Volume 8

Alan Rutherford Gorrie – Soldier WW1, Law Clerk and Solicitor

Anne Stewart Ball

Alan Rutherford Gorrie was born in Auckland September 1891, the youngest son of William Gorrie Jnr and his wife Elizabeth Gorrie (nee Gunion). William Gorrie Jnr was a partner in Upton & Co - Booksellers, Stationers & Publishers and had been involved extensively with Coromandel Peninsula gold mining activities. He was on the Thames Drainage Board in 1905, 1907 and 1908, was Chairman of the Woodstock Gold and Silver Mining and Smelting Company. Karangahake and played an active role on the Council of The Chamber of Mines in Auckland.

Alan Rutherford Gorrie was the youngest of eight children of William and Elizabeth Gorrie who were living in O'Rourke St., Auckland. Alan attended Auckland Grammar School, as had his brothers and numerous cousins. Education was considered very important by wider family, possibly as a result of William's step borther who was Rev. John Gorrie’s Auckland Academy. Alan also joined the Auckland Grammar School Cadets. Following his Grammar School years, he attended the Auckland University College from 1909 to 1914, but leaving as an undergraduate. He then became a Law Clerk for J.L. Hanna at Turua, Thames. This was John Leslie Hanna, a very well-known lawyer of Paeroa. He was the brother of Andrew Hanna who died of disease in 1916 while fighting in WW1.

Alan's elder brother, Morton Gorrie farmed near Coromandel, and his sister Mary Morton Gorrie had married Thames-born Harold Carleton Bagnall.

Winter at Mount Felix Hospital at Walton-On-Thames,
one of the NZ convalescent hospitals.
Source: NZ Hospitals in the United Kingdom, by Lieut-Col Myers.
In: The War Effort of New Zealand 1923 on the webpage NZETC

When Alan Rutherford Gorrie enlisted for service in WWI at Turua in February 1917, his occupation was given as Law Clerk with J.L. Hanna of Turua, Thames. W F Stewart (William Forsyth Stewart) was given as his Next-of-Kin, as both his parents had died in 1911. Stewart who was then Secretary and Attorney for the Auckland Gas Company was a cousin and close friend.

At this time, Alan Rutherford Gorrie was no stranger to the impacts of war since his brother, Keith Gunion Gorrie had died as an outcome of typhoid on 11 June 1900 at Germiston South Africa, during the Boer War.

Sergeant Alan Rutherford Gorrie 54660 embarked aboard the SS Maungonui in November 1917 with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force AWMM 32nd Reinforcements, E Company. Arriving in France in January 1918, Gorrie's rank reverted from Sergeant to Private, and he appears to have been attached to the Auckland Infantry Regiment. He went into battle at the frontline near Etaples, France and was reported wounded in April 1918. Soon after this, his left arm was amputated.

Shortly after Alan Gorrie was wounded, another brother - William Gorrie - died of wounds received in action in the field, France on 20 May 1918.

This was a dark period of Alan Gorrie’s life as he had now lost two brothers to war. He was transferred to Brockenhurst hospital and then Walton-on-Thames where he faced a Court of Enquiry for absenteeism, along with a recorded kit deficiency of £9.8.6d.

Alan Gorrie left England aboard the SS Rimutaka on 8 November 1919, arriving back home in Wellington, New Zealand on 5 January 1920. He was discharged from active service on 2 February 1920 on account of wounds received in action and was issued with the silver war badge - 28979. The Silver War Badge was instituted in 1916 and awarded to men who were honourably discharged under certain regulations. The badge could be worn as a lapel brooch.

Alan Rutherford Gorrie is recorded on the University of Auckland Roll of Honour for the First World War.

When Alan Rutherford Gorrie returned with war wounds in 1920, the newspapers of the day show that he was able to re-establish his life back in Paeroa with the Solicitor, J.L. Hanna. In April 1920, he was recorded as passing 'Property II', the New Zealand University law professional examinations. In 1921, he married Ruby Ring, the granddaughter of Charles Ring who was a very early sawmiller and gold prospector at Coromandel. Alan became involved in community affairs in Paeroa, being on the committee of the Paeroa Beautifying Society and Orphans Club.

A view in the business area of Paeroa, showing the new Post Office (right).
Source: Auckland Weekly News, 2 Feb 1938
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19380202-43-4.

By 1928, Alan Rutherford Gorrie and family had moved to Takapuna, Auckland, and Alan practicing as a Solicitor. Three years later, he went into partnership with his wife's brother, Dr. William Charles Ring to form the Ring Proprietary Company Limited. The Herald reported :-

Ring Proprietary Company, Limited, manufacturers and sellers of veterinary medicines and preparations, etc. Capital, £12OO, in £1 shares. Subscribers: William Charles Ring, 1075 shares; Ruby Monica Ring, 100 shares; Alan Rutherford Gorrie, 25 shares. The principal object of the company is to acquire and takeover as a going concern from W. C. Ring, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, the solo right to manufacture and deal in, in New Zealand, certain veterinary medicines and preparations. (NZ Herald 9 April 1931)
Looking north from Durham Street West showing Brown and Paten's produce store, (centre), and the rear entrance of Ring Proprietary Company Limited in Wyndham Street, (right background)
Source: Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-2497

Captain William Charles Ring had also served in WW1 as a veterinary surgeon with the horses and left for war in 1917 at the same time as Alan Rutherford Gorrie did. Both also had wives with the name of Ruby.

Alan Rutherford Gorrie died aged 73 years in 1965, living, as many of the wider family often say: three score years and ten. His wife Ruby had died in 1962, predeceasing him by three years. They were both cremated at Purewa Cemetery, Auckland.


  1. Auckland War Memorial Museum cenotaph database - Alan Rutherford Gorrie.
  2. Archives NZ Archway- R16787452 AABK 18805 W5539 37/0046148
  3. New Zealand Army Expeditionary Force. (1918). Nominal Rolls of New Zealand Expeditionary Force Volume III. Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer 75: 37.
  4. A.U.C. Roll of Honour, 1914 - 1920. MSS & Archives E-2, Special Collections, University of Auckland Libraries and Learning Services.
  5. HMNZT 96 - Soldiers' Pie: Being the Unofficial Journal of the C, D, and E & F Coys. Artillery, Specialists N.Z.E. (Tunnellers) N.Z.M.C. of the 32nd Reinforcements. Editors: Hughes, L.M. (Lionel Murray), Morpeth, G.D. (George Douglas), Lovell, W.G. (William George), London 1918, p 57.
  6. NZBDM - birth, marriage, death certificates.
  7. Purewa Cemetery Records.
  8. Papers Past, National Library NZ:
    - MEN FOR THE FRONT. Ohinemuri Gazette, 2 May 1917, Page 2.
    - LAW EXAMINATIONS. New Zealand Herald, 30 April 1920, Page 6.
    - BEAUTY AT PAEROA. New Zealand Herald, 25 June 1924, Page 11.
    - NOTES FROM PAEROA. New Zealand Herald, 5 March 1925, Page 6.
    - THE PRICE OF BREAD. New Zealand Herald, 9 April 1931, Page 7.


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