21st Anniversary issue
penny and half-penny
50th Anniversary issue
4 penny and 5 penny
90th Anniversary of
An intriguing look at the stance and the mind set of the population of Colonial New Zealand that is reflected here in a report from Parliament - printed in the press of the day 1899.
A NEW ZEALAND CONTINGENT FOR THE TRANSVAAL.
FOLLOWING THE TRAIL OF A VRYHEID VETERAN
There are many thousands of individual stories of the Mounted Troops of the NZMR. Some known but most lost in the course of time as the people that knew the individual have also passed on.
Sometimes records of little quirky things arrive that pull at your thoughts and make you ask; "How did that happen?"
One such find happened on the other side of the globe last week when David Porter was going through files as he continues his research into the Somersets and Ayrshire Artillery Regiments that were engaged with the Anzacs during WW1.
David relates of his find:
I was browsing through some Ayrshire battery pension records on Ancestry early this morning. Quite suddenly one turned into that of a New Zealand Mounted Rifles man injured in 1901. The man is 4656 Trooper Richard Young who was shot in the chest on November 5th 1901. Details are in the attached 4 pages but there are a few more there and some duplicates. If you want to track them down - search for John Young 602242 in Pensions and the other (unindexed) record starts from page 24677 of 26007. It would be interesting to find out if Trooper Young was in Egypt & Palestine alongside the battery.
Other than that I can see no reason why his papers turn up in those of the Ayrshire man. Kind Regards,
Instead of letting this little mystery sit gathering dust I thought Trooper Richard Young would be a good subject for members to get their teeth into, after all; How many crosswords do you need to do over this Christmas break?
I have filed copies of Richard Young's papers HERE
. (note download 1.8megs
) For you to begin the journey of the Boer War man who was shot near Vryheid 5th November 1901
The questions that need to be asked:
Did he also serve in the Great War? He would have been in his late 30's then.
Is he the same man as a "Richard Young" that served with the NZ Infantry in WW1?
Why would his pension application be held in England?
Tantalizing little mystery - and I am getting to understand the action's of Boer General, Louis Botha as he attempted to punch south towards Cape Town past Vryheid all those years ago.
Tell me what you find on our Forum Thread
"WELL AND TRUELIES" OFF TO WELLYWOOD ?
Film-maker Peter Jackson is looking at the possibility of making his own Gallipoli movie as the April 2015 centenary of the ill-fated Anzac landings on the peninsula in World War I gets closer.
"I have been thinking about it recently," Jackson told Australia's ABC.
Jackson considered making a film of the battle from a New Zealand perspective years ago, to complement Australian director Peter Weir's 1981 film Gallipoli.
Now the director and producer has a more balanced version in mind.
"I have been thinking that I'd do it much more from a combined Australian and New Zealand point of view. I don't think that we need necessarily to tell a film from a New Zealand perspective because the Anzac tradition, the Australian and New Zealand, were so intertwined in that particular campaign that I think it would be a mistake.
"To me, it's a remarkable part of our history and Peter Weir obviously made a great movie but Peter's movie was set around events of August 7th, August 8th, 1915.
"Gallipoli was a seven or eight month long campaign and that story is yet to be told on film, so I'd like to do that."
Jackson said he did not have any sort of "game plan" in terms of the type of movies he made, but chose those which got him interested and excited, rather than repeating himself - part of the reason why he decided not to direct The Hobbit movies after the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
His grandfather was at Gallipoli and won a distinguished conduct medal.
"I went to Gallipoli in 1990 for the 75th anniversary. That was the amazing year where ... 50 of the original diggers were there".
He said that the men - the youngest was 92, the oldest was 103 - looked around as the dawn broke.
"It was an amazing experience to see them all looking at this landscape that most of them hadn't seen since 1915, hadn't seen it for 75 years."
Jackson was involved in the restoration of the only movie film known to have taken of the Anzacs at Gallipoli, a newsreel from 1916.
The grainy, wobbling footage shot by Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett, an English war correspondent, in July 1915 showed a line of soldiers engaged in a vigorous trench fire-fight with their Turkish enemy perhaps not more than 10m away.
And scenes from Quinn's Post, the most dangerous spot on Gallipoli in 1915, are thought have been of New Zealanders - the Wellington Battalion commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel William Malone. (NZPA report 17th December 09)
THE SACRED AND SCARRED EARTH
Photographs: Above: Alexander Turnbull -1915
Right: Lieutenant Thomas Lang (circa 1917)
Above: On the battle weary slopes of Gallipoli a wooden cross marks the grave of Auckland Mounted Rifleman, 13/2243 Sergeant William Robert Richardson, 6th Reinforcements NZMR. William was Killed in Action, 5th December 1915. His body was later re-interned at Embarkation Pier Cemetery, Turkey (Sp.mem. D. 26).
