Topic: Roy Percival Herman

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Roy Percival Herman (Service no. 6/65) was a First World War soldier.

mage from Christs College Register.  Image use courtesy of Philip J Beattie and Matthew J Pomeroy.  Onward : Portraits of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. Auckland, New Zealand : Fair Dinkum Publications, 2013-2014.


Roy was born to Jewish parents, Percy Arthur and Rebecca Herman nee Moeller, in Napier 1892. His father was a hotel proprietor who ran Warner’s Hotel in Cathedral Square. His grandfather, Phillip Moeller, was also a hotel proprietor. He had an elder brother, Cedric.

Roy was educated at Christ’s College and he was actively involved in local sport, being a member of the Christchurch Football Club’s junior team, the Red and Black Association and the Canterbury rowing club.

After completing his education he went to work at H. Matson and Co., auctioneers and stock and station agents. Prior to his enlistment he had risen to the position of senior accounts sales clerk.

On 4 August 1914 Britain declared war on Imperial Germany and in response New Zealand offered the services of an expeditionary force to assist in the war effort.  Roy joined the Canterbury Regiment of the New Zealand Division on 12 August 1914.

When a naval fleet had been assembled the main body of New Zealand troops departed Wellington on 16 October 1914. After stopping in Australia, where it was joined by the Australian troopships, the expeditionary force proceeded to Egypt where it arrived on 3 December 1914.

During his time in Egypt Roy attended the Christmas dinner held by Cantabrian soldiers at Shepheard’s Hotel, Cairo. His signature can be seen on the menu which was signed by those who attended the dinner. 

In April Roy embarked for the Dardanelles Strait as part of the Allies' plan to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula from the Ottoman Turks.

At Gallipoli he was put in charge of the grenadiers who, from Quinn’s Post, would assault the Turkish lines with hand thrown bombs. During this time he gained a reputation for experimenting with home-made trench mortars and rifle bombs.

In May he was promoted to Corporal. This was followed in June with a promotion to Lance Sergeant.

On 4 July Roy fell sick with an enlarged gland and was admitted to Tigne hospital on Malta. In August he was transferred to the All Saints convalescent camp.

In September he embarked for Alexandria. By the end of the month he had recovered and was attached to the forces at Mustapha. In October he rejoined his unit at Mudros, Lemnos.

On 30 November he returned to Alexandria.

In January 1916, while at Ismailia, he was readmitted to hospital. Later that month he was admitted to the Australian hospital at Heliopolis.

By February 1916 he had recovered and rejoined his unit at Ismailia. In March he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant.

In April 1916 he departed Port Said on the Franconia for France. A letter written by Sergeant Fred Kynaston to his father, describes the journey:

‘The transport was some size, 18750 tons. She had six decks of cabins, all troops having a berth cabin. In my cabin there were four bunks with wire stretchers, two wardrobes and mirrors...From the time of leaving Port Said every man had to wear his lifebelt. However, the presence of an escort made one feel pretty safe.’

The ship docked at Marseilles on 12 April.

The New Zealand Division then moved north to the Western Front where it settled in around the town of Hazebrouck. From 13 May it was deployed east of the nearby town, Armentieres.

It was at Armentieres that Roy was killed on 8 July 1916. He was buried at Cite Bon Jean cemetery in Armentieres. 


Roy Percival Herman's record, Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Roy Percival Herman's record, Online Cenotaph, Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Roy Percival Herman's record, Archway, Archives New Zealand.


Weddings,’ Star , Issue 6688, 30 October 1889, P.4

Personal notes,’ Press, Volume L, Issue 15048, 17 August 1914, P.8

Untitled, Press, Volume LIX, Issue 11359, 23 August 1902, P. 6

Advertisement, Nelson Evening Mail, Volume VII, Issue 114, 14 May 1872, P.3

For King and Empire,’ Sun, Volume III, Issue 759, 17 July 1916, P.8

With the local boys,’ Otautau Standard and Wallace County Chronicle, Volume XII, Issue 579, 27 June 1916, P.5





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Roy Percival Herman

First Names:Roy Percival
Last Name:Herman
Place of Birth:Christchurch, New Zealand