First World War service personnel-40556-Service File

John Henry Wetherall

John Henry Wetherall (Service no. 35342) was a First World War soldier with links to Heathcote.

John Henry Wetherall was born in Prebbleton on  24 May 1886. He was the fourth child of eleven from parents Robert John Wetherall and Robertina (or Robina) Wetherall, nee Sutherland. His father emigrated from Ireland to New Zealand, and his mother immigrated at age four from Scotland. 

At the time of his enlistment, John was living with his family at 26 Bridal Path Road in the the Heathcote Valley. He worked for the Canterbury Seed Company as a maltster. His military personnel file described him as being 5 feet 9 3/4 inches tall, with a fresh complexion, grey eyes, and fair hair. He was a Presbyterian. It was also noted that he also had a tattoo, but no description was given. 

After enlisting on 29 August 1916, he was assigned to the 19th Reinforcements Mounted Rifles. He embarked from Wellington aboard the Waihora on 5 December 1916 and disembarked at Suez, Egypt, on 13 January 1917. From there, he was posted to the strength at Moascar. While at Zeitouh, he passed a 1st class machine gunner on 21 February 1917, and on 19 March, he was transferred to the machine gun squadron. On the following day he was posted to the field.

On 24 September 1917, he was sent to the rest camp at Port Said. He returned to the field on 4 October.

John was killed in action in Palestine on 14 November 1917. His grave can be found in the Ramleh War Cemetery, Israel.

John was one of four brothers fighting in the First World War. Unfortunately, both he and his older brother, Robert, died in the war. Two brothers survived, Frank and Stewart, and another brother was too young to enlist, but died quite young due to a flu epidemic in November 1918. That same epidemic took his younger sister, Jane, as well as his mother, Robertina.

John Henry Wetherall is remembered on the Heathcote War Memorial. 


John Henry Wetherall. Military personnel file. Archives New Zealand.

John Henry Wetherall. Online cenotaph record. Auckland War Memorial Museum.


Heathcote NotesStar, Issue 12174, 24 November 1917, p.7.