NEW ZEALAND MOUNTED RIFLES

Comments from Webmaster Steve Butler

HERO OF WALKER'S RIDGE
Full Name: Ernest William Chater
Serial No.: 13/305
First Known Rank: Trooper
Next of Kin: Mrs W. Chater, Elmscote, Guildford, Surrey,
England
Marital Status: Single
Enlistment Address: Tauranga,
New Zealand
Military District: Auckland
Body on Embarkation: Main Body
Embarkation Unit: Auckland Mounted Rifles
Embarkation Date: 16 October 1914
Place of Embarkation: Auckland,
New Zealand
Vessel:

Star of India or
Waimana

Destination: Suez, Egypt


Computer colourised 1914 photograph of Sergeant E.W. Chater
Trooper Chater left with the Main Body for Egypt in 1914. He was a member of 4th Troop, 4th Waikato Mounted Rifles under the command of Lieutenant Morris Milliken. Records show Ernest had been promoted sergeant at the time he was wounded in action on Walker's Ridge, Gallipoli on the 6th August 1915 - one day before the Aucklanders began their attack to the heights of Chunuk Bair. Many of 4th Troop were killed and wounded on the 6th, 7th and 8th August.
A further photograph including Ernest and records of the 4th Troop 4th Waikato are shown HERE
Any further information on Sergeant Chater would be appreciated by the Association.


SITE MAP

 


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






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







2008 stamp
90th Anniversary of
Anzac 2008.

THE ORIGINAL ANZAC MEMORIAL CONCEPTS

Top Hats and Tails: The background photograph shows the original ANZAC Memorial on the day of the unveiling, Port Said, Egypt, 23rd November 1932. Left: A 1930 photograph of Sculptor William Bowles at work on a Marquette for the Australian War Memorial Museum. Bowles became head sculptor after the death of the ANZAC memorials original designer Charles Gilbert. Right: An earlier Marquette made by Bowles in 1922 as the concept for the ANZAC memorial developed.
(Australian War Memorial images A02756, ART12593, ART12505, P0433)

The intrigue and drama that surrounds the ANZAC Memorial continues to entertain many decades after original events. Various groups or individuals have promoted differing views on the turbulent saga of the life of the memorial.
From the planning of the original sculpture in Egypt to the two copies that were erected much later in Perth and Canberra, a number of twists and turns to the story evolved.
Since the 1960's a number of Australian politicians and government agencies have continually referred to the sculpture as "a Australian Light Horseman coming to the aid of a New Zealander, whose horse has been shot."
A recent search of old archive notes and photos reveals a very different story.
Earlier table top sized models shown above and on the right give an insight into the thinking of the sculpting team headed by Charles Gilbert. The 1922 model shows the New Zealander preparing to enter battle on foot as an infantryman - the role of light horse troops - next to him an Australian trooper reins in. The notes attached to the photograph of the model read:-
"Light Horseman mounted on rearing horse, while NZ Mounted Rifleman is dismounting as his horse scrambles to its feet, created to commemorate the Australians and New Zealanders of the Desert Mounted Corps of the First World War."
There is no hint here that the team were trying to show a wounded horse - a myth that is still readily repeated by a number of agencies.
An even earlier 1919 design for the ANZAC Memorial (right) shows a rather complicated and dramatic scene where, the first trooper is well dismounted and on the point of aim, as the emu plumed Australian trooper urgently takes cover to join him - all about them men and horses fall in a hail of enemy fire.
Again it is clear the memorial was looking to depict the men of the Desert Mounted Corps going into conflict together.





A experimental design above was originally a Plasticine model in 1919, later it was cast into plaster by George Perugia in 1928, under Lambert's supervision, for the Australian War Memorial. After Lambert's death in 1930, the plaster was cast into copper alloy by E J Gregory in 1932 under Leslie Bowles' supervision. It was then assembled, chased and finished by Leslie Bowles in 1932-1935 and acquired by the Memorial in 1936.

Read the page on "Bess" and the ANZAC Memorial HERE

THE CASE OF ARTHUR FOSTER

When I received a photograph from a member of the public referred to only as “Foster, Arthur”, I believed it would be an easy trace to follow this man’s history.  In fact when I entered the name on the Auckland War Memorial Museum’s Cenotaph’s data base, the first name I selected popped up with the exact same 1915 (circa) black and white photograph as the one sent to me (computer colourised below).
The history sheet records the man’s name as 13/2565 Trooper Arthur Isaac Foster, a member of the 8th Reinforcements, Auckland Mounted Rifles.  His enlistment address and that of his father is given as the Queen’s Hotel, Symonds Street, Auckland.  He departed with the Reinforcements from Wellington on the 13th November 1915.  From this point the evidence becomes more than a little confusing.  First the line entry in the form states: “Last unit Served: Auckland Mounted Rifles”, yet in the photograph this young man wears the hat badge of the 6th Manawatu Squadron of the Wellington Mounted Rifles.  I find it extremely unlikely that this Arthur would have lived in Auckland, enlisted in Auckland, and at the time of his death still being registered as serving with the AMR, to have been at any time serving with the Wellingtons.

