The deceased was a native of Enysham, Oxford, England, and joined the Welsh Fusiliers, 23rd Regiment, in Nov. 24th, 1851. The following year he was transferred to the Royal Artillery. He went through much active service in the Crimean war, and was engaged in military struggles for eight years, with the 4th Rifle Brigade.
Some little time ago, he was selected for the Veterans' Home, but declined to go owing to his rapidly failing health. As an Imperial pensioner (in receipt of 10d per day) he was well behaved and respected at the Home, and hi death is regretted by all.
Ashburton Guardian, Volume xxii, Issue 6244, 15 April 1904, Page 2
Military Funeral.— The funeral of the late Mr Robert Harper, a veteran soldier inmate of the Tuarangi Home, took place yesterday at the Ashburton cemetery. The Ashburton Guards, mustering 30, under Captain Schwartz and Lieutenant Percy, and the Ashburton Rifles, mustering 45, under Captain Dolman, V.D., and Lieutenant Hayes and Hefford, were in attendance. Lieutenant Hoist of the Lyttelton Naval Artillery, and Lieutenant Paul, of Ashburton, also accompanied the cortege. The County Band, mustering 18, under Bandmaster Humphries, played Handel's Dead March in Saul during the procession from the Old Men's Home to the cemetery.
About 25 inmates of the Home followed the body to its last resting place, amongst them bring Messrs John Bassett and William Carr, Crimean Naval veterans, William Hay (N.Z. Medal), Maori war veteran and an old comrade of the dead man, and Dennis Cullen, who came out in the same troopship as the deceased.
The coffin was covered with a Union Jack, lent for the occasion by the County Council. The pall bearers were six non commissioned officers, three each from Guards and Rifles. The ceremony was conducted by the Rev. E. Whitehouse.
After the customary three volleys had been fired, the "last call" was played by Bugler Hosken of the Rifles. On the return march the band played "Onward."
Ashburton Guardian, Volume xxii, Issue 6246, 18 April 1904, Page 2