Jack Longmuir - Auckland War Memorial Cenotaph with link to Military Personnel File at Archway

url: http://www.aucklandmuseum.com/war-memorial/online-cenotaph/record/C77330?rs=%2fwar-memorial%2fonline-cenotaph%2fsearch%3fn%3dJack%2bLongmuir&ck=389818e5ca858d86b64621982c0a3d11&ordinal=0

 Jack Longmuir birth name John Kerr Service Number 17306 World War 1, 1914 -1918

 Occupation before enlistment: Miner

 Next of Kin: Mrs H Longmuir (Mother), Burnett’s Face, Westport, New Zealand

 Embarked 23 September 1916 from Wellington, New Zealand with New Zealand Expeditionary Force, 17th Reinforcements New Zealand Field Artillery

 Jack Longmuir was born John Kerr in Hamilton, near Glasgow, Scotland in 1894 - the son of a coal miner. His father died when he was only a few months old and his mother Helen remarried in 1898 but her second husband James Longmuir died in 1911 at the age of 45.

  In 1912 the family (mother and five boys – 2 Kerr and 3 Longmuir) emigrated to New Zealand aboard the SS Surrey arriving in Auckland on the 10/04/1912. They spent some time in the Waikato area with other members of the family before arriving on the West Coast where they settled at Burnett's Face and began a new life with the men working in the mines there.

 Helen had a sister and two brothers who lived in NZ and this was probably her reason for emigrating to New Zealand.  Helen's other brother, Robert, was working in the mines at Burnett's Face and so that's where the family eventually headed to work and live. They left Liverpool on the 05/02/1912 aboard the SS Surrey bound for Auckland, arriving on 10/04/1912, the day that the Titanic sailed from Southampton on her fateful maiden voyage.

 Jack Longmuir (John Kerr) enlisted into the New Zealand Field Artillery on the 6th June 1916 and was transported to Devonport, UK on the 'Pakeha' where the troops were all marched to Sling Camp for training. This camp was on the Salisbury Plains. A Kiwi was carved out of the chalk on the hillside.

 John Kerr enlisted under the name of Jack Longmuir. He was commonly called Jock Kerr when he was alive and would be known under that name around Westport.

 He was awarded the military medal on the 08/02/1919.  The London Gazette supplement has the names of the people who were awarded medals and his name is in the one dated 11/12/1919 along with a host of others from New Zealand. On returning to NZ after the war, the Spanish influenza epidemic broke out and it was thought that the soldiers brought it back with them. Unfortunately one of Jack's half brothers died from this. He was only 19 years old.

 There is an article in the Westport News dated 16/03/1964 titled 'John L Kerr. A Scot With a Background' that has a brief summary of his life. 
The marriage of John Kerr and Henrietta Marr took place on the 21/01/1920 at Hokitika. The Marr family were from Aberdeen originally. Henrietta died in Westport on the 23/10/1944 at the age of 52. John Kerr died on the 24/08/1977 at Westport aged 83. He never lost his Scottish accent. He lived at 2a Derby Street in a bach which was not much more than a large hut. It was on the right just as you turn the corner into Coates Street.

 Burnett’s Face is a coal mining settlement two miles from Denniston. The settlement formed in 1886 and the last resident left in 1956. The name alludes to the face of coal outcropping on the sides of the gully. James Burnett first surveyed this coal seam in 1863 which is why it bears his name. 

In 1901 the official population was 212 and the settlement took great pride in its self sufficiency. 

Information, photographs and documents supplied by Marilyn Bliss (Grandaughter) 

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