Stanley Gordon Stewart PAPPRILL was born in Christchurch on 26 May 1896, a son of Henry Joseph PAPPRILL (1860-1904) a labourer and cook and Agnes Elizabeth (HILLIER nee SMITH 1855-1934). He was until recently known to us only by way of family lore viz.  He was probably homosexual known as "Queanie", that he was called up for military service in WW1 and left New Zealand for Australia in the 1920's and was never heard from again. Although family lore had him in the Royal Flying Corps, the reality turned out very differently as family lore is want to do. After his father died when Stan was nine, his mother moved to Napier. After a "falling out" with his siblings and by all accounts becoming somewhat disreputable he moved to Wellington.

In 1916 he was a draper's assistant living at the Zealandia Hotel, Wellington and listed in the First Reserves NZEF that year. In 1917 he was living with his mother at 73 Mein Street, Newtown, Wellington. She seems to have sold or rented her house at Napier to move closer to him. Later that year he became Private 59442, B Company, Wellington Infantry Regiment, part of the 2nd Draft, 29th Reinforcements. On 15 August 1917 he embarked on the troopship “Ruahine” for Glasgow via Panama and Halifax.

His attestation records that he had passed the 4th Educational Standard, was employed by James Smith's of Wellington as a draper. It also records that he had been previously discharged as “unfit” from the 9th Hawkes Bay Regiment because of “fits and dizziness”. He stated a preference to join an artillery unit.

He was medically examined and found “Free from any physical defects likely to interfere with efficient performance”. But, to the question “Have you ever had a fit?, the Medical Officer wrote - “Said to have” and in “Remarks” he wrote - “Tinnitus. No evidence what the fits are”. “Fits February last”. “Classification FIT A1”.

His unit arrived at Glasgow in October 1917. He had spent much of the voyage in the ship's hospital with appendicitis and after embarkation transferred to the Army Hospital at Walton and thence to that at Codford in March 1918. He was attached to a machine gun unit at Grantham in May that year where he overstayed special leave by 6 days and was deducted 18 days' pay.

His sickness record shows he had appendicitis, hysteria and epilepsy. He returned to New Zealand in May 1919 having had no “active” service. His intended address was C/- YMCA, Wellington, but his mother's address - Russell Terrace, Wellington was substituted, with date 22 June 1925. On 29 June 1925 he advised the Army Personnel that his address was C/- Kirkcaldie and Staines Ltd, Wellington. Something seems to have occurred between those dates. He moved to Australia and according to family lore wrote a begging letter to his mother asking for money, to which she apparently did not reply. He was never heard of again and his fate in Australia, or elsewhere, has not been established though I sense he became one of those harassed by homophobic detectives in Sydney or Melbourne.

If family lore is correct, Stan aka “Queenie” probably did not marry. And so, the Flying Ace turned out to be an involuntary infantryman who never set foot in France or Belgium. Given his obvious physical health at enlistment one wonders why he was enrolled or not sent home after his “mental” condition became apparent. The country must have been desperate indeed. Or did the MO decide that a stint in the army would make a “man” of him. Quite possibly I think. But to his credit he did not claim conscience to remain in New Zealand, unlike some who went on to become sabre rattling politicians in the next war. Rest in peace Stanley.

NB With the kind assistance of a fellow researcher in Australia (Thanks again Bronwyn!) Stanley has been found. He died in the Sydney suburb of Surry Hills in 1956 aged 60. The informant for the death registration did not know Stanley's parents' names. His passing was not reported to his family in New Zealand.