WW1 Samuel Francis Jonkers (11048) and sons Edward and Cyril

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Samuel Francis Jonkers (11048) was born 18 May 1871 in Rockhampton, Australia. He was the son of the late Samuel and Elinor Jonkers; husband of Agnes Campbell Jonkers (nee Parr), of 32 Greenlane, Remuera, Auckland. Samuel, an orchardist and Agnes had eight children, (a daughter, Emily, died a month after her birth), and two of their six sons also fought in World War I. [1]  

Samuel sailed on 1 May 1916, arriving at Suez, Egypt on 9 June 1916, as a Rifleman with the 6th Reinforcements 1st Battalion, E Company New Zealand Rifle Brigade. The was transferred to Sling in England and later to the Somme, Northern France, as a Private with the Canterbury Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion. Where during August to November 1916 on the Somme, came the advent of a new weapon – the tank – which was hoped that it would support the infantry as they crossed no-man’s land. Despite proving useful at times, especially in crushing enemy barbed wire, the tanks failed to have a decisive impact. For the troops involved, the push rapidly became a nightmare. Rain quickly turned the shell-torn battlefield into a quagmire. Soldiers huddled in their trenches, sometimes knee-deep in mud and often without proper cover. This long battle did not end the war as was hoped but instead huge casualties and losses were suffered on both sides. Samuel Francis Jonkers (11048) was one of those killed in action on 1 October 1916, 47 years of age. [2] 

Samuel’s memorial is at Caterpillar Valley (New Zealand) Memorial, Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval, Somme, France. 

Samuel’s second son, Edward John (10844) (1893 – 1975), also an orchardist, aged 22 years, enlisted on the same day as his father, Samuel Francis Jonkers (11048) on 11 January 1916. Edward enlisted with the Cyclist Corps and fought on the Western Front in France. [3] 

Samuel’s fourth son, Cyril Gladwin (12/3372) had enlisted in 1915 and served in Egypt and the Western Front in France. Cyril was gassed in the trenches on the Western Front in France in 1917 and served with the New Zealand Command in England until the end of the war. Cyril was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal. [4] Both Samuel’s sons returned to New Zealand after the war. 


1. Auckland War Memorial Museum Online Cenotaph 

2. New Zealand History Online 

3. Auckland War Memorial Museum Online Cenotaph 

4. Auckland War Memorial Museum Online Cenotaph 

Image References 

1.Auckland War Memorial Museum Online Cenotaph

2. Jonkers family. Herman Schmidt photographer, 1915. Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 31-J1890. 3/4 group portrait of Jonkers family with Private Cyril Gladwin Jonkers, Reg No 12/3372, of the Auckland Infantry Regiment, 8th Reinforcements, showing on the back row (from left to right) Samuel Francis Jonkers Jnr (Frank), Cyril Gladwyn Jonkers, Edward John Jonkers (known as Cap), Ernest Rupert Jonkers (Rupe); front row: Agnes Campbell Jonkers (nee Parr), Noel Bertram Jonkers, Lionel Hubert Keith Jonkers (known as Dick), Ivy Isabella Jonkers (known as Cis), Samuel Francis Jonkers (killed at the Somme).

3. Jonkers Cyril.Herman. Schmidt photographer 1915. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 31-J1892