A further reference on Sergeant Richardson may be found in "Bloody Gallipoli, the New Zealanders' Story", Richard Stowers. Auckland: David Bateman; 2005
Right: In Europe troops had erected concrete piles to protrude out of the ground in attempts to foil the advance of the newly invented Tanks. However In Turkish Palestine, where Tanks were virtually useless against the fine sand that penetrated and ceased bearings and combustion engines - Tuko-German soldiers resorted to digging large pot holes in front of trench lines in an effort to cripple charging Anzac horses from breaching their lines.
Over 8 Million horses were killed during the Great War 1914-18. (source: "Animals in War" and British War Office records)
NOW HERE'S A GOOD IDEA FOR CHRISTMAS
All my Christmas' seem to have come at once - Just back from a great "Wine-Trail Adventure" in the Hawkes Bay, scenery and weather superb. And in the post Richard Stower's truly lovely presented book "WAIKATO TROOPERS" is there in the letter-box.
Richard will need no introduction to most of you, but for those who do; Richard is a diligent historian who has put together a number of publications on New Zealands past. His "Kiwi versus Boer", "Forest Rangers", "New Zealand Medal to Colonials", "Rough Riders at War", "Bloody Gallipoli" and "Blue Devils" make a very impressive collection to anyone's library.
So, do you want this great 320 page book full of excellent reproduced photographs and stories of men of the Waikato Mounted Rifles?
Then just leave this page sitting up on the screen, then carefully lean back and ask the wife if she would like a nice cuppa and a biscuit - make some complementary reference like - "Gee honey, this looks like a great book" - then leave the room - the wife will get up and take a quick peek and she will then be able find out that she can contact the author direct :
$30 + $8 P&P for NZ residents
Post Cheque or money order
RD4 Hamilton 3284
Now sit back and wait for Santa!
An Open Letter to Television New Zealand
Reference: Television Broadcast of the programme "Day of Shame", Sunday 22nd November 2009
It is with great sadness that we are drawn to comment on your programme broadcast last Sunday evening on Television One. The poor research and presentation of the facts of the terrible incident that took place in Surafend ninety years ago was well below the standard of reporting that we New Zealanders expect of our National Broadcaster.
That a New Zealand Soldier was murdered and that men of a Bedu village were beaten to death in retribution for that murder can never be denied. It was indeed a 'Day of Shame' and no member of our Association would condone, or would we attempt to trivialise such an event. Members of the New Zealand, Australia and British armed forces did commit murder.
However the presentation by your reporter, and the background work by your research team are sadly adrift on many facts and points. The misrepresentation of figures, the omissions others, the absence of relevant material regarding the non-cooperation of British Command and English Field Police, and the inability of the reporter to understand the true meaning of the words interpreted by the old Arab villager resulted in an exceedingly unbalanced story. The programme, in part was untrue.
We are perturbed at some aspects of the rostrum editing in the programme. The use of hordes of mounted troops intermingled with scenes of blazing infernos, silhouetted with gun-armed men to underline the narrators words, infers that the Anzac and British soldiers who entered the village that night were in full combat mode and on horse. The men in fact were on foot and carried batons and bayonets. And so it is reasonable to assume that due to the inactivity of the authorities regarding a criminal investigation of the soldier's death, these men were intent on winkling out the murderer of Trooper Lowry themselves. Certainly this is the belief of many of the men who wrote of the incident later. Obviously the intent to only apprehend the murderer went terribly wrong.
At no time in your television program was any mention made of the events that occurred immediately after Lowry's murder. The public should have been informed that after Lowry screamed out, when he was shot, men of the NZMR scrambled out and followed the murderer's tracks to the Arab village of Surafend. These troops immediately surrounded the village refusing to let anybody in or out. At dawn the next morning New Zealand Commander, General Edward Chaytor, appointed a senior officer to take control of the picket cordon and he sent a staff officer to GHQ.
In his message Chaytor informed the British that they needed to send troops immediately to defuse the situation and apprehend the murderer, and warned them of the inflamed passion aroused in his men. He recommended Military Police involvement - The request was ignored. Chaytor then personally reported to GHQ to request Military Police to intervene. Instead of turning out and attending to the crime, GHQ responded by ordering the men cordoning off Surafend to be broken up by force if necessary. Chaytor reluctantly then ordered his men to disperse. As the men retreated back to camp the Arab inhabitants begin streaming out of the village, which further angered the men.
