LOPER, Robert Samuel
(Service number 8/2443)
|First Rank||Private||Last Rank||Shoeing Smith|
|Date||11 July 1894||Place of Birth||Waimate, New Zealand|
|Date||1 May 1915; March 1917||Age||20; 23|
|Address at Enlistment||Maheno & Waimate, New Zealand|
|Previous Military Experience||2nd (South Canterbury) Regiment|
|Next of Kin||Mr George Loper (father), 43 Maude Street, Waimate|
|Medical Information||6 foot 2 inches tall, dark complexion, brown eyes, black hair, weight 168 lbs, chest 37 inches, good teeth|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||5th Reinforcements; 24th Reinforcements|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||Otago Infantry Battalion; 1st Australian & NZ Wireless Troop|
|Date||13 June 1915; 22 March 1917|
|Embarked From||Wellington, New Zealand||Destination||Suez, Egypt; Sydney Australia|
|Other Units Served With||1st Australian & NZ Wireless Troop|
|Last Unit Served With||Otago Infantry Battalion & 1st Australian & NZ Wireless Troop|
|Campaigns||Egyptian, Gallipoli, & Mesopotamia|
|Service Medals||1914-1915 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
|Date||21 July 1916; 10 January 1919||Reason||Medicall unfit & end of war|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
26 August 1915, Dardanelles: Gu sht wound to left forearm, then transfered to 1st Southern General Hospital England; 18 May 1916 admitted to Convalescent Home, Hanmer
NZ Post & Telegraph Lines Branch
|Date||24 November 1971||Age||77|
|Place of Death||Timaru, New Zealand|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Salisbury Park Crematorium, Timaru|
|New Zealand Memorials|
Robert was born at Waimate on 11 July 1894, son of George & Nicholine (nee Richmond) Loper. He attended the Waimate Primary and Secondary Schools and won prizes for attendance from 1906 to 1910.
Prior to the war he was working as a blacksmith for Andrew Jack, Waimate, a member of the Hope of Maheno Lodge, and a keen rugby player. He was also a territorial soldier in the 2nd South Canterbury Regiment at Waimate, before joining up on 1 May 1915. Described as being age 20, 6 foot 2 inches tall, of dark complexion, brown eyes, black hair, weighting 168 lbs, chest measuring 37 inches, having good teeth, single and of the Presbyterian faith. He gave his father, Mr George Loper of 43 Maude Street, Waimate, as his next of kin. Trained with the Otago Infantry Battalion, he left with the 5th Reinforcements from Wellington on 13 June 1915, aboard HMNZT 24, for Suez, Egypt, arriving 24 July 1915.
Robert soon left for the Dardanelles, where, on 26 August 1915, he received gunshot wounds to his left forearm which resulted in him being first evacuated to Mudros for hospital treatment, then onto 1st Southern General Hospital, England. In December he was in the London Depot awaiting return to NZ on the SS Arawa, arriving back 17 March 1916. He was admitted to the Convalescent Home in Hanmer on 18 May, for further treatment, until his discharge 21 July 1916 (unfit for further service).
After hisa discharge Robert returned to Maheno where he carried on his business of blacksmithing. But, in March 1917 whewn he was working for the Post & Telegraph Depot at Waimate, he re-enlisted and, on 22 March, left with the 24th Reinforcements aboard the SS Manuka, for Sydney, where he joined the 1st Australian & New Zealand Wireless Troop. He was to serve as a Farrier with this unit in Mesopotamia, until his return to New Zealand on 9 October 1918, aboard SS Wilkshire (ex Bombay). Robert was finally discharged from the army on 10 January 1919. For his service, he was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. In later years he also received the Gallipoli Medallion.
The Oamaru Mail, dated 30 January 1919, reported that, at a welcome home to returned service men, Robert was presented with a handsome gold medal by the Maheno Soldiers Welfare Society and, at the same event, he was also presented by P.G. Brother D. Morrison, on behalf of the Hope of Maheno Lodge, a handsome gold band ring. He apologised for not being able to present it earlier but said they were all rightly proud of their returned brother, who had enlisted in the early stages of the war, returned home again, re-enlisted, and they now had the pleasure of seeing him once more in their midst. Brother Loper suitably replied. 1919 was a significant year as Robert also married Margaret Agnes Bunting.
Robert spent the rest of his working life with the New Zealand Post & Telegraph lines branch in Waimate, Christchurch and Timaru. He died in Timaru on 24 November 1971, aged 77, and was cremated at the Salisbury Park Crematorium, Timaru.
Auckland Museum Cenotaph database (June 2015); Archives NZ (Personal File); ancestry.com.au; NZSG Index V5; NZBDM Historical Records; Papers Past
No documents available.
Researched and Written by
Ted Hansen (SC branch NZSG)
Currently Assigned to