PEARMAIN,William John

No. 12/835, Private, William John PEARMAIN
Aged 44

16th (Waikato) Coy., Auckland Regiment, N.Z.E.F.
Killed in Action on Sunday, 25th April 1915

Queen's South Africa medal with South Africa 1901 clasp, his entitlement to any other clasps is not known

William John Pearmain was born in 1871 on 21st October in West Row (Mildenhall Q4-1871 4A:475) son of John William Seaber and Mary Anne PEARMAIN (née MYHILL).

1881 census...Aged 9, he was at West Row with his father John W S PEARMAIN [35] a farmer of 200 acres, born Eriswell; his mother Mary Ann [34] born Kettlburgh, Suffolk; brothers Albert E [8] and Harry [1]; sisters Edith Ann [6], Jessie [5], Ellen [4] and Annie [2]. All the children were born in Mildenhall.

1891 census...Aged 19, a grocer's assistant, he was lodging at Mill Street, Mildenhall with William ECCLESTONE.

1901 census...Aged 29, he appears to have been in South Africa in the Army.

1911 census...He was likely to be resident in New Zealand His parents were at West Street, Mildenhall with his sisters Edith [36] and Gertrude [28] both single, his brother Frederick [29] working on father's farm; and his nieces Iris [5] and Madge [4] both born in Kensington..parentage not known

CWGC have his father's address as North Terrace, Mildenhall.

He served in South African campaign as Sgt.Major with Capt Nesbitt's Horse. Attested on 21st May 1900 and was discharged 29th October 1901. Awarded Queen's South Africa medal with clasp South Africa 1901 but NOT 1902 or King's SA medal. The South Africa 1901 clasp was for all troops who served in South Africa between 1st January, 1901, and 31st December, 1901, both dates inclusive, who were not eligible for the King's South Africa Medal. It is not known at present if he was awarded any battle clasps.
His service record gives his date of birth as in 1879, whereas his birth registration was 1871 so it seems he decided to shed a few years. He enlisted on 14th August 1914, whilst living at Waiuku employed in a store by W.C.McConnell. At his medical in Hamilton, he was 5 feet 8 inches (175.3 cm) tall, weighing 128 lbs (58.2 kg), chest 33" to 35" (83.8 TO 88.9 cm), brown eyes, black hair, Anglican by religion. His next of kin was given as father John W.S. Pearmain of North Terrace, West Street, Mildenhall and he had served in the Suffolk Regiment.

He left New Zealand on 13th October 1914 for Alexandria, Egypt, arriving there on 4th December 1914. He embarked Alexandria for Dardanelles 12th April 1915. Reported missing on 25th April 1915. A court of enquiry in Ismalia in January 1916 ruled that to be the presumed date of death. On one form are two addresses, but it is not known why. Miss M George 77a ?? Rd, Shepherds Bush and Mrs A.L. Wardle, 50 Shirburn Road, Leek, Staffs.

The New Zealanders began to land on the beaches at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli from about 9 a.m. on 25 April. At the end of the day, more than 100 had died. Percentage wise, New Zealand suffered more than most other nations in the Great War. In Gallipoli alone 14,000 NZ forces landed: 4852 NZ forces wounded, 2779 NZ forces fatalities , all this in 260 days. Deaths were almost 18,000 at the end of the war. 100,000 personnel left New Zealand to fight from a population of only around 1 million.


William Pearmain is commemorated on Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli panel 73
and also on his mother's grave in Old Cemetery, Mildenhall (now derelict)

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details