Oscar Randal Greer – Military Ballot

Francis Clarence Greer had arrived in New Zealand in 1853 he served as a Lieutenant in the local volunteers during the
NZ Wars and  bought land in Tawa Flat. Francis Greer is  listed as a builder and contractor[i]  but also farmer in Tawa Flat and was an undertaker for the district.  Elizabeth Heather Pilcher arrived in Tawa Flat as three years old and lived the
rest of her life in the area[ii].  The couple married in 1866.

Oscar Randal Greer was born in Tawa Flat on 29th July 1888 the twelfth of thirteen children born to Elizabeth (nee Pilcher) and Francis Greer[iii].

Raised in Tawa Flat Oscar farmed on his father’s land and would have also assisted his father in the undertaking service
in Tawa Flat and  for the Porirua Mental Hospital[iv].

On 14th March 1917 the Evening Post carried the list of men from the No 5 (Wellington) Military District who had been selected in the military ballot included were;  Greer O. R. and Greer S.J. farmers of Tawa Flat[v]. Oscar appealed the selection in April 1917.[vi]

In the case of Oscar Randall Greer, farmer, of Tawa Flat, who was represented by Mr J. J. McGrath,
it was decided to grant an adjournment, sine die. It was stated in evidence that the appellant shore
all the sheep for ten farmers at the Flat and in addition had to do a great deal of domestic work his
parents in indifferent health. Appellant’s father, it was added had been on the farm for 60 years.
One brother of the appellant, who has also been called up, was going to the front. No appeal was
being made for him as he was not a practical farmer.

Oscar’s brother Samuel entered camp with the 30th Reinforcements on 4th June 1917[vii] and Oscar’s father Francis died on the 9th July 1917.

On 21st May 1918 Oscar was again in front of the Military Services Board as a Farmer and Undertaker:[viii]

The board further heard the case of Oscar Randall Greer (Farmer, Tawa Flat) who appealed on
grounds of public interest and undue hardship. Mr McGrath appeared for eth4e appellant who
stated that since he appealed in April last year, his father had died and he supported his aged
mother and invalid sister. He had some 600 sheep on his farm beside a large number of poultry,
and milked four cows. He did all the shearing for the district having shorn 2420 sheep last year;
and in addition he had the undertaking contract for the Porirua Mental Hospital.
In reply to Captain Baldwin, appellant stated that he was single and 30 years of age. He had seven
brothers, one of whom was at the front. The other six were married men and two were over military
age. He had not suggested to any of his brothers taking on the farm for him.  The board adjourned
the case till the June sitting with the expectation that the appellant in the meantime would arrange
for one of his brothers to take over the farm.

At the June sittings of the military board they heard that Oscar had approached his brothers about taking over the
farm but ‘had not been able to make satisfactory arrangements. The final judgement given on 19th June 1918[ix]:

At yesterday afternoon’s sitting it was announced that the board had further considered the case
of Oscar R Greer, farmer, Tawa Flat and had dismissed the appeal, but leave would be granted till
the September draft.

With his legal options exhausted Oscar started
to make arrangement to get his affairs in order
on 18th July 1918 he married Nora Eliza Proebstel[xi].

In August the Evening Post, 3rd August 1918,
carried the following advert:

It appears that Oscar did not go to camp as there
are no military files for him and potentially he did
not sell the farm as in 1930 his mother was still
living in the original farm house.

Oscar Randall Greer died in Wellington on 31st October 1964.

The 1914 tender for undertaking associated with Porirua Mental Hospital was £2 per ‘client.’
Geni -com (family genealogy)
Two of Oscar’s older brothers served in the NZEF during WW1
                55952 Rifleman Samuel Johnson Greer - New Zealand Rifle Brigade
                91686 Private Gerald Randolph Greer - 50th Reinforcements  
Nora Eliza Proebstel was born in Washington DC United States; her family had come to New Zealand in 1900.[xi]

Paperspast Online
Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files     
Geni-com (family genealogy)

Tawa Flat: National Library

[i]     Obituary, 17th July 1917, Evening Post
[ii]    A Pioneer’s birthday, 13th August 1930, Evening Post
[iii]   NZ BDM
[iv]   Tenders Accepted, 27th April 1914, Evening Post
[v]    No 5 (Wellington) Recruiting District, 14th March 1917, NZ Times
[vi]   Military Services Board-consideration for farmers, 4th April 1917, Evening Post
[vii]  Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 55952 Rifleman Samuel Johnson Greer
[viii] Military Services Board – Farmer and Undertaker, 21st May 1918, New Zealand Times
[ix]   Military Service – Claims for Exemption, 19th June 1918, New Zealand Times.
[x]    NZ BDM 
[xi]   Geni.com/people/nora- greer
Tawa Flat looking across to the railway line