17/292 Sapper Joseph Michael Martin – New Zealand Engineers

Joseph Michael was born in Geelong, Victoria on 8th February 1886.[i] Members of the Martin family moved to
New Zealand in the early 1900’s as Joseph’s sister Agnes married in New Zealand in 1907.[ii]

On 15th December 1914 Joseph was working as a bushman in Opatiki when he enlisted in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF). Joseph listed his sister Agnes McLaren, Palmerston North as his Next of Kin. Joseph entered military camp
as 17/292 Trooper Martin, 3rd Reinforcements, Wellington Mounted Rifles. At the end of basic training and just prior to
the 3rd Reinforcements being shipped overseas Trooper Martin was transferred, on 12th February 1915[iii] to the Veterinarian Corp.  Trooper Martin arrived in Egypt on 26th March 1915. Trooper Martin was admitted to hospital a
number of times during the next six months but then developed Gastroenteritis and was hospitalised for two months. Following a Medical Board it was decided that Trooper Martin should be invalided back to New Zealand for rest and recovery. Trooper Martin was reassessed in New Zealand; on 13th April 1916 he was discharged from the NZEF as ‘medically unfit.’

On 8th September 1916 Joseph again enlisted in the NZEF entering camp on 8th September 1916 with the 20th Reinforcements as Sapper Martin, New Zealand Engineers. However Sapper Martin was discharged on 21st October 1916 as medically ‘unfit for military service.’

Joseph return to civilian life, in 1917 he was working as a linesman for the Post Office in Palmerston North and is listed as living with his sister Mrs Agnes McLaren when he re-enlisted. There may have been concerns about his previous
discharges from the NZEF as he entered military camp on 16th April 1917 as 17/292 Private Martin. Head Quarter, C M P. Private Martin was transferred on 18th May 1917 to the Army Service Corp (ASC) and sailed for England with the 28th Reinforcements ASC on 4th July 1917.

On arrival in England Private Martin was marched into the Sling
Military Training Camp on 28th September 1917 where he was
assigned to the Reserve Corp, NZASC.   Private Martin remained
at Sling until the 7th January 1918 when he was transferred to the
NZ Engineers Training establishment at Boscombe as
17/292 Sapper Martin, NZ Engineers. Sapper Martin remained
training at Boscombe but did have two periods in hospital once with
Orchities and the second with Gastroenteritis.  Sapper Martin’s health
was again examined by a Medical Board and on 11th September 1918
he was considered unfit for active service. 

Sapper Martin on 18th November 1918 married Emily May Le Fevre[iv] at St John’s Church, Boscombe. Sapper Martin a month later was admitted to NZ General Hospital, Brockenhurst with viral infection remaining at the hospital for two months before being discharged to wait for repatriation to New Zealand.

Sapper Martin sailed for New Zealand on the SS Arawa with 56 Officers, 526 men and 6 nurses. It is possible that Emily Martin also sailed on the Arawa with her husband. On arrival in New Zealand Sapper Martin was given one month’s leave and discharged from the NZEF on 14th June 1919 as ‘no longer fit for War Service on account of illness conducted on Active Service.’
                                         Joseph and Emily returned to Palmerston North as Joseph made a final application for military                                                     service on 18th August 1919 when he applied for Home Service. Joseph’s application notes him as                                               being married with one child and working as a linesman, living in Palmerston North. There are no                                               papers on 17/292 Sapper Joseph Michael Martin’s file to indicate if he was successful.
                                         Joseph and Emily remained in Palmerston North up to 1938[v]and the couple had three more                                                       children. It is possibly that with the outbreak of World War Two the Martin Family move to Porirua                                               for employment.

​                                         Joseph Micheal Martin c1930 

                                          On 1st May 1946 Joseph Michael Martin died in Porirua and is
                                          buried in the Porirua Cemetery.
                                          Emily May Martin died in 1994[vi].

Archway Archives New Zealand, Military Files
NZ Electoral Rolls

Martin grave Porirua: Melanie MacDonald
St John’s Church, Boscombe:Flickr
Joseph Michael Martin c1930: Ancestry.com 
HMNZT No10 Arawa: Te Papa (PS002908)

[i]    Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files : 17/292 Sapper Joseph Michael Martin
[ii]   NZ BDM
[iii]  Archway Archives New Zealand: Military Files: 17/292 Sapper Joseph Michael Martin
[iv]  Emily May Le Fevre was born on 10th March 1891, Burrawang New South Wales, Australia
[v]   1938 Electoral Roll, Palmerston North
[vi]  NZ BDM