Profile

ROBBINS, Alexander Reade
(Service number 7/113)

Aliases Alec
First Rank Trooper Last Rank Bombardier

Birth

Date 14 May 1895 Place of Birth Christchurch, New Zealand

Enlistment Information

Date 15 August 1914 Age 19
Address at Enlistment Waiariari, South Canterbury, New Zealand
Occupation Farmer
Previous Military Experience South Canterbury Mounted Rifles
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mr Arthur W. Robbins (father), Waiariari, South Canterbury
Religion Church of England
Medical Information 5 foot 9 inches in height, weight 144 lbs, chest 33 - 35 inches, grey eyes, brown hair, medium complexion, scar on left forefinger on outer side.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation Main Body
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Canterbury Mounted Rifles
Date 15 October 1914
Transport Tahiti or Athenic
Embarked From Wellington, New Zealand Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With NZ Field Artillery (No 2 & 5 Batteries)
Last Unit Served With NZ Field Artillery (No 5 Battery)

Military Awards

Campaigns Egyptian, Balkan (Gallipoli), & Western Europe
Service Medals 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal; 1939-1945 War Medal & 1939-1945 NZ War Service Medal
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date

Discharge

Date 26 June 1919 Reason End of war

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

8 July 1915 - Egypt - gun shot wound to right leg; 28 August 1915 - Mudros - enteric fever, 29 September transferred to Metropolitan Hospital at Whitechurch Cardif; 1917 in France - several bouts of diarrhoea & dysentery, 9 September 1917 transferred to England and spent time in No2 NZGH at Walton, Barton & NZ Conv Hospital Hornchurch.

Post-war Occupations

Drover & Farmer

Death

Date 6 December 1989 Age 94
Place of Death Taradale, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Cause
Notices
Memorial or Cemetery Featherston Cemetery, Wairarapa, New Zealand
Memorial Reference Mackenzie Family Plot
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Alexander was a self-employed farmer, and territorial member of the South Canterbury Mounted Rifles, when he enlisted on 15 August 1914, and gave his address as Waiariari, South Canterbury. His father, Arthur W. Robbins, of the same address, but later of Trafalgar Street, Timaru, was listed as his next of kin. Alexander was described as being 5 foot 9 inches tall, weighing 144 lbs, chest measuring 33 to 35 inches, having grey eyes, brown hair, medium complexion with a scar on the left forefinger on the outer side.

Posted to the Canterbury Mounted Rifles, Alexander embarked from Wellington with the Main Body on 15 October 1914, aboard the SS Tahiti or Athenic, arriving in Alexandra, Egypt, on 3 December 1914. According to his daughter Barbara Lovatt, his horse went to war with him. Alexander embarked for service on the Dardanelles on 9 May 1915, and on 28 June, he received a bullet wound to his right leg. He was transferred to hospital in Egypt aboard the Hospital Ship Licilia on 8 July and rejoined his unit on the Dardanelles on 10 August. On 28 August he was admitted to hospital on Mudros with enteric fever and on 29 September, transferred to the Metropolitan Hospital at Whitechurch, Cardiff.

On 4 May 1916, Alexander was posted as a Gunner to the NZ Field Artillery No 5 Battery and served in England until being posted to France on 19 March 1917. During his time in France he had a few bouts of diarrhoea and dysentery, and on 9 September 1917, was transferred to England where he was admitted to various hospitals for treatment before again being posted to France on 28 March 1918, where he served with No 2 and 5 Batteries NZ Field Artillery, and with the army of occupation in Cologne. The Press, dated 27 May 1918, reported that he became engaged to Miss Alice Whitehead whilst he was in England. On 16 November 1918, he was promoted to Bombardier and on 1 January 1919, he was back in England. On 18 April 1919, he boarded SS Tofua at Tilbury for his return home, arriving at Port Chalmers in early June. On 26 June 1919, he was finally discharged from the army, having served a total of 4 years and 315 days. For his service he was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, Victory Medal and British War Medal, and in 1986, received the Gallipoli Medallion and Lapel Badge.

In 1923, Alexander married Miss Isobella Mackenzie, and in 1928, he was working in the Featherston area as a drover. He later farmed at “PoiPoi”, Western Lake Road Featherston and was an executive member of the Featherston RSA. Alexander also served during World War Two, entering camp on 15 August 1940, where he served as 600634 WO2 A.R. Robbins, in the 9th Artillery Field Regiment. He was discharged on 25 July 1942, and continued to serve in the Home Service. For this service he was awarded the 1939-1945 War Medal and the 1939-1945 NZ War Service Medal.

In the 1966 New Year’s Honours List, he was awarded the MBE for services to Returned Servicemen and rehabilitation work. From 1963 he is listed on the Electoral Rolls as being retired and living at 2 Cambridge Street, Taradale, Hawkes Bay. Alexander died on 6 December 1989, and his ashes are interred next to his wife’s in the family grave of his wife’s maternal grandparents, James & Ann Mackenzie, in Featherston, Wairarapa.

Sources

University of New South Wales, Canberra NZEF Project "New Zeland Anzacs in ther Great War 1914-1918" at http://nzef.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=217723; WW100 "Names of those who left with the Main body and 1st Reinforcements" at http://ww100.govt.nz/wall.html; The London Gazette, 31 December 1965 at https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/43856/supplement/42/data.pdf; The Timaru Herald 26 July, 1915, p4 & 30 May 1919, p2, Otago Daily Times 15 July 1915, p5, Press, 27 May 1918, p2 & 13 May 1919, p8, & Evening Post 19 June 1945, p5, via Papers Past at http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/; Ancestry.com.au at http://search.ancestry.com.au/cgi-bin/sse.dll?gl=ROOT_CATEGORY&gss=angs-d&new=1&msT=1&gsfn=alexander+reade&gsfn_x=1&gsln=robbins&gsln_x=1&MSAV=1&cpxt=1&cp=14&catbucket=rstp&rank=1; "The history of the New Zealand Returned Soldiers' Association and interview with Alex Robbins" is held at Nga Taonga Sound & vision, see http://www.ngataonga.org.nz/collections/catalogue/catalogue-item?record_id=205364; Birth, Death and Marriage Historical Records at https://bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz

External Links

Related Documents

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Researched and Written by

Ted Hansen, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to

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