This photograph sent in by John Winter from Nelson is of Trooper Herbert Matson. To many of us this is such a powerful picture, as Herbert stirs the memory that so many of us still recall of these old soldiers now gone. How typical is this pose, and of the attire of our grandfathers, great uncles and fathers who wore "Their Best" on Anzac Days past. The hat, the three piece suit, returned services badge and medals of a war long over.
11/692 Trooper Matson, 6th Squadron, Wellington Mounted Rifles was one of the original Anzacs - remember him and his fellows this April 25th.
21st Anniversary issue
penny and half-penny
50th Anniversary issue
4 penny and 5 penny
90th Anniversary of
IN THE BEGINING
photograph C G Powles: Pontoon Bridge at Serapeum. 1916 - refocus and duotone treatment by NZMRA 2011
Above: The NZMR Brigade crossing the pontoon bridge at Serapeum, Egypt, March 6th 1916.
Not only is Colonel Guy Powles keen to get a photograph of this Brigade crossing - we can see in the left middle ground of this image two soldiers standing at the bridge entrance with elbows tucked into sides and heads bent, chin to chest, as they steady their cameras to take their own photographs. (The box or bellows cameras of the day had 90 degree reflective glass magnifying viewfinder that required a photographer to stand in this position to set up a scene.)
After the defeat of British Forces on Gallipoli and their evacuation back to Egypt in December 1915, the New Zealand Mounted Rifles troops prepared to take on the enemy on a new Front.
Members of the Australian Light Horse and the NZMR who had been sent to fight on Gallipoli as Infantry returned to re-train with their horses that had been left behind in Egypt.
On February 23rd 1916 the Otago Mounted Rifles departed to the European Front, by March 6th the NZMR Brigade crossed the pontoon bridge at Serapeum and took up a defensive position of Canal Defenses. On March 15th the recognition of the Anzac co-operation and brotherhood of Gallipoli was understood and the new dynamic force of the "Anzac Mounted Division" was created under the command of Australian Major-General H.G. (Harry) Chauvel.
Made up of the following Brigades:-
1st ALH Brigade
2nd ALH Brigade
3rd ALH Brigade
New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade
4 Territorial Royal Horse Artillery Batteries from Britain (The Ayrs, Inverness, Somersets and Leicesters).
Harry Chauvel was to have great success with this new force at Romani, later in the Sinai Campaign this force was enlarged to become the "Desert Mounted Corps". Lieutenant Colonel Guy Powles was to comment in his book, "The New Zealanders in Sinai and Palestine"
"The Desert Mounted Corps - the largest body of mounted troops commanded by one man in the Great War; and which was destined to break the Turkish Armies."
We can always rely on David Porter from England to pull something out of the bag!
David has sent trough a number of photos over the last few years from the camera of Captain H.S. White of the Somerset Royal Horse Artillery. The Somersets were a territorial force of the British Army who were attached to the Anzacs in the Sinai Campaign from 1916.
The section of the photograph at left is described as being taken by Captain White at the bridge at Serapium.
The sign in the picture has either the number two or three which is difficult to decipher.
However the instructions are easy enough to read:
Anzac Mounted Riflemen and Gunners of the RHA stand at the entrance to the Serapeum bridge. The English Artillerymen easily identified wearing Wolseley Pattern pith helmets.
Photograph Captain H.S. White - bridge at Serapium circa 1916.
ARTIST'S VIEW OF KLERKSDORP
painting Charles Hammond - title: "Australians and New Zealanders at Klerksdorp, 24th March 1901"
New Zealanders can be forgiven in thinking Australians and New Zealanders first went into action together at the landing at Gallipoli on the 25th April 1915, as much has been made of that event in our history books. However a glimpse of Boer War records show that the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Contingents went into action with Australian Light Horse a number of times during the South African War 1899 -1902.
A notable example is the action at Klerksdorp on the 24th March 1901. The event captured in oils by English artist Charles Hammond. The painting was inspired after a detailed illustration by War Artist Richard Canton Woodville was published in "The Illustrated London News". Woodville's illustration is reproduced below - which one appeals to your taste. The reality depicted in both scenes have taken a liberal heroic licence that was reflected in the art of the day.
Klerksdorp lies 170 km (106 miles) south-west of Johannesburg in the Transvaal and came under attack as Lord Metheun's force took up operations against Boer General De la Rey.
But a further search of history books reveals that Australians went into action with New Zealand Colonial support during the Maori Wars in the Waikato War 1863-1864. Of course individual Australians served in the New Zealand forces as volunteers even before this during the earlier 1860's.
Illustration Richard Caton Woodville - title: "Charge of the Bushmen and New Zealanders on the Boer Guns, Near Klerksdorp, 24th March 1901".
WAR ARTIST'S DESERT COLOURS
George Washington Lambert 1873 - 1930
George Lambert was a professional artist, and was known mainly for his portrait paintings. After winning a scholarship from the Government of New South Wales at the turn of the twentieth century, he traveled and presented his art in Europe until the outbreak of the Great War.
Lieutenant George Lambert became an official Australian War Artist in 1917. He painted and sketched in the field. In 1919 he made a special trip to Gallipoli to make notes for his most famous work - "Anzac, the landing 1915" which was completed when he returned home in 1920. That work and others hang at the Australian War Memorial Museum in Canberra.
