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Object: Portrait of William Keith Berry

This image has No Known Copyright Restrictions.

Title Portrait of William Keith Berry
Production Berry & Co (photography studio), 1915-1916, Wellington
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
Registration number B.045008

William Keith Berry, service number 25/81

This studio portrait depicts who we think is Rifleman William Keith Berry, service number 25/81.

William was 21 years old when he attested for service in October 1915. At this time he lived in Napier and he was working as a telegraphist for the New Zealand government.

He embarked from Wellington on 5 February 1916 for  Egypt. William was in the New Zealand Rifle Brigade, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Section. He fought in France where he was involved in the Battles of the Somme.

William’s military record reveals an interesting service history. He was punished for being absent without leave and later for 'hesitating to put on his gas mask'. But he also was rewarded for his services, promoted to Lance Corporal and later Corporal and then Sergeant. He was also awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in recognition of valuable services in the war.

In September 1916 he was wounded and transferred to Walton on Thames Hospital; he was also treated at the hospital for influenza in May 1918. By this time he had been transferred to the Medical Corps and was working at the hospital.

While in England he married his wife Louise on 9 July 1919 in Maidstone. After the war the couple returned to New Zealand. William worked for the New Zealand Postal Service all his working life firstly as a telegraphist in Napier and later as postmaster in Otaki, Te Puke and Otorohanga. Willaim and Louise had two children, Zoe and William.

William died on 21 January 1962 aged 66 in Otorohanga, Waikato.

I know who this is

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.

Contact us
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 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.

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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.