LATIMER, Richard Thomas
(Service number 24/654)

First Rank Private Last Rank Second Lieutenant


Date 13 December 1892 Place of Birth Orari, New Zealand

Enlistment Information

Date 27 April 1915 Age 22
Address at Enlistment Southburn, New Zealand
Occupation Farm Labourer
Previous Military Experience 8th South Canterbury Mounted Rifles
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mr R.C. Latimer (father), Orari
Religion Church of England
Medical Information Height 5 foot 10 inches, weight 174 lbs, chest 35 1/2 inches, fair complexion, grey eyes, brown hair, good teeth

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation NZ Rifle Brigade
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 2nd Battalion, C Company
Date 9 October 1915
Transport Maunganui, Tahiti, Aparime, Navua or Warrimoo
Embarked From Wellington, New Zealand Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With 4th Battalion New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Last Unit Served With NZ Rifle Brigade

Military Awards

Campaigns Egyptian and Western Europe
Service Medals 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
Military Awards DCM

Award Circumstances and Date

Distinguished Service Somme July 1917

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 21 August 1919 Reason End of war

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

January 1917 admitted to 2 NZ General Hospital, Walton on Thames, with bronchial catarrh; 26 August 1918: Bapume France - gun shot wound to jaw, hospitalised at No 1 General Hospital, Brockenhurst, England

Post-war Occupations



Date 12 October 1960 Age 67
Place of Death Ashburton New Zealand
Memorial or Cemetery Ashburton, New Zealand
Memorial Reference RSA, Area 201, Plot 4
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Richard, son of Robert Clarke & Catherine Jane (nee Vickers) Latimer Orari, was born 13 December 1892. He was educated at Orari Primary and Temuka Schools.

Before enlisting Richard was working as a farm labourer for Mr F. Scott, Southburn, and joined up aged 22, on 27 April 1915. He was described as being 5 foot 10 inches tall, weighing 174 lbs, having a 35 ½ inch chest, of fair complexion, grey eyes, brown hair, having good teeth and of the Anglican faith. After training, he embarked on 9 October from Wellington as a Corporal with the 2nd Battalion, C Company, NZ Rifle Brigade, for Suez, Egypt, on SS Maunganui, Tahiti, Aparima, Navua or Warrimoo. His older brother, 23/480 Andrew Latimer, also embarked at this time.

Richard left for service in France on 6 Apilr 1916 and was given a field promotion to Sergeant on 6 September. In January 1917, he was admitted to 2 NZ General Hospital, Walton on Thames, England, with bronchial catarrh. Discharged on 2 February, he returned to France where, during the Somme battle, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. His citation (in August 1917) reported he personally accounted for the crew of an enemy machine gun thereby enabling the advance to be continued. He set a splendid example to his men. The Timaru Herald reported on 14 July 1917: “Sgt R.T. Latimer, who was awarded a medal for distinguished service, is 22 years of age and prior to leaving with the Earl of Liverpool’s Rifle Brigade, was employed on a farm at Pareora. He left as a Cpl and received his Sgts stripes after the Somme Battle. He saw service in Egypt and was in the Christmas Day fight about 18 months ago. His father is Mr R. Latimer of Orari”.

Whilst in France Richard also served as Company Sergeant Major (CSM) with the 4th Battalion NZ Rifle Brigade and on 28 March 1918, he was promoted to Secnd Lieutenant. On 26 August 1918, during the battle at Bapume, he received a gunshot wound to the jaw and was again hospitalised in No 1 General Hospital, Brockenhurst, England. After his discharge from hospital on 23 October 1918, he stayed in England until returning to NZ on SS Briton, arriving in Wellington 21 June 1919. Richard was finally discharged from the NZ Army 21 August 1919 and duly received the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal for his service to the Empire.

The Ashburton Guardian 26 November 1919, reported R.T. Latimer had won a Soldier Settler’s ballot for section 4, comprising 84 acres in the new Park Settlement. Situated about 12 miles south of the Ashburton Railway Station, this is good flat agricultural land served by irrigation race. He was to call his farm at Eiffelton “Bella Vista”. In 1923 Richard married Gwendolen Maud Samuels. The Christchurch Press has numerous mentions of Richard as being a member of the Star of Ashburton Lodge holding the position of AD Brother and taking part in inter lodge debates.

On the outbreak of WWII he tried very hard to re-enlist. He had joined the EPS and had trained with them but was not keen on joining the Home Guard. His wife gave her full support for his joining up again but, because of his age he would only be eligible for limited service. Thousands of men had already been released from the army for farm labour and, as he had six children and was an experienced farmer; it was not thought his application was successful.

Richard died at Ashburton on 12 October 1960 and is buried in the RSA Section of the Ashburton Cemetery.


Auckland Museum Cenotaph database (June 2015); Archives NZ (Personal File);; Papers Past

External Links

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Researched and Written by

Ted Hansen (SC branch NZSG)

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