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NEW ZEALAND MOUNTED RIFLES


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MAKING AN ASS OF YOURSELF

photograph Corporal Alfred Anderson - circa 1916
The judge, an Australian Light Horseman, declares a decrepit NZMRifleman winner of the "Anzac Fancy Dress Competition", somewhere in the Deserts of Sinai Palestine.
It was not easy for the men to obtain leave when based many miles from civilization and various competitions where arranged by the men themselves to keep their spirits up and keep fit and ready for any eventuality. Events such as Boxing, and mounted tug-o-war, where teams of men contested bare-back on their horses, were common moments of relief from harsh desert life.
Obviously the winner of the Fancy Dress stuck a chord with all the judges. The soldier sits mounted on an old and frail Ass. The placard hanging from around his mounts neck reads: "A Young Trooper Waiting For Leave."

As of the 12th July I will be absent from the website for a few weeks as I take a holiday break. Therefore this "Updates Page" will be inactive until the end of the month. However Greg and the boys are ever present on our Forum to help or answer your questions.


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.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 



ENGINEERS MOBILISE "WATER MATERIALS"

A series of photographs from the diary of Major John Alexander, Officer Commanding the Field Engineers of the Anzac Mounted Division. All items involved in seeking and finding water were labled by him as "Water Materials".

Each photograph was numbered and used to describe the new tack and equipment designed by himself and his Engineers while on active service of the Sinai Desert.
Spearpoint Pumps were developed to drive straight into the sandy soil to pump water to the surface, greatly reducing the time to obtain water for the thousands of men and horses fighting hard to push the Turko-German Forces out of the the Sinai and the threat to the Suez Canal.

Although a 12" water pipe was also being constructed by other Engineers as the force pushed out from Egypt, this proved to move too slowly. The Anzac fighting troops needed to find water on their deep penetrating patrols well away from the coast, and these men and horses (right) were pivotal to that success.

Camels were deemed to move far too slowly for the Anzac horsemen, although some Camels were retained by the Engineers to bring up galvanized iron "Well-sets" that were used once the Division had moved forward and required more permanent troughs for the animals.

A series on John Alexander and his men is being developed on a new page HERE


No.2 TROOP AUCKLAND MOUNTED RIFLES

photograph Corporal Alfred Anderson - circa 1919
A casual and impromptu group shot from the camera of Corporal Alfred Anderson, titled "No.2 Troop" appears to be recorded in Egypt, as an Egyptian Policeman stands on the right of the photograph.
This image probably taken early 1919 when the AMR retired from Palestine after the Armistice of November 1918 and were sent to station the hotspots in the Delta region of Egypt when civilian riots broke out early 1919.

right:
A close-up segment from the group shows and unidentified sergeant. Clearly seen are the collar and hat badges of the Auckland Mounted Rifles 3rd Squadron, and below his sergeant stripes on the right forearm are the multiple service chevrons of a long tour serviceman. Men that served on Gallipoli wore a distinctive red chevron as the lowermost chevron of the group. Each subsequent stripe represented an additional years war service.

Of interest is the cloth or canvas "dust-cover" wrapped about the bolt, trigger and magazine sections of the 303 service rifle.
above: Cloth long service chevrons, worn lower right sleeve. Veterans were given a distinctive red chevron to represent active service on Gallipoli.


WELLINGTON SONS AT REST

photograph: Trooper William Henderson - 1918

Alexandra Henderson has been kind enough to send in the first of a series of photographs taken by her father, 50736 Trooper William Roy Henderson of the Wellington Mounted Rifles while on service with the Regiment in Turkish Palestine. He was a member of the 31st Reinforcements.
This image taken in 1918 shows a Wellingtonian trooper holding the reins of "Bill's" horse in front of the isolated graves of three troopers who fell during the "Action at Ayun Kara" 14th November 1917.
The markers record the names of Wellington Mounted Riflemen:
11/368 Sergeant Claude Rouse
11/564 Saddler Edwin Baldwin
12557 Trooper Thomas Bags Dyke.

I know a number of our members will be interested in this image as it may divulge the burial site location in this wide angle shot. This also proves that the Wellington men were first interned separately on the battlefield from the other Brigade dead, and indeed separate from other men of their Regiment who were killed over a large area around Richon le Zion.

