3/691 Sergeant George William Hughes - New Zealand Medical Corp
George William Hughes was born on 22nd September 1889 in London, his mother Fanny Hughes of Strafford, England is listed, in 1914, as his next of kin.[i]
George, like a large number of single United Kingdom men, was recruited to fill positions in New Zealand mental health institutes. George was working in a small arms factory[ii] prior to sailing, in about 1910, for New Zealand.
Like many of these men George was a passionate Association Football player and was a skilled forward being selected to represent Wellington in 1912, 1913 & 1914.[iii] George also played for the Porirua Hospital team as he both lived and worked in the Porirua Mental Hospital.
1913 Porirua Hospital Team - George seated 2nd right
During the first world war a large number of Hospital men enlisting for service and on 17th May 1915 George volunteered for the New Zealand Medical Corps and on 13th June 1915 sailed as part of the No 2 Stationary Hospital bound for Egypt.
The No 2 NZ Stationary Hospital on it’s arrival in July 1915 took over
the Pont de Koubbeh which was expanded to 500 beds but with the
heavy casualties from the August Battle of Chunuk Bair put a great
strain on staff given that themajority wounded men arriving had
septic wounds in some case still with the first field dressing on.
Following the evacuation of Gallipoli in December 1915 the focus was
to restore as many men as possible to active duty or return them to
New Zealand.
Patients and staff at Aotea Convalescent Hospital - Cario 1915
Private Hughes was transferred, on 7th April 1916, to the Special M
(Mental) unit where he was promoted to Corporal and selected to
accompany mental patients being return to New Zealand leaving
Egypt on 5th June 1916 on the SS Maunganui. Corporal Hughes was
only in New Zealand for a month as he sailed, on 27 June 1916,
for England again accompanying a mental patient.
Once this task was completed Corporal Hughes reported back to his
original unit the No 2 Stationary Hospital now renamed the No 1
General Hospital based at Brockenhurst, England.
Corporal Hughes remained at No1 NZ General Hospital until December
1917 when he proceeded overseas to France. In France Corporal Hughes served with both the 1st and 2nd Field Ambulance units as was promoted to Lance Sergeant, 24th July 1918, and then Sergeant on the 7th August 1918.
Sergeant Hughes spent two months in hospital for two months shortly after his last promotion and once recovered served out the remaiaing months of the war in the Stationary Hospital at Wisques, France. Sergeant Hughes remained at Wisques after the Armistice until he was shipped back to England and repatriated to New Zealand on the 9th July 1919.
Sergeant Hughes was discharged on the 25th August 1919 'on termination of his period of engagement.
George returned to work at Porirua Hospital but in 1920 he returned for a short period to England as reported in the Soccer news of the Evening Post 26th June 1920:
'G Hughes and H Heath, late of the Hospital and Thistle Clubs, sailed recently for England.
The former obtaining six months leave of absence and expects to return, but Heath will
probably remain in England. They are both fine forwards and have represented Wellington
on many occassions.'
George returned to New Zealand and again played for the Hospital Club captianing the 1921 side.
In 1922 George William Hughes married Annie Dawson.
George William Hughes died in 1955.
Mental about Wests
Archway Archives New Zealand - Military Files; 3/691 Sergeant George William Hughes
Papers Past Online
NZ BDM Online
1913 Porirua Mental Hospital winners Charity Shield: Pataka Museum
1913 Porirua Menatl Hospital (cropped) G Hughes: Patala Museum
1915 NZ Troops convalecing in Cairo: private collection
Background Entrance to No 1 NZ General Hospital, Brockenhurst, England: Archives New Zealand
[i] Archway Archives New Zealand - Military Files; 3/691 Sergeant George William Hughes
[ii]  Mental about Wests
[iii] Mental about Wests
No 1 New Zealand General Hospital Brockenhurst c1918