Voices from the Past

A Soldier and a Rugby Player

All Black WWI Roll of Honour

11/448 Sergeant Henry DEWAR

Henry Dewar was born in Foxton in 1883, but spent most of his early years in Wellington before moving to Taranaki at the age of 27. He worked there as an Ironmoulder until World War I broke out four years later in 1914.

All Black World War One Roll of Honour

Dewar began his rugby career with Wellington’s Melrose Club and played his first provincial rugby with Wellington in 1907. The following year he was in the Wellington team which beat the touring Anglo Welsh.

Known by the nickname “Norkey”, Dewar was strong and ruggedly built for those years, and was an industrious forward who could play either as a hooker or in the loose. In fact, some said he could play in any position in the scrum.

He played for Taranaki during his time there and the North Island side in 1913. In that same year he was in the Taranaki side which ended Auckland’s long reign as the Ranfurly Shield holders with a 14-11 win, As well as defending the shield in 1914, he was also in the Taranaki team that was narrowly defeated by the touring Australians. His robust play was enough to win his All Black jersey; playing in the 30-5 first test win over the Wallabies at Athletic Park, Wellington.

His first All Black appearance was followed by selection for the tour of North America, in which he proved to be one of the most consistent performers. He appeared in 14 of the 16 matches, including the test against All-America which was won 51-3.

When war broke out, Dewar was one of the first to enlist and joined the 2nd Wellington West Coast Squadron, Wellington Mounted Rifles team in several matches before heading to Gallipoli. He played at ‘wing forward’ (flanker) and was described as playing a clever ‘heady’ game.

Involved in most of the early action at Gallipoli, he was killed on 9 August, 1915, in the attack on Chunuk Bair during the August Offensive, a couple of months short of his 32nd birthday. His body was not recovered and he is commemorated on the Chunuk Bair Memorial, Turkey.

Club (First made All Blacks from): Stratford

Province: Taranaki

All Black Debut: 6 September 1913 v Australia at Wellington

Last Test: 15 November 1913 v USA at Berkley, US

Tests: 2

Games: 14

Total All Black Games: 16

Total All Black points: 3 (1 try)

All Black No.: 175