24/2294 Rifleman John Sorbie – D Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd NZ Rifle Brigade

John Sorbie was born on 1st October 1882 in Scotland the son of Thomas Sorbie, Causeway Street, Paisley, Scotland.[i]
It is probable that John along with other members of the Sorbie family immigrated to New Zealand in August 1908.[ii].
A John Sorbie is listed as a farmer travelling unaccompanied but with five other Sorbies.

John moved to the Porirua District on the 1911 Electoral Roll he is listed as a farm assistant probably working for
Ernest Whittaker Mexted. A Sorbie and Mexted are listed as playing for the Porirua team Toa.[iii]

John Sorbie enlisted on 14th December 1915 he listed that he was employed as a labourer by E W Mexted, Porirua and
that his father Mr Thomas Sorbie, Paisley, Scotland as his next of kin[iv].

24/2294 Rifleman Sorbie, F Company, 5th Reinforcements, 2nd Battalion, NZ Rifle Brigade, following basic training left
New Zealand for Egypt on 31st March 1916. Egypt was a transit point as the 5th Reinforcements were then shipped to Marseilles, France and then transported to the training camp at Etaples. Rifleman Sorbie on 18th July 1916 was posted,
‘In the Field’ to D Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd NZ(R)B.  The first major engagement for the 3rd NZ(R)B was the Battle of
the Somme. The NZ Division went into action on 14th September 1916. On the night 21st / 22nd September 1916 the
3rd Brigade moved up to relieve the 2nd Brigade. It was either while they were moving up or while they were settling in their trenches that Rifleman Sorbie was wounded. Rifleman Sorbie’s military record notes that he was suffering multiple gunshot wounds (GSW) to the back and legs so possible was hit by shrapnel. Rifleman Sorbie was evacuated from the
field to the St John’s Ambulance Brigade Hospital where he remained until he could be shipped to England.
Rifleman Sorbie was admitted to the 3rd London General Hospital, Wandsworth, on 17th October 1916. Rifleman Sorbie remained at the 3rd London until 6th January 1917 when he was transferred to the 2nd London General Hospital, Walton. On 28th February 1917 Rifleman Sorbie was assessed by a medical board and declared unfit for active service and place
on a list to be returned to New Zealand. On 18th March 1917 Rifleman Sorbie was loaded on NZ Hospital Ship
(HMNZHS) Maheno for repatriation to New Zealand.

On return to New Zealand Rifleman Sorbie was again assessed by a medical board and was considered ‘no longer fit for active service on account of wounds received.’ Rifleman Sorbie’s file has been purged at some stage and no medical
records remain but his wounds were considered serious enough for him to receive a War Pension of 15/-. John Sorbie was discharged from the army on 12th July 1917, any notifications to be forwarded to  C/- Porirua Post Office.

Little is known of John Sorbie post war, he is listed in the 1919 Electoral Roll as a labourer living at the Porirua Hotel. John Sorbie also signed for his service medals in Porirua, in 1921.

John Scobie died in Te Awamutu on 10th October 1961 and is buried in the RSA Section of the Te Awamutu Cemetery.

Buried Block 1A-4-88, RSA section, Te Awamutu Cemetery

Paperspast online
Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files

HMNZHS Maheno :

[i]    Archway Archives New Zealand Military files: 24/2294 Rifleman John Sorbie
[ii]  UK outward passenger lists
[iii] Association Football, 7th June 1912, Evening Post
[iv] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 24/2254 Rifleman John Sorbie