Brigadier Edward Puttick, 1890-1976

Brigadier Edward Puttick was in temporary command of the New Zealand Division, while Freyberg commanded the island garrison. He was born in Timaru, New Zealand in 1890, the son of John Prior Puttick, a London-born railway platelayer, and Rachel Orpen, from County Kerry, Ireland. After being educated at Waitaki Boy’s High School, Oamaru, he joined the Engineering Branch of the Roads Department (later Public Works Department) in 1906 as a draughtsman. He then joined the Territorial Force in its first year and was eventually commissioned into the 15th (North Auckland) Regiment as a 2nd Lieutenant, later transferring to the 5th (Wellington) Regiment where he was promoted to Captain in January 1914. At the start of the First World War, he was with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in Samoa but joined the main body of the NZEF in Egypt, commanding the 1st Battalion, New Zealand Rifle Brigade and saw operations in Cyrenaica. He transferred to the New Zealand Division on the Western Front, as a staff captain in the 2nd New Zealand Infantry Brigade. He was then appointed Second-in-Command of the 4th Battalion, New Zealand Rifle Brigade (as a Major) which took part in the Battle of the Somme. During the Battle of Messines in the summer of 1917, he twice temporarily commanded the battalion and so was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and given command of the 3rd Battalion, taking part in the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) and being wounded during the German spring offensive of 1918. Returning to New Zealand in December 1918, he married Irene Lillian Dignan on 31 January 1919. He applied for a regular commission and had a series of staff appointments, followed by a period on attachment to the War Office and a course at the Imperial Defence College. He acted as military advisor to the New Zealand delegation at the Imperial Conference of 1937 and was one of three New Zealand ushers at the coronation of King George VI. He took command of the 4th NZ Brigade in January 1940 until August 1941, becoming Chief of the General Staff and General Officer Commanding, New Zealand Forces and attaining the rank of Lieutenant General, until December 1945 when he retired. He was thus in a position to prepare for a possible Japanese attack and support the Allied war effort in the Pacific Second World War. He was appointed a KCB in 1946 and led the New Zealand contingent during the victory celebrations. His wife died in 1964 and he lived in a small cottage in Raglan. He died in Hamilton on 25 July 1976 and was buried with full honours at Karori.


Puttick, Edward 1890 - 1976, Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, updated 16 December 2003, active as of 25 January 2005

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How to cite this article:Antill, P. (25 July 2005), Brigadier Edward Puttick, 1890-1976,

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