Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Attack on Polderhoek Chateau and the Wanaka Memorial

On the Wanaka Memorial there are three soldiers named, who were killed in action on the 3 December 1917.  These soldiers all served with the 1st Otago Infantry Battalion who together with the 1st Canterbury were given the job of the implementing the attack on Polderhoek Chateau in Belgium.  The attack took place at noon in broad daylight with the help of a planned smoke screen to give an element of surprise (most attacks went ahead in early light).  However the wind blew in the wrong direction, and to make matters worse 1st Otago were hit by friendly fire which fell short of its intended target.  The attack was an undoubted failure and casualties were heavy for the New Zealand.  An important factor which contributed greatly to the failure of the attack was that many of the soldiers who took part were recent reinforcements and who as a consequence were inexperienced.  Two of the soldiers on the Wanaka memorial killed on this day had been at the Front only a few months.

The three soldiers were:

Private Corrie Common Halliday a farm labourer who was initially reported missing before he was reported killed in action.  He embarked on the 26 June 1916 from Wellington.  Private Halliday is remembered at Buttes New British Cemetery (NZ) Memorial, Polygon Wood.

John Alexander Barclay a farmer from Hawea Flat, embarked 26 April 1917 with 25th Reinforcements aboard the Tofua from Wellington.  He is buried at Hooge Crater Cemetery, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

John William Kingan  a farm hand from Hawea Flat,  embarked on 26 July 1917 with the 28th Reinforcements aboard the Ulimaroa from Wellington.  He is also remembered at Buttes New British Cemetery (NZ) Memorial, Polygon Wood.


  1. From my readings, Polderhoek was fought for with the Otago, Southland and Canterbury regiments. The attempts to capture the chateau failed and the entire attempt cost large number of lives.

    I've tried and I'm trying to find out more about this battle as it paints another dark day in New Zealand's history. With the battle coming so quickly after Passchendaele, it gets a little overlooked as a chapter to that campaign.

    There might be more reference to Polderhoek on some of the memorials in Southland and Otago, but not that I can remember. I might do some more research on Polderhoeck

  2. My Great Uncle fought in this battle - I have a list of killed and wounded that he made from his Platoon if anyone is interested. Lyn genielynau at yahoo.com

  3. Some sources mention 'Friendly fire' at Polderhoek, from inaccurate artlillery elevation. A Grandfather was with the Otagos and Canterburies in this battle.