While this lack of British response to resolve the issue in no way condones what happened that night, when members of the British Artillery, Australian Light Horse and the New Zealand Mounted Rifles went to get their murderer, such information would have brought more balance to the item.
Mr Sinclair makes only a fleeting reference to any other troop involvement and continues to repeat that New Zealanders did the killings. By this repeated use of the words ‘New Zealand’ the viewer is led to believe they are the only troops involved.
It is however the next segment of your program that causes the most concern.
Standing on the brick and concrete rubble of the evacuated British Military Camp at Surafend Mr. Sinclair makes a truly outlandish claim. He states to camera:
"One of the great mysteries of this massacre is exactly how many Arabs did we kill? Well, accepted figures range from 20 maybe 40, see nobody seems to have actually gone out and counted a proper body count. They are only Arabs after all! Except for one man, an Australian soldier, a former policeman, says he got up next morning and counted not 20, not 40, not fifty corpses but no less than 137."
The scene changes from a head-shot of Mr Sinclair to a rostrum image of a hand written letter of the document Mr Sinclair is using to endorse his statement of 137 bodies. He then informs the viewer by voice-over:
"Trooper Ambrose Mulhall's account is preserved in Australian archives." States Mr. Sinclair, leaving the viewer in no doubt that this account is the source of his figure of 137 dead bodies left behind at Surafend.
A voice-over continues, supposedly highlighting further text in the document. "It was the most gruesome sight, the manner in which their heads were bashed and battered" And so ends this segment that we wish to comment on.
The document your programmers showed was indeed part of a three-page letter written by former mounted policeman, and Australian Light Horseman, 3180 Trooper Ambrose Stephen Mulhall, 1st LHR. We hold copies of this letter, including Internal Affairs transcriptions and correspondence, a total of seven sheets of written material from the official file. The originals are held in National Archives, Australia. The letter was written seventeen years after the event in 1936 to Senator Sir George Pearce. The letter is in part a statement by him, that no Australians were involved that night in the Surafend Incident. A claim that has been proved wrong by many other substantiated reports and courts of inquiry. What is of serious concern, for any accuracy in your programme, is that at no point in this document did Mulhall make any statement that he counted 137 corpses.
In referring to the appropriate section of text the transcription reads:
"The following morning at 7am I was at the Bedouin village which was then a mass of ruins: every hut had been fired. I counted the dead and made a general observation of the whole affair. I was astounded at seeing so many with their heads battered." There is no mention of a figure 137 or any other figure relating to a body count in the whole document.
Mr Sinclair makes other statements which are not complete - by omission of facts he leads the viewer to believe that only New Zealanders were involved. He states: "Our restitution for our part in the killing of up to 137 civilians, a payment of just £858.11.5"
To tell the viewer also that British restitution amounted to more than £686, and the Australian restitution payment came to £515.2.9 would have balanced the report. Inclusion of these figures would have shown the public this was not just a New Zealand affair. Mr Sinclair chose not to do that.
Another issue in the item we wish to draw your attention to is the interview of the Arab family.
Mr. Sinclair asks an elderly Arab, "This man who killed the New Zealander, who was he?"
The old man replies through the interpreter that he remembers that nobody in his village knew who he was, he was from another village. Mr. Sinclair seizes on the point and says: "Are you saying the New Zealanders punished the wrong village?" "Yes", replies the old man through the interpreter, " I think it was a mistake because he was from Nes Tsiona".
This is a misleading answer that allowed the family to sidestep any complicity of their village in Lowry's murder.
However if Mr Sinclair or his researches had paid attention to that statement they would have understood they had just been given the run round. Nes Tsiona is a Jewish farming settlement, and no Jew was ever caught stealing or murdering anybody in the British forces in WW1. No Jew would have run from a British Camp in the middle of the night into Surafend, an Arab village, and expect to live. Quick research would have shown that no Arab has ever lived in Nes Tsiona.
But in hindsight we don't think Mr Sinclair was interested in accuracy.
What the corporation must look at now is that after the screening of this program, TVNZ newsreaders began news items the following night reporting as fact the number 137 and "Over a Hundred" deaths happened at Surafend at the hands of New Zealanders.
That the tragedy of Surafend took place is not denied, but in the interests of the solemn vow we intone every Anzac Day - "We will remember them", and the proud record of men who accomplished extraordinary feats, in a campaign which few New Zelanders know of, the record needs to be set right. Over 17,000 New Zealanders served with the New Zealand Mounted Rifles in WW1, and perhaps 100 New Zealand men could have been involved in the Surafend murders. Our fighting men who sacrificed much need more to their memory than the slipshod sensationalist journalism of National Television that was displayed in your program.
