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Alfred William Robin

A Robin portrait, uniform, medals. St Clair Inglis, A. (c1902). Souvenir Album of the first New Zealand Contingent South African War. Auckland, N.Z.: Arthur Cleave & Co. No known copyright restrictions

A Robin portrait, uniform, medals. St Clair Inglis, A. (c1902). Souvenir Album of the first New Zeal …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Alfred William AWMM
  • Surname
    Robin AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    • South African 7005 AWMM
    • WWI N/N AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    12 August 1860 AWMM Riddles CreekVictoria AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
  • Relationship status
    Married AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    • South African 7005 AWMM
    • WWI N/N AWMM
  • Military service
    • B' Battery, New Zealand Field Artillery Volunteers, 1878 AWMM
    • Southland Hussars, 1882 (Trooper) AWMM
    • Dunedin Cavalry Volunteers, 1883 (Sgt. Major) AWMM
    • Commanded Diamond Jubilee Contingent 1897 AWMM
    • Otago Hussars ,1886 (Lieutenant in 1889, Commanding Officer and Captain from 1891-1898) AWMM
    • Otago Battalion, Mounted Rifle Volunteers, 1898 (Major) AWMM
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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Training and 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

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Father: James Robin Baker; coachbuilder, died 20 November 1920, aged 91; Mother: Anne McDougall (died 26 August 1927, aged 88)

    Education: Otago Boys High School, Artillery Cadet Corps

    Commissions: Lieutenant 3 July 1889, Captain 7 February 1891, Major 7 December 1898)

    Robin was Officer Commanding the First Contingent, which was dispatched to the South African War in October 1899. From May 1900 to April 1901 he commanded the 1st New Zealand Regiment and on 25 June 1900 he was promoted to lieutenant colonel in the New Zealand Militia. Senior British and other colonial officers admired Robin's competence and his ability to inspire loyalty in those under his command. On three occasions he was mentioned in dispatches for his leadership and personal exploits, and he was appointed a CB on 19 April 1901.

    He became a national celebrity, his portrait being included on commemorative medals, post office stationery and Christmas cards. He returned to New Zealand in May 1901 on the SS Tongariro (1 April 1901- 8 May 1901), was presented with illuminated addresses, swords and caskets, and on 14 January 1902 was given a Brevet Colonelcy.

    From 1901 to 1906 Robin was commander of the Otago Militia and Volunteer District. In December 1906 he was appointed to the newly established Council of Defence as chief of the General Staff, the first colonial to hold the country's highest military position. The Council of Defence, feeling that the volunteer system no longer met the country's defence needs, determinedly prodded a reluctant government to introduce some form of compulsion. Robin helped to implement the system of compulsory military training after its eventual introduction in 1909.(Source =

    Appointments: Brevet- Colonel, Defence Staff 14 January 1902, Officer Commanding Otago Militia and Volunteer District 1901-1906, Chief of General Staff + First Military Member, Council of Defence 19 December 1906 - 20 November 1910 (involved in introduction of CMT, 1909). Adjutant and Quartermaster-General December 1910. Colonel 1912. New Zealand Representative , Imperial General Staff, London, 20 June 1912 (attended military manoeuvres in England and France) December 1913. Quartermaster- General, 13 February 1914 (involved in preparation of expeditionary forces to Samoa and Egypt). Commandant, NZ Military Forces, 10 September 1914. Brigadier-General 18 June 1915. Major General 21 October 1916. Resigned as Quartermaster-General, 5 May 1919. Relinquished Command of the NZ Military Forces on 10 December 1919. Acting Administrator, Western Samoa, 1920. Posted to New Zealand Army Retired List, 1 January 1921.

    Awards: Chevalier, Legion d'Honneur (1922), Knight of Grace of the Order of St John (17 May 1929), Silver Wolf (April 1933). The Silver Wolf is the highest Scout Award and was awarded to Robin as Metropolitan Commissioner of Boy Scouts Association, Wellington). King George V Silver Jubilee Medal, 1935

    Auckland War Memorial Museum Scars on the Heart WWI "Sailing to War" display. Display item is a pamphlet titled 'Standing Orders for HMNZT Transports" dated 6 April,1915.

    Auckland Museum Scars on Heart Boer War "New Zealand Mounted Rifle "Display. Display item is a badge."Some like the Major Robin badge put out by Vanity Fair cigarettes, championed local heroes" AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    • 2 June 1935 AWMM
      Age 75 AWMM
      WellingtonNew Zealand AWMM
    • 2 June 1935 Noel Smith Research Project
      Age 75 AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    • Karori Cemetery, Wellington, New Zealand AWMM Area 2, Block B, Row 16, Plot 9 AWMM
    • Karori Cemetery AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
    Death notice: The Dominion, 3 June 1935.

    Death notice: The Evening Post, 3 June 1935 AWMM
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

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  • External links
  • References
    • Stowers, R. (2002). Rough Riders at War: history of New Zealand's involvement in the Anglo-Boer war 1899-1902 and information on all members of the ten New Zealand contingents. Author: Hamilton, N.Z. AWMM
    • Stowers, R. (1992). Kiwi versus Boer : the First New Zealand Mounted Rifles in the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902. Hamilton, N.Z.: R. Stowers. AWMM
    • Holmes, R. (Ed.). (2001). The Oxford companion to military history. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. AWMM
    • Ell, S. (2008). A New Zealand Christmas: three centuries of Kiwi Christmas celebrations from the Alexander Turnbull Library. Auckland, N.Z.: Godwit. AWMM
      p. -50-51 Portrait features on a Christmas card 1899 AWMM
    • Volunteers: the Journal of the New Zealand Military Historical Society AWMM
      Volume 8, No. 2, Sept. 1981 and Volume 8, No. 3, December 1981 AWMM
    • The Dictionary of New Zealand biography. 1901-1920 (Vol. 3). (1996). Auckland, N.Z.: Auckland University Press : Department of Internal Affairs. AWMM
      The Dictionary of New Zealand biography. Vol. 3, pp. 437-438 AWMM
    • Gillett, Lawrence Henry, photographer (1914-1918). Gillett Album. Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira PH-ALB-118. AWMM
    • St Clair Inglis, A. (c1902). Souvenir Album of the first New Zealand Contingent South African War. Auckland, N.Z.: Arthur Cleave & Co. AWMM
    • This record was partially completed by information provided by Noel George Smith (2020-2021). AWMM


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30 March 2017AllanRotoruaResearcher

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