They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.1
Peter Michael Gaffaney (on left)
Peter Michael Gaffaney was born in Dunedin, New Zealand on 14 September 1892, son of Francis Gaffaney (Belper, Derbyshire) and Catherine Brosnahan (Co Kerry, Ireland). He was single, and an indentured carpenter for Wanganui builders Ashwell & McAvery(?) in Wanganui. He was living at The Pines, 68 St Hill Street, Wanganui at the time of enlistment. His brother, Francis Dominic Gaffaney, jeweller, of Wanganui, was listed as his next-of-kin.
Peter Gaffaney enlisted on 29 May 1915 at Trentham, having undergone his medical examination on 6 May 1915. His medical examination describes him being 5 foot 7 inches, weighing 132lb and having a dark complexion, blue eyes, and dark brown hair. His religious profession was Roman Catholic. He was assessed fit, despite being rejected as unfit previously because of “bad teeth”. (They were described as “fair” in this assessment.)
Peter Gaffaney’s service reckons from 29 May 1915. On enlistment he joined B Coy, 2nd Battalion 3rd NZ Rifle Brigade as a Rifleman with the regimental number of 24/431.
He left Wellington on 8 October, disembarking in Egypt on 18 November 1915
21 November he joined the Western Frontier Force
17 January he proceeded to Ismailia.
4 January at Ismailia Camp he was confined to barracks for 3 days for “Hesitating to obey an order”
6 April he embarked for France from Alexandria.
16 October he became sick and was admitted to hospital with diarrhoea on 21 October.
11 November he rejoined unit.
28 November he was again admitted to hospital.
2 December he rejoined unit
9 June he was appointed Lance Corporal
30 June he was admitted to hospital with influenza
7 July he rejoined unit
4 August he was detached to Lewis Gun School
18 August he rejoined unit
13 October he was promoted to Corporal
13 October he was detached to Reinfot? Camp
21 October he rejoined unit
24 November he was detached on leave to UK
1 December he was promoted to Sergeant
15 December he rejoined unit
22 February he was detached on leave to UK
9 March he rejoined unit
5 April he was wounded in action and died en route to hospital from shell wounds to face and neck
On 31 May 1918 Peter Gaffaney was awarded the Military Medal for Acts of Gallantry in the Field.2
He is buried at Louvencourt Military Cemetery, Louvencourt, Somme, France, Plot 1, Row D, Grave 21
Peter Michael Gaffaney was my first cousin three times removed – the cousin of my great grandfather, Peter Dominic Gaffaney.
- Binyon, Laurence, “For the Fallen”, poem, written c1914, 4th stanza.
- Archives NZ, “GAFFANEY, Peter Michael – WW1 24/431 – Army”; digital image, Archway (http://www.archway.archives.govt.nz/ViewFullItem.do?code=16784539 : accessed 26 Nov 2010)