13759 Private James Thomas Hare – Otago Infantry Regiment

James Thomas Hare was born in Dunedin on the 6th August 1874 the son of James Thomas and Annie Elizabeth Hare.[i] James was the oldest son in a family of five with one older sister Harriett (1873), two younger sisters Annie Louisa (1876) and Maud Emma (1878) and a younger brother Harry George (1879.)[ii]

On the 7th March 1916 James Thomas Hare enlisted in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF). James is listed in his military file as a miner working for the Westport Coal Company, Westport. The 42 year old single man lists his father James Thomas Hare of Titahi Bay, Porirua as his next of kin[iii].

13759 Private James Thomas Hare sailed from New Zealand on the 25th June 1916
with the 14th Reinforcements arriving in England on the 22nd August 1916. The 14th
Reinforcements were transferred to the Sling Military Camp where Private Hare was
posted to the Otago Training Battalion. Private Hare was in France by the 26th
September 1916 where he was attached to the 1st Battalion, Otago Infantry[iv].

13759 Private James Thomas Hare 14th Reinforcements c1916 

Private Hare was admitted to hospital on a number of occasions with viral infections
but served on the Western Front and would have been at Messines and Passchendaele.
Private Hare was one of the fortunate men granted two weeks leave, on the 28th
October 1917, following the Battle of Passchendaele where nearly 200 Otago
Battalion men were killed.

Private Hare rejoined his battalion and was in action during the March 1918 German
Spring Offensive that threatened to break through the allied lines.

On the 14th July 1918 Private Hare was sent to the Infantry Training School for Lewis Gun training as the NZ Division prepared for the next push on the Western Front.

Private Hare was back with the 1st Battalion on the 27th July 1918 as the New Zealand prepared for the August 1918, Second Battle of Bapaume.

The assaults which included the 2nd Otago Battalion ended on the 24th August 1918 with villages of Grevillers and Biefvillers held with the loss of six officers and 105 other ranks.[v]  It was decided that the attacks would be renewed on
the 25th August 1918 using the 1st Battalion Otago and the 1st Battalion Canterbury. The 1st Battalion Otago had moved up on the 24th to the a position across a railway line and south of Achiet-le-Grand where it was dug in. The 1st Otago Battlion was assigned the line of the Bapaume-Arras Road with a secondary line extending from the village of Favrieul to the Bapaume Cemetery, including the Monument Wood.

On the morning of the assault the 1st Otago was subjected to heavy gas and high explosive shelling then as the assault reached the crest of the Bapaume-Arras Road the volume of machine gun fire was so heavy and with severe casualties progress was halted. One of the casualties was Private Hare being reported to be killed on
the 25th August 1918 and was buried beside the Bapuame- Arras Road.

Private Hare and twenty-eight other men from the Otago Battalion also killed on the
25th August 1918 were reburied after the war at L'Homme Mort British Cemetery  
Ecoust-St. Mein a small hamlet 10 KM from Bapaume. 

Grave at L'Homme Mort British Cemetery - 13579  Private J T Hare 
The Evening Post carried a notice from Private Hare’s father[vi]

Mr J. T. Hare, of Titahi Bay, wishes to thank all kind friends and
Defence Department. For letters and Telegrams of sympathy
received by him on the loss of his dear son, J. T. Hare of the
14th Reinforcements Killed in action on the 25th August.
Enlisted like a man, and died for his country

Official Hisotry of the Otago Regiment, NZEF in the Great War 1914-1918: NZ Electronic Text Collection
Paperspast Online
Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 13759 Private James Thomas Hare

Private James Thomas Hare c1916, 14th Reinforcements: Auckland Cenotaph
Grave 13759 Private J T Hare - Otago 

[i] NZ BDM
[ii] NZBDM
[iii] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 13759 Private James Thomas Hare
[iv] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files:13759 Private James Thomas Hare
[v] Offical History of the Otago Regiment, NZEF in the Greta War 1914-1918
[vi] Notices, 25th September 1918, Evening Post 
Otago Regiment Lewis Gun training at Sling Camp 1918