New Zealand Law Society - Neville Stanley Joyce, 1892 - 1916

Neville Stanley Joyce, 1892 - 1916

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Neville Joyce died of wounds received in fighting in France on 8 June 1916. He was aged 23. He is buried in Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord, France.

Neville was born in Invercargill on 14 August 1892. His parents were Florence Burfield and George Roderick Joyce. He attended Timaru High School and qualified for matriculation and solicitors' general knowledge in 1909. He taught at Timaru High School for a while and also went to the University of Otago in 1911 where he studied law.

While studying he joined the staff of Timaru law firm Raymond, Raymond, and Campbell. While in Timaru he was active in the Defence Rifle Club, usually being among the highest scorers in the competitions. By May 1915 he had enlisted and his firm made a presentation of a "substantial cheque" and wrist watch to Joyce and another recruit, HF Monson, before their departure to Trentham for military training. Joyce joined the Seventh Reinforcements and held the rank of Sergeant.

His army medical examination report shows he was 5 foot 11-3/8 tall (1.81 metres), weighed 140 pounds (63.5 kg) and had blue eyes and light brown hair. He received a commission as Second Lieutenant on 1 October 1915 after passing the special examination for first appointments to commissions in September.

Joyce embarked from New Zealand on 9 October 1915 with the 7th Reinforcements of the Canterbury Infantry Battalion. He landed at Suez in Egypt on 18 November and was based in Ismailia. In February 1916 it was reported that Lieutenant NS Joyce of the 7th Reinforcements, who had been attending an officers' school of instruction in Cairo, was the only one out of 70 candidates to obtain 100% of marks in his first examination. "In his second examination he topped the list with 95%." (Timaru Herald, 3 February 1916, page 7).

On 1 March 1916 Joyce was promoted from Second Lieutenant to full Lieutenant and reported as "somewhere in France". The news reached New Zealand on 15 June 1916 that he had died of wounds on 8 June 1916. At the time the Second Battalion of the Canterbury Regiment had been stationed in trenches on the front line near Armentieres since 2 June.

A report carried in newspapers around the country stated: "General regret has been expressed in Timaru since the receipt of the news that Lieutenant N.S. Joyce had made the supreme sacrifice in the battlefield of Flanders. Even in pre-war times Lieutenant Joyce was a keen soldier. He was educated at the Southland High School and the Timaru High School, and by dint of hard work and scholastic brilliance became a law student at the Otago University, afterwards joining the firm of Messrs Raymond, Raymond, and Campbell, solicitors, Timaru. He was only 23 years of age, was an enthusiastic member of the Timaru Defence Rifle Club, and was interested in several other Timaru institutions." (Poverty Bay Herald, 24 June 1916, page 6). 

Joyce is among those remembered on Timaru's Memorial Wall which was constructed in 1998 behind the Timaru Cenotaph. 

In 1924 the Governor-General, Lord Jellicoe, opened the Timaru Boys' High School War Memorial Library. The library contains a Roll of Honour giving the names of 52 pupils of the school who were killed in World War I. Among them is the name "N.S. Joyce." 

Sources: Timaru Herald, 22 February 1910, page 3; Timaru Herald, 11 February 1914, page 8; Timaru Herald, 8 May 1915, page 15; New Zealand Gazette, 7 October 1915; Otago Daily Times, 9 October 1915, page 10; Timaru Herald, 3 February 1916, page 7; Otago Daily Times, 24 May 1916, page 5; Timaru Herald, 22 June 1916, page 3; Poverty Bay Herald, 24 June 1916, page 6; New Zealand Gazette, 27 July 1916; David Ferguson, The History of the Canterbury Regiment NZEF 1914-1919 (Whitcombe & Tombs Ltd, Auckland, 1921) pages 87ff;  Press, 21 March 1924, page 7.

Auckland War Memorial Museum Online Cenotaph solider 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:

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