NEW ZEALAND MOUNTED RIFLES

Comments from Webmaster Steve Butler

 
taranaki dead
An array of headstones of soldiers from the Taranaki Province carry the names of the men who made it back home. Some lived only weeks or months before succumbing to wounds sustained in combat - others, lived out the remainder of their lives helping build a grateful nation.


SITE MAP

 


21st Anniversary issue
penny and half-penny
stamps 1936.






50th Anniversary issue
4 penny and 5 penny
stamps 1965.








NZMR 24th
Reinforcements Badge.

HISTORY CHANNEL OR CHUMP CHANNEL
This recent program (segment below - Sat. 18th Oct) broadcast on New Zealand and Australian Television through the HISTORY Channel was an opportunity to watch and enjoy a subject close to a Mounted Riflemen's heart -"The Warhorse".

I have to say I was bitterly disappointed with the quality of the script writing by the so called history experts that are listed on the credits of this English made program - where they obtained their information was not from any history books I have ever read.
What was purported as historical fact, by a rather glib and supercilious English narrator, as he waffled through a segment on the Sinai Campaign of WWI, was, quite frankly, a disgrace and untrue:

"... the Australians and New Zealanders were 'Light Horse', Infantry on horse back, ... they were not really experienced horsemen, many of these soldiers were city boys - who had barely ridden at all before joining up."

This is not the first time this English "History" TV Production House has lost its way while describing events of their nations World War One allies from the South Pacific.

In a number of programs relating to Gallipoli and other events in the Middle East, their references of New Zealand soldiers, being -untrained, city type colonial underlings is poor research - and I suspect, an effort to bend history more than a fraction to compensate for the poor training, poor physicality and poor leadership shown by their own people as they blundered from one inadequately planned operation to another.

Perhaps these pseudo history types should read and understand that most members of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles were only welcomed into their regiments if, and when, they arrived in camp astride their own horses - far from being city boys - we were a nation of one million people in a land area greater than the United Kingdom. While roads were being cut out of our mountainous and dense bush country-side, roads for wagons were few. Movement between towns and farms was on horseback. We were a nation of horsemen, and many of the NZMR were "Rough Riders", mounted veterans of the Boer War - and far from being troops that had "barely ridden" they had covered thousands of miles in arid hostile country in short time periods that confused and mystified European soldiers who were taught only to ride in a "straight-backed" parade ground style for pomp and ceremony - a style completely useless in the field.

Care to make a comment - join the subject on our Forum.

TRANSCRIBED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN EIGHTY YEARS!

Read the full account of the Wellington Mounted Rifles during WWI - from departure to Egypt and Gallipoli in 1914 through to the Regiments return on the ULIMAROA in 1919.

"The Official War History of the Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment" was written by Major A.H. Wilike immediately after the war and it was published in 1924.

If one is lucky - a rare dog-eared copy may be available on the internet for $200 - $400. Now the Association makes this PDF copy FREE to download.

I have enjoyed transcribing this book over the last couple of weeks - there is just so much information in here that makes sense of many events experienced by the NZMR.

I was especially interested in Major Wilkie's accounts of "Ayun Kara" and the Memorial Service covered on the first anniversary, which includes Bill Meldrum's speech to the residents of Richon Le Zion - also the actions of the Wellingtons at Abu Tellus - The many names that have come up on our Forum, including, Jago, Elmslie, Wilder, Spragg and Herrick to name a few. Everything is covered from the attack on Chunuk Bair to the final advance to Amman.

This is a book every student of history will want to read the E-Book is 370 kbs in size. I have kept it small by NOT posting the photographs and maps - these will be available on our site soon.
Also avaiable, A large map of the region taken from the back of the book and the books full details of the men killed and wounded in the two campaigns.

