SERVICE NO: 24041
YEAR OF BIRTH: 1872
PLACE OF BIRTH: Hamilton
DATE OF ENLISTMENT: January 1916
PLACE OF ENLISTMENT: Auckland, New Zealand
AGE AT ENLISTMENT: 43
UNIT: 2nd Battalion Auckland Regiment New Zealand Army
EMBARKED: 31 May 1916
FATE: Killed in Action – Belgium – 17 June 1917
Born in Hamilton in 1872, John “Jack” McPhee was a son of Alexander McPhee and Sarah Prider. At an unknown time, Jack moved to New Zealand as did his brother Albert Prider McPhee. In New Zealand, Jack worked as a tailor and lived in Swan Street, Auckland. He never married. Back in Hamilton, Jack’s mother Sarah died in 1914 and father Alexander in 1916. In January 1916, Jack enlisted in Auckland. The Victorian Birth Index gives Jack’s birth year as 1872, however when he enlisted, Jack gave his date of birth as 9 November 1874 making him a forty-one rather than forty-three.
Jack left New Zealand on 31 May 1916 and arrived in England on 27 July 1916. By 17 September 1916, he was off to France, joining the 2nd Battalion Auckland Regiment on 1 October. On 10 February 1917, Jack was absent without leave and found drunk and given twenty-eight days of Field Punishment No. 2. and lost twenty-eight days pay. The 2nd Battalion served at Messines, Belgium and was there in June 1917, the month Jack was killed. Jack’s service has his place as death as “France or Belgium”.
On 27 September 1917, Jack’s nephew Norman McPhee of Hamilton was killed in Belgium while serving with the 46th Battalion.
A tree was planted for Jack McPhee along Hamilton’s Anzac Avenue.