All the NZMR men who were Killed in Action this day were eventually reburied at the Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery at Ramelh, Israel.
Claude Rouse, grave reference M. 8
Edwin Baldwin, grave reference B. 54
Thomas Dyke, grave reference B. 60

below, the transcribed Regimental War Diary for the Wellington Mounted Rifles for the 14th November 1917.
War Diary

Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment
Summary of events and information.

Remarks and references: Palestine 1/63360 sheet 16

November 14th 1917
At 0815 the Regiment moved N.E. along the road towards YEBNA with the Brigade and at 0915 crossed the bridge in Square W. 16 B. and moved independently N.W. down the WADI EL TANHANAT and watered the horses in the WADI about Square V21 C & D, the 9th Squadron (Major Wilder) holding the ground to the N.N.E., of the WADI while the remainder of the Regiment entered.  At 1115 the Regiment less 2nd and 9th Squadrons joined the Brigade at EL KUBEIBEH.  At 1125 the 6th Squadron (Major Sommerville) moved to the North of KUBEIBEH. And moved along the left of an orange grove in support of C.M.R. coming under heavy Machine Gun and rifle fire.
(Sgd) E. MacIntyre, Captain
Adjudant W.M.R., Regiment.

14th
About 1200 the 2nd and 9th Squadrons rejoined the Regiment.
At 1330 the 9th Squadron advanced against position in V 13 a coming under heavy Machine Gun and rifle fire.  The position was rushed with bayonet and the hill cleared, the enemy retiring leaving about 20 dead and two Machine Guns (including a British Lewis) Gun in our possession.  The 9th Squadron pushed forward on to the next ridge about 1200 yards to the NORTH where they were held up by Machine Gun and rifle fire.
At 1330 the 2nd Squadron (Captain Herrick) and 2 M.G. took up a position in old enemy trenches in Square V 13 and from which oblique fire could be bought to bear on the enemy pressing on the left of 9th Squadron and A.M.R., right.
At 1330 an order was received from Brigade to support A.M.R. on the left who were being heavily counter attacked so at 1400 the 2nd Squadron (Captain Herrick) galloped forward and rushed the hill on the left of the 9th Squadron held by M.G. and enemy riflemen, rushed and cleared the position, capturing a M.G., and killing a number of retreating enemy.
From here enfilade fire was bought to bear on the enemy attacking A.M.R., who were forced to retire after suffering heavy casualties.
At 1600 the 6th Squadron charged the position in front of them.
(Sgd) E. MacIntyre, Captain,
Adjudant, W.M.R., Regiment

[Transcribers note: page ends, Regimental War Diary continues]

14th … clearing it, and capturing more M.G., and inflicting heavy casualties amongst the enemy.
With the advance of the 9th Squadron pushed forward slightly to the right.  At dusk the firing ceased and the line prepared to hold on for the night.  Rifle pits were constructed and listening posts put out and touch gained with C.M.R. on the right and A.M.R. on the left – see next page.

15th  0400 the Regiment stood to arms and the line reported all clear.  At 0600 in full daylight there was no sign of the enemy in front who had retired during the night.  This was confirmed later by C.M.R., who sent out patrols to the village NORTH of KUBEIBEH and to point 240 who reported all clear.
Our casualties, Captain Herrick, and 10 men killed.  Lieutenant Baigent and 38 O/ranks wounded.  Lieutenant W.R. Foley, Lieutenant E.R. Black, and 2 O/ranks wounded and remained on duty.  Captures, 5 M.Gs., and 2 British Lewis Guns and innumerable rifles and ammunition.  Prisoners 2 Officers (one wounded) and 7 O/ranks while about 25 wounded Turks were evacuated.
Enemy casualties :- 150 Turkish dead were left lying on the position.

(Sgd) E. MacIntyre, Captain
Adjudant, W.M.R. Regiment.
[Transcribers note: War Diary continues next page with new entry. ]

The 9th Squadron under Major A.S. Wilder M.C.. gallantly stormed the position on V at the point of the bayonet capturing one M.G. and one Lewis Gun and killing a large number of the enemy.  From this position the Squadron pressed on to a ridge about 1200 yards to the NORTH where it was held up by heavy fire but on the 2nd Squadron taking the ridge on its left at 1600 the Squadron rushed the position with the bayonet routing the enemy and capturing more Machine Guns.  The following officers and other ranks did good work during this action.
Major A.C. Wilder M.C.
Lieutenant W.R. Foley
11/1257 L/Corporal L. Woodward.
11/973 Corps A.H. Barwick
11/1255 Corps B. Draper

[Transcribers note: War Diary continues next page]

