Comments from Steve Butler ■ Email contact

Julie Sharpe of Brisbane has just completed the unenviable job of moving her elderly mother into a rest home. A job we know we must all do sometime or later. While processing her mother's effects she noticed two photographs that she knew we would be interested in and forwarded them on to us.
Thanks Julie, well done, so often treasures like these are lost forever when families do a general clean out - your diligence is a timely reminder to us all of the history hidden in old shoe boxes and suitcases.
The photo left of a barrack room of NZMR "Mates" has her grandfather John Branthwaite listed as "6th from the left - back row". And from that we can gain a fair amount of information.

click image left to enlarge.

Regimental number 70834, John William Branthwaite was one of the 134 men that made up the 37th NZMR Reinforcements.
After basic training at Featherston the 37th departed New Zealand on HMNZT 102 (S.S. Willorocha) from Wellington on the 23rd April 1918.
The 37th were accompanied by members of the 37th NZ Rifle Brigade and the 28th Reinforcements of the Maori Contingent, a total of 1,596 men bound for the front. The Maori Contingent were to travel onto Europe, but the 37th MR disembarked at Suez on the 31st May 1918. Although the Great War was to end in five months, there was still much to do. The first attack to take Amman had failed, victories at Es Salt, Amman and Aleppo were still desperately being sought, and these new men where also destined to stay to quell riots and civil unrest of the Egyptian rebellion in 1919 before they could return home.
As always, we ask you to contact us if you are able to recognise a family member in this photo.


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.








Margaret Marks, The Senior Adviser, National Monuments and War Graves - Heritage Operations, writes requesting our help in tracing families of War Veterans. She writes in part:
"... There are 72 “true” war graves from World War I and World War II scattered through the Public Areas of Waikumete Cemetery, and many of them are showing their age.  Relatives at the time would have chosen to bury them in denominational areas rather than in the big servicemen’s blocks.  The passage of years has meant that the concrete kerbs on many of these graves are crumbling away, and the pebbled plots mean that weeds are continually pushing through.  Because of this, however often we clean and repaint the headstones, the graves are always going to look untidy.  What we would like to do is to remove all this old concrete kerbing, and the pebbles, and set up the headstones on stepped concrete bases.Because this will result in quite major changes to the appearance of the graves, we are trying to contact relatives to inform them of the project.  As a result of the Western Leader notice yesterday, I have already received two phone calls from descendents, which is very exciting."

Margaret's letter may be read in full HERE.
The soldiers are:
COWLEY, Rifleman, RALPH TUGI, 24/97. N.Z. Training Unit. 27th July 1915. Born at Tonga Isle.  Non Con. Block A, Row 3, Grave 36

SOLOMONA, Lance Corporal, PETER, 16/1196. N.Z. Maori (Pioneer) Battalion. 3rd April 1917. Son of Poki Poki, of Manihiki, Cook Islands. Served on the Western Front, 1916.  Non. Con. Block A, Row 3, Grave 62.

MEADE, Gunner, CHARLES WILLIAM, 2/1487. N.Z. Field Artillery. 9th November 1918. Age 28. Husband of F. R. Mead, of Arch Hill, Auckland. Born in England. Served in Egypt, 1915-16, and on the Western Front, 1917-18.  Ang. Block E, Row 8, Grave 77

MERCER, Gunner, PERCY ALBERT, 11099. N.Z. Training Unit. 4th November 1919. Age 27. Son of Cecil Walter and Ann Mercer (nee Forsyth). Born at Auckland. Served in France and Belgium, 1916-18.  Ang. Block C, Row 3, Grave 56B

EDWARDS, Staff Serjeant, HERBERT CECIL ARTHUR, 487714. N.Z. Army Service Corps. 1st July 1947. Age 31. Son of Herbert Walter and Rachel Mary Edwards; husband of Stella Joyce Edwards, of Parnell, Auckland City.  Wes. Block F, Row 3, Grave 9.

