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NEW ZEALAND MOUNTED RIFLES

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Comments from Steve Butler ■ Email contact

MAORI WARRIOR

Auckland Weekly News 1915

Left: Trooper 13/291 Richard Bluett wearing the cap badge and collar dogs of the 4th Waikato Mounted Rifles Squadron of the Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment.

Richard joined the Waikato Mounteds at Whakatane in the Bay of Plenty and departed New Zealand with the Main Body, October 1914.
On the 9th of May 1915 Richard embarked with the NZMR Brigade from Egypt and landed at Anzac Cove on the Gallipoli Peninsular to support the Infantry attack that had begun on the 25th April 1915.
From the beginning the Auckland Mounteds were heavily engaged with the Turkish enemy and spent only limited time in rest areas during the campaign.
Early in July the AMR had taken front line trench positions on Walker's Ridge and were constantly under bombardment and sniper attack. On July 12th Captain Wood notes in the Regiments WAR DIARY:

Auckland Mounted Rifles Gallipolli Peninsular
 - WAR DIARY –
July 1915 (in part)


July 12th – Walkers Ridge.
Enemy shell our position very heavily in reply to our demonstrations.  Number 13/548 Trooper Henry Haywood Harrison 11th Squadron killed by shrapnel.  The following were wounded: 13/42 Sgt C.G. Nicol 3rd,  13/40 Farrier Sgt E.J. Cullen 3rd,  13/716 Trooper Robert McKinney 3rd,  13/291 Trooper Richard Bluett 4th.  Lieutenant  J.M. Roberts leaves for hospital through illness.


Richard is stretched from Walkers down to Anzac Cove and his official Casualty Form records he had received shrapnel wounds to his head and is listed as "seriously ill". He is shipped from the beach by lighter to the Hospital Ship "H.M.H.S. Gascon" and with other wounded is transported to hospital on the Island of Malta where he is admitted on the 18th July.
On arrival he is still listed as "Seriously ill". After a month his condition improved and was then considered fit enough to travel on to England for specialist attention. Richard boarded the "H.M.H.S. Galeka" on the 25th August, arriving at the "Connaught Hospital" Aldershot on the 3rd of September 1915.
Like most members of the NZMR who arrived in England with wounds and sickness Richard was detailed to a new unit to fight on the Western Front, and once recovered he was sent as a replacement to the 8th Battery to serve out the remainder of the Great War. However again on the 17th June 1917 Richard was wounded in action (W.I.A.) with a gunshot wound to the left thigh and spent more time in hospital in England. But England was also to be an eventful and happy place for the 27 year old soldier as he married Gertrude Annie Priest 14th January 1919 at the Registry Office, Wokingham, Reading.
Gertrude as 'a soldiers wife' arrived in New Zealand 26th.June.1919, she is listed as with infant, and the couple settle at  Ohope beach and Richard returns to the land as a farmer. They raise six children.
Unfortunately, on the 22nd March 1960, while fishing with his second to youngest daughter Richard is killed in an accident. He was 68 years old.

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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.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 



CHAYTOR ACCEPTS TURKISH SURRENDER

Photograph: Duncan McPherson 29th September 1918. cropped and duotone NZMR November 2014 -AWM B00088

Above: Major General Chaytor, who commanded the Anzac Mounted Division, with Ali Bey Wahaby, the commander of the 4th Turkish Army, who was captured by the Anzacs "Chaytor Force".

Below: Events relating to the photograph. Text taken from "The New Zealanders in Sinai and Palestine" published 1922.

So fell Amman, on September 25th, 1918, the Rabbath Ammon whose stout resistance made its siege and fall the crowning act of David’s conquests.
Since the attack made by the Division in March the enemy had greatly strengthened his defences. He had built a series of redoubts in which were numerous machine guns. And the natural difficulties of the broken country made Amman a very hard nut to crack. But the systematic method of our men combined with quick outflanking of the machine gun nests overcame every obstacle. The ground was hard and favoured rapid movement on horseback whereas in the previous attack in March all work had to be done on foot
.
There remained now the remnants of the IV Army to be dealt with. These consisted of some 10,000 men including the garrison of Maan and some Arabs and Circassians.


