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Sapper Robert Arthur HISLOP - Territorial.  "The first casualty in the "war"' as far as New Zealand soldiers are concerned" | by SandyEm
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Sapper Robert Arthur HISLOP - Territorial. "The first casualty in the "war"' as far as New Zealand soldiers are concerned"

Robert is to be recognised as the first NZ casualty of WW1 with my input. A small formal service to be held at his grave on the 100th anniversary of his death Tuesday, 19 August 2014]


My blogpost on the events that lead to Robert being acknowledged. Proud to have been a part of it




Robert Arthur HISLOP

[?] Company North

Island Railway

Battalion NZ Pioneers

Who Lost His Life

During the Great War

Accidentally Killed

[total next line illegible]

Aged 21 years


Emblem of the Railway Battalions NZ Engineers engraved on lower stone.

[see photo in comments section]


Press, Volume L, Issue 15052, 21 August 1914, Page 1

On August 19th, 1914 at Auckland Hospital, Robert, eldest and beloved son of Robert Hunter and Jane Hislop, of 208 Hazeldean road, Sydenham; aged 21 years. The result of an accident. Deeply regretted.[10]




Photo of his funeral in the comments section


The death of Private Robert Hislop, a member of the New Zealand Railway Engineers Corps, is the first serious casualty that has befallen the mobilisation of the Territorials. … only recently been transferred to the northern city from Darfield. ...Prior to his leaving Christchurch, the unfortunate lad was in the goods department, and was very popular with all employees. Was a particularly smart official and at all times courteous in public and private life. Much sympathy will be extended to his parents, who reside in Hazeldean road.[3]


Auckland Star, Volume XLV, Issue 198, 20 August 1914, Page 7



The first casualty in the "war"' as far as New Zealand soldiers are concerned, occurred last night, when Sapper Robert Hislop. of the 13th Regiment, died in the Auckland Hospital as a result of injuries received through falling off the Parnell Bridge on Thursday night, on which occasion he sustained a broken thigh and other injuries.


Deceased will be given a military funeral to-morrow, when the body will be conveyed from the Morgue, at 12.30, to the Auckland Station, from where it will be taken to Waikumete Cemetery. The Railway Engineers, as well as members of the Expeditionary Force, will be represented.


Deceased was 21 years of age, and a native of Christchurch, and has only been in Auckland six weeks. On the night of the accident he was stationed on Parnell Bridge, and by some means fell to the road below. An inquest was held on the body this afternoon, and was proceeding as the "Star" went to press. [1]


Auckland Star, Volume XLV, Issue 199, 21 August 1914, Page 1

A verdict of death from shock following severe injuries was returned at the inquest on Sapper Robert Hislop, who fell from the Parnell railway bridge on August 13th [2]


[Note: Waikumete cemetery database has his death as 21 August but newspapers report his death on Thursday 20th. Appears that he fell from the bridge on the 13th and didn’t die until the 19th [see items above]. Memoriam notice states 19th – see below as does the death notice at top.


Press, Volume L, Issue 15056, 26 August 1914, Page 8

At Auckland on Friday a military funeral was accorded to the late Robert Hislop, a sapper of the New Zealand Engineers, who met his death by falling off the Parnell railway bridge whilst on duty guarding it. Tho cortège assembled at the hospital, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Hartley, and consisted of two companies of the North Island Railway Battalion New Zealand Engineers, about 150 members of the Expeditionary Force from the Epsom camp, under Captain Mackesy, and the Garrison Artillery Band. The body was conveyed from the railway station by train to Waikumete, where, after the burial service, conducted by Major-Chaplain Luxford, fitting military honours were accorded the remains of the deceased soldier. Hislop belonged to Christchurch, and until he left for Auckland recently on military duty, was on the staff of the Railway Department here.[5]


New Zealand Herald reports that Auckland Weekly News has a photo of the funeral

New Zealand Herald, Volume LI, Issue 15697, 26 August 1914, Page 6 [probably the one I have managed to source - see comments section].


Coroners report but has restrictions:


I emailed a contact within the Ministry of Culture & Heritage 6 May 14 to clarify whether or not Robert's was considered a war grave - it clearly needs tending to. Unfortunately the news wasn't great, he states: "Margaret [Senior Adviser (War Graves),

Heritage Services Branch] discussed this with one of our military historians and it is their opinion that Robert Hislop cannot be added to the CWGC records and be counted as a ‘true” war grave, according to the criteria “a serving member of the forces”, because there is no service record for him i.e. he wasn’t on the army’s books. He hadn’t had a medical, and signed on the dotted line to join up, so to speak. He was actually on his WAY to enlist when he died, but hadn’t got there.


A case could be made for him being NZ’s first war death, however (currently this is is Ludolph Wynn West on 25 August, though he was actually enlisted).


Thanks for bringing this interesting case to our attention."


A memorial notice

Auckland Star, Volume XLVII, Issue 199, 21 August 1916, Page 12

In affectionate remembrance of our dear nephew, Robert Hislop who died in Auckland Hospital, August 19, 1914 [sic – another different date!]

Thoughts of Bob are always dear.

Inserted by his aunt and uncle, M and S C Crook.


Possible birth registration for Robert - 1893/12221 born to Jane and Robert HISLOP [4]



Star , Issue 4570, 15 February 1893, Page 2


At Christchurch, Robert Hislop, son of the late John Hislop, of Belfast, to Jane, fourth daughter of William Ayers, Kaiapoi[7]


1900 &1906-1906 Canterbury, Kaiapoi electoral rolls: Robert, fellmonger and Jane, housekeeper, Raven Street, Kaiapoi [8]

1911, Canterbury, Christchurch South electoral roll: Robert, wool sorter and Jane, married, 250 Hazeldean Road, Sydenham

1914 and 1919 Canterbury, Christchurch South electoral rolls: Robert, wool sorter and Jane, married, 208 Hazeldean Road, Sydenham [8]

1928 and 1935, East Cape, Gisborne electoral roll: Robert, fellmonger and Jane, married, 25 Harris Street, Kaiti


Robert HISLOP [senior], Wool classer, died Gisborne 12 February 1943 and died intestate [9]

Death registration 1943/17092 aged 71

28 July 2014: An article appeared online NZ Herald about Roberts grave:


2 August 2014:

Another article in the NZ Herald after I introduced reporter Andrew Stone to Sapper Hislop's Great Niece.


4 August 2014:

Another article. Proud to have been part of Robert Hislop being recognised - another success.


I'm proud to have helped changed NZ history.








NZ Dept Internal Affairs historic BDM indexes




[8] – NZ Electoral rolls

[9] – NZ Notices of deceased estates 1880-1950





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Taken on April 25, 2014