RITCHIE, Robert Gilmour
(Service number 6/130)

First Rank Private Last Rank Regimental Sergeant Major


Date 3 May 1892 Place of Birth Dunedin, New Zealand

Enlistment Information

Date 15 August 1914 Age 22
Address at Enlistment 113 Kilmore Street, Christchurch, New Zealand
Occupation Journalist
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Nurse Ritchie (sister), care of Mrs W. Hume, Sarah Street, Timaru, New Zealand
Religion Church of England
Medical Information 5 foot 6 inches tall, weight 126 lbs, chest 30 1/2 - 34 inches, fair complexion, blue eyes, light brown hair, dentally fit

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 Tahiti or Athenic
Embarked From Wellington, New Zealand Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With NZ Permanent Staff (Temporary)
Last Unit Served With Canterbury Infantry Battalion

Military Awards

Campaigns Egyptian & Balkan (Gallipoli)
Service Medals 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal; 1939-1945 War Medal and the 1919-1945 NZ War Service 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 2 June 1916 Reason Medically unfit

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

18 Aug 1914 - Hospital Ship at Dardanelles - diarrhoea; 25 Aug 1914 - Cairo Hospital - septic hand; 5 September 1914 - Choubrah Hospital Cairo - scarlet fever

Post-war Occupations

Agent, Storekeeper, Traveller, Secretary


Date 25 July 1961 Age 69
Place of Death Tauranga, New Zealand
Notices Internal Affairs 11 August 1961
Memorial or Cemetery Presbyterian Cemetery, Tauranga, New Zealand
Memorial Reference Block 1, Row 30, Plot 4
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Robert, son of John & Margaret Jane (nee Gilmour) Ritchie, was born at Dunedin on 3 May 1892. He was educated at Kaikorai and St Clair primary schools, and Southland Boys High School.

When Robert enlisted as a Private into the Canterbury Infantry Battalion on 15 August 1914, he was employed as a journalist for the Lyttelton Times, and gave his sister, Nurse Ritchie, care of Mrs W. Hume, Sarah Street, Timaru, as his next of kin. He stated his age as 26, but was in fact only 22, as he had put his birth year back to 1888. Robert was described as being single, 5 foot 6 inches tall, weighing 126 lbs, chest measuring 30 ½ - 34 inches, Anglican, of fair complexion with blue eyes, light brown hair and being dentally fit.

Boarding the SS Tahiti or Athenic at Wellington on 16 October 1914, he left for Suez, Egypt, with the Main Body, arriving on 3 December. Service in Egypt was followed by landing on the beaches at Gallipoli on the morning of 25 April 1915. On 6 July 1915, whilst on the Dardanelles, he was appointed Lance Corporal, and on 25 July was slightly wounded in the knee and left hand, but remained on duty. He was promoted to full Corporal on 18 August, but this was cancelled and updated to Lance Sergeant with effect the same day. Again on the same day he was admitted to a Hospital Ship at the Dardanelles with diarrhoea. On 25 August he was admitted to Cairo Hospital with a septic hand, and on 5 September, transferred to the infectious hospital at Choubrah, Cairo, suffering from Scarlet Fever. This followed him being invalided back to NZ aboard SS Maheno on 29 November 1915, as a Typhoid case and finally discharged from the army on 2 June 1916, as medically unfit.

On 25 August 1916, Robert again enlisted, this time joining the NZ Permanent Staff as a temporary Sergeant Instructor, and served as Regimental Sergeant Major at Greymouth and Christchurch, until being discharged on 1 May 1918. Once again he enlisted on 5 June 1918 but was discharged as unfit for military service on 24 July 1918. For his service, Robert was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.

In 1923 Robert married Sarah Lean Mawson, and in 1928, was working in Wellington as an agent. From 1935 to 1938 he was at Beachlands, Auckland, listed as being a storekeeper. Robert joined up again in World War Two on 3 January 1941 and served as a Battery Sergeant Major in the 9th Heavy Regiment NZ Artillery at North Head and Russell, Bay of Islands, until his discharge on 6 September 1944. For this service he was awarded the 1919-1945 War Medal and the 1939-1945 NZ War Service Medal.

Robert divorced in 1944 before being remarried in 1953 to Rose Ellen Willmott. In 1946 he was at Tamaki employed as a traveller and from 1949 until 1957, was at Pukekohe, employed as a secretary. He died in Tauranga on 25 July 1961, aged 69, and is buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery, Block I, Row 30, Plot 4.


Birth, Death and Marriage Historical Records at; University of New South Wales, Canberra NZEF Project "New Zeland Anzacs in ther Great War 1914-1918" at; at; Tauranga City Council cemetery records at; The Sun, 14 August 1915, p9 and the Star, 25 April 1916, p5 via Papers Past at

External Links

Related Documents

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Researched and Written by

Ted Hansen, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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