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Mystery QAMR photo

PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 2:27 pm
by andy
This is another one from my Elmslie file. I think they are possibly QAMR men at the Waverley racecourse prior to departure for Gallipoli in late 1914 and that might be Major Jim Elmslie fourth from right in the bottom row. However, as there is nothing written on the photo (including its reverse side) I cannot be sure about any of those assumptions! Can anyone help? Lots of braid on the sleeves would seem to indicate men of rank in the front row.

Re: Mystery QAMR photo

PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:06 pm
by Steve_Butler
Great shot Andy.

The man that stands out for me, and I have seen him in a number of photos now, always wearing leather leggings and slouch hat prior to the 1914 departure is Major Wain, Officer Commanding 8th Sqd CMR - he is seated front row third in from the left.
His white hair and moustache always a good reference.
He was a "Boer War" man and we can see him here again in this image below sitting first on left front row - his South African Medal proudly mounted on his chest.
On first look this photo too seems to be at the same venue looking at the seating in the background - however the picket fence is not replicated in the first image - the stadium supports appear to be painted white in the first image and tinted a colour in the second.

However all the officers in this photo wear hats slouch, whereas the one above most wear MR crease style.
In the first photo 7 men wear campaign ribbons - in the photo above only 2 possibly 4 - my thinking is this first photo is of the CMR around 1910 - with a number of officers retiring from the Regiment before 1914, all wear leather leggings and replaced by putties 1914. (delete that thought - they would then be wearing their hats slouch - hmmm re-think)
I am intrigued by the officer 5 in on the top row in the first photo - he has deliberately taken a stance on a quarter turn to his right looking out - then again in the bottom photo is this the same man, second row standing, Captain Talbot CMR - he stands the same angle, looking out to his right - some people are like that with photo sittings, somebody tells them they should show a little profile, and from then on they repeat a stance (have a look through your old rugby photos sometime.)

Re: Mystery QAMR photo

PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:20 pm
by andy
Thanks for that Steve,
OK so if you can positively identify two of them as CMR men, doesn't that throw doubt on the others being QAMR men, and also on the venue being the Waverley race course?

Re: Mystery QAMR photo

PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 1:35 am
by Steve_Butler
Just the start - this could be "some" CMR men up to join Brigade in Wellington, or any number of combinations.
What would help is a larger resolution of the photo - it would be nice to see the hat badges!
If you can get a larger version send it to me direct and I will post it seperately into the site - thanks.

Re: Mystery QAMR photo

PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:17 am
by andy
Steve if you send me your email address I can send you a better quality photo, as the original is pretty sharp. I have now enlarged it in "Photoshop" and I think I can identify five QAMR hat badges. Several other badges are obscured or unclear, while some hats don't appear to have any badge at all. A few badges from other units (unfamiliar to me) can be seen including one with a distinctive square shape on the soldier at extreme left in the middle row. The QAMR men (viewed from the photographer's perspective) are:

Bottom row: 2nd and 7th man from right
Middle row: 2nd, 6th(possibly) and 8th from right
Top row: 8th from right

So this must be a gathering from several different units. I should add that I am only familiar with the QAMR badge and cannot recognise any others! :oops:

Re: Mystery QAMR photo

PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 2:54 pm
by Steve_Butler
This image arrived this week from John Winter, Nelson, on behalf of a number of families.

as I explained on our updates page, we are having trouble getting a good high resolution - but hopefully we will get something better in the near furture.
Photo to add to this thread is the : WMR B Squadron at Palmerston North (yes just about impossible to recognise individual men) - but a good muster never the less.(9th East Coast).

note if you are viewing this image only up to the dog mascot then you need to right hand click - "View Image" (Firefox) to get the full width image on screen - sorry I dont remember the "Internet Explorer" browser short cut to view.

Re: Mystery QAMR photo

PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:04 pm
by Steve_Butler
Andy - Thanks very much for that large format photo file you sent through last night - what a cracker! definition fantastic.
Yes I am positive that is Major Elmslie sitting front row second in from the left.
With the picture enlarged all the ranks are easily determined on the forearms of the front row.
As this file is so big, (and I will condense format a image for the net in the next few days) I have taken a small segment of the front row from the right hand side and reproduced it here below. (Major Elmslie is not included on this side)

I am certain of the identity of three of the men as I am able to compare hat badges with ranks on sleeves and with previous photos ( top of page here )

I can't be absolutely positive about Major Dick and Captain Hastings in this photo, mainly because they are not wearing the 6th MR hat badge - my doubts are hightened because both Meldrum and another officer behind the suppossed Captain Hastings, are both wearing the 6th MR badge - one would have thought, that as Meldrum's "Men", they would have worn the distingtive 6th badge, obviously the badges were available. So I have doubts.
But then, on the other hand, the front row has the C.O. (Meldrum) with Majors Elmslie,Chambers and Wain, all C.O.'s of the 8th, 2nd and 9th Regiments - it would stand to reason that Major Dick C.O. of the 6th would be the officer sitting next to Chambers???
However these two "Probable" officers could possibly be - Major Edgar, NZ Vet Corp attached WMR or Chaplin Major Grant - The Captain on the end could possibly be Adjudant-Captain Kelsall or Quatremaster-Captain Wilkie - all men from Headquarters Coy - but I don't think so - hopefully I can compare images and eliminate these men.

