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Object: Portrait of William John Adam Prussing

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Title Portrait of William John Adam Prussing
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.046494

William John Adam Prussing, service number 42870

This  portrait depicts Rifleman William John Adam Prussing, service number 42870, of 'H' Company, 24th Reinforcements, New Zealand Rifle Brigade.

William was 36 years old, working as an Able Seaman for T. Ricketts of Port Nelson when he attested as a volunteer for the 24th Reinforcements on 19 October 1916.  His father was a German by birth who had lived at Collingwood and Nelson for many years, and his mother was Scottish.

He entered training camp on 4 January 1917 and embarked from Wellington for England on 26 April.  He was posted to the Rifle Brigade's 5th Reserve Battalion at Brocton  Camp on 21 July and left to serve on the Western Front  France on 7 December. He joined C company of the 3rd Battalion, New Zealand Rifle Brigade on 31 December.  He may have been wounded or sick  in January, as he was reported as rejoining his unit from a Field Ambulance on 29 January. 

 He was definitely wounded on 29 March, when his face was hit by a bullet.  He was sent to the New Zealand hospital at Walton-on-Thames,  then to Hornchurch Convalescent Hospital from 8 April till 8 May, when he was granted 2 weeks' leave, with orders to report to Codford Hospital .

He was back at Brocton Camp on 23 July, then returned to active service with his unit on 30 September.   William was wounded a second time, on 11 October.  This time it was a bullet which fractured his left arm, and he was evacuated again to hospitals in London and Birmigham, then to Hornchurch as a convalescent.

William embarked from England for the voyage home on 1 March 1919 and was discharged from the NZEF on 7 November as 'no longer physically fit for war service on account of wounds received in action.'

It appears that Willliam never married.  He died at Hastings on 18 January 1965, aged 86.

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.