WW1 Francis Edward Ryan (70344)

Ryan Francis Gravestone, Featherston Cemetery. (photo kindly provided by Adele Pentony Graham AWMM)

Francis Edward Ryan (70344) was born 29 October 1879 in Middlesex, England. He moved to New Zealand in 1911 and worked as a Fireman with the Remuera Fire Brigade.[1]

In April 1916, he married Aileen Ryan (O’Shea), and they lived at 85 Curren Street, Ponsonby, Auckland. They had one child, a daughter, Millicent Aileen Ryan.

Francis enlisted by ballot, as from April 1918 married men with one child were called up for military service.[2] He was 37 years of age when he enlisted on 28 November 1917 as a Private in the New Zealand Rifle Brigade and was described as 5ft 6inches tall with blue eyes and brown hair.

He was training at Featherston Training Camp and when he returned from Christmas leave, he was hospitalised with gastritis. Whilst in hospital, on 12 January 1918, two other Privates noticed he was acting strangely but unfortunately it was too late to save him, and he died of self-inflicted wounds. He is buried in Featherston Cemetery, Western Lake Road, Featherston, Wairarapa, Grave 706. [3, 4]

He is remembered on the following memorials:
• Featherston Cemetery Memorial, Featherston, New Zealand
• Auckland War Memorial Museum, World War 1 Hall of Memories