WW1 Private John Leslie Hartland (Service number 56592)

Private John Leslie Hartland [1]

John Leslie Hartland was born in Christchurch on the 1 August 1890. He was the elder son of John Ford Hartland (1862 – 1918) and Francis Harriet Susanna Hartland (nee Crowe).

His father, J F (John Francis) Hartland was the Secretary of the Auckland Racing Club for 12 years until his death as well as being on the St Aidan’s Church Committee from 1911-1916 and the Minister’s Warden from 1912-1916. John’s parents were married at St Paul’s Church in Papanui, Christchurch on 6 February 1884 and later moved to Ladies Mile, and then 13 Remuera Road, Remuera, Auckland, in 1911.[1]

Leslie Hartland attended Christ’s College in Christchurch and King’s College from 1906 – 1907. He was a member of the College Rifles Rugby Football Club until he moved to Te Puke to work as a clerk for the stock and station agents Loan and Mercantile Company, and then the Tauranga office. There, he was a member of the Defence Rifle Club and was in the amateur dramatics club as well as a volunteer fireman, tennis player and footballer. [2]

Clarence Ford Hartland [2]

Just before he embarked for overseas, Leslie was best man for his brother Clarence Ford Hartland. Clarence married Vera Gill in April 1917 at St Aidan’s Church. Lance Corporal Clarence Ford Hartland (Service number 13/353) (1892 – 1963) served in Egypt in WW1 from 15 August 1915 until he was discharged on 2 September 1916 with a persistent hip injury after a horse accident. On his return, he and his wife later moved to Christchurch. Clarence worked for the Stock and Station Agents, Dalgety and Company/ [3]

Leslie Hartland had attempted to enlist in 1916 in Auckland, and was refused because of an ear infection, but was successful on the 3rd attempt on 3 March 1917, when he enlisted in Tauranga. He was 26 years of age and was 5ft 8 1/2inches tall, had brown eyes, light brown hair and a fair complexion. [4] John embarked on the vessel ‘Mokoia’ on 13 August 1917 that arrived on the 2 October 1917 in Glasgow, Scotland. He was a Private with the 29th Reinforcements E Company, New Zealand Expeditionary Force. He was transferred for four months training to Sling Camp, in England from 3 October 1917 he was selected for training for a machine gun battery, and consequently did not proceed to France until 11 January 1918, after which he was posted to Rouen in France. He was attached to the 2nd Battalion Auckland Regiment New Zealand Expeditionary Force.  Shortly afterwards his father John Ford Hartland died in Remuera, Auckland, on 6 February 1918, aged 55.

John Ford Hartland [3]

At the beginning of 1918, the fighting was in the same Somme battlefields as 1916, and the New Zealanders, with considerable British help, managed to stabilise the front in this sector. On 26 March 1917 two composite brigades pushed forward until they clashed with the advancing enemy formations between Auchonvillers and Hamel; next morning another composite brigade moved into position between Colincamps and Hébuterne. During the 27th March 1918, they repelled a series of German attacks. The New Zealand Division’s 10-day effort had cost some 2400 casualties, including more than 500 dead. [4]

Private John Leslie Hartland [4]

Private John Leslie Hartland [4]

Leslie was wounded in action on Easter Sunday 30 March 1918 with gunshot wounds, and admitted to No56 Casualty Clearing Station in France, but on 31 March 1918 died of his wounds. He is buried at the Gezaincourt Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France II. H. 18. John Leslie Hartland is remembered on the memorial plaques at St Aidan’s Church, Remuera, College Rifles Rugby Union Football and Sports Club Roll of Honour, Remuera, and the Tauranga Field of Remembrance [5, 6]