Topic: Robert McConnell (1888-1917)

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Robert McConnell had farmed at Ohauiti and Katikati before joining up for World War I. He was killed in action in Belgium on 19 June 1917, aged 28. Story by Debbie McCauley.

Robert McConnell was born in Christchurch on 1 November 1888. He was the eldest son of Adam and Elizabeth McConnell (nee Fleming) who married in New Zealand in 1886 (reg. 1886/142) and moved to Bunnythorpe, Tauranga and then Katikati. Adam purchased 300 acres by Thompson’s Track in Katikati in 1919.

Robert spent three years as a Corporal with the 6th (Manawatu) Mounted Rifles Regiment which was a Territorial Force established on 17 March 1911. He was a farmer in Ohauiti and then Katikati.

During World War I, Robert's younger brother Malcolm (1894-1963) was attached to the New Zealand Stationary Hospital (Service No: 3/603). He was on board the 'Marquette' when it was torpedoed by a German submarine on 23 October 1915. Malcolm was one of the survivors:

Among those rescued from the British transport Marquette, torpedoed in the Aegean Sea, on October 23, was Sergt. M. McConnell, of No. 1 New Zealand Stationary Hospital. Sergt. McConnell enlisted from Tauranga, but was for some years a resident of Milson's line, Palmerston North. Source: Manawatu Standard, 4 November 1915, Page 4.

Robert enlisted for service during World War I on 26 July 1916.

On 4 August 1916, whilst still at Trentham Military Camp, Robert was hospitalised with influenza, before being discharged the following day.

He was posted to the Wellington Infantry Regiment NZEF, 9th Company, 2nd Battalion (Service No. 32042) seeing action in France and Belgium.

Private Robert McConnell was killed in action in Belgium on 19 June 1917, aged 28. He was buried at Strand Military Cemetery, Comines-Warneton, Hainaut, Belgium (Grave Ref: VI. B. 5.)


Robert McConnell (1888-1917)

Robert's parents, Adam and Elizabeth McConnell (nee Fleming), died in Katikati. Both are buried in Katikati Cemetery.



Archives New Zealand: Military Personnel File.

Auckland War Memorial Museum: Cenotaph Record.

Auckland War Memorial Museum: Cenotaph Record. - Malcolm McConnell.

Bay of Plenty Times (2017 July 6, p. 2).

Commonwealth War Grave Commission


A version of this article was archived in August 2016 at Perma CC

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Robert McConnell (1888-1917)

Note:Service Number: 32042
First Names:Robert
Last Name:McConnell
Date of Birth:1 November 1888
Place of Birth:Christchurch
Country of birth:New Zealand
Date of death:19 June 1917
Place of death:Belgium
Place of burial:Strand Military Cemetery, Belgium
Fathers name:Adam McConnell
Fathers date of birth:1852
Fathers date of death:25 September 1932
Fathers place of death:Katikati, New Zealand
Mothers name:Elizabeth Fleming
Mothers date of birth:1858
Mothers date of death:5 December 1937
Mothers place of death:Katikati, New Zealand
Military Service:World War I (1914-1918)