BAIN, Leading Stoker, GEORGE, 277245. H.M.S. "Torch". Royal Navy.  22nd August 1914. Son of Mr and Mrs George Bain, of 11, Craigbank Cottages, Liberton, Edinburgh, Scotland.  Pbyn. Block E, Row 7, Grave 28.

BONELLA, Private, FREDERICK, 6/3994. Canterbury Regiment, N.Z.E.F.. 11th June 1919. Age 42. Son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Bonella, of 83, Grafton Rd., Auckland. Served on the Western Front, 1916.  Pbyn. Block A, Row 2, Grave 60

GROVES, Rifleman, RICHARD, 23/159. N.Z. Rifle Brigade. 10th September 1917. Age 43. Served in Egypt, 1915-16, and on the Western Front, 1916.  R.C. Block A, Row 9, Grave 120

MINOGUE, Private, MICHAEL DILLON, 30613. N.Z. Training Unit. 10th November 1916. Age 35. Born in Australia.  R.C. Block C, Row 8, Grave 118

RYAN, Private, EDWARD THOMAS, 23/902. Auckland Regiment, N.Z.E.F.. 10th December 1918. Son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Ryan, of Whatatutu, Poverty Bay. Born at Gisborne. Served in Samoa, 1914; Egypt, 1915-16, and on the Western Front, 1916.  R.C. Block C, Row 13, Grave 12

STOWELL, Private, HECTOR ARTHUR, 12/4099. Auckland Regiment, N.Z.E.F.. 23rd November 1918. Born at Wellington. Served on the Western Front, 1916.  R.C. Block C, Row 14, Grave 29

BURKITT, Private, GEORGE PERCIVAL, 70233. N.Z. Machine Gun Corps. 4th November 1919. Age 39. Son of Elizabeth and the late Alfred Whaler Burkitt; husband of Maud Marion Burkitt, of 9, Kenneth Avenue, Morningside, Auckland. Born in England. Served on the Western Front, 1918-19.  Ang. Block E, Row 10, Grave 48

MITCHELL, Driver, LESLIE, 228986. N.Z. Infantry. 27th November 1943. Age 43. Son of Edward James Mitchell and Emma Mitchell, of New Plymouth, Taranaki.  Non Con Block C, Row 27, Grave 38.

RICKMAN, Sapper, JAMES GEORGE, 12/3139. N.Z. Engineers. 14th November 1918. Age 29. Husband of R. Rickman, of 46, Rolleston St., Newtown, Wellington. Born in London, England. Served in Egypt, 1915-16, and on the Western Front, 1916-17.  Ang. Block E, Row 9, Grave 103

HARROP, Rifleman, CHARLES, 26/1198. N.Z. Rifle Brigade. 2nd August 1917. Son of Mrs. Jane Harrop, of "Totley," Lower Clifton Terrace, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Served in Egypt and on the Western Front, 1916.  R.C. Block A, Row 5, Grave 113 

SMITH, Serjeant, ALBERT HARRISON, 35522. Home Service Sect. N.Z. Military Forces. 21st November 1918. Son of Mrs. M. Smith, of Auckland. Born at Thames.  Ang, Block E, Row 8, Grave 73

VERCOE, Private, NORMAN EDMOND, 21357. Auckland Regiment, N.Z.E.F.. 5th June 1919. Age 23. Son of Philip and Ann Vercoe. Born at Blenheim. Served on the Western Front.  Ang. Block E, Row 10, Grave 124.

