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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

OKEBY, William George Dvr NZFA 3rd Bty

Guest OnwardFitness

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Guest OnwardFitness

Hi all,

My first post and I'm cutting to the chase. William is my great-grandfather and he died on 27 June 1917 (my eldest brother was born on 27 June coincidentally)

I have records of where he was laid to rest. Strand Military Cemetery in Belgium.

What I am trying to find out is how he died. I've searched the records of Strand Military Cemetery and out of everyone buried there he's the only one who died on that date. There are a few other NZ gunners who died a week earlier. Intriguing.

I've always been told he died in France but why then would he be buried in Belgium?

Also he was with the NZFA but his title was Driver so am I right in assuming he was attached to the Field Artillery as a Driver or was he a Gunner who drove?

So many questions.

I'm lucky that I know where he rests and when he died but as the only military representative of my family (both sides) since my grandfather I have a deep desire to know why?

Any help in the right direction would be gratefully appreciated.


Dave O

Ex 2/1bn RNZIR



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His service records are here:

OKEBY, William George - WW1 11/1842 - Army

Image 3 records that he was serving as a gunner with 1st Brigade 3rd Battery NZFA on 01.12.1916 and Image 7 that he was with 1st Brigade when killed in action on 27.6.17.

Photo here:

William George Okeby - Online Cenotaph - Auckland War Memorial Museum

Archibald Luke Donnelly (Corporal, Div. Ammunition Col. NZFA) was posted to 3rd Battery on 7.3.17. He was also KIA 27.6.17 in France or Belgium and is commemorated on the Messines Ridge (NZ) Memorial.


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Welcome to the Forum.

My relatives thought my great-uncle was killed in 'France' but he was killed outside Ypres - so the confusion was not unusual.

Have a look at the Long Long Trail site - this link is to the New Zealand Division page:


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Guest OnwardFitness

To JP,

Thank you beyond words mate. I knew he couldn't be KIA in France. The timeline doesn't match. So supposedly a few days out from the 3rd Battle of Ypres - what could that mean? Enemy artillery? But then why only him. So many questions.

For one thing I can't comprehend how small he was. Different era I guess.

Once again thanks for taking an interest.



Thanks mate. I'm kicking myself that in all my years service I never took an interest as I do now.

I'll get to his grave.

What a great website.


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