Enlisted Legion of Frontiersmen 13 October 1954 Te Awamutu
Discharged Legion of Frontiersmen 26 April 1994 Te Awamutu
Roy, as he was known by his friends was born in Auckland on September 6th 1908 to Agnes & William Joseph GEAR.
He was the third child in a family of nine children. His mother Agnes (nee King) died when she was about 80, and his father William (Bill), a baker by trade at 75, when Roy was at Burnham Military Camp, near Christchurch.
Roy had six brother and two sisters. His older brothers Ivan and Joe, and two of his younger brothers Bob and Jack have died, Jimmy and Eileen live in Auckland, Peter lives in Matamata, and the youngest member of the family, Jean lived in Australia.
His early life was spent moving around the Auckland area. He started school at Mouki, north of Putaruru, then his family moved back to Auckland and he went to St Joseph Convent , then on to Sacred Heart College in Ponsonby.
He left home at fourteen and worked on farms around New Zealand, he worked in Thames, the Hauraki Plains and in the Far North at Oruru. He then left the north and went to Rotorua where he worked on the Lands & Survey in the Galatea Block.
In 1939 Roy enlisted into the Army Service Corps, 5th Field Ambulance as an ambulance driver and then travelled overseas with the echelon to England, then travelling on to Greece and then Crete. He was on active service for five and a half years, but spent four of those years in a concentration camp at Barbira in southern Germany. He was released just two weeks before the war ended in 1945, and was flown back to England and on to New Zealand.
On his return to New Zealand he went back to farm work in the north at Oruru , a place he called ‘his village’ where he managed to Oruru Dairy Factory grocery store.
In 1947 he moved to Auckland to work for C. Aitken & Son Ltd as a timber truck driver, working there until moving to Te Awamutu in 1953.
After moving to Te Awamutu he worked on a farm at Pokuru for a Mr Moorhead. H then was to work as a builder for [LF1120] Les MacFarlane, finally settling into work as a painter and paper hanger with C. C. Peterson until his retirement in 1973 at the age of 65.
Roy met and married his wife Edna in 1976. Edna was born in Waihi but lived most of her life in Auckland before moving to Te Awamutu. They met through the Legion of Frontiersmen. Edna died August 15th 1989 at the age of 84.
The Legion played a very important part in Roy’s life, not only because he met Edna through them, but they also got him involved in training marching girls which he did for fifteen year. At one time he had three teams, midgets, junior and senior girls. His team, the Legionettes, won about five cups, many of them for best costume. Every year at least one of Roy’s teams was chosen to represent the Waikato and this was a great honour as only three teams were chosen in each region. The discipline of his army life helped with the coaching of his teams.
Amongst Roy’s many friends he said there was one that stood out and that was his best mate Alex C. Thompson who also served in the RNZAF in WW2 as a Flying Officer.
Alex and Roy shared many stories, both good and bad, over a glass or two of home-brew that they made together.
Other than the company of his ca Timmy, (Fat Boy) he lived his later years alone, living a quiet life pursuing his favourite sports, cricket and rugby, with casual bets on the horses. He also enjoyed relaxing with a good book.
A man who will always be remembered by his friends passed away on April 26th 1994 in Te Awamutu.
Behobeho East Africa 1915 - 1917 Nyangao Kilimanjaro Great War 1917 Belgium 1914 -18