55264 Staff Sergeant Lewis Henry Dear – Wellington Infantry Regiment

Lewis Henry Dear was born on the 14th October 1893 the eldest child and only son of Ada and Henry William Dear.
Lewis had a younger sister Ruby Victoria Dear (1897).[i]

The Dear family moved to Porirua in 1902 / 03 as Lewis and Ruby Dear are listed in the 1903 Porirua School Rolls. Their father Henry (Harry) William Dear worked as a bricklayer[ii] probably for the Public Works Department.

Lewis, after he left Porirua School, went into Wellington for secondary education, he did well in mathematics,  passing  the 1909  junior Civil Service exams in 733 position.[iii]

In March 1915 Lewis Henry Dear, Civil Servant, enrolled for service with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF)[iv] Lewis must have failed the medical examinations which were very strict at that stage of the war.

In the Sixth Military Ballot, Dear L. H, a civil servant of Porirua, Is listed in 1917[v] as one of the 4817 men called up to
make up NZEF Reinforcements. Lewis Henry Dear aged 24 is listed as a single man living with his parents in Porirua and working as a clerk for Sargood Son & Evans Ltd, Wellington.

55264 Private Lewis Henry Dear, Army Pay Department, entered Trentham Camp on the 23rd May 1917 and quickly rose through the ranks and was a Staff Sergeant with the NZ Army Pay Department (NZ APD) in December 1917. 

Staff Sergeant Dear sailed for England on the 30th December 1917. On arrival in England in February 1918, as was
standard practice, Staff Sergeant Dear was reduced to Private Dear but was then given the acting rank of Sergeant while with the APS in England.

Acting Sergeant Dear reverted again to the ranks when he was transferred back to the training depot at Codford. Private Dear went to France in October 1918 where he was posted to the 7th Company, 1st Battalion, Wellington Infantry Regiment. Private  Dear remained in France for a month returning to England on the 28th November 1918 for
Educational Instruction. In Janaury 1919 while with the Educational Unit Private Dear was promoted to Warrent Officer 1st Class  and retained the rank while remained in England[vi].

On the 22nd June 1919 WO Dear was repatriated from England on the SS Giessen as part of the 1106 servicemen and women of Returning Draft 269. It was on the voyage while the vessel was in Cape Town in July 1919 that WO Dear was subject of a court martial. The charge was that

          Disobeyed an order in such a manner to wilful defiance of authority of a lawful command given 
personally by his  superior officer  in that he when warned on the morning of the 21st July for
piquet duty by  CSM (Company Sergeant Major) Smith, WIR (Wellington Infantry Regiment) refused
to do such duty.

WO Dear was found guilty of the charge and sentenced to be reduced to the ranks. This should have been to private but
it was commuted to being reduced to the rank of sergeant.

There is a final note on the file dated 2nd September 1919 from the O.I/ C Admin that:

‘ on account of the instructions given to Educational Staff in England and oblivious of the
fact and there was no real defiance of authority the sentance was remitted.’

The SS Giessen discharged the Wellington District men in Wellington on the 28th August 1919. While waiting for discharge returning servicemen were given a civic welcome in Porirua[vii]

On Friday evening, at Porirua, a public welcome home was accorded several boys belonging
to the district who have recently returned for active service. Sergeant Major Dear, Sergeants
 Jaques and Hughes, and Private Russell. The Rev. Mr Earwalker, who presided , extended to
them a hearty welcome on behalf of Porirua, and spoke feelingly Of the maimed and those
who would never return. The Rev Mr. Walton in a stirring address urged that some tangible
memento of the great war and the part played in it by the local boys should be obtained.
He suggested that those present should interest themselves in a scheme that was being
mooted for the purchase of land to make a local park, and thereby give the younger
generation the opportunity to take part in manly games and become it’s citizens of the future.
Messer  P  Mungavin, T Harris and J Wi-Neera also spoke. Sergeant-Major Dear responded for
the returned men. He thanked the residents of Porirua for the hearty reception they had
received. The New Zealanders had seen and lived in many countries since 1914 but they were
always glad to return to their own land. The soldier had suffered and endured much, but he
thought the mothers and loved ones left in suspense in New Zealand had generally suffered
as much. They had no excitement or changing scenes to cheer them up, but always had the
dread of the postman’s knock. To those present who had lost a dear one he extended, as a
returned soldier, his sincere sympathy.
The hall was then cleared for dancing. Refreshments were provided by the ladies of Porirua.
Messers G Mungavin and R Dear supplied the music for the dance.

Staff Sergeant Dear was finally discharged on the 23rd September 1919 ‘on termination of his period of engagement.’ Lewis Dear returned to civilian life and returned to work at Sargood Son and Evan and company he would work for the rest of his career.

In 1920 Lewis’s sister Ruby Victoria Dear married John Horace Mungavin from the old established Porirua farming family. Horace had gone to Porirua School with Lewis and Ruby.

In 1923 Lewis Henry Dear married Doris Russell Grave the couple had, at least, one daughter (1928) and one son,
Alan Lewis Dear (1926).

Lewis Henry Dear served as a Lieutenant in the Christchurch Home Guard during World War Two.

Lewis Henry Dear died on the 7th October 1947.

Sergeant Jaques, Sergeant Hughes and Private Russell all were working at Porirua Hospital when they enlisted.
R Dear was his sister Ruby Victoria Dear and reknown organist 

Paperspast Online
Post Office Directory 1910

[i] NZ BDM
[ii] Post Office Directory 1910 – Porirua listings
[iii] Names of Candidates, 25th January 1909, Evening Post
[iv] List of Registrations, 19th March 1915, Evening Post
[v] Sixth Ballot, 17th April 1917, Evening Post
[vi] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files; 55264 Sergeant Lewis Henry Dear
[vii] Welcome Home, 8th September 1919, Evening Post

Porirua c 1920