comments from webmaster Steve Butler

A mixture of New Zealand soldiers mass on the upper deck of a troopship while en route to
the Great War. The men watch a boxing match in the late afternoon sun. The soldiers wear an assortment
of head gear - traditional Infantry "Lemon Squeezers" and peaked Khaki hats along with a smattering
of Mounted Rifles wide brimmed hats.
"Photo Jack Baker Collection"



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

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

NZMR 24th
Reinforcements Badge.

A reminder to visitors and members. With modern graphic tools we can easily recover dramatic images from damaged and very small photographs. Many thousands of photos were taken with a small version Kodak cameras, and many families are unaware of the treasures they have stored away.
Left: the match book cover sized photo among Jack Baker's family collection is able to be enhanced and increased in size to produce the above image.

Lets rescue them before they get lost or thrown out.

I am very excited about our new contact with Jack Baker this week.
Jack is a returned serviceman himself from WWII
but has a keen interest in - well just about everything, including histories of local soccer, the NZ navy, various Auckland
suburbs, cricket - you can see the list is beginning to grow! and he writes well on each and every subject - lucky for us.
Jack had family members in the NZMR and somewhere along the timeline of life he happened on a folio of photographs.
Where they actually came from within the family he doesn't quite know. I have scanned and published the first one above
they are ALL of the Cameliers - and frankly some are stunning - all tell a story. They have never been published before.
We are all in for a treat, as Jack formulated a friendship with a group of Cameliers back in the eighties to write down and
gather material on the I.C.C. The letters and material passed between these men is delightfully witty, informative and moving.
I intend to start a comprehensive page to cover the New Zealand Cameliers in the near future.
This first photograph has written on the back: "Led Camels moving off".

Survivor from the South African War 1899 -1902?
Mounted Rifles despatch rider, trooper Ben Birt fought in the Boer War.
The saddle above is currently on loan to the Kauri Museum by Ben's descendant Rex Birt of Northland.
Although understood by the family to be a relic from the war it is probably a later saddle owned by the
"Rough Rider", as NZMR President Greg Bradley notes that the saddle is a UP design that only came
into military use in 1902, and were not issued before the Mounteds went to South Africa.

Secrets Revealed Of The McCarroll Diaries - Ninety Years On.

Fortunately for history James McCarroll used a unique process to make sure his diaries survived the war. He initially wrote notes in pencil daily in a pocket diary that he carried with him at all times - then at periods of safety and relative inactivity he transcribed his notes and broader ideas to the numbered pages of a retail business order book. These large pages were also duplicate pen-carbon, the top copies written in pencil (to carry a ink fountain pen into action or on desert patrols was an impossible task) were removed in batches and sent home to his wife, while the indelible inked carbon remained with his belongings in the hostile environment of trench and desert warfare. The result was that two identical diaries remain today, plus one of the pocket diaries.

Woman At Work:
It is not surprising to learn that the Collections Manager at the Kauri Museum, Betty Nelley is herself a daughter of a North Auckland Mounted Rifleman. Her efforts to expand the awareness of the 11th North Auckland Squadron in the Northland area is a credit to herself and her dedicated staff. (Top) Betty holds three of the ink-carboned books used by McCarroll ninety odd years ago. Also kept secure in the museum vault are photographs that are all individually cellophaned wrapped. (left) Close up view of the crossed silver rifles that support the AMR shooting trophy displayed at the museum.

Matakohe's Favourite Son.

