37527, Lance Corporal Simon Fraser NZETC
By Faye Baldiston
SIMON FRASER 1879 - 1960
Birth: October 1879 at Greenhills, Shire of Metcalfe, Vic. Australia.
Parents: Catherine (nee McRay/McRae) & Donald Fraser
Children: Phyllis, Ivor Campbell (Tom) and William (Bill)
Marriage: Simon married Margaret Gallagher 24 October 1906, St Andrews Church, Kyneton Australia (Presbyterian)
Died: 9 May 1960 at Stratford
Charac: Dark brown, Grey eyes, Height 5ft 8 inches, complexion dark.Weight:On 5 Sep 1916 prior to war aged 37yrs 11 mths was 186lb
Buried : Kopuatama Cemetery, Stratford, NZ
War Record WW1:
Serial Number: 37527
First known rank: Sapper, then Lance Corporal, Temporary 11 Corporal
Occupation before enlist: Miner
Next of kin: Mrs Margaret Fraser (wife) Post Office, Hurimoana, Taranaki, NZ
Body on embarkment: NZ Engineers Tunnelling Company
Embarkment unit: 3rd Reinforcements
Embarkment date: 15 Nov 1916 aged 37
Place of Embarkment: Wellington, NZ
Transport HMNZT 69
Destination: Devonport, England
Departed for NZ: 2 Dec 1918 after being injured.
Sappers were involved in digging tunnels to either get closer to the enemy or to lay mines underneath enemy lines. Imagine being underground, in an enclosed space, for hours/days at a time and not knowing if the tunnel would collapse on you or if anything happened being trapped in there. It was known for tunnellers to be digging a tunnel when it collapsed and the Germans, who had been digging above ended up being in the same tunnel and then, of course, a fight ensuing.
While in Victoria, Simon worked at many things including: miner, boundary rider, driver for Cobb and Co. and general farm work. He enjoyed Turkish wrestling and was an M.C. at dances. On the 1903 Electoral Roll (Division of Corinella) Simon was shown as a Rabbit Trapper. He only liked Aussie rules rugby.
MARGARET LILY FRASER (Nee GALLAGHER) 1885 - 1974
Birth:19 July 1885 Greenhills, Vic., Australia
Parents: Charles and Abby (Abigail) Gallagher (nee Callaghan)
Marriage: 22 Nov 1906 at St Andrews Church, (Presbyterian) Kyneton, Australia to Simon Fraser
Charac:Dark hair, height - short
Died:12 Feb 1974 at Calvary Hospital, Hawera
Buried: Koputama Cemetery, Stratford
Margaret was born 19 July 1885 at Greenhill, Vic., Australia, one of 9 children, 3 brothers and 5 sisters. Life for them wasnt easy.
Simon and Margaret
The Fraser family and the Gallagher family were neighbours at Metcalfe, Victoria.
Simon and Margaret were married on 22 Nov 1906 in the St Andrews Presbyterian Church, Kyneton, Australia.
Phyllis (b 1906) and Ivor (Tom) (b1908) were born at Kyneton, Australia.
Margarets family later moved to NZ because of hardship caused by droughts in Victoria. Margaret and Simon were encouraged to join them and sailed to NZ in 1911, first to Glen Murray (Waikato) and then to Taranaki. Tom remembered wearing a sailors suit when they boarded the ship to sail for NZ.
Simons Attestation for General Service (war) dated 2 Oct 1916 stated he had been in NZ 5 years, confirming the year they arrived.
William Charles, Margaret and Simons 3rd child was born, Stratford, Taranaki NZ 1914.
Simon worked as a miner for the Public Works Department at Hurimoana, until at Hawera, 2 Oct 1916, he signed up for war service as a Sapper in the 3rd Tunnelling Regiment. He left for the war on the Troop Ship 68, SS Maunganui on 15 Nov 1916. His son Tom remembered going to Wellington to see him off.
Simon disembarked at Devonport, England, on 30 Jan 1917 and was taken on at Strength NZ Engineers Depot, Boscombe on 30 Jan 1917. He arrived in camp at Etaples, France on 4 Mar 1917 and was posted to NZ Engineers Tunnelling Company in the field on 13 April 1917.
On 27 February 1918 he was appointed Lance Corporal and on 27 April 1918 appointed Temporary 11 Corporal.
Simon was wounded in action on 13 May 1918 with gunshot wounds to his face and shoulder (he would always tell his grandsons he was wounded on the backside while running away!) he also suffered from Trench Fever. He then relinquished the appointment of Temporary 11 Corporal.
On 16 June 1918 he was transferred to No 2 General Hospital at Walton and on 9 July 1918 to the NZ Convalescent Hospital, Hornchurch. He was discharged to Codford on 3 August 1918 and rejoined the NZ Engineers Reserve Depot, Christchurch, Hants on 27 August 1918.
Simon returned to NZ on the Troop Ship Number 203, SS Maunganui which left from Liverpool on 2 Dec 1918 disembarking in NZ on 11 Jan 1919 and was discharged on 8 Feb 1919. Simon was awarded the British War Medal and the Victoria Medal.
While Simon was at the war Margaret worked as a cook in a hotel at Whangamomona where she, lived in, with her children.
When Simon arrived back he worked as a miner on the Public Works, building the railway line at Tangarakau and Margaret ran a boarding house at Kohuratahi.
They then purchased a rehabilitation sheep farm on the Kohurathi Road, also running cattle and milking 12 cows by hand, they lived here until they retired.
On retiring they purchased a house in Hawera, 3 Victoria Street, later moving to a large old house at 100 Hamlet Street, Stratford.
Simon was often unwell and spent a lot of time at Calvary Hospital Hawera. He died at home on 6 May 1960 and is buried in a soldiers grave at the Kopuatama Cemetery, Stratford.
Family of Simon and Margaret Fraser:
Phyllis Ruth: Born 19 Dec 1906 at Kyneton, Vic., Australia
Ivor Campbell (Tom): Born 20 Sep 1908 at Kyneton Vic., Australia
William (Bill) Charles: Born 31 January 1914 at Stratford (from Hurimoana) NZ