Sergeant, 65th Regiment
He served with the Wanganui Native Contingent in 1866 at the capture of Putahi Pa and he was awarded the New Zealand Cross when he rescued the seriously wounded Major McDonnell, and carried him to safety under heavy fire. Born 1829, Northern Ireland Died 1903, Wanganui, New Zealand After joining the British Army he was sent to New Zealand with the 65th Regiment in 1846. He served through the early New Zealand Wars in Northland before taking his discharge from the Army as a Sergeant. He was granted a piece of land in Wanganui as a reward for his Military service and settled there to farm in 1959. When war again began in the 1860's, AUSTIN joined the Wanganui Volunteer Contingent and fought with them against the Hauhau in the Taranaki. He also served with Kepa te Rangihiwinui's (Major Kemp's) Native Contingent as Quartermaster Sergeant. He was present during most of the battles fought against Tikikowaru in the Taranaki portion of the New Zealand Wars. On 7 January 1966 at the battle of Putahi Pa Sergeant AUSTIN ran to the rescue of his wounded Commander Major Thomas McDONNELL, supported him through much of the action and carried him from the field under heavy fire.. His actions were seen by General CHUTE who publically thanked him and reccommended him for the New Zealand Cross.
On 18 October 1866, AUSTIN again showed great bravery in saving the brother of Major McDONNELL, Captain William McDONNELL, severely wounded in Te Popoia. This action reinforced his claim to a New Zealand Cross and the medal was finally awarded on 12 September 1873.
AUSTIN took his final discharge from the Army in 1870 and settled again in Wanganui where he lived the rest of his working life as a farmer. Sam AUSTIN, one of the twenty three holders of one of the worlds rarest gallantry decorations, the New Zealand Cross, died in Wanganui in 1903, aged 74.
(Courtesy NZ Army Museum Waiouru)