Topic: Robert John Cogle

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Robert John Cogle (Service no. 6/1000) was a First World War soldier with links to Heathcote.

  • Service number: 6/1000
  • Private, 1st Canterbury Infantry Battalion. A Company, N.Z.E.F.
    • Enlisted 15/8/1914
    • Bugler for A Company
  • Killed in Action, 27 April 1915 at the Dardanelles, Gallipoli
    • Aged 21
    • Reported missing 27/4 and was buried 19/7 confirmation 31/7/15
    • Served for total of 256 days
  • Memorial: LONE PINE MEMORIAL, Turkey - panel 74
  • Born 3 October 1893, Lyttelton.
  • Address 77 Ferry Road, Christchurch
  • Painter with T Yates & Co, 87 Victoria St, Christchurch
  • Single
  • Son of Lawrence and Harriet Gertrude Cogle (nee Playstead), 43 Hills Road, Heathcote Valley.
  • Description as at 14 August 1914 (day of enlistment)  
    • 5 foot, 6 inches, 140 lbs or 63.5 kg, fair complexion, grey eyes, dark hair, condition of teeth : fair.
  • Religion: Wesleyan
  • Awarded
    • 1914-1915 Star
    • British War Medal (service chevron: Red),
    • Victory Medal (service chevron: Blue)
  • Brother James Francis Cogle (25/495) also served and died during WW1.

Born 3rd October 1893, in Lyttelton, to father, Lawrence, a railway employee and mother Gertrude Harriet. Little is known about Robert's early years, however he did attend Heathcote Valley School. In his teens, Robert was active in sports, coming second in a ‘Go-as-you-please.’ race from Woolston Post Office to Sumner and return – a distance of about 10 miles with a time of 61 mins, 48 sec in November 1910 , By May 1914, Robert was playing for the Albion Rugby Club, playing for the Presidents Team on several occasions.

Robert started work as a painter for T Yates of Victoria Street, Christchurch and was living at 77 Ferry Road, Christchurch.

On the 15th April 1914,  Robert enlisted with the NZEF, recorded rank was as a Private, in A Company, of the 1st Canterbury Infantry Battalion. He also held the position of Bugler as mentioned in the Albion Club Annual Smoke Concert .

After military training in Christchurch, he and A Company embarked on the Tahiti (H.M.N.Z.T. No. 4).on 23 September 1914, leaving Lyttelton on 2 October and arriving in Wellington the following day. On 16th October, the Tahiti set sail, calling into Hobart, Tasmania, on 21st of October, and Albany, Western Australia on the 28th. In 25th November the Tahiti called into Aden and arrived in Alexandra, Egypt on 3 December. Upon arriving, the NZEF travelled 100 miles south west to Zeitoun, four miles out of Cairo to set up camp, will all the NZEF arriving by the 9th December 1914. 

On Boxing Day, 26 December 1914 Robert lost a towel and was charged 1/6 for its replacement. On 12th April 1915 the NZEF left Alexandra setting sail for the island of Lemnos, arriving early in the morning of the 15th and finally landing at ANZAC Cove on 25the April 1915.

Robert was killed in action on the 2nd day of fighting on 27th April 1915, and it was his role as bugler or trumpeter  as described by Col J.G. Hughes in the Sun (1 June 1917) which makes harrowing reading. ‘At Rest Gully concerts were held. One songster from the West Coast named Wilson, who possessed a wonderful voice, always sang ‘The Trumpeter’. Once after such a concert, a body was found at Quinn’s – that of a trumpeter who had remained at his post. This was a bugler named Cogle, who had been poted missing on the first day. He had penetrated to farthest spot New Zelanders had reached before meeting his end’. 

Robert was reported missing in May and finally reported killed in action  in, August 1915, 3 months after the first report.

Obituaries referred to Robert’s contribution to the war and his links to Albion Rugby Club. In an article from the Sun  'A Gallant Soldier' “Writing from Cairo on June 8, Corporal R.H. Livingstone, of the 1st (Canterbury) regiment sends per the hon. Secretary of the Albion Rugby Football Club, a letter of sympathy with Mrs Cogle, of Heathcote Valley, whose son in the 1st (Canterbury) Regiment had not been heard of since the morning of the landing  on Sunday, 25th April. “I may say,” says Corporal Livingstone, “that he was one of a party of 14 which included F.L. Sapsford, T.L. Burns, N.R. Sime, L.H. Parson, F. L. Buttle, G. Porter, W.E. Cookson and some other Rugby enthusiasts who went forward to reinforce the weakest part of the line on the left flank. “After suffering terribly for six hours, we were compelled to retire to cover of the ridge, some 125 yards in our rear, and when we counted our party, R. Cogle was among the missing. “He had fought magnificently throughout the long afternoon with a courage and perseverance that won the sincere admiration of his comrades and his absence caused profound and universal sorrow throughout the platoon and company. “I felt compelled to write and let you know how he had upheld the worthiest traditions of the club.”

In Robert's obituary in the Sun, further links to the Albion club were mentioned ‘Private R Cogle, Canterbury Battalion, who was previously reported missing and is now reported to have been killed in action, was a son of Mrs Cogle, of 43 Hill Road, Heathcote. He went to the front with the Main Expeditionary Force. Private Cogle was a well-known member of the Albion Rugby Football Club’. Robert Cogle’s name was added to Albion Club’s Roll of Honour in March 1915 and added to Roll of Honour at Heathcote Methodist Church, 1917.

In recognition of his contribution to the war effort Robert Cogle was awarded the1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. In November 1915, Robert’s mother started receiving his War Pension of £20 per year. A memorial plaque (502438) was sent in November 1921 to Laurence Cogle, Robert's Father, who had moved from Heathcote to live at 32 Walpole St, Sydenham.

Robert, and his brother James, are remembered on the Heathcote War Memorial.

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Robert John Cogle

First Names:Robert John
Last Name:Cogle
Place of Birth:Lyttelton, New Zealand