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Full Name: Gordon Gerald Harper
Rank Last Held: Second Lieutenant
Forename(s): Gordon Gerald
Surname: Harper
Also Known As: Gerald Gordon Harper
War: World War I, 1914-1918
Serial No.: 7/516
Gender: Male
Date of Birth: 15 February 1885
Place of Birth: Christchurch, New Zealand
Religion: Roman Catholic
First Known Rank: Trooper
Occupation before Enlistment: Sheep farmer
Next of Kin: George Harper, Hereford Street, Christchurch, New Zealand
Marital Status: Single
Enlistment Address: 10 Gloucester Street, Christchurch, New Zealand
Military District: Canterbury
Body on Embarkation: Main Body
Embarkation Unit: Canterbury Mounted Rifles
Embarkation Date: 16 October 1914
Place of Embarkation: Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand
Vessel: Tahiti or Athenic
Destination: Suez, Egypt
Nominal Roll Number: Vol1
Page on Nominal Roll: 304
Military Awards:
  • Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM)
  • Mentioned in Despatches (MiD)
Award Circumstances:
  • Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM): For conspicuous gallantry between the 21st and the 30th August, 1915, at Kaiajik Aghala (Dardanelles), when in charge of machine guns. He invariably displayed great bravery and devotion to duty. L.G. 11 March 1916, p2746.
  • Mentioned in Despatches (MID): in connection with operations described in General I. Hamilton's despatch dated 11 December 1915. L.G. 28 January 1916, p1210.
Last Unit Served: Canterbury Mounted Rifles
Place of Death: Egypt
Date of Death: 12 August 1916
Age at Death: 31
Year of Death: 1916
Cause of Death: Died of wounds
Cemetery Name: Cairo War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt
Grave Reference: M. 133.
Biographical Notes:
  • He was the sixth son of Mr George Harper of Christchurch, Barrister-at-law.
  • On the outbreak of war he enlisted in the New Zealand Mounted Rifles' Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry and left New Zealand with the Main Body New Zealand Expeditionary Force in October, 1914.
  • He saw much service in Gallipoli with the Machine-gun section of the Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry, was wounded during the operations following Suvla Bay landing in August, 1915, and was sent to hospital in England.
  • For his services during these operations he was awarded the D.C.M. and at about the same time, received his commission as machine-gun officer. After recovering from his wound he returned to Egypt in December 1915 and saw service in the operations on the Suez Canal up to the time of his death.
  • He died at Cairo on 12 August 1916 from wounds received at the fighting at Romani, Egypt.
Description of Image: Portrait from Powles, C.G. (1922).
Additional Information: Listed incorrectly as George Gerald in the Nominal Rolls
Archives NZ source:
Further References:
  • Alexander Turnbull Library MS Papers 1444; Letters 1914-15; Diary May-August 1915.
  • The Museum Library has a copy of 'Letters from Gunner 7/516 and Gunner 7/517' by Barbara Harper (Ref. D640) This is an edited edition of the letters written by these two soldiers during World War 1.
Sources Used:
  • Boyack, N. (1989). Behind the lines : the lives of New Zealand soldiers in the First World War. Wellington, N.Z.: Allen & Unwin/Port Nicholson Press.
  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission. URL:
  • Nominal Rolls of New Zealand Expeditionary Force Volume I. Wellington: Govt. Printer, 1914-1919
  • Powles, C.G. (1922). The New Zealanders in Sinai and Palestine. Auckland, N.Z.: Whitcombe and Tombs. Digitised copy on NZETC site. URL:
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