Object: Portrait of a Gunner [inscribed Porter]
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|Title||Portrait of a Gunner [inscribed Porter]|
Berry & Co (photography studio), 1914-1915, Wellington
|Medium summary||black and white glass negative|
|Materials||photographic gelatin, sheet glass, silver, photographic plates|
|Classification||studio portraits, portraits, black-and-white negatives, gelatin dry plate negatives|
|Format||half plate (1/2)|
|Credit line||Purchased 1998 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds|
Portrait of a Gunner in the Royal New Zealand Artillery.
The man portrayed here is a member of the Royal New Zealand Artillery.
Artillery played a crucial part in the War as the guns were used to destroy enemy positions. Artillerymen worked in teams to work their guns. It was a dangerous and demanding job. Not only were the men at risk of being fired at by enemy guns and their own ammunition exploding prematurely in but the work was extremely hard physically.
The Berry studio's register number of the negative tells us that the
photograph was taken some time in 1914-1915. There were three Artillerymen
named Porter who embarked from Wellington before the end of 1915. One of these men, William Lincoln Field Porter, service number 2/2238, was a 32 year old married man when he enlisted at the start of the war. His age, and his auburn hair does not fit well with the dark-haired young man in the photograph, who is not wearing a wedding ring.
A more likely candidate is Eric Clinton Gordon Porter, service number 2/1951. Eric was born in Wellington in 1895. His father, Francis Henri Porter, was also an Artilleryman, and the family lived at 53 Hopper Street, close to the barracks in Buckle Street and a short walk from Berry & Co.'s studio.
Eric was 20 years and 3 months old and working as a cadet on a sheep farm when he enlisted in March 1915. He was described at his medical inspection as 5 feet 8 3/4 inches tall, with a dark complexion, brown eyes and black hair, so his age and description fits the appearance of the man portrayed.
Eric embarked from Wellington with the 5th Reinforcements on 13 June 1915, but his time on active service on Gallipoli was to be short. In September, while stationed near Suvla Bay, he received an injury to his spine when a shell exploded nearby and buried him in a 'dug out' . He was evacuated and returned to Wellington on the Hospital Ship 'Maheno' .
Eric survived his injuries and served with the Home Guard and as an Army
storeman during World War 2. He died on 1 September 1961, aged 66.
Another possible identification is Charles Alfred Porter, service number 2/2154, who also had a short period of military service. Charles was born in Auckland in 1893, and was described on his enlistment as being 5 feet 8 inches tall, with brown hair and a dark complexion. Charles embarked from Wellington with the 8th Reinforcements on 13 November 1915. He was admitted to the New Zealand General Hospital in Cairo with bronchitis on 5 January 1916 and discharged on 9 February. Charles was invalided home to New Zealand, where he was struck off the strength of the NZEF on 20 May 1916.
Charles died at Auckland on 4 March 1941.
The Berry Boys
During World War I, around 120 Kiwi soldiers had their photograph taken at Wellington’s Berry & Co photography studio before they left New Zealand to fight in the war . These portraits are now in Te Papa’s collection.
In the lead-up to the World War I centenary (2014-18), Te Papa is working to identify these soldiers and the loved ones they are pictured with. We want to make contact with their descendants, and to record their stories.
Some soldiers have already been identified. For others, we only have the surname etched on the glass negative.
If you have any information you can share about the Berry Boys - either a soldier or someone they are photographed with - please use the online form above. You can also email email@example.com or leave a phone message for us on 04 381 7129. You can also write to Berry Boys Project Team, Te Papa, PO Box 467, Wellington 6140.
To aid identification, please be sure to include the Te Papa registration number (B.044366, for example) for the photo in question.
Disclaimer: This information was created from historic documentation, and may not necessarily reflect the best available knowledge about the item. Some collection images are created for identification purposes only and may not be of reproduction quality. Some images are not available due to copyright restrictions. If you have information or questions about objects in the collection, contact us using our enquiry form. You can also find out more about Collections Online.