When a strong force of the enemy were counter attacking our lines (Lieutenant, Temp Captain) A.D. Herrick gallantly galloped at the head of the 2nd Squadron under heavy M.G. and rifle fire to a position 200 yards of the enemy holding the ridge on the left of 9th Squadron.  From here the enemy position was rushed, capturing a Machine Gun that was inflicting heavy casualties amongst our troops and from this position was able to enfilade a force of the enemy who were working round the flank this forcing three other enemy M.G.’s to retire that were inflicting heavy casualties on the Auckland Regiment, and on our own 9th Squadron.  He was twice wounded after taking up his position but continued to direct the fire and movements of his men until he received a fatal wound.
Throughout he displayed great leadership, initiative and most daring and his magnificent example was a great stimulant to all the men under him.
On Captain Herrick being killed Lieutenant C.J. Pierce took over command of the 2nd Squadron and handled his men very ably and efficiently and did gallant service.  The following also did good work during this action.
2/Lieutenant W.J. Hollis
11/768 Corporal L. Gledhill
11/1457 Corporal H.A. Martin
11/1487 Trooper A.F. Perrott
10/3619 Trooper C.R. Kelland

[Transcribers note: end of WMR reports for 14th November 1917 – Brigade moves next day towards Jaffa.
Transcribed from originals, file references 4-35-5-29part one - by Steve Butler June 2010. ]

THE SHORT AND TALL OF IT!
North Auckland Mounted Rifleman Alfred Anderson has written on the back of this photograph "Corporal J. Mitchell".
Records show three men from the Auckland Mounted Rifles region carried the initial "J" with the surname Mitchell, however this man is probably 13/2596 Joseph Peters Mitchell, of the 8th Reinforcements NZMR as his enlistment address is notated as 'Kohukohu' in Auckland's far North - the area from where Alfred and most of his mates in his signal section came from and stayed together during the conflict.
Of special interest in this photo is the size of Mitchell's horse. The New Zealand horses, some well in excess of 15 hands were very common. We can see here that Corporal Mitchell's eye level is the same height of his horses withers.
There were certainly pros and cons regarding troop preference of animal size. Shorter statured animals were preferred for pack animals because of the continual lifting of heavy equipment from the ground to the animals back. Less distance, less strain on the men's backs. Machine Gunners usually requested stocky mounts because of lifting concerns.

THE DIVINE MAJOR ALEXANDER
name:
John Howard ALEXANDER

born:
Dublin 1880

death:
post WW2 - 194?
first known rank:
Trooper, Boer War
first unit:
Royal Irish Yeomanry
rank WW1:
Major Royal Engineers
unit served:
ANZAC Mounted Division:
specialist:
Officer Commanding Field Engineers
awards:
D.S.O.
Military Cross 26th June 1916
4 times Mentioned in Dispatches.
rank post WW1:
Lieutenant Colonel
married:
Francis Marie (nee Callow)
1920: appointed
Military Director of the Baghdad Railways
more information
Photograph colour computerised from image circa 1914 - negative held
Natal Museum, Pietermaritzburg S.A.

THE IRISH ANZAC
 

Irishman Major John Howard Alexander came from the Royal Engineers to become O.C. Anzac Mounted Division, Field Engineers. His innovation and design enhanced, and greatly improved, water pumps of the day. His developments allowed the Anzacs to cross the Sinai Desert with great speed. Driving the "Spearpoint Pump" with either sledge hammers or monkey-pulley bars allowed troops to penetrate quickly straigh through loose sand to access water tables found in depressions near Hods, without utilizing time consuming well digging with pick and shovel.

Above: A section from a technical drawing, signed by "JHAleaxander-Major R.E." shows the detail of design made by Alexander for development of the Spear Pump and couplings from both the earlier "G.S. (General Service) Lift and Force Pump" and the "Worthington Pump" and fabricated either in factories in Cairo or by the Engineers in Desert Workshops. A double brass gauze perforation allowed the pump to be driven down without clogging with sand.
Camels proved too slow in keeping up with the Mounted Riles advance - horses took over the duties with new tack also designed and constructed in the desert by Alexander and his Engineers. (note cone shape gauze tip of the "Spear" head.)
Photograph center of Major John Alexander seated, surrounded by his support Officers. Left to right. Lieutenant Howard Alexander, Formerly of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles and Lieutenants Mascallan and Broadbury.

Page under construction for Alexander and his water diviners HERE.
Forum subject open for research - your input HERE