NEW ZEALAND MOUNTED RIFLES

Comments from Steve Butler ■ Email contact
A SECTION FROM 3RD SQUADRON

photograph: Kingston Hull, 1916. duotone treatment NZMRA 2013

The shadows of noon keep the features of these men from the Auckland Mounted Rifles from being identified. This is a further previously unpublished photograph from the collection of Kingston Hull.
This image taken from the first page in an album that appears to be arranged by date. Other photos on the page are dated October and November 1916. The assumption is that this camp is somewhere to the North of El Arish in the Sinai Desert and before the attack on Magdhaba.
The tantalising hand written script written on the front of the original photo reads:-
"Section from squadron. 2nd from right, Ted Davies horse."
(Probably referring to Papatoetoe man, 13/2554 Trooper Edward Bently Davies, 8th Reinforcements AMR. The same area and reinforcement detail as Kingston Hull)




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21st Anniversary issue
penny and half-penny
stamps 1936.



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REINFORCEMENTS TO THE FRONT



58208 Trooper George Burton Hull. Hull family collection. Coloured NZMRA 2013

Both Burton and Kingston survived the Great War.

Burton Hull on board the "Tofua" with the 34th Reinforcements arrived in the Middle East December 1917.
Like many, Burton was following in his older brothers footsteps by joining the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade.
The war in the Middle East was to continue for another ten months, and the actions to capture Jericho and Amman were still to come.

Burton's brother, Kingston Hull wrote home to their parents on the 2nd January 1918:

"...In your letter you did not know when Burton would be leaving, so I got a surprise when I learned he had arrived in Moascar. He sent a note up by Syd Wyllie, Syd says he looks well. I don't know when I will be seeing him. I have sent him a note, to hurry up in any of the drafts, as he will be called on quick enough.
It was very strange, he went in camp the same day [as me], left NZ the same day, and arrived in Egypt the same day and came on the same boat, so if he can continue two years with my luck, he ought to last the war out.
We are expecting to move again shortly..."

On the 23rd February Kingston writes home again:
"...[13/1090 Trooper David Sands of Waiuku] Sands you mentioned as having been wounded, went away sick before the start, and [Trooper 13/1027] Les Flavell was killed instantly, he did good work on the machine gun and had bad luck being knocked out when the worst was over. I am in the same Camp as Burton and see him every day. There are usually pictures on or concerts every night and we go together. When he has finished growing he will be as big as I am. He has been telling me of little changes that have taken place and it appears you both work a bit too hard sometimes ..."


GOOD MEN ON RESEARCH







Trooper Leo Flavell
- Killed in Action
Ayun Kara, November 14th 1917


Information at right from the
Auckland War Memorial Cenotaph Database

In an UPDATES article a few weeks back I posted three images of Trooper Kingston Hull's fellow Auckland Mounted Riflemen. The three men were among a number of soldiers from various units, all from the Waiuku farming community South of Auckland that Kingston had kept as mementos in the back of his photograph album.
One of the photos had been ripped from the newspaper without a name printed below, and I suggested that as I could not source a photograph on the Cenotaph Database to compare, that this image could be of another Waiuku man, Captain Maxwell Aldred.

Much to my pleasure, the ardent followers of the NZMR web site set about to put the record straight.
The first contact was from John Winter who sent in this photograph (top left) of a Weekly News clipping, showing quite clearly that the photo I presented was not Captain Aldred. The man looks nothing like Kingston Hull's man. (Taken from the supplement to the Auckland Weekly News 31st August 1916 p046 )

Today Roger Shephard, a source of many images that have appeared on this site, writes:

Hi Steve
 
I hope life is treating you well and I am very pleased to see the updates page getting some love on your fascinating site.
I recently purchased a selection of old weekly news's from the 1915-1918 period.
 
I see on your update page that you have three Waiuku men, the centre one - which you are unsure on is Tpr F L (Leo) Flavell of Waiuku.
 
He is in the 24th January 1918 edition.
I see that his MF is online at archives
 
Cheers Roger

Full Name: Francis Leopold Flavell
Rank Last Held: Trooper
Serial No.: 13/1027
First Known Rank: Trooper
Next of Kin: Henry Flavell (father), Waiuku, New Zealand
Marital Status: Single
Enlistment Address: Waiuku, New Zealand
Military District: Auckland
Body on Embarkation: 5th Reinforcements
Embarkation Unit: Auckland Mounted Rifles
Embarkation Date: 13 June 1915
Place of Embarkation: Wellington, New Zealand
Vessel: Maunganui or Tahiti or Aparima
Destination: Suez, Egypt (24 July - 6 August 1915)
Last Unit Served: Machine Gun Squadron
Place of Death: Palestine
Date of Death: 14 November 1917
Cause of Death: Killed in action
Memorial Name: Ayun Kara Memorial (destroyed), Palestine
Biographical Notes: According to the Official History, Trooper Flavell was buried at the Top of the Hill, half a mile West of Jaffa-Gaga Road, 1 mile west of Azin Kara, Palestine.

