Katikati e-memorial for soldiers who left from Katikati to serve in World War One

A project completed in association with the Katikati Returned Services Association.

Information kindly researched and provided by P.R.Lascelles NZEF Research Service with additional material provided by local families.

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Serial No. 32513
Rank Sergeant
Full Name David GALLAHER
Body Main Body, NZEF
Unit 2nd Bn., Auckland Regiment
Last Address
Next of Kin E. I. M. Gallaher (wife) I, John Street, Ponsonby, Auckland.
WW1 Medal Entitlement British War Medal 1914-19
Victory Medal
Casualty List
Roll of Honour Died Thursday, 4th October 1917. Age 41
Commemorative Information
Cemetery Nine Elms British Cemetery, Poperinge, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
Panel Number III. D. 8.
Location Nine Elms British Cemetery is located 11.5 kilometres west of Ieper town centre on the Helleketelweg, a road leading from the N308 connecting Ieper to Poperinge. From Ieper town centre the Poperingseweg (N308) is reached via Elverdingsestraat then over two small roundabouts in the J. Capronstraat. The Poperingseweg is a continuation of the J. Capronstraat and begins after a prominent railway level crossing. On reaching the ring road of Poperinge, the R33 Europalaan, the left hand clockwise route circles the town of Poperinge and rejoins the N308 towards Oost Cappel. 2.5 kilometres around the R33 lies the left hand turning onto Helleketelweg. The cemetery itself is located 700 metres along the Helleketelweg on the left hand side of the road.
Additional Information Historical Information:
The cemetery was first used from September to December 1917 for burials from the 3rd Australian and 44th Casualty Clearing Stations, which had been moved to Poperinghe (now Poperinge) in preparation for the 1917 Battle of Ypres. The cemetery was used again by fighting units between March and October 1918, the period of the German offensive in Flanders. The cemetery contains 1,556 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and 37 German war graves from this period. There are also 24 Second World War burials in the cemetery, all dating from the Allied retreat to Dunkirk in 1940. The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

Former Captain of the N.Z. Rugby Football Team (The All Blacks).

Information from Commonwealth War Graves Commission

To return to the Katikati First World War e-memorial index click here

Gallaher family photos and the information below provided by A. Kay Carter

David Gallaher
Birth: 30 Oct 1873 Ramelton, Ireland
Christen Date:
8 Jan 1887
Christen Place:
First Ramelton Meeting House Tullaughnish Parish
Death Date:
4 Oct 1917 First Day Of The Battle Of Passchendaele, Belgium
Burial Place: Nine Elms Cemetery, Properinghe, Belgium
Occupation: Footballer and Soldier
Father: James Henry Gallaher (1812-1894)
Mother: Maria Hardy McCloskie ( 1844-1887)
Spouse: Ellen Ivy May Francis
Marriage Date: 4 Oct 1906
Marriage Place: All Saints, Ponsonby, Aukland
Children: Nora Tahatu

David Gallaher enrolled at Katikati No. 2 {Beach Road} school in 1879 at the age of six years. He had no secondary education but the fact that his mother was a teacher will have meant that he had a really good education prior to starting work in a stock and station firm.

Gallaher fought in the Boer War, returning as a Regimental Sergeant-Major. He played rugby for Ponsonby and was the Captain of the All Blacks team which had a victorious tour of the British Isles in 1905. Besides his connection with the All Blacks, Gallaher played a strong part in helping on the fortunes of Rugby Football, particulaly in Auckland. For many years he coached the Auckland Grammar School in the ethics and practice of the game, was solo selector of Auckland Representative Teams, and assisted in the selection of North Island and New Zealand teams. He also represented Auckland in interprovincial games.

At the conclusion of the 1905 All Blacks tour, he settled down and married a sister of A.H. Francis, an Auckland and New Zealand representative forward. Following the outbreak of World War One in 1914 Gallaher did not anticipate that his turn would come up for some time. However, one day a cable brought news that his younger brother had been killed in action. The Irish in Gallaher aroused, he promptly enlisted. He was just short of his forty-third birthday.

