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59599 Private William Henry Bryant MM

NZEF MM and BWM - 59599 Bryant

  • The 1918 Military Medal and British War Medal awarded to 59599 William Henry Bryant of the 1st Battalion, Canterbury Infantry Regiment, who was awarded the MM for gallantry in action as a Lewis gunner at Foret de Mormal on 5th November 1918.


    Born at Wellington 3rd June 1888, son of William and Ellen Bryant (née Ready). He was a flaxmill hand working for A J Gibbs in Foxton when he enlisted on 22nd May 1917.  Bryant was posted to the 30th Reinforcements and embarked from New Zealand in October 1917. Bryant served on the Western Front with 1st Battalion, Canterbury Infantry Regimetn from 22 February 1918. On 3rd June 1918 (his 30th birthday) he was fined 7 days pay for eating ‘a portion of his iron rations- namely some lines of bully beef’. Maybe a small birthday celebration that was not appreciated by the powers that be! Hospitalised with pneumonia in August 1918, he returned to action late September 1918. Bryant was awarded the Military Medal (L.G. 17/6/1919) at Foret de Mormal on 5th November 1918: "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. During the above operations Private Bryant was in command of a Lewis Gun section. When the advance was held up by machine gun fire he rushed his Lewis Gun forward to an exposed position on the flank enfilading and silencing the enemy's gun, thus allowing the other troops to capture the gun without casualties. By this brave and prompt action he undoubtedly saved many casualties."

    After the war Bryant worked as labourer at Foxton. He died 18th April 1962 at Porirua Hospital. He had never married.


    The MM is correctly impressed 59599 PTE. W. BRYANT. I / CANTERBURY R. and the BWM is correctly impressed 59599 PTE. W.H. BRYANT. N.Z.E.F.

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