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63593 Trooper David William Fraser – Wellington Mounted Rifles

David William Fraser was born in Hawera on 21st November 1894, the son of David William and
Margaret (nee Newman) Fraser. David William Fraser was the eldest of seven children[i].

David grew up in the Waverley District of South Taranaki[ii]. David William Fraser (snr) was involved in the breeding of thoroughbred horses as was another of the Fraser clan, Donald Fraser. Donald Fraser bred a champion race horse
Advance which was trained by J H Prosser, Porirua[iii].  Joshua  Henry Prosser ran stables in Porirua. the horses being trained on Porirua Beach (now Porirua CBD). J H Prosser was renown for experience of his apprentice jockeys and it
likely the family connection enabled David employment at the stables.

David was employed as a teenager at the stables and was there during the General Strike of 1913. David like many
young men with farming connections joined the Special Constables during the strike and when returning to barracks
from duty at Waterloo Quay was struck on the shoulder by a stone
thrown by John Troy, seaman. The blow of the stone was reported
by another ‘special.’[iv]

Fraser was struck by a heavy stone that caused him to fall
forward on his horse neck. Witness had to support him until
the barracks were reached.


Specials  parade on Wellington Wharves  1913


David spent five days in hospital before returning to Porirua.

On 4th July 1917 the Evening Post carried a list of men from the
Wellington Recruitment District No 5 who had been selected by
the ballot for service. The name Fraser D W, Jockey, Porirua is
included the name has an * indicating that David had previously volunteered[v].

David’s registration & medical records record him as a single 23 year old, 5ft 10 inch and fit. David had served during
his compulsory military training with the 6th (Manawatu) Wellington Mounted Rifles. David worked for Mr J H Prosser, Porirua employed as a jockey. David’s mother Margaret Fraser, Feilding is listed as his next of kin[vi].

63593 Private David William Fraser entered military training camp on 20th August 1917 with the 31st Reinforcements transferring to the 33rd Mounted Rifles Reinforcements as Trooper Fraser on 5th September 1917.

On 13th November 1917 the Tofua departed with 810 men as Mounted Rifles reinforcements. The ships were crowded
and disease were easily spread. On 21st November 1917 Trooper Fraser was admitted to the ships hospital with scarlet fever. The disease is highly contagious so Trooper Fraser was disembarked at Albany, Western Australia and admitted
to a shore hospital.

Trooper Fraser did not arrive in Egypt until 11th March 1918 where he was assigned to the Wellington Mounted Rifles
and sent to the Training Battalion. On 10th May 1918 Trooper Fraser was one of 55 reinforcements posted to the  Wellington Mounted Rifles ‘In the Field.’  The WMR in May 1918 was based at Tel el Fara, Southern Palestine on the
banks for the Jordan River. The Jordan Valley The area was notorious for subtertian or malignant malaria and in particular the whole valley of the Wadi el Mellahah was swarming with anopheles larvae, the worst kind of mosquitoes.[vii] While quinine was issued to the troops and measures were taken to eliminate mosquitoes men still fell ill. On 3rd July 1918 Trooper Fraser was admitted to the 66th Casualty Clearing Station with malaria and evacuated to back to Egypt to the ANZAC Convalescent Hospital to recover. While Trooper Fraser was discharged back to the WMR on 14th August 1918
there were a number of recurring admissions to hospital which resulted in Trooper Fraser going before a medical board
on 29th December 1918 for return to New Zealand. Due to the lack of transport it was not until 6th March 1919 that Trooper Fraser boarded the Kaikoura.

On board the Kaikoura were 1114 men from the Mounted Rifles returning to New Zealand on the 20th April 1919.
Trooper Fraser was given leave and finally on 16th June 1919 was discharged   ‘ on account of illness malaria M J.’

Initally David’s file indicated he was going to return to his mother’s address in Fielding but later in 1923 his medals
were signed for by him at his mother’s new address, Main Road, Upper Hutt.

David did not continue with his career as a jockey, he is  listed as labourer in the electoral roll, 1928.

David William Fraser married Kathleen Bridget Rea in 1931.

David William Fraser died  1955[viii].

Reference
NZ BDM
Paperspast Online
Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files
Wikipedia
Wellington Mounted Rifles 1914 – 1919: NZ History online

Photos
Specials on Wellington Wharves 1913 
WMR Jaffa 1918


[i] NZ BDM
[ii] School Examinations, 28th October 1904, Patea Mail
[iii] Mr J H Prosser, Mentor of Advance and Archilles, 16th August 1927.
[iv] Bodily Harm Done, 20th November 1913, NZ Times
[v] Wellington Recruiting District No 5, 4th July 1917, Evening Post
[vi] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 63593 Trooper David William Fraser
[vii] British Occupation of the Jordan Valley : Wikipedia
[viii] NZ BDM
Welliongton Mounted Rifles at Jaffa