Alexander Millar Kane

Information about birth

Year of birth:
Place of birth:
Paerata, Auckland, New Zealand

General information


Army information

New Zealand
New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Service number:
 —  Canterbury Regiment, 3rd Bn.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Butte, Polygon Wood, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 1

#1 Place of birth

My story

Private Alexander Millar Kane served in the N.Z.E.F. Canterbury Regiment 3rd Battalion, of the 4th New Zealand Brigade of the New Zealand Division.
Private Alexander Millar Kane embarked from Wellington on board of HMNZT 71 Port Lyttelton on the 7th December 1916. The 3rd Canterbury was sent to the Ypres area in late September 1917. The Battalion arrived in Flanders at the village of Watou on the 1st of October 1917.
Early November, the New Zealand Division received orders to relieve the 21st Division in the line in the Ypres Salient, in a sector east of Polygon Wood and South of Zonnebeke. The right boundary of the sector was a small stream, the Reutelbeek. Months of unceasingly shelling had made the original course of the stream unrecognizable and had dammed its flow. The streams in the Passchendaele area, which served as irrigation canals, were destroyed and the rainwater had no way out, converting the low ground in an impassable morass. With its right flank protected by the Reutelbeek against the Germans on the height at Polderhoek Chateau, the line crossed the Polygonbeek and ran across the forward slopes of a short spur, at the Southern end of which lay the village of Beselaere. The line crossed the road leading to Passchendaele, and ran North, ending East of the scattered hamlet of Molenhoek.
On November 13th, 14th and 15th the 3rd and 4th New Zealand Brigades took over the front line, with the 1st and 2nd New Zealand Brigades in the reserve. The Battalion was relieved in the beginning of December and moved back to billets at Dikkebusch.
The 4th Brigade moved back in the line in the night of the 15th and 16th of December. The 3rd Canterbury Battalion relieved the 1st Canterbury Battalion. They were positioned in the center sector, called “Judge Cross Roads”. It extended from a point opposite Judge Cottage to a point just North of Joiners Rest. The Battalion’s Headquarters were positioned in the Butte, a large mound of earth in the Polygonwood, which had been tunneled by the Germans, when they had occupied the area. The situation in the trenches was hard. It started freezing days before Christmas. At first this seemed to make lives in the trenches a bit better as the ground hardened. However it did not much add to the discomfort, as the frozen ground increased the danger zone of the shells.
Private Alexander Millar Kane was killed in action on the 19th of December 1917 close to the Battalion Headquarters at the Butte. The Germans in Polderhoek Chateau, on account of their high position, had an excellent view on the British and New Zealand positions. The positions most seriously affected were the area between the Reutel- and Polygonbeek and the right flank of the trenches North of the Polygonbeek, where Private Alexander Millar Kane was killed. He probably fell victim to German shelling, as the Butte was shelled more heavily and persistently than usual. He was buried close to the Butte and was later on reburied at Buttes New British Cemetery in Polygonwood.

Sources 5

"The History of the Canterbury Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 1914-1919", Ferguson D., Auckland, Whitcombe and Tombs Limited, 1921, pg. 218-224.
Sources used
"The Official History of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade (The Earl of Liverpool's Own)", Austin W.S., Uckfield, The Naval & Military Press Ltd, 2007, pg. 261.
Sources used
Auckland Cenotaph
Sources used
Sources used
The Long Long Trail
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