HOLMES, Robert
(Service number 3/3536)

First Rank Private Last Rank


Date 25 June 1874 Place of Birth England

Enlistment Information

Date Age
Address at Enlistment 147 North Street, Timaru
Occupation Tailor
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin robert HOLMES (father), 147 North Street, Timaru
Religion Brethren
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 30th Reinforcements, New Zealand Medical Corps
Date 13 October 1917
Transport Corinthic or Arawa
Embarked From Destination
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Service Medals
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 Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations



Date Age
Place of Death
Memorial or Cemetery
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Robert Holmes was the older son of Robert and Lucy (née Cookson) Holmes. Robert, a joiner from Manchester, and Lucy married in 1870 at Calverley, Yorkshire. Born on 25 June 1874, young Robert was baptised on 24 July 1874 at Berkswell, Warwickshire. A second son was born to Robert and Lucy in 1881 at Timaru. Robert and William were educated at Timaru Main School, where Robert was rewarded for General Competency in 1882 and 1884, and for “Neat Exercise Book” in 1887. Robert Holmes objected to serving with the military forces as he was a member of the Brethren. He was, however, prepared to serve with the Ambulance anywhere. Robert was a tailor for Ballantyne & co, Timaru, when he enlisted. He married Mary Cullen Fisher in a double wedding with her sister in June 1921 at Masterton. In November 1927, Robert and Mary travelled from Liverpool to New York, intending to return to New Zealand, and in 1928 they were residing at 132 North Street, Timaru, with his widowed father. Robert junior inherited the North Street property on his father’s death in 1932, and other personal property with his brother William. Where did Robert and Mary go after 1928? His parents, brother and wife are all buried at Timaru.

On 6 September 1922 an impressive ceremony took place on the premises of Messrs J. Ballantyne and Co., Ltd., Timaru, which goes to prove that the patriotic services during the the war of the firm’s employees is far from forgotten by principals or fellow workers. A most artistic memorial was unveiled by the Mayor, in the presence of relatives of the fallen and the men who saw service. The local manager explained that they had wished to pay tribute to the seven brave young men who left the staff to serve King and country, two of whom had made the supreme sacrifice. Though the tablet would not be exposed to the public gaze it would remain for many generations as silent witness to all who worked in the building of what they owed to the men who fought and died in defence of those principles of liberty and justice which were the basis of our civilisation. The central plate, bearing the names of the men who served, was of beaten copper, while surrounding the plate was a massive oak frame, beautifully carved, and surmounted by a carved laurel branch. It carried the following inscription: “To the memory of the men of this house who served in the Great War 1914-1918”, followed by seven names, including two who made the supreme sacrifice, and among the others Robert Holmes. The ceremony, which was a most impressive one, terminated with the sounding of the “Last Post” by Leslie Thompson.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [09 February 2020); English Marriage Certificate & Baptism Register entry ( [10 February 2020]; School Admission records [10 February 2020]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [10 February 2020]; South Canterbury Times, 21 December 1882, 18 December 1884, 23 December 1887, Timaru Herald, 17 May 1917, 7 September 1922, Press, 4 July 1921 (Papers Past) [09 & 11 February 2020]

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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