WW1 Gunner Robert Roderick Creighton Corbett McFarland 12811
Robert Roderick Creighton (Crighton or Crichton) Corbett McFarland (known as Roddy), born in Hawera on the 18 September 1895 was the son of Sarah Mary and the late Robert Stephenson McFarland, of Manor House, Epsom, on the corner of Market and Manukau Roads.
He had four siblings – Jean (married name Lowe), Dorothy (married name Alexander), Mary (aka Nicky) and Telfour. On attestation at 9 February 1916 he was employed as a clerk with the N Z Portland Cement Company.
He was posted as a Gunner in the N Z Field Artillery and after training at Trentham Camp, left on the S S Willochra on 31 May 1916, arriving in Devonport England on 26 July 1916. On 9th August 1916 he was reported as being trained as a 1st Class Signaller at Bulford. He proceeded overseas on 7th January 1917 and was posted to No. 15 Battery in the 1st Brigade. On 24th July he rejoined his unit after being admitted sick to 50th Casualty Clearing Station at Rouen on the 9th July 1917. He was wounded with gunshot wounds in both legs, (a fracture in the left femur) on 30 October 1917 and admitted to 8 Canadian Field Ambulance and transferred to 3 Australian Casualty Clearing Station the same day. He died of wounds at the casualty clearing station on 31 October 1917, age 22. During the Third Battle of Ypres (31 July – 10 November 1917) Poperinge and the surrounding area was bombed by German aircraft. Some bombs landed on the Casualty Clearing Stations nearby.
Roddy McFarland is buried at Cemetery Nine Elms British Cemetery, Poperinge, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium VIII. D. 14 and is remembered on the Remuera Primary School memorial gates.
The New Zealand Times reported:
Gunner R. C. (“Roddy”) McFarland, who was reported to have died of wounds in France on October 31st, was the eldest son of Mrs R. S. McFarland, Manukau Road, Epsom, and the late R. S. McFarland, who was formerly manager of the Bank of New South Wales in Hawera. Gunner McFarland was born in Hawera. Previous to his enlistment he was studying for his accountancy examination. He left with the 13th Reinforcements, and was trained as a specialist at Sling camp, Salisbury. At the time of his death he was in the 15th Howitzer Battery. Three of his cousins were killed in the same battle and in the same month, viz. Corporal T. Nigel McFarland, Lance-Corporal Hugh Douglas Forde, and Private Norman Forde, and two of his cousins in the Old Country, Flight Lieutenant Curran, to whom the V C. and Legion of Honour were awarded for bravery. Gunner McFarland had leave for ten days just a month before he was killed. He stayed with his cousin, Staff-Captain R. Corbett, who was an old Auckland boy, at his place in Bournemouth. Gunner McFarland was a nephew of Captain and Mrs J. Scott, of the Manor House in Epsom, and former residents of Hawera.
McFARLAND— in loving memory of our dear brother. Rhoderick Chreighton (Roddy) McFarland, who died of wounds received in action in France on October 31, 1917. Buried at Nine Elms, Poporinghe. Only Good-night, dear brother— farewell. Inserted by his loving sisters and brother. J. D., M, and T. McFarland.
McFARLAND and family. In fond and loving memory of my dear brother, Gunner R. C. (Roddy) McFarland, who died of wounds received in battle of Passchendaele, October 31, 1917, and interred in Poperinghe Cemetery, France. “Until the day dawns.” Inserted by his loving sister Jean.
McFARLAND.—ln loving memory of our dearly beloved son and brother. Gunner Rhoderick Corbett McFarland, who died of wounds in France, October 31, 1917. Somewhere in France our darling lies, Somewhere beneath the sod; But his soul so brave is beyond the grave, Somewhere, somewhere with God. Inserted by his loving mother, sisters, and brother.
McFARLAND.—In loving memory of Robert Rhoderick (Roddy) Crichton Corbett McFarland, who made the supreme sacrifice, October 31, 1017. Interred Nine Elms Cemetery, Poperinghe. France. All that is left of the sweet long ago Is a grave and a cross, in a field in France, where wild red poppies grow. Inserted by his loving uncle and aunt, Captain and Mrs. Corbett-Scott, “The Manor House,” Epsom.