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3/373 Sergeant Tom Wright – New Zealand Medical Corps (Mention in Dispatches MID)
 
Tom Wright was born on 17th June 1892 in Chester, England and as a young single man immigrated to New Zealand.
At the start of World War One he was working as a hospital attendant at Porirua Mental Hospital.
 
Tom enlisted alongwith two other ‘hospital men’ on 10th May 1915 as reinforcements in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. In the Dominion newspaper published list on 11th May 1915 included; Tom Wright, Richard Craig & William Skinner, hospital attendants, Porirua.[i]  All three men were selected, given their background, for the New Zealand Medical Corps.[ii]
 
Tom’s medical records note that he was 6’ 2” tall and fit but that his teeth were ‘sufficient’ when he entered Trentham Camp as 3/373 Private Tom Wright, No 2 Stationary Hospital, Medical Corp. After a month of basic training Private
Wright sailed for Egypt, on 13th June 1915. Also sailing with the No2 Stationary Hospital were 3/661 Private Richard Craig and 3/722 Private William Skinner.
 
Private Wright on arrival in Egypt working in the Auxiliary Hospital at Abbassia and the NZ General Hospital in Cairo. Private Wright’s devotion to duty was noted with the award of Mentioned in Dispatches (MID) on 16th March 1916.
 
In May 1916 Private Wright was transferred to the M (Mental) Special Hospital nursing patients from the Gallipoli and Palestine Campaigns. There was a need for well trained strong and fit men to help nurse traumatised and often violent mental patients. At M Hospital Private Wright was promoted to Lance Corporal Wright.
 
In 1916  the main focus for the NZEF turned to the Western
Front in June 1916 Lance Corporal Wright was transported
to England to the NZ General Hospital at Brockenhurst
where he served until the end of the war. Lance Corporal
Wright was promoted to Sergeant Wright durin his service
at Brockenhurst.
 
Balmy Lawn a section on NZ Hospital Brockenhurst
 
 
Following the November 1918 Armistice and the end of the
war, Sergeant Wright remained at Brockenhurst supporting
the repatriation of sick and wounded to New Zealand. It was
during this period that, on 26th June 1919, he married at
South Hampton Nan Miller.
 
 
 
Sergeant Wright and his new bride sailed from Plymouth on 28th July 1919 on the Hororata.
The Hororata was returning to New Zealand New Zealand soldiers of all ranks but also a number of wives and children.
 
 
 
SS Hororata  c1920
 
 
 
 
 
Sergeant Wright and his war bride arrived in New Zealand on the 21st September 1919. On 18th October 1919 Sergeant
Tom Wright was discharged  ‘ On termination of period of engagement.’
 
Tom and other returned soldiers were given a civic reception in Porirua, reported in 2nd December 1919 issue of the Dominion[iii]
 
            ‘The final reception to returned soldiers of the district was held
            at Porirua, when a great number of residents gathered to extend
            a welcome home to Q.M.S. F Goldsmith, M.M., Sergeants P S Roots,
            H Heath, T Wright, Privates T Windley, E Hook, and H Burt. The Rev.
            Mr Earwaker presided and made feeling reference to the school boys
            of Porirua who had lost their lives. The names of the fallen were,
            H Beaumont, R Auty, T Dent, J Smith, C Chapman, J Wi Neera and
            P Crowe. As a mark of respect the “Last Post was sounded. . . . .’
 
Tom Wright returned to Porirua and it is presumed to work at Porirua Mental Hospital. Tom received his medals, in July 1920, at Bay Road, Porirua.
 
There is no record of Tom (Thomas?) or Nan's (Nancy?) death in New Zealand and the couple may have returned to England.
 
Notes:
Articles on 3/661 Private Richard Craig and 3/722 Private William Skinner also available
Articles on Goldsmith, Roots, Heath, Windley, Hook, Burt, Beaumont, Auty, Dent, Wi Neera are available and Smith, Chapman and Crowe are being prepared.
 
References:
Archives New Zealand – Military Files: 3/737 Sergeant Tom Wright
Papers past Online
 
Photos:
Text and background: Brockenhurst Hospital – Balmer Lawn Section - Private Collection
SS Hororata – NZ Shipping Company -  Private Collection
 
[i] Yesterdays Fine Responses (11 May 1915) Dominion
[ii] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Files: 3/661 Richard Craig, 3/722 William Skinner, 3/737 Tom Wright
[iii] Civic Reception (2 December 1919) Dominion
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
New Zealand Hospital at Brockenhurst