The next mystery is that Arthur Foster’s death is recorded as 12th August 1918, died of wounds.  Place of Death: New Zealand to Palestine.
I accept that the Place of Death entry is probably a typographic error and should read the reverse – Palestine to New Zealand.  This would mean that Arthur most likely died at sea while being repatriated back to New Zealand after having sustained major wounds.
Without knowing the vessel he was being transported back on it would also seem that he was nearly home when he died, as most men who died at sea were usually buried at sea.  However Arthur’s sheet shows that he is buried at Purewa Cemetery, Meadowbank, Auckland –Block E, Row 34, Grave 58/59.
The hospital ship must have been close to docking.  Arthur nearly made it home to his family.

The Auckland War Memorial Museum gives us a lot of information on this man, but in reality not enough, and the poor structure of the New Zealand Governments Archive Service based in Wellington is pathetic.  To ask New Zealanders to travel to Wellington to access files and then pay outrageous fees each time, is not in the spirit of keeping our collective history alive. Our esteemed Aussie cousins across the Tasman Sea put us to shame with their free online access provided to anybody who cares to log on- we need to get into the 21st century.

Without copies of Arthur Foster’s military file we can however uncover more interesting facts.  In the 1920’s publication of “The Story of Two Campaigns” the official history of the Auckland Mounted Rifles, and in the casualties section of Sinai and Palestine on page 261. We find the number and name 13/2565 A. I. Foster, Trooper, wounded 14.11.17.
This tells us that Trooper Foster was a casualty, and in the end, a death from the “Action of Ayun Kara”.  He may well be buried in Auckland half a hemisphere away from his fellow victims of the fight, but indeed he is a further number to add to the list of those who died taking this defensive line that lies within the borders of modern Israel today.

Trooper Arthur Foster WW1

Trooper13/2565 Arthur Issac Foster of the Auckland Mounted Rifles. - or is it?
(computer colourised)

There are five men who departed New Zealand shores with the name “Arthur Foster” during the conflict of World War One.
Three of these men served with various Infantry units, and the remaining two with the New Zealand Mounted Rifles.  It would have been nice and easy if one of these mounted riflemen came from the Manawatu in the lower North Island – but alas, both the Arthur Fosters are shown as being members of the Auckland Mounted Rifles.  We must ask: is the photograph shown on the data base placed against the right Arthur Foster?  The second Arthur Foster has no middle name, so he relates more directly to my photo saying only “Foster, Arthur ” – but there is some cloudy issues – the form also states he is known as “Forster”, his mother lives in Christchurch, it does not record where he enlisted, but shows he was born in Australia.
The additional information states: “Surname appears as Foster in Nominal Rolls, as Forster in Archives New Zealand” – well who is going to book a date to travel to Wellington Archives, then pay $25, to find out? – But he too could be the man in the photo.

If you have any information on this photo I would like to hear from you.

FURTHER UPDATE!
Within one hour of posting the above story, I have my first reply which makes my detective work fail into insignificance compared to a man with a good eye for detail - Jonsig writes:
Hi Steve just looking at your post
The photo you show of the trooper, he is wearing a badge of (A8) it is
a Reenforcement badge 8th Reinforcements not a , "6th MR" cap badge

With such corroborated evidence, I am now certain the photograph is indeed that of Arthur Isaac Foster - Ahh! the power of a combined effort - Thanks Jonsig. Below left the 6th Manawatu badge I thought I was looking at.

AND - within another few hours a further email with attached photograph shown below right:
Steve,
A8 hatbadge, possibly slightly different, there were a few different variations.
Cheers Iain D, (Pukman)

Obviously a difference, close, but it is a lesson for me to keep a focus on what I am looking at - thanks guys, I am in your debt.

6th manawatu squadron badge
6th Manawatu Mounted Rifles
8th reinforcements
8th Reinforcements

Arthur Foster AMR



Brass plaque of Arthur Foster.

The Purewa Cemetery is situated within 15 minutes drive of Queen Street. Here rests Arthur Foster an unsung hero of the Action of Ayun Kara. No military headstone marks this place, just a family plot bearing a brass plaque. Arthur lies here in the arms of family under a large fir tree.
"Lest we Forget".

LOOKING BACK IN HISTORY THROUGH A SINGLE PHOTOGRAPH

The old saying "that a picture is worth a thousand words" is well borne out with this magnificent silver gelatin photograph taken in Jerusalem in July 1918.
The image has so much to tell, and I am surprised that the only reference stated on the reverse is:-
"Wounded Turks and Germans, transported in Lorries."

There is however much more of a story locked here inside this image - and with everyone's help out there we should be able to bring to life much more than we see at a first glance.
So, Just how many items of interest are shown here? To begin, at least fighting troops from six different countries, possibly seven are visible.

