(Service number 8/1178)

Aliases Bertie
First Rank Private Last Rank Corporal


Date 18 March 1895 Place of Birth Dunedin

Enlistment Information

Date 26 September 1914 Age 19 years 6 months
Address at Enlistment Timaru
Occupation Farmer
Previous Military Experience 2nd Infantry Regiment Machine Gun Section - serving
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mr Albert Lincoln APPLEGARTH (father), Timaru, later 29 Main North Road, N. E. Valley, Dunedin; also Mrs A. L. APPLEGARTH, Timaru
Religion Anglican
Medical Information Height 5 feet 8 inches. Weight 129 lbs. Chest measurement 33-37 inches. Complexion dark. Eyes grey. Hair dark brown. Sight, hearing & colour vision all normal. Limbs well formed. Full & perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. Heart & lungs normal. Teeth - upper plate, lower fair. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated. Good bodily & mental health. No slight defects. Two toes amputated for hammer toe (2nd toe of each foot). Also cicatrix of operation for varicocele on left side.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation 2nd Reinforcements
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Otago Infantry Battalion
Date 14 December 1914
Transport Verdala or Willochra or Knight of the Garter
Embarked From Wellington Destination
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Campaigns Balkan s (Gallipoli); Egypt
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 6 January 1920 Reason No longer fit for war service on account of illness contracted on Active Service.

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

2 May 1915 - wounded at Gallipoli; 5 May at Dardanelles admitted to Hospital Ship “Gloucester” – teeth; 10 May - admitted to 17th General Hospital at Alexandria for dental plate; 13 May - transferred to Mustafa; 27 May - cured & fit – at Lady Godley’s Convalescent Home, Alexandria. 6 August 1915 - admitted to No. 16 Stationary Hospital at Lemnos – syphilis. 21 August 1915 - at Mudros, embarked per the Hospital Ship Franconia for England. 9 September 1915 - admitted to Metropolitan War Hospital at Whitechurch, Cardiff. By early November 1915 admitted to Convalescent Home at Epsom. 27 October 1918 - admitted to Military Hospital at Tidworth, England – influenza.

Post-war Occupations

Soldier; bookseller


Date 22 August 1938 Age 44 years
Place of Death Christchurch
Notices Press, 23 August 1938; Evening Star, 23 August 1938; Otago Daily Times, 23 August 1938; Timaru Herald, 25 August 1938
Memorial or Cemetery Kaiapoi Cemetery
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Robert Applegarth, named for his paternal grandfather and known as Bertie, was born on 18 March 1894 at 190 George Street, Dunedin, the elder son of Albert Lincoln and Mary Gertrude (Gertrude, née Briasco) Applegarth. Albert and Gertrude married in 1893 in Dunedin. By 1894 they were living in Timaru, Mary going back to Dunedin for the birth of her first child. They spent a few years in Dunedin around the turn of the century before returning to Timaru. Robert (Bertie) started at George Street School, Dunedin, a few weeks before his fifth birthday (though his birthdate was recorded incorrectly). In August 1904 he and his sister Ivy left for Timaru Main School. Robert received a Standard IV first class Certificate of Merit in 1905 at Timaru Main School. Later in December he received a prize at St Mary’s Sunday School. Both Robert and his sister Ivy were awarded prizes at St Mary’s Sunday School in 1906. In 1907 Robert Applegarth of Timaru Main School gained his proficiency certificate. Robert enjoyed success at the Timaru Boys’ High School athletic sports held in March 1909, running second in the Mile Open Handicap.

