Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Private John Thomas Oxnam - Murchison Memorial

Private John Oxnam caught my attention because we share the same birth date.  He embarked on 14 March 1917 aboard the Ruapehu with the New Zealand Rifle Brigade.  Oxnam's war like many was sadly shortlived he was killed in action on 12 October 1917 at Passchendaele he was 25 years old.

At the time Oxnam was buried in an isolated grave however in 1921 he body was exhumed and laid to rest at Tyne Cot Cemetery.

Evidence of the grief his family felt at his loss is apparent by the notice I found in Papers Past that was publish after his death.

Colonist, 10 November 1917, Papers Past

It must have been a comfort to his family to later know exactly where he was laid to rest. I wonder if any members of his family visited him at Tyne Cot?



  1. Hey Helen thanks for paying an interest in John Oxnam, He is my Great Great Uncle and I went to his grave side last year In Tyne Cot Cemetary. If you would like to know more my email is destroyer_96@hotmail.com.
    Regards Aaron

  2. John Thomas was one of a family of 14 - he had five sisters and nine brothers. He was a son of Cornishman, John Oxnam, who was one of the earliest pioneers of Murchison and had an adventurous life. As a young man he followed the gold rushes- first on the goldfields of Victoria, Australia, then Otago, Westland and Marlborough, before arriving in the Buller area in the 1860s and buying land on the outskirts of Murchison in 1872. It was a hard life and like most pioneers he was versatile - as well as gold mining he turned his hand to farming and hotel-keeping. Tough times and tough men.

  3. Visited John Thomas grave at Tyne Cott cemetary near Ieper in July 2016. Very moving to find out more about this great uncle. His grave is beautifully presented and cared for in the largest Commonwealth War Grave Cemetary in the world. Sad to understand the circumstances of this difficult battle.
    David Alan Oxnam and familly