(Fig. 1) By distorting the image and "lifting the black" from the shadows in the back of the first transport truck we are just able to reveal a rather fuzzy likenesses of three wounded German soldiers who appear out of the gloom.
Because the image is from a sequence of photographs taken by the same photographer of the event recorded as the transporting of captured prisoners taken at the Battle of "Abu Tellus", I presume this image is also taken in Jerusalem following that enemy engagement
.
The Action involved an attack by German and Turkish forces on an Australian defensive line in the Jordan Valley on the 14th July 1918.
The Wellington Mounted Rifles played a major role in the battle that lasted all day in terrible conditions for both men and horse.

(Fig.2) With this second segment of the photograph enlarged we can see a wounded German soldier's face reflecting a mood of apprehension and tiredness.
Other photos taken this day show the hundreds of German and Turkish prisoners being escorted by Mounted Troops of New Zealand, Australia and India as they are marched on foot from the battlefield to Jerusalem - These men shown here were obviously too injured to march and have been transported by trucks.

On the chapter headed, "The German Attack", recorded on page 133 of the "History of the Wellington Mounted Rifles", (available free to download from our book section) we can learn of the conditions these men fought in that day:

"...At this time a scorching wind was blowing, and the sun burned with fiendish ferocity, the hospital thermometer registering 130 degrees of heat in the shade - the highest recorded by our troops in the Valley. The conditions were most trying, and it was only by keeping the pack-horses travelling to and fro with water to the firing line
that our men were able to hold out. Even then, many were sick and others fainted. The plight of the Germans was worse than that of our men, for they were without water,and under the pressure which was brought to bear on them..."


 

(Fig.3) Again I have lifted the black to try and make more sense of the uniforms of these men in the left background.
The two men are obviously mounted soldiers, and I suspect by the cut of the tunics they are Australian Light Horse. Certainly the shoulder flashes would mark them as A.L.H. - I am sure a few members will be able to put me right here?
I am a little perplexed as to the leggings, they appear to be putties rather than the traditional Australian leather leggings - and I am unsure about the white flash that appears on the left soldiers left arm - is it some sort of rank, or perhaps only a scratch embedded on the original glass plate?

(Fig.4) The man in the rear background with his back to camera is helping to unload the first truck in the line. His flowing headdress clearly signifies he is a member of the Indian forces. A large contingent of Indian Lancers are shown earlier in the day escorting many hundreds of Turkish prisoners into Jerusalem.

An interesting observation is the rapid development of heavy vehicles, the truck trays by 1918 have become very sturdy as motorised transport becomes more powerful - although the trip for the wounded must have been extremely painful as the trucks are all fitted with solid rubber tyres - every rut in the road must have been transmitted in a non too gentle manner to the passengers.

(Fig.5) This man appears as spent as his prisoners.
Like all the men here he is covered with the fine white dust of the battlefield - his boots appear to be heavily ingrained with desert sand.
It would be interesting to hear others views - could this man be a Camelier? The shorts and putties don't seem to fit with the A.L.H. uniform, or is he a member of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles? Would someone recognise the shirt pattern? I suspect his shorts are British "Bombay Bloomers" - hopefully more information will come in.

(Fig. 6 & 7) The other men that make up the photographic puzzle - the men standing to the rear of the truck tray appear to be Turkish troops while the two men standing to the right of picture appear to be English, wearing Worsley pattern helmets.

Please jot down your feelings about this picture on this Forum thread. HERE.

A detailed copy of the original Light Horse map of the Abu Tellus battlefield is available from our maps section. This is a PDF download and shows the left hook encirclement carried out by the Wellington Mounted Rifles to close the trap shut on the advancing enemy.

Below: The image enlarged. I have cropped a little off the edges to supply a larger image here on screen - but the out-crop had no other visual information other than an extension of the fore court of some depot, such as a hospital or a military camp - I would think a military instillation is more probable, as you can see that some poor private soldier as had to paint all the tree trucks in the area white - "Blighty Fashion".

Thanks to the Horowhenua District who have posted
links to the NZMR site for their "Adopt an ANZAC" project. Visit their site HERE

Also an in-depth Data Base of local cemetery records may be researched HERE

George Washington Lambert
george washinton lambert aif artist kia ora coo-ee

When "Jonsig" mentioned he was looking about for photographs of Camelier saddles the other week, I rummaged about my records, but alas no photos that showed a cameliers saddle that would be of any use to him. However a drawing by one of the artists of the Anzac troop newspaper - "Kia Ora Coo-ee" came to mind, and I reprint it above.
I have always liked this pen and ink drawing that was printed on the cover of one of the editions published in 1918 - artist one G. W. Lambert - perhaps there is some reference here for Jonsig to follow. On looking at this drawing it certainly seems to me that although covered by a saddle cloth, this saddle looks remarkably like the one on display at the Auckland War Memorial, (see HERE).

George Washington Lambert was born in Russia in 1873, son of another George Washington Lambert, he arrived in Australia with his mother in 1887.
He became an official Australian war artist in 1917. His painting "Anzac, the landing 1915" of the landings on the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey, is the largest painting at the Australian War Memorial collection. He travelled to Gallipoli in 1919 to make sketches for the painting.
A special bio-article and items of George's art are presented at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra -HERE