10/346 Private George Carl France – Wellington Infantry

George Carl France was born in Levin on the 30th May 1894 the only son of Henry Butler and Louise Theodora France (nee Frechtling)[i]

George, like his father, became a carpenter and on the outbreak of war enlisted in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF)[ii]

10/346 Private France, Wellington Infantry, left New Zealand on 16th October 1914 as part of the main body. He arrived in Egypt and rather than going to Europe as anticipated the NZEF, as part of the ANZAC Corp, began training for a landing in the Dardanelles.

The Wellington Infantry Battalion landed at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli on the 25th April 1915 and was in action in this sector until 5th May 1915. The Wellington Battalion along with other New Zealand units was then moved to the Helles area at the southern end of the Gallipoli Peninsular.

On the 8th May 1915 the Wellington Infantry Battalion was in action in the Second Battle of Krithia. Allied forces attempted to take the village of Krithia and the crest Achi Baba. It was frontal assault in full daylight and the Wellington Battalion struggled a few hundred meters before being brought to a halt in the killing ground of ‘Daisy Patch.’  The New Zealand casualties were 800 and of those killed 48 were from the Wellington Battalion[iii] . Private Frances was one of the casualties and was evacuated to Malta.[iv]

Many World War One military files were purged in 1949 of all but basic
information and it appears the Private France’s file was one of these. There is
nothing to indicate the nature of his wounds, but newspaper articles note that on
20th July 1915, he was still in Imtarafa Hospital, Malta but progressing satisfactorily.[v]

It is possible that once Private France recovered sufficiently he was shipped to
Egypt as his military file does record that he was admitted to the New Zealand
General Hospital at Pont de Koubbeh, Cario on the 14th January 1916. Initially
admitted with dysentery this was re-diagnosed as enteric fever and it was not
until 4th March 1916 that he was finally declared ‘fit for service.’[vi]

Private France rejoined the Wellington Infantry but on the 4th April 1916
Private France was transferred to the 2nd Field Ambulance and travelled to
France with this unit when the NZ Divsion moved to the Western Front.

10/346 Private George France NZMC    1916 / 1917 

Again details are vague but Private France was in Estples on the 12th July 1916 his
file notes he was at the NZ Division Base.  Private France would have been involved
in the New Zealand Division’s actions at the Battles at Somme, Messines and Passchendaele.

In the battle of Passchendaele in October 1917, the muddy conditions made it impossible to use wheeled vehicles.

Teams of six bearers spent up to seven hours battling knee deep mud to carry the wounded between 3 and 5 kilometres to a dressing station[vii]

Stretcher Bearers - Passchendaele 1917 

                                                                                       The ongoing impact of active service resulted in Private France being                                                                                                   evacuated sick from France in March 1918 being admitted to the 2nd                                                                                                   London General with dysentery. Private France remained in London
until May 1918 when he transferred to the No 1 NZ General Hospital at Hornchurch as a patient until August 1918 when
he was transferred to staff.

On the 27th February 1919 Private France left England on the Zealandic part of the NZMC staff on duty with Draft 217 of returning troops[viii].

Private France was discharged on the 28th March 1919 ‘on termination of period of engagement’ he returned to Levin.
George Carl France in 1921 married Beryl Kate Remington.

In World War Two George served as a Lieutenant in the Levin Battalion of the Home Guard. George Carl France died in Levin on the 14th April 1977.

George’s parents moved to Plimmerton in the early 1910’s
where they built a house on Moana Road. The house for
many years was known as Krithia.  Probably as a
commemoration of their son surviving the battle.
(I can remember it in the 1960’s – Ed)
In recent renovations the name has been removed.

 Krithia - Moana Road, Plimmerton 2012 

Louise emigrated to with her family to New Zealand from
Germany and still late in life spoke with a heavy accent.
This may have led to whispers of a German Spy operating
from Krithia during both World Wars. This story in more
detail is covered in an article on the Plimmerton website www.plimmerton.org.nz/anzac stories.

NZ BDM Online
NZ History Online
Paperspast Online
Oral History De Castro / Dodson 

Stretcher Bearers Passchendaele - Goggle photos
10/346  Private George Carl France - De Castro family
Krithia - Dodson 

[i] NZ BDM Online
[ii] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 10/346 Private George Carl France
[iii] Second Battle of Krithia: NZ History Online
[iv] Arrival at Malta dated 17th May 1915, 28 June 1915, Evening Post
[v] How the men are faring, 10th July 1915, Evening Post
[vi] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 10/346 Private George Carl France
[vii] Charles Begg – NZ History online
[viii] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 10/346 Private George Carl France
Moving the wounded Passchendaele 1917