Thursday, May 5, 2011

John Mainer Corbett - Waihi Memorial - update

John Mainer Corbett was the son of Edward and Mary Ann Corbett, he was born in 1893.  He was an Assayer and Metallurgist for the Waihi Grand Junction Gold Mining Company.  Before enlistment he had served with the Territorials in the 6th Hauraki Company.  He enlisted on the 20 January 1915 and embarked on 14 February 1915.   Once in the Dardanelles he joined the Auckland Infantry Battalion on the 1 June 1915.  However John Corbett's war was to be short - one week later on 8 June 1915 he was killed in action at Quinn's Post he was 22 years old and has no known grave.  He is remembered on the Lone Pine Memorial. 

In Glyn Harpers's excellent book 'Letters from Gallipoli' I found a letter written by Private Norman Campbell who mentions a volunteer attack on a Turkish trench at Quinn's Post on 5 June 1915 and how 14 Haurakis were asked to volunteer.  It would be of no surprise if John Corbett had been one of those volunteers.

I also found reference to John Corbett's death in the new book 'Auckland Infantry'  by Peter Cooke, John H Gray and Ken Stead.  It mentions the attack on the Turkish trench on the 7/8 June 1915 where 13 where killed and 25 wounded including John Corbett.


  1. Helen - what a fantastic project. I am recording cemeteries in Canterbury following our earthquakes, so if you want any help locating military memorials etc in this area please don't hesitate to drop me a line.

    Unfortunately some of the larger monuments were damaged, but it's great to see some (Cust recently) are already being restored.

    All the best
    Helen Leggatt
    Hunting Kiwis

  2. This is my great uncle. Our family has only just learned of our connection to him.

    Thank you so much for you post, it is great to be able to learn more about him, as we had found little information so far. It was also particularly special to see his photo.

    Your goal is so special. John was unmarried and had no children, so it is so important that his story and others like it be told. All the best for completing your mission.

    1. Hi Bob, not sure if this will reach you after all this time (just came back to check a couple of details and saw you reply) but I am a decendent of George Lee Corbett (3rd child of Edward Mann Corbett and Mary-Ann Mainer) - George was my Great-Grandfather. My part of the family all live in Aus but my Dad and I travelled back to NZ a couple years ago to look into our family history and discovered the connection to John Mainer. We found his memorial on the Lychgate at St John's Anglican Church in Waihi.

    2. Hi Suz123
      I think this maybe a relative of my family also with connection to my Grandfather Ivan Edward Carter, his mothers name is Ada Evelyn Corbett

    3. Hi there, from memory I don't remember an Ada in our family tree but if you want to send me an email I am most happy to compare notes and see if anything lines up.
      suz.corbett (at)

  3. Hi, I believe this is the grave for John Mainer Corbett is in Waihi Cemetery, Block B:

    The inscription reads:
    Second Lieut John Mainer Corbett
    8th Hauraki Rect
    Killed at Quinns Post Gallipoli
    8th June 1915 aged 22 years

    I added this grave to find a grave and was just doing a quick search in case anyone might be interested.

  4. I believe this could be a relative of mine relating to my Great Nana Ivy May Corbett

    1. Hi Karina, we have a fairly complete family tree for John (he was my great granddad's brother). I am most happy to compare notes to help you find if you are related also. feel free to email me. suz.corbett (at) gmail (dot) com