No.6333 Robert Martin Laird
Robert Martin Laird was born in Kirkintilloch, East Dunbartonshire Scotland, on 3 October 1886, the son of Alexander and Margaret Laird. He spent his childhood there, on the family farm, Waterside.
Robert was single and working as a stud groom at Werribee Park when he enlisted as a Private in Geelong on 19 October 1916. He was described as being 5 foot 7 inches (170 cm) with fair hair and blue eyes.
On 23 November 1916, Robert embarked on the HMAT Hororata in Melbourne with the 24th Infantry Battalion, and disembarked in Plymouth, England, on 29 January 1917. On 31 January he arrived at Larkhill Camp on the Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, for training. On 20 May, he proceeded overseas to France via Folkstone, Kent.
Robert’s father died in Scotland in 1918, and in April 1919, as part of the ‘repatriation and demob programme’, Robert was granted leave with pay to travel to the family farm in Scotland for employment experience as a stud farmer.
On 16 September 1919 he set sail back to Australia on HMAT Euripides. He disembarked on 20 October and was discharged on 8 December 1919.
After the war, Robert was employed as Stud Master at the Quarries Clydesdale Stud, in the employ of Mr W. M. Black of Coldstream.
In 1922, he was living in Lilydale. He married Margaret Boag in 1923 and had one child.
On 8 May 1926, aged just 39, Robert died of pneumonia, at Lilydale Private Hospital. According to The Healesville and Yarra Glen Guardian, 15 May 1926, p.2. the fact that he had been 'badly gassed' during the war may have been a contributing factor to his unexpected and early death.
Mr Black described him as "...one of the most competent, conscientious and reliable men he had ever employed."
The Australasian, 22 May 1926, p.10.
Medals and Entitlements:
- British War Medal
- Victory Medal