WEBB, Leslie Robert Sydney
(Service number 73642)

First Rank Private Last Rank


Date 28 February 1897 Place of Birth Temuka

Enlistment Information

Date 30 March 1917 Age 20 years
Address at Enlistment Princes Street, Temuka
Occupation Letter carrier
Previous Military Experience 2nd South Canterbury Regiment - serving
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs A. WEBB (mother), Princes Street, Temuka
Religion Presbyterian
Medical Information Height 6 feet. Weight 149 lbs. Chest measurement 32½-36½ inches. Complexion dark. Eyes blue. Hair brown. Sight – both eyes 6/6. Hearing & colour vision both normal. Limbs well formed. Full & perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. Heart not normal. Lungs normal. No illnesses. Free from hernia, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Small varicocele. Vaccinated (left). Not in good bodily & mental health. Slight defects but not sufficient to cause rejection. No fits. Class C2. V.D. Varicocele.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation
Unit, Squadron, or Ship
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 1 May 1918 Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations

Linesman; hotel keeper; fisheries inspector


Date 19 December 1967 Age 70 years
Place of Death Coromandel
Memorial or Cemetery Buffalo Cemetery, Coromandel
Memorial Reference Plot 5PUBL-3-0386
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Leslie Robert Sydney Webb was the fifth son of Andrew Webb and Helen (Ellen) Jane née Waddell (Waddel). He was born on 28 February 1897 at Temuka, South Canterbury, and baptized with his younger brother, Seddon, on 1 August 1900 at the Temuka Presbyterian Parish. Irish-born Andrew emigrated in 1874 and married New Zealander Helen in 1879 at Temuka. In April 1887, Andrew Webb bought a section at Arowhenua. In December 1889, Mr Andrew Webb, of Arowhenua, sustained serious injury to one of his bands through the bursting of a kerosene lamp. He was progressing fairly well, it was reported, until a week later when it was feared that his hand would have to be amputated, as the injuries are more severe than were at first reported. Mrs A. Webb frequently, and successfully, exhibited at the Temuka Show – crochet, flowers, vegetables, berries, fruit. In March 1899, Mrs A. Webb forwarded to the Temuka Leader office “a large red tomato, which turns the scale at a little over 1 lb weight. The tomato is by no means a beauty, but appears like several strangely-shaped tomatoes joined together.” In mid-February 1905, Mrs A. Webb left at the Temuka Leader office “some excellent samples of vegetables grown by her at Temuka — red cabbage, parsnips, and carrots. Mrs Webb was very successful at the Temuka and Geraldine Horticultural Shows, and the exhibits left at our office are admirable ones.” Andrew Webb placed a notice in the Temuka Leader in November 1907 advising that he would not be responsible for his wife’s debts. Mr A. Webb, senior, was a member of the Temuka Volunteer Rifle Company and later a member of the Temuka Veterans’ Club. In November 1912, Andrew Webb transferred a section (1 acre) at Arowhenua to Helen Jane Webb. In mid-1916, an appeal was being made throughout New Zealand for funds in aid of the dependents of the men of the Royal Navy, who would lose their lives during the war. Andrew Webb, Temuka, subscribed 10 shillings. In 1918 Andrew Webb gave to the Prisoners of War appeal.

Along with his siblings, Leslie was educated at Temuka School. In 1904, he received an Attendance prize and 1st class certificate in the Preparatory 3 class. In 1905, it was a Second-class Attendance prize in Standard I. In 1906, he received a First-class Attendance certificate in Standard II, and in 1907, a Second-class Attendance certificate in Standard III. 1908 brought him a Third-class Attendance certificate in Standard IV. He gained Proficiency in the 1911 Standard VI examinations. In February 1914, in the first of the series of road races run for youths under the auspices of the Temuka Bicycle Club, L. Webb came home in fifth place over a course of about sixteen miles. L. Webb was selected to play in the Temuka Fourths football team in June 1914. In 1919, his selection was for Temuka seniors.

