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Object: Portrait of Richard Weir Battersby

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Title Portrait of Richard Weir Battersby
Production Berry & Co (photography studio), 1918, 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.045960

Richard Weir Battersby, service number 63539

This studio portrait shows Corporal Richard Weir Battersby, service number 63539. He is wearing his World War One military uniform, a 'lemon-squeezer' hat with the badge of  the First New Zealand Expeditionary Force and a woollen greatcoat with Corporal's chevrons on the left sleeve.  Richard Battersby's appointment as a Corporal in the 43rd Reinforcements was published in the 'Evening Post' newspaper on 14 May 1918, so he must have sat for this portrait some time between then and his embarkation on 2 October.

The portrait  was taken at the Cuba Street studio of  Berry & Co.  in Wellington, a well-known photographic firm established in 1897 by William Berry. Many servicemen had their portraits taken there while on leave or before they left for the war.

Richard's  name was drawn in the Fourth Ballot for compulsory military service on 13 February 1917 and he entered the training camp at Trentham in late August as part of the 'local quota' for the 33rd Reinforcements. 

Richard was 25 years old when he attested for service. Married to Gladys Frances Maud Williamson, he was living in Pitt Street, Wadestown and was employed as a clerk in Wellington. He embarked from Wellington with the 43rd Reinforcements on 2 October 1918 on the troopship 'Matatua', arriving in London three weeks after the Armistice on 5 December 1918.

Richard remained in England until September 1919, when he left for New Zealand with 'Returning Draft No. 288' on the troopship 'Ionic' and disembarked at Wellington on 25 October.

Richard  lived for most of his life in Wadestown, with many of his immediate family living nearby. He was involved in the Wadestown Chess Club and the Wadestown & Highland Park Mens' Club. The family was also involved in the Wadestown Horticultural Society - earlier named the Wadestown Cottage Garden and Beautifying Society. Richard and Gladys lived a long life together. They both lived until 1980. Richard was 86 years old when he died.

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.