4/1114 Sapper Ernest Stephen Gyton – New Zealand Engineers

Ernest Stephen Gyton was born on 9th February 1890 the younger of two sons born to Grace Eliza (nee Freeman) and George Samuel Gyton[i]. Grace Elizabeth Gyton died on the 29th November 1890 with George remarrying in 1893 Jessie Florence Freeman who bought up the two boys[ii].

George Samuel Gyton was employed at the Government Printing Works and the Gyton’s lived in Wadestown with the
boys attending St Paul’s Kindergarten and then Thorndon School, Wellington.

On the 24th May 1915 Ernest Stephen Gyton enlisted in the NZEF. The 25 year old, single man listed as living with his
father in Tinakori Road. Ernest was employed by the New Zealand Railway as a fitter and because of this he enlisted in the New Zealand Engineers[iii].

4/1114 Sapper Gyton following basic training at Trentham Military
Camp departed New Zealand on the 14th August 1915 as part of
the 6th Reinforcements, New Zealand Engineers rather than for
the European War but to Egypt. Sapper Gyton’s military files
simply note that he was arrived in Egypt and remained there
supporting the NZ Mounted forces involved in the Sinai Campaign.
Following the evacuation of Gallipoli in December 1915 the NZEF
was reorganised, re-equipped and reinforced for movement to
France and deployment on the Western Front. Sapper Gyton was
marched out to ‘to the Canal’ on the 24th December 1915 and
shipped to France on the 8th April 1916 with the 2 Field Company,

6th Reinforcements, NZE  (Sapper Gyton seated 1st right ) 

Sapper Gyton remained with the 2nd Field Company, NZE
through the Western Front campaign until June 1918 when he
was posted back to England ‘on duty.’ Sapper Gyton was posted
to the No 2 NZ General Hospital at Walton and remained there
to the end of the war. It is possible that because of his engineering he was one of the first groups to be returned to New Zealand where his skills were requested for post war recovery. Sapper Gyton was discharged on the 17th February 1919 ‘ on termination of period of engagement.

Ernest returned to work in the railways. In 1923 Ernest Stephen Gyton married Gwendoline (Gwen) Vaughan Ashwood.
The couple moved out to live in Karehana Bay, Plimmerton and had three sons,  James (Jim), Robert (Bob) and Don. All
the boys attended Plimmerton School and Jim still lives in the area that his parent’s purchased their first home.

Ernest Stephen Gyton died in Karehana Bay in 1940. Gwen was very active during the Second World War in the Plimmerton Branch of the Red Cross. Gwen died in 1990.   

Plimmerton Red Cross Gwen 2nd Right,
Metty Vella 1st left

Grace Eliza Gyton died, aged 27, on 29th October 1890 at her parents’ house, The Port, Nelson. George Samuel Gyton remarried in 1893 to Grace’s younger sister Jessie Florence Freeman.
George Frederick Gyton (older brother) also served in the NZEF
Jim Gyton, like his father, served as a Sapper with Jim serving in ‘J Force’ 1945 – 1946.

Paperspast Online
Gyton family oral history
Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files

6th Reinforcements – off to the European Wars: Gyton family
Gwen and Metty Vella: Gyton family

[i] NZ BDM
[ii] NZ BDM
[iii] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 4/1114 Sapper Ernest Stephen Gyton

6th Reinforcements, NZ Engineers