Albert Lugg was the son of William John and Annie Elizabeth E Lugg, of Springston, Canterbury, New Zealand.
Albert Henry (Harry) Lugg was born on 17 June 1888 at Springston, a small rural community, near Lincoln, in Christchurch. His parents, William John Lugg and Anne Elizabeth Lugg (nee Hoskin) were immigrants from St Keverne on the Lizard Peninsula, in Cornwall, who had arrived in New Zealand in August 1875. They had six children all born in New Zealand, 3 girls and 3 boys. Harry was the 5th child and second son. Each of the boys served in WW1.
Harry’s father worked as an agricultural labourer in Cornwall, and probably did similar work when he arrived in New Zealand. He was skilled at working with horses and later he worked as a contractor for the council at Springston, where he lived.
At the time Harry enlisted for WW1, he was working as a ploughman for Mr. H.V. Hammond at Makirikiri, near Dannevirke, in the North Island. He was attested at Trentham on 19 October 1915 and his unit was B Company, 9th Reinforcements. He embarked from Wellington on HMNZ troopship Number 17, the S.S.Maunganui on 8 January 1916 and disembarked in Suez on 8 February 1916.
A poem was found among a collection of memorabilia that had belonged to his sister, Louisa, that appears to have been written by a close friend, probably his girlfriend, but known only by the initials L.M. In it she mentions letters written to her by Harry. She says in the poem that he wrote from Egypt that he was “down on the sick list” with an abscess on his chest, and that his mates in the 9th reinforcements had been sent away. He also told her that he had been transferred to the 17th’s, and was leaving Egypt. The information in his war records doesn’t have this detail, but said that he had joined the Wellington Infantry Battalion at Ismalia on 18 March 1916, and embarked for France on 6 April 1916.
L.M continued that he later wrote from the battle front that he had been wounded in the leg at the Somme. The war record notes that he was admitted to 1 New Zealand Field Ambulance with a gunshot wound in the left ankle on 13 September 1916.
On 1 April 1917 he was promoted to Lance Corporal. On 13 May 1917 he was admitted to the New Zealand Field Ambulance with conjunctivitis and discharged on 20 May 1917. His eye problems must have flared up again as he was admitted to 83 General Hospital with conjunctivitis on 1 June 1917, and admitted to 1 Convalescent Depot at Boulogne on 5 June 1917.
When he was discharged on 8 June 1917, he was attached to the strength of NZ Infantry and General Base Depot at Etaples. He rejoined the Wellington Infantry Battalion in the field on 18 June 1917 during the aftermath of the Battle of Messines. On the 26 June 1917, Harry was killed in action and like many others on those terrible battlefields, he has no known grave. His name is recorded on the New Zealand memorial at Messines.
Probably his family had no knowledge of his girlfriend, and L.M. was shocked to read the news of his death in the newspaper. She must have written her poem some time later and sent it to the Gisborne Herald who published it. Somehow a cutting of it ended up pasted onto a piece of cardboard in his sister, Louisa’s collection and Louisa’s granddaughters discovered it in 2014.
The above profile was kindly provided by Audrey Ansell (January 2015) AWMM