Showing the original dimension layout of Photographer Duncan McPherson's black and white glass plate. I have cropped the image to allow a close up view of the men's faces. I have also added a duotone to lift the image visually. The original photograph is held in the Australian War Memorial Museum, Canberra - referece number B00088

The movements of this force were doubtful. There was the probability that it would try to get down to the Jordan valley. But the difficulties in the way made this improbable; and there remained the Darb el Haj. the great route running north to Damascus and passing east of Amman. General Chaytor, therefore, sent the 2nd L.H. Brigade south to destroy the railway, as it was to our advantage to make the march of the enemy as long as possible and to increase his water difficulties.
If he chose the Darb ci Haj, the nearest water to Kastal (where his advanced guard was reported to be), was (excluding Amman) at the Wadi el Hammam some 10 miles north of Amman. Kastal is 15 miles south of Amman so the Turks would have a 25 mile march before them.

The 1st L.H. Brigade were sent early on the 26th to the Wadi el Hammam and captured there 105 prisoners and on the following day another 300.
On the 27th the 2nd L.H. Brigade captured prisoners at Leban station 12 miles south of Amman, who confirmed the intelligence as to the enemy's position, and at daybreak on the 28th the Turks were located near Kastal with three trains in the station. A message was dropped upon the Turkish Headquarters by aeroplane, summoning the Commander to surrender and pointing out to him that all possible water north of him was held by us.
No answer was received to this and arrangements for the attack were made; but at 11.45 the Turkish Commander opened negotiations with the Commander of the 5th L.H. Regiment, sending to him a Staff Officer.

The situation was very difficult owing to large numbers of Arabs who surrounded the Turkish position intent upon looting. Any sign of a white flag was likely to precipitate matters, and the 2nd L.H. Brigade were despatched to Kastal. While they were coming up the Turkish Staff Officer formally agreed to a surrender of the whole force to General Chaytor; and Captain A. B. T. Rhodes, M.C., the Divisional Commander’s A.D.C. pluckily penetrated the Turkish lines in a motor car and brought out the Turkish General, Kaimakam Ali Bey Whahaby, as a hostage.
Upon its arrival the 2nd L.H. Brigade put a cordon round the Turks; and the Arabs were told that any attempt to rush in on the Turks would be met by force. Even after our troops were in position the Arabs attempted to get at the hospital and had to be driven off.

This little episode presented an extraordinary spectacle, a British force guarding the enemy with whom it had been fighting for years, from the depredations
of one of Britain’s Allies. Next day the New Zealand Brigade arrived to relieve the 2nd L.H. and found the Turkish trenches manned by Light Horsemen and Turks with their guns jointly trained upon the Arabs.


UPDATING RODERICK McCANDLISH'S DIARY


Photograph: Auckland Weekly News
Service Record: Auckland War Memorial Museum
Full Name: Corporal Roderick McCandlish
Rank Last Held: Corporal
Serial No.: 11/92
Date of Birth: 2 May 1892
Place of Birth: Kaiapoi, New Zealand
Religion: Protestant
First Known Rank: Trooper
Occupation before Enlistment: Farmer
Next of Kin: Mrs M.A. McCandlish (mother),
Wangaehu, New Zealand
Marital Status: Single
Enlistment Address: Wangaehu, New Zealand
Military District: Auckland
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
Place of Death: Gallipoli, Turkey
Date of Death: 9 August 1915
Age at Death: 23
Cause of Death: Killed in action
Sometimes as I search through hundreds of files and images, one, for no apparent reason jumps out. This was the case today, and on looking at the name I realised that we have posted Corporal McCandlish's Diary on our site some years ago. Often there are very few photos of these young men in existence. I am sure the family will enjoy having this additional find added to their history.
The diary was Compiled by Great Nephew ROSS McCANDLISH, and I have added this Auckland Weekly News photograph to his page today
19th November 2014

QUEEN ALEXANDRA'S MOUNTED RIFLES
An interesting thread on photographs of the QAMR has been running on our FORUM for quite sometime. A recent update photo has come to hand from Andy.
Hi Steve,
I have just sent you an enlarged photo (3MB file). I don’t know why the men don’t seem to have badges, or shoulder or sleeve insignia. I note that Jim Elmslie (5th from left at front) and two men to his left both have black armbands (someone may have died?) and one of the soldiers at top left isn’t wearing a proper uniform (recently recruited?) Also it’s a bit unusual I think for soldiers to be carrying their rifles in group photos. I think the photo was taken at the Waverley racecourse and probably about 1912 immediately after the Wairoa Mounted Rifles had been absorbed into the Wellington West Coast Mounted Rifles, but before they have had time to obtain the QAMR badges and rank insignia etc. This might also explain why they are no longer wearing the Wairoa Light Horse uniform and are now wearing Sam Brown belts, cartridge bandoliers and the standard issue WW1 Khaki tunic. I would be interested in any thoughts from you and the other forumites on this. 
Cheers,
Andy

The image above is a smaller jpeg for promotion on this our Updates page. However the larger PDF image is available in our Photo Galleries setion on our SITE MAP page. Or the full screen searchable image is available HEREPlease use the browser controls to navigate about the photograph. Your feedback is important to us.

