Rfn
Ernest Jesse Goer

Information about birth

Date of birth:
18/06/1881
Place of birth:
Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand

General information

Profession:
Driver

Army information

Country:
New Zealand
Force:
New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Rank:
Rifleman
Service number:
53490
Enlistment date:
03/02/1917
Enlistment place:
Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Units:
 —  New Zealand Rifle Brigade, 1st Bn.

Information about death

Date of death:
07/12/1917
Place of death:
Reutel, Beselare, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)
Age:
36

Cemetery

Polygon Wood Cemetery
Plot: Unknown
Row: F
Grave: 6

Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 3

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place
#3 ‘Place of death’

My story

Ernest Goer was born in Wellington, New Zealand, on 18 June 1881 to James and Betsy Goer. The family arrived in New Zealand from Staffordshire, England in the 1870s. Several children were born in England and five, including Ernest, were born in New Zealand. Ernest married Olive Murch in 1906 and the couple had a daughter, Olive Cleta Charlotte, born in 1908 and another, Glady in 1913. He was a driver for Wellington City Corporation when he enlisted on 3 February 1917.

He joined the 27th Reinforcement, service number 53490, training at Trentham and Featherston camps before embarking on the troop ship Maunganui from Wellington on 12 June 1917, arriving at Devonport on 16 August.

As part of a Rifle Brigade group Ernest entered Tidworth Camp on the Salisbury Plain. He sailed to France on 23 October , spending some time at Etaples until being posted to B Company of 1st Battalion, 3rd (New Zealand Rifles) Brigade on 2 November 1917.

The New Zealand Division was in the Polygon Wood area, after the end of the Third Battle of Ypres. Much of the time was spent in wiring, repairing crumbling trenches and improving defences. The landscape was covered with waterlogged shellholes. The opposing German forces generally held higher ground and movement in the New Zealand lines was often observed and shelled or machine-gunned.

The Division relieved the 21st Division from 13th November, when the 3rd (NZ Rifle Brigade) and 4th NZ Infantry Brigades took over the front line. On 1st December the NZ Rifle Brigade relieved the 4th Infantry Brigade in the Becelaere Sector, with the 1st Battalion ( Ernest’s unit) relieving the 3rd Otago Battalion. The brigade headquarters was at the Polygon Butte.

On 3 December part of 2nd Brigade attacked Polderhoek Chateau, with limited success and heavy casualties. The Rifle Brigade history does not offer much detail on this period so it is difficult to say how Ernest Goer died on 7 December 1917. There were heavy snow storms during the time.

His body was recovered and he, along with others from the New Zealand Rifle Brigade, is buried at Polygon Wood Cemetery. He is in Row F, Grave 6.

Ernest’s older brother Charles was killed at the Battle of Broodseinde on 4 October 1917.

Connection to other soldiers 1

Sources 4

"The official history of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade (The Earl of Liverpool's Own)", Austin, WL., Wellington, L.T. Watkins, 1924, pg. 255-258.
Sources used
Archives New Zealand
http://www.archives.govt.nz
Sources used
Auckland Cenotaph
http://www.aucklandmuseum.com/war-memorial/online-cenotaph
Sources used
New Zealand births deaths marriages
https://www.bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz/search
Sources used