Thursday, March 17, 2011

Private Cecil Henry Barwick - Akaroa Memorial

Private Cecil Barwick was a member of the newly formed 1st NZ Cyclist Company which embarked from Wellington on the 'Mokoia' bound for Suez.  On arrival in Suez the company was drilled for two weeks in the early morning and late evening as it was too hot to drill during the day.  The Company then set off for France arriving in Marseilles on the 17 July 1916.  Initially their cycles were not with them and after travelling across France to the North the company who had now joined forces with the Australian Cyclist Company went to the trenches.  The cycles did eventually arrive and where then used as transport from billet to billet.  I  have read that the cycles where used mainly as transport, whilst they were not as fast as cavalry they were a cheaper option. 

Private Barwick was wounded on the 7 June 1917 at the Battle at Messines whilst his unit was under heavy shell fire while bridging the Steenbeeque Stream.  After he was wounded it looks like he was transferred to St Omer which was a Hospital Centre.  He died on the 11 June 1917 aged 21 years and is buried in the Longuenesse, St Omer Cemetery.

When looking at pictures of the brutalised landscape of WW1 I am left wondering how the cycles of WW1, without today's modern improvements managed to perform -  it must have been an uncomfortable ride.

Private Barwick hailed from Duvauchelle Bay his parents Joseph and Mary Barwick had two other sons who fought in WW1, they both returned to NZ at the end of the War. 


  1. They were obviously a lot more hardy in those days - no padded shorts and bumpy roads.

  2. Hi Helen, Wonderful site you have established here.
    Private Martin Daly, a cousin 3rd removed was reported to have been killed in action Passchendaele 12th October 1917, at the age of 23 years. You can glean information from site - Paperspast Peninsula roll of Honour & Lyttleton times 1918 war news. Not sure if his brother went over, or what happened to him ? Martin by all accounts, was a well loved family member, and involved with the Catholic & boating community in Akaroa.
    We do have some old photos, which we have been unable to identify.
    His Grandfather was Antonio Rodrigues of The Maderia Hotel Akaroa. His cousin Ralph Parsons of Akaroa Staff Sergent, was injuried luckly injury at the time, so hence missed a fierce battle at Gallipoi

    1. Private Martin Daly - Akaroa Memorial