Friday, June 10, 2011

Burbush Brothers - Palmerston North Memorial

David Gordon Burbush was one of four brothers and the son of  Frank and Catherine Burbush, of Hamilton, New Zealand who served in World War One.  David a Draper in Hamilton was the first of the four brothers to embark leaving with the Main Body on the 16 October 1914.  He was killed in action at the landing on Gallipoli on the 25 April 1915.  He has no known grave and is remembered on the Lone Pine memorial.

His two brothers Frank Alan and Rob Roy McGregor Burbush followed shortly after their brother David's death embarking on the 9 October 1915 with the 7th Reinforcements.  They both survived the war.

Lastly George Edgar Burbush embarked on the 12 June 1917 and sadly died of his wounds on the 27 October 1918 most likely at Quesnoy and only days away from the end of the war.  He was 22 years old.  He is buried along with 19 other New Zealand soldiers in the pretty Vertigneul Churchyard in Romeries.

The Burbush family certainly contributed greatly to New Zealand's war effort sending four sons to fight with only two returning safely.

The Burbush brothers represented the earliest pioneers of New Zealand.  I found a newspaper entry which mentioned that the brothers were the great-grandsons of John Kerr of Murchison in the South Island the man who claimed to have first driven a plough in the soil of the South Island.

I have wondered what the Burbush brothers connection was with Palmerston North was.  Does anyone know?


  1. If you do a Papers Past search for Burbush and Palmerston North, you'll find that a Frank H Burbush had involvement in Palmerston North from around 1887 through to the early 1900s. The Burbush name appears to be closely connected with the area. There's a chance that the brothers were born and raised there.

  2. Helen

    I understand that Frank Alan Burbush and Catherine Burbush (nee Kerr), the parents of David Gordon Burbush, moved from the Nelson area where Frank was born and where they married, to Taranaki, where Frank was a builder in Hawera. Frank and Catherine were living in Palmerston North by 1887, may have lived in Bulls around 1890-91 and then moved to Woodville where Frank ran a joinery factory.

    According one source they moved to Victoria St in Hamilton in 1912, and Frank died 7 years later. They had 10 children and Burbush Road near Te Rapa in Hamilton is named after one of their sons, Walter, who was a farmer and stock agent in the area in the 1930s.

    David Gordon Burbush is a distant relative of my mother, and I placed a poppy by his name at Lone Pine during a visit last September.

    I presume he is commemorated in Palmerston North as they were recent residents of the area when David was killed in 1915, and they may have had other relatives in the area.

    Thanks very much for your excellent site and work in recording these vignettes of history.


  3. Frank Alan travelled from Hamilton to Ohinewai where he later married our Grandmother Lily Victoria Foote.
    Frank played Cricket for Waikato and was a rep, like his dad he was also carpenter.
    Along with Roy the two brothers worked on the Rose Vale dairy farm and harvested flax from the same property next to Lake Waikare. Frank Alan returned from WWI safely and went on to marry Lily Foote and had one daughter Betty Victoria, who later married our father, Robert Todd.. Who had 4 children.and carried on with the Rose Vale farm.
    Frank died in 1938. Later Roy Burbush married Lily 2 years after Franks death.
    Lily married Roy, who's wife had died while giving birth in Australia and remained on the Rose Vale farm.
    Robert and Betty Todd bought the farm from Roy and Lily. Roy and Lily moved to Mangere East, bought a 2.5 acre section and milked 2 house cows and sold eggs from the 100 hens. Roy died in 1970. Lily died 2000 in her 100th year.

    Allan Todd.