Called up in 1917, Leslie Robert Sydney Webb, a letter carrier and single, registered at the Temuka Defence Office in late February. He was serving with the 2nd South Canterbury Regiment and enlisted on 30 March 1917 at Timaru. He was medically examined at Temuka on 30 March. Leslie Webb was 6 feet tall, weighed 149 pounds and had a chest measurement of 32½-36½ inches. He had a dark complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. His sight, hearing, colour vision and lungs were all normal; his heart, however, was not. His limbs and chest were well formed. He had had no illnesses, no fits, was vaccinated and was free from hernia, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease, but had small varicocele. He was not in good bodily and mental health. While he had slight defects, they were not sufficient to cause rejection. He was assessed as Class C2 - V.D. and varicocele. Living at home and Presbyterian, he named his mother as next-of-kin – Mrs A. Webb, Princes Street, Temuka.

Initially posted to A Company on 15 January 1918, he was transferred to D Company on 13 March. After another transfer, he was granted leave on 4 May 1918. On 1 May 1918, he was assessed by the Medical Board at Featherston. The report was not good ��� goitre; V.D.H., heart trouble – all pre-enlistment issues. Though he was improving, discharge from the Expeditionary Force was recommended. It appears that an earlier assessment at Tauhirenikau on 14 February 1918 had noted that he was improving and classified him Fit A and fit for civil employment. A Medical Case Sheet dated 23 March 1918 listed varicocele; goitre; athlete – no cardiac symptoms; Class X at present. The Medical Case Sheet dated 26 April 1918 recorded goitre – “states that it was noticeable 12 months before coming into camp”; pulse – slightly irregular. On 1 May 1918 at Featherston, Private Leslie Robert Sydney Webb, 73642, Infantry Details, was granted a Certificate of Leave in lieu of Discharge.

In March 1941, Leslie Robert Sydney Webb, Aramoho Hotel, Wanganui, was called up for service as Territorial for the Home Defence of the Dominion. An electric linesman, single and Presbyterian, he enlisted at Wanganui. Signalman L. R. S. Webb named his sister as next-of-kin – Mrs McNab, 30 Kings Avenue, Gonville, Wanganui. (Leslie’s sister, Hannah May McCormack Webb was married secondly in 1923 to William Wilson McNab.) He had no experience with motor vehicles, but he could ride a horse. A visual examination in April 1944, resulted in the provision of reading glasses for Leslie Webb. They would give him spontaneous relief from discomfort of blurred vision when reading under artificial light. He did extensive reading. In December 1944, the proprietor of the Masonic Hotel, Wanganui, requested the release from service of 301755, Driver L. R. S. Webb. Driver Webb was employed as a boilerman and on sanitary duties at the Winter Show, however, and could be released only on obtaining a suitable replacement. The Army was experiencing difficulty in staffing Home Service establishments in the Central Military District. Although he was 47 years of age and single, his civilian occupation was that of electric linesman, while the release was for hotel duties. His address when he applied for War Service Gratuity on 12 January 1946, was Metropolitan Hotel, Molesworth Street, Wellington. Driver L. R. S. Webb, 301755, had been fully mobilized with the NZTS from 7 April 1941 to 5 April 1945. It was 1 September 1948 when he was discharged, after serving at various New Zealand camps from 1941.

In December 1946, the Royal Mail Hotel, Coromandel, was transferred to L. R. S. Webb. His publican’s licence was renewed in June 1948 and again in June 1949. Leslie Robert Sydney Webb married Clara (Clare) Eileen McQuoid in 1953. Leslie and Clara lived at Coromandel, where he died on 19 December 1967, aged 70 years. He was buried in Buffalo Cemetery, Coromandel. He was survived by his wife Clare and son Warren. Clara, who was much younger than Leslie, married John Smith about 1980. Clara Eileen Smith died on 11 December 1999, aged 76 years, and was buried at Buffalo Cemetery with Leslie.