A further letter will be sent to the Complaints Tribunal for investigation.
Signed on behalf of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Association.
Steve Butler. (Historian and Records NZMRA).
More information regarding Trooper Mulhall's letter used in reference to the Surafend Incident of 10th December 1917.
The translation of the Mulhall document writtewn in 1936 and translated that year into plain text has been missing a number of lines of script - However the essence of Mulhall's statements were all hinged on the fact that "No Australian's were involved in the massacre". Unfortunately Trooper Mulhall was mistaken and he was proved wrong. Therefore his testimony can't be recognised as solid or in anyway reliable when it was used in a recent documentary.
But what exactly was written in Mulhall's hand in 1936 and kept in its own Mulhill Correspondence folder in National Archives.
I therefore submit today my transcription of the document which I transcribed this week (28th November 09). This document was truly difficult to decipher, the author had a terrible script and the text is almost undecipherable. I have placed in ordinary brackets ( ) those words I think are the actual words written. I have used asterisks ****** were I am unable to decipher the word. I use spaces between asterisks ***** **** to show the number of words I am unable to decipher. I use straight brackets [ ] to enclose possible ideas the author is trying to make - this is NOT Mulhalls words but my guess.
This letter is not a document a reliable documentary maker would use as its center point of a program - But you make up your own mind.
Here below is the content of the letter that was shown by TVNZ in its rostrum camera footage in the program "Day of Shame" and then voice-overed by Mr. Sinclair to endorse that this document states 137 deaths at Surafend - the exact document on file at National Archives Australia:
Folder held National Archives, Australia.
External Affairs Department. 237 – Number: Personal M.
Subject A. S. Mulhall.
The Surafend Incident – December 1918
To the Hon. Senator
Sir George Pearce K.C.V.D.
No 8 Mauson Street
17th July 1936
I desire to ask if you could be good enough to furnish me with a copy of the report that was made to you at that time as responsible Minister (The Minister for Defence) relative to the Bedouin Massacre in Palestine in December 1918.
On the Sunday following General Allenby addressed the remnants of the Division and accused us all and sundry of being cold blooded murderers and cowards.
Later Allenby went to England and in a speech at Dover, England Allenby said, among other things, the Australian Light Horsemen were no other than a lot of Murderers and cowards.
This part of his speech was cabled to Australia and published in the Sydney Sun Newspaper.
I was one of those encamped in that area at the time I saw Sergeant Lowry the New Zealander buried. I also heard the rifle shot that night. The following morning at 7 am I went to the Bedouin Village, which was then a mass of ruins, every hut had been fired. I counted the dead and made a general observation of the whole affair. I was astounded at seeing so many with their heads bashed and battered, (indeed **** appears) to be the work of ***** soldiers. Being an experienced man in crime and detection have I had [sic] been a member of the N.S.W. Mounted and from which I had resigned to enlist for War Service.
I decided there and then to go right into the whole matter. The whole thing was so inhuman the way they had been done to death and briefly this is the result of my investigation.
In the first place it was the New Zealanders affair it was a New Zealand soldier who had been murdered by a Bedouin this led to the cause of the killings.
After the funeral at of Lowry on the Monday morning a meeting was held near the Bedouin Village it was decided to raid the village that night and get Lowry Murderer [page one ends]
They also decided to send a dispatch rider around to the Aussie camps in the area for reinforcements. It was December and night at 6pm. Shortly after this dispatch rider left on his mission he became confused with the lights at the [Name of Camp –Aussie?] Camp. He lost his way and returned to the village but didn’t ***** *****.
He had visited the Tommy Artillery Camp and informed them. Artillerymen are not issued with rifles. The Tommys decided to join the New Zealanders in full force and having no rifles they decided and which they did take wooden and iron bludgeons with them to the village.
Ten minutes were given to the Bedouins to hand over the Bedouin murderer of Sergeant Lowry. But this the Bedouins (point) blank refused.
All women and children under the age of 16 years were escorted from the village, and placed under guard on a hillside ***** **** ****. Then the mad orgy commenced.
The New Zealanders with their rifles and the Tommys with their bludgeons bashing and (bludgeoning?) them (viciously?) to death.
There was only three Regiments of Australians encamped in that area at the time, the 1st ALH, the 3rd ALH and the CH ALH regiment. The Australians were not ******* place that night. They did not know there was any trouble taking place in the village that night. I was engaged for some days on this investigation and I say definitely no official inquiry was held during that week. It was on the following Sunday Allenby had made his charges. He said ***** ****** were ************** [Transcribers note: Allenby is I believe stating he knows who the men where that were involved] and they know all about it but they are not game enough to come forward and say. I had full information these ******* them. But I never had an opportunity neither secretly or otherwise to tell Allenby that it was all cold blooded pommy and C***** who did this massacre slayings.
