WATKINS, Robert Edward 
(Service number 6/570)

First Rank Private Last Rank Private


Date 23 May 1889 Place of Birth Belfast, Christchurch

Enlistment Information

Date 11 August 1914 Age 25 yrs 3 mths
Address at Enlistment Care of J. W. SOUTER, Timaru
Occupation Bootmaker
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin William Thomas WATKINS, Pareora East. Later of Hook, Waimate Rural Delivery
Religion Anglican
Medical Information Height 5 feet 6 inches. Weight 140 lbs. Chest measurement 33-36 inches. Complexion dark. Eyes brown. Hair dark brown. Eyes both 6/6. Hearin and colour vision both good. Limbs and chest well formed. Full movement of joints. Heart and lungs normal. Teeth fair. free from hernia, Varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated. Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects. Light coloured mole below 12th rib left 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 Infantry Battalion
Date 16 October 1914
Transport Tahiti or Athenic
Embarked From Lyttelton, Canterbury Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With Canterbury Infantry Battalion

Military Awards

Campaigns Gallipoli
Service Medals 1914-1915 Star; British War Medal; Victory 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


Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations


Date 25 April 1915 Age 25 yrs
Place of Death Dardanelles
Cause Killed in action
Memorial or Cemetery Lone Pine Memorial, Lone Pine Cemetery, Anzac, Turkey
Memorial Reference 75
New Zealand Memorials On Memorial wall, Timaru; Pareora War Memorial

Biographical Notes

Robert Edward WATKINS was a son of William Thomas and Laura WATKINS, Hook, Waimate, formerly of Pareora East. He was born on 23 May 1889 at Belfast, Canterbury and educated at the local school there. The family moved to the Pareora area about 1906, and in 1911 Robert himself was living in Oxford Street, Timaru. He was one of the first to enlist after the declaration of war. Robert was one of many keen and determined applicants at the Drill Shed on 11 August 1914. He was not one of those rejected, mostly for defects to the teeth and one or two on account of height; he passed the medical exanimation and was sworn in. The successful applicants were liable to be called up at any moment, and it was quite probable that they would leave Timaru in a matter of days for the central camp at Christchurch as part of the 2nd South Canterbury Regiment's quota. When he enlisted, Robert gave his address as C/o J. W. Souter, Timaru, who was his employer. He made a will on enlistment. He owned a section of land in Craighead Street, Timaru (section 41) which he left to his father. And to Albert Manly, the executor of his will, he left five pounds; to Miss Priscilla Hawkey his Life Insurance Policy and bonuses attached thereto; and to his mother all the remainder of his property. Probate of his will was granted on 5 August 1915. It seems that Robert had looked to the future in acquiring property and security. Robert was initially reported missing on 25 April 1915; by 14 June 1915 it had been determined that he was killed in action. The report that Robert was missing and then that of his death cast a gloom over Pareora East where his parents were most respected residents. Robert was described as a gallant and noble young son. A memorial service was held in the Anglican Church on the following Sunday night. .


Cenotaph Database [19 November 2013]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5557 0119487) [05 August 2014]; CWGC [16 August 2013]; ; CWGC [19 November 2013]; Timaru Herald, 12 August 1914, 24 May 1915, 13 July 1915, 25 April 1919 [18 & 19 November 2013; 05 August 2014; 01 September 2014]; Will of Robert Edward Watkins, including official telegram (Archives New Zealand, Probate Records, & FamilySearch) [12 June 2014]

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