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NEW ZEALAND MOUNTED RIFLES

Comments from Webmaster Steve Butler ■ Email contact
BULLS MUSEUM TREASURE

NZMRA President Greg Bradley has got a reputation of being able to track down the rare and exciting pieces of Mounted Rifles memorabilia. Now safely held by the Bulls Museum in Rangitikei (6th Manawatu Mounted Rifles territory) is a fine example of a Vet's medical wallet used in the Great War. The wallet is in fantastic condition and opening the straps is like stepping back in time, the case is still completely stocked with supplies.
In the photograph supplied by Greg we can see items placed in front of the wallet from left to right:
Measuring cup 20 oz, Methylated Spirits Canister, Glass viles Iodine Powder, Needles, Bandages, Absorbent Wool Swabs, Suture Case, Folding Scalpel, Glass viles chemical powder.

The photograph in the background shows a vet with his fine mount somewhere in Turkish Palestine circa 1917. The Veterinary Wallet, Mark III, is clearly seen strapped at the rear of the saddle.



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.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 



JOIN THE SEARCH AND FIND AN ANZAC

background photograph QAMR and CMR Trentham 1914 - foreground original photo held Auckland WMM. Computer colourised 2010
A recently presented photograph of officers of the QAMR (Queen Alexandra's Mounted Rifles) and the CMR (Canterbury Mounted Rifles) assembled together in front of the Trentham Racecourse Stand is causing members a lot of interest. This group sitting was taken within days of the Main Body departing for the Great War October 1914 and provides perhaps the clearest image of a number of officers that few, if any, visual records presently exist.
Many of these men were not to survive the turmoil's to come, including the officer inset, Lieutenant William Risk of Raetihi. William was Killed in Action at Gallipoli on the 28th August 1915 and is buried at Hill 60 Cemetery, Turkey. He was not to survive a year from when these photographs were taken. However in collecting the names of all these men we should be able to utilise the clearness of the "Trentham Photo" to recognise and date other photographs in the future.
Join the FORUM discussion on the Trentham Photograph HERE
Full Name: William Risk
Rank Last Held: Lieutenant
Serial No.: 11/600
Date of Birth: 1888
Place of Birth: Sanson, Manawatu, New Zealand
First Known Rank: Lieutenant
Occupation before Enlistment: Farmer
Next of Kin: Mrs M. Risk (mother), Raetihi, New Zealand
Marital Status: Single
Enlistment Address: Raetihi, New Zealand
Body on Embarkation: Main Body
Embarkation Unit: Wellington Mounted Rifles
Embarkation Date: 16 October 1914
Place of Embarkation: Wellington, New Zealand
Vessel: Orari or Arawa
Destination: Suez,Egypt (3 December 1914)
Page on Nominal Roll: 618
Last Unit Served: Wellington Mounted Rifles
Place of Death: Gallipoli, Turkey
Date of Death: 28 August 1915
Age at Death: 27
Year of Death: 1915
Cause of Death: Killed in action
Cemetery Name: Hill 60 Cemetery, Turkey
Grave Reference: Special Memorial. 32.
Biographical Notes:
  • Lieutenant Risk was killed in action in the second assault on Hill 60 on 28 August 1915. He was initially reported as being wounded in action.
This page re-printed in part from the Auckland War Memorial Museum Database.


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TRENTHAM Photograph
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BREAKING THE BACK

The old saying, "The Straw That Broke The Camel's Back" readily comes to mind when viewing this photograph from Trooper Albert Anderson's Collection.
Weighed down with hay this support Camel brings in the much needed feed for the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade - somewhere in Turkish Palestine. This photo was possibly taken near the Khan Yunnis area along the coast from El Arish.

As the Brigade advanced supplies of Tibbin and Hay were able to be shipped and barged up from Egypt, from the landings the camels and mules took the feed to the individual Regimental Depots in order to help satisfy the ravenous appetites of the horses working hard in the field of combat.
Other supplies also arrived by train as the railhead advanced from Kantara across the Sinai in support of the troops.
Motor transport was unreliable in the Deserts, and surprisingly the native camels of the Middle East were nowhere near as fast or efficient as the New Zealand and Australian horse in this hostile environment.
The Anzac horses were kept on the front line while camels and mules became the bulk of the transport animals. Both sides in the conflict suffered delays in critical supplies as they waited for the Engineers to reach them with railway construction.
For the Turks the problem of slow camel transport proved a costly exercise in maintaining a war footing. Unlike the British the Turks did not build a water-pipe supply and their advances across deserts required all their water to be carried by camels.
Priscilla Mary Roberts writes in her book "World War One":-

"...this seriously limited the ability of the Turks to mount an offensive across the barren Sinai Desert. It took camel trains eight days to travel the 170 miles between the Turkish railhead at Sileh and the forward forces at Beersheba, and 30,000 camels were needed to keep the Turkish forces supplied."


the straw that broke the camel's back
photograph Trooper Albert Anderson NAMR - circa 1917

WAIKATO MEN ENTRAIN FOR THE FRONT

photograph Winter Family Collection - circa 1914.

