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11901  Private Arthur James  Mepham – Wellington Infantry Regiment

Arthur James Mepham was born in Porirua on 30th November 1895[i] the fifth of eleven children in the family of
Agnes Ann (nee Simmons) and William Mepham[ii]. William originally came to the Porirua District to work on the
Manawatu and Wellington Railway. William married Agnes in 1889 and the couples children were all born in the district.

Arthur James  Mepham attended Porirua School being enrolled in 1901 all of his siblings also attended the school.

In 1915 Arthur enlisted in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. On 13th December 1915 Arthur entered camp as
11901 Private Arthur James Mepham, B Company, 11th Reinforcements. Private Mepham is listed as being employed
as a farmhand on Mr A G Keinson’s Mangatanoka. Private Mepham’s next of kin is his mother Mrs W Mepham, Porirua.
Private Mepham was later posted to the 12th Reinforcements on 15th March 1916 and sailed on 1st May 1916 for the Western Front with B Company, 12th reinforcements, Wellington Infantry.

The 12th Reinforcements arrived in England in August 1916 and Private Mepham was allocated on 7th August 1916 to
the 3rd (Reserve) Wellington Battalion. Training was brief and two weeks later Private Mepham was in France. In France Private Mepham was given a month’s training before being sent on 23rd September 1916 to 7th (??????) Company, 1st Battalion, Wellington Infantry. Private Mepham remained with his company through to 26th June 1917 when he was wounded. The wound a gunshot wound to the face was considered ‘slight’ and following treatment at a casualty clearing station   he was returned to his unit.

On 26th December 1917 Private Mepham was admitted to hospital with nephritides a kidney complaint. The first
admission notes the condition as mild but two weeks later the condition had deteriorated and Private Mepham was
listed as severe and he was evacuated to England.

Private Mepham remained in hospital until June 1918 when he was sent to the Codford Convalescent camp where he remained until September 1918. In the camp Private Mepham would have been evaluated for return to the Front but his records note that he was deployed to the NZ Ordnance Department where he remained until May 1919 when he was repatriated to New Zealand.

Private Mepham arrived back in New Zealand on 7th July 1919 and while he was on leave attended a Peace ceremony at Porirua[iii].

The Peace festivities at Porirua commenced on Friday evening, when a reception was given by
residents to Lieutenant Cobb, M.C., and P Munro, Corporal Katene, and Private J Anderson,
C Russell and J Mepham. These men have all recently returned from the front, and speeches
of welcome were made by Rev Mr Walker and Rev Earwaker and Messers Windley, Mungavin
and J Wi Neera. Lieutenant Cobb, M.C., responded for the soldiers. 

Private Arthur James Mepham was finally discharged on 3rd August 1919 ‘on termination of his period of engagement. [iv]

Arthur initially remained in Porirua, with his parents, he signed for his medals at Porirua in 1924.

Arthur married Vera May White in 1930 and the couple had two children[v] listed when Arthur volunteer for service in World War Two. Arthur and Vera were living in Browns Bay Auckland where Arthur was a storekeeper for the Waitemata County Council. Private Mepham served from 1940 to 1943 in the National Military Reserve (NMR).

Arthur James Mepham died in 1974.

A (Arthur) is listed with his brother E (Ernest) Mepham on the Porirua School's Roll of Honour - These also served.

Notes
Mepham Place, Porirua East is named after William Mepham who worked on Porirua Roads for thirty years
Two of Arthur’s brothers also served in World War One
26128 Private Joseph Henry Mepham – 17th Reinforcements
69419 Private Ernest Alfred Mepham – Wellington Infantry Regiment

References
NZ BDM
Paperspast Online
Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files

Photos
NZ Troops move up to the Front 13th October 1917. 

[i] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files:11901 Private Arthur James  Mepham
[ii] NZ BDM
[iii] Porirua Festivities, 22nd July 1919, Evening Post
[iv] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 11901 Private Arthur James  Mepham
[v] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 805295 Private Arthur James Mepham  

NZ Troops move up 1917 Western Front