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Robert Tilsley

Portrait of Lieutenant Robert Tilsley. Image sourced from Imperial War Museums' 'Bond of Sacrifice' collection. ©IWM HU 96745

Portrait of Lieutenant Robert Tilsley. Image sourced from Imperial War Museums' 'Bond of Sacrifice' …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Robert AWMM
  • Surname
    Tilsley AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    Bob AWMM
  • Service number
    • 12/472 AWMM
    • 65661 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    1 December 1892 AWMM AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • 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
  • Relationship status


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
    • 1915-1916 Gallipoli AWMM
    • 1st & 2nd Battles of Somme AWMM
    • 1917 Battle of Messines Ridge AWMM
    • 1917 Passchendaele AWMM
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    • 12/472 AWMM
    • 65661 AWMM
  • Military service
    Auckland Regiment 1st Battalion 1920-1935 AWMM
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment


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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    Hospital Diseases , Wounds, WWI AWMM
    Wounded three times: 5 June 1915, 28 September 1916, 7 June 1917. AWMM

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • 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
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About death

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  • Death
    18 April 1969 AWMM
    Age 76 AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Mangere Public Cemetery, Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
    New Zealand Herald, 19 April 1969 AWMM
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

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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



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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
20 November 2021JeniferWairarapaResearcher
19 May 2019StevenBrisbaneResearcher
19 May 2016AndrewWashington, D.C., United States of AmericaDirect 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.

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