WW1 Reginald Frederick Morten 12/799

Reginald Frederick Morten [1]

Reginald Frederick Morten’ s military record has him born on 28 February 1893 in Ashburton whereas official birth records have him as Frederic Reginald Morten born in 1894.

He was the fourth of five children born to Emma Sophie (nee Price) and Charles William Morten of Port Albert, Kaipara and had been engaged in farming in the Waikato, with Brown Brothers of Manurewa.

He was part of the Auckland Coastal Defence Infantry Detachment and the territorial 16th Waikato Regiment before 1914. When war was declared, he volunteered immediately and was posted to the 16th Company as a private. He sailed from New Zealand on the Waimana on 13 October 1914 and arrived in Suez on 3rd December 1914. In camp at Zeitoun he was hospitalised over Christmas and New Year 1914/15 with a mild case of measles and then pharyngitis from 12 – 14 March 1915. [1]

Reginald was sent to the Dardanelles in Turkey and was wounded at Gallipoli. He died on board H M Hospital Ship Sicilia on 10th June 1915 from wounds received at Gallipoli and was buried at sea. He was 21 years old. Reginald is remembered on the Lone Pine, Anzac, Turkey, World War One gates of Remuera Primary School and on memorials at Port Albert, Wellsford and Takapuna, Auckland.

His obituary in the N Z Herald read:

PRIVATE R. F. MORTEN. Private Reginald F. Morten, who is reported to have died on the hospital ship Silicia, is the younger son of Mr. Charles W. Morten, Port Albert, his brother being Mr. J. E. Morten, accountant for the North British Insurance Company. Private Morten was born in Ashburton, in 1894, and during recent years had been engaged in farming in the Waikato. He served in the l6th, Waikato Regiment, holding non-commissioned rank, and was a very popular member of his company. In athletics, he was particularly successful as a wrestler. When war was declared, Private Morten was in Auckland on his way to visit his home, and having immediately volunteered, he was posted to the 16th Company as a private. He was one of a trio of close friends, every one of whom has now been reported in the casualty lists. They were tent-mates, and had consecutive numbers. Private Leslie Clark, son of Mr. John Clark, of Karaka, Runciman, was reported on June 13 to have been killed in action, and three days later Private Alexander Martin, son of Mr. John Martin, of Lisburn, Ireland, was reported to be missing. Two cousins of Private Morten were killed during the retreat from Mons.

MEN WHO HAVE FALLEN. New Zealand Herald, Volume LII, Issue 15953, 25 June 1915.