He was with the first troops – but not quite first - to leave from New Zealand. Corporal Robert Applegarth (Territorials) was one of many keen and determined applicants at the Drill Shed on 11 August 1914. He was not one of those rejected, mostly for defects to the teeth and one or two on account of height; he passed the medical exanimation and was sworn in. The successful applicants were liable to be called up at any moment, and it was quite probable that they would leave Timaru in a matter of days for the central camp at Christchurch as part of the 2nd South Canterbury Regiment's quota. In a letter to the editor of the “Timaru Herald” in late August 1914, a correspondent wrote – “I volunteered for active service but unfortunately was rejected as unfit, but this fact does not prevent me from admiring the pluck and self-sacrifice of others. One particular case that I should like to draw attention to is that of Corporal R. Applegarth, of the 2nd South Canterbury Regiment, who I believe was provisionally accepted, but finally rejected on account of hammer toes. This young man has voluntarily undergone a serious operation for the purpose of fitting himself to join the colours. . . . . . It is to be hoped that the authorities will not overlook Corporal Applegarth when the call comes for more men, which I do not think will be long. . . . . .” So keen was Robert Applegarth to get away to the front that he underwent two operations at Timaru Hospital to enable him to pass the medical test.

Initially, he was medically examined on 15 September 1914 and attested on 16 September 1914 at Plumpton Park, Sockburn. Having recovered from the effect of an operation, he was passed as medically fit for active service and joined the Expeditionary Force. He went into camp at Addington on Tuesday, 15 September. It was 15 October 1914 when Robert was medically examined again, with a few little variations in detail. He stood at 5 feet 8 inches, weighed 129 pounds, and had a chest measurement of 33-37 inches. He had a dark complexion, grey eyes and dark brown hair. His sight, hearing, colour vision, heart and lungs were all normal, his limbs and chest well formed. His lower teeth were only fair, while he had an upper plate. He was free from diseases, having an operation scar for varicocele on the left side. He was vaccinated and in good bodily and mental health. He had had two toes amputated for hammer toe (2nd toe of each foot). Private Applegarth was posted to the Otago Regiment. Enlisting on 26 October 1914 at Trentham, Robert named his father as next-of-kin – Albert Lincoln Applegarth, Timaru. Mrs A. L. Applegarth, Timaru, was also named. His father had, himself, gone off to serve after Robert had embarked. He was a farmer for A. Elworthy at Holme Station near Timaru, single and Anglican, and belonged to the 2nd Infantry Regiment, Machine Gun Section.

Private R. Applegarth embarked with the Otago Infantry Battalion of the 2nd Reinforcements, leaving from Wellington on 14 December 1914. As of 29 January 1915, he was in Egypt. On 12 April 1915 he embarked at Alexandria for the Dardanelles. Wounded on 2 May 1915 at Gallipoli, he was admitted to the Hospital Ship “Gloucester” on 5 May at the Dardanelles, for his teeth. And on 10 May he was admitted to the 17th General Hospital at Alexandria for a dental plate, then transferred on 13 May to Mustafa where, now cured and fit, he was attached to Strength at the Advanced Base Depot at Alexandria (Lady Godley’s Convalescent Home) from Hospital on 27 May. Embarking for the Dardanelles again in late June, he rejoined his Unit at the Front on 1 July 1915.

He was admitted to No. 16 Stationary Hospital at Lemnos on 6 August 1915 – syphilis. On 21 August 1915 at Mudros, he embarked per the Hospital Ship Franconia for England. 8-1178 Robert Applegarth, Otago Battalion, was admitted to the Welsh Metropolitan War Hospital at Whitechurch, Cardiff, on 9 September. As no message had been received by his mother prior to the telegram on 24 September, it was not known whether he was taken to England for wounds or sickness. Sickness it appears to have been. He was admitted to the Convalescent Home at Epsom by early November. On 11 January 1916 he was attached to Strength at the New Zealand Base depot at Grey Towers.

On 22 May 1916 he was transferred from the Otago Infantry to the New Zealand Army Service Corps at the NZ Convalescent Hospital at Hornchurch. He was seconded from his Unit on 17 November 1916 and taken on Strength with the Anzac Provost Corps, with the rank of Lance Corporal. He was transferred “on Command” from G.M.P. Hornchurch to Torquay on 9 May 1917. As of 1 January 1918, he was at the Discharge Depot at Torquay. Lance Corporal Applegarth marched into the New Zealand Command Depot at Codford from the New Zealand Discharge Depot at Torquay on 6 June 1918. Then on 25 August 1918 he marched into Sling from the Command Depot. Robert may well have been the Corporal Applegarth who participated in the Army Athletics Championships in London in late August 1918, finishing second in the 100 yards event. He finished fourth in the Inter-Service Championships 100 yards in London in early September.

