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SA 4650 Trooper George Burton Styles  –  7th Contingent, New Zealand Mounted Rifles
 
George Burton Styles has a family military background through his father,  George Stafford Styles. George Stafford  
Styles  was born in Nelson in 1845 with his family moving to Wellington in the 1850’s. In the 1913 newspaper articles covering  the death of George Stafford Styles there is mention of him fighting in the New Zealand Land Wars of the
1860’s in the 1st Company of the Wellington Rangers, reaching the rank of Sergeant Major and also receiving a New Zealand War medal.[i]
 
George Stafford Styles married Charlotte Gunter in 1874 and the couple moved to farm at Haywards, Lower Hutt. The couple had eight children with three sons and five daughters. The youngest of the sons, George Burton Styles was born on the 4th July 1877.
 
On the 3rd April 1901 George Styles signed enlistment papers for the 7th Contingent, New Zealand Mounted Rifles. George is listed as living in Pauhatanui and while his trade is listed as a bushman he was at that stage unemployed.
His father is listed as George Styles of Hayward, Lower Hutt.
 
SA4650 Trooper  George Styles sailed for South Africa on the 6th April  1901. Also sailing with the 7th Contingent were  
SA 44643 Trooper John Robinson,  SA4645 Farrier Len Retter, his younger  brother SA 4644 Farrier Darcy Retter,  SA 4207 Trooper Charles Robertson  all from Johnsonville. Also SA4605 Lance Corporal Joseph Brown from Tawa and  SA4657 Trooper Leo Gestro from Paremata.
 
On arrival in South Africa the 7th New Zealand and the 6th Queensland Contingent were assigned to Colonel Garratt’s column operating in the Eastern Transvaal and north-east of the Orange Free State. During June 1901 there was constant skirmishing with the Boers with casualties inflicted on both the 6th and 7th at Blesboxspruit and Kaffir’s Spruit.
In July 1901 they captured a Boer commando at Koppjiesfontein where 11 Boers were killed or wounded, 25 captured along with 34 waggons, 31 carts and 1240 cattle.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The 7th Contingent breaking camp on the Veldt 1901 
 
More successful capture of material and men continued in August 1901 at Bulfontein, Spannerberg. These clearing operations continued seriously weakening the Boers.
 
Colonel Garratt’s coloumn, on 5th September, entrained at Vereeniging en route for the Wakkerstroom district, in the extreme east of the Transvaal. The column began sweeps in the district and it was on one of these sweeps, on 9th September 1901, that Trooper Styles was wounded. The report indicates that he suffered a gunshot wound to the right arm but it was ‘considered slight.’[ii] Trooper Styles was evacuated from the field to Charleston where on 13th November 1901 a full medical assessment was filed in Trooper Styles military file.[iii]
 
‘ Trooper received a gunshot wound to right arm when attacking a Farm House
held by Boers near Pardekop, South Africa on the 9th September 1901. The
bullet entered about four inches below the external condyle of the humerus (elbow)
on a ulna aspect of the limb and passed obliquely upward, backward and outward
passing out about two inches below the condyle of the humerus. The bones were
not injured but the ulna and median nerves have been damaged causing severe
neuralgic pain in the arm and hand.’
 
An operation was recommended but refused and in the panel’s opinion Trooper Style was no longer fit for service and should be invalided back to New Zealand.
 
For his service in South Africa SA4650 Trooper George Styles was awarded the King’s South Africa War medal with year clasps of 1901 and 1902 and provincial clasp Transvaal. 
 
Trooper Styles returned to New Zealand In February 1902 and was given two months of hospital treatment and then a series of leave entitlements as his condition was again assessed. Trooper Styles was finally discharged from the New Zealand Mounted Rifles on the 15th September 1902.
 
George Burton Styles returned to farming, married Emily Annie Spencer in 1902 and the couple would have five children.
 
The nerve damage continued to trouble George and there is considerable correspondence on file but a final decision
was made by the Imperial War Pensions Board (London) in 1905 that no pension would be granted.
 
The final entry in SA4650 Trooper George Styles military file in 1920 when again he went through a medical assessment but again was not granted any pension.[iv]
 
George Burton Styles died in 1937 aged 62.
 
Notes:
Private and trooper are used in military files and newspaper items so for consistency Trooper has been used in Porirua stories.
 
References:
NZ Births, Deaths & Marriages Online
Papers Past Online
Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: SA4650 Trooper George Styles
NZ Units in South Africa – NZ History Online
 
Photos:
Background and text - 7th Contingent breaking camp - NZ History Online 
 
 
[i] George S Styles (4th October 1913) Hutt Valley Independent
[ii] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: SA4650 Trooper George Styles
[iii] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: SA4650 Trooper George Styles
[iv] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: SA4650 Trooper George Styles
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The 7th Contingent New Zealand Mounted Rifles breaking camp 1901