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John George Herdman (1895-1916)

Weardale farmer who emigrated to New Zealand and served with Auckland Regiment on the Somme

John George Herdman was born on 20 July 1895 at Newbiggin in Teesdale, son of William and Elizabeth Herdman. His father, a native of Westgate, was a mining engineer, working in lead mines, and his mother came from St John’s Chapel. John George had five sisters and three brothers. He had been at school at Westgate and transferred to Saint John’s Chapel School on 18 August 1908.

In 1911 the census shows that the family was living at St John’s Chapel and John George was working on a farm.

In 1913, John George, aged 18, sailed for Wellington, New Zealand on the Ruahine. He gave his occupation as Farmer. There do not appear to have been any others of his family on board, but there was a family called Fairless from Saugh Shield and there may well have been others from Weardale.

John George enlisted in the Auckland Regiment, part of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. He served in the First Battalion, unit number 12/2327. He was seriously wounded when the New Zealand Division was involved in the Battle of the Somme in 1916, and later died of his wounds on 27 September 1916.

He is buried in Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt l’Abbe, Somme, France, Grave No IV.I.30

Civil Parish: Stanhope

Birth date: 20-July-1895

Death date: 1916

Armed force/civilian: Army

Residence: Lanehead, Middleton
St Johns Chapel
Wellington, New Zealand

Education: Westgate school
St Johns Chapel school

Employment: Farmer in Weardale and in Auckland, New Zealand.

Family: Father: William Herdman
Mother: Elizabeth Herdman
Brothers: William, Donald, Hugh
Sisters: Elizabeth, Catherine, Hannah, Annie, Helen

Military service:

Auckland Regiment, New Zealand Expeditionary Force, France

Memorial(s): Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt l’Abbe, Somme, France
Saint John’s Chapel, village green, war memorial
Saint John’s Chapel, town hall, roll of honour

Gender: Male

Contributed by John B | Mel Brown