In 1926, all was not well in the Webb household. In November 1919, an order had been made for Mr Andrew Webb to pay 15 shillings per month towards his wife’s maintenance. In May 1926, he was in arrears and applied for a variation of the maintenance order. He was 73 years old, was earning only £1 per week, and had been in failing health during the past few winters. He lived at home occasionally but was not going to do so any longer. He had paid sums of money to his wife but could not continue. His youngest son (Seddon), aged 26, lived at home with his mother and was able to support her. He had three sons in the Railway Department (Andrew, Alexander and Gordon?). Although it was alleged that a separation order was in existence, Mr and Mrs Webb had been living together. The magistrate said that the separation order had been broken and he thought that the sons should be communicated with. Come October 1926, and Helen Jane Webb made an application for maintenance order from her four sons – Seddon, L. R. S., H. G. J., and Alexander Webb. Seddon who appeared in court, was a widower with one child, and said that he was not prepared to contribute towards his mother’s maintenance. Mrs Webb said that she was 67 years of age and had no money whatsoever. She owned a house and section; she received a pension which had been cancelled because they were not legally separated and 5 shilling per week from her husband. Seddon had been living with her until very recently. She kept his child in clothes and shoes, but he made no regular payments. Seddon asked his mother what she did with the money in the Post Office – “You drew it out and planted it, as you thought you would be shrewd.” In the end, each son was ordered to pay 5 shillings per week towards their mother’s maintenance, starting from 19 October.

Mrs Helen Jane Webb, one of South Canterbury’s oldest identities and the oldest pupil at the Milford School, died at her home (Princes Street, Temuka) in October 1938. She was survived by her husband, five sons (one having been killed in the Great War) and four daughters. Mr Andrew Webb, one of the oldest settlers in the Temuka district, died at the Timaru Hospital in January 1939. He, too, was survived by five sons (William having died in the Great War) and four daughters. All six sons of Andrew and Helen Jane Webb signed up for service in World War One. The eldest, Andrew Webb, had served in the South Africa War and was ruled out of further service on medical grounds; the second son, William Winnett Webb, was killed in action in 1915 at Gallipoli – “the eldest of the three brothers with the Main Body, sons of Mrs Webb, senr., Temuka”; the third son, Alexander Elder Edward Webb (Ted), served with the Otago Mounted Rifles; the fourth son, Henry Gordon John Webb (Gordon), was invalided home in 1916; the fifth son, Leslie Robert Sydney Webb, enlisted but saw no overseas service; and the youngest son, Seddon David Waddell Webb, served with the Otago Infantry Regiment and returned home invalided. Three cousins of the Webb brothers also served with the New Zealand Forces in World War One – Alexander Marshall whose death in 1961 was attributable to his service with the Forces, David Waddel and Edwin Waddel.


NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives New Zealand Collections record number 0120177) [09 April 2023]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [2013]; School Admission records (South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [09 April 2023]; Buffalo Cemetery, Coromandel, headstone transcription [09 April 2023]; Buffalo Cemetery burial record (Thames-Coromandel District Council) [09 April 2023]; Temuka Leader, 12 April 1887, 12 & 17 December 1889, 14 March 1899, 24 December 1904, 16 February 1904, 16 December 1905, 15 December 1906, 21 December 1907, 22 December 1908, 25 January 1912, 16 November 1912, 21 February 1914, 30 June 1914, 1 March 1917, 2 June 1917, 22 June 1918, 17 June 1919, 14 Oct 1926, Timaru Herald, 24 June 1916, 12 May 1926, 23 June 1926, 14 October 1926, 4 October 1938; 16 Jan 1939 [x 2], 17 Jan 1939, 19 Jan 1939, Press, 5 & 6 October 1938, Wanganui Chronicle, 27 March 1941, Hauraki Plains Gazette, 11 December 1946, 28 June 1948, 15 June 1949 (Papers Past) [09 April 202314, 16, 19 & 20 June 2023]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [16 June 2023; 06 July 2023]; Find a Grave (Clara Eileen Smith); Temuka Presbyterian Parish baptism records [11 July 2023]

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