Comments from Webmaster Steve Butler

UPDATING AN "Advance to Egypt"
camel commander
Commander of the Turkish Camel Force in Sinai, Sureya Bey sits with folded arms at a camp table during the advance to take the Suez Canal 1916. Members of his staff surround him while pickets are posted about the camp.
Sureya Bey was killed during the Anzac Mounted attack on Katia, August 1916
Earlier in July this year I posted the above photograph with the caption above that described the Turkish Commander Sureya Bey as sitting with folded arms at a camp table - After receiving this email below I am happy to say that I have been mistaken and I thank Tosun Saral for bringing the error to my attention - as he says "Always for the truth". I also take note that he spells Sureyya with two "y's" - perhaps the way I had only ever seen it spelt is a "English" variation?

Dear Sir,
I surfed your page. With your permission I want to make a correction on the
pix of Turkish camel raiders with Sureyya Bey.

Cav. Capt. Süreyya Bey is not the one sitting with folded arms but is the one sitting on the right of that officer sitting with folded arns with gray tunic. That officer sitting with folded arms with grey tunic is Cav. 2nd Lt. Halet Efendi.

Other officer that I could idendified:
Cav. Lt.Yakup Robenson in battle dress (on the left standing) of the camel raiders. Lt. Robenson was son of a British family who converted into Turks and moslems.

They all killed at Katya.

Always for the truth!
Tosun Saral



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

50th Anniversary issue
4 penny and 5 penny
stamps 1965.

NZMR 24th
Reinforcements Badge.

Wilfred Fitchett wrote a number of diaries during his service abroad. His first diary that I have now transcribed is a noble piece of work. Trooper Fitchett has a style and observation ability that belies his young age. What he writes in this first diary is a concise and informative account of his enlistment and departure with the Main Body in 1914. There is more detail here than many of the official accounts that I have read before - enjoy this first diary of of events he experienced in 1914 by going to THE FITCHETT DIARY PAGE HERE.
Wilfred was initially with the 4th Waikato Mounted Rifles. He was hospitalised from Gallipoli and subsequently served his remaining time in Europe with the Auckland Rifle Brigade. He was mentioned in dispatches and had risen in rank to Lieutenant by wars end. The Fitchett family have supplied a wealth of information which I will process in due course - already I have posted below some records from the family, including the "Old Diggers" outside the Auckland War Memorial Museum.
Photographs from the Fitchett Family. Wilfred standing in uniform is probably taken in 1914 - (this copy has been computer colourised.) Next, Wilfred outside the Auckland War Memorial Museum at a reunion (circa 1965), Top right, Wilfred mounted on his horse "Lancewood" - Wilfred was never to see his horse again after he left Egypt for Gallipoli in 1915 - However "Lancewood" became a remount for reinforcements late in 1915 - Lancewood dutifully served his new master from Romani, Rafa, Beersheba, Ayun Kara, and beyond. Sadly both Lancewood and his master were killed in a hail of machine gun bullets while on patrol prior to the attack on Amman just before wars end.

One year ago, establishing the locality of where the above photograph of the ALH escorting prisoners took place was a rewarding little exercise that I found very interesting. Certainly without Gal Shaine's help from Israel, I am sure it would never have been accomplished. However we were able to pinpoint the position to within a metre or two.

In revising all the images that I have on file - especially the ones that had not meant much to me when they were first obtained -( like this photograph on the left from the 'Trooper Stanley Burrowes Collection' sent in two years ago) one or two have jumped right out at me.
Image left: I could instantly recognise the locality of where these Turkish prisoners sit along a dusty road.
The wall where the men sit huddled together is the boundary fence of the present day Rashidiye High School for boys. On the right of frame is the ancient City Wall of Jerusalem and through the haze in the distance the outline of the Augusta Victoria can just be seen.


An email and photograph attachment arrived yesterday (sep08) from Rae.
Rae states that perhaps the NZMR is interested in this image, (yes, most definitely), which has written on the back:
C Sonntag
1914 - 18 War. General Sports Day.
NZ Mounted Rifles.
place Richon Le Zion-Vinnity of Jaffa. first settlers (Jewish) in Palestine.

This photo certainly appears to be the flat lands around Richon, two horses are wearing fly-fringes common to the campaign, and the young boy and his clothing fit the location well. A lovely photo.

Thanks Rae for the contact and picture, we all appreciate your effort.