Allenby hated us Australians and he put his spite on to us.
Sir Henry Gullett in his book the Official History of the Palestine Campaign is all wrong. He was never near the place. He says Lowry chased the Bedouin through the sand hills, there were no sand hills within 3 miles of the place where Lowry was shot. He also says guards were placed around the village that night and all next day, which was all baloney nothing was done until after the (retreat) the following evening. Gullett has usually written on hearsay and (flimsy) hearsay at that. [page two ends]
Then Mr. Geo (Sayer) who presided over a court of inquiry said that ample proof was given that the Australians were there in large numbers. At the same time Mr Bell strictly avoids mentioning which units they belonged to. But he cannot escape there, he must speak in the near future. (Muckraking) over the Australians name has been (linked together) in the foulest crime in history and we are innocent men. And it is really (the likes of) me when realising the terrible reality of it all, it was most gruesome sight it would be possible to describe to see those corpses lying there, heads bashed and battered and the (huts smouldering besides). And after (completing) many (inquiries), I said then the New Zealanders were foolish taking those Pommy ******** in with them. (For this) New Zealanders must now take the full blame for the stupid (senseless) destruction of life. Little knowing we would feel the shame and disgrace of it all (crash) upon us, and the New Zealanders and the ******** would escape.
Now the last lying statements of Allenby involves 50,000 Australians, are you prepared to allow your own Australians, your own countrymen, innocent men, to be condemned like this.
Years I have been working to clear the stigma from us.
The time has not been opportune, I tried when Allenby was in Australia, but our so called *********** ( were commissioned?) to defend themselves
For four years of war we stand by England, (each and) everyone a voluntary soldier. The greatest soldiers the world has ever (seen) and when England [Transcribers guess: won and were on safe ground, the] England Field Marshall dumped us and branded us in the eyes of the world as the lowest things on God’s Earth.
But 1937 will (send) England back to 1914, then I am (moving) forward. Our name is going to be cleared of this terrible crime. None regard it more (sincerely) than I do.
So serious do I view it, I have all the facts in detail written out and in the (sacred) care of (soldiers). So that should I be (bumped) off (our cause) will still be cleared. England is going to care for her own (crisis). It does (not) matter about Allenby being dead. The England Government will shoulder full responsibility for this (hardship.)
You will hopefully send me a copy of that report.
A.S. Mulhall. [end]
[Transcriber Steve Butler NZMRA]
*New Trooper Histories Trooper James Hamilton Russell
THE MOST POPULAR MAN IN THE DESERT CAMPAIGN
original Photograph Thomas John Lang collection circa 1917 - computer colourised.
This photograph titled "Bivvy and Office" shows 15/118 Lieutenant Tom Lang of the New Zealand Army Pay Corps. Tom's job of issuing the men's pay in the field made him the most popular man in the Army. He sits here outside his bivvy making entries into a Regimental Spreadsheet. Lieutenant Lang
departed New Zealand with the 2nd Reinforcements in December 1914. Unfortunately Tom was destined not to survive the war, he fell ill and died of disease 18th July 1918.
Enlistment details give his address as Wellington but he hailed from Victoria in Australia where his extended family still live, and who have faithfully cared for his possessions sent home after his death. The Association is fortunate to have been contacted by his great niece Beryl who is keen for our Association and the Bulls Museum to hold duplicates of his photographs and records which we intend to post on our website over the coming weeks.
The photographs Tom took cover subjects as varied as the WMR performing Gas Drills in the desert, The Rarotongans working ammunition at Belah, to Camels transporting Fantasees and a nice image of the two Krupp guns captured by the WMR at the first attack on Gaza, 26th March 1917.
Beryl Henderson writes from Australia:
The photos were taken by my Great Uncle, Lieutenant Thomas John Lang, born 1892 in Wonwondah, Victoria, to Thomas and Mary Lang. Thomas Jnr (Tom) joined the N.Z. Army, in 1914, his serial no was 15/118 and he was in the Army Pay Corps division as he had been a clerk before the war. Tom died in Cairo, Egypt, from pneumonia and malaria and is remembered in the Cairo War Memorial Cemetery on the C.W.G. site. We do not know why he went to N.Z. to join the Army. His brother Horace was in the Australian Army and also lost his life in 1917 at Villers-Bretonneux so was it a very sad time for his family.
Tom's small fragile photo album has been much treasured by my late Mum who remembered him, and she handed it down to me, and it is a special part of my family history.