ROBBINS, Alexander Reade
(Service number 7/113)
|First Rank||Trooper||Last Rank||Bombardier|
|Date||14 May 1895||Place of Birth||Christchurch, New Zealand|
|Date||15 August 1914||Age||19|
|Address at Enlistment||Waiariari, South Canterbury, New Zealand|
|Previous Military Experience||South Canterbury Mounted Rifles|
|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.|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|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)|
|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|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
|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.
Drover & Farmer
|Date||6 December 1989||Age||94|
|Place of Death||Taradale, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Featherston Cemetery, Wairarapa, New Zealand|
|Memorial Reference||Mackenzie Family Plot|
|New Zealand Memorials|
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.
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
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Researched and Written by
Ted Hansen, SC branch NZSG
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