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55952 Rifleman Samuel Johnson Greer – New Zealand Rifle Brigade

Francis Clarence Greer had arrived in New Zealand in 1853 he served as a Lieutenant in the local volunteers during the
NZ Wars and  bought land in Tawa Flat. Francis Greer is  listed as a builder and contractor[i]  but also farmer in Tawa Flat and was an undertaker for the district.  Elizabeth Heather Pilcher arrived in Tawa Flat as three years old and lived the rest
of her life in the area[ii].  The couple married in 1866.

Samuel Johnson Greer was born in Tawa Flat on 29th July 1877 the seventh  of thirteen children born to
Elizabeth (nee Pilcher) and Francis Greer[iii].

Raised in Tawa Flat Samuel  farmed on his father’s land and would have also assisted his father in the undertaking service in Tawa Flat and  for the Porirua Mental Hospital[iv].

On 14th March 1917 the Evening Post carried the list of men from the No 5 (Wellington) Military District who had been selected in the military ballot included were;  Greer O. R. and Greer S.J. farmers of Tawa Flat[v]. Samuel’s brother Oscar appealed the selection in April 1917[vi] but no appeal was lodged for Samuel as he was considered
‘not a practical farmer.’

Samuel entered camp with as a member of G Company, 28th Reinforcements on30th May 1917. 55952 Private Greer’s military papers list his mother Mrs E Greer as his next of kin and the 38 year old, single man as a farmer from Tawa Flat.
Following basic training Private Greer sailed from New Zealand on 26th July 1917 arriving in England on 24th September 1917, and marched into Sling Military Training Camp and allocated to B Company Reserve Battalion Canterbury Infantry.
On 3rd October 1917 Rifleman Greer was marched into D company, 6th Reserve Battalion, New Zealand Rifle Brigade at Brocton.

There is little on Rifleman Greer’s file until the 14th May 1918 when he was admitted to Military Hospital at
Channock Chase with Myalgia. Myagia or muscle pain can be caused by viral infections or by overuse of muscles.
Rifleman Greer remained in hospital until 21st June 1918 when he was transferred to the Convalescent Hospital at Hornhurch finally being cleared for duty on 10th August 1918 when he was transferred to the Codford Depot. It
appears that Rifleman was still in the depot when the Armistice was signed so was not sent to France.

There is little on file until 29th January   1919 when Rifleman Greer was sent to hospital with influence and when he
was fit again was programmed for repatriation to New Zealand. Rifleman Greer left England on the SS Rimutuka on
5th April 1919 arriving in New Zealand on 29th May 1919 and given a month’s leave.  On 25th June 1919 Rifleman Greer
was discharged from the NZEF “on termination of his period of engagement.’

Samuel returned to his home in Tawa Flat.

Samuel Johnson Greer married Margarte (Pearl) Cornelia Amyes[vii]
the couple had one daughter Olga.

Samuel  Johnson Greer died in Silverstream, Wellington on
9th November 1961 and is buried in the Porirua Cemetery
as is his wife Pearl and other members of the Greer family.  

References
NZ BDM
Paperspast Online
Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files     
Geni-com (family genealogy)
Photos
Grave Samuel Johnston Greer: Billion Graves
Tawa Flat: National Library

[i] Obituary, 17th July 1917, Evening Post
[ii] A Pioneer’s birthday, 13th August 1930, Evening Post
[iii] NZ BDM
[iv] Tenders Accepted, 27th April 1914, Evening Post
[v] No 5 (Wellington) Recruiting District, 14th March 1917, NZ Times
[vi] Military Services Board-consideration for farmers, 4th April 1917, Evening Post
[vii] Geni-com Greer family
Tawa Flat