WW1 Roland (Rowland) Alfred Ward (Service number 24086)
Rowland Alfred Ward (Service number 24086) of 18 Arney Crescent, Remuera, was born 9 April 1896 to Mrs Edith Annie Ward. He went to Mt Eden School and is remembered on the memorial school gates.
Before he enlisted, he was a grocer at Head Office store of Home and Colonial Stores Limited, in Newton Road, Auckland. The tea and grocery store with branches in Auckland, had its origins in England and could purchase in bulk, so keep the prices of merchandise as competitive as possible. He played hockey for St Luke’s hockey team. He was also serving in the Territorials in the 3rd Auckland A Company [1, 2]
He enlisted on the 8 February 1916, was 5ft 7 ½ inches tall, had fair hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion. He embarked for Devonport, England on 27 May 1916 from Wellington on the vessel Willochra or Tofua and arrived on 26 July 1916 He was assigned to A Company 13th Reinforcements New Zealand Expeditionary Force, and later to the 1st New Zealand Light Trench Mortar Battery as a Private. Trench mortar units were added to the New Zealand Division around April 1916 and reorganised in September. Each infantry brigade acquired a ‘light’ trench mortar battery, while the artillery acquired several ‘medium’ and ‘heavy’ batteries. Trench mortars are small artillery pieces used to shell targets in a nearby enemy trench. They were basically short tubes which fired shells at steep angles.
He left for Etaples camp, France on 26 September 1916. He was evacuated sick on 16 August 1917 to the N Z Field ambulance and re-joined his unit on 4 September 1917. One month later on the 4 October, the day of his death, the New Zealand Division made its first and successful attack on Gravenstafel Spur, the first of the two objectives at Passchendaele. The artillery had played an important part in the success of the attack, which was costly in lives as among the New Zealand Divisions, where there had been 1,600 casualties, and some 500 men had been killed or mortally wounded.  Roland was 23 years old when he died.
He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. Roland (Rowland) Alfred Ward is remembered in –
• Belgium Tyne Cot Cemetery, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
• St Luke’s Church Remuera Roll of Honour
• Auckland War Memorial Museum, World War 1 Hall of Memories, New Zealand Apse Panel 1
• Mt Eden Normal School War Memorial Gates, Valley Rd, Mount Eden, Auckland which are engraved with:
THESE GATES HAVE BEEN ERECTED AS A MARK OF HONOUR AND ESTEEM TO THE BOYS OF THE MT. EDEN SCHOOL, DISTRICT AND BOROUGH WHO SERVED IN THE WAR WITH LOVE, GRATITUDE AND PRIDE, WE THINK OF THOSE WHO FOUGHT FOR HONOUR, JUSTICE AND LIBERTY