Charles Manfred Rope

Charles Manfred Rope, No. 13/432, 4th (Waikato) Squadron, Auckland Mounted Rifles. Died of wounds, 9 January 1917

Born in Te Kopuru, near Dargaville in Northland, in 1889 to parents Edward and Emma, Charles Manfred Rope was the fourth of eight children. A pupil at the local primary and secondary schools, Charles took an early interest in education, teaching classes of younger students while still a senior. After school the tall, dark-haired and dark-eyed Charles attended Auckland Training College and completed a teaching certificate. By 1911 he was teaching in rural Waikato, eventually becoming headmaster of the school at Pukeatua, halfway between Te Awamutu and Putaruru.

Shortly after war broke out in August 1914 Charles enlisted for service as a trooper with the Auckland Mounted Rifles. He left New Zealand with the Main Body in October and arrived in Egypt in December. Charles spent several months there before the Mounted Rifles Brigade was called up as reinforcements at Gallipoli in May 1915. Three months into the Gallipoli campaign Charles was fighting on Chunuk Bair when he was shot in the leg. He was evacuated to hospital in Malta to recover and returned to Gallipoli in November.   

The New Zealand forces evacuated the peninsula and returned to Egypt the following month. Shortly after, Charles was promoted to corporal. In April 1916 most of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force sailed for France, but the Mounted Rifles remained behind. They became part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force which would continue fighting the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East. During 1916 they defended the Suez Canal and then began pushing the Ottoman army back across the Sinai Desert towards Palestine.

On the morning of 9 January 1917 Charles took part in an attack on an Ottoman garrison at Rafah on the Sinai–Palestine border. The attack was successful, but Charles was wounded during the fighting and died. He was 27 years old. In a letter to Charles’ mother, the Auckland Mounted Rifles’ chaplain wrote that ‘your fine son’ was ‘killed almost instantaneously when he was bringing a message to Head Quarters and he suffered no pain.’ [1] Charles was originally buried close to where he fell but his grave was later moved to Kantara War Memorial Cemetery near the Suez Canal. In New Zealand Charles is remembered on the war memorial at Pukeatua.

Further information

Auckland War Memorial Museum Online Cenotaph record

Commonwealth War Graves Commission record

Collegians at war

'Teachers' movements', Auckland Star, 25 January 1911, p. 6

'Men who have fallen', New Zealand Herald, 8 September 1915, p. 9

'Roll of Honour', Auckland Star, 29 January 1917, p. 2



[1] Rope, Charles Manfred, Hamilton Probate Court Records, 1917, BCDG 4420 A973 37/775, Archives New Zealand, Auckland; accessed via familysearch.org. 

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