Topic: REID, Albert Daniel Harkin

Topic type:

Albert Daniel Harkin Reid joined the “1st Battalion Wellington Infantry Regiment, as a lance corporal, on the 18th of August 1914 aged 27.

Albert Reid WW1  Albert Daniel Harkin Reid was born in Wanganui NZ on 27th March 1887 (Birth Register 1887 / Military Records 1889), the youngest of nine children. After completing his schooling, and training in carpentry Albert worked on the boats operating on the Whanganui River between Wanganui and Taumarunui. At some point he moved to Taumarunui and the earliest recording his family have of him being in Taupo is a bracelet inscribed ‘Taima Rickit bracelet won by A. Reid Taupo Sports 1912.’ He would have been staying with his older brother George Reid who had already moved to Taupo and married into the Rickit family. At some stage after this Albert went to Niue, and that is another story in itself, but with WW1 looming he returned to New Zealand.

Britain declared war on Germany on 4th August 1914 and two weeks later on 18th August Albert, aged 25 years (or 27), enlisted. He joined the “1st Battalion Wellington Infantry Regiment”, as a lance corporal, registration. Albert's total service lasted  4 years and 119 days with one year and 140 days of home service and two years and 344 days of active service. 

Two months after enlisting, on the 16th October 1914, Private Albert Reid embarked by ship for the Suez. He went to Egypt, Gallipoli, Greece, Mudros, Lemnos, France and England. On 17th July 1916 in France, Albert was wounded by shrapnel in the right leg and invalided to England where he recovered and was then involved in the training of troops before returning to New Zealand, arriving home on the 25th September 1917.

 In New Zealand he remained enlisted. The war officially ended on the 11th November 1918 and, after having enlisted as a Private, Regimental Sergeant Major Albert Reid was discharged on the 14th December 1918.

He was decorated with the 1914 – 15 Star, the British War Medal 1914-20, the Victory Medal 1914-19, and posthumously the Gallipoli Medallion on the 9th February 1968  after his death. These are inscribed with A. D. H. Reid on the side.


After the war Albert returned to Taumarunui where he met Emily May Flintoff, from Stratford, Taranaki. They were married on 21st June 1922. His occupation was listed as ‘Art Dealer’. They lived variously between Taumarunui/Ongarue and Taupo, with their first 3 children born in Taumarunui and the youngest two being born in Taupo. In the early 1930’s they moved permantly to Taupo and lived at 16 Gascoigne Street. The original house has since been moved to Motutaiko Street where Ted Reid continues to live (in 2014), although it has had some additions since then – but the frame of the long-drop is still in the back yard.

Children of Albert and Emily Reid:

  • Albert George Reid: Born 1922, died 13th July 1955 from Tuberculosis, aged 32.
  • Darcy Eric Reid: Born on 9th October 1923, died 4th June 2012, aged 88.
  • Raymond Douglas Reid:  Born on 24th October 1924.
  • Thelma Caroline Reid (Neilson): Born on 14th November 1925. 
  • Leonard Edward Reid (nicknamed Ted): Born on 28th October 1927.

In 2007 Darcy, Ray, Thelma and Ted all reached 80 plus years of age.

Albert had a number of jobs in Taupo working as a carpenter, planting trees on the Napier highway during the depression years, as a news correspondent for the New Zealand Herald, Napier Daily Telegraph and the Wellington Dominion and he was a Justice of the Peace.

Albert was the organiser when Miss Margret Sweeny and Miss Pat Hastings, both from Auckland, attempted to swim the length of Lake Taupo.  Pat fell behind Margaret’s pace and got caught in a strong south-westerly wind which made conditions so difficult that she had to abandon her swim just five miles from the finish line.  Margaret became the first person to ever swim the length of Lake Taupo.  The 26.5 mile swim started at Stump bay on the southern end of Lake Taupo on Sunday the 30th of January 1955 at 4:35 am. The finishing point was about sixty yards east of the foot of Tongariro Street at 6:14 pm.  Margaret’s coach, Mr F.D. Hay compiled some fantastic figures - she took 39,000 strokes, 120,000 kicks and turned to breathe 18,500 times during the 13 hours and 39 minutes in the water. During the time they were in the water Albert’s sons Darcy, Ray and Ted helped in the rowing of the support boats alongside Margaret and Pat.  


In later life Albert worked as a journalist writing articles for the N.Z. Herald, The Dominion and the Daily Telegraph.  Due to being gassed at some stage during the war Albert had to sleep in a tent, even during the cold Taupo winters, from about 1950 until his death.

Having survived largely unscathed the perils of WW1, Albert was struck by a car crossing the main street in Taupo and died shortly afterwards in Rotorua Hospital on 15th January 1963, at the age of 73 (or 76, in Cemetery records). He was buried on the 17th January 1963 in the R.S.A Lawn cemetery at Taupo.

On his passing his medals went to his eldest surviving son, Darcy, and when Darcy passed away in 2012 they went to his son John Reid. After consulting with his sisters and cousins John decided he would like to see the medals offered to the Taupo Museum. John lives in Queensland, Australia. The medals were presented during a ceremony at Taupo Museum, 11th October 2014, in the presence of Albert’s two surviving children, Thelma and Ted. The speech given by Ramon Neilson, Thelma’s Reid son, can be read in full here. The content for this page has been drawn from his speech and from information provided by John Reid. 

REID, Albert Daniel Harkin

Sources:John Reid, Ramon Neilson, Cenotaph Database and Archives New Zealand
First Names:Albert Daniel Harkin
Last Name:Reid
Date of Birth:27 March 1887 (or 1889)
Place of Birth:Wanganui
Date of Death:15 January 1963
Occupations:Carpenter 1922, Traffic Inspector (Taupo Road Board) 1938, Justice of the Peace 1940, Journalist for the NZ Herald, The Dominion and The Daily Telegraph.
Last Known Residence:Taupo
Cause of Death:Hit by car
Place of Death:Rotorua Hospital
Place of Burial:R.S.A. Lawn Cemetery, Taupo
Date of Burial:17 January 1963
Date Enlisted:18 August 1914
Marital Status at Enlistment:Single
Next of Kin:F. Watson - Sister
Regiment or Service:1st Battalion Wellington Infantry Regiment
Service Number:10/615
Place of Embarkation:Wellington
Date of Embarkation:16 October 1914
Vessel:Limerick or Arawa
Theatres of War:Egypt, Gallipoli, Greece, Mudros, Lemnos, France and England
Final Rank:Sergeant
Military Awards:The 1914-15 Star, The British War Medal 1914-20 and The Victory Medal 1914-19. His wife received the Gallipoli Medallion on the 9/2/1968 after his death
Wars:World War 1
Reason for Discharge:Wounded
Discharge Date:14 December 1918
Marriage Date:21 June 1922
Place of Marriage:Onganue, Taranaki
Spouses Name:Emily May Flintoff
Spouses Place of Birth:Stratford, Taranaki
Fathers Name:Henry James Reid
Fathers Place of Birth:Dorsetshire, England
Mothers Name:Hannah Reid (nee Harkin)
Mothers Place of Birth:Buncrana, Ireland