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6/2350 Private Robert George Auty - New Zealand Machinegun Corps
 
His file has a hand written note 'First man K in France.'
 
Robert Richard Auty immigrated to New Zealand in 1870/1880’s and on the 22 August 1888 married May Victoria Tuckwell,[i]  the daughter of a Wellington storekeeper.
 
In 1889 Robert and May were living in Christchurch where Robert rowed for the Lyttleton Rowing Club[ii] and also was a member of the Lyttleton Garrison Band.[iii]
 
Robert and May’s eldest son Robert George Auty was born on 22 August 1889[iv] in Lyttleton as were Louis Percival (1891) and Ina May Auty (1894). Robert and May moved from Lyttleton with their third son born in Auckland in 1897.
 
Their youngest daughter Violet was born, possibly at Porirua, in January 1898 as both Robert and his younger brother Lewis were both enrolled in the 1898 class at Porirua School.
 
 
By 1899 Richard and May had purchased
a well established general store in
Porirua with Richard being listed as the Evening Post agent for Porirua.[v]
 
Robert was also appointed as the Post Master for Porirua a role he maintained up to his death in 1903.
 
 
 
 
R R Auty Store Porirua c1900
 
 
May took over the running of the store and as the Post Master and continued
this until a new Post Office was built in1912 in Porirua.
 
 
Robert played rugby for the Porirua Rugby team picture in the photo about 1910. Two others in the photo, T Katene and W Schoch also served in World War One.
 
 
 
 
 
Porirua Rugby Team c 1910
 
R Auty No 8
 
T Katene No 9
 
W Schoch No 17
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
In April 1915 when Robert enlisted in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) he was working as a blacksmith on the farm of Mr Patterson, Kaikoura.
 
 
Robert entered camp as 6/2530 Private Auty, C Company, 6th
Reinforcements, Canterbury Infantry Battalion, and sailed for overseas
service on the 14th August 1915.
 
After arriving in Egypt the 6th Reinforcements sailed to join their
Battalion in Murdos, Lemnos on the 30th September 1915. The
Canterbury Infantry Battalion had been withdrawn from Gallipoli to
Lemnos for recreation, reinforcement and training remaining on the
island until November 1915 when it returned to ANZAC Cove[vi].
 
Private Auty was evacuated from Gallipoli in December 1915 arriving
back in Egypt on 27th December 1915.
 
The New Zealand Expeditionary Force then began training for its next
operations on the Western Front. On the 6th April 1916, 6/2530 Private
Auty left Egypt, with the Canterbury Infantry, for France.
 
In France on 1st May 1916 Private Auty was transferred from the
1st Battalion, Canterbury Infantry Regiment to the New Zealand
Machinegun Corps. The New Zealand Machinegun Corps, as part of the
New Zealand Division was moving forward into the Armentieres sector
taking over four miles of trenches that stretched from the River Lys in
the north toa place known as Pear Tree farm in the south, a very short
distance from the Lille-Armitieres railway. The New Zealand Machinegun
Corp’s 1st company, of which Private Auty was a member, moved into
the L’Eprinette subsector on the 13th May 1916 and the official NZMG
Corp history records:[vii]
 
‘The 1st company suffered casualties on the first day in the line –
Private R J Autey was killed and Sergeant W J Bartlett wounded by rifle fire.’
 
Private Auty’s military records have a simple hand written note on the first page[viii]
 
          ‘1st man K in France’
 

 
 
 
 
 
Private Auty is buried in grave I.A.28 Cites Bonjean Military Cemetery, Armentiers, France.
 
 
An item printed in the Marlborough Express after Robert’s death in 1916 notes[ix]:
 
 
 
‘Mr W Paterson of Kaikoura has received word that Private R Auty who
left Kaikoura as a member of the Sixth Reinforcements was killed in
action on May 13th. The deceased was employed as a blacksmith by Mr Paterson and during his residence in Kaikoura was member of the Takahanga Hockey Club and the local brass band. He was also a keen supported of the “sport of kings’ having been seen in the saddle at local race meetings. This makes the third employee of Mr Paterson who has given his life in the great Empire struggle.’
 
 
 
 
 
Notes
Robert’s brother Lewis also served as a Rifleman with the New Zealand Rifle Brigade and possibly visited his brother's grave prior to
being repatriated.
Robert's sister Ina married and lived in Porirua until her death in 1972
The Auty name is celebrated with Auty Street in Porirua's CBD being named after the family.
 
References
Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files 6/2350 Private Robert George Auty
Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files 71665 Rifleman Lewis Pervical Auty
NZ BDM Online
Paperspast Online
History of the Canterbury Regiment 1914-1919
With the Machine gunners in France and Palestine
 
Photos
Auty’s Store – Pataka Museum
Porirua Rugby team c1910 - Pataka Museum
6/2530 Private Robert George Auty – 6th Reinforcements Canterbury Infantry – Pataka Museum
Private Auty’s grave – Dolores Cross Project
 
[i] BDM Internal Affairs: marriage Tuckwell – Auty 1888/2269
[ii] Lyttelton Rowing Club – Christchurch Star: 21 October 1889.
[iii] Concert – Christchurch Press: 8 August 1891.
[iv] NZ BDM Births Robert George Auty  1889/
[v] Evening Post Agents, 21st December 1899
[vi] History of the Canterbury Regiment 1914 – 1919: The Suvla Bay & Sari Bair Operations;
[vii] With the Machine gunners in France & Palestine: The companies in the Line 13th  May to 18th August 1916:
[viii] Archway Archives New Zealand: 6/2530 Private Robert George Auty:
[ix] Marlborough Express, 5 June 1916: Personal:
 
 
RR Auty Store Porirua c1900