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13/2932 Trooper Thomas Henry Fletcher – Auckland Mounted Rifles
 
Thomas Henry Fletcher was born on 3rd March 1872 in Belfast, Ireland. Thomas served 15 years with the Royal Irish Rifles and he had been discharged at his own request prior to immigrating to New Zealand in 1905.[i] Part of his service in the Royal Irish Rifles was in South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War.[ii]
 
In 1913 Thomas was working as a medical attendant at the Porirua Mental institute when he married, on his fourth- first birthday, 3rd March 1913, Sarah Warrington Fry.[iii]
 
Thomas Henry Fletcher first enlisted, August 1915, with the Wellington Mounted Rifles as 11/46 Trooper Thomas Henry Fletcher later military files simply note that he was ‘discharged’ potentially for not passing the medical examinations or possibly his correct age of 43.[iv]
 
On 3rd September 1915 Thomas Fletcher enlisted in the Auckland Mounted Rifles his enlistment list that his date of birth as 3rd March 1878 making him 37 and under the maximum age for recruitment of 38. 13/2392 Trooper Thomas Henry Fletcher entered Trentham camp in the 7th Reinforcements, Auckland Mounted Rifles. Trooper Fletcher was promoted, on 22nd September 1915 to Sergeant and sailed with the 7th Reinforcements sailed, on 9th October 1915 for Egypt arriving on the 30th of November 1915.
 
On arrival in Egypt and joining the main body of the NZEF, as was normal practice, Sergeant Fletcher reverted to the
ranks and Trooper Fletcher was appointed as a cook for A Squad, 7th Squadron, Auckland Mounted Rifles. The Gallipoli Campaign was coming to an end so rather than being sent to the peninsula Trooper Fletcher remained in Egypt with
the New Zealand Mounted Division that was engaged in the Egypt and Palestine campign. On 5th April 1916 Trooper Fletcher was admitted to hospital in Cairo with malaria this was severe enough for Trooper Fletcher to be access as
unfit and was returned to New Zealand in July 1916for rest. In New Zealand after a months rest Trooper Fletcher was
again assessed and on 13th August 1916 was ‘discharged being no longer physically fit for war service.’[v]
 
On 1st November 1916 Thomas Fletcher was medically assessed and passed fit. The medical examiner would have been able to assess his previous medical records but malaria is not mentioned or it was discounted as the reinforcements were going to serve in Europe[vi]. Thomas Fletcher entered Trentham Military camp on 14th November 1916 as 13/2392 Private Fletcher. Following training, on 7th December 1916, 13/2392 Private Fletcher, A Company, 20th Reinforcements, Auckland Infantry left for service on the Western Front. New Zealand.
 
 
 
New Zealand Veternary services in the Field - France 1918
 
 
 
On arrival in England at the Sling Camp Private Fletcher was transferred to the New Zealand Army Service Corp but was again effected by malaria spending time in hospital. Private Fletcher was sent to France in June 1916 and was transferred from the NZASB to the New Zealand Veterinary Corps at the
Vet Hospital. There were other periods of sickness in France and in January 1918 Private Fletcher returned to England and
in March 1918 assessed as Class C and returned in June 1918
to New Zealand.
 
Class C meant that Private Fletcher could remain in the army for service in New Zealand but on17th August 1918
Thomas’s files note that he was  ‘discharged for purpose of taking up Civil Life under Act 1198 of 1917 (overage).’
 
Thomas Henry Fletcher died in Auckland on 19th October 1934.
 
References:
Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Files: 13/2392 Trooper Thomas Fletcher
Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Files: 13/2392 Private Thomas Fletcher
 
Photos:
Background Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment in Egypt: Wikipedia
NZ Vets working in the field - France 1918: RSA Collection, Alexander Turnball Library
 
[i] Archway Archives New Zealand - Military Files: 13/2392 Trooper Thomas Fletcher
[ii] Death Notice 3 November 1934 Thomas Henry Fletcher
[iii] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military records: 13/2392 Trooper Thomas Fletcher
[iv] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military records: 13/2392 Trooper Thomas Fletcher
[v] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military records: 13/2392 Trooper Thomas Fletcher
[vi] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military records: 13/2392 Private Thomas Fletcher
 
Auckland Mounted Rifles Egypt / Palestine 1916