2/906 Gunner Albert Victor (Vic) Evelyn Moffitt  - New Zealand Field Artillery

Albert Victor Evelyn Moffitt was born in Wellington on the 15th December 1891. Albert was the 2nd child and 2nd son in John Charles Henry and Louisa Sylvia Evelyn Moffitt’s family of eleven children.[i]

Albert was educated at Brooklyn School in Wellington where he obtained his sixth standard certificate before leaving to
go farming.[ii]

On the 16th September 1912 Albert enlisted as a Driver in the New Zealand Permanent Force. Albert at the time was a single man working on the farm of Mr Christensen of  Kiritaki, Dannevirke. There is a discrepancy on the enlistment form as Albert was only 19 but has signed the form as being over 20.[iii]

I268 Driver  Albert Moffitt joined the Royal New Zealand Artillery based in Wellington. After 146 days, on the 12th February 1912, Driver Moffitt was discharged for[iv]

‘An act to the prejudice of good order and military discipline that on the 10th inst
he sent through the post a packet of offensive matter to his superior officer
Corporal West.’

Driver Moffitt worked in the stables and had sent a packet of horse manure to Corporal West.

Albert returned to farming and was working for Mr Flemings of New Plymouth when he enlisted on the 26th October
1914 in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. Albert’s papers note the correct birth date and that Albert was a single
man who had previous military service. The service with the Royal New Zealand Artillery was recognised and papers
state that he was ‘indisposed’ when he resigned. [v]

2/906 Gunner Albert Moffitt sailed for overseas service on the 14th December 1914 with the 2nd Reinforcements, New Zealand Field Artillery.  The 2nd Reinforcements arrived in Egypt on the 3rd February 1915 and were absorbed into the main body of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF), at that stage preparing for the Dardanelles.

There is a stamp on Gunner Moffitt’s file (Army form B 103) stating that he embarked for the Dardanelles on the 12th
April 1915 but this is not supported by the later form BR 220 which notes service in Egypt only. Gunner Moffitt was
attached to the 1st Brigade Ammunition Column (BAC) that supported units that protected the Suez Canal and its shipping from Ottoman attacks across the Sinai. The Canal was a vital route for men and material moving from the Indian Ocean to Egypt, the Mediterranean and Europe.

Following the evacuation of Gallipoli the NZEF reorganised resources for the campaign in France. Gunner Moffitt was transferred on the 20th January 1916 from the 1st BAC to the 1st Battery, 1st Brigade, New Zealand Field Artillery (NZFA) and was shipped to France on the 6th April 1916. The New Zealand Division was committed to the Western Front and
after a period of training, deployed to the Battle of the Somme. The New Zealand Division was committed to the battle
from the 12th September 1916 and in the early phase of the battle Gunner Moffitt was wounded. The wound was considered slight and Gunner Moffitt remained with his unit.[vi]

Following the Battle of the Somme the 1st Brigade was withdrawn to spend a cold but relatively peaceful winter at Fleurbaix, near Armentie Gres. While the 1st Battery was at Fleurbaix Gunner Moffitt was appointed as a cook on the 1st February 1917. The duties as a cook were short lived as Gunner Moffitt suffered severe scalding to his left foot. This resulted in him being admitted to the 1st Canadian Clearing Station on the 7th February 1917 then, after triage to the 14th General Hospital . The 14th General Hospital at Wimereux was situated on the Channel and a transit point for hospital ships so Gunner Moffitt was only assessed and then shipped to England. where he arrived on the 13th February 1917. Gunner Moffitt was transferred to the No 2 New Zealand General Hospital at Walton where he remained from the 20th February 1917 to the 10th April 1917. Gunner Moffitt was discharged to the NZ Convalescent Hospital at Hornchurch and then the NZFA Depot, Chadderton.

