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Object: Portrait of Elliot Hoffer

This image has No Known Copyright Restrictions.

Title Portrait of Elliot Hoffer
Production Berry & Co (photography studio), 1917, 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.045210

Elliot Hoffer, service  number 45378

This studio portrait depicts Rifleman Elliot Hoffer, service number 45378, New Zealand Rifle Brigade.

The portrait was taken by Berry & Co. photographers in Wellington, a well-known studio in Cuba Street established in 1897 by William Berry. Many servicemen had their photos taken while on leave or before they left to fight in World War One.

Elliot Hoffer had his first medical inspection on 1 September 1916, but was rejected as 'Unfit' for military service on account of 'Bad feet & Heart trouble'. But he passed a second inspection on 3 January 1917, and was attested for service with the NZEF the same day. On 20 January, the 'Evening Post' newspaper reported that he had been sent to training camp the previous day with 31 other Wellington men 'towards making up the city's shortages in the 25th Reinforcements.'

Elliott was 28 years old when he attested for service. At time of enlistment he was a fitter for the Wellington Gas Company. He lived at that time with his Russian Jewish parents, Soloman and Ethel Hoffer in Ghuznee Street in Wellington. Elliott's attestation states that both of his parents were naturalized in Wellington. Though he was single at the time of enlistment, he is listed as having two people dependent on him, presumably his parents.

Elliott embarked from Wellington with the 26th Reinforcements aboard the transport ship 'Willochra' on 9 June 1917 as part of G Company, of the 26th Reinforcements. He most likely sat for his portrait near the time of his embarkation.

He disembarked at Devonport, England, on 16 August, and went to Brocton Camp in Staffordshire, where the Rifle Brigade trained. On 23 October, he left Brocton for active service on the Western Front. After further training at Etaples Camp from 26 October, he was sent to the front, where he joined 'C' Company of the 2nd Battalion, 3rd New Zealand Rifle Brigade. Elliott remained on active service 'in the field' with his unit until 6 August 1918, when he was detached for training at the 3rd Army Musketry School. He rejoined his Battalion on 15 September for a month, then went on leave to the United Kingdom on 16 October.

On 27 May 1919, Elliott left England aboard the transport ship 'Tahiti', bound for New Zealand, where he was discharged from the NZEF on 3 August 1919.

Elliott married Elsie Beatrice Schultz in 1920 after his return to New Zealand. They had a daughter, Ethel Betty Hoffer in 1923 and the family moved to Palmerston North, where Elliott worked as a plumber.  He died  on 20 July 1958 in Palmerston North and is buried at Kelvin Grove Cemetery.

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.

Related information

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.