 


DESERT DEMOLITION DERBY

photograph (possibly): Trooper James Russell, 1917. duotone, NZMRA 2013

A very rare action photograph from WW1. Here members of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles run at pace along the Turkish Railway line at Asluj.
The men are in the process of destroying a large section of line while on a raid out of the Sinai Desert on the 23rd May 1917. This party of six men is made up of two teams, each section responsible for the destruction of one side of the line.
The two troopers on the left of the picture run out rolls of "Gun-Cotton" (Nitrocellulose) from packs on their hips, this material was used to great effect by the Navy as explosive packing to fire large shells from heavy guns. Gun cotton is relatively safe until compressed and fused. The other four men carry shoulder bags packed with detonators, and leap-frog each other along the track, waiting for the gun-cotton. Nimble fingers then push the material under the steel rail, followed by a fuse and charge. A dangerous job.
Colonel Guy Powles wrote

The led horses were followed by the two teams of dismounted demolition men moving in single file at the walking pace. Setting the explosive charges began with the leading man placing a slab of gun cotton in the middle of a rail and then, missing a rail, to repeat his action, while the leading man of the second team put down a slab of gun cotton in the middle of the rail on his side which paired with the rail missed by the other team. The next man of both teams then wired the gun cotton to the rail and walked on to the next prepared rail, while the third man put into the gun cotton the detonator and fuse and the fourth man lit the charge. Each squadron blasted a 12–15 inches piece of rail along the 5 miles. In this way about 15 miles of railway line was destroyed

Note: This photo was used in the 1922 publication "The New Zealanders in Sinai and Palestine" by Colonel Guy Powles, and some sources attribute the photo to him. However the only reproductions of this photo available in the past have been taken from the pages of this publication, the results of which have been very grainy owing to the quality of the paper in the printed book. This higher gloss photo taken and preserved in Trooper Russell's photo album looks to be the original print. It was not unusual to use photos from many sources, and the soldiers readily made their "snaps" available for publications.


REMEMBER THE ANZACS ON THE 25th

Another never before published photograph from the collection of Kingston Hull, courtesy of the Hull Family of Nelson. The original of this image has written across the top:
"3Troop, 3rd Squadron, AMR - 1918"
To get a closer look, and perhaps help the Association name the men, click here to download this PDF file 2.19megs
Note: The tall man, standing six places in from the left, has both his little finger and his middle finger missing from his right hand. Perhaps those injuries will help identify the trooper today.
Also identified is Kingston Hull standing 7th man from the left.


STEPPING OUT FROM A BYGONE ERA
A horse rescue charity in Egypt has sent these recently taken photos of Egyptian horses used to ferry tourists about Cairo today. Haley from the charity writes:

I'm a member of a horse rescue charity in Egypt, while browsing the photos of the street clinics I noticed that most horses are wearing old military saddles with very old military bits.

Anecdotally they are the tack that the Allied Forces left behind after WWI
and WWII.

Thought you might be interested in seeing some pics.

Lots more at: http://www.facebook.com/princefluffykareem?fref=ts

Cheers
Hayley
Although one may be concerned about the condition of these animals it is well to remember that these horses live in a very hot climate and after viewing Hayley's facebook page supplied in her email above, these horses are better off than many.

Of concern too is the use not of the WW1 bits but the UP saddles that must be at least ninety years old. I have seen a few of these original Mounted Rifles saddles in New Zealand and leather experts have told me these pieces are very dangerous for any rider to use.

It is amazing that these items of tack still survive. Thanks Haley and good luck with your charity.

To all members and friends of the NZMRA, I thank you for all for the many emails sent in over the last few months containing pictures, diaries and other written material relating to the NZMR. I apologise for my tardiness in getting all this valuable information onto the site.

In the next weeks I hope to turn that around.

Good Luck to our resident War Diaries transcrber Gordon Sylvester as he prepares to publish his historical work on Wellington Mounted Rifles leader - Bil Meldrum.
Gordon writes :-

I have the "mss" about William Meldrum with the printers now going through the editing process and printing.
It will be released on 9th May in Greymouth.
A small publication A5 120 pages  cost $20-25 plus postage
As the publisher/Author.  I will take advance orders.

contact for Gordon




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