The purpose of this "Updates page" is to bring to everyones attention items that have been sent into the association that we intend to post into various pages within the web site proper.
It is with an expectation that members with any further information will be in touch, and in turn your collective knowledge will result in a more detailed history.

A case in point has been this recent photograph that came to hand that was only titled "Corporal Reid". The original glass plate image came from the studios of a well known turn of the century Auckland photographer, H.J. Schmidt.

My original thought was to add this image to our "Uniforms and Kit" page HERE as this photo is a rare look at the light weight NZMR uniform used by the troops during the Middle Eastern campaigns.
However, when trying to track down the background of 'Corporal Reid' I was confronted with 232 individuals who fought with the NZEF with the name 'Reid'. This total was later narrowed down to some 15 men who served with the Mounted Rifles.
Thanks to one observant forum member who posted on our message board that there was a photograph of a S.C. Reid on display at the Auckland War Memorial Museum that could either confirm, or eliminate, one of the 15 from the list of the man I was looking for.
A trip to the museum was very fruitful - On the top floor in the museums "Scars of the Heart" exhibition was displayed a number of items relating to Sinclair Chapman Reid, including his medals that included the Military Cross and the identical black and white image that I had also received.
We can now confirm that Corporal Reid shown here was a decorated hero. His service record is second to none. Sinclair Reid had the distinction of being a combatant at both the attack on Chunuk Bair on the 8th August 1915 during the Gallipoli Campaign and the attack at Ayun Kara on the 14th November 1917 in Turkish Palestine. These actions were the most deadly engagements experienced by the NZMR during WWI.

13/129 Corporal Sinclair Chapman Reid - North Auckland Mounted Rifles.
first known rank corporal, rose to Lieutenant by wars end. During WWII held the rank of Major.
Original image computer colourised.

Left: Items on display at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.
The original black and white photograph - Medal array - a selection of Mounted Rifles Regimental badges - leather compass cases - dog tags - and chevrons awarded to the men for the years of service for their country. These chevrons were worn on the lower right forearm tunic. It is important to note that the red chevron at the top was only awarded to men who departed with the Main Body in 1914.


What a great challenge for all of us!
The Association would like to name as many of these Auckland Mounted Riflemen as possible. This photograph of a reunion of the AMR was taken about 1965 outside the Auckland War Memorial Museum - it is possible that the ageing faces of these men in their 70's and 80's are more recognizable to grandchildren than the old sepia photographs of young men about to go to war.
If you can identify anyone CLICK HERE
The photograph left is part of the Lieutenant Wilfred Fitchett Collection that arrived by DVD earlier this week.
(Thanks to Warrant Officer Marty Fitchett RNZAF - Grandson)

Above: A section of the photograph, and we are off to a slow start - here circled in green and blue are our first two known men, Wilfred and his best mate that went through thick and thin together, Ernie Picot. There are more photos of these two mates during their service that I will display later.
On the right and centre in red it is noted that these two men look to be wearing the Military Cross, a prestigious award for valour and only awarded to seven members of the AMR - perhaps we can identify them further. The recipient names are:
Finlayson, Johnson, Mc Gregor, S.C. Reid (see item above), McCathie, Collins and Palmer.

One of the troopers holds a sign "13/ Auckland Mounted Rifles" that I at first thought represented the 13th time the old soldiers had had an official meeting - but on reflection I believe this would be an Anzac Day parade at a time when many soldiers from the two world wars were still alive. On those occasions units had signs for rallying points before they marched to the Cenotaph - the "13/ " would represent the regiments prefix of each Mounted Riflemans service number. But then if this is ANZAC Day - where are the poppies?
A further thought is that Maryt Fitchett believed that this picture was taken 'about' 1965 - what if this image was indeed taken in 1965 - perhaps May 1965 - that would make this occasion a very special event - 50 years since these men landed on Gallipoli, May 1915.

The NZMR Reinforcement detail or the names of these men are at present unknown. Perhaps members of the public will recognise a family member here that would give the Association the breakthrough in recording more about this image.
The photograph is on the front of a postcard created for soldiers to purchase to send home to their families, so there would have been more than this single image. Possibly as many as twenty-five were distributed, the same number as the men in the photograph. However many could have been destroyed over time.
This is probably the members of a single "Hut" posing with their mascot. The background view appears to be the typical slash and burn landscape of early New Zealand. Most troopers wear no insignia, but shapes of the Auckland and Waikato Mounted Rifles hat and collar badges are recognisable.