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David Gallaher

1/4 portrait of Corporal Gallagher of the 22nd Reinforcements. An Auckland Rugby Union catalogue from 1918 identifies him as Dave Gallaher, captain of the famous All Blacks. Died of wounds in France on 4 October 1917, at the battle of Passchendaele (Photographer: Herman Schmidt, 1917). Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 31-G2779. No known copyright.

1/4 portrait of Corporal Gallagher of the 22nd Reinforcements. An Auckland Rugby Union catalogue fro …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    David AWMM
  • Surname
    Gallaher AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    • David Gallagher AWMM
    • Dave AWMM
  • Service number
    • 3229 AWMM
    • 32513 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi / Hapū / Waka / Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    • Pre Jan 1901 AWMM 5 Church Street, Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
    • Pre Jul 1916 AWMM 10 King Street, Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    • Joseph C. Gallagher (brother), 5 Church Street, Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
    • Mrs Ellen Ivy May Gallaher (wife), 10 King Street, Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    • Pre 30 January 1901 AWMM Single AWMM
    • Pre 16 February 1917 AWMM Married AWMM
      Married, 1 child AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment

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
    • 04 Oct 1917 {Age 41} AWMMHeight, Unknown Period AWMM
      5 foot 11 inches AWMM
    • Weight, Unknown Period AWMM
      11 stone 12 pounds AWMM
    • Eye colour, Unknown Period AWMM
      brown AWMM
    • Hair colour, Unknown Period AWMM
      brown AWMM
    • Hospital Diseases , Wounds, WWI AWMM
      Critically wounded in the face at Flanders, 3 October 1917 AWMM
    • Died of wounds, Cause of Death AWMM
    • Height, WWI AWMM
      5' 11" AWMM
    • Weight, WWI AWMM
      191 lb AWMM

Biographical information

Biographical information

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    • David Gallaher was the son of James, a shopkeeper, and Maria Gallaher (nee McCloskie), a teacher. The Gallahers migrated to New Zealand in May 1878 as part of the Katikati Special Settlement scheme in the Bay of Plenty. Brother of Joseph C. Gallagher, 5 Church Street, Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand

      Gallaher moved to Auckland in the early 1890s and represented both the Ponsonby Club and Auckland Province in rugby.

      Gallaher consistently gave his age three years less than it actually was. When he enlisted for the Anglo-Boer War in 1901, he stated that he was 24 rather than 27; when he embarked on the 1905 Originals tour, he gave his age as 29 instead of 32; and his gravestone incorrectly records his age at death as 41, when he was actually only a few days short of his 44th birthday.

      Gallaher served with the 6th and 10th Contingents in South Africa, rising to the rank of Regimental Sergeant-Major.

      After the Anglo-Boer War, Gallaher returned to playing rugby and was selected as captain for the 1905 Originals tour. There was some antagonism about Gallaher's appointment to the captaincy, and in transit he resigned against the wishes of manager George Dixon. However, a vote held by the team reinstated him as captain (although only just, as 11 out of the 29 members voted against him).

      Gallaher married Ellen Ivy May Francis, sister of fellow All Black A.H. Francis, in Auckland, 10 October 1906. They had one daughter, Nora Tahuta, born in 1908. She remembered her father as "'a jolly man'". (DNZB)

      He enlisted as a Corporal with the NZEF in 1914 and was promoted to Company Sergeant-Major but then reverted to Sergeant upon arrival in England.

      During the attack on Gravenstafel Spur on the Flanders line on 3 October 1917, Gallaher was shot in the face and later died at No. 3 Australian Casualty Clearing Station, which was little more than a tunnel attached to one of the trenches. As he lay dying on a pallet in the station, a Catholic priest was administering to the soldier lying in the pallet next to Gallaher's. The soldier's name was Edward Fitzgerald. The priest asked if he knew who his neighbor was, and when Fitzgerald said he did not, the priest said, "That is Dave Gallaher, Captain of the 1905 All Blacks." (Katikati E-Memorial)

      All Black in 1903-06

      For more information on the 1905 All Blacks tour, see tour manager George Dixon's private papers held in the Auckland Museum Library's manuscripts collection. The papers include Dixon's autographed personal copy of the account of the tour. [Ref. MS 748]

      Posted to 21st Reinforcements with rank of Corporal, 25 July 1916. Transferred to 22nd Reinforcements, 5 September 1916. Promoted to rank of sergeant, 16 October 1916. Promoted Company Sergeant-Major, 20 January 1917. Embarked on board HMNZT 'Aparima' and departed for England, 16 Febuary 1917.
      Disembarked Devonport, England, 2 May 1917; marched in to Sling Camp, taken on strength 4th (Reserve) Battalion, Auckland Infantry Regiment and reverted to rank of Temporary Sergeant, 2 May 1917. Qualified and confirmed in rank of Sergeant, 1 June 1917.
      Proceeded overseas to France, 6 June 1917; marched in to New Zealand Infantry and General Base Depot, Etaples, France, 8 June 1917. Marched out and joined 2nd Bn, Auckland Infantry Regiment in the field, 26 June 1917.
      Wounded in action and admitted to 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station (gun shot wounds, face), 4 October 1917; died of wounds, 4 October 1917.

