WW1 Gordon Harrison Larner 2/2178

Gordon Harrison Larner [1]

Gordon Harrison Larner was born on 25 November 1894 to Victor John and Margaret Larner, of ‘Elmstone’, Orakei Road, Remuera. Victor John Larner had the house built in 1909-1910.

It was known as ‘Elmstone’ and was described as the ‘the last house of its type to be built in Auckland’, in the opulent English Renaissance style, which also demonstrated the lifestyle of some of Auckland’s business elite at a time when the regional economy was thriving. The house is mentioned in the Remuera Heritage walk brochure and is on the Auckland Council Historic Heritage Schedule and the Heritage New Zealand register: [1, 2]

Gordon’s father, Victor John Larner, (1861 – 1955) was ‘one of the leading stock brokers of the city’, director and chairman of several notable companies including South British Insurance, Auckland Gas Company and Guardian Trust; later the honorary treasurer of the trust that created the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Gordon Harrison Larner [2]

Gordon was educated at King’s College from 1906 to 1912. He did well academically winning the prize for French in 1908. He also did well at sports in Cricket, Athletics, and Rugby In 1908, Gordon’s father Victor Larner presented a pair of colours to the King’s College battalion to be competed for in the school’s military competitions [3]

Gordon went on to study agriculture at Lincoln Agricultural College, near Christchurch, where he also continued playing sports, especially athletics including the high jump and rugby At the time of his enlistment, on 24 September 1915 at Trentham, he was a Clerk in his father’s office V. J. Larner and Co, in Swanson Street, Auckland as well as studying at Lincoln. He was 5ft 10 inches, he had blue eyes and brown hair.

Gordon Harrison Larner [3]

He was part of the 7th draft to leave New Zealand from Wellington on 9 October 1915 for Suez, Egypt on the vessel ‘Aparima’ or ‘Navua’ or ‘Warrimoo’ as a gunner in the New Zealand Field Artillery. He served with the Garrison Artillery No 6 Company. [4] Gordon was stationed in Egypt until he was sent to France and Belgium on 5 April 1916 to fight on the Western Front. The Battle of Transloy Ridge was part of the first battle of the Somme and it was there in very bad, wet and freezing conditions, Gordon was wounded and was taken to the 36th Field Ambulance. Sadly, he died of wounds he received in action in France on 7 October 1916. Gordon was 20 years old.

He is buried at Longueval Road Cemetery, Somme, France. [5, 6] He was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. An obituary from the Auckland Stock Exchange was published in the New Zealand Herald on 17 October 1916, acknowledging the Larners’ loss. [7]

Gordon had a twin brother and two sisters, Cecile Mary and Runa Rose Larner. His brother Leslie Hill Larner (1895 – 1981) had been invalided out of the Army, as an earlier knee injury proved him unfit for service. Leslie married Annie Dunbar McHardy on 10 March 1920 in Havelock North [8, 9 ,10]

Gordon Harrison Larner [4]


Very general sympathy is expressed with Mr. and Mrs V. J. Larner, of Remuera, in connection with the death of their son, Gunner Gordon H. Larner, who has died of wounds received in France. Gunner Lamer was a young man who showed very marked ability during his college days, not only in the educational realm, but also as an athlete. He was of a particularly fine type of the young New Zealander. He was educated at King’s College, and later took a course at the Lincoln Agricultural College, near Christchurch. It was while he was a student at the latter that he offered his services. He was a prominent college footballer, and an exceptionally fine high jumper, having several very fine performances to his credit. The members of the Auckland Stock Exchange, at the noon call yesterday, carried a motion of sympathy with Mr. and Mrs. Lamer in connection with the death of Gunner Larner.

There are memorials to him at:

• St Aidan’s Church, Remuera, Auckland

• Devonport Primary School, granite tablet, Roll of Honour, 18 Kerr Street, Devonport, Auckland