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Object: Portrait of Sidney Cresswell

This image is No known copyright restriction.

Title Portrait of Sidney Cresswell
Production Berry & Co (photography studio), 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.045285

Sidney Cresswell, service  number 10325

This is a  portrait of  Sidney Cresswell in the uniform of a Trooper in the 12th Reinforcements of the Wellington Mounted Rifles.

Sidney Cresswell was aged 26, single, and working  as a  wire mattress maker in Wellington when he volunteered for the Army Service Corps in December 1915.  As there were too many volunteers for the Corps from Wellington, he was one of several men who were asked at a special parade on 8 December if they were prepared to transfer to other units. Sidney agreed to transfer to the  Mounted Rifles,  and enlisted with  B Squadron of the 12th Reinforcements, Wellington Mounted Rifles on 11 January 1916. He was posted immediately to train with them at Tauherinikau Camp near Featherston.  He was with the Mounteds until 5 April, when he was transferred to the infantry as a member of  J Company, 12th Reinforcements. 

Sidney embarked from Wellington with the 12th Reinforcements on 6 May 1916. He arrived in England via Egypt on 7 August for training at Sling Camp, but fell sick and was admitted to Tidworth Hospital on 24 August.  On his recovery, he was transferred to the NZEF's Group Headquarters as a groom,  then to the Pioneer Batallion at Sling Camp on 18 October. He was sent to France on 30 October, and served with the Pioneer Batallion 'In the Field' from 10 December till 25 February 1917 when he was detached for duty with the 1st British Army's  Forest Control Unit.  On 31 May, Sidney was 'permanently attached' to the Royal Engineers as part of this unit.  He had brief periods of leave in England in June-July 1917 and February 1918, then served with No. 361 Forestry Company until 31 December. 

Sidney was at Lark Hill Camp when he  fell sick with influenza and was admitted to Fargo Military Hospital near Birmingham on 4 February 1919, then to the New Zealand Convalescent Hospital at Hornchurch on 17 February.  He was examined by a Medical Board on 20 February which noted his 'debility' from influenza and recommended he be classified as 'B3'  (unfit for war service) for 3 months.

Sidney left England for the voyage home on 11 March. He was examined during the voyage by another Medical Board, which although it attributed his 'debility' to war service, recommended that he not be given a disability pension.

Sidney was discharged from the NZEF at Wellington on 27 May 1919.  On 24 March 1921 he married Lillian Rose Edwards, whom he may have met in England, but who died only two years later.  Sidney remarried, to Amy Sarah Hurley, in 1924, and went on to live a long life, dying in  1971 at the age of 83.

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 berryboys@tepapa.govt.nz 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.