55957 Private Charles Harris – 43rd  Reinforcements

Charles Harris’s grandparents settled in the Pauatahanui area 1858.[i]

Charles Harris was born in Pauhatanui on the 23rd April 1889[i] the eldest of Mary and David Harris’s three sons.
Charles (Charlie) also had three older sisters and two younger sisters. Charlie went to the local Pauatahanui School with
his brothers, sisters and numerous cousins[ii].

Charlie’s younger brother Walter (Wal) was the first of the family to join the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) on
the 9th October 1916 entering camp on the 2nd January 1917 with the 24th Reinforcements. 41542 Private Harris left
for the Western Front on the 5th April 1917.[iii]

Charlie was selected in the fourth military services ballot that closed in
February 1917, he was summoned to attended a medically inspection which
passed him as A Fit. An appeal against military services was lodged in
April 1917 on the grounds on missed medical conditions and a second
medical examination was conducted which again passed him as Fit A.

Charlie entered military camp as 55957 Private Charles Harris, C Company, 
28th Reinforcements on the 30th May 1917. Private Charles Harris military
papers note that he was a shearer working for Mr J Blackie of Horokiwi Valley
and his next of kin was his father D Harris, Pahautanui.

55957 Private Charles Harris 28th Reinforcements  1917

There were ongoing issues resulting in Private Harris being transferred to
C Company, 29th Reinforcements on the 1st August 1917. Also in the
29th Reinforcements was Charlie’s younger brother Herbert (Herb) Harris
serving as 59366 Private Herbert Harris. Charlie’s younger brother, Herb,
left for France two weeks later on the 15th August 1917[iv].

Private Harris was with the 31st Reinforcements during October 1917 when
reports of the death of his younger brother Wal were received in Pauatahanui.
41542 Private Walter Harris was killed on the first day of the Battle of
Passchedaele, 12th October 1917.

Private Harris was given two month leave without pay during November 1916 to January 1918. By June 1918 Private Harris was with the 40th Reinforcements when he was graded as B1 but it was not until July 1918, when he was part of the 43rd Reinforcements that 55957 Private Charles Harris was given a Certificate of Leave in Lieu of Discharge.[v]

Charlie returned to farming, he never married[vi] and died in 1976.

Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files
Pauatahanui – A local history: Helen Reilly
Paperspast Online

55957 Private Charles Harris, 28th Reinforcements: extended Harris family
Pauatahanui School Jubilee 1955 (class 1886 - 1895): Cheryl Duggan

[i] NZ BDM
[ii] Pauatahanui  School Rolls ( Needs dates )
[iii] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 41542 Private Walter Harris
[iv] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files:59366 Private Herbert Harris
[v] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 55957 Private Charles Harris
[vi] Oral History – extended Harris family
1955 Pauatahanui School Jubilee  (Charlie top left)