John SUBRITZKY was born on 27 January 1892 at Waihopo. Prior to his enlistment he was employed as a kauri gum supervisor for WH Evans at Houhora.
He enlisted in the New Zealand Army on 9 February 1915 at Trentham Military Camp, being then 23 years old. He was single and his next of kin was his father Capt John Henry SUBRITZKY, Master Mariner of Waihopo. He was of medium build, stood 5 foot 8 inches tall, had hazel coloured eyes and dark hair. Upon completion of his recruit training he was posted to the 5th Reinforcements and sailed in secrecy from New Zealand for the Dardanelles on 12 June 1915.\
He came ashore at Gallipoli sometime in early August and was posted to the Auckland Infantry Battalion on 8 August 1915. He was reported as “Missing in Action” that same day. In the confusion and chaos that was Gallipoli he was not located till 12 August 1915, badly wounded and aboard the Hospital Ship Aquitania. He had a severe shrapnel wound in his left shoulder. He remained aboard the Aquitania which then sailed for England disembarking at Southampton on 23 August 1915. He was admitted to Hornchurch Hospital where he remained convalescing until 12 May 1916, when he “left for France”. He rejoined his unit at Armentieres on 16 June 1916 and was posted to the 15th Company, 1st Battalion, Auckland Infantry Regiment. He was promoted to Lance Corporal on 15 October 1916 and Corporal 25 October 1916. During this period he was involved in the heavy fighting at the battle of the Somme.
On 23 March 1917 he was withdrawn from the field and admitted to the 7th General Hospital based at St Omer, suffering from mumps, he rejoined his unit on 10 April 1917. On the 7th June he was wounded for the second time, on this occasion being shot in the left ankle, He was admitted to the 9th (Australian) Field Ambulance, treated and returned to the trenches on 20 July. One week later he was again involved in heavy fighting and when the Platoon Sergeant was shot he was promoted and took over the Platoon. Three days later his company had suffered heavy losses and were withdrawn to the rear. He was sent to England for a ten day leave break returning to France on 10 August 1917.
He was promoted to Warrant Officer on 23 December 1917, and was appointed CSM (Company Sergeant Major) of 15 Company. On 13 November 1918 he was recommended by the General Office Commanding and received a “Battlefield Commission” – promoted to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant RNZIR.
He returned to England and on 12 September 1919 embarked from Torquay aboard the Remuera for New Zealand and arriving on 27 October. On 23 November he was de-mobilised from the Regular Force but continued to serve as a Territorial Officer with the 15th North Auckland Infantry Regiment until 1924 when he was placed on the Reserve of Officers.
He was recalled to the colours on 1 November 1939, with the outbreak of the Second World War, at which time he was 48 years old, married and employed as a Civil Servant at the Social Security Department at Kaitaia. He marched into the North Auckland Regiment and served on the Cadre Staff at Whangarei and Narrow Neck Camp and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant on 24 September 1940 and to Captain on 14 February 1941. He served with a commando unit at Okaihau from 3 January 1942 to 15 April 1942 and was them posted to the 1st Battalion North Auckland Regiment. He was promoted to Major on 1 March 1943 and continued to serve on the Cadre Staff of that unit until 22 June 1943 when he was demobilised and placed on the Reserve of Officers until his death on 15 December 1950.