A Kiwi in search of her ancestral tribes

Peter Michael Gaffaney ~ ANZAC

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.1

Peter Michael Gaffaney (on left)

Peter Michael Gaffaney (on left)

Peter Michael Gaffaney was born in Dunedin, New Zealand on 14 September 1892, son of Francis Gaffaney (Belper, Derbyshire) and Catherine Brosnahan (Co Kerry, Ireland).  He was single, and an indentured carpenter for Wanganui builders Ashwell & McAvery(?) in Wanganui.  He was living at The Pines, 68 St Hill Street, Wanganui at the time of enlistment.  His brother, Francis Dominic Gaffaney, jeweller, of Wanganui, was listed as his next-of-kin.

Peter Gaffaney enlisted on 29 May 1915 at Trentham, having undergone his medical examination on 6 May 1915.  His medical examination describes him being 5 foot 7 inches, weighing 132lb and having a dark complexion, blue eyes, and dark brown hair.  His religious profession was Roman Catholic.  He was assessed fit, despite being rejected as unfit previously because of “bad teeth”.  (They were described as “fair” in this assessment.)

Peter Gaffaney’s service reckons from 29 May 1915.  On enlistment he joined B Coy, 2nd Battalion 3rd  NZ Rifle Brigade as a Rifleman with the regimental number of 24/431.


He left Wellington on 8 October, disembarking in Egypt on 18 November 1915

21 November  he joined the Western Frontier Force


17 January he proceeded to Ismailia.

4 January at Ismailia Camp he was confined to barracks for 3 days for “Hesitating to obey an order”

6 April he embarked for France from Alexandria.

16 October  he became sick and was admitted to hospital with diarrhoea on 21 October.

11 November he rejoined unit.

28 November he was again admitted to hospital.

2 December he rejoined unit


9 June he was appointed Lance Corporal

30 June he was admitted to hospital with influenza

7 July he rejoined unit

4 August he was detached to Lewis Gun School

18 August he rejoined unit

13 October he was promoted to Corporal

13 October he was detached to Reinfot? Camp

21 October he rejoined unit

24 November he was detached on leave to UK

1 December he was promoted to Sergeant

15 December he rejoined unit


22 February he was detached on leave to UK

9 March he rejoined unit

5 April  he was wounded in action and died en route to hospital from shell wounds to face and neck


On 31 May 1918 Peter Gaffaney was awarded the Military Medal for Acts of Gallantry in the Field.2

He is buried at Louvencourt Military Cemetery, Louvencourt, Somme, France, Plot 1, Row D, Grave 21

Peter Michael Gaffaney was my first cousin three times removed – the cousin of my great grandfather, Peter Dominic Gaffaney.



  1. Binyon, Laurence, “For the Fallen”, poem, written c1914, 4th stanza.
  2. Archives NZ, “GAFFANEY, Peter Michael – WW1 24/431 – Army”; digital image, Archway (http://www.archway.archives.govt.nz/ViewFullItem.do?code=16784539 : accessed 26 Nov 2010)


Hitting the books ~ Sorting Saturday


Percy Luxton ~ Wordless Wednesday


  1. Rick Mclachlan

    PeterMichael Gaffaney was my Grandfather,s (Francis Dominc Gaffaney died in his 99th year peacefully in Dunedin) Brother, My Pop never spoke about the war and I only new about my great uncle through my Mum (his Niece) who he never meet. To My knowledge none of Pops grandchildren ever visited our great Uncles grave site , I wasnt aware of his whereabouts until well after my travels through France and Europe. I am going to visit his grave in Lavencourt this year to pay my respects to a brave young man who died without his family with him Rick Mclachlan 25/03/24

    • Maggie

      That’s wonderful, Rick, safe travels. It’s a small cemetery so his grave is not hard to find.

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