The small hamlet of Matakohe lies at the heart of Northlands famous giant Kauri Forests of Otamatea and Kaipara. From this timber and farming area came the nations first New Zealand born Prime Minister, Gordon Coates.
He became Prime Minister on the 30th May 1925. Coates won the parliamentary seat of Kaipara on the second ballot on 14 December 1911. He was to represent the seat until his death in 1942 . He was to serve as a portfolio minister on a number of occasions throughout his long career.
Coates the farmer and mounted rifleman became a leader who began to put in place a road, rail and electricity infrastructure that New Zealand has benefited from ever since.
Coates had married Marguerite Coles in 1914, and had five daughters.
He left politics to serve his country in the Great War and departed for France with the infantry’s 19th Reinforcements to the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in November 1916, and was later posted as second in command of the 15th (North Auckland) Company of the 1st Battalion of the Auckland Infantry Regiment. During his time at war he won a Military Cross at La Basseville.

Otamatea Mounted Rifles successor was James McCarroll who went on to command the Auckland Mounted Rifles during the Palestine Campaign.

A life sized Kauri wood carving bust and framed photograph of Gordon Coates take pride of place among a photograph collection of Mounted Rifles images on permanent display at the Kauri Museum, Northland.
Joseph (Gordon) Coates was born in 1878 and at just 12 years of age joined the Otamatea Mounted Rifles. He rose in rank to lead the Otamatea men before he joined Parliament in 1912.


Another trip to the Kauri Museum this week.
Betty Nelley and the staff at the Kauri Museum made me very welcome again this week as I went to
collect more papers from the James McCarroll Collection. Kindly they have offered a number of photographs
from their substantial Mounted Rifles archives for us to reproduce here. I hope to have a range of images presented here
before the December holidays. Of special interst to me was the AMR Trophy that they also have on display, beautiful silver
hand cast rifles supporting the cup.

Reflection of time:
Entering the Kauri Museum at Matakohe in the heart of old North Auckland Mounted Rifles country is a doorway to another era. A visitor is quickly transported back through time to the early settlement days with the multitude of knickknacks and machinery that are on display.
With a careful eye one can detect various remnants of Mounted Rifles memorabilia scattered everywhere among various presentations. At first glance an old silver trophy draws the viewer to the interesting hand cast support made up with three rifles crossed to hold the inscribed cup. Interestingly the cup was made and presented by Joseph Palmer over a century ago. Interesting as Palmers Jewellers are still vibrant retailers and Jewellers in Whangarei today.
It appears the trophy has had an eventful life - the original engraving states:
"3rd Regiment A.M.R.V. [Auckland Mounted Rifles Volunteers] - For Highest Aggregate Score at 500 600 & 700 yards Range."
The next line of engraving takes the trophy into contests between marksmen of machine guns of the 1920's:
"Reallocated For Best Shot - Hotchkiss Gun".
And finally in the 1950's new engraving on the front states:
"Re-Presented to the Ruawai District High School Cadets by the Auckland Mounted Rifles 1950".

With a feeling of nostalgia the visitor realises that the trophy has run its course, and no longer will this piece be up for grabs by a sharp shooting mounted rifleman - but then it is in the right place, sitting on a Kauri mantelpiece surrounded by other fellow time travellers.The reflection of the mirror shows the cup winners names listed on the back of the cup, and from across the years and decades - near the cup lip, sharp and shiny, gleams back a winners name:
1908 Sargt-Major Mackesy.

A computer colourised image of Sergeant Major Charles Mackesy (jnr.) pre-WWI

Television and print journalist Graeme Booth gives an insight into the life of a
Mounted Rifleman - his own father who served with the North Auckland Mounted Rifles.
Read Graeme's family account and his offer to New Zealanders with personal histories "Hidden in the attic"..


The Australian Film Commission has made this three minute clip available to view by clicking image above.
The clip is from the 1940 movie "40,000 Horsemen" and gives a 1940's look at the charge by the ALH
at Beersheba - the editing of the film at the time is first class and I am told that some of the men used here
in the movie were veterans of the Light Horse in WWI.

If you are very keen, and have plenty of bandwidth available, you may follow HERE to
download a far better quailty clip - be warned it will be a massive job if you don't have broadband.
Also note this material is copyrighted by the AFC but is available at no fee for research
and students of history (thats us)