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30649 Private Louis William Sievers - Wellington Infantry
 
(Sievers family from Makara)
 
The Sievers family originated in what now is Leipzig, Saxony, Germany. In the 1840 Leipzig was within the Kingdom of Prussia and while the Napoleonic Wars had ended in 1815 there were many factors effecting Germany resulting in a
large scale movement of Germans / Prussians to other lands.
 
Wilhelm (William) and Augustus (August) Sievers left Prussia in the 1840’s going first to England where the brothers married and then, the brothers with their new wives, in 1849 immigrated to New Zealand.[i]
 
William & Clarissa Sievers would settle in Makara where they had twelve children. There were six sons, Louis George (1851), Alfred (1852), Augustus Isadore (1856), George Edward (1857), Frederick William (1864) & William Thomas (1866).
All the sons, apart from Frederick William and William Thomas married and the Sievers family expanded.
 
Alfred Sievers (1852) married Elizabeth Angelina Catley and they would also have a large family with four sons and five daughters. During the Anglo-Boar War 1899 – 1902 two of Alfred and Elizabeth’s sons left Makara to serve in contingents that New Zealand sent to the War. (see Boer War Stories - Ed)
 
 
With the build up to the outbreak of war there was hostility towards people with German sounding names was wide spread in New Zealand. It is possible that the Sievers with the close knit Makara community and fact two of the family had already served the Empire may have been shielded them from the work of the Anti-German league. During 1914 – 1918. The wider Sievers family saw seven cousins and three ‘extended’ family serve in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force serve with two of the cousins being killed in action.
 
From Makara three of Alfred and Elizabeth’s sons served in the army with two enlisted on 21st August 1916, Louis William (1887) and Albert Henry (1893) and as 30649 Private L W Sievers and 30648 Albert Henry Sievers sailed for the European War, on 7 December 1916, as part of the 20th Reinforcements, Wellington Infantry Battalion.
 
On arrival in England the brothers were in February 1917, attached to the 3rd Reserve Battalion, 2nd Wellington Infantry Regiment for training at Sling Camp. During training at Sling Camp Private Louis Sievers suffered a hernia in April 1917
and was admitted to hospital. He did not return to training until July 1917 when he was attached to the 4th Reserve Battalion, 1st Wellington Infantry Regiment . Private Louis Sievers was sent to France on the 20th August 1917 and was attached to the 17th (Ruahine) Company, 1st Battalion, Wellington Infantry.[iii]  
 
The 1st Battalion, Wellington Infantry were in the line in the area of La Basse Ville, France as the preparations for the New Zealand Division’s participation in Passchendael. Private Sievers survived the battle and with his battalion, as part of the New Zealand Division, was in mid November back in the Ypres salient holding a five-mile front along the Broonseinde Ridge which was overlooked by the a spur topped by the ruined Polderhoek
Chateau, occupied by the Germans[iv]
 
It was in this sector that on 30th November 1917 the Wellington Infantry lost
two men, killed in action, Privates Sievers and Reynish. Neither of the men has a
known grave and both are remembered on the NZ Memorial in the Buttes
New British Cemetery in Polygon Wood, Belgium.
 
 
 
Memorial panel at NZ Memorial, Buttes
 
 
Louis William Sievers is also remembered on the Makara War Memorial
 
 
Notes:
There is also another branch of the Sievers family, the descendants of Augustus and
Clara Sievers some of whom settled and farmed in Porirua.
 
References:
Archives New Zealand - Military Files: 30648 Private Albert Henry Sievers
Archives New Zealand - Military Files: 30649 Private Louis William Sievers
Archives New Zealand - Military Files: 51543 Rifleman Arthur William Sievers
NZ BDM Online
Paperspast Online
 
Photos:
NZ Memorial, Buttes, New British Cemetery - Google online
Background: Zonnebeke (Belgium Battle Scene 1917) by George Edmund Butler - National Library NZ
 
 
[i] Familytreecircle(2015).William Louis Sievers. Retrieved from http://www.familytreecircles/william-Louis-b-Sievers-b-Mary-Ellen-b-Kelly-b-Wellington-48341.htlm
[ii] Evening Post 21 January 1902: Eight Contingent.
[iii] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Files: 30649
[iv] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_Division
 
 
Zonnebeke After the Battle 1917