80978 Private Robert Slessor Raitt – 42nd Reinforcements NZ Medical Corp

Robert Slessor Raitt was born on 2nd May 1882 in Old Machar, Aberdeen, Scotland[i]  the eighth child of thirteen children born to Isabella Hardie and Alexander Raitt.

Robert left Scotland in 1915 and immigrated to New Zealand where on 11th December 1915 he married Mary (Molly) McPhee McColl[ii] but he probably travelled to New Zealand with Molly and a son Alexander who was born in Scotland on 1st December 1914.

Robert and Molly may have been recruited to help staff Porirua Mental Hospital as their second child Isabella (Isa) Hardie Raitt was born in Porirua on 11th November 1916.

On 22th May 1918 Robert Slessor Raitt entered Trentham Military Camp with the 41st Reinforcements.
80978 Private Raitt’s military papers note he was a married man with two children and the family was living at ‘Hill House’ East Wood Street, Porirua. Private Raitt’s occupation is listed as an attendant with the Public Health Department.

Private Raitt was in Trentham for six days before being sent ‘on detail’ to the42nd Reinforcements, NZ Medical Corp at Awapuni, Palmerston North. Private Raitt was only at Awapuni for a day before he was discharged from the NZEF
Private Raitt’s papers simply noting he had only been in camp for six days. There is nothing on file to show why
Private Raitt was discharge but on 18th October 1918 Granville George Raitt[iii]  was born in Porirua so it may have been
for personal reasons.

Molly and Robert had five other children, David Muir (1922), Robert Muir (1923), John (1924) Elsie Constance (1927) and Mary Josephine Raitt who died as an infant. Isa and her younger siblings all attended Porirua School.

Molly and Robert continued to live Eastwood Avenue, as listed, in 1944 on the WW2 enlistment of their sons.[iv]

Robert is listed as retire in the 1957 Porirua electoral roll and died on
30th October 1960. Robert is buried in Porirua Cemetery with his wife
Mary McPhee Raitt who died in 1981 and their son David Muir Raitt
who died on 11th November 1976.

Three of Molly and Robert’s sons served in WW2
404580 Gunner David Muir Raitt – NZ Artillery
285390 Sapper Granville (George) George Raitt – Sapper NZ Engineers
450547 Private Robert Raitt – Infantry Reinforcements.

Paperspast Online
Archway Archives New Zealand Military files
The Raitt Stuff: Raitt geneology
Porirua Cemetery Records Online

Porirua City 1920 (Porirua Mental Hospital on hill right): Alexander Turnbull Library
Raitt grave Porirua: Melanie MacDonald 

[i]   Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 80978 Private Robert Slessor Raitt
[ii]  Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 80978 Private Robert Slessor Raitt
[iii] The Raitt Stuff: WWW.Raitt.org
[iv] Online Cenotaph Database: Raitt
Porirua town center 1920