Weaver Close, Alexandra NZ. Location: 45.241539,169.378440

Trooper Peter Weaver 9/1747. Distinguished Conduct Medal, Victory Medal, British War Medal 1914 -1920 & Meritorious Service Medal. New Zealand Expeditionary Force (WW1).

An orchardist from Clyde, Peter Weaver (24/06/1895 – 13/09/1919) was 20 years old when he enlisted in the Army on the 24th of August 1915. Attached to the 8th reinforcements, Weaver sailed for Egypt on the 13th of November that year. Arriving post Gallipoli, Weaver was originally assigned to the Otago Mounted Regiment (OMR), shortly afterwards he was transferred to the N.Z. Pioneer Battalion and sent to France. In July 1917 he was moved again to his preferred choice: a trooper in the OMR. There is some evidence that the influence of his elder brother John (Weaver 9/461), a Non Commissioned Officer (NCO) in the OMR assisted in the process (Mackay p. 212).

Born of unusual circumstances, the Otago Mounted Regiment should have been part of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade alongside sister regiments from Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury. However, inflexible British restrictions allowed for only three regiments per brigade forcing the hierarchy to cut the OMR, thus forming a stand alone mounted regiment. More reshuffle was to follow.

In 1916 after the Gallipoli withdrawal, the New Zealand Division was created using arriving reinforcements to bolster existing units for service on the Western Front. The Otagos, by now severely understrength were compressed into a single squadron (1st OMR) and attached to the departing NZ Division. The New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade remained in Egypt amalgamating into the newly created Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division, and was heavily involved in the Sinai/Palestine campaign (NZ Mounted Rifles Brigade).

Mounted infantrymen commonly known as troopers, were soldiers who had a specialist skill set. They were highly mobile with the ability to fight on foot or horseback. Unfortunately upon arrival in France the 1st OMR now found itself enmeshed in the gridlock of static trench warfare.

Consequently the 1st OMR saw little involvement in the major Western Front battles of 1916, as the need for their speciality never eventuated. As historian Don Mackay observed “the primary {task undertaken} was as footslogging work parties under engineer supervision” (p. 214). However, the battle of Messines Ridge in June 1917 was a turning point that saw the 1st OMR take a more aggressive stance: that of mounted reconnoitering of enemy positions. A role that was to become more prevalent in the successful Allied advances of July to November 1918.

On the 28th of July 1918, Trooper Weaver was on just such a mission near the village of Sarcy, in Northern France, when: with a fellow trooper acting as a horse-holder, came under machine-gun fire from the village which was still occupied by the Germans. Weaver’s companion was wounded and, after assisting him into cover, Weaver continued with his reconnaissance, riding forward to establish German positions in the village, and was shot while doing so. Despite his wound, he recovered his companion, rode back and made a detailed report on enemy dispositions. (Mackay p. 240, 241).

Trooper Peter Weaver was awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) for his “conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty and determination during a reconnaissance” that day; which also saw him admitted to hospital with a gunshot wound to his neck. (War Office Letter 30/10/1918)

His wound healed reasonably quickly, and records note he was discharged a week later fit for duty. Unfortunately this seemed to be the start of an increasingly serious series of medical issues. On the 26th of October he was treated at Abbeville Hospital for gingivitis after ongoing dental issues. On the 1st of February 1919, he was back in hospital with the potentially lethal ‘Spanish’ influenza virus this time.

On the 1st of April 1919, Trooper Weaver was finally on his way home, via Glasgow, on the Troopship Paparoa. He was discharged on 22nd of June 1919, after three years one hundred and ninety four days overseas in the service of his country.

Unfortunately the war had not finished with Trooper Weaver yet. Most likely in a vulnerable state of health after his experiences he soon contracted lethargic encephalitis, dying on the 13th of September 1919. Despite being less than three months after his discharge, the authorities were adamant that his untimely death was not attributable to his military service, stating as much in a War Pensions Office memorandum dated 15/09/23. However; the Alexandra and Clyde communities saw it differently naming him on both their memorials amongst his fallen comrades.

Trooper Weaver is also remembered by way of a Weaver family WW1 war service display at the Clyde Museum.

Three brothers from the Weaver family served overseas: John (as above) survived the war, and Charles Leslie 9/890 who suffered a similar fate to Peter. Better known as Leslie, he returned to New Zealand after the war, only to succumb to tuberculosis on the 17th August 1921.

Lest we forget.


Archives New Zealand. Weaver, Peter – WW1 9/1747 – Army. Sourced from:


Auckland War Memorial Online Cenotaph. Trooper Peter Weaver. Sourced from: https://www.aucklandmuseum.com/war-memorial/online-cenotaph/record/C58123?srt=relevance&n=9%2f1747&from=%2Fwar-mem orial%2Fonline-cenotaph%2Fsearch&ordinal=0

Mackay, Don. (Ed.). (2012) The Trooper’s Tale. The history of the Otago Mounted Rifles. Turnbull Ross Publishing, NZ.

NZ Mounted Rifles Brigade. Sourced from: ‘New Zealand Mounted Rifles’, URL:

https://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/new-zealand-mounted-rifles, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage),

War Office Letter dated 30th October 1918, (Extract from the Third Supplement to London Gazette dated 29th October, 1918.). Sourced from: https://collections.archives.govt.nz/en-NZ/web/arena/search#/entity/aims-archive/R22017233

War Pensions Office memorandum dated 15/09/23. Sourced from:



Alexandra War Memorial. Photo M.Davies (note: Meritorious Service Medal ‘MSM’ inscription is an error).

Clyde War Memorial. Photo M. Davies.

Mounted Trooper: Canterbury Mounted Rifles, Middle Eastern Theatre 1916-18. Photograph: George ‘Lindsay’ Craig NZ Army 43209 WW1; private photograph collection. Courtesy Sharon Gilchrist.

Trooper Peter Weaver DCM. Auckland War Memorial Online Cenotaph. Sourced from: https://www.aucklandmuseum.com/war-memorial/online-cenotaph/record/C58123?srt=relevance&n=9%2f1747&from=%2Fwar-mem orial%2Fonline-cenotaph%2Fsearch&ordinal=0

Trooper Weaver’s Medal. Weaver brothers public display, Clyde Museum. Photo M. Davies.

Weaver Family Plot, Alexandra Cemetery. Photo M.Davies.

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