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SA8904 Trooper Winford Robert Kilmister – 10th Contingent, New Zealand Mounted Rifles 
 
Robert Winford Kilmister was born on 26th January 1884 the only son of William (Bill) and Elizabeth Kilmister. Winford grew up with a large number of half-brothers and sisters as Elizabeth had previously been married to Bill’s brother Henry and later, following Bill’s death, to John Moran.[i]
 
The Anglo-Boer war of 1899-1902 was supported by a surge in patriotism with the raising of funds to outfit and send men to the war. In Pauatahanui in February 1900, the ‘Pahautanui More Men Fund Committee’ was set up and elected to the committee was A Kilmister and contributing to the funds, W Kilmister.[ii]
 
In April 1902 Winford Robert Kilmister enlisted to serve in war, Winford signed that he was 21 years old and the medical examiner noted that Winford ‘Looks his age.’ In April 1902 Winford Robert Kilmister was just 18, a single man living in Pauatahanui and working as a labourer for Adolphus Kilmister of Pauatahanui. Winford’s next of kin listed was his brother Ernest Kilmister of Paraparaumu.  SA8904 Trooper Kilmister departed on 14th April 1902 with the 10th Contingent arriving in South Africa in late May 1902, just prior to the end of the war on 31st May 1902.[iii] Also sailing with the 10th Contingent were SA8878 Trooper Arthur William Sievers from Makara and SA8840 Trooper David Gibson Morgan from Tawa.[iv]
 
Winford returned to New Zealand in July 1902 and was discharged from the New Zealand Mounted; there is no discharge form on file. Winford received the Kings South Africa Medal with the clasp of 1902 for his service.  
 
With the outbreak of war, in August 1914, Winford enlisted in the New Zealand Expeditionary Forces. Enlistment papers note his previous service and that he was a single man labouring in Te Horo, Manawatu. On 20th October 1914 Winford entered Trentham Camp as 17/106 Trooper Winifred Robert Kilmister and following basic training, left for overseas service on 18th December 1914 with the 2nd Reinforcements, New Zealand Veterinary Corps. Trooper Kilmister had not been in Egypt for long when he was sent, on 28th February 1915, from the Zeitoun Training Camp to hospital with cardiac weakness. Trooper Kilmister was assessed in March where they determined a condition ‘fatty heart,’ on the medical report from 22nd April 1915:[v]
 
‘Has had fainting attacks since 1902 after his return from South Africa. These attacks occasionally occur in frequency perhaps weekly and he might then be quite free for any period up to two to three tears. He suffered from strain through weight lifting about 1898. In my opinion he suffers from fatty heart. His heart sounds are weak and indistinct. Pulse is weak and irregular.’
 
Trooper Kilmister returned to New Zealand and on 26th June 1915 was discharged as permanently unfit. Winford apparently made a ‘good recovery’[vi] as he re-enlisted on 21st November 1915. The medial report queried the ‘fatty heart’ diagnosis made in Egypt and put his condition down to ‘dyspepsia partly due to bad teeth,’[vii] so he was passed fit. Winford again entered Trentham Camp this time as 13/3094 Trooper Kilmister and left New Zealand on 22nd February 1916 with the 10th Reinforcements, Auckland Mounted Rifles. On arrival in Egypt Trooper Kilmister was sent to the Auckland Mounted Rifles (AMR) Training Regiment before joining the AMR in the field at Hill 70, a position 23 miles east of the Suez Canal, on the Sinai Peninsula, near the town of Romani on 12 July 1916.
 
The Battle of Romani, 3rd to 5th August 1916, was the last ground attack by the Ottoman forces on the Suez Canal. The 52nd (Lowland) Division and the Anzac Mounted Division defeated the Ottoman forces attempting to disrupt shipping through the Suez Canal. The retreating Ottoman forces were pursued by the Anzac Mounted Division, of which the AMR was a part, ending on the 12th August 1915 at Bir et Abd, Palestine.
 
Sadly Trooper Kilmister had been killed, on the 4th August 1915, and buried on the Battle Field at Romani by the Rev S J Williams. ‘The grave was about 1 mile from Mount Royston about ¼ mile South West from Sgt Waters grave.’[viii] The graves of both men were not found at the end of the conflict but both men are remembered on the Kantara Memorial located in the entrance to the Kanata War Memorial cemetery, Egypt. 
 
Trooper Winford was remembered by his family in 1918[ix]
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mrs Matilda Lyley (nee Kilmister) Westaway
 
Mrs Florence Fanny (nee Kilmister) Wallis      
      
 
 
On 7th October 1919 a decision was made by the army that Winford’s medals would be sent to his eldest brother, Ernest Henry Kilmister, Post Office, Konini. , Wairarapa need to confirm this is it in the local area.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
On 26th November 1923 the military records for Trooper Kilmister were corrected ‘ Register General advises correct names Robert Winford Kilmister.’[x]
 
 
Notes:
See also the Pauatahanui story of 20101 Private Henry Harvey Cook
Were quoting from articles the historic spelling of Pauhatanui has been used
A number of spellings have been used in documents for Kilmister; Kimister, Kelmister, Kilminster etc.
Robert Winford Kilmister is registered name at birth but also used Winford Robert & Winifred Robert Kilmister
 
References:
Births, Deaths & Marriages: Department of Internal Affairs
Kilmister of Karori 1841 – present: freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/.../kilmister/kilmister.html
Pauhatanui – a local history
Archway Archives New Zealand – Military records: SA137 Trooper Joseph Louis Gestro
Archway Archives New Zealand – Military records: SA8904 Trooper Winford Robert Kimister (Kilmister)
Archway Archives New Zealand - Military records: 17/106 Trooper Winifred Robert Kilmister
Archway Archives New Zealand – Military records: 13/3094 Trooper Robert Winford Kilmister
 
Photos:
New Zealand Premier Richard Seddon with soldiers of the Tenth Contingent on board the SS Drayton Grange, April 1902. 
Alexander Turnbull Library : 1/2-029354-F
 
[i] Kilmister of Karori 1841 to Present
[ii] Patauhanui More Men Fund (26th March 1900) Evening Post.
[iii] Archway Archives New Zealand - Military records: SA8904 Trooper Winford Robert Kilmister
[iv] Archway Archives New Zealand - Military records: SA8878 Trooper Arthur William Sievers
[v] Archway Archives New Zealand - Military records: 17/106 Trooper Winifred Robert Kilmister
[vi] Some of our Defenders – Trooper W R Kilmister (28th August 1916) Colonist.
[vii] Archway Archives New Zealand - Military records: 13/3094 Trooper Winifred Robert Kilmister
[viii] 13/1106 Sergeant Mervyn Leigh Waters-  Auckland Mounted Rifles
[ix] Roll of Honour (5th August 1918) Evening Post
[x] Archway Archives New Zealand - Military Records: 13/3094 Trooper Robert Winford Kilmister.
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
10th Contingent Officers and men with Premier Seddon  April 1902