65459 Gunner Arthur Sievers – New Zealand Field Artillery

The Sievers family originated in what now is Leipzig, Saxony, Germany. In the 1840 Leipzig was within the Kingdom of Prussia and while the Napoleonic Wars had ended in 1815 there were many factors effecting Germany resulting in a
large scale movement of Germans / Prussians to other lands[i]. Two Sievers brothers arrived in New Zealand in the
1850’s and settled in the Wellington / Makara areas[ii].

Arthur Sievers was second generation New Zealand born Sievers’ the son of Mary Ellen (nee Kelly) and William Louis Sievers. Arthur was born in Kilbirnie, Wellington on 16th August 1891 the 13th child in the family of fifteen which
included 5 females and 10 males[iii].

Arthur was educated at the Marist Brothers, Thorndon before going beginning a career as a carpenter / joiner.[iv]

On 5th June 1915 Arthur married a young widow Mary Sophia Amelia Paris (nee Amey) Sophia had a young daughter
Lyla Amy (Amey - Ed) Paris (17th April 1911) Arthur and Sophie had their own child George Henry Sievers born on
14th February 1917. George was seven months old when Arthur entered Trentham Military Camp on 19th September
1917 with B Company, 33rd Reinforcements. 65459 Private Arthur Sievers’ military papers record that he was employed
as a joiner in the Post and Telegraph (P&T) Department and his next of kin Mrs Sophie Sievers, 22 Glenbervie Terrance, Wellington.
Mary Sophie Amelia Sievers  c 1912

Gunner Arthur Sievers 1919 

Private Sievers, probable because he had seven
years military training with the Garrison Artillery,
on 9th November 1917 was transferred to the
36th New Zealand Field Artillery (NZFA)
Reinforcements and on 14th January 1918 while
in the 37th Reinforcements NZFA became
Gunner Sievers. Following training Gunner Sievers
left New Zealand on 23rd March 1918 with the
38th NZFA Reinforcements.

On arrival in England the 38th Reinforcements were
sent on 21st June 1918 for more training at the Artillery
School, Ewshott. Following this training Gunner Sievers
was shipped to France on 11th September 1918 and was
attached to the Divisional Ammunition Column (DAC). Gunner Sievers’ brother George[v], also a Gunner with the NZFA,
was also with the DAC. The DAC was engaged in moving up equipment and ammunition to the guns on the front lines. Gunner Arthur Sievers remained with the DAC until the Armistice was signed on 11th November 1918 when he was detached to Trench Mortar (TM) Batteries.

It was while Gunner Sievers was with the TM Batteries that he was selected to receive one of the Christmas parcels from New Zealand. The parcels were packed by a variety of groups and the one that Gunner Arthur Sievers received had been packed by a young schoolgirl from the Terrace School, Wellington. The Christmas gifts usually contained a postcard so
that the soldier could write back to New Zealand and the person who packed the box. Gunner Arthur Sievers’ post card went back to his niece Edith, a pleasant surprise for both.

Front and Rear of the 1918 Christmas Pudding 

It is possible that the Christmas Gift was opened in Germany rather than France as following the Armistice the
New Zealand Division had begun, on 28th November 1918, marching up through Belgium towards the British Zone
around Cologne, in the Rhineland Region. The occupation army was intended to ensure that Germany could not break
the Armistice before the formal peace treaty could be signed. The New Zealand Division entered Germany on the
19th December 1918 and was then transported by train to Cologne arriving on 20th December 1918. New Zealand
troops were billeted with local German families as well as occupying German Military Barracks.

Gunner Sievers and others were billeted with Mrs G Kuth,
30 Ehrenstrasse Cologne, Germany. 

30 Ehrenstrasse second X to right of bridge 

From late December 1918 men who had volunteered in
1914-15, who had skills required in New Zealand or were
married, started to be repatriated to New Zealand. When
it became that Germany was in no condition to resume
combat the repatriation was speeded up. On 25th March
1919 that last contingent of New Zealand troops left

Gunner Sievers left Cologne on 22nd February returning to England on leave and rather than being sent back to Germany Gunner Sievers at the end of his leave was posted to the Artillery School at Coldfield Sutton, Liverpool. It was while
Gunner Sievers was in Liverpool that he posed with his two brothers and a cousin:

Four Rough Diggers in Liverpool 1919

Left to Right 

59271 Sergeant Patrick (Dick) Richard Kelly

NZ Signal Corp

65495 Gunner Arthur Sievers NZFA

50236 Gunner George Sievers NZFA

67262 Rifleman James (Jim) Sievers  NZRB

Gunner Sievers left England via Southampton on 28th July 1919 arriving back in New Zealand
on 31st September 1919 and following leave was discharged from the NZEF on 18th October 1919 ‘On termination of period of engagement.’

Arthur returned to live with his wife and children in Wellington but soon moved out to Porirua as he was ‘not found at
22 Glenbervie Terrace, Wellington on 18th January 1921 and his medals were eventually signed for, in Porirua, on
5th April 1922.

Lyla Sievers, Arthur and Sophie's daughter is first registered at Porirua School in 1922 and her brother John in 1923
and the siblings born after the war, Mollie, June, Rex and Ken also attended the school.

Arthur was initially involved in farming as part of the Sievers Brothers
(Arthur, George and Richard) but by 1928 is listed as a carpenter and at that
stage had moved from the farm to the Old Main Road and later to a house that
Sophie and Arthur built at what is now 4 Arawhata Street, Porirua.

4 Awatea Street, Porirua c1940's  

Mary Sophie Amelia Sievers died on 16th April 1960 and
Arthur Sievers on 12th December 1965 both are buried in the
old Porirua Cemetery.

Rosetta (Edith) Edith Sievers was the daughter of Arthur’s older brother William (Gus) Augustus Sievers. Edith is buried with her husband Lyell Rolston in the Sievers family plot in Porirua Cemetery close to the burial plot of her uncle Arthur Sievers.

Four of George’s brothers were in the NZ Army:–
75668 Private Frederick Bernard Sievers – discharged C2
50236 Gunner George Sievers – NZFA
67262 Rifleman James (Jim) Sievers NZ Rifle Brigade
80846 Corporal Richard (Dick) Sievers – 50th Reinforcements NZFA

Paperpast Online
NZ History Online
Brown (Sievers) family oral history
Archway Archives New Zealand Military Records

Mary Sophie Amelia Sievers – Sievers/Brown family
Arthur Sievers (cropped) – Sievers/Brown family
Postcard – the Christmas Pubbing – Sievers/Brown family
Postcard  - Cologne – Sievers/Brown family
Four Rough Diggers in Liverpool – Sievers/Brown family
4 Arawata Street Porirua – Sievers/Brown family

[i] Brown family genealogy – unpublished
[ii] Brown family genealogy – unpublished
[iii] NZ BDM
[iv] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 65459 Gunner Arthur Sievers
[v] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 50236 Gunner George Sievers
[vi] Army of Occupation: NZ History Online
4 Awatea Street, Porirua