BARTON, Gunner, CHARLES FREDERICK, 11/1655. N.Z. Field Artillery. 28th August 1917. Age 23. Son of John and Elizabeth Barton (nee Hampton). Born at Auckland. Served on the Western Front.  R.C. Block A, Row 5, Grave 27A and B

FITZPATRICK, Lance Corporal, FREDERICK DANIEL, 24/2192. Canterbury Regiment, N.Z.E.F.. 30th October 1918. Son of Mr. and Mrs. D. Fitzpatrick, late of Auckland. Served on the Western Front, 1916-17.  R.C. Block A, Row 3, Grave 99/101

SPEIR, Private, ALLAN JOHN, 33621. Wellington Regiment, N.Z.E.F.. 16th August 1920. Age 29. Son of Robert and Honara Speir (nee Fitzgerald). Born at Auckland. Served on the Western Front, 1917-18.  R.C. Block A, Row 2, Grave 96/98 


Dear Mr. Butler,

Attached is a poster advertising a lecture to be held in Invercargill on Thursday 8 September 2011.  The subject of the lecture is “The Boer Wars” (Anglo-Boer Wars) and it will be delivered by a prominent South African lecturer, Mr. Rodney Grosskopff.  Mr.Grosskopff’s lecture will highlight the part played by individual Freemasons in those conflicts but there will be much of general interest to those interested in the military aspects and especially those with an interest in the part played by the New Zealand contingents of Mounted Rifles and other units.

The lecture is open to the general public and your members are most especially and warmly invited to attend and perhaps contribute some comments in the discussion forum following the lecture.  If you wish to publish the attached poster, you are most welcome to do so.

Yours faithfully

For and on behalf of the Research Lodge of Southland No.415

Martin I. McGregor

Immediate Past Master

Phone: 03 931 0067


photograph Lynn Scott - flickr

Corporal 11/412 Lynn Robert Young (1889-1915), of the 6th Manawatu Squadron, Wellington Mounted Rifles with his sisters Maud (1895-1957) and Olive (1892-1984).
Lynn was a farmer from Feilding, and enlisted on 18 August 1914, two weeks after the declaration of war. Lynn was Killed in Action while attempting to capture Hill 60 at Gallipoli on 27th August 1915.

Here are two versions of the attack on the 27th. This first one below published in 1921 in "The Official History of the W.M.R." - Whyte:

And below the picture left:
The WAR DIARY written on the night of the 27th by the Headquarters Adjudant.

"Punctually at 5 p.m. the bombardment ceased and the attack commenced, the two lines of the Centre Force dashing "over the top" with great vigour, their combination and speed presenting a magnificent sight. Intense rifle and machine-gun fire was immediately encountered, for notwithstanding the effect of the bombardment the enemy trenches were found to be fully manned, and our men met with very strong opposition. The intervening ground was much exposed, the casualties in consequence being very heavy. The sight of comrades falling in all directions intensified the determination of the men, and they pressed forward in magnificent style. Nothing could stop them, and the front line entered the first Turkish trench a few minutes after the charge commenced."

WAR DIARY Headquaters Gallipoli 27th August 1915 - KAIAJIK AGHALA.
[An attack on Hill 60 begins - the Wellington Mounted Rifles section of the diary transcript of this date begins 16.00 - transcript for this article begins here from 17.05 Hours]

At 17.05 the first line Canterbury and Auckland Regiments carried the first line of Tukish trenches and were busy bayonetting the Turks, when men of the Wellington Regiment, came up, and cleared the trenches.
At this stage, it was found that a v[ery] hot fire was being bought to bear on our right flank. 30 men were sent out to the right flank and cleared [the] trench where fire was coming from.

An advance was made agst.[against] second line of Turkish trenches, & they were carried by 17.55.

As the Conn.R. [Connaught Rangers] on the left flank had failed to hold the trenches there, it was found impossible to advance further along Hill 60, owing to the Tuks pushing in on the left.
It was decided to hold the 2nd line of captured trenches & arrangements were made immediately to put the trench in a state to repel counter-attacks. Capt. Logan W.M.R., took charge of men in the forward trench, and with 40 men held the trench until 10 p.m. when he was reinforced by 50 men of the 18th Inf. Batt. (Aust).

