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9/1944 Gunner Nicholas Peters – New Zealand Field Artillery

Nicholas Peters was born, on 2nd September 1898,[i] at Paremata the son of Maud and George Peters. Nicholas had at least one sister Georgina Augusta Peters both were enrolled at Plimmerton School in 1907.[ii]

In 1915 Nicolas was still living in Paremata, with his parents, but was working as a clerk for the NZ Farmers Co-operative
in Wellington.

On 19th October 1915 Nicholas Peters enlisted in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, he gave his birth date as
2nd September 1895 which made him over the minimum age of 20 but in fact he would have been just 17. Nicholas entered Trentham Camp on 15th October 1915 and following basic training left New Zealand on the 8th January 1916 as 9/1944 Trooper Nicholas Peters, 9th Reinforcements, Otago Mounted Rifles.

Trooper Peters arrived in Egypt in March 1916 and was transferred to the New Zealand Field Artillery as
9/1944 Gunner Peters, 3rd Brigade Head Quarters, NZFA. The transfer of men to other branches of the army was a common practice to fill the ranks or fill vacancies for particular skills. A large number of men from the Otago Mounted Rifles who had fought at Gallipoli were transferred to the NZ Pioneer Battalion as the NZEF prepared for service in France.
 
Gunner Peters remained at Brigade Head Quarters, Moscar, Egypt until April 1916 when he was with other elements of
the NZEF, to France. Gunner Peters was then based in Head Quarters, Estaples, France possibly on clerical duties
remaining at Estaples until July 1917 when he was granted leave in England.

Gunner Peters was deducted 3 days pay when he missed his 6:30 am train, on the 4th August 1917, that left
Victoria Station, London to return him to France. There is no clear indication in Gunner Peters’ records to indicate any illness but on 11th September 1917 Gunner Peters was assessed, in France, by a medical panel and was classified as
‘C’ and the process was started to repatriate him to New Zealand. Gunner Peters was hospitalised in England with Pleurisy in January 1918 and finally after convalescence shipped back to New Zealand in May 1918 arriving on 15th June 1918 his home coming noted in the Evening Post.[iii]

            The parents of Gunner Nicholas Peters, of Paremata, have been
            advised that he is being invalided home in about a fortnight.
            Gunner Peters went with the 9th Reinforcements at the age of 16 years
            and a-half, and has seen nearly three years of active service.

Even thought Nicholas Peters was considered to be ‘C’ he was still eligible as a reservist for military service in July 1918
an appeal was lodged, to the Military Services Board and their recommendation was that:[iv]  

            ‘Six months leave was recommended in the case of
            Gunner Nicholas Peter, returned soldier, Paremata.
            Peters stated that though still under 20 he had already
            served two and a-half years, and was the sole support
            of  his aged parents.’
 
On 4th September 1918, two days after his twentieth birthday, Nicholas Peters was discharged as
‘No longer physically fit for War Service on account of illness contracted on active service.’
However Nicholas Peters was again medically assessed and classified as ‘C’ fit for home service as a clerk base record.
On 17th September 1918 Nicholas Peters was again at Trentham Camp in a clerical position in Base Records and remained until granted leave in lieu of discharge on the 18th February 1919 and returned to civilian life working as a clerk in the NZ War Pensions Office, Wellington.
 
Nicolas married in 1919 Olive May Woodward and the couple had at least two children[v].
 
Nicholas Peters is commemorated on the Pauatahanui Roll of Honour in St Alban’s Church, Pauatahanui.[vi]
 
Notes:
The family has been difficult to trace in New Zealand BDM as to verifying births & marriages.
George is listed as the husband of Maud Peters in his death notice in 1937 (he was 95)
 
References:
Plimmerton School 1904 – 1979 class rolls
Archway Archives New Zealand – Military records
NZ BDM
Paperspast online
Pauatahanui – a local history

Photos
Paremata and Porirua Harbour c1920: National Library 

[i] Archway Archives New Zealand Military records: 8/1944 Gunner Nicholas Peters
[ii] Enrolled Pupils from 1904 – 1929: Plimmerton School 1904-1979
[iii] Advertisements (31st May 1918) Evening Post
[iv] Reservist Appeal Decisions (4th July 1918) Evening Post
[v] Court Cases, 15th March 1924, Evening Post
[vi] Pauatahanui – a local history 

  

Paremata and Porirua Harbour