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William Semmens Austin

Portrait of Lieutenant - Colonel W.S. Austin - DSO. Archives New Zealand, R24185018, Image may be subject to copyright restrictions.

Portrait of Lieutenant - Colonel W.S. Austin - DSO. Archives New Zealand, R24185018, Image may be su …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    William Semmens AWMM
  • Surname
    Austin AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    WWI 23/2 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi / Hapū / Waka / Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    28 March 1871 Peter Dennis, UNSW Canberra Saint JustCornwall Peter Dennis, UNSW Canberra
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    Pre 1 October 1915 AWMM 89 Cowper Street, Greymouth, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    Mrs Christina Austin (wife), 89 Cowper Street, Greymouth, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    Pre 9 October 1915 AWMM Married AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
    • 1914-1916 Egypt AWMM
    • 1914-1919 Western Front AWMM
    • Le Quesnoy AWMM
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    WWI 23/2 AWMM
  • Military service
    • NZ Volunteers AWMM
    • Territorial Forces 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
    Wounded four times AWMM

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Officer commanding embarkation aboard HMNZT 30.

    Appointed Commanding Officer (CO) of NZRB, 1st Battalion, 1 March 1916.

    Wounded in action, 20 July 1916; transferred by HS 'St David' to England, 21 July 1916, and admitted to 2nd London General Hospital, Chelsea, 22 July 1916; transferred to No 1 NZ General Hospital, Brockenhurst, 12 August 1916; struck off strength, Hornchurch Convalescent Camp, and marched out to Sling Camp, 5 September 1916.
    Wounded in action (second occasion), 21 March 1917; admitted to 2nd London General Hospital, Chelsea, 25 March 1917 (gun shot wound, left leg: severe); discharged on leave, 15 May 1917.
    Proceeded overseas to France, 22 June 1917.
    Admitted to 14th General Hospital, 30 August 1917 (myalgia: slight); transferred to England, and admitted to NZ General Hospital, Brockenhurst, 6 September 1917; transferred to NZ Officers' Convalescent Home, Brighton, 4 October 1917.
    Wounded in action (third occasion), 29 March 1918.
    Admitted to 8th General Hospital, 23 May 1918 (inflamed sciatic nerve); admitted to 1st NZ General Hospital, Brockenhurst, 29 May 1918; discharged from hospital, 12 June 1918.
    Wounded in action (fourth occasion), 1 September 1918 (gun shot wound, left side, penetrating chest); listed as 'dangerously ill', 2 September 1918; removed from 'dangerously ill' list, 11 September 1918; transferred to NZ Officers' Convalescent Home, Brighton, 23 October 1918.
    Commenced return to New Zealand on board 'Corinthian', 23 April 1919; discharged, 10 July 1919.
    Total war service: 4 years 176 days (of which 3 years 195 days were abroad)
    Medals: Distinguished Service Order, Croix de Guerre, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    31 August 1931 AWMM
    Age 60 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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Leave a tribute or memory of William Semmens Austin

Leave a note

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  • On Sunday 27 Sept 1915, there will be a re-enactment march from Featherston over the Rimutaka Hill to March through Upper Hutt and onto an open day at Griffen Field, Trentham Camp. This is to remember the 60,000 odd men who trained at Featherston during WW1, the great majority of them completed this march. Maj William Austin led the first march over the hill and will be remembered on this day as a firm but fair officer who believed good soldiers came as a result of hard training. With the support of Wing Nut Productions there will be a platoon of men in WW1 uniforms, followed by a platoon of current serving men and women plus a large contingent of family descendants and Cadets. Come and watch at the Upper Hutt Council offices as a wreath is laid at 11.00 am by the officer who will represent Maj Austin on the march.
    Public - Jack - Researcher - 29 August 2015



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  • External links
  • References
    • McDonald, W. (2013). Honours and Awards to the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Great War, 1914-1918. (3rd ed.). Hamilton, N.Z.: Richard Stowers. AWMM
    • New Zealand Army Expeditionary Force. (1914-1919). Nominal Rolls of New Zealand Expeditionary Force, Volume I. Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      Vol1: 25 AWMM
    • Haigh, J., Polaschek, A. (Eds.). (1993). New Zealand and the Distinguished Service Order. Christchurch, N.Z.: Authors. AWMM
    • NZEF Peter Dennis, UNSW Canberra 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
    • Austin, W. (1924). The official history of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade (The Earl of Liverpool's Own). Wellington, N.Z.: L T Watkins. AWMM
    • The Le Quesnoy Campaign research was undertaken by the New Zealand Society of Genealogists as part of the development of New Zealand Liberation Museum - Te Arawhata (Le Quesnoy France). This research project was led by CJ Barbour (NZSG), BI Silvester, HH Farrant (NZMHS) with the support of NZSG volunteers (2022). The individuals included in this research data set were verified as serving in Le Quesnoy. AWMM


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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
29 August 2015Jack Wellington New ZealandResearcher

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