LINDSAY, Roderick O'Brien
(Service number 14/112)

First Rank Driver Last Rank Corporal


Date 30 April 1888 Place of Birth Timaru, New Zealand

Enlistment Information

Date 17 August 1914 Age 28
Address at Enlistment Idris Road, Fendalton, Christchurch, New Zealand
Occupation Motor Engineer & Driver
Previous Military Experience Royal Navy Reserve Clyde
Marital Status Married
Next of Kin Mrs R.D. Lindsay (wife), care of Mr G. Talbot, Kingsdown, Timaru
Religion Church of England
Medical Information Height 5 foot 9 inches, weight 159 lbs, chest 34 inches, dark complexion, brown eyes, good teeth

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation Main Body
Unit, Squadron, or Ship ASC Divisional Train
Date 16 October 1914
Transport Waimana
Embarked From Auckland, New Zealand Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With ASC Divisional Train

Military Awards

Campaigns Egyptian
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 15 June 1916 Reason Medically unfit

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Cairo: damage to right knee (run over by ambulance)

Post-war Occupations

Motor engineer & manager


Date 18 October 1957 Age 70
Place of Death Whakapara, New Zealand
Memorial or Cemetery Maunu Cemetrery
Memorial Reference RSA Block 10, Plot 255
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Roderick, born in Timaru on 30 April 1888, was the third son of Lt Colonel William Stewart & Mrs Ada Henrietta (nee O’Brien) Lindsay. His father was an honorary Colonel in the Territorial Forces, having served in the NZ Auxiliary Forces, and his mother was the daughter of artist, George O’Brien. He was educated at Christ’s College Christchurch, before spending nine years overseas studying in England, Scotland and America on the motor engineering profession in all its branches. Working in Glasgow, he had consulted on the workings of tramways. On 3 September 1913, at St Mary’s Church Timaru, he married Sarah Clark Weber Talbot, the officiating minister being the Rev F.H. Sapford.

On enlisting at Christchurch on 17 August 1914, Roderick stated he had had previous military service with the Royal Naval Reserve Clyde, and he was a self employed motor engineer and driver. Posted to the Army Service Corps Divisional Train, he was described as age 28, 5 foot 9 inches tall, weighing 159 lbs, chest measuring 34 inches, of dark complexion, brown eyes and having good teeth. After initial training, he left Auckland for Suez, Egypt, aboard the HMNZT Waimana on 16 October 1914. While serving in Egypt he was promoted to the rank of Corporal. On 15 August 1915, he was accidently run over by an ambulance in Cairo, badly injuring his right knee. This resulted in him being found medically unfit for further military service and he was returned to New Zealand on the SS Maheno 1 January 1916, being finally discharged on 15 June 1916. For his war service, Roderick received the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.

Returning to his civilian occupation, he was kept busy inventing machines, including in October 1917, a “Land Torpedo”. This was a miniature tank controlled by electricity which would drag itself over shell holes and explode three hundredweight of explosives against German pill-boxes. Previously, in 1904, he was involved in experiments in England on Salisbury Plains, of the tractor type wheel which had been made famous by “the tank”. His experience had also included service in the Royal Navy on special service where he became familiar with the mechanism of the torpedo. It was this experience that resulted in his combination of tractor propelled tank and torpedo.

In October 1919, he was the New Zealand general manager for the “Delco Light Company“, and at the Timaru Show he displayed it's merits to the public. In February 1920 he had a patent out for an internal combustion engine, and in May 1922, he was involved in setting up community garages at Cashmere, Christchurch. After World War Two, he was living in Northland, where he died in Whakapara on 18 October 1957, aged 70, and is buried in the RSA Section of the Maunu Cemetery.


Auckland Museum Cenotaph database (June 2015); Archives NZ (Personal File);; Papers Past; NZSG Index V5; Whangarei District Coucil cemeteries database

External Links

Related Documents

No documents available. 

Researched and Written by

Ted Hansen (SC branch NZSG)

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Logo. 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!

Your Details
Veteran Details
- you may attach an image or document up to 10MB