NEW ZEALAND MOUNTED RIFLES

Comments from Webmaster Steve Butler ■ Email contact

RARE PHOTOGRAPH OF THE ORIGINAL ANZAC MONUMENT
Richard and Judy live down there in heartland Waikato, and they were kind enough to send in images of Judy's Grandfather Trooper Charles Broomfield some time ago - however Richard does not want to be upstaged in the family and has now sent in these two images from his own father's war time collection.
Machinegunner Cato of the First Echelon, 27 Machinegun Battalion took time out to visit the grave sites and Memorials of New Zealand WWI troops when he arrived in Egypt at the beginning of WWII.
The photograph above is of the original ANZAC Memorial erected in Port Said - this is the first time I have seen the Memorial taken from this angle. The Monument was unveiled in 1932 and would have been about eight years old when the photograph was taken. In 1956 Egyptian rioters completely destroyed the Monument, copies were later erected in Australia.

Photographs: Machinegunner Cato circa 1940
A new generation of soldiers arrive in Egypt from New Zealand at the beginning of World War Two. This group of young men have travelled up from the New Zealand Camp at Maardi to the CWGC Cemetery at Ismailia. Solemnly they pay tribute to their fathers generation who were killed in a "War to end all Wars" that had ended just over twenty years before.


SITE MAP

 


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.

"GET ON PARADE!"
One can almost hear the RSM shouting out his commands across nearly a century of time - "Get on Parade!"
We know very little about this photograph other than it has been attributed to a person named "McCauley". Although there are McCauleys' listed on the Nominal Rolls, there is no McCauley listed as having served with the NZMR. The other McCauleys' were all Infantrymen who would have been serving in Europe. This photograph of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles on Parade is obviously taken in the Middle East.
Last month I spotted an entry by a seller listing items on the Trademe Auction site. He commented about a Cameliers photograph that I found interesting - the seller stated that one of the men in a Cameliers group photo was - "Angus McCauley (Aotea)". This leads me to believe that this photograph above could well have been taken by Angus McCauley a civilian worker at the New Zealand Aotea Convalescent Hospital at Heliopolis near Cairo - this photo then would seem probable to have been taken on the banks of, or close to, the Suez Canal before the NZMR pushed forward to Romani in 1916. This terrain certainly is more representative of Egypt/Sinai rather than the flatter territory of Turkish Palestine of 1917.
Of course I am perhaps drawing a very long bow, but discussion may well take us further - Comments of course always very welcome.

A GOOD SLEUTH REQUIRED
I like a good mystery - but I am a little stumped by this one - or at least say I have too many theories and I might not be seeing the wood for the trees.
At first glance I saw this as a group photo of some NZMR men somewhere in Turkish Palestine, but two things are not right for that - First these are fast flowing river stones surrounding the bell tents. Second, the photographer has placed a marker number 45 in the foreground as a reference for the negative. That tells me it was taken by a professional photographer, and the NZMR had none in the Middle East. Other points of interest are: The men wear Mounted Rifles hats and the trooper center has a bugle laying across his shins.
Turning this WW1 postcard over we have this note penned by a woman to a male friend (relative), from Otahuhu in Auckland (not faraway Palestine) - it reads:

otahuhu
18th June
My Dear Cyril
I am sending you this so you can see George's handsome dial. You will recognise [Dick] and Wally Crabtree. Arthur is the boy marked by the cross. They are up on leave at present, but I have not yet seen anything of George. Arthur thinks he is a bit gone in the top storey. I guess he is about right don't you. Arthur reckons George did his level best to get fired out of Camp, but up to the present has not been successful. The reasons George will be on the mat soon - for he cannot keep his tongue quiet, but is everlasting chipping at the Officers.
Mary had a letter from Charlie last Saturday written at sea, all were well.
Poor old Ted [H*****] was killed last week. Don't Otahuhu boys fare badly.
I posted you a tin of Pie Melon Jam last mail - Hope it keeps well and that you got your razor safely.
Remember me to Harvey with love.
From all at home.
Ethel

.

the straight brackets and asterisks included in the transcription above are mine - SB

I would like now to establish the year. As you see we have the 18th June at the top of the card - but everything depends on deciphering what "Poor Ted's" surname was. I have scanned the section of the card where Ethel has written to Cyril telling him Ted was killed - but I can't work out the spelling of his surname. I have been through the "Harts, Edward" "Hunt, Edward" to no avail (note: Ethel omits the crosses on her "T" sometimes, see Otahuhu next line) - I have tried "Earls, Hurl, Hurls - now what is your guess?

There are two Crabtrees on the Cenotaph website - one is a Walter Crabtree, departed 14th July 1917 with the 28th Reinforcements E Company, but he was not a NZMR trooper. He also has a NOK as brother J.Crabtree Lancashire, England, not the one mentioned as a brother in this postcard - the other Crabtree to leave these shores was an "Eric Arthur" and was a clerk with the Medical Corps.
So, my deduction to date - this postcard photo was sent by one of the soldiers in the photo to his mother from a reinforcements camp in New Zealand. The mother, Ethel, has forwarded it on as a postcard to another of her relatives(a brother?)on service overseas (she writes: "and that you got your razor safely" ).


I must ring Don MacKay - who is heavily involved with the Otago Mounted Rifles in Dunedin - He sent me this poster last year when the group had an exhibition in the lower South Island, and I keep meaning to ask him for more information on this photograph - by placing it here now, it will surely stimulate me into following it up!!

