theatres, parties arranged, hundreds of nice girls only too pleased to take you for a walk, but even with all these luxuries I am not content. I want to start doing something. A fellow feels like a parasite getting all this beautiful treatment and giving nothing. So I have made up my mind to get well and again become a cog in the wheel of this great war machine which is slowly but surely overcoming a power that is threating the world with terrible consequences. You have no idea out in old peaceful N.Z what war means. Over here the government has taken control of everything, every man, woman, child, dog and cat have got to do their bit and no one is allowed to eat more than is required to keep him or her in health. The weather is still cold over here we had a heavy fall of snow yesterday and a very severe frost this morning. I will send you a cable when I am leaving for the front again. No more news to tell you at this time. Thanks very much for the parcel. Hope you are all well. Good bye. From Brother Bill. AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    12 October 1917 AWMM
    YpresBelgium 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
    • Tyne Cot Memorial, Tyne Cot Cemetery, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium AWMM
    • Auckland War Memorial Museum, World War 1 Hall of Memories AWMM

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  • We have your last poignant post card home to Ted and Nellie Cunningham. Never forgotten by your great nieces and nephews.
    Public - Dee - Other Relative - 28 May 2015
  • I may have never met you Bill, but your photograph hangs on my wall. You are not forgotten.
    Public - Keith - Other Relative - 24 April 2015
  • We have enough memoirs to know how brave and unselfish you were. Remembered forever with pride and honour by your descendants in New Zealand and those in the Avoca district Australia where you were born.
    Public - Julie - Other Relative - 20 April 2015



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Command item
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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
30 July 2022Ian BanksTaumarunui New ZealandResearcher
28 May 2015DeePalmerston North, New ZealandOther Relative
24 April 2015KeithHamiltonOther Relative
20 April 2015JulieWaihiOther Relative

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