Portrait of Private George Robert Burch, service number 80736.
George Burch was a master plumber by trade, born in Wellington in 1880 to English-born parents. He married Elizabeth Maude Norris on 11 April 1903.
Poor teeth delayed George's military service. He attested first in June 1915, but was rejected on account of the condition of his teeth, which was deemed 'not sufficient', and requiring a lower plate.
A second attestation in January 1918 was successful; George entered camp on 23 May. He trained with the 41st and 42nd Reinforcements and on 31 July was promoted to temporary lance corporal. He embarked for England on 2 August and on 4 October marched into Brocton Camp, Staffordshire. He was posted to the New Zealand Rifle Brigade's reserve unit as a Rifleman.
After the Armistice of 11 November, George, like many other New Zealanders, would have to wait for repatriation. Soldiers who had been overseas longer were given priority for the return to New Zealand. George eventually returned home on 20 August 1919.
In 1925, George and Elizabeth divorced. Later that year he remarried; his new bride was Alice Rose Dow. George died in Masterton on 15 May 1970.
Colourised By Brendan Graham 2018 from an original black and white Image courtesy of Te Papa (B.044398)