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Harry Delamere Dansey

Portrait of Captain Harry Delamere Dansey. Image sourced from Imperial War Museums' 'Bond of Sacrifice' collection. ©IWM HU 1020928

Portrait of Captain Harry Delamere Dansey. Image sourced from Imperial War Museums' 'Bond of Sacrifi …


Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    7 November 1874 AWMM TaupoWaikato AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
    Tapuaeharuru, Taupo Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 9 March 2016 - Military Record
  • Birth notes
    son of Roger Delamere Dansey & Wikitoria Ngamihi nee' Kahuao. Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 9 March 2016 - Military Record
  • Address before enlistment
    Unknown AWMM Cargen, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
    Engineering consultant
    1938 Held the Eastern Maori parliamentary seat
    1941 Major of Rotorua Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 9 March 2016 - Military Record
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    R.D. Dansey (father), Rotorua, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    • Pre 18 September 1915 AWMM Single AWMM
    • 1919 married Winifred Patience Barter Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 9 March 2016 - Military Record


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
    • 1914-1919 Western Front AWMM
    • 1914-1916 Egypt AWMM
    • Egyptian, Egyptian EF & Western European Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 9 March 2016 - Military Record
  • Armed force / branch
    • Army AWMM
    • 2nd NZ Maori Pioneer Btn, Otago Infantry Regt & the XXII Corps. Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 9 March 2016 - Military Record
  • Service number
    WWI 16/1017 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    • Military Cross (MC) AWMM
      Military Cross (MC): Captain, NZ Pioneer (Maori) Battalion. "For distinguished service in the field", (London Gazette, 1 January 1918, p 53) AWMM
    • Mentioned in Despatches (MiD) AWMM
      Mentioned in Dispatches (MID): Lieutenant, NZ Pioneer (Maori) Battalion. "For consistent good work and devotion to duty during the period 28th August/2nd October 1916. This officer's talent for making men work and keeping them going under adverse circumstances have been responsible for the great work done by his Company. His knowledge of surveying and his capacity for hard work have rendered him most useful to his Battalion",(London Gazette, 4 January 1917, p262, Rec 439) AWMM
    • Victory Medal AWMM
    • British War Medal (1914-1920) AWMM
    • 1914-1915 Star
      British War Medal
      Victory Medal Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 9 March 2016 - Military Record

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
    • WW1 Unknown AWMM
      Age 40 AWMM
      Engineer/Military AWMM
    • 1 Aug 1915 at Takapuna Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 9 March 2016 - Military Record
  • 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

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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    • Harry Dansey was the son of Roger Delamere Dansey and Wikitoria Ngamihi Kahuao and the brother of Roger Dansey (16/317)

      His mother was of Ngati Rauhoto hapu of Ngati Tuwharetoa, with connections to Te Arawa and Ngati Raukawa

      Fluent English, Maori and French speaker. Trained as an engineer in New Zealand, Britain and Germany. Worked as engineer in charge of construction with the railways in New Zealand and on underground railway projects in Britain and had expertise in light railways and fuel.

      Married first to Winifred Mona Orr (d. 1908), no children.

      Was in a reserved occupation but nevertheless, aged 40, enlisted.

      Correspondence with Winifred Patience Barter who was living at Golf Road, Epsom in 1919, who became his second wife, is held by the Auckland War Memorial Museum in the Dansey Papers (MS 873).

      Served in Egypt as a machine gun officer and France as a Lewis machine gun officer

      Listed in McDonald (2001) as Dansey, Harry Delamers 16/1017.

      Auckland War Memorial Museum. Exhibition. 2008 "In Memory". Installation commissioned for the 90th Armistice anniversary. Curator, Peter Kirby.

      "In the hard-bitten world of railway construction in the early 1900s, Harry Delamere Dansey was something of a Renaissance man. Educated at Auckland Grammar and Canterbury College, Harry was fluent in French and Maori and is believed to have been New Zealand’s first qualified Maori engineer.

      Harry was in charge of constructing the Dunedin railway station before going to Britain in 1910 to further his studies and work on the London Underground. On his return to New Zealand, he was responsible for the design and construction of the Auckland-Pukekohe line duplication.

      Harry was nearly 40 years old when war broke out in 1914 but he nevertheless volunteered with the second draft of the Maori Contingent. On arrival in Egypt, he was posted to the Otago Infantry Regiment where he endured back-breaking training.

      In a letter to his fiancé Winifred Barter, Harry wrote: “Web Prince and I are the only New Zealanders in the school among four or five hundred. It is regarded as the most strenuous course in military training in the Empire and he who could slip through without coming a cropper is almost made. Officers failing are generally sent back home! Last week the Australians had six go back.”

      In the reorganisation that followed the Gallipoli campaign, he was transferred to the New Zealand Pioneer Battalion. Promoted to lieutenant, he served as a Lewis machine-gun officer in France. In January 1917, Harry was appointed second-in-command of a company in the field, where his engineering skills were to prove invaluable. The following month he was placed in charge of railway construction and transport organisation for the battle area. This work was often carried out in appalling conditions.