Admitted to the Military Hospital at Tidworth, England, from Sling on 27 October 1918 with influenza, he was discharged to Sling on 7 November. At Codford in January 1919 he was appointed Temporary Corporal then promoted to Corporal. In August he marched into Torquay from Sling. There were 100 men for Canterbury on the Remuera’s draft which arrived at Auckland on 26 October 1919, one of them Cpl. R. Applegarth, Timaru. They had embarked on 12 September 1919 at Plymouth. He joined his parents at their Dunedin address. He was discharged on 6 January 1920, no longer physically fit for war service on account of illness contracted on active service. He had served overseas for well over four years – in Egypt and at Gallipoli and for a lengthy period in England. He was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Robert Applegarth married Christina Strachan in 1920. Sadly, his beloved wife Christina died suddenly at Christchurch Hospital on 16 October 1921, when their infant son was just five months old. Robert lived with his parents until the late 1930s when he moved to Christchurch. In the mid-1930s in Dunedin, Robert Applegarth contributed to musical entertainments. Robert Applegarth – elder son of Mr and Mrs A. L. Applegarth, Dunedin (late of Timaru) - died on 22 August 1938 at Christchurch, aged 44 years. “Rest after weariness.” He was buried at Kaiapoi Public Cemetery with Christina, his service number inscribed on the stone. Their son Robert John Applegarth, served in World War Two, his grandmother – Mrs M. Applegarth, Dunedin – named as his next-of-kin. Captain Robert John Applegarth, assistant town clerk, died in 1987 at Dunedin Public Hospital and was cremated. A services plaque marks the grave at Andersons Bay Cemetery where his and his wife’s ashes are interred. A photograph of Private R. Applegarth, Otago Infantry, was printed in the Otago Witness of 2 June 1915, the same photo attached to his Cenotaph record. Robert’s father, Albert Lincoln Applegarth, also served with the New Zealand Forces in World War One, as did his cousin Percie Raymond Applegarth; while his uncle Robert George Applegarth, who had lived for many years in New Zealand, served in hospitals and with the Red Cross in France. Two English cousins also served - Frederic Arthur Applegarth Hudson with the Machine Gun Company of the UK Forces, and Jack Alexander Ingle, who was killed in action on 16 July 1918 with a submarine off the coast of Ireland.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [11 April 2017]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5520 0009009) [07 May 2017]; Otago Daily Times, 7 April 1894, 15 & 22 May 1915, 18 October 1921, 23 August 1938, Timaru Herald, 15 & 23 December 1905, 10 December 1906, 20 December 1907, 19 March 1909, 12, 13 & 31 August 1914, 17 September 1914, 7 May 1915, 7 July 1915, 25 September 1915, 9 November 1915, 1 & 8 September 1919, 11 October 1919, 18 October 1921, 25 August 1938, Mataura Ensign, 15 May 1915, Dominion, 15 May 1915, 27 September 1915, Press, 18 May 1915, 23 August 1938, Otago Witness, 26 May 1915, 2 June 1915, NZ Times, 7 June 1915, Clutha Leader, 8 June 2015, Evening Star, 6 July 1915, 23 August 1938, Sun, 9 October 1919, Star, 17 October 1921 (Papers Past) [09 August 2015; 03 December 2015; 20 March 2017; 20 April 2018; 12, 14, 15 & 16 September 2023]; School Admission records (Dunedin & South Canterbury branches NZSG) [19 February 2017]; Kaiapoi Public Cemetery headstone transcription [19 February 2017]; Kaiapoi Cemetery headstone image (Find A Grave) [September 2023]; Andersons Bay Cemetery cremation records & headstone image (Dunedin City Council) [September 2023]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [19 February 2017; 15 September 2023]

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