National Army Museum, Waiouru, New Zealand : Military History & Army War Museum

Inventor Soldier’s WWI items

A compact special treasure trove of World War One artefacts was delivered to the National Army Museum recently for safe-keeping. The items presented were personal and family items related to the World War One military service of Harry Lockington from Reefton in Westland.

Lieutenant Lockington, born on 13 November 1881, was a mechanical engineer and saw miller in civilian life.  His engineering skills were destined to be put to good use when he served in the army as he was responsible for a number of remarkable inventions, the details of which form part of the collection given to the National Army Museum.

Harry Lockington enlisted in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force on 16 January 1915 as a Trooper.  He was promoted to Second Lieutenant and seconded for duty with the 1st ANZAC Field Squadron in Egypt in 1916, transferring to the New Zealand Engineers for duty with the ANZAC Field Squadron in the same year.

Second Lieutenant Lockington was promoted to Lieutenant for especially good service in the Field in 1918.  He was appointed Second in Command of the 1st ANZAC Field Squadron (Mounted Division) in the same year and granted the temporary rank of Captain whilst so employed.  He was mentioned in Sir E. Allenby’s Despatches in 1918.

Lieutenant Lockington was awarded the MBE in 1919 in recognition of valuable services rendered in connection with military operations in Egypt and Palestine.

The items presented to the National Army Museum include maps from Palestine produced in the World War One period which are in pristine condition.  Along with other personal items there is a kitbag and photographs, some of which have been used as postcards.

The reality of war comes home to the observer when one postcard says in a matter of fact way “a large number of the 5th Infantry who came with us are killed and a great number of them are here in the hospitals which are full”.