ROBERTS, Alexander William
(Service number 2/723)
|First Rank||Gunner||Last Rank||Private|
|Date||30 January 1873||Place of Birth||Lyttelton, New Zealand|
|Date||9 September 1914||Age||41|
|Address at Enlistment||Oxford Street, Lyttelton, New Zealand|
|Previous Military Experience||4th and 8th Contingents Boer War, N Battery (TF) Lyttelton|
|Next of Kin||Mrs Ruth L. Roberts (mother), Temuka, later Mrs Nellie Chapman (sister), 8 MacFarlane Street, Wellington|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Medical Information||5 foot 11 inches, weight 161 lbs, chest 34-38 inches, fair complexion, hazel eyes, good teeth, contracted third finger on left hand|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||Main Body|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||E Battery, NZ Field Artillery|
|Date||16 October 1914|
|Transport||Arawa or Limerick|
|Embarked From||Wellington, New Zealand||Destination||Suez, Egypt|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||E Battery NZ Field Artillery|
|Campaigns||Egyptian & Balkan (Gallipoli)|
|Service Medals||Queens South African Medal with clasps for Rhodesia, Transvaal and Cape Colony; 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||26 May 1916||Reason||Medically unfit|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
8 September 1915 - Mudros Hospital - dysentery & rheumatics (transferred to Ismailia, Eypt; 24 September 1915 - Gallipoli - gun shot wound to hand
|Date||23 August 1917||Age||44|
|Place of Death||Wanganui, New Zealand|
|Cause||Run over by Auckland Express train at Marton Junction, 22 August 1917|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Terrace End Cemetery, Palmerston North|
|Memorial Reference||Block 016, Plot 018|
|New Zealand Memorials|
Alexander, eldest son of Arthur William & Elizabeth (nee Maxwell) Robbins, was born at Christchurch on 14 May 1895. The New Zealand Gazette for 20 January 1911 lists him as passing the NZ Teachers & Civil Service Exams and Licences.
Alexander, third son of John & Ruth Louisa (nee Brighting) Roberts, was born at Lyttelton on 30 January 1973.
At the age of 27, when he was employed as Goal Warder, and living at the Railway Hotel, Kaikora, North Dunedin, he enlisted in the 4th Contingent (NZ Rough Riders), Regimental Number 1053, to serve in the Boer War. He sailed from Dunedin on 24 March 1900, and returned 11 July 1901 on the troopship Tafus, with the rank of acting Warrant Officer. He promptly re-enlisted and served with the 8th Contingent, with the rank of Lieutenant. For this service he was awarded the Queen’s Medal with clasps for Rhodesia, Transvaal and Cape Colony South Africa 1901-1902. Alexander continued to serve with the Territorial Force in “N”Battery, NZ artillery at Lyttelton.
In 1914 Alexander was living at Oxford Street, Lyttelton, and employed as a seaman for W. Cook, ship owner of Lyttelton. He enlisted on 9 September, at the age of 41, as a Gunner for service with E Battery, NZ Field Artillery. He was described as being single, Anglican, 5 foot 11 inches tall, weighing 161 lbs, chest measuring 34 – 38 inches, having a fair complexion, hazel eyes, fair hair, good teeth and a contracted third finger on his left hand. His mother, Mrs Ruth Louise Roberts of Temuka, was nominated as his next of kin, but this was later changed to his sister, Mrs Nellie Chapman, of 8 MacFarlane Street, Wellington.
Alexander left Wellington with the Main Body on 16 October 1914, aboard SS Arawa or Limerick, arriving in Suez, Egypt, on 3 December. After Egyptian service he was posted to Gallipoli and on 8 September, was evacuated to Mudros suffering from dysentery and rheumatics before being sent onwards to hospital in Ismailia. He must have been sent back to Gallipoli shortly after as he suffered a gunshot wound to his hand on 24 September 1915. He was evacuated back to NZ aboard the SS Ulimaroa on 23 March 1916, arriving home on 21 April where he was discharged as medically unfit on 26 May.
On 31 July 1917, Alexander once again enlisted into the Military Police. While travelling on the Auckland Express on the evening of 22 August 1917, he fell off at Marton Junction and as run over by the train. Taken to Wanganui Hospital, he died the next day of his injuries, aged 44 years. He is buried in Block 016, Plot 018, Terrace End Cemetery, Palmerston North.
Ancestry.com.au at http://search.ancestry.com.au/cgi-bin/sse.dll?gl=ROOT_CATEGORY&gss=angs-d&new=1&rank=1&msT=1&gsfn=alexander+william&gsfn_x=1&gsln=roberts&gsln_x=1&MSAV=1&cpxt=1&cp=14&catbucket=rstp; 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=217780; Birth, Death and Marriage Historical Records at https://bdmhistoricalrecords.dia.govt.nz; Manawat Times, 25 August 1917, p1, Christchurch Press, 23 August 1917, p2, Otago Daily Times 13 October 1899, p5, & Ashburton Guardian, 31 December 1901, p3 via Papers Past at http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz
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Researched and Written by
Ted Hansen, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
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