LOPER, Robert Samuel
(Service number 8/2443)

First Rank Private Last Rank Shoeing Smith


Date 11 July 1894 Place of Birth Waimate, New Zealand

Enlistment Information

Date 1 May 1915; March 1917 Age 20; 23
Address at Enlistment Maheno & Waimate, New Zealand
Occupation Blacksmith
Previous Military Experience 2nd (South Canterbury) Regiment
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mr George Loper (father), 43 Maude Street, Waimate
Religion Presbyterian
Medical Information 6 foot 2 inches tall, dark complexion, brown eyes, black hair, weight 168 lbs, chest 37 inches, good teeth

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation 5th Reinforcements; 24th Reinforcements
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Otago Infantry Battalion; 1st Australian & NZ Wireless Troop
Date 13 June 1915; 22 March 1917
Transport HMNZT24; Manuka
Embarked From Wellington, New Zealand Destination Suez, Egypt; Sydney Australia
Other Units Served With 1st Australian & NZ Wireless Troop
Last Unit Served With Otago Infantry Battalion & 1st Australian & NZ Wireless Troop

Military Awards

Campaigns Egyptian, Gallipoli, & Mesopotamia
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 21 July 1916; 10 January 1919 Reason Medicall unfit & end of war

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

26 August 1915, Dardanelles: Gu sht wound to left forearm, then transfered to 1st Southern General Hospital England; 18 May 1916 admitted to Convalescent Home, Hanmer

Post-war Occupations

NZ Post & Telegraph Lines Branch


Date 24 November 1971 Age 77
Place of Death Timaru, New Zealand
Memorial or Cemetery Salisbury Park Crematorium, Timaru
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Robert was born at Waimate on 11 July 1894, son of George & Nicholine (nee Richmond) Loper. He attended the Waimate Primary and Secondary Schools and won prizes for attendance from 1906 to 1910.

Prior to the war he was working as a blacksmith for Andrew Jack, Waimate, a member of the Hope of Maheno Lodge, and a keen rugby player. He was also a territorial soldier in the 2nd South Canterbury Regiment at Waimate, before joining up on 1 May 1915. Described as being age 20, 6 foot 2 inches tall, of dark complexion, brown eyes, black hair, weighting 168 lbs, chest measuring 37 inches, having good teeth, single and of the Presbyterian faith. He gave his father, Mr George Loper of 43 Maude Street, Waimate, as his next of kin. Trained with the Otago Infantry Battalion, he left with the 5th Reinforcements from Wellington on 13 June 1915, aboard HMNZT 24, for Suez, Egypt, arriving 24 July 1915.

Robert soon left for the Dardanelles, where, on 26 August 1915, he received gunshot wounds to his left forearm which resulted in him being first evacuated to Mudros for hospital treatment, then onto 1st Southern General Hospital, England. In December he was in the London Depot awaiting return to NZ on the SS Arawa, arriving back 17 March 1916. He was admitted to the Convalescent Home in Hanmer on 18 May, for further treatment, until his discharge 21 July 1916 (unfit for further service).

After hisa discharge Robert returned to Maheno where he carried on his business of blacksmithing. But, in March 1917 whewn he was working for the Post & Telegraph Depot at Waimate, he re-enlisted and, on 22 March, left with the 24th Reinforcements aboard the SS Manuka, for Sydney, where he joined the 1st Australian & New Zealand Wireless Troop. He was to serve as a Farrier with this unit in Mesopotamia, until his return to New Zealand on 9 October 1918, aboard SS Wilkshire (ex Bombay). Robert was finally discharged from the army on 10 January 1919. For his service, he was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. In later years he also received the Gallipoli Medallion.

The Oamaru Mail, dated 30 January 1919, reported that, at a welcome home to returned service men, Robert was presented with a handsome gold medal by the Maheno Soldiers Welfare Society and, at the same event, he was also presented by P.G. Brother D. Morrison, on behalf of the Hope of Maheno Lodge, a handsome gold band ring. He apologised for not being able to present it earlier but said they were all rightly proud of their returned brother, who had enlisted in the early stages of the war, returned home again, re-enlisted, and they now had the pleasure of seeing him once more in their midst. Brother Loper suitably replied. 1919 was a significant year as Robert also married Margaret Agnes Bunting.

Robert spent the rest of his working life with the New Zealand Post & Telegraph lines branch in Waimate, Christchurch and Timaru. He died in Timaru on 24 November 1971, aged 77, and was cremated at the Salisbury Park Crematorium, Timaru.


Auckland Museum Cenotaph database (June 2015); Archives NZ (Personal File);; NZSG Index V5; NZBDM Historical Records; Papers Past

External Links

Related Documents

No documents available. 

Researched and Written by

Ted Hansen (SC branch NZSG)

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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