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11/774a Tpr Kenneth Bayne, W.M.R.

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Mal Murray View Drop Down
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    Posted: 25 Sep 2010 at 10:52
This is a short but sad story of a New Zealand soldier wounded at Gallipoli and was discharged due to his wounds, who died trying to save a baby from drowning in 1916.

A Story of Bravery

Kenneth Anderson Bayne

11/774a Trooper Kenneth Anderson Bayne, Wellington Mounted Rifles

Kenneth 'Kenny' Bayne, originally from Tapanui had been a keen sportsman in his early years. He had played rugby for the Wairarapa Bush and was a member of the Konini Club. He had also won several wrestling matches in his late teens.

When war broke out, he was working as a Surveyor for the New Zealand Government in porangahau and he joined up on December 1914 with A Squadron, Auckland Mounted Rifles. After training at Trentham, he embarked overseas on 14 February 1915.

He arrived in Egypt on 26 March 1915 and began training at Zeitoun Camp after having transferred to the Wellington Mounted Rifles two days after arrival. On 16 April, he was admitted to the camp hospital with influenza and missed the intial landing at Gallipoli. Once out of hospital, he was shipped to Gallipoli and on 27 August 1915 suffered severe bullet wounds to the left arm which eventually led to the loss of use of that arm.


After being wounded, Kenny was shipped to England and spent time working at the First Southern General Hospital in Birmingham. In March 1916, he was admitted to the Convalescent Hospital in Hornchurch and after a period of time was employed in the Wellington Company Orderly Room. His wounded arm continued to give him awful pain and in early October 1916, the decision was made to send him home.

On 18 October 1916, Kenny Bayne left Plymouth, England aboard the SS Ruahine and began the journey home.

On 25 November, as the steamer was about 120 kilometres from Pitcairn Island, a baby (Theodore Edward Auston) aged two years and 10 months, crawled through an unlocked porthole and fell into the sea. Kenny Bayne, who was leaning over the rail above the cabin saw the child fall and immediately jumped overboard to try and save the child. Illuminated buoys were thrown overboard and an emergency lifeboat was launched but neither Kenny nor the baby was recovered. It was stated that the sea was infested with sharks, some up to 4 metres long and more than likely both had been attacked.

Kenny was 28 when he died and as there was no body, he is commemorated on the Wellington Provincial Memorial and the "Kenny" Bayne Memorial in Pahiatua. An article entitled 'A Tribute form his Hornchurch Cobbers' can be read in the Chronicles of the N.Z.E.F. (28 February 1917, page 7).

His World War I KGV Memorial Plaque was donated to the National Army Museum in 1990.

Edited by Mal Murray - 21 May 2012 at 17:39
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mal Murray Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Sep 2010 at 19:40
The following information is Trooper Baynes Page on the Auckland Museums Cenotaph Webpage.
This page has a photograph of Tpr Bayne with the picture of a small child superimposed on his left breast pocket, it also has a photograph of a specially commissioned memorial to him.
Full Name: Kenneth Anderson Bayne
Rank Last Held: Trooper
Forename(s): Kenneth Anderson
Surname: Bayne
Also Known As: Kenny Bayne
War: World War I, 1914-1918
Serial No.: 11/774A
Date of Birth: 1888
First Known Rank: Trooper
Next of Kin: William Bayne (father), Ruanui, New Zealand
Marital Status: Single
Enlistment Address: Porangahau, New Zealand
Military District: Wellington
Body on Embarkation: 3rd Reinforcements
Embarkation Unit: Auckland Mounted Rifles
Embarkation Date: 14 February 1915
Place of Embarkation: Wellington, New Zealand
Vessel: Maunganui or Tahiti or Aparima
Destination: Suez,Egypt (26 March 1915)
Page on Nominal Roll: 42
  • Gallipoli
  • Egyptian
Last Unit Served: Wellington Mounted Rifles
Place of Death: At sea en route to New Zealand, 150 miles from Pitcairn Island.
Date of Death: 25 November 1916
Age at Death: 27
Year of Death: 1916
Cause of Death: Drowned
Memorial Name:
  • Wellington Provincial Memorial, Wellington, New Zealand
  • The "Kenny" Bayne Memorial, Pahiatua, New Zealand.
  • "Particulars of the circumstances in which Trooper K. A. Bayne, of the Wellington Mounteds, lost his life were received on the arrival of the Ruahine at Auckland. As the steamer was about 150 miles from Pitcairn Island on the evening of Saturday, November 25th, a baby, Theodore Edward Auston, aged two years and ten months, while alone in a cabin, crawled into a porthole, through which it fell into the sea. Bayne, who was leaning over the rail above the cabin evidently saw the child fall, for he at once jumped overboard to attempt to rescue it. Illuminated buoys were thrown overboard, and an emergency lifeboat was quickly launched, but a lengthy search failed to discover either the baby or the would-be rescuer. The place was infested by sharks, some 10 feet long, following the lifeboat. Deceased was very well known in this district, and extremely popular; he lived for many years with the Stewart family at Konini, and was a prominent athlete. He represented the Bush Union in representative football, and was a member of the Konini Football Club. He also won several wrestling matches. The late Trooper Bayne was in his 28th year. He left New Zealand with the third reinforcements, being severely wounded at Gallipoli, and had lost the use of an arm as the result. Deceased was a P.C.R. of the Foresters' Order. His death, particularly under such tragic circumstances, will be deeply regretted." (from an article that originally appeared in the Pahiatua Herald and reproduced in the Chronicles of the N.Z.E.F., 28 February 1917, p. 7)
  • "Trooper Bayne, who was well known as 'Kenny,' was for some time employed in the Wellington Coy. orderly room, and afterwards in the orderly room of No. 1 Coy., at Hornchurch. He was greatly respected by all who came into contact with him, and it is said by those who were the most familiar with him that he died as he had lived, for he was self-sacrificing at all times. His wounded arm was at times very painful, but never a word of complaint ever came from him. He must often have suffered considerably rather than neglect his work. The receipt of the news in Hornchurch was a severe blow to all who knew Kenny, and the only consolation they have is that they claimed as a 'chum' one who died so heroically." (from an article entitled 'A Tribute from His Hornchurch Cobbers', Chronicles of the N.Z.E.F., 28 February 1917, p. 7)
Biographical Notes:
  • Son of William and Ellen Bayne, Bell's Junction, Mataroa.
  • Drowned at sea x Gallipoli

Edited by Mal Murray - 26 Sep 2010 at 19:49
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mal Murray Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Sep 2010 at 16:39
 This is a photograph of a memorial erected in memory of Tpr Bayne. It is located at, Pahiatua, Manawatu-wanganui, New Zealand .
The inscription reads as follows;

A Tribute To The Memory Of Kenneth Anderson Bayne

A returning wounded soldier who nobly sacrificed his life in an attempt to save from drowning, a child who fell overboard the SS Ruahine on the 25th November 1916.

The deed was characteristic of the lad. He died as he lived - a stranger to selfishness.

It was dusk. The child, aged about 2 years, had crawled through a port-hole and fallen into the sea. Without the slightest hesitation, Bayne, although one arm was disabled, and regardless of the sharks, plunged overboard after he infant.

Neither Bayne, nor the child were ever seen again.

Kenneth Anderson Bayne

Edited by Mal Murray - 27 Sep 2010 at 16:43
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