Brigadier General W. Meldrum
bookdownload
DOWNLOAD BOOK FREE NOW
sinai map link
MAP 1.3megs DOWNLOAD FREE

Great Map of the Region from 1924

Brigadier General W. (Bill) Meldrum, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O.
Commanded the Wellington Mounted Rifles from 8th August, 1914 till 27th April 1917, when he assumed command of the NZMR Brigade till the end of the campaign. He had previously temporarily commanded the NZMR Brigade prior to the evacuation of Gallipoli, and also the 2nd Australian Light Horse Brigade in the battles immediately following Romani.
computer art - Steve Butler

FURTHER UPDATE: WELLINGTON ROLL OF HONOUR POSTED HERE


LEVIN'S CENOTAPH REFLECTED IN THE COLOURS OF SPRING
Levin Cenotaph
No better time to tour New Zealand now that Spring has arrived. I have been traveling the North Island of late and have taken the opportunity of visiting the memorial sites that our forefathers built to honour the fallen of the Great War.
What a pleasant surprise to view the Levin Cenotaph surrounded by Spring Blossoms in the thriving Horowhenua township of Levin, north of the capital. My wife and I took the time to stay overnight and much enjoyed the camaraderie and hospitality shown by the Levin RSA - Thanks to everyone there, and I will post more material on the memorials we re-discovered on our trip through 6th Manawatu Mounted Rifles country last week.
Each monument throughout the country has special significance to the NZMR - as most hold the names of men from the Mounted Rifles - however this particular monument has special memories for the Brigade as it was unveiled by Mounted Rifleman - Major General Edward Chaytor, KCMG, on the 3rd of March 1923.
Members of the Levin community are hard at work keeping their heritage alive. Follow their efforts HERE.

NZMR Website added to the Auckland War Memorial Museum's search pages
auckland
This week (Oct 12th) the Association's website has been added as a World War One reference portal on the Auckland War Memorial Museum's research pages. This enables both students and visitors to access our site through their restricted use internet cafe in the Museum's Armoury section.
We would like to acknowledge the help of Christina Tuitubou, the Manager for Information Centres at the museum for her help in promoting our site.
The associations reference may be viewed HERE

15th Company Imperial Camel Corps

It was a pleasure to meet Rodger last week. (actually "Byrd" on the forum pages) when he and his wife passed through the city last week from the Wanganui district.

Rodger had in tow the most dilapidated book of WWI photographs that I had ever seen.
Unfortunately, time and poor storage by previous family members had made most of his grandfather's photos almost un viewable.
However, Rodger is keen to follow up his grandfathers war service - first with the NZMR and then his posting to the Imperial Camel Corps (I.C.C.). So a concerted effort has been made to retrieve as much as possible of the album. By rescanning and using a bit of digital magic he is trying to restore as many images as possible - I know we all look forward to Rodger's efforts in the near future.

Right: Trooper Anderson taken circa 1915 and computer colourised in the uniform of the NZMR.

Below: One of the better restored photographs showing two of the Cameliers in the Sinai (probably 1917). Of special interest is the number "15" branded on the left camels neck - this signifies the animal is part of the New Zealand 15th Company I.C.C.

I.C.C.
15th coy

SERVICE AT POLYGON WOOD - BELGIUM
Members of the association will remember the moving tribute Niki Francis wrote on her great uncle "Tui" Haswell and presented HERE on our Troopers Histories pages. Niki is an ex-pat Kiwi living with her Australian husband in Belgium and is a minister of religion. In her capacity as a minister she was present at the service at Zonnebeke where there was an unveiling of the memorial plaque for Canterbury Infantryman Henry Nicholas VC on September 14th.
We remember and note the actions of Sergeant Nicholas during the attack of December 3rd 1917:

"During the advance on Polderhoek, Nicholas’s section was held up by heavy machine-gun and rifle fire. He single-handedly rushed the enemy position from the rear, threw a grenade and shot the officer. He then charged the remaining occupants with his bayonet. When the smoke cleared, 12 Germans lay dead. Four survivors were taken prisoner. Recommending him for an award, his commanding officer noted 'His fearless example and devotion to duty, commands him to special recognition."


The London Gazette of 11 January 1918 says Nicholas was awarded the Victoria Cross for “most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty in attack”.

Hi Steve
I have only just seen your special note to me on the website update
page! Wow!! That is so amazing and brought tears to my eyes. I had
seen the photo on Tui's page but just not the one of the 1918
commemoration.
The unveiling of the Nicholas VC plaque at Zonnebeke and the
commemoration at the NZ Memorial for the Missing at the Buttes
Cemetery, Polygon Wood on 14 September went well and I found it very
moving to be part of both. Here's a photo of me with Lieutenant
Colonel John Boswell, NZ Defence Attache at the High Commission in
London.
Hope all is well with you. Autumn is making its presence felt here and
I have to admit that although the autumn colours are beautiful I'm not
looking forward to another northern winter!
Warm regards
Niki