Daphne Rowena AWMM
Also known as
WWI 22/20 AWMM
Date of birth
Place of birth
Address before enlistment
Pre 6 April 1914 AWMM Auckland Hospital, New Zealand AWMM
Post war occupation
Next of kin on embarkation
William McKenzie Commons, Karewa, Mountain Road, Epsom, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
Pre 8 April 1915 AWMM Single AWMM
POW liberation details
POW serial number
Duaghter of Catherine Sarah Commons and William McKenzie Commons
Returned to New Zealand on the Corinthic
Served 3 years 303 days
Serial Number originally 22/11 and published on the on Nominal Roll, later changed to 22/20 and published on Archives New Zealand. Name misspelt on the Service record and Nominal Roll as Rowna
Attended Auckland University College (now the University of Auckland).
Daphne Commons - 1882-1968
Daphne, the eldest of seven children born to William McKenzie Commons and Catherine Sarah nee Rigby, was born in 1882. Her brother Kenneth Wrigley Commons enlisted as number 12/63 and went away with the Auckland Infantry Battalion. He was killed in action at Gallipoli in 1915.
Daphne was one of 50 nurses who went away in April 1915 as part of the New Zealand Army. They left on the ship Rotorua bound for England. According to Kai Tiaka, (the magazine of the NZ Nurses Organisation started in 1905) she won a Medal in 1914 for the nurse with the highest marks graduating that year from Auckland Hospital.
Before the nurses left Auckland, an “At Home” was held at the home of Mrs Gill in Gillies Avenue. She was the President of the Auckland branch of the Trained Nurses Association. She presented each nurse with a hot water bag and a pen.
Daphne was mentioned in dispatches in 1916 for hospital work in Egypt. Her name, along with many others, was published in most of the larger daily papers in NZ. After serving in Cairo, she went to England in 1916 and worked at Brockenhurst Hospital. She returned to NZ in 1919 on the “Corinthic” and went to work in Rotorua. She recorded her war experiences in diaries which are available through National Library of NZ.
She died in Auckland in December 1968 aged 87. After a funeral in Purewa conducted by W H Tongue, her ashes were returned.
Above biography was transcribed, researched and written by Margaret Nash of Panmure Branch of NZSG
- 1968 AWMM
Age 87 AWMM
- 1968 AWMM
Date of death
Age at death
Place of death
Cause of death
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- New Zealand Military Nursing - A History of the R.N.Z.N.C. Boer War to Present Day AWMM
- New Zealand Army Expeditionary Force. (1914-1919). Nominal Rolls of New Zealand Expeditionary Force, Volume I. Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
Vol1: 142 AWMM
- Service Women Project: Sponsorship to research this record was kindly provided by the Auckland Returned Services Association, Returned Servicewomen's Branch; Marjorie Traill, Dorothy Grant, Daphne Shaw and Margaret Woollett. AWMM
- A.U.C. roll of honour, 1914 - 1920. MSS & Archives E-2, Special Collections, University of Auckland Libraries and Learning Services. AWMM
- Mackrell, B. (n.d.). Papers. Auckland War Memorial Museum. MS 2003/107. AWMM
- McNabb, S. (2015). 100 years New Zealand military nursing : New Zealand Army nursing service : Royal New Zealand Nursing Corps, 1915-2015. Hawke's Bay, N.Z.: Sherayl McNabb. AWMM
- Colin M. Gordon Album (1915-1918). Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira PH-ALB-376. AWMM
- Unknown, photographer (1915-1916). [Agnes (Peggy) Williams photograph album]. Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira PH-2017-2-3. AWMM
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