A number of features in this image certainly jump out to make you think. It is obvious that the High Country in the South Island's deep south provides terrain to train Alpine mounted troops. These men wrapped up warm and camouflaged in "Thar". Interesting too are the lace up leggings and "Taranaki Peak" hat - hopefully I will be able to delete this comment when Don brings me up to date!
I am sure this is pre-war (old style bandolier) and turn of the century sabre-rattling had put New Zealand on a possible Russian conflict alert - or perhaps the military minds of the time were preparing for winter advances in Salonika? - a great photograph - talk to me Don!!

In the meantime an UPDATE from Johnathan:
Hi Steve
As you know the Otagos served in France and that is where the photograph is taken the boots are dispatch rider  3 buckle boots popular in france.
The Goat skins where an item worm by Scottish and some Tommy troops in the winter, they may have been lent them for the photo, or got hold of some, even the boots do not appear to have a spec of dirt on them.
And yes the Otagos in france loved the pointy hats.
It looks like he has tucked the flaps under on his bandolier for some strange reason.
(STINKER: British army goatskin or sheepskin jerkin, first issued in winter 1914. From the smell, especially when wet. They were not very popular as the lice found them a great home in the trenches - these men would have worn the skins in this posed photo for the folks back home.)  

Regards Jonathan


TE KAAHU MATAARA - Auckland Mounted Rifles.

computer colourised image from 1916 original
13/2996 Staff-Sergeant Allen was among 504 Reinforcement troopers of the NZMR that departed Wellington on the 29th February 1916. Under the command of Major Bennett, Christopher Allen sailed to Egypt on the "Aparima" (HMNZT 46). The other departing troopship that day was the "Waitemata", carrying the 3rd Battalion NZRB
In civillian life Chris Allen was a Railway Fireman from East Tamaki in Auckland, and was fortunate enough to survive the Great War. The original balck and white photograph was taken in Auckland at Schmit Studios just a few days before his departure in 1916.

OLD ANZAC LETTER BRINGS RESPONSE


Steve Butler site animator and compiler:

Hi Steve,

I was astounded to see Donald Mckenzie's letter to Mrs Carmody on your web site.
Don was my grandfathers best mate during the war according to my father and his name was 'Bob Henderson' referred to in Don's letter. Actually his name was Robert Boyne Henderson but every body called him Bob service number 71155.He served as a Lewis Gunner and it is great to see who his mates were after all these years.

He served only briefly in France after sailing as a 37th reinforcement and I was lucky enough to get an autograph book recently off trade me signed by a lot of the chaps who were on the Ionic in May 1918.

Bob as I understand was not wounded in the arm but very seriously wounded in the back and spent over a year in Walton on Thames before getting back to NZ in late 1919. We still have the horrible bit of shrapnel that hit him with pieces of uniform still embedded in it!

What a great find and I have sent a copy of Dons letter, downloaded, I hope you dont mind, to my Dad who I am sure will be thrilled as Bob like a lot of returned servicemen did not say much of what they had experienced.

As an aside I have the Devils on Horses book which has prompted someone at work to start tracking their ancestry, not a bad thing.


Anyway thanks a million for your website which has given me and my Dad an unexpected gem.

Greg and Sue.

In March this year we posted on the site a letter from a World War One soldier Donald Mackenzie to a grieving mother in Australia in 1934. The letter came by way of "Jeff Pickerd" one of our Australian Forum members - and today (8th sep 09) I received this email - so we are a small global family afterall.

AUCKLANDERS PREPARE FOR WAR

Image and items of Auckland History at http://timespanner.blogspot.com/
This photograph of the Auckland Mounted Rifles Camp was taken at the Avondale Racecourse, and is possibly the 1912 camp, certainly pre-World War One. Troopers can be seen grabbing a quick "Cuppa-Cha" at the canteen in the foreground. Bell tents and horse lines are arranged grid perfect behind.
Although I am unaware of who the photographer was, this image has special importance for my own family. My Grandfather, Frederick Ziegler, was a member of the AMR and he spoke a number of times in reference to this place. In the distant background I like to think (I am not sure if this is a mark on the image print or not) is a plume of smoke rising - if so, this is from the furnace chimney at the "Crum Brick & Tile" works in nearby New Lynn. My Grandfather worked there and indeed he told me, met his future wife, my Grandmother there.
I believe he also stabled his own horse at this course, I am not sure on that point, but he related how after work he would walk down to the track with a few of his mates and carry out mounted drills on the race courses central paddock. The area was to prove to be an ideal site for the Auckland Mounted Rifle Camps.

Ziegler Family Photograph circa 1912
Back Row Standing: George Yardley, Joe Denyer, Fred Ziegler, Jim Allen, Jim Serle, Tom Yearbury, Bert Denyer, Jim Freelander, Neil Matherson, Bill Prosser, W. Haskel, Fred Crum, Bert Briggs, Stan Meyers.
Front Row Sitting: Harry Pepkher, Bill Hill, Bob Proctor, Less Yearbury, Tom Taylor.

Above: My Grandfather had joined the AMR in 1910 and along with other members of the "Crum Brick & Tile" boys, decided to also form "The Eden Ramblers Rugby League Football Team". This team, I am told, was to prove very competitive, a number becoming Auckland representative players - one, George Yardley going on to become a New Zealand International player with the "Kiwis". Years later, one of Fred's own grandsons was also to become a "Kiwi" International.
The story of the Ramblers was to become a short one. The team played 1910-11-12-13-14, then however most departed for the Great War - Some departed with the AMR, others with the Auckland Battalion, many did not return or suffered terrible injuries.
The team never played again.

Right: The new recruit - Fred Ziegler wearing the older style slouch-hat as worn by the NZMR at the time. This photograph taken in 1910 when Fred was just 18 years old.
99 years later my Uncle still has the original collars, Lions-head hat clip and shoulder titles shown here.
Computer colourised image