1. Memorial:Tyne Cot MemorialN.Z. Apse, Panel 7.
2. Memorial:The (1940) Scroll - WW1 Roll of Honour18C GQS

Awards & Titles:


Early Life :

Son of George Preen and the late Constance Preen; husband of Helen Preen, of 4, High St., Timaru.

[Preen Family History] Ernest George Preen was born in 1874 and in 1910 he married Helen Welsh Stewart. Prior to the First World War they were living at 5 Bank Street, Timaru were Ernest was a builder. During 1915 Ernest enlisted and served initially with the 1st Samoan Relief Force he departed Auckland, New Zealand on the 27 March 1915 and arrived at Apia, Samoa on the 3rd April 1915 aboard the troopship Talune. Its not clear how long he was in Samoa but we know he returned to New Zealand and by 1917 had joined the New Zealand Rifle Brigade as a rifleman service number 19/221. On the 26th April 1917 he boarded the troopship Pakeha and arrived in Plymouth, England on the 28th July 1917 from here he made his way to Ypres in Belgium where he was killed in action on the 12th October 1917 aged 44. He is listed on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Tyne Cot Cemetery, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Memorial Reference N.Z. Apse, Panel 7. Helen Welsh Stewart was born in 1881 and after the death of her husband married Richard Wilson in 1921 she died in 1953 aged 72.

Service Life:


Unit / Ship / Est.: New Zealand Rifle Brigade, N.Z.E.F 

Consolidated list of Riflemen from all battalions of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade.

Action : The Battles of Ypres 1917 (Third Ypres, or Passchendaele) 

31 July - 10 November 1917. By the summer of 1917 the British Army was able for the first time to fight on its chosen ground on its terms. Having secured the southern ridges of Ypres at Messines in June, the main attack started on 31st July 1917 accompanied by what seemed like incessant heavy rain, which coupled with the artillery barrages conspired to turn much of the battlefield into a bog. Initial failure prompted changes in the high command and a strategy evolved to take the ring of ridges running across the Ypres salient in a series of 'bite and hold' operations, finally culminating in the capture of the most easterly ridge on which sat the infamous village of Passchendaele. The Official History carries the footnote ?The clerk power to investigate the exact losses was not available? but estimates of British casualties range from the official figure of 244,000 to almost 400,000. Within five months the Germans pushed the British back to the starting line, which was where they had been since May 1915.

Detail :

3rd Battalion, New Zealand Rifle Brigade, New Zealand Expeditionary Force.

Masonic :

TypeLodge Name and No.Province/District :
Mother : St. John No. 1137 E.C.New Zealand (South Island)

11th May 1908
22nd June 1908
26th October 1908

The record of the Lodge shows his name listed as Ernest George GREEN (both the 1900-1909 and the 1910-1921 ledgers. He was a 31 year old builder from Timaru, at the time of his initiation into St. John's Lodge No. 1137 at Timaru, New Zealand. The contribution records shows his war service and that he was "killed in action Nov 1917."

Source :

The project globally acknowledges the following as sources of information for research across the whole database:

Additional Source:

Last Updated: 2021-04-08 09:10:21