At left another of Lambert's fine examples of colour and composition. This watercolour showing the approaches to Magdabah.
The depression of the Wadi seen in the painting was used by the Desert Column as both highway and map. This dry river bed stretched from Magdhaba to the newly British occupied township of El Arish on the Mediterranean Coast. Within hours of taking possession of El Arish the mounted force under General Chaytor was dispatched to take out the desert stronghold.
LAST ACTION, LAST GUN
print reproduced from 1920's publication - "The Official War History of the Wellington Mounted Rifles."
First Known Rank:
Next of Kin:
Ralph Scholes (father), Weraroa, via Levin.
Aokautere, New Zealand
Body on Embarkation:
Wellington Mounted Rifles
16 October 1914
Place of Embarkation:
Wellington, New Zealand
Orari or Arawa
Page on Nominal Roll:
11/133 Lieutenant Edward Scholes stands proudly by one of the three Field Guns that he and his men of the Wellington Mounted Rifles captured during the assault on Amman. The attack by "Chaytor Force" on the Turkish Garrison city on the 25th September 1918 was the beginning of the complete collapse of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. By the following month Turkey had sued for peace. The Ottoman Empire that had ruled the Middle East and large territories of North Africa, Southern Europe and Southern Russia for a period of 600 years was no more.
Edward who departed New Zealand with the Main Body with the rank of Corporal was to remain a Reserve Force Officer between wars and rose to the rank of Captain.
Below an excerpt from the book with references to the action of Edward and the WMR's involvement in the attack on Amman.
"...The C.M.R. were then ordered forward to a suitable position, with a view to breaking through the enemy's line and taking his defences in the rear.
At 11.30 the W.M.R. received orders to press the attack vigorously and to cooperate with the C.M.R. The latter Regiment, however, reported to Brigade Headquarters that two strong enemy posts dominated the road leading to Amman - one in the Stone Tower and one on the right about a mile due west of the town.
The C.M.R. were accordingly to force the main entrance to Amman, dismounted, and on that being done to mount and gallop through. Meantime the A.M.R. were at a point about one mile due north of Amman, from which position their two guns were directed against redoubts in an easterly direction, and two squadrons were advanced to positions closer to Amman on the right of the 2nd W.M.R. Squadron, in front of which were cleverly-concealed nests of enemy machine guns.
Meanwhile perseverance and continuous pressure by the W.M.R. and C.M.R. were taking effect on the right, and a C.M.R. Squadron thrust forward, under cover of machine-gun fire, towards the town, in the face of strong opposition, and by 2.30 the C.M.R. and the 9th W.M.R. Squadron had advanced the general line with its right north of and close to Amman, and its left further to the north-east, facing the Wadi Amman, which ran in a north-easterly direction to Amman railway station.
At 2.40 a C.M.R. Squadron had occupied a hill immediately in front of the Stone Tower, assisted by machine-gun, fire from the 9th W.M.R. Squadron, and from the machine guns attached to the C.M.R., which were directed with good effect.
Meanwhile a dismounted troop of the C.M.R. had entered the western end of the village, where it met a party of about two troops of the 2nd A.L.H. Brigade. At the same time two C.M.R. Squadrons stormed the Stone Tower at the bayonet point and three troops of the same Regiment galloped into the town at 3 p.m. The Tower was captured at 3.15, many of its defenders being taken prisoners.
A general advance then took place, covered by artillery and machine-gun fire, and the enemy facing the W.M.R. and A.M.R. were driven into the main wadi, where they met the fire of the C.M.R., advancing towards the station. During this advance the A.M.R.; with a W.M.R. party, under Lieutenant Scholes, captured three field guns, hot from recent firing, which had been most active during the day. Two Howitzer guns were taken close to the main wadi, and a 4.5 was captured by the A.M.R. on the eastern bank of the wadi five machine guns were also taken.
The movements of the Brigade, timed and executed with clocklike precision, trapped the retreating Turks, 1700 of whom were then captured.
The simultaneous attack along the whole line had broken the enemy resistance, and Amman railway station was captured at 4.30, together with many prisoners, a complete wireless plant, and much booty. In addition, hundreds of prisoners were captured in the trenches, and others who attempted to escape were cut off by our troops. Posts were then established on the hills around the town and the victory was complete. For gallant conduct during the capture of guns near the Wadi Amman, Lieutenant Scholes, of the W.M.R., was awarded the Military Cross."
Another of the hundreds of photographs that we know nothing about, and obviously would like to know more.
This image sent in from a neighbour who could not recall who or where it came from. I showed interest as the barrack room Lance Corporal (standing right and inserted right) is wearing a Mounted Rifles Hat and what appears to be a NZMR Reinforcements Hat Badge. All else seems lost, nothing written on the back.
Perhaps this is "Featherston Camp", although it could be elsewhere in New Zealand. Maybe the title painted over the barrack room doorway - "MEN 134" may alert someone to another similar photograph to give us the location.
Although not sports clothes that we would consider appropriate today, the men are in rolled up sleeves and shorts with braces attached, and are ready for a game of handball. The trooper foreground left holds a leather bound ball in his right hand.
As always if you can identify a family member in this photo we would like to hear from you.
The Men in your post are Infantry of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade Reinforcements not NZMR.... The hat badge is a NZRB and collar badges.