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10/3431 Lance Corporal Leonard Christie Williamson – Wellington Infantry Regiment

Leonard Christie Williamson was born in Wellington on 28th August 1886 the third child of Elizabeth (nee Teidman) and William Johnson Williamson. Leonard had an older sister Eva and brother George and two younger sisters Grave and
Eva[i].

The Williamson family moved out to Porirua in the late 1880’s as the area developed with the new Manawatu & Wellington Railways line and the opening of the Porirua Mental Hospital. William Johnson (John) Williamson was a butcher by trade.

The family attended Porirua School with George being enroled in 1891[ii].

The Williamson family moved from the Porirua area about 1910 as John Williamson, butcher is listed in that year’s
NZ Post Office Directory but in the 1911 electoral roll William, Elizabeth and their son Leonard are listed as living in Farm Road, Northland. Leonard Christie Williamson is listed as a grocer[iii].

On 18th June 1913 Leonard Christie Williamson married Nell Kingdon. The couple established a home in Petone, Wellington. Nellie and Leonard had two daughters, Joyce (1913) and Edna (1914) born before Leonard volunteered for
service in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF)[iv].  Leonard Christie Williamson, a married man, is listed as a
grocer from Petone and his next of kin his wife Mrs L  C  Williamson as his next of kin. 10/3431 Private Williamson entered military camp on 23rd August 1915 with the 8th Reinforcements. Following basic training Private Williamson left New Zealand on 13th November 1915 with the 8th Reinforcements heading to Egypt. Private Williamson left Nellie with
30 month old Joyce, 11 month old Eva and five months pregnant with their son Douglas Leonard Williamson.

The 8th Reinforcements arrived in Suez, Egypt on 20th December 1915, the final days of the Dardanelles Campaign. The
8th Reinforcements were integrated into the main body of the NZEF as preparations and training were conducted to
move the NZEF’s main focus to France and the Western Front. 10/3431 Private Williamson was posted to the
9th (Wellington East Coast) Company, 2nd Battalion, Wellington Infantry Regiment. Private Williamson was shipped with
his company to France on 9th April 1916 and served on the Western Front until February 1918 when he was granted two weeks leave in the U.K.  Private Williamson was promoted to Lance Corporal Williamson on 27th July 1918 and was
reported wounded on 30th August 1918. The 2nd Battalion of the Wellingtons was in support in the suburbs of Bapaume and was subject to shell fire during German counter-attacks[v] and it is possible Lance Corporal Williamson was wounded during shelling as he was taken to a casualty Clearing Station (CCS) for treatment but was back with his unit on
6th September 1918. On 10th September 1919 Lance Corporal Williamson was readmitted to hospital with ‘contusions to the back – old injury.’[vi]

Lance Corporal Williamson was evacuated by the
No 2 NZ Feild Ambulance and then a hospital train to the
rear where he was assessed and shipped to the
No 1 NZ General Hospital, Brockenhurst, England where he was admitted on 20th September 1918.

Hospital train at Brockenhurst 

Lance Corporal Williamson was discharged to the NZ Convalescent Hosptial, Hornchurch on 21st October 1918. While he was at Hornchurch the Armistice was signed ending the war and as he was due ‘Duty Leave’ arrangements were made to return Lance Corporal Williamson to New Zealand. Duty Leave was grant to men who had served three years in the NZEF and enabled them to travel back to New Zealand.

Lance Corporal Williamson left England on the 8th December 1918 on the Ruahine arriving in New Zealand on 21st January 1919 and was discharged on 17th February 1919 ‘on termination of his period of engagement.’

Leonard returned to Petone, Nellie, Joyce - 5 and half, Eva - 4 and Douglas Leonard Williamson the son he had not seen, nearly 3. The couple continued to live in Petone and Leonard returned to the grocery trade.

Leonard and Nellie had another seven children while they lived in Petone and later at Berhampore, Wellington. Nellie died on 15th December 1928, aged 37,[vii] and is buried in the Karori Cemetery. There is a record of Harold Joseph Williamson, aged six months, also being buried in the Karori Cemetery on 27th December 1928.

Leonard Christie Williamson continued to live at 22 Chatham Street, Berhampore, Wellington until his death on 8th December 1952.

L Williamson is listed on the Porirua School Roll of Honour – These  also served

References
NZ BDM
Ancestry.com – Leonard Christie Williamson
Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 10/3431
Karori Cemetery Records
Paperspast Online
The Wellington Regiment (NZEF) 1914 – 1919
Porirua School Jubilee 1873 - 1923

Photos
Loading wounded from a hospital train - Brockenhurst Station 

[i] NZ BDM
[ii] Porirua School class lists
[iii] NZ Electoral lists: Ancestry.com
[iv] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 10/3431 Lance Corporal Leonard Christie Williamson
[v] Chapter XLIII, The Wellington Reiment (NZEF) 1914-1919
[vi] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 10/3431 Lance Corporal Leonard Christie Williamson
[vii] Death Notice Nellie Williamson, 15th December 1928, Evening Post  

Wounded from a hospital train at Brockenhurst