Injuries to soldiers which were not directly attributable to action in the field were investigated as a matter of policy. The army needed to confirm that the injury was accidental and not a deliberate act to avoid the front. The Commanding
Officer, Major McGill[vii] of the 1st Battery signed the correct army form B117 that:

‘on duty in the battery kitchen (near Fleurbaix) when he accidently scalded his foot, he being in no way to blame.’

Gunner Moffitt returned to France and on the 22nd June 1917 rejoined his unit and duties as a cook for the battery.
Gunner Moffitt remained with the battery apart from a two week furlough to England in February 1918.

Gunner Moffitt suffered a second injury on the 5th April 1918 when removing wood from a derelict building for his
cooking fires. Gunner Moffitt injured his stomach and after assessment by the Battery Doctor went through the process
of Casualty Clearing Station, General Hospital at Wimereux and evacuation by sea to 1st NZ General Hospital at Brockenhurst.  Again this injury was assessed with a ‘Report on accidental or self inflicted injury.’ The report needed to go through the army channels and like the previous incident, was declared accidental and was signed off by the Deputy Assistant Adjutant General (DAAG).[viii]

Gunner Moffitt spent two months at Brockenhurst and another two at the NZ
Convalescent Hospital before on the 14th September 1918 he was discharged to
Aldershot. Aldershot was a major military training establishment and the New Zealand
Field Artillery established a barracks a short distance away at Ewshot. In late 1917 long
servicing NZEF men were offered up to three months furlough if they could be released
by their units. The timing of Gunner Moffitt’s arrival in Ewshot in September 1918 and
his next entry as appointment as a cook on 12th January 1919 indicates that Gunner
Moffitt was granted this long service leave. Two important things happened during this
period, the Armistice was signed on the 11th November 1918 and Albert Victor Evelyn
Moffitt met Emily Annie Wakefiled. Albert and Emily married on the 25th January 1919 at
Church Crookham, a small village adjacent to Ewshot.

​Vic and Emily Moffitt in England 1919 

Gunner Moffitt remained as cook as Ewshot until late February when he was transferred
to No2 New Zealand General Hospital where he remained for three months. In May 1919 Gunner Moffitt started the process of repatriation, going first to Sling Camp and then to the transit camp at Torquay before embarking on the SS Ruapehu for New Zealand.

It is possible that Emily Annie Moffitt also was on the SS Ruapehu, as a soldier’s wife, landing in New Zealand in July 1919
as the couple’s first son, Albert Victor Evelyn Moffitt born on the 17th October 1919.

2/906 Gunner Albert Victor Evelyn Moffitt was discharged from the NZEF on the 24th August 1919 ‘on the termination of period of engagement.’

Albert, Emily and Albert (junior) were living in Cape Palliser, Martinborough in August 1920 when Albert signed for the
1914-15 Star, Victory and British War medals.

 Albert Victor Evelyn Moffitt died in Wellington in 1952 and Emily Ann (Annie) Moffitt in 1972.

Prepared for Vic and Emily's neice 
Albert Victor Evelyn Moffitt's birth record available in 1919 (NZ Privacy rules) 

Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Files: 1269 Driver Albert Victor Evelyn Moffitt
Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Files: 2/906 Gunner Albert Victor Evelyn Moffitt

Vic and Emily Moffitt - Moffitt family album 
NZFA -18 Pounder in Action France - National Library (RSA Collection) 

[i] BDM Online
[ii] Brooklyn School – Living Heritage
[iii] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Files: 1269 Driver Albert Victor Evelyn Moffitt
[iv] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Files: 1269 Driver Albert Victor Evelyn Moffitt
[v] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Files: 2/906 Gunner Albert Victor Evelyn Moffitt
[vi] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Files: 2/906 Gunner Albert Victor Evelyn Moffitt
[vii] Auckland Cenotaph Database: 1155 Major Sydney Clyde McGill (had originally enlisted AIF)
[viii] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Files: 2/906 Gunner Albert Victor Evelyn Moffitt 
NZFA 18 Pounder in action on France 1918                          19