Our casualties were very heavy [W.M.R.], but all captured trenches were held, and posn. consolidated during the night.

strenght 15 & 284 casualties (detail) 1 & 16 Killed [1 officer and 16 men Killed]
Cas. 7 & 102   6 & 34 Wounded
  ------------------   32 Missing
  8 & 182   7 & 102


photograph: One of the collectors replica statuettes commemorating the unveiling.

As New Zealand prepares to welcome the thousands of visitors to Rugby World Cup 2011, the New Zealand Rugby Union is unveiling its center piece today (July 15th) for its upgrade of Eden Park Stadium, venue for quarter finals and final of this years great Rugby occasion.
Late last year, and kept quietly under wraps, the NZRU commissioned local sculptor and well known political cartoonist Malcolm Evans to produce a 2.7 metre bronze statue of former All Black Captain David Gallaher. The statue is now erected at the entrance to Eden Park Stadium to welcome rugby fans to games for generations to come.

Not only was Dave Gallaher the All Black captain of the famous 1905 "Originals", he was also a soldier of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles.
He saw action in the two biggest conflicts of the early 20th Century. He fought in both the Boer War in South Africa, and much later, as a man in his forties, served in France and Belgium with the NZEF where he was wounded in action and later died at No.3 Austalian casualty clearing station, on the 4th October 1917.

Dave is honoured and remembered through two important trophies. The Gallaher Shield being the winners trophy awarded annually to the senior Auckland Rugby Champions, and the Gallaher Cup, a hotly contested trophy awarded to the victors of international rugby contests between France and New Zealand.