      Wife: E I M Gallaher, 1 John Street, Ponsonby, Auckland. Former Captain of the New Zealand Rugby Football Team (The All Blacks) AWMM
    • My father Bruce Clough is the grandson of David Gallaher myself Christopher Murphy nee Clough born 9/10/1968 is his great grandson I am married to Angeline Tate now Murphy we have 2 children Daniel Peter Murphy 9/5/1993and Tiffany Claire Murphy 14/12/1994 Public - Christopher - Direct descendant - 7 October 2015 - My father has a family history tree
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About death

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  • Death
    4 October 1917 AWMM
    Age 43 AWMM
    FlandersBelgium AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Nine Elms British Cemetery, Poperinge, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium AWMM III.D.8. AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
    Obituary: Auckland Weekly News, 18 October 1917, p. 20: "Advice was received in Auckland on Friday that Mr. 'Dave' Gallaher, the well-known and popular athlete, had died of wounds received in France. Mr. Gallaher was born in Belfast, about 46 years ago, and came to New Zealand, as a child, with the Vasey Stewart immigrants. For some time he lived with his parents at Tauranga, but later came to Auckland. He was employed by the local freezing works, where, prior to departing for the front, he was foreman of the department. From his boyhood he was recognised as a capable athlete, his prowess being exhibited chiefly in Rugby football. Mr. Gallaher was for many years sole selector for the Auckland Rugby Union, and was the captain of the All Blacks team which toured England in 1905-6. He saw service in the Boer War, and on the outbreak of the present war was eager to join the forces, but was for some time detained on account of family ties. When his brother was killed in action, he felt that it was his turn to go, consequently, he enlisted in the twenty-second reinforcements, and left New Zealand about 12 months ago. Mr. Gallaher is survived by his wife and child, who are at present in Sydney." AWMM
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name
    • Dave Gallaher Memorial Park, Letterkenny, Ireland AWMM
    • Dave Gallaher Shield (rugby), Auckland AWMM
    • Dave Gallaher Trophy (rugby France / All Blacks), Auckland AWMM
    • Dave Gallaher statue, Eden Park, Auckland AWMM
    • All Saints Church, 284 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby Auckland 1011 AWMM
    • Scottish Masonic Centre, 59 Grey St, Onehunga, Auckland 1061 AWMM
    • Auckland War Memorial Museum, World War 1 Hall of Memories AWMM

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  • I am a great nephew of Dave Gallaher. I am giving a talk on the Gallaher brothers in WW1 in 2017 and would welcome any information on them or their units.
    Public - ANDREW - Other relative - 10 October 2016
  • Thank You. You have jeopardized you life for the generations to come. You had a life ahead of you and we are so sorry you had to give that up in order to save us, and preserve New Zealand for future Kiwis. We are very grateful for your contribution. Rest In Peace. - Bella and Emma
    Public - Arabella and Emma - 18 May 2016
  • Today, Hallowe'en 2015, you would be proud to know that NZ won the Rugby World Cup.....again....for the second time in a row. Your wonderful successor is Richie McCaw, ably assisted by Dan Carter who can find the posts from almost anywhere! They are now the best in the world! So, rest in peace, all is well with NZ rugby! I hope to visit your grave soon in Belgium.
    Public - Jackie - Researcher - 1 November 2015
  • I never got to meet you or your brother Donald, who was my grandfather. I am very proud that you were our first All Black captain, and also a soldier who fought for his adopted country New Zealand. Kudos.
    Public - Kathleen - Other Relative - 1 July 2015
  • You have been an all black captain your family must be very sad-Nathan.hello I'm really surprised that you were the worlds first nz captain and we are only ordinary kids from Rutherford primary school-temo
    Public - Nathan - Researcher - 21 May 2015
  • hi even no I don't now you we are proud of you for serving our country you are awesome and you will always be my super hero thank you for your time off your family and your family might be sad we will always remember you
    Public - Breana Dawn - Friend - 17 May 2015
  • Thanks for being a great friend to me! Rest in peace my friend
    Public - Collin - Comrade - 28 April 2015
  • I'm sorry you had to go through that pain. Although I do not know you, you will always be a part of my history. Thank you.
    Public - Hayley - 20 April 2015



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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
13 October 2023WillyWaasmunster, BelgiumOther
27 April 2020Ian BanksTaumarunui New ZealandResearcher
30 November 2016AllanRotoruaResearcher
10 October 2016ANDREWDorrington EnglandOther relative
01 July 2016MatthewAuckland, NZResearcher

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