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Samuel Joseph Poole, 1884 - 1918

Samuel Poole was killed in action at Le Quesnoy, France on 4 November 1918, one week before World War I ended. He was aged 34 and is buried at Cross Roads Cemetery, Fontaine-au-Bois, Nord, France.

Samuel was born in Invercargill on 17 June 1884. His parents were Mary and William Isaac Clarke Poole. The family shifted to Levin and after working as a pupil teacher for a while at Hawera, he attended Victoria University College, passing the Solicitors' General Knowledge exam in January 1907. He also attended the Wellington Training College and in November 1907 was appointed first assistant master at the Inglewood School.

Over the next few years Poole combined teaching with his university studies, completing papers for both BA and LLB. He left Inglewood in April 1908 to move to a similar position at Eltham School. He appears to have been a success in his teaching career, receiving a vote of thanks and "warm congratulations" in December 1909 for 14 of 15 students in Standard VI receiving proficiency and the other a competency certificate.

Poole transfered to Taihape High School in 1910. While in Taihape he was active in the Third Wanganui Battalion, Junior Cadets, holding the rank of Lieutenant in the Taihape Company. He resigned his teaching position in June 1912 but appears to have continued to teach into 1913, taking relieving positions in Te Aroha and Cambridge.

By 1916 Poole was into the final part of his law degree and he was successful in the Law Professional examinations in November 1916. He passed his LLB in 1917 and was employed as a solicitor's clerk with AF Howarth in Te Kuiti. Shortly afterwards he enlisted. His medical examination states he was 5 foot 9 (1.73 metres) tall, weighed 144 pounds (65.3 kg) and had grey eyes and light brown hair.

In September 1917 it was reported that he had gained a temporary appointment as a corporal in the Quartermaster's Department at Trentham Camp and that month he also passed the examination for first appointment to commission. He was promoted to Quartermaster Sergeant in October 1917 and held that rank when he embarked with the 36th Reinforcements from Wellington on 23 April 1918. Just before his embarkation he got married, on 20 April 1918, to Margaret Strong Laidlaw.

Poole arrived at Suez on 31 May. After a month training in Egypt he left for England on 4 July, arriving at Southampton on 18 July and going to Brocton for further training. He left for France on 21 September and joined the 1st Battalion of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade on 27 September. 

Poole was killed in action in France, one of 43 New Zealanders killed during the assault on the fortified town of Le Quesnoy on 4 November 1918. The Horowhenua Chronicle noted his death along with another local soldier, commenting: "Their sacrifice on the eve practically of the signing of the armistice will have an added poignancy and there will be deeper feelings for their bereaved families on that account."

Sources: Manawatu Standard, 16 February 1904, page 8; Evening Post, 23 January 1907, page 2; Evening Post, 28 October 1907, page 8; Hawera & Normanby Star, 27 November 1907, page 4; Taranaki Herald, 1 April 1908, page 17; Hawera & Normanby Star, 15 December 1908, page 8; Evening Post, 24 October 1910, page 8; Wanganui Chronicle, 13 May 1911, page 6; Feilding Star, 7 December 1911, page 4; Wanganui Chronicle, 20 June 1912, page 3; New Zealand Herald, 6 February 1913, page 9; Evening Post, 20 December 1916, page 4; Evening Post, 24 September 1917, page 7; Evening Post, 26 September 1917, page 7; Evening Post, 18 October 1917, page 7; Horowhenua Chronicle, 3 December 1918, page 2; WS Austin, The Official History of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade (LT Watkins Ltd, Wellington, 1924) pages 437-465; Adopt an Anzac website.

Auckland War Memorial Museum Online Cenotaph soldier profile.

This obituary has been prepared by the New Zealand Law Society to preserve the memory of members of the legal profession who died while serving in World War I.

Lawyers Roll of Honour. 

By Geoff Adlam, New Zealand Law Society. Further information is welcomed: geoff.adlam@lawsociety.org.nz

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Last updated on the 5th May 2015