Another photograph sent in last week from John Winter from his family photos.
The question is, what more can we deduce from this old photograph from a Waikato Mounted Trooper's possessions?
Barely legible in the lower left hand corner is the notation "Waikato Mounted Rifles". The sign in the background clearly places this photograph on the Main Trunk Railway Line at Frankton Junction on the outskirts of Hamilton City, - center of the Waikato District.
The photo can also be dated by the fact the men wear their hats in the pre-departure 1914 slouch hat style, and at their feet sit their saddles.
By cross referencing from Trooper Wilfred Fitchett's Diary we can say this photo was taken midday on the 13th August 1914. This excerpt from the Fitchett Diary places the event exactly :-

"...The date I signed the attention form was August 12th 1914.
The following day twenty men, including myself, left the Hamilton Horse Bazaar after a good send off from the Mayor and rode through to Frankton where we trucked our horses.  D’Arcy Hamilton remained behind to take charge of the remount depot.  At 1pm our train left Frankton and it was not until 11pm that night that we untrucked our horses at Remuera.  Carrying our swags in front of our saddles we rode to Alexandra Park, Epsom, where the military camp was being erected..."

John sent in other items relating to Troopers Brown and Matson. I will post more information on these men in the next few days. (Thank You John).

The photograph right is a rather large gathering of the Wellington Mounted Rifles 6th Squadron ("B" Squadron) taken at Palmerston North.
Scanning the image to get full facial recognition is proving to be difficult as the original photograph is glued into a grey embossed cardboard frame, as was the normal practice of the day. This causes a problem when trying to scan an image as the height of the cardboard distances the actual photo a millimeter or two away from the focus of the glass plate of the scanning machine - making it hard to get a accurate focus of such small faces within the picture.
Hopefully we can present something better in the future - in the meantime double click on the image right - this is the best we can do at the moment. (drag scroll bars to enlarge image to fill your screen).
The writing on the card reads:
"The Crown Studios, Whalley & Co. Palmerston North. Wellington Mounted Rifles, B Squadron."


HATS OFF TO THE HORNCHURCH POST OFFICE

(21st September 2010) - Two more photographs submitted by John Winter from down Nelson way. I have combined the two images to display the men of the "Hornchurch Post Office" in this unique sitting of "Hats-on Hats-off ".
These men are Gallipoli veterans who had either been wounded or had succumbed to sickness while on active service in the Dardenelles 1915.
At the time of embarkation from the peninsular these men would have been considered to have been in serious or critical condition, and shipped on to England for intensive care at the New Zealand army base and hospital at Hornchurch, rather than being hospitalised in Egypt.
John writes in his email:-

"Photos 2 and 3 are also from my grandfathers effects. They show convalescents from the Gallipoli campaign at the Hornchurch Camp, Essex in 1916 where they were employed as Post office staff. They are a mixture of Infantry and Mounted Rifles men.
On the reverse is written L-R back row - Draper, Tollan, Jolly, Mullins, Inder, Dick, Cox. front row Brooks, Round, Lt Milroy, Catto, Winter, George Kerr...
...Draper is obviously a Mtd Rifles man, but I am puzzled by his boots and the shoulder flash on his right shoulder. he shows musketry and saddlery(?) embellishments on his right sleeve. Potentially, he is 11/1255 Trooper Ben Draper, WMR. If he is not a NZ'er, what outfit is he from?
Trooper Inder is from the AMR, either 13/78 Fred Inder or 13/195 Eric Inder
Corporal Catto is 9/803 Cpl Curll Catto, a Signals Corporal (hence the flags) attached to the OMR
Tollan, Mullins and Round are from the Canterbury Infantry Battalion, and Winter and Kerr are from the Wellington I.B. Lt Milroy is from the Otago I.B ..."
The Trooper third in from the left back row is, 11/739 Ernest Edward Jolly of the Main Body, Wellington Mounted Rifles. Notes from the Cenotaph Database state that Ernest was wounded during the attack on Chunuk Bair, one of the few WMR men to survive the attack of 8th August 1915. Records, letters and photographs are held by the Auckland War Memorial Museum and were used in a published supplement of an Anzac Day special in the New Zealand Herald 2008.
One letter written by Trooper Jolly was to his mother while convalescing at St Patrick's Hospital, Viletta [Valletta], Malta, describing his part in the attack on Chunuk Bair. [Ref. MS 1061, folder 1, item 8.]
From this record and the photograph above we can establish that he was sent onto Hornchurch England, following the steps of many of the seriously wounded men. (Read Lieutenant Colonel James McCarrolls similar route to England from Gallipoli HERE)

RETURN OF SERVICE

Original B&W photograph by Herman John Schmidt, portrait photographer 1872 - 1959. (image computer colourised 2010)

On occasion we find more than one regimental number attributed to an individual soldier's service record.
Sometimes this event took place when a soldier had previously served in the Boer War, later, he was given a new number when re-enlisting for the Great War.
In other instances a second number was given after a soldier broke into his tour of duty overseas and returned to New Zealand under orders and still on active service.

