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Object: Portrait of Elliot Hoffer

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Title Portrait of Elliot Hoffer
Production Berry, William (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

Rifleman Elliott Hoffer, New Zealand Rifle Brigade,  service  number 45378.

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.


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