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John Gethin Hughes

Portrait of Lieutenant Colonel John Gethin Hughes, Archives New Zealand, AALZ 25044 5 / F2101 9. Image is subject to copyright restrictions.

Portrait of Lieutenant Colonel John Gethin Hughes, Archives New Zealand, AALZ 25044 5 / F2101 9. Ima …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    John Gethin AWMM
  • Surname
    Hughes AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    Jackie Hughes AWMM
  • Service number
    • South African 148 AWMM
    • WWI 15/2 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    • 13 March 1866 AWMM BluffSouthland AWMM
    • 3 December 1966 Noel Smith Research Project
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    Unknown AWMM Wellington, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    • Margaret Ann Hughes, Dannevirke, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand AWMM
    • Mrs Marion Hughes (wife), care of W. Martin, Huangarua, Martinborough, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Pre 21 October 1899 AWMM Married AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    • South African 148 AWMM
    • WWI 15/2 AWMM
  • Military service
    • Served with C Battery, Timaru, 1884-1887. AWMM
    • Battery commander with F Battery, Napier, 1891. AWMM
    • Made adjutant and captain of the 3rd Battalion Wellington (East Coast) Rifle Volunteers, 1898. AWMM
    • 10th Contingent AWMM
    • NZEF Headquarters AWMM
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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Training and 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
    • Hospital Diseases , Wounds, WWI AWMM
      Admitted to hospital with paratyphoid, iritis and dysentery, October 1915. AWMM
    • Hospital Diseases , Wounds, WWI AWMM
      Invalided back to NZ, July 1916. AWMM

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • John Hughes was the son of mariner John Gethin Hughes and Mary Agnes McLean.

    Attended school in Akaroa and Timaru.

    Represented Hawke's Bay in rugby.

    "During a farewell speech to his fellow Napier volunteers, Hughes stated 'he would rather be a trooper fighting for his country than the richest landholder in Hawke's Bay.'" (DNZB)

    Became first New Zealander to be commissioned in the field, December 1899. He was commissioned as a Lieutenant.

    "On 15 January 1900 he distinguished himself during a counter-attack against Boers who were trying to seize a hill (later known as New Zealand Hill) overlooking the British camp at Slingersfontein. For his gallantry during this hard-fought action Hughes became the first New Zealand serviceman to be appointed a DSO. He was one of the contingent's outstanding officers, and was mentioned in dispatches before his unit returned to New Zealand in January 1901." (DNZB)

    Appointed assistant staff officer to the commandant and commissioned a Captain with the NZ Militia, 1901.

    Briefly returned to South Africa in 1902 with the 10th Contingent.

    "Prior to the First World War Hughes held various staff positions in the New Zealand forces. He felt, probably with some justification, that he was the victim of unfair treatment by Richard Seddon, the minister of defence; it was not until January 1907, after Seddon's death, that he was belatedly promoted to major." (DNZB)

    Married Marion (Maisie) De Vere O'Connor in Wellington, 8 May 1909. They had two sons and a daughter.

    Enlisted with NZEF, 5 August 1914, and served as Assistant Military Secretary to GOC (General Officer Commanding), Major General Sir Alexander Godley.

    CO (Commanding Officer) of Canterbury Infantry Battalion, Gallipoli, 7 June - 10 October 1915. On 7 August 1915, Canterbury Battalion took heavy casualties when Hughes unwittingly chose to reform his men in an area dominated by a newly emplaced Turkish battery. (DNZB)

    Promoted Lieutenant Colonel, 24 September 1915.

    Posted to retired list and made an Honorary Colonel, 1917.

    Heavily involved with the First New Zealand Mounted Rifles Association until his death.

    The Auckland Museum Library's manuscripts collection (MS 2005/4) holds a letter (1 leaf) written by Hughes to Mrs [?Daisy] Tucker, dated 15 December 1919, thanking her for sending a copy of her late husband's war diary. DNZB states Hughes' birthdate as 13 March, whereas Haigh & Polaschek (1993) gives it as 12 March.

    Father was named John Gethin Hughes. AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
    Evening Post, 27 July 1954. AWMM
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

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  • External links
  • Documents
    • Haigh, J., Polaschek, A. (Eds.). (1993). New Zealand and the Distinguished Service Order. Christchurch, N.Z.: Authors. AWMM
    • St Clair Inglis, A. (c1902). Souvenir Album of the first New Zealand Contingent South African War. Auckland, N.Z.: Arthur Cleave & Co. AWMM
    • New Zealand Army Expeditionary Force. (1914-1919). Nominal Rolls of New Zealand Expeditionary Force, Volume I. Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      Page No: 348 AWMM
    • Reville, Natalie. Papers relating to World War I soldiers George Edward Mudgway and Frederick Tucker. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. MS-2005-4. AWMM
    • Haigh, J., Polaschek, A. (Eds.). (1993). New Zealand and the Distinguished Service Order. Christchurch, N.Z.: Authors. AWMM
      Haigh, J., and Polaschek, A. (compilers). (1993). p. 127. AWMM
    • The Evening Post AWMM
      Evening Post, 27 July 1954. AWMM
    • Beattie, P.J. & Pomeroy, M. (2013-2020). Onward : portraits of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (vols 1-5). Auckland, New Zealand: Fair Dinkum Publications AWMM
      Vol. 1: Includes portrait AWMM
    • Stowers, R. (2009). Rough riders at war : history of New Zealand's involvement in the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902 and information on all members of the 10 New Zealand contingents. Hamilton, N.Z.: R. Stowers. AWMM
    • This record as partially completed by information provided by Noel George Smith (2020-2021). AWMM
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