Such was the case of John Masterman's issue of dual numbers. He was first given the regimental number 5/96 when he departed with the Main Body in October 1914 as a "Driver" with the "Army Service Corps" - (all members of the ASC carried the unit prefix "5".)
Without a more detailed printout of his service we cannot be sure if Private Masterman was a Driver with the relatively new mechanised combustion engined truck transport, or a Driver of a team of horses.
Because he has listed his occupation pre-war as "Stockman" it is most likely he was a competent Teamster and therefore able to work heavy loads of the NZMR horse drawn desert Baggage Train.
Whatever his skills Private Masterman was returned to New Zealand to undergo Officer training. By November 1917 he was issued a new service number, promoted Lieutenant and returned to the Front in the Middle East with the 33rd Reinforcements New Zealand Mounted Rifles.
John hailed from Hastings and appropriately wears the insignia of the 9th East Coast Mounted Rifles - Wellington Mounted Rifles.

Before departing Wellington on the 13th November aboard the "S.S. Tofua" Lieutenant John Masterman took leave in Auckland.
We know that to be true as an original black and white glass plate photograph shown on the left (now computer colourised, 2010) was taken at the Queen Street studios of well known Auckland portrait photographer Herman Schmidt.

Footnote: The clarity from the original glass plate camera is of fantastic quality. 27,000 glass plate negatives from the Schmidt Studios were found during 1970 demolition work.

Full Name: John William Victor Masterman
Surname: Masterman
Serial No.: 5/96
First Known Rank: Driver
Next of Kin: Mrs Ada Adams (aunt), 54 Manchuria Road, Clapham Common, London S. W., England
Marital Status: Single
Enlistment Address: Okawa, Hastings, New Zealand
Military District: Wellington
Body on Embarkation: Main Body
Embarkation Unit: Army Service Corps
Embarkation Date: 16 October 1914
Place of Embarkation: Auckland, New Zealand
Vessel: Waimana
Destination: Suez, Egypt
Page on Nominal Roll: 491
Full Name: John William Victor Masterman
Surname: Masterman
Serial No.: 5/159
First Known Rank: Second Lieutenant
Occupation before Enlistment: Stockman
Embarkation Unit: 33rd Reinforcements Mounted Rifles Brigade
Embarkation Date: 13 November 1917
Place of Embarkation: Wellington, New Zealand
Vessel: Tofua
Destination: Suez, Egypt
Nominal Roll Footnotes: Ex Main Body.
Nominal Roll Number: 74
Page on Nominal Roll: 11
Sources Used: Nominal Rolls of New Zealand Expeditionary Force Volume III. Wellington: Govt. Printer, 1918

A section of four Troopers from the NZMR Brigade ride into the newly occupied city of Jaffa.
After the successful attack on Ayun Kara a few miles to the South on the 14th November 1917 the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade immediately chased the Turkish Forces North and captured the port of Jaffa on the 16th.
A few days later the New Zealanders again set out to harass the enemy, but on the 24th November the Brigade found an enemy entrenched and far from beaten, and were in turn driven back after they were unable to hold a bridgehead across the River Auja.

A few miles inland Turko German Forces surrendered Jerusalem the following month on the 9th December 1917. The war in the Middle East was not yet over with the fall of the Holy City, and periods of fierce fighting continued on until October of the following year.

This news camera footage was probably recorded late November or early December 1917 when General Chaytor and the NZMR established its Headquarters in the Jaffa Town Hall, a position seen to the right of the Tower in the newsreel (movie is set on a loop play). In behind the movie I have placed a modern colour photograph showing Yefet Street, the main street of the old city. This image is sited very close to the original news camera location. However only part of the old three storey 'Serrani' Town Hall facade is still visible in the modern photograph. Most of the old Ottoman building was destroyed on 4 January 1948 when members of a militant group, the "Lehi", detonated a truck bomb outside the Town Hall killing 26 people. - the City today is planning to rebuild the old civic building.

note: movie is 1 meg in size and may take a little while to download for those on dialup connections.



photograph Captain H.S. White collection

(Updates 12th September 2010)
One day after we published the "Jaffa-Movie" above we have two quick responses from members of the public.
Top: David Porter in England sent us a further photo from a collection of images he holds for the White Family. Captain White served with the Somerset Royal Horse Artillery and took some magnificent shots of the NZMR at Belah - those earlier photos can be seen HERE.
David writes-

Amazed to see the Jaffa images on your update.
I'm sending another of Capt. H. S. White's photos taken in the same spot.
Quite incredible!
Regards,
David Porter

Right: Dieter Gruen in Germany sent this picture of members of the NZMR outside the "Jaffa Municipal Building" - circa 1917.
Note: Clock Tower stands at the right edge of frame.