Informations sur naissance

Date de naissance:
Lieu de naissance:
Stratford, Taranaki, New Zealand

Informations générales

Farm Hand

Informations service militaire

New Zealand
Force armée:
New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Numéro de service:
Incorporation date:
Incorporation nom de lieu:
Trentham, Wellington, New Zealand
 —  Canterbury Regiment, 3rd Bn.

Informations sur décès

Date de décès:
Lieu de décès:
Bois du Polygone, Zonnebeke, Belgique
Cause du décès:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood
Parcelle: IX
Rangée: AA
Tombe: 7

Points d'intérêt 3

#1 Lieu de naissance
#2 Lieu d'enrôlement
#3 "Lieu de décès"

Mon histoire

Hugh Aiken was born at Stratford, Taranaki, New Zealand on 18 October 1897, to Arthur Aiken and Christina Aiken, nee Brown, who married in 1896. A brother, Douglas, was born in 1902. His father died in 1910.

Hugh was a farm hand for Harry Lethbridge at Turakina, near Wanganui when he enlisted 21 August 1916 at Trentham. He added two years to his real age on his attestation form – 1895 instead of 1897. He trained at Trentham and Featherston camps with the 20th Reinforcement, service number 30154, before departing from Wellington on the troop ship Athenic on 30 December 1916.

On arrival on 3 March 1917 in Devonport, England, he spent one month at Sling Camp, England, before transferring to nearby Codford Camp where he was posted to 3rd Battalion, Canterbury Infantry Regiment, part of the New Zealand 4th Infantry Brigade.

He sailed to France with the brigade on 28 May 1917, just before the Battle of Messines. As new to the Western Front, he and his unit were probably used for as a labour force for more experienced units. He was briefly in hospital with the common ailment of scabies in September 1917.

During the preparation for the 3rd Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) he was posted to a NZ reinforcement camp on 30 September 1917 and was there until 9 October. Therefore he was not involved with the battles of Broodseinde (4 October) or First Passchendaele (12 October) although it is possible he was among those drafted to provide extra stretch-bearers after the heavy New Zealand losses on 12 October.

The New Zealand Division was in the Polygon Wood sector 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.

Neither the New Zealand Division history or that of the Canterbury Regiment give detailed information for the November 1917-February 1918 period so it is impossible to say with any certainty how Hugh Aiken died on 22 November 1917. On the night of 21/22 November, 3rd Canterbury Battalion relieved the 3rd Auckland Battalion at a position called Joiners Rest, at Polygon Wood and it can be presumed he was killed during this event. The opposing German forces generally held higher ground, and movement in the New Zealand lines was often observed and shelled or machine-gunned.

He is buried in Buttes New British Cemetery in a special memorial area for men ‘Buried in this cemetery’ in Plot IX, Row AA, Grave 7 with others of the 3rd Canterbury Battalion who died on 22 November 1917.

Fichiers 1

Sources 7

"The history of the Canterbury Regiment, NZEF 1914-1919", Ferguson, David, Auckland, Whitcombe & Tombs Ltd, 1921, pg. 204-208.
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Archives New Zealand
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Auckland Cenotaph
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Auckland Weekly News
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Births deaths marriages New Zealand
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NZEF Project
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