Full Name: David Gallaher
Rank Last Held: Sergeant
Also Known As:
  • Dave
  • David Gallagher
  • South African War, 1899-1902
  • World War I, 1914-1918
Serial No.:
  • 3229
  • 32513
Date of Birth: 30 October 1873
Place of Birth: Ramelton, County Donegal, Ireland
First Known Rank:
  • Sergeant
  • Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant
  • Company Sergeant Major
Occupation before Enlistment:
  • Labourer
  • Storeman
Next of Kin:
  • Joseph C. Gallagher (brother), Church Street, Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Mrs E.I.M. Gallaher (wife), 10 King Street, Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand
Marital Status:
  • Single
  • Married, 1 child
Enlistment Address:
  • Church Street, Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand
  • 10 King Street, Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand
Enlistment Date:
  • January 1901
  • July 1916
Age on Enlistment:
  • 27
  • 42
Body on Embarkation:
  • New Zealand Contingent
  • New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Embarkation Unit:
  • 6 Contingent, 16 Company
  • 10 Contingent, Details
  • 22nd Reinforcements Auckland Infantry Regiment, A Company
Embarkation Date: 16 February 1917
Place of Embarkation: Wellington, New Zealand
Vessel: Aparima
Destination: South Africa
Plymouth, England
Nominal Roll Number: 55
Page on Nominal Roll: 3
Other Units: 10th Contingent
Military Awards:
  • Queen's South Africa Medal (Cape Colony, Orange Free State, and Transvaal Clasps)
  • King's South Africa Medal (South Africa 1901 and South Africa 1902 Clasps)
  • British War Medal
  • Victory Medal
Wounds and Diseases:
  • Wounded in the face at Flanders, 3 October 1917
  • Sent to No. 3 Australian Casualty Clearing Station
Last Unit Served: Auckland Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion
Place of Death: Flanders, Belgium
Date of Death: 4 October 1917
Age at Death: 43
Year of Death: 1917
Cause of Death: Died of wounds
Cemetery Name: Nine Elms British Cemetery, Poperinge, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
Grave Reference: III.D.8.
Rugby and All Black : Physical: 1.83m, 84kg
Position: Hooker and wing forward
Last School: Katikati School
Rugby Club: Ponsonby and Auckland Provincial Representative.
All Black Debut: at Wellington , Saturday, 11th July 1903 v Wellington Province.
International Debut: at Sydney, Saturday, 15th August 1903 v Australia.
Last Test: at Paris: Monday, 1st January 1906 v France
All Black Tests: 6 (4 as Captain)
All Black Games: 30 (23 as Captain)
All Black Number: 97
Auckland Weekly News, 18 October 1917, p. 20:
"Advice was received in Auckland on Friday that Mr. 'Dave' Gallaher, the well-known and popular athlete, had died of wounds received in France. Mr. Gallaher was born in Belfast, about 46 years ago, and came to New Zealand, as a child, with the Vasey Stewart immigrants. For some time he lived with his parents at Tauranga, but later came to Auckland. He was employed by the local freezing works, where, prior to departing for the front, he was foreman of the department. From his boyhood he was recognised as a capable athlete, his prowess being exhibited chiefly in Rugby football. Mr. Gallaher was for many years sole selector for the Auckland Rugby Union, and was the captain of the All Blacks team which toured England in 1905-6. He saw service in the Boer War, and on the outbreak of the present war was eager to join the forces, but was for some time detained on account of family ties. When his brother was killed in action, he felt that it was his turn to go, consequently, he enlisted in the twenty-second reinforcements, and left New Zealand about 12 months ago. Mr. Gallaher is survived by his wife and child, who are at present in Sydney."
Biographical Notes:
  • Son of James, a shopkeeper, and Maria Gallagher (nee McCloskie), a teacher. The Gallaghers migrated to New Zealand in May 1878 as part of the Katikati Special Settlement scheme in the Bay of Plenty.
  • Gallaher moved to Auckland in the early 1890s and represented both the Ponsonby Club and Auckland Province in rugby.
  • Gallaher consistently gave his age three years less than it actually was. When he enlisted for the Anglo-Boer War in 1901, he stated that he was 24 rather than 27; when he embarked on the 1905 Originals tour, he gave his age as 29 instead of 32; and his gravestone incorrectly records his age at death as 41, when he was actually only a few days short of his 44th birthday.
  • Gallaher served with the 6th and 10th Contingents in South Africa, rising to the rank of Regimental Sergeant-Major.
  • After the Anglo-Boer War, Gallaher returned to playing rugby and was selected as captain for the 1905 Originals tour. There was some antagonism about Gallaher's appointment to the captaincy, and in transit he resigned against the wishes of manager George Dixon. However, a vote held by the team reinstated him as captain (although only just, as 11 out of the 29 members voted against him).
  • Gallaher married Ellen Ivy May Francis, sister of fellow All Black A H Francis, in Auckland, 10 October 1906. They had one daughter, Nora, born in 1908. She remembered her father as "'a jolly man'". (DNZB)
  • When World War 1 began in 1914, Gallaher showed no interest at first. It was not until he received word that a younger brother had been killed in action that Gallaher decided to join up.
  • He enlisted as a Corporal with the NZEF and was promoted to Company Sergeant-Major but then reverted to Sergeant upon arrival in England.
  • During the attack on Gravenstafel Spur on the Flanders line on 3 October 1917, Gallaher was shot in the face and later died at No. 3 Australian Casualty Clearing Station, which was little more than a tunnel attached to one of the trenches. As he lay dying on a pallet in the station, a Catholic priest was administering to the soldier lying in the pallet next to Gallaher's. The soldier's name was Edward Fitzgerald. The priest asked if he knew who his neighbor was, and when Fitzgerald said he did not, the priest said, "That is Dave Gallaher, Captain of the 1905 All Blacks." (Katikati E-Memorial)
  • Note: About the alternate spellings of Gallaher's surname, it is presumed that at some point between returning from the Anglo-Boer War (his name appears as "Gallagher" in the Anglo-Boer War nominal rolls) and his starring role in the 1905 All Blacks, he dropped the second 'g' so that people would pronounce his surname correctly.


photograph: Corporal Albert Anderson - 1918-19 - Duotone treatment NZMRA 2011
A further photograph from the camera of North Auckland Mounted Rifleman Corporal Albert