Also known as
1 December 1892 AWMM AWMM
Date of birth
Place of birth
Address before enlistment
WW1 Pre 11 August 1914 AWMM Rotorua, New Zealand AWMM
Post war occupation
Next of kin on embarkation
WW1 Mrs Jessie Tilsley (mother), Hobson Street, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
Medals and Awards
- Military Cross (MC) AWMM
Citation for M.C. : Lieutenant, 1st Batt., Auckland Regiment. For gallantry and devotion to duty, on the night of 26th September 1916, he obtained a full report on the wire in front of Gird (spelled Grid in original document) Trench. On the 27th September he went out to clear up the situation on the left flank and although wounded in the leg he crawled froward and obtained the necessary information. London Gazette 03/06/1918 AWMM
- Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) AWMM
Citation for D.C.M.: Sergeant, Auckland Battalion. For conspicuous gallantry on the night of of the 4th-5th June, 1915, on the occasion of a sortie from Quinn's Post (Dardanelles). An enemy trench had been carried by assault, but was enfiladed by the fire of a machine-gun. Sergeant Tilsley commenced to build up a sandbag traverse, and notwithstanding that the sandbags were being constantly blown away by the enemy's bombs, he, with great courage and regardless of danger, continued his efforts until he was severely wounded. London Gazette 06/09/1915 AWMM
- 1914-1915 Star AWMM
- British War Medal (1914-1920) AWMM
- Victory Medal with oak leaf AWMM
- War Medal 1939-1945 AWMM
- New Zealand War Service Medal AWMM
- Mentioned in Despatches (MiD) AWMM
2nd Lieutenant, Auckland Regiment.
For distinguished and gallant services and devotion to duty. Field Marshal D. Haig, Commander0in -chielf the British Armies in France, Despatch dated 9th April 1917. AWMM
- Silver Jubilee Medal 1935 AWMM
- Coronation Medal 1937 AWMM
- New Zealand Territorial Service Medal AWMM
- New Zealand Long and Efficient Service Medal AWMM
- Efficiency Decoration (ED) AWMM
- ANZAC Commemorative Medallion AWMM
POW liberation details
POW serial number
Hospital Diseases , Wounds, WWI AWMM
Wounded three times: 5 June 1915, 28 September 1916, 7 June 1917. AWMM
Robert Tilsley was an electrical engineer by trade. Robert moved to Rotorua before enlisting for the army in World War I along with his brother Walter (31766). Walter was later killed in France in 1918.
After the war he was first Commanding Officer (CO) at Papakura Military Camp. In 1926 he married Marjory Lydia Gladys Lou Helps.
Serving with the Auckland Regiment 1st Battalion 1920-1935 he attained the rank of Lieutenant 8 January 1926; Captain 16 May 1928; Major 23 June 1931 and Lieutenant Colonel 24 June 1935
He was a Lieutenant Colonel with the New Zealand Temporary Staff from 6 October 1941 for the Northern Military District: an Area Officer, No 4 Area - Hamilton, Area Commander and 11 staff
He trained the Railway Company for the desert unit during the World War II African campaign.
"A valiant military man: Lieutenant Colonel Robert Tilsley
Lieutenant Colonel Robert Tilsley displayed courage and strategic thinking during the Battle of Passchendaele, and was later presented with a Military Cross and a Distinguished Conduct Medal.
"For conspicuous gallantry on the night of of the 4th-5th June, 1915, on the occasion of a sortie from Quinn's Post (Dardanelles). An enemy trench had been carried by assault, but was enfiladed by the fire of a machine-gun.
Sergeant Tilsley commenced to build up a sandbag traverse, and notwithstanding that the sandbags were being constantly blown away by the enemy's bombs, he, with great courage and regardless of danger, continued his efforts until he was severely wounded". London Gazette, 06/09/1915.
Lieutenant Colonel Tilsley went on to survive the war, despite his wounds at Passchendaele. A photograph of him in uniform was contributed to Online Cenotaph." Coombe, Sophie. Remembering New Zealand’s ‘Darkest Day’ . Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira. First published: 10 October 2017. Updated: 12 October 2017. AWMM
18 April 1969 AWMM
Age 76 AWMM
Date of death
Age at death
Place of death
Cause of death
Mangere Public Cemetery, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
New Zealand Herald, 19 April 1969 AWMM
Roll of Honour
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Robert Tilsley is my great-grandfather on my mother's side. I stumbled upon this webpage by accident and was so moved reading through all of the information here. So thankful that this information has been so meticulously saved and entered in to the Auckland Museum database to honor true heroes like my great-grandfather. Wounded three times, he was at Gallipoli, I'm so proud to even be related to him. And I was so glad to see the photo of my grandmother (Frances Davey) holding a news clipping regarding her father - what a treasure. Thanks so much for maintaining this archive so that honorable men like my great-grandfather can be memorialized and so their descendants can learn more about the sacrifices they made.
Public - Andrew - Direct descendant - 19 May 2016
- New Zealand Army Expeditionary Force. (1914-1919). Nominal Rolls of New Zealand Expeditionary Force, Volume I. Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
Vol1: 727 AWMM
- The New Zealand Herald AWMM
New Zealand Herald, 19 April 1969 AWMM
- New Zealand Gazette AWMM
8 March 1956, No. 13, p. 309 AWMM
- McDonald, W. (2001). Honours and awards to the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Great War, 1914-1918. Napier, N.Z.: Helen McDonald. AWMM
- Beattie, P.J. & Pomeroy, M. (2013-2020). Onward : portraits of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (vols 1-5). Auckland, New Zealand: Fair Dinkum Publications AWMM
Vol. 2: Includes portrait AWMM
- Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1941). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 4 (Embarkations from 1st April, 1941 to 30 June, 1941). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
|19 May 2019||Steven||Brisbane||Researcher||
|11 August 2017||Jenifer||Wairarapa||Researcher||
|19 May 2016||Andrew||Washington, D.C., United States of America||Direct descendant||
The development of the Online Cenotaph is an ongoing process; updates, new images and records are added weekly. In some cases, records have yet to be confirmed by Museum staff, and there could be mistakes or omissions in the information provided.