LATIMER, Richard Thomas
(Service number 24/654)
|First Rank||Private||Last Rank||Second Lieutenant|
|Date||13 December 1892||Place of Birth||Orari, New Zealand|
|Date||27 April 1915||Age||22|
|Address at Enlistment||Southburn, New Zealand|
|Previous Military Experience||8th South Canterbury Mounted Rifles|
|Next of Kin||Mr R.C. Latimer (father), Orari|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Medical Information||Height 5 foot 10 inches, weight 174 lbs, chest 35 1/2 inches, fair complexion, grey eyes, brown hair, good teeth|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||NZ Rifle Brigade|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||2nd Battalion, C Company|
|Date||9 October 1915|
|Transport||Maunganui, Tahiti, Aparime, Navua or Warrimoo|
|Embarked From||Wellington, New Zealand||Destination||Suez, Egypt|
|Other Units Served With||4th Battalion New Zealand Rifle Brigade|
|Last Unit Served With||NZ Rifle Brigade|
|Campaigns||Egyptian and Western Europe|
|Service Medals||1914-1915 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal|
Award Circumstances and Date
Distinguished Service Somme July 1917
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
|Date||21 August 1919||Reason||End of war|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
January 1917 admitted to 2 NZ General Hospital, Walton on Thames, with bronchial catarrh; 26 August 1918: Bapume France - gun shot wound to jaw, hospitalised at No 1 General Hospital, Brockenhurst, England
|Date||12 October 1960||Age||67|
|Place of Death||Ashburton New Zealand|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Ashburton, New Zealand|
|Memorial Reference||RSA, Area 201, Plot 4|
|New Zealand Memorials|
Richard, son of Robert Clarke & Catherine Jane (nee Vickers) Latimer Orari, was born 13 December 1892. He was educated at Orari Primary and Temuka Schools.
Before enlisting Richard was working as a farm labourer for Mr F. Scott, Southburn, and joined up aged 22, on 27 April 1915. He was described as being 5 foot 10 inches tall, weighing 174 lbs, having a 35 ½ inch chest, of fair complexion, grey eyes, brown hair, having good teeth and of the Anglican faith. After training, he embarked on 9 October from Wellington as a Corporal with the 2nd Battalion, C Company, NZ Rifle Brigade, for Suez, Egypt, on SS Maunganui, Tahiti, Aparima, Navua or Warrimoo. His older brother, 23/480 Andrew Latimer, also embarked at this time.
Richard left for service in France on 6 Apilr 1916 and was given a field promotion to Sergeant on 6 September. In January 1917, he was admitted to 2 NZ General Hospital, Walton on Thames, England, with bronchial catarrh. Discharged on 2 February, he returned to France where, during the Somme battle, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. His citation (in August 1917) reported he personally accounted for the crew of an enemy machine gun thereby enabling the advance to be continued. He set a splendid example to his men. The Timaru Herald reported on 14 July 1917: “Sgt R.T. Latimer, who was awarded a medal for distinguished service, is 22 years of age and prior to leaving with the Earl of Liverpool’s Rifle Brigade, was employed on a farm at Pareora. He left as a Cpl and received his Sgts stripes after the Somme Battle. He saw service in Egypt and was in the Christmas Day fight about 18 months ago. His father is Mr R. Latimer of Orari”.
Whilst in France Richard also served as Company Sergeant Major (CSM) with the 4th Battalion NZ Rifle Brigade and on 28 March 1918, he was promoted to Secnd Lieutenant. On 26 August 1918, during the battle at Bapume, he received a gunshot wound to the jaw and was again hospitalised in No 1 General Hospital, Brockenhurst, England. After his discharge from hospital on 23 October 1918, he stayed in England until returning to NZ on SS Briton, arriving in Wellington 21 June 1919. Richard was finally discharged from the NZ Army 21 August 1919 and duly received the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal for his service to the Empire.
The Ashburton Guardian 26 November 1919, reported R.T. Latimer had won a Soldier Settler’s ballot for section 4, comprising 84 acres in the new Park Settlement. Situated about 12 miles south of the Ashburton Railway Station, this is good flat agricultural land served by irrigation race. He was to call his farm at Eiffelton “Bella Vista”. In 1923 Richard married Gwendolen Maud Samuels. The Christchurch Press has numerous mentions of Richard as being a member of the Star of Ashburton Lodge holding the position of AD Brother and taking part in inter lodge debates.
On the outbreak of WWII he tried very hard to re-enlist. He had joined the EPS and had trained with them but was not keen on joining the Home Guard. His wife gave her full support for his joining up again but, because of his age he would only be eligible for limited service. Thousands of men had already been released from the army for farm labour and, as he had six children and was an experienced farmer; it was not thought his application was successful.
Richard died at Ashburton on 12 October 1960 and is buried in the RSA Section of the Ashburton Cemetery.
Auckland Museum Cenotaph database (June 2015); Archives NZ (Personal File); ancestry.com.au; Papers Past
No documents available.
Researched and Written by
Ted Hansen (SC branch NZSG)
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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