LAING, Robert
(Service number 6/489)

First Rank Private Last Rank Private


Date 17 May 1881 Place of Birth Birkenhead England

Enlistment Information

Date 12 August 1914 Age 33
Address at Enlistment Care of Myles, Woolcombe Street, Timaru, New Zealand
Occupation Labourer
Previous Military Experience 2nd Battalion Cheshire Regt Boer War
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs Margaret Laing (mother), 175 Wood Street Birkenhead England
Religion Roman Catholic
Medical Information Height 5 foot 5 1/2 inches, chest 36 inches, weight 135 lbs, fair complexion, grey eyes, brown hair, bad teeth.

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 Athenic
Embarked From Lyttelton, New Zealand Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With Canterbury Infantry Battalion

Military Awards

Campaigns Egyptian & 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 3 March 1916 Reason Medically unfit

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

25 May 1915: Dardanelles - gun shot wund to arm

Post-war Occupations



Date 16 August 1947 Age 66
Place of Death Wellington, New Zealand
Memorial or Cemetery Karori Cemetery Wellington
Memorial Reference Soldier Plot 21 F/3
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Robert was the son of Mrs Margaret Laing of 175 Wood Street, Birkenhead, England, born there in 17 May 1881.

He enlisted in the Canterbury Infantry Battalion (2nd South Canterbury) at Timaru on 12 August 1914. His address on enlistment was care of Myles, Woolcombe Street, Timaru. His last employer was Mr Ritcheson, Smithfield, whom he worked as a labourer for. His description on enlisting was single, age 33, chest 36 inches, weight 135 lbs, height 5 foot 5 ½ inches, of fair complexion, eyes grey, hair brown, and had bad teeth. Robert was a Roman Catholic and had had 12 years previous military experience having served in the 2nd Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, and in the Boer War. He left Lyttelton with the Main Body on 16 October 1914 aboard the Athenic, destination Suez, Egypt.

After initial service in Egypt Robert embarked for the Dardanelles on 12 April 1915. Unfortunately on 25 May he suffered a serious gunshot wound to the arm after only one day on land. The Timaru Herald, 27 May 1915 reported: ‘’Private Robert Laing (Canterbury Infantry Battalion, wounded) was a fireman at Smithfield Freezing Works at Timaru when he enlisted. He served with the Cheshire Regiment in the Boer War’’. On 25 September 1915 he was invalided to New Zealand as a hospital case aboard SS Willochia, landing at Dunedin 31 October 1915. Robert’s journey to Egypt was also one to remember as he had fallen down a hatchway fracturing his clavicle and knocking out 10 teeth. For his service he was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal for his service. Robert had served in New Zealand from 12 August 1914 to 15 October 1914, overseas 16 October to 30 October 1915 and back in New Zealand 31 October 1915, until, after further treatment, he was finally discharged as unfit for further military service in Timaru on 3 March 1916.

Robert was again employed as a fireman, living in Wellington where he died, aged 66, on 16 August 1947. He is buried in the soldiers plot in the Karori Cemetery.


Auckland Museum Cenotaph database (June 2015); Archives NZ (Personal File);; Wellington City Council Cemeteries database; Papers Past

External Links

Related Documents

No documents available. 

Researched and Written by

Ted Hansen (SC branch NZSG)

Currently Assigned to

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