Ernest John Rhind

Information about birth

Date of birth:
Place of birth:
Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand

General information


Army information

New Zealand
British Expeditionary Force
Staff Serjeant
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Trentham, Wellington, New Zealand
 —  Canterbury Regiment, 1st Bn.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Judge Cross Roads, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Menin Road South Military Cemetery
Plot: III
Row: G
Grave: 29

Distinctions and medals 3

1914-15 Star
Medal — 25/10/1923
British War Medal
Medal — 25/10/1923
Victory Medal
Medal — 25/10/1923

Points of interest 3

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place
#3 Place of death (approximate)

My story

Staff Serjeant Ernest John Rhind served in the Canterbury Regiment 1st Battalion, part of the 1st New Zealand Brigade, of the New Zealand Division. The Division participate in the Third Battle of Ypres.

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. In early December the Division, along with the Canterbury Regiment 1st Battalion, wanted to improve its positions and tried to take the heights round Polderhoek Château. The Division made some minor gains, suffering heavy casualties, but they did not succeed in capturing the Château and the surrounding heights. The Division’s sector had been slightly altered. It was now too long to be held by one Brigade, and there was no accommodation or shelter for two Brigades, so an extra battalion was attached to each Brigade when it held the line. Reliefs took place on an average of every six days.

On the night of 9th and 10th of December the 1st Canterbury Battalion took over the 2nd Brigade’s center sector called “Judge Cross Roads”, extending from a point opposite Judge Cottage to a point just north of “Joiner’s Rest”. The new front line system had to be fortified, and the Battalions in the line worked on improving their trenches. Except in a few places close up the frontline, there were no communication trenches in the Divisional sector. All the traffic up to the line was confined to a few duck tracks. The Germans were well aware of these tracks, which were frequently shelled. From their positions in Polderhoek Château they had an excellent view on the British and New Zealand positions. At first the muddy terrain round the tracks smothered many shells, greatly reducing the danger. But when it started freezing days before Christmas the terrain hardened. At first this seemed to make lives in the trenches a bit better as the ground became solid. However it did not much add to the discomfort, as the frozen ground increased the danger zone of the shells. Consequently even badly aimed shells could cause casualties to troops using the tracks. On the night of the 15th and 16th December the 1st Canterbury Battalion was relieved in the frontline by the 3rd Canterbury Battalion.

Staff Serjeant Ernest John Rhind was killed in action on the 15th of December 1917. He possibly fell due to shell fire while holding and improving the frontline near Judge Cross Roads or while being relieved from the sector. His remains were taken back to the hinterland and were buried on Menin Road South Military Cemetery.

Files 1

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
Auckland Cenotaph
Sources used
Sources used
Sources used
The Long Long Trail
Sources used