...and on the 16th November, a reply from from uniform and equipment expert and author Barry O'Sullivan:-
Nice photo with lots of details.
In my view the photo is from the 1907-1910/11 period.
They are carry SMLE rifles which were issued to the North Island MR Regiments from 1907.
They are not standard issue WW1 Khaki tunic as they are a different pattern to the officers and ORs uniforms of the Territorial pattern first issued in early 1912.

Barry
Student, researcher,collector and co-author 'New zealand Army personal equipment 1910-1945' ISBN 0-9582535-9-5

OUR DESERT BROTHERS IN ARMS
Congratulations are in order for author David Porter for his wonderful research and production of his new book - "Somerset Royal Horse Artillery - 1908 - 1920".
Returning visitors to our NZMR website will recognise David's name as he has been a regular provider of photographs and written material to our pages here over the years. Many New Zealanders and Australians will perhaps find it difficult to believe that some English soldiers can be described as Anzac troops. But for a few Englishmen and Scotsmen their claim to be called Anzacs is based on a solid fact, as they were to become an essential component and members of the Anzac Division.

After the Anzacs troops had fought as Infantrymen during the Gallipoli Campaign of 1915, the majority of were sent onto the European theatres in France and Belgium. However for the mounted troops of the Australian Light Horse and the New Zealand Mounted Rifles their destination was to return back to their horses stationed in Egypt, ostensibly these men were to protect the Suez Canal. By early 1916 plans were being made to repel the enemy not only from the Canal, but to push the Ottomans from the Sinai Desert altogether, and then hopefully carry the attack into Turkey itself through its Southern provinces.

To fight such a Campaign in the loose sands of the Sinai required not only the fleet footed horses of the Anzac mounted Infantrymen, but artillery to soften up and winkle out an entrenched foe that occupied the hods and townships along the way. Due to the unreliability of early mechanical piston engines, motorised Artillery could not do the job. The Batteries of the Royal Horse Artillery could.

One section was the SOMERSET ROYAL HORSE ARTILLERY. David Porter's book is a comprehensive history of the unit from its beginnings at a meeting in the Drill Hall, George Hotel, Shepton Mallet on March 31st 1908. The men attending became the volunteers of the new Territorial Force (TF) by way of "The Territorial and Reserve Forces Act" passed through the House of Commons June 19th, 1907.
The pages are a true diary of events. Inter service competitions, training and into action. Records of munitions, times, dates, maps are all here.

From a New Zealand perspective the records of the Somersets as they arrived in Egypt at Alexandria in February 1916 has considerable interest for our members. Here on March 15th the Somerset, Inverness, Leichester and Ayshire Batteries of the RHA were allotted to form the Divisional Artillery of the Australian and New Zealand (ANZAC) Mounted Division. Their efforts in support of our mounted infantry was second to none and we owe these men our heart felt thanks. Without the tenacity and accuracy of the Somersets our death toll would have been much higher.

Dozens of quality photographs throughout the book help carry the story of the individual men, equipment, training, social occasions and battles of the Somerset RHA. For a student of WW1 history this book comes highly recommended.

The UK price for this 172 page book is £12 plus p&p(converts to NZ$24.82)
For copies of this book email: somersetRHA@aol.com

 

WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE

11/793 Trooper Albert Gordon Moeller
later listed as "Unlocated"
in a Board of Inquiry, recorded in the
Official History of the Wellington
Mounted Rifles Regiment, page 247

 

Bivouac  92-N-8.
26. 8. 15 
(p12)
3 Officers and 100 men still in trenches.  At 1100hrs instructions were received by Major J. H. Whyte
That he would be in command of 400 men of the Australian and New Zealand Forces and attack Hill 60 KAIAJIK AGHALA.  To cooperate with force would be 350 men of the Australian Forces on the right flank
And 250 men of the Connaught Rangers, 29th Infantry Brigade on the left flank.  5 Officers and 100 other ranks of the Regiment were told off for the assault.  Prior to the assault the Artillery shelled the position for an hour.
At 1630 the attacking force was all in position for the attack.
At 1700 the attack took place (as per orders attached  X)  The Regiments were reinforced by 5 officers and 100 other ranks who were in the second line supporting 160 men of the Canterbury and Auckland Regiments.
At 1705 the first lines Canterbury and Auckland regiments carried the fire lines of Turkish trenches and
were busy bayoneting the Turks when the men of the Wellington Battalion came up and cleared the trenches.
At this stage it was found that a very hot fire was being bought to bear on our right flank.  30 men were sent out to right flank and cleared trenches where fire was coming from.  An advance was then (page 12) made against the second line of Turkish trenches and they were carried by 1745.  As the Connaught Rangers had failed to hold  the trenches it was found impossible to advance further along Hill 60 owing to the Turks pushing in on the left.  It was decided to hold the second line of captured trenches and arrangements were made immediately to put the trench in a state to repel counter attacks.  Capt. R. Logan WMR took charge of men in forward trenches and with 40 men held the trench until 10pm when he was reinforced by 50 men of the 18th Infantry Batt. (Australian)   Our casualties were heavy but we captured trenches were held and position consolidated during the night.

Strength

 

Officers

 

Other Ranks

 

Horses

26/6/15

 

15

 

284

 

Nil

Casualties

7

 

102

 

 

Totals

 

8

 

182

 

Nil

Casualties  Officers Killed:  Capt. Taylor.  Wounded:  Capts E. C. Clifton & Batchelor,  Lieuts. W. Risk A.S. Wilder, H.B. Maunsel,l  N.V. Kittler.  Other Ranks:- Killed 16  Wounded: 54  Missing:  32.
(signed) J. H. Whyte Major
WMR
Very good work done by Capt. R. Logan, Capt. A. Batchelor.  Sergts B. Ronaldson and J. Wilder Above: Transcribed from the hand written WMR Gallipoli WAR DIARY written in the field shows the appaling figures of 32 men "missing" on this day. Most Killed in Action (KIA) and recovered, but others "Unlocated"

 

NOTICE: an Australian Light Horse/ NZ Mounted Rifles event is to be held at the Auckland City Library on the 30th of September. This is a free public lecture event that is organized by Ancestry.com.au in association with Archives NZ, Auckland City Library and the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

 

 

THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS – ANZACS IN PALESTINE 1916-1918

When: Tuesday 30 September, 
4.30pm - 6pm 


Where: Central City Library, Whare Wānanga, Level 2
Cost: Free
Booking:  09 307 777109 307 7771.  

 

 

http://www.aucklandlibraries.govt.nz/EN/Events/Events/Pages/roadtodamascusanzacs.aspx

 

 

 

 
NEW eBook Novel from our NZMR Editor, STEVE BUTLER.

Besides the enjoyment I receive by editing and building the New Zealand Mounted Rifles website, I do like most of you - 'Have another life!'
I originally trained as a Watchmaker and later in Jewellery manufacturing. Later I moved into Television and Film as a Cameraman. By extension I became involved with script writing, computer graphics and animation.
In my private life I have always had a passion for yachting and astronomy and of course the history of the NZMR.
An inner-voice has told me that copywriting and script writing was not the end all - and like many I knew there was a novel inside me somewhere. This is my escape into science, science -fiction, and astronomy - I hope you enjoy THE HUDSON ENIGMA.
Regards
Steve Butler

Synopsis:

James Douglas becomes intrigued by a friend and fellow astronomer's discovery in the night sky. Perhaps he is getting too old, it appears he has miscalculated the trajectory of this new comet. His figures appear at odds with other published reports. But attempts to communicate with old colleagues from his cold-war navigation days is met with delays and then unhelpful responses. 
A coded message arrives, and James understands that he, his son and adult grandsons are pre-warned, and now they must act strategically together if they are to survive in a new world order. How can they prepare for a potential calamity, or perhaps this is only a political force releasing misinformation, or could this be Earth's sixth great mass extinction.

Clicking on the book cover will take you to Amazon.com and some free pages to introduce you to the story.



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Above: The Anzac Division's emblem - incorporating New Zealand's Silver Fern and Australia's Boomerang.