(Service number 6/489)
|First Rank||Private||Last Rank||Private|
|Date||17 May 1881||Place of Birth||Birkenhead England|
|Date||12 August 1914||Age||33|
|Address at Enlistment||Care of Myles, Woolcombe Street, Timaru, New Zealand|
|Previous Military Experience||2nd Battalion Cheshire Regt Boer War|
|Next of Kin||Mrs Margaret Laing (mother), 175 Wood Street Birkenhead England|
|Medical Information||Height 5 foot 5 1/2 inches, chest 36 inches, weight 135 lbs, fair complexion, grey eyes, brown hair, bad teeth.|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||Main Body|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||Canterbury Infantry Battalion|
|Date||16 October 1914|
|Embarked From||Lyttelton, New Zealand||Destination||Suez, Egypt|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||Canterbury Infantry Battalion|
|Campaigns||Egyptian & Gallipoli|
|Service Medals||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||3 March 1916||Reason||Medically unfit|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
25 May 1915: Dardanelles - gun shot wund to arm
|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|
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); Ancestry.com.au; Wellington City Council Cemeteries database; Papers Past
No documents available.
Researched and Written by
Ted Hansen (SC branch NZSG)
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
Tell us more
Do you have information that could be added to this story? Or related images that you are happy to share? Submit them here!