Title / object name
Portrait of William James Gallen
|Maker ||Role ||Date |
|Berry & Co ||photography studio ||Jan 1917 - Apr 1917 |
black and white glass negativeMaterials
photographic gelatin, sheet glass, silver, photographic plates
half plate (1/2)Classification
studio portraits, portraits, black-and-white negatives, gelatin dry plate negatives
Purchased 1998 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds
This portrait by photographers Berry & Co is of World War I solder William James Gallen. He was the eldest son of Katie and Hugh Gallen. He is wearing the uniform of a non-commissioned sergeant, which allows the photo to be dated between January and April 1917, when he held this rank.
Before enlisting, Gallen had worked as a draughtsman for the New Zealand Government. He had joined the Public Service at Gisborne in 1910 and during his service had taken a keen interest in military matters, particularly signalling. After working as a draughtsman for three and a half years, he qualified for the field branch of his department. By this time he was living and working in Nelson, where he married Wanda (Vanda) Myra Natalie Ellis, the only daughter of William Alfred Ellis and his wife Emily, on the 4th July 1917.
William Gallen was Roman Catholic, and a loyal member of the Hiberian Catholic Benefit Society in Nelson. He was elected to President of the society in 1916, where he also acted as a trustee.
On the eve of his departure from Nelson, an evening event was held in his honour at the Crown Lands Office where his colleagues made him the presentation of a wrist watch to wish him good luck and a safe return.
Gallen spent time training at Trentham Camp before embarking from Wellington on 16th November 1917 on the Tahiti, with the rank of Second Lieutenant, part of the 25th Specialist Company. He returned to New Zealand following injury on the Kigoma and was discharged on the 13th August 1919.
Gallen's service number was 36778.
The identification of people in the Berry Co. photos is an ongoing project. If you have any information about the soldiers or other people in this collection we would like to hear from you. Please contact a history curator through our enquiry centre 04 381 7000 or email@example.com