Determined to Serve

Determined to Serve

When I look at my family tree, I don't have any direct ancestors that served in a war. However, if I go sideways there are several.

This year for ANZAC day I wanted to remember my 2 x great uncle, Adam Urquhart.

Adam Urquhart 1883 - 1947


I knew from family members that he had served in World War I and when I downloaded his Military file from Archives New Zealand I was able to see how determined he was to serve - three attempts to enlist in World War I (the first two dismissed due to medical issues) and then lowering his age by 10 years in World War II in an attempt to enlist then too (he did get in, but did not go overseas).

His determination is amazing, but then again this is also the uncle that emigrated from one side of the world to the other all by himself... but that's another story to tell. 

So on this ANZAC Day, I remember you Adam Urquhart.

Lest we forget.



Adam was living in Matiere, New Zealand when he enlisted for World War I in July 1917 at 34 years old.

Born in Turriff, Aberdeenshire, Scotland to Adam Urquhart and Mary Yeats he had emigrated to New Zealand in the early 1900’s. 

This wasn’t his first attempt to join the war effort. He had tried in Cambridge in 1915 and in Hamilton in June 1916 both times being declared medically unfit.

He was 5 ft 7 ½ in, with dark brown hair and blue eyes and on his third attempt was accepted into .

Arriving in Liverpool on the Maunganui on 8 January 1918 he was posted as a Private to the 4th Otago Reserves Battalion and proceeded into Europe in April 1918. Four months later on 25 August in France, he received a gunshot wound to the chest. It was nearly a month before he was removed from the Dangerously Ill list to the Seriously Ill List, but shrapnel remained in his chest.

The early part of 1919 was spent convalescing in the UK, but he does appear to go missing for a couple of weeks in May from Codford (maybe a trip to Scotland to see family?) for which he forfeited 28 days’ pay. He embarked for New Zealand on the Briton on 17 June 1919 and was discharged on 28 April 1920.

World War II saw him again enlist. He may have thought that reducing his age by 10 years would allow him to see active service (but this was picked up on), but it was his medical examination that ruled him out. His service was in two parts, August 1940 to March 1942 and July 1942 to his discharge on 9 June 1944. He was appointed a Temp. Sergeant in charge of Camp Details in 1941.

A later medical examination in 1944 where Adam said he was 50, has the doctor note that he was a “Healthy man for age which is correctly 61 years”.

Adam died 17 April 1947 in Featherston.


This scrapbook page was created with the Time For Remembrance Page Kit by Lauren Bavin Designs.

Time for Remembrance Page Kit Lauren Bavin Designs




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