Joseph Charles Breuer (known as Joe) was born in Waipukurau on the 13th August 1877. His parents Adolf and Ane Breuer had both migrated to New Zealand. Adolf originally from Hungary and Ane from Denmark.
In 1898 Joseph married Mary Knox and together they had 8 children. Sadly Mary died in February 1914 Mary's death left Joseph with the enormous task of bringing up their children the youngest was only just over a year old. Until Mary's death the family lived in Clive, Hawkes Bay however, I should imagine that those children who were too young to care for themselves went to live with their grandmother Ane in Waipawa who was also widowed.
Joseph had been employed by the Hawkes Bay Farmers Meat Company at their Whakatu Freezing Works as a Fellmonger. (A Fellmonger is a person who removes the hair or wool from animal hides in preparation for leather making.) The freezing works were Joseph's given address when he enlisted in May 1916.
Whether Joseph volunteered or was called up in the ballot I do not know. He was 40 years old when he embarked with the 11th Reinforcements 1st Battalion, E Company aboard the Devon on 25 September 1916. He was killed in action on 8 August 1917. In his military record there is a small account of his death noting that he was killed as a result of an enemy shell whilst on his Lewis gun. Private Robert Campbell, 25805 was also killed alongside Joseph. They were reportedly buried in the same shell hole. There bodies were never recovered and they are both remembered on the Messines Ridge (NZ) Memorial.
For Joseph's family in New Zealand the news that their father had been killed in action must have been devastating made all the worse as they had only lost their mother 3 years earlier. His medals were kept in the care of Rev. Father McDonnell, St Patrick's school, Wellington the guardian of Joseph Breuer the eldest son.