BYERS, Robert George
(Service number 38933)

First Rank Private Last Rank Private


Date 20 April 1890 Place of Birth Oamaru

Enlistment Information

Date 5 October 1916 Age 26 years
Address at Enlistment C.F.C.A., Waimate
Occupation Motor Mechanic (CFCA)
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin John BYERS (father), Morven
Religion Church of England
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 21st Reinforcements, Canterbury Infantry Battalion, C Company
Date 21 January 1917
Transport Ulimaroa
Embarked From Destination Plymouth, Devon, England
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With Canterbury Infantry

Military Awards

Service Medals 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 18 January 1919 Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations



Date 11 March 1966 Age 75 years
Place of Death Wellington
Memorial or Cemetery Andersons Bay Cemetery, Dunedin
Memorial Reference Blok 272, Plot 41
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Robert George Byers was born on 20 April 1890 at Oamaru, the third son of John and Margaret (née Forster/Forrester) Byers. John and Margaret married in Carlisle, Cumberland, England, and emigrated to New Zealand in 1875, with their daughter, Margaret Alice Byers. In New Zealand, seven more children were born. Margaret died at the Tuapeka Hospital, Lawrence in 1905, and John married Barbara Ann Clark in 1909 in North Otago. The youngest son, Arthur Byers, drowned in the Wataki river on 3 June 1910, when the punt which was carrying Arthur and seven others, capsized near Redcliff. He was 16 years old, lived at Morven and was employed as a clerk in the Bank of New Zealand at Waimate. It was not until August that Arthur’s body was recovered. He was buried at Waimate. John byers died in 1926 at Oamaru and was buried there.

Robert George Byers was a labourer at Otaio in 1911 and became a motor driver at Waimate in 1914. When he enlisted on 5 October 1916 at Waimate, he was a motor mechanic for the Canterbury Farmers’ Co-operative Association. He named his father as next-of-kin – John Byers, Morven. Waimate’s quota for the 22nd Reinforcement was farewelled on 18 October 1916. The Brass and Pipe Bands “played the men to the station, where a large crowd was gathered.” The Deputy-Mayor wished them God-speed and a safe return. The Rev. Mr Morrison said that the war was not a picnic; it was a serious matter, before calling for three cheers for the boys, and another three for their mothers. The departing men, R. G. Byers one of them, cheered as the train steamed out. Private R. G. Byers embarked with the Canterbury Infantry Battalion of the 21st Reinforcements, departing for Plymouth, England by the “Ulimaroa” on 21 January 1916. He was discharged on 18 January 1919 and was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. The name of R. G. Byers appeared regularly on the Waimate Daily Advertiser Roll of Honour under the sub-title of Answered the Call.

In April 1919 at St Mary’s, Timaru, Robert married Lillian Grace Turner. He died on 11 March 1966 at Wellington, aged 75 years, and was buried with Lillian, who had died in March 1965, at Andersons Bay Cemetery, Dunedin. Their older son, Pilot Officer Robert William Byers, lost his life in World War Two, in the Netherlands, just 21 years old.


Auckland War Memorial Museumm Cenotaph Database [04 July 2022]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [05 July 2022]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [10 July 2022]; Andersons Bay Cemetery buria record & headstone image (Dunedin City Council) [10 July 2022]; Waimate Daily Advertiser, 18 October 1916, 30 May 1918 (Papers Past) [18 September 2019; 09 & 19 July 2022]

External Links

Related Documents

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, Teresa Scott, South Canterbury Genealogy Society

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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