      “The roads soon get into a frightful state as traffic is abnormally heavy – one cannot avoid being wet, muddy, cold and perhaps miserable.”

      He was promoted to captain in April, and in January 1918 was awarded the Military Cross for “distinguished services in the field”. After the war, he returned home to New Zealand and married his fiance.

      All in the family
      Harry and his brother Roger Ingram Dansey were sons of Englishman Roger Delamere Dansey, a postmaster, and his wife, Wikitoria Ngamihi Kahuao. Brother Roger was also an engineer and served in France. Their mother was the daughter of Ihakara Kahuao, leader of Ngati Rauhoto hapu of Ngati Tuwharetoa. She also had connections to Te Arawa and Ngati Raukawa. On 30 October 1919 at Auckland Harry married Winifred Patience Barter and in due course they had three sons and a daughter. Harry ran an engineering consultancy in Auckland until 1930 when he retired to Rotorua. One of his sons, named after his father, was appointed New Zealand’s second Race Relations Conciliator in 1974. In the documentary In Memory, Harry’s great-grandson Rangi Dansey is the voice behind a series of letters sent by his great-grandfather to his fiancé Winifred during the war years." Online Cenotaph profile. AWMM
    • CAPTAIN DANSEY.' ll footballers will remember Captain Harry Delamere Dansey and he is well known in the railway service. He was assistant engineer at Dunedin, under Mr Hunter Macandrew, most of the time from 1901 to 1911, when he was transferred to Auckland. He had a lot to do with the duplication of the Dunedin-Mosgiel line. As a Rugby player he represented Wellington and Canterbury, playing as scrum half, and in Dunedin he played for the Pirates Club. He is brother to Roger Dansey, the well-known wing three-quarter player in the Otago University team. Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 9 March 2016 - Evening Star , Issue 16622, 3 January 1918, Page 6
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About death

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  • Death
    29 June 1942 AWMM
    Age 67 AWMM
    RotoruaBay of Plenty AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
  • Cemetery name
    Muruika cemetery in Ohinemutu, Rotorua Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 9 March 2016 - Research
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
    MR H. D. DANSEY - The death of Mr H. D. Dansey, Mayor of Rotorua, which occurred last Monday will be deeply regretted by many friends and local body members in this district. Mr Dansey who was sixty-six years old was born In Rotorua and had lived in the town most of his life. He served for four years in the New Zealand Dvision during the last war and for bravery in the field, where he attained the rank of Captain, he awarded the Military Cross.
    Settling in Rotorua he prominent in local life and he unsuccessfully contested the Eastern Maori Seat in 1938 against Sir Ngata. He was chairman of the Rotorua Chamber of Commerce was actively associated with numerous local organisations. At the last elections he was elected Mayor. The late Mr Dansey is survived by his widow, Mrs Winifred Patience Dansey, three sons, Sergeant Dansey and Lieutenant G. Dansey, who are serving with the forces, J. Dansey who is a pupil at the Rotorua High School, and one daughter, Miss P. Dansey, who is also pupil at the High School and two brothers, Mr G. R. Dansey, Ngongotaha, Mr E. P. Dansey, tihiotonga, and one sister, Mrs E. Butt of Rotorua. Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 9 March 2016 - Bay of Plenty Beacon, Volume 5, Issue 72, 1 July 1942, Page 4
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

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  • External links
  • References
    • McDonald, W. (2001). Honours and awards to the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Great War, 1914-1918. Napier, N.Z.: Helen McDonald. AWMM
    • New Zealand Army Expeditionary Force. (1914-1919). Nominal Rolls of New Zealand Expeditionary Force, Volume I. Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      Vol1: 173 AWMM
    • Dansey, Harry Delamere Barter. Papers 1914-1970. Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. MS 873 (Note: Personal & family related papers are restricted) AWMM
    • Pugsley, C. (1995). Te Hokowhitu a Tu : the Maori Pioneer Battalion in the first World War. Auckland, N.Z.: Reed. AWMM
    • Auckland Weekly News AWMM
      10 January 1918 p.17 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. 3: Includes portrait AWMM
    • The Aucklander AWMM
      Memory spark. 30 Oct 2008. AWMM
    • Soutar, M. (2019). Whitiki! Whiti! Whiti! E!: Maori In the First World War. New Zealand: David Bateman Ltd. AWMM
    • Information kindly provided by family 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. 5: Includes portrait AWMM
    • Iwi, Hapū, Rohe and additional whakapapa information kindly provided from “Ngāti Raukawa and 20th century wars. Ngā Pakanga o Te Ao. Participation, Price, and Post-War Experience.” Research conducted by Te Kenehi Teira and Heeni Collins (2022). Report commissioned by Crown Forestry Rental Trust, Wellington (Wai 2200 Porirua ki Manawatu Inquiry). AWMM
    • 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


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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
09 March 2016Lorraine MGisborne, NZResearcher

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