Gallaher enlisted in July 1916 in the NZ Expeditionary Force, joining the 2nd Battalion of the Auckland Regiment. His serial number was 32513. His rank on enlisting on the 25 July 1916 was Corporal. His date of birth was given as 31 Oct 1876 making him appear three years younger. His address was given as 43 Laurence St, Ponsonby, yet his next of kin Nellie's address is 11 Killarrow Ave, Ponsonby. His occupation was listed as a strongman with Auckland Farmers Freezing Company.

Within three months on the 16 October 1916 he was a Sergeant and by 20 January 1917 he was Company Sergeant Major. On 16 February 1917 he sailed aboard the Aparima. The force reached Devonport, Plymouth on June 2, where he reverted to rank of Temporary Sergeant and was dispatched to Sling Camp for further training. On 1 June 1917 he had a confirmed rank of Sergeant and six days later left for Etaples in France for further training.

On June 26 1917 the unit went in action in the Third Battle for Ypres, fighting around La Basse Ville. Conditions were deplorable. After returning to rest camp, late in August the battalions began intensive training for Passchendaele. On October 1 the three Auckland battalions marched through Ypres, or what was left of it. One and Two Brigades of the New Zealand division were to attack the Gravenstafel-Abraham Heights, clearing the way for the final assault by Three Brigade on Belle Vue Spur. The 2nd Aucks were part of Three Brigade and on the night of 3 October they moved up to battle stations - a succession of shell holes. At 0545 hour on October 4, the barrage began. At 1600, Gallaher took his men over the top.

Wounded later in the day, he was carried to a tunnel housing the third Australian Casualty Clearing station. His pallet was next to one occupied by a soldier named Edward Fitzgerald who a Catholic priest offered to anoint. The padre asked,"Do you know who that is, on the next table?" Fitzgerald shook his head. 'That is Dave Gallaher, Captain of the 1905 All Blacks'. Fitzgerald studied Gallaher. The ex-All Black bore a large mark on the side of his head. It could have looked in better times like the kick by a horse shoe. It was evident he was dying.

David Gallaher, died 4 October 1917, just 26 days short of his forty-fourth birthday. The Roll of Honour for World War One records David Gallaher No. 32513 died of wounds 4 October 1918 in France, showing a different date and place of death. Advice of medals awarded,The British War Medal and the Victory Medal, was sent to Mrs E. M. Gallaher, 43 Laurence St, Ponsonby.

In death he acquired a mystique. His grave became a shrine. The Auckland Rugby Union, in 1922, decided to remember him, forever, by awarding to its champion club team the Gallaher Shield.

Brothers Douglas and Harry Gallaher who were enlisted in the Australian Imperial Forces were also killed in action. A fourth brother was severely wounded in the region of the heart, while a fifth brother also served overseas.

Above: Mrs Nora Simpson of Remuera holds a portrait of her father Sergeant David Gallaher who died of wounds in France in 1917. David Gallaher was one of Katikati's noted sportsmen. His mother was one of the first two teachers at Katikati No. 2 School when it opened. It was in Katikati that Gallaher began his rugby career. His family later moved to Auckland where he soon made the Auckland team. He was made captain of the famous 1905 All Blacks for their tour of Great Britain. The Gallaher Shield, a major rugby trophy in the Auckland rugby world, was named after him.

Below: David Gallaher
30 October 1873 - 4 October 1917


All of the Gallaher ten children attended Katikati No 2 school where their mother Maria taught from its opening in 1879 to her untimely death at the age of 42 years in 1887.

Of the nine Gallaher brothers, David, William, the twins Charles and Henry, and the youngest Douglas served in W W I. David, Henry and Douglas were killed. David and William enlisted in New Zealand, Charles, Henry and Douglas joined the Western Australia Imperial Forces

I have been researching the Gallaher family for some years and have over the past 12 months concentrated on contacting living descendants of James and Maria Gallaher who were part of the 1878 'Ulster Plantation'. My work with 'Gallahers of Katikati' is by no means completed.

Kay Carter kaybill@clear.net.nz