Re: Mystery photo

PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 5:44 pm
by andy
Thanks Steve,
Its great that you can identify them like that! Actually I mistook Maj Chambers for Maj Elmslie, (they both look a bit similar) until I noticed the prancing horse badge on Chambers' hat and collar. It seems that when a man wears a military uniform his own distinguishing features somehow get obscured or minimised. I am greatly looking forward to seeing the full photo with all of the men identified. It would be good too if the other members could comment as to whether they agree with your identification. :) What happened to Major Wain? I don't recall him being mentioned in Wilkie's book, although I haven't read it for a while.

It would be good to establish the location and the occasion too, if possible. I am beginning to have doubts about the Waverley racecourse. Maybe someone can identify the stand? (I think the Waverley one still exists).

Re: Mystery QAMR photo

PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 5:53 pm
by atillathenunns
The first photo with slouch hats being worn with badges to the front and brims down is very interesting.
Given the names of those identified, I agree with Steve that the photo was probably taken in Wellington prior to the Main Body departure.

While in Wellington the Mounted Rifle Regiments were distributed at four different locations, they Brigaded together around the 10th of October at Hutt Park racecourse.
Possibly the grandstand in the background is Hutt Park???

The second photo I have come across recently with a caption “From Addington: The Officers of the Canterbury Mounted Regiment. The Weekly Press”
So I suspect Addington grandstand??


Re: Mystery QAMR photo

PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 8:39 pm
by QSAPhil
Thanks for the photo Andy - here's a couple more to fill in a gap:

Front row far left is Captain V Kelsall (matches Boer War photo I have plus his medal ribbons fit)
Middle row far left is Chaplain-Major W Grant - very distinctive face!
back row - 4th from left is Captain J B Davis
I strongly suspect back row far left is Captain C R Spragg - again, very familiar face.

At first I thought the Major, front row 2nd from left was Major J W Brunt, a South African, but as he is 10/ infantry I'm not convinced. His medal ribbon appears to be that of Natal Rebellion 1906, where Brunt served. It doesn't look like a NZ-issue ribbon.

Some of these other chaps also look familiar - a search of the casualty photos from the Weekly News should offer some more answers.

I don't think the Captain, front row far right, is Hastings. N F Hastings earned the QSA and KSA in South Africa, and was sporting a cracking moustache at the time of WW1. This unknown chap has a Volunteer service medal ribbon and obviously is clean shaven.

Just to be a train spotter, and correct Steve. Wain was not a Boer War man - he is wearing the NZ Long and Efficient service medal which he was issued in 1910. He was wounded on Gallipoli, and invalided back to NZ from Egypt in 1916 suffering heatstroke. He managed to get away again in 1918 but was immediately struck down with illness on his return to Egypt and returned home again. Served in the post-war Territorials and died in Auckland in 1938 (buried Waikumete).

Its a great photo, and a fun exercise in deduction to try to figure out these guys!


Re: Mystery QAMR photo

PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 10:18 pm
by Steve_Butler
Trainspotting is good! we need to be accurate - I fly kites here often - and need to be stuck down - good stuff!

I am now confident to state this image we are deabting was taken at Trentham Racecourse between 25th September and the 14th October.

I hope you will agree -
My Argument:

The WMR left Awapuni Camp 24th September 1914 and reached Wellington next day - they thought they would board Transports to leave NZ, however a German scare prevented the departure and the men of the WMR were disembarked and sent to Trentham Racecourse to make Camp (and remained here until departure of the Main Boby October 14th).
(see History of the WMR - Wilkie)
(According to "The History of the CMR" Powles.)
The CMR rode out of Camp September 23rd - (and relating only to our segment of the story, the) - 8th and 10th Squadrons (8th under the Command of Major Wain and 10th under Hutton) boarded the "Athenic" - HMNZT - 11 and arrived with other South Island Transports, arrived in Wellington on the24th September 1914.
On the 25th (next day) members of the "Athenic" under Majors Wain and Hutton (8th & 10th) were sent to Trentham Racecourse to Camp.

These statements put the CMR 8th and 10th Squadrons at Trentham with the WMR at the above dates.
(note the 1st Canterbury were sent to Lyall Bay on arrival to Wellington, and therfore their members are not shown here in the Trentham photograph.)
(I take note of Brent's comment above : "date 10th of October at Hutt Park racecourse.")
More debate please.

Re: Mystery QAMR photo

PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 11:55 pm
by atillathenunns

Re: Mystery QAMR photo

PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:55 am
by andy
atillathenunns wrote:It would seem Trentham grandstand is indeed a match

Yes it could be Trentham as the picket fence is at the right height and the vertical supports look similar, although I suspect there was a sameness about the grandstands of the time. Its great to see that my photo has stirred up so much interest! :D

Re: Mystery QAMR photo

PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:08 am
by atillathenunns
Not only is the picket fence about the right height, the top rail is the same dark colour, as is the colour of the bottom of the support posts.
The Trentham grandstand also has the same picket fence at the top of the stairs.

Re: Mystery QAMR photo

PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 6:15 pm
by andy
OK Trentham racecourse it is and photo taken between 25th September and 14th October 1914. Good to have that cleared up. And I agree that its Kelsall at extreme left on bottom row, as there is a very clear photo of him (taken about the same time) in the Anzac individual record at

So the 7 we know for sure are:
In bottom row (from left) Capt Kelsall, Majors Elmslie and Wain, then Col Meldrum and Maj Chambers.
Then middle row, at left is Chaplain Major W.Grant with his distinctive face
Then back row, (4th from left) is Capt J B Davis, another distinctive face

Any more identifications? It would be great to get them all!