Topic: Donald Smith Norquay

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A soldier of the Great War who died of wounds received during the battle for Messines.

Donald Smith Norquay – 29061

Donald was born at Orkney 9th Jan 1883, youngest son of George and Margaret Norquay of Quindrie, St. Margaret's Hope, Orkney, Scotland. Before emigrating to New Zealand he worked at Bankburn farm in Orkney. He and his elder brother George emigrated in 1912 on board the Rimutaka. George found work on the railway staff.  Donal worked first for Captain R. Macartney, of Tai Tapu, and at the time of enlisting he was working as a Labourer for Mr Mackenzie and the Ellesmere Drainage Board as a dredge hand and living at the Ellesmere Arms, Tai Tapu. It was noted that in his few years in the district he had earned the respect of all. He was 5ft 9in tall with a fresh complexion, hazel eyes and brown hair.

Donald enlisted 28th June 1916 at Trentham and was assigned to the 5th Reserve Battalion, 3rd New Zealand Rifle Brigade. He embarked for France on 16th October 1916 on board the Willochra and disembarked at Plymouth and marched into Sling camp on 29th December 1916. After Christmas at Sling Camp he proceeded to France on 12th February 1917. After time attached to the Base Depot at Etaples, he was posted to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd NZ Rifle Brigade on 31st March. Just over a month later he was wounded in action on 11th May at Messines, suffering a gunshot wound to his chest penetrating the lung. This was possibly during the digging of a new assembly-trench from 70 to 100 yards behind the front line. He was taken up by the No 1 Field ambulance and transferred the next day to the no 2 Australian Casualty Clearing station. A week later he was admitted to the No 3 Canadian General Hospital at Boulogne . This was the hospital set up and run by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD, the Canadian poet, physician, author, artist who wrote the famous poem In Flanders Fields. Donald died of his wounds aged 35, on 21 June 1916. He was buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, France. In New Zealand Donald is remembered on the Tai Tapu War Memorial. In Scotland he is remembered on his parent’s gravestone in St Peters churchyard, Sth Ronaldsay.


CWGC Cemetery locale history: Boulogne, was one of the three base ports most extensively used by the Commonwealth armies on the Western Front throughout the First World War. It was closed and cleared on the 27 August 1914 when the Allies were forced to fall back ahead of the German advance, but was opened again in October and from that month to the end of the war, Boulogne and Wimereux formed one of the chief hospital areas. Until June 1918, the dead from the hospitals at Boulogne itself were buried in the Cimetiere de L'Est, one of the town cemeteries, the Commonwealth graves forming a long, narrow strip along the right hand edge of the cemetery. In the spring of 1918, it was found that space was running short in the Eastern Cemetery in spite of repeated extensions to the south, and the site of the new cemetery at Terlincthun was chosen. During the Second World War, hospitals were again posted to Boulogne for a short time in May 1940. The town was taken by the Germans at the end of that month and remained in their hands until recaptured by the Canadians on 22 September 1944. Boulogne Eastern Cemetery contains 5,577 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and 224 from the Second World War. The Commonwealth plots were designed by Charles Holden.

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Donald Smith Norquay

First Names:Donald Smith
Last Name:Norquay
Date of Birth:9 Jan 1883
Place of Birth:Orkney, Scotland
Date of Death:21 June 1917
Place of Death:Boulogne, France
Memorial or Cemetery:Boulogne Eastern Cemetery
Age at death:35
User Name:Selwyn Library
Occupation before enlisting:Labourer
Marital Status:Single
Nominal Roll:43/32
Regiment or Service:New Zealand Rifle Brigade.
Enlistment details:28 June 1916
Parents or Next of Kin:Son of George and Margaret Norquay, of Quindrie, St. Margaret's Hope, Orkney, Scotland.
Service Number:29061
Rank last held:Rifleman
Embarkation:16 October 1916
Place of Embarkation:Wellington
Theatres of War:Western Front
Cause of Death:Died of wounds
Other biographical information:NOK George Norquay (brother), Box 11, Railway-station, Doyleston, Canterbury.