Rank: Private 37913
Regiment: 23rd Reinforcement Specialists Company (Machine Gun Section) 5th New Zealand Division
Anthony Cawley was born in Beer in 1883, one of the eight children of Henry Cawley, a seaman, and his wife Rose. At the time of the 1891 census, Anthony was living in Beer with his mother, Rose, aged 27, and his sister Annie, who was two.
Anthony became a merchant seaman, like both his father and his paternal grandfather, both of whom were called Henry. There seems to have been a strong family connection with New Zealand, as Anthony’s grandfather was issued with his Mate’s Certificate in Wellington in 1865, (before going on to become a Master Mariner by the time of 1901 census), and Anthony himself was a seaman with the Union Steam Ship Company of New Zealand when he joined the New Zealand Army on 17 October 1916.
His New Zealand Army record describes him as 5ft 8 ¼ ins tall, with brown hair and eyes and a fresh complexion.
On 19 February 1917 Anthony married Mary Catherine ‘Molly’ Clarke, the third daughter of Mrs Clarke of Arney Street, Greymouth, New Zealand. The couple were married in Greymouth at the home of Molly’s aunt. Greymouth is the largest town in the West Coast region of New Zealand’s South Island.
Anthony left New Zealand aboard the SS Corinthic which sailed from Wellington on 2 April 1917 and arrived in Plymouth on 10 June.
While in England, Anthony’s unit was based at Grantham in Lincolnshire, before being sent to France on 9 October 1917.
On 15 January 1918, while on a working party, Anthony hit the sergeant who was supervising the party. He was court martialled, and found guilty of striking a superior, and as a result was sentenced to 56 days Field Punishment No. 1. This involved spending two hours a day tied to a post or wagon wheel in view of his comrades. However, this seems to have done his military career very little harm, since he was promoted to Lance Corporal a few months later, and to Corporal on 12 December 1918!
Anthony returned to England on 18 February 1919, and after a spell at Sutton Coldfield he left Plymouth on the SS Ruapehu on 7 June 1919, and arrived in Wellington on 27 July.
Anthony died at Greymouth, South Island, New Zealand, on 7 February 1945.
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