Robert Arthur Hislop is considered to be the first New Zealand casualty of World War I.

At the age of 21, he died from critical injuries occurring from a fall off the Parnell rail bridge on the evening of the 13th of August, 1914. This was eight days after New Zealand supported Britain and declared war against the German Empire.  Six days later, he sadly passed away (Stone, 2014).

Hislop was a member of the Territorials and the New Zealand Corps of Railway Engineers.

He was buried with full military honours, in Waikumete Cemetery, Glen Eden, Auckland (Stone, 2014).

There has been some controversy, as up until mid 2014, his grave wasn't recognised as an official military grave.  This meant that it  had fallen into disrepair through neglect. The lettering on the gravestone being no longer readable (Stone, 2014).

As of August 2014, however, this had been rectified and his grave refurbished (Auckland Museum, 2014).

Photos of Robert Hislop,  his funeral procession and refurbished grave, can be found here, at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, online Cenotaph, War Memorial website.


Works Cited


Stone, A. (2014) Gravestone of our first WWI casualty erased by time - national - NZ herald news. Available at: (Accessed: 22 May 2016).

Auckland War Memorial Museum. (1914) Robert Arthur Hislop. Available at: (Accessed: 22 May 2016).


"In memory of Sapper Robert Hislop No 2 Company North Island Railway Battalion NZ Engineers the first NZ soldier to give his life during the Great War accidentally killed while on duty guarding the Parnell bridge."