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Record Detail
Full Name: Robert Paul Harper
Rank Last Held:
  • Unknown rank
  • Lieutenant Colonel
Forename(s): Robert Paul
Surname: Harper
Also Known As: Robin
  • World War I, 1914-1918
  • World War II, 1939-1945
Serial No.:
  • 7/517
  • 16282
Gender: Male
Date of Birth: 15 May 1887
Place of Birth: Papanui, Christchurch, New Zealand
First Known Rank:
  • Trooper
  • Captain
Occupation before Enlistment:
  • Farmer
  • Farmer
Next of Kin:
  • George Harper (father), Hereford Street, Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Mrs B.O. Harper (wife), 175 Peterborough Street, Christchurch, New Zealand
Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Married
Enlistment Address:
  • Gloucester Street, Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Tui Hills, Geraldine, New Zealand
Enlistment Date:
  • 25 August 1914
  • Unknown
Age on Enlistment: 27
Military District:
  • Canterbury
  • Burnham
Body on Embarkation:
  • Main Body
  • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force (2NZEF)
Embarkation Unit:
  • Canterbury Mounted Rifles
  • 2 Divisional Cavalry
Embarkation Date: 16 October 1914
Place of Embarkation: Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand
Vessel: Tahiti or Athenic
Destination: Suez, Egypt
Nominal Roll Number:
  • Vol1
  • WW2 3
Page on Nominal Roll:
  • 305
  • WW2 198
Other Units: NZ Machine Gun Corps
Military Awards:
  • Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
  • Military Cross (MC)
  • Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM)
  • 1914-1915 Star
  • British War Medal (1914-1920)
  • Victory Medal
  • Africa Star
  • War Medal 1939-1945
  • New Zealand War Service Medal
  • Mentioned in Despatches (MiD) Three Times
  • Efficiency Decoration (ED)
Award Circumstances: DSO: London Gazette, 11 April 1918. Citation: "For distinguished services in the field in connection with military operations culminating in the capture of Jerusalem."
Wounds and Diseases:
  • Wounded 4 September 1915
  • Wounded 25 November 1917
Discharge Date:
  • 27 August 1918
  • 26 August 1943
Last Unit Served:
  • New Zealand Machine Gun Corps
  • New Zealand Divisional Cavalry
Reason for Discharge:
  • Discharged
  • Posted to Reserve
Place of Death: Timaru, Canterbury, New Zealand
Date of Death: 20 November 1972
Age at Death: 85
Year of Death: 1972
Biographical Notes:
  • Discharged from NZEF, 27 August 1918.
  • Joined 2 NZEF, 8 April 1940. Embarked 8 November 1940.
  • Returned to NZ, 31 March 1941.
  • Posted to Reserves, 26 August 1943.
  • Letters from Gunner 7/516 and Gunner 7/517 is a collection of letters from Robin and his brother Gordon during World War 1. It gives details of their army careers, awards, etc.
Description of Image: Portrait from Powles, C.G. (1922).
NZETC: New Zealand Electronic Text Collection topic page
Further References: Harper, B. (Ed.) (1978). Letters from Gunner 7/516 and Gunner 7/517. Wellington, N.Z.: Anchor Communications.
Sources Used:
  • 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:
  • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force Nominal Roll No. 3 (Embarkations from 1st July, 1940 to 31st March, 1941)
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