Richard Weir Battersby, service number 63539
This portrait shows Corporal Richard Weir Battersby, service number 63539. He is wearing his World War One military uniform, a 'lemon-squeezer' hat with the badge of the First New Zealand Expeditionary Force and a woollen greatcoat with Corporal's chevrons on the left sleeve.
The portrait was taken at the Cuba Street studio of Berry & Co. in Wellington, a well-known photographic firm established in 1897 by William Berry. Many servicemen had their portraits taken there while on leave or before they left for the war.
Richard's name was drawn in the Fourth Ballot for compulsory military service on 13 February 1917 and he entered the training camp at Trentham in late August as part of the 'local quota' for the 33rd Reinforcements.
Richard Battersby transferred to the 37th Reinforcements and promoted to Probationary Corporal on 26 September. He reverted to Private at his own request on 15 March 1918, but was promoted Temporary Corporal on 13 May. These periods enable us to date the portrait sitting to either late September 1917 to mid -March 1918, or to some time between mid-May and his embarkation from Wellington on 2 October 1918.
Born on 27 June 1893, Richard was almost 24 years old when he attested for service. He married Gladys Frances Maud Williamson on 31 August 1915. The couple was living in Pitt Street, Wadestown and Richard was employed as a clerk in Wellington. He embarked from Wellington with the 43rd Reinforcements on 2 October 1918 on the troopship 'Matatua', arriving in London three weeks after the Armistice on 5 December 1918.
Richard remained in England until September 1919, when he left for New Zealand with 'Returning Draft No. 288' on the troopship Ionic and disembarked at Wellington on 25 October.
Richard lived for most of his life in Wadestown, with many of his immediate family living nearby. He was involved in the Wadestown Chess Club and the Wadestown & Highland Park Mens' Club. The family was also involved in the Wadestown Horticultural Society - earlier named the Wadestown Cottage Garden and Beautifying Society. Richard and Gladys lived a long life together, until their deaths in 1980. Richard was 86 years old when he died.