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3/411 Sergeant Henry Heath New Zealand Medical Corp
 
Henry Heath was born on 4th May 1887 in Sheffield, England.
 
In the early 1900’s the New Zealand Government recruiteda large number of single men from the United Kingdom to
work in the country’s mental institutions. These young men often played Soccer (association football) and the Porirua Mental Hospital fielded a very strong team with players like Henry Heath also playing as Wellington Representatives.[i]
 
In August 1914 with the declaration of war staff  of the Porirua Mental Hospital already serving in the New Zealand Reserves were called up for duty either in the Samoa Advanced Party or in the Main Body of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF).
 
The call for reinforcements resulted in nine members of the Porirua Mental Hospital staff enlisting together for the New Zealand Medical Corps, seven men enlisting also played for the Hospital Soccer team.[ii]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Henry Heath as a member of the Porirua Mental Hospital team 1913
 
 
 
 
Porirua Hospital Team 1913 - Henry Heath seated 2nd left
 
On 21st October 1914 Henry was a single man living at Porirua Mental Hospital where he was employed as a medical attendant. Henry was enlisted by Major A C McKillop[iii] into the Mounted Ambulance, New Zealand Medical Corp.
 
Following training at Trentham 3/411 Private Heath on 14th December 1914 left New Zealand for Egypt as part of the
2nd Reinforcements, Mounted Brigade, Field Ambulance.[iv]
 
The 2nd Reinforcements arrived in Egypt in January 1915 where preparations for the Gallipoli landings had begun.
Private Heath was transferred from Mounted to Field Ambulance and with this unit sailed 12th April 1915 for Gallipoli. Private Heath sailed with Porirua Hospital men he had enlisted with: Privates Roots, Topham, Foster, Munro, and also Lance Corporal Singleton.[v] Private Heath remained on the peninsular until November 1915 when his service record noted he was at Maadi, Egypt.
 
Private Heath was admitted to hospital in December 1915 with conjunctivitis but the effects of campaigning at Gallipoli resulted in Henry remaining in hospital until February 1916 when he was discharged for duty to the No1 General
Hospital in Cairo. Private Heath remained with the No 1 General Hospital but his health from service at Gallipoli was compromised so he was assessed a “B” which meant he was no longer fit for ‘Front Line” duties. In June 1916 Private Heath as a member of the No 1 General Hospital was moved to Brockenhurst, England as resources were relocated to support efforts on the Western Front.[vi]
 
Private Heath remained at Brockenhurst and was promoted to Corporal in December 1918 and Sergeant in March 1919. Sergeant Heath remained in England supporting the repatriation of sick and wounded until September 1919 finally returning to New Zealand on the 15th November 1919 with his final discharge from the NZEF on 16th November 1919 his Certificate of Discharge noted he had been in the NZEF for 4 years and 338 days.
 
Henry Heath on discharge returned to work in the Porirua Mental Hospital but on 26th June 1920 the Evening Post article on Wellington football noted:[vii]
 
‘G Hughes and H Heath late of the Hospital & Thistle clubs sailed recently for England,
The former[viii] obtained six months leave of absence and is expected to return but
Heath will probably remain in England. They are both fine forwards and have represented
Wellington on many occasions.’
 
Heath remained in England, in 1924 his medals were sent to, and signed for, in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England.
 
 
References:
Archway Archives New Zealand – military files: 3/411 Private Henry Heaths
Mental about Wests - 100 years of fame, fortune, drama & despair:  PHC Lucas & H Moran
Papers Past Online
 
Photos:
1913 Porirua Mental Hospital winners Charity Shield: Pataka Museum
1913 Porirua Menatl Hospital (cropped) H Heath: Patala Museum
1915 NZ Troops convalecing in Cairo: private collection
Background Entrance to No 1 NZ General Hospital, Brockenhurst, England: Archives New Zealand
 
[i] Mental about Wests: List of Wellington Representatives
[ii] Evening Post 17 October 1914 - List of men selected – Ambulance:  H Alexander*, A Foley*, H Foster*, H Heath*, K Munro, P S Roots*, W Skinner*, A H Topham, F W Walsh*  (* Played for the Hospital Association Football team)  
[iii] 3/43 Major Alexander Cameron McKillop – ex Superintendant Porirua Hospital and also a Hospital Soccer player
[iv] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Records: 3/411 Private Henry Heath
[v] 3/97 Lance Corporal Singleton DCM MID (died of wounds) who also played for Porirua had enlisted earlier than Private Heath
[vi] 3/709 Private Peter Munro also from Porirua went from Egypt to Brockehhurst at the same time
[vii] Evening Post 26 June 1920: Items of Interest
[viii] 3/691 Sergeant George William Hughes – returned to work at Porirua
No 1 New Zealand General Hospital Brockenhurst c1918