NEW ZEALAND MOUNTED RIFLES

Comments from Webmaster Steve Butler

HELIOGRAPH AT HUJ
Heliograph at Huj with Turkish signallers
Turkish heliograph signalers at the forward airfield at Huj in Turkish Palestine 1917. The Heliograph was a direct descendant of the ancient Greek polished shield, the instrument made use of reflecting sunlight through two adjustable mirrors, and by means of a shutter blind the operator could open and close the blind to transmit the Morse Code flashes to another post up to fifty kilometers away.  The first Heliograph (front) was invented by Sir Henry Mance while stationed with the British Army in India in 1877, it weighed seven pounds and was easily transported. The morse code flashes of sunlight could be seen many kilometres away.
NZMR Signallers

SITE MAP

 


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






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







2008 stamp
90th Anniversay of
Anzac 2008.

NZ Herald article remembered
Heral article on Trooper Colin McGegor and his horse Taipo 21st Sep 1988
On the 29th September 1988 the New Zealand Herald ran a short story on Trooper Colin McGregor and his horse "Taipo" by way of celebrating Colin's 97th birthday - The Association reprints the 20 year-old article below:

He ran like the Devil.
by Graham Scott
Seventy years have passed since Trooper Colin McGregor fought his war in the desert, but still fresh in his memory are the exploits of a horse called "Taipo".
"He could run like the devil and was one of the best," says the spry 97-year old, recalling his partnership with Taipo in the hot hell hole of wartime Arabia. Trooper McGregor joined the Anzac Mounted Division in 1916. He and Taipo soon teamed up and were to spend several years together trekking the desert in the First World War and trying to outrun enemy fire.
The alert old trooper has never forgotten the oncoming drone of the "terrible Taubes," and the "mad scatters" on the sand as the. German fighter pianes approached.
"We would ride like hell into the desert, looking up into the sky." The srategy was to spread the horseflesh far and wide in the hope that Taube bombs would not cause multiple carnage.
He says that New Zealand could always remain proud of the quality of horses it shipped to the desert war theatre. They had arrived in finer fettle than equine exports from other countries and had more readily adapted to the harsh conditions.
Taipo, he said, bad been a cut above most, and had also been imbued with a thoroughbred streak - and a Maori name, that meant "devil."
McGregor, who now lives a quieter life on the seashores at Onerahi in Northland, says: "I'm not one to skite, but I was a really good horseman and Taipo was a top horse, one of the best."
A twinkle comes to McGregor's eye when he recalls the friendly desert rivalry that pitted New Zealand horses and men against the Canterbury Yeoman Cavalry. "They thought they were pretty big time. Britishers, who, according to themselves, were the salt of the earth."
He chuckles as he recounts what had always happened in the mounted wrestling and tent-pegging contest: "We knocked hell out of them."
The old trooper thanks a great New Zealand soldier who rode by the stars for teaming him up with Taipo - Lieutenant-Colonel A. C. M. (Bob) Finlayson, a fellow Northlander, had pointed him in the direction of the horse. Finlayson. later earned fame in the desert for his ability to plot the stars and lead his troops in the dark.
Trooper McGregor was hard-hit in the desert by malaria and a virulent type of influenza but he avoided being gunned down by Taubes or opposing troops.
Taipo was not so lucky. The horse was shot through the neck during a battle and was packed off to a veterinary hospital. For two months; McGregor had to make do with another horse from the line: "I found it pretty hard losing Taipo, I can tell you."
But Taipo recovered. The partners were reunited and together they rode out hostilities. Eventually, Trooper McGregor rallied from the illness that bad laid him low and returned home to Northland from Palestine. Taipo stayed behind, as did all the New Zealand horses shipped to the area.
However, the end of the war did not spell a finish to Taipo's exploits. In peacetime in Palestine, Trooper McGregor's old pal lined up in several races. Other starters chased his tail.

From Cenotaph search:
16427 Lance Corporal Colin Daniel McGregor, Farmer, 17th Reinforcements NZMR, embarkation: S.S. Manuka, Wellington 5th October 1916 - Suez, Egypt - page 40 Nominal Roll.


HURRY UP AND WAIT!
Jack Shepherd writes: The day we left Hornchurch.
New Zealand Mounted Riflemen recovered from wounds and disease sustained during the Gallipoli Campaign prepare to leave the hospital in Hornchurch, England.
Trooper Jack Shepherd (third from left front row) and fellow troopers stand outside the barracks enjoying a "Smoko", conforming to the age old military tradition of "Hurry up and wait!"
Jack writes on the reverse of this 1916 photo: "The day we shifted from Hornchurch."
Some of these men would return to Egypt and continue to serve with the NZMR, but many would remain in Europe and fight with either the New Zealand Infantry or Artillery. Jack Shepherd would fight the remainder of his war in Europe with the Auckland Battalion.

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
Featherston Memorial and Military Camp near Wellington - NZ.
Another series of photographs I took while traveling about the North Island last month (oct) - On the left is the impressive WWI Memorial erected in the small township of Featherston - each face of the monument carries the name of a theatre of war that New Zealander troops were involved in during the conflict - Gallipoli - Mesopotamia - Western Front - Palestine.
Center photograph shows the marble plinth inside the monument that records the names of the men from the district who died on active service.
The top and bottom photographs are taken at the site of the actual military camp situated two kilometres outside the town. The old camp is well gone, and today is a large sheep farm. A small park has been established opposite where the original camp gates stood, and engraved plaques commemorate the men who trained here before departure to battlefields on the other side of the world.

Armistice Day 2008 was remembered today across the country and across the world.
The New Zealand Post issued First Day covers of a new set of Anzac stamps to commemorate the anniversary.


THE THREE BATTLES FOR GAZA
First Battle of Gaza
Turkish soldiers proudly display their Regimental Standard presented for the successful defense of Gaza during the first attack by an ill-planned British Infantry assault of the city - 26th March 1917. Also displayed, the Turkish "Mejidie" medal awarded for valour. A new page dedicated to the Gaza Actions of 1917 and 1918.

A little memento from the 1945 Trustees of the Otago Mounted Rifles Regiment.
Found this on a antique book site in England, so I bought it for the Association.
Click on the image below to go to the OMR page
omr
GETTING IT ALL TOGETHER

The Otago Mounted Rifles Historical Trust had its first official function this 4th November at the "Wine Cellars Bar" ... the very date and venue where the Otago Hussars first convened in 1864. Nearly 150 years ago.

I must thank NZMR member Dr. Don McKay for sending through the Trusts first official newsletter late last month -unfortunately I was unable to attend -However I believe the function was well attended and went well. Hopefully after reading this, Don will send up a summary of events and proceedings.
Like the NZMRA itself the OMR Trust is looking for interested people to contact them, the object of the Trust, under the patronage of Mr Julian Smith, O.B.E., Honary Colonel, 4th Otago-Southland Battalion, is looking to compile a complete history of the Otago Mounted Rifles.

Regimental Patrons are:
Otago:-Mr Brian Connor, Brigadier Brian McMahon and Mr Ken Howatt.
Southland:- Judge Eric Anderson, Colonel Bill French and Mr Ken Hargest.

Otago Mounted Rifles Trust

Click image for pdf file

The Principal Trustees are:- Mr John Bannerman, Dr. Don MacKay and Dr. Aaron Fox.
Obviously the Trust is in good hands and we wish the research teams well as the scour the deep south for material to bring to life the deeds and events of the Otagos.
Those interested in supporting the Trust should in the first instance telephone Don MacKay on:
(03) 202-5777.