Alexander Turnbull Library World War 1 Manuscripts

By opening this page the reader accepts and acknowledges the conditions of use indicated herein.

The content of documents, soldier’s names, and the names of their relatives and friends recorded in this database may be used for reference purposes only and are not authorized to be used for any commercial enterprise.

This database has been produced by the author Robert Joseph Cameron of Wellington, New Zealand in the hope that it may assist the families of researchers who are seeking the existence of any writings of, or mentions of, World War One soldiers to whom their forebears were related or their forebears had some form of friendship.

The documents referred to on this particular “Post” on the website are held in the Manuscripts Collection of the  Turnbull Library. The Turnbull holds New Zealand’s largest collection of World War I soldiers’ letters, diaries and other papers.

In most cases the information included under “Name” in the Cameron database adds to the Turnbull description. To see the original Turnbull description you can use the associated Turnbull reference number to search on the Turnbull’s online Tapuhi database for it’s unpublished collections:

For example: If you put

MS-Papers-2241 in the reference number field of the tapuhi database (being careful to include hyphens, exactly as is), you will bring up

Jervis, Vincent Gordon, d 1973. Diaries. May 1917-Nov 1918

and will be able to read a description of these diaries.

Reference to the Cameron database using the same “Reference”, will provide an extension to the personal information regarding the soldier including details of his army service number, his unit, his rank, and the date he departed for overseas service and the name and number of the troopship on which he traveled.  In most cases details of the date and name of the troopship on which he returned to New Zealand is also recorded. If the soldier’s personal Army File has been digitized, its size will be indicated.

Should the reader want to see the original manuscripts at the Turnbull, or obtain copies of them, then the Turnbull staff are happy to help. You can find out more about the Turnbull Library services at:

Finally, any reader must accept that this is a ‘work in progress’ project and is continually being updated as new data is obtained. Also, the spreadsheet may contain errors and omissions over which the author has no control.

I have read the above and agree to the conditions therein.

And now a few tips:

This version of this database is sorted in alphabetical order of the soldier’s name.

You will see that many of the entries are incomplete and many are highlighted in different colours. This is due to the ‘work in progress’ state of the entries and will be updated as new data is discovered.

If you wish to find a particular name quickly, use the Alt & F [Find] command and type in the required name; this will speed up the process

This can also be used if the name of the Alexander Turnbull Library Manuscript is known ie MS-Papers-6485-3.

The same process can be used for finding all documents related to a particular unit

ie NZFA, WIB, OMR or NZMC etc or an outgoing troop transport ship ie Maunganui.

You will know the freshness status of the file by the file name which is in the date style ATL Docs ddmmyy You can now open the following link. Happy hunting!


About Kiwi Bob

I am a 82 year old male, retired broadcaster. For the last twelve years I have been checking out all of the letters, postcards and diaries which are held by the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington and to some extent those held in the Auckland War Museum. As with many of these writings, particularily postcards, the identity of the writer is often very difficult as they often simply write "Dear Molly....."and finish with ' from your brother Sam" and similar words. By carefully reading the content, the date and where the card came from, I can often put a name to the author. This new information is then added to the Library's database. The main reason for me doing this labour-of-love is to make it easier for people out there who may suddenly wonder if there is any writing by, or mention of, a long since passed-away soldier as the centenary of Gallipoli approaches. My success rate so far has been about 25% of previously unidentified names. I spend several hours per week at the Turnbull as well as the National Archives. The Archives holds about 75% of all WW1 NZ soldier's files and as I request to sight each file, it is digitized which enables anyone to view it. As it costs NZ$25.00 to order a file without actually visiting the Archives in Wellington, I am happy to order same on any members’ behalf at no cost, if I receive a request. With the permission of the Turnbull Library and the Auckland War Museum, I am hoping to soon include my Microsoft Excel database of my work on this page. I am attaching my own very small database of manuscripts, postcards, letters etc which are my property and nothing to do with the Turnbull Library or Auckland War Museum. Please contact me if you have any questions. Kiwi Bob
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9 Responses to Alexander Turnbull Library World War 1 Manuscripts

  1. This is wonderful, thank you for your work. I have found a couple of Westland people and will add the details to Hokitika Museum’s WW1 database. Best wishes and thanks again, Julia

  2. John Standish says:

    Hello Bob,

    My name is John Standish. Major Ivan Standish who was in charge of 3 Fd Bty NZFA was my great great uncle. It is interesting that 100 years ago he was in the first convoy to leave Albany western Australia for WW1. I presently live in WA myself. I was wondering if you had any more information on him and on two of my other great uncles that were killed on the Western Front. One was Private Richard Taylor who was in the Canterbury Regiment and the other was Gunner W.C. McDonald who was in the NZFA. I am also a retired regular force officer and was luckily enough to get posted to the British Army in 1989. Thanks to the commonwealth war graves commission I was able to find their graves. One was on the outskirts of Ypres and the other was in Rouen. I have found a little about Pte Taylor but nothing on Gunner McDonald. If you could point me in the right direction that would be great. Hope to hear from you soon regards John

    • Kiwi Bob says:

      Hello John it is great to hear from you. I can help you with info about Ivan but will need to check the others. Please wait a few days and I will contact you again as I have just lost my beloved daughter to cancer and am involved in funeral arrangements. I will be pleased to contact you again later next week.
      Best wishes Bob

      • John Standish says:

        Hello Bob,

        Thankyou for your reply. I am very sorry to hear about your daughter. I wish you and your family all the best at this sad time and look forward to hearing from you when you get the chance,

        Kind regards,


  3. Kiwi Bob says:

    Hello again John
    Sorry for the time elay but I am sure you will understand.
    The first thing I am going to send you are some extracts from a NZ book re the NZ Artilolery in the Great War. This includes a chapter on the 3rsd Battery of which Ivon ((not Ivan I believe) was commander.
    I am emailing it to your s I am not sure whether I can include it here as it is pretty large. More later.

  4. John Standish says:

    Hello Bob,

    Thanks for the extract which I read with interest last night. I always thought that it was Ivan, however I will get a definitive answer on that for you. I have further info on Pte Richard Taylor. His regimental number was 32256, 2 Bn Cant Regt. Died of wounds 21/9/1918. Buried at St Sever Cemetary Extension, Rouen, France. I also have further detail on Gnr W.C. MacDonald 9/17 NZFA., Killed in Action 21 October 1917, aged 24. Buried at the Divisional Cemetary Belgium, 1 mile west of Ypres. As I mentioned I visited both of there graves in 1989 when I was posted to the British Army. I am interested to know what unit Gunner MacDonald was in as it may have been 3 Fd Regt which I believe Ivan was the CO of at the end of the war. He was my Mothers uncle. What a coincidence that would be. Thanks for your help with this Bob,

    kind regards,

    John Standish

  5. Very nice blog post. I absolutely appreciate this
    website. Keep writing!

    • Kiwi Bob says:

      Hello to you with the unknown name. Many thanks for your comment on my blog. Can you let me know your interests? – if not no
      problem! I will be updating the Excel data base agsain soon. Cheers Bob Cameron

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