Please find below some pictures of the remembrance organized by the Friends of the In Flanders Fields Museum Ieper on Thursday 8 June 2017. The remembrance took place for Arthur Earl Collie who died on 7 June 2017, the first day of the Battle of Mines at Messines.
ARTHUR EARL COLLIE
30.1.1893 - 7.6.1917
Arthur Earl Collie was born at Invercargill, New Zealand on 30 January 1893 to William Collie, born Ireland and Lucy Clark born New Zealand.
Arthur had one brother William and three sisters, Lottie, Martha and Olive ... and a half brother Robert.
The family moved north to Dunedin in 1899 where Arthur's father managed and owned three hotels.
Arthur had a very good education at two Dunedin schools and was an excellent cricket and rugby football player.
After leaving school Arthur Earl was employed as an Ironmonger.
Arthur, army number 8/862, joined the Otago Infantry and was posted in August 1914, aged 20 1/2, as a Private. Arthur was 5 feet 7 inches high and weighed 10 stone 6 pounds. His chest measurement was 33 inches with a medium complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. His religion was Church of England.
His sight, colour vision and hearing was good, had good teeth and was generally in good overall health.
His army records show that Arthur Earl was in NZ 23 August 1914, sailed with the Main Body and at sea 15 October 1914, disembarking Alexandria 3 December 1914 and in Egypt 4 December 1914.
Considerable training was undertaken in Egypt prior to sailing to the Greek Island of Lemnos then onto the Dardanelles at Turkey (Gallipoli) 25 April 1915. Arthur Earl was promoted to Corporal on 12 August 1915.
He was injured, and was ill, then shipped out to Malta, to three British hospitals. After regaining his strength he rejoined the battle as a sergeant in France in August 1916.
Arthur Earl was further promoted as a Company Sergeant-major in January 1917. He rejoined the Battalion in May 1917.
Arthur Earl Collie, aged 23 was killed at Messines 7 June 1917.
Obituary (written from his old Dunedin High School...)
Company Sergeant-major A.E.Collie
Arthur Collie was at the school 1908 and 1909, winning his cricket cap at the close of his first year. On leaving he entered the employ of Patterson and Barr Ltd, and continuing his cricket with the Dunedin Club. He also took great interest in Rugby Football, and was one of Zingari Club's most promising players.
Collie left with the Main Body, went through the Gallipoli Campaign, but fell sick just before the evacuation and was invalided to England. Just before he met his death at Messines he had been at Instructional School in France and was expecting an early commission. The official report bearing on his death is worthy of record.
"This Warrant Officer throughout his services has always displayed the greatest gallantry and devotion to duty. During the morning of June 7 he supervised the carrying and dumping of all stores. He moved about the men, and kept his Company Commander continually advised as to the number of casualties to N.C.O's and men. He set a fine example to the N.C.O's and men, and proved himself invaluable to his company. His gallant services, energy and ability were remarked upon and admired by everyone who knew him. He was most strongly recommended for recognition."
His Captain adds .. " Everyone says the same of him .. he did not know what fear was, he never complained, was always cheerful, and in the middle of an action he bucked one up considerably just to see and speak to him. It was in a shallow trench just through the ruins of Messines, where a piece of high-explosive shrapnel hit him-in the head and chest. He was killed instantananeously, and never spoke. He was buried where he fell - at our objective. He had been 'over the top' more times than anyone I know, and yet was keener and cooler than any one of us on the morning of June 7. It is hard to describe him just as he was; but in everything, small or great, Arthur was just wonderful."
A relative of Arthur Earl Collie told more about the life of the soldier.
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