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NEW ZEALAND MOUNTED RIFLES

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Comments from Steve Butler ■ Email contact


Inset photograph: Auckland Weekly News 1915, 13/691 Trooper Edward Hewitt - one of 20 men "Missing" on the 27th August 1915
This year on the 25th April New Zealand and Australia will remember again the landing of our troops at Gallipoli in 1915. This year is the one hundredth anniversary of that attack and commemorative events will take place in both our countries as well as in the United Kingdom and Turkey to honour those men who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Great War - "The War to end all Wars".
We should not be misled into thinking that these gatherings for the centenary are celebrations. The attack orchestrated by Winston Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty, and the British War Cabinet to invade the Ottoman Empire by way of the Dardenelles and the Sea of Marmara was an unmitigated disaster from start to finish.
The naval war ships sent to destroy the Turkish fortified defenses were old, obsolete and inadequate. The follow up plan to land troops on the Gallipoli Peninsular was a further miscalculation. Australian and New Zealand troops stationed in Egypt were to be joined by British troops from the United Kingdom. These UK troops in the main were young recruits and of insufficient numbers, meanwhile the pre-war trained and professional soldiers were to be kept for the Western Front.
Perhaps the the most telling failure of English military blunders surrounding the Gallipoli landings was the involvement of HMS Queen Elizabeth. This mighty battleship of the Royal Navy was nearly 200m long (640 feet long with a beam of 90 feet), launched in October 1913, she had the biggest naval guns afloat - massive 15" (fifteen inch) guns fore and aft, as well as other heavy armament. This colossus could have, and should have, made the difference on the first day. At the onset of the landings this flagship of the fleet pounded the ridges of the Anzac heights. Tons of earth, men and guns of the Turkish artillery positions were blown into the air as news-reel footage of the day showed. However after firing just 86 rounds of high explosive the great ship was ordered to retire. Unbelievably the Navy didn't want too many rounds depleted from her magazines, and they were also worried the guns may begin to wear.
Aug 27th         Today we prepare for the attack on HILL 60.  KAIAJIK – AGHALA.  We send up 50 men with Capt. A.S. Wilkinson to hold trenches, and 65 men under Major C.R.E. Mackesy, as our portion of the Mounted Brigades quota for the attack.  At 1700, after an hours bombardment by the artillery, the attack was launched, which was fairly successful.  During the attack our regiment captured a Turkish machine gun and ammunition, which we used with great success when the enemy counter-attacked in the evening.  At night the Turkish counter-attack several times, using a great quantity of bombs.  We repulsed these attacks easily, good work being done by our machine guns. 
Poor military decisions continued to be made. Lessons appeared not to be learnt. Months later in August the British High Command decided on one last effort to break out of the beach heads of Gallipoli. On the evening of the 7th August 1915 the Auckland Mounted Rifles opened the attack to gain Chunik Bair on the Gallipoli Heights. Over the next few days the battlefield became a blood bath for the Anzacs, the British and the Turk.
The result at the end of this bloody few days was that everybody was back where they had started - modern machine guns and artillery had done their work and killed thousands.
Hardly rested, and with many men ill with infections and flu, and others within the ranks considered to be walking wounded, the Generals surveyed the scene and decided on yet another useless attack.
At Left: The WAR DIARY of the Auckland Mounted Rifles for August 27th.
Auckland Mounted Rifles 
1915                                       WAR DIARY                                      Gallipoli Peninsular
27-8-15

 

KILLED (1+9)

 

MISSING (20)

 

WOUNDED (5+53)

  WOUNDED

 

Lieut. Kittle W J

13/79

Trp Jones R.R.

 

Major King G.A.

13/878

Tpr Blackie A.S.

13/431

Sgt. Rollett C.R.

13/630

Trp Downs A.O.

 

Major Mackesy C.R.E.

13/776

Tpr Farreley L.B.

13/1069a

Tpr Tebbutt A.R.

13/937

Trp Patterson A

 

Capt. Wilkinson A.E.

13/968

Tpr Warren A

13/801

Tpr Lamb E.

13/907

Trp Godfrey S.A.

 

Lieut. Moore D.G.

13/960

Tpr Thomas

13/437

Cpl. Rose J.W.

13/909

Trp Harman W.J.R.

 

Lieut. Palmer W.J.

13/882

Tpr Acklom H.R.N.

13/694

Tpr Hunter R.

13/913

Trp Faulkner

13/1039a

Tpr McGee J.A.

13/184

Tpr Finlayson M.

13/981

Tpr King J.

13/892

Tpr Clarke F.

13/17

Tpr Brimsley G.F.

13/131

Tpr Stichbury T

13/780

Tpr Boyd A.W.

13/886

Tpr Black L.

13/300

Tpr Brigman P.C.

13/964

Tpr Vanstone A.

13/754

Tpr Wright A.

13/805

Tpr Gleeson R.L.

13/973

Tpr Coates G.P.

13/889

Tpr Blaza E.W.

13/922

Tpr Jolly J.W.

13/691

Tpr Hewitt  E

13/524

Tpr Dawson J.W.

13/956

Tpr Stichbury C.G.

 

 

13/288

Tpr Milling C.C.

13/57

Tpr Grey  A.E.

13/235

Tpr St Clair J.P.

 

 

13/352

Tpr Harrison R.

13/365

Tpr Hercus A.F.

13/955

Tpr Sigvertson C

 

 

13/335

Tpr Fotheringham J.

13/358

Tpr Herbert H.S.

13/936

Tpr O’Sullivan J.W.

 

 

13/341

L/cpl Gibson A.B.

13/925

Tpr Llewell A.S.

13/975

Tpr White A.

 

 

13/1072

Tpr Wheatley S.

13/1025a

Tpr Lyes  H.S.

13/868

Tpr Walker B.H.

 

 

13/897

Tpr Dawes C.L.

13/104

Tpr Lennard G.B.

13/688

Tpr Glass E.

 

 

13/911

Tpr Harney   J.A.

13/396

L/cpl Morison M.

13/504

Tpr Neilson P.

 

 

13/914

Tpr Hickman

13/939

Tpr Pearson H

13/918

Tpr Hunter B

 

 

13/720

Sergt Otter  G.W.W.

13/121

Tpr Page R.H.

13/87

Tpr Lewis A.W.

 

 

 

 

13/1079

Tpr Oakden P.V.

13/455

Sgt. Seaward C

 

 

 

 

13/420

Tpr Picot E.H.

13/153

Tpr Wilson J

 

 

 

 

13/946

Tpr Risk T.T.

13/983

Tpr Mooney J.K.

       

13/887

Tpr Blackburn S.

13/937

Tpr Partridge A.E.

       

13/1022a

Tpr Le Noch

13/839

Tpr Pearce A.

       

13/22

Tpr Bayliffe R.E.

13/986

Tpr Appleton S.

       

13/347

Tpr Goodwin W.P.

13/363

Tpr Hall E.S.

       

13/931

Tpr McNamara

13/945

Tpr Richards N

       

13/954

Tpr Simpkins

13/596

Tpr Cormen A.E.

       

13/221

Tpr Muldrock W.H.

13/1056

Tpr Scott J

 

 

 

 

 

 

13/869

Tpr Martin W.


The horror of the Auckland Mounted WAR DIARY above is realised when the short report is related to the casualty list attached. 50 men under Captain Wilkinson and 65 under Major Mackesy relates to 117 men in total.
Ten men are Killed in Action (K.I.A) this day. However the full disaster is in the "Missing" and "Wounded" figures.
Of the 20 Missing - most of these men's bodies were never recovered. In a number of cases the information as to where and when a comrade fell went unreported as the witnesses of an action also did not survive to tell the tale. Most of the Missing, like Trooper Edward Hewitt pictured above, are only recorded in the Official History of the AMR (page 247) as:-
13/691 Hewitt E. Trooper, Anzac, 28.8.15, Deceased (Courts of Enquiry).
Of the 58 wounded men, a number would not survive the long haul to the first aid tent or to a hospital ship. Their fight for life ending a day or two later, or perhaps a month or a year later.
13/221 Muldrock W. H. Trooper, Anzac, 29.8.15 Died of Wounds
13/22 Bayliffe, R.E. Trooper, Ship "Devanha" 29.8.15, Died of Wounds.

Another man, 13/941 Trooper M Poole is noted in the Official History as Killed in Action on this day with the AMR but is not listed in the days events.
Of 117 men of the Auckland Mounted Rifles who went into action only 29 survived unscathed.
We will remember them.


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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.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 



REMEMBERING THE MEN OF THE 8TH CANTERBURY MOUNTED RIFLES
A plaque at the Birch Hill Station Cemetery:
"In Memory of the Horses of the 8th Regiment NZMR that died in the Great War 1914 - 1918"

Birch Hill Station Cemetery, Glentui, is situated North East of Christchurch and has a strong link to the NZMR as the sheep station supplied men and horses for the New Zealand Mounted Rifles during the South African (Boer) War and World War One.

Heritage New Zealand has made available a comprehensive report on the history of this cemetery which is download-able here:-
BIRCH HILL STATION CEMETERY, GLENTUI (#9251) - Important this PDF file contains images and is 2.8 megabytes in size

Robyn Burgess from HeritageNZ also adds:

The submission period for the proposed entry of the Birch Hill Station Cemetery on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero commences on 22 January 2015 – which is when it will appear in the public notices in the Press and Northern Outlook, and also is online on our own website (www.heritage.org.nz).  The closing date for submissions is19th February 2015.

There seems to be a lot of interest in the cemetery and the history, especially the link with World War One, so we are expecting responses (potentially with further information/corrections). 


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.

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


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