WW1 Thomas Ivan Prosser 13/597
Ivan Prosser was the elder son of Captain Thomas Harries and Laura Prosser of ‘Arawa’, Victoria Avenue, Remuera and later 12 Westbourne Rd, Remuera.
He was born on 19.9.1889 in London where his father rose from being junior officer to master of Shaw, Savill Albion’s ship R M S Arawa. Captain Prosser also commanded the Pakeha, Waiwera and Aotea and left the sea to join the stevedoring firm of Nearing and Company at Auckland about 1908, retiring in 1918. (1) Ivan was educated chiefly at St. Mark’s school, Windsor. He was keen in all kinds of sports, and while at Windsor was a prominent footballer for his college.
After making several voyages with his father to New Zealand, he settled in New Zealand, being employed as a cadet in the farming districts of Waihui Downs, Gisborne, and Bay of Islands. (2) Prior to the war he was part of the Legion of Frontiersmen, a voluntary group of field intelligence corps and took up land in the Silverdale district, but on the outbreak of hostilities was one of the first to join the Main Expeditionary Force. (3)
Ivan sailed from Auckland with the first contingent of the Auckland Mounted Rifles on 25 August 1914 to Egypt and in May 1915 embarked for the Dardanelles. He fought at Gallipoli on Anzac where he fell sick and then admitted to the New Zealand General Hospital in Cairo. On 21 August 1915 he was invalided to England suffering from ‘debility and gastroenteritis’. In King George Hospital in London, he was described as ‘dangerously ill’. It was not until 12 October 1915 that Ivan was discharged to Hornchurch Convalescent Hospital in Essex. In January 1916, he was ‘attached to strength’ in the N Z Base Depot at Grey Towers at Hornchurch to be readied for further active service training. Ivan was found to be absent from 10pm to 10.50pm on 29 January 1916 and was confined to barracks for 4 days. After 5 months, he returned to Egypt (Moascar) in February 1916 to rejoin the Auckland Mounted Rifles as Gunner in the N Z Field Artillery 7th Battery, and then Trooper 1st Brigade. (4)
In April 1916 he embarked for France from Egypt. In July he was promoted to Bombardier. Ivan Prosser was killed in action in the field at the Battle of the Somme on 15 October 1916. He is buried at the Bulls Road Cemetery, Flers, Somme, France. Ivan is also remembered at the Silverdale RSA and at St. Aidan’s Church, Remuera, Auckland. He was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, British War medal, and the Victory medal. (5)