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1759 Private Ronald Roy Mexted – 4th Pioneer Battalion – A.I.F.

Ronald Roy Mexted was born on 30th June 1897 the youngest of three children born to Jane (McInnes) and
Edward Mexted.[i]

The Mexted family were farmers in the Tawa Flat area but the three siblings, Percy Edward, Jessie Angeline and
Ronald Roy Mexted all attended Porirua School[ii].

Edward Mexted died in 1912 and is buried in the Old Porirua Cemetery and the family moved into Wellington where
Ronald Roy Mexted was employed in the grocery trade[iii].

Ronald possibly attempted to join the NZEF in the early stages of World War One but was under 20 so was rejected and went to Australia to join the Australian Imperial Forces (AIF). This is covered in a news item published in Woman’s Corner
of the 2nd October 1919, Evening Post:

'A very hearty welcome home was tended to Private Ronald Mexted, who returned by the Riverina,
at the residence of Mr. W. Jupp, Newton. Private Mexted is the second son of Mrs. J. Mexted, Newtown.
When the war began he was unable to join the New Zealand Forces on account of being under age
(16 years). He crossed over to Australia and joined the 4th Pioneers, and was with the first Australians
to land in France, and served right through the war. While in Australia, Private Mexted married
Miss Eileen Stapleton, of Sydney. The opportunity was taken at the gathering of extending a hearty
welcome to New Zealand to Mrs. Mexted.’

Ronald enlisted in the 2nd Reinforcements, 30th Battalion, AIF on the 3rd October 1915 when he was he was 18 and left New South Wales on the 17th December 1915[iv]. Private Mexted arrived in Egypt as part of the reinforcements and
joined the elements of the AIF that had been evacuated from the Dardanelles Campaign. In March 1916 the 4th Pioneer Battalion, AIF was formed in Egypt and potentially this is when Private Mexted joined the Battalion. The 4th Pioneer Battalion was formed mainly from Queensland volunteers and arrived in France in mid 1916 and were sent to the Armentieres sector to gain experience in trench warfare. The Armentieres sector was considered a ‘quiet sector’ and was where the NZ Division was sent on their first arrival in France.

Private Mexted arrived back in Australia on 31st December 1918. It is possible that this was a visit to see his mother and
the rest of the Mexted family as there is no record of Ronald Roy Mexted in either Wises or the NZ Post Office Directories
in the 1920’s. There is no record of either Ronald or Eileen’s deaths in NZ BDM.

R (Ronald Roy) Mexted is commemorates as ‘one  who served’ on the Porirua School Roll of Honour.[v]

Notes
Ronald’s older brother Percy was selected in the 1917 Compulsory Military Services ballot but was discharged on medical grounds.
The Jupp family are related to the Mexted’s by marriage.

References
NZ BDM
Paperspast Online
Porirua School Jubilee 1872 – 1923
The AIF Project
4th Pioneer Battalion (Australia) – Wikipedia

Photo
The 4th Pioneer Battalion, AIF on the move 1917 – Wikipedia 

[i] NZ BDM
[ii] Porirua School Jubilee: Class Lists
[iii] The AIF Project
[iv] The AIF Project
[v] Porirua School Jubilee: Roll of Honour
4th Pioneer Battalion, AIF - on the move in France 1917