Information about birth

Date of birth:
Place of birth:
Saint Bathans, Otago, New Zealand

General information

Last known residence:
Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

Army information

New Zealand
New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Trentham, Wellington, New Zealand
 —  Otago Regiment, 2nd Bn.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Cameron Covert, Zonnebeke, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 4

#1 Place of birth
#2 Last known residence
#3 Enlistment place
#4 Place of death (approximate)

My story

Private Hewitt John was 20 years of age, when he enlisted the 2nd Battalion of the Otago Regiment part of the New Zealand Division on 30 June 1916 in Trentham, New Zealand.
The former grocer lived as single man together with his widowed mother in Dunedin.
In November 1917, just beyond the New Zealand Divisional boundary a well-marked spur ran eastward like a finger from the edge of the general plateau down to the flats. On the north its sides drained into the Reutelbeek and on the south to the corresponding valley of the Scherriabeek.
The British line had been arrested at the edge of the plateau, and the spur remained in German possession. From it the Germans not only enfiladed the forward trenches about Cameron Covert and Reutel, but fully commanded and incessantly harasses the whole of the British approaches to this sector of the front. On it were perched the piled ruins of Polderhoek Chateau and groups of pillboxes which occupied sites of the attached buildings amid the shattered trees of the once luxuriant and beautiful pleasances. The Ypres Battle had seen 3 assaults delivered on the spur, and the Chateau had been temporarily won, but only to be lost again to German counter-attacks.
For the satisfactory occupation of the Division’s sector, it was highly desirable that a fresh effort should be made to capture the Polderhoek Spur.
On November 23rd the Staff of the 2nd Infantery Brigade had proceeded to Zillebeke, and from there to the Headquarters of the 118th Brigade at Stirling Castle, were arrangements were made for temporarily taken over from that unit the front line of the sector extending from the Reutelbeek on the north to the Scherriabeek in the south, and fronting PolderhoekChateau. The new sector was immediately south of the Reutel and Noordemdhoek sectors and, incidentally, about four miles south of Passchendaele.
Preparations were now being advanced for launching an attack by troops of the 2nd New Zealand Infantry Brigade against the German stronghold known as Polderhoek Chateau.
It was during these preparations that private Hewitt John, 22 years of age, was killed in action near Cameron Covert where he was buried near the Butte of Polygon Wood..
Later his body was exhumed and reburied at Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood, plot I, row A, grave 19.

Files 2

Maps View

Sources 9

"Official History of the Otago Regiment, NZEF in the Great War 1914-1918", Bryne A.E., 2nd Edition, The Naval & Military Press Ltd Unit, Uckfield E.S. Uk, p 230-232
Sources used
"The New Zealand Division 1916 - 1919", Stewart H., Authority of the New Zealand Government, Intype London Ltd, p304 - 306
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Map:"From the Uttermost Ends of the Earth, the New Zealand Division on the Western Front 1916-1918",Gray J.H., Willsonscott Publishing, Christchurch NZ, 2010, page 160
Sources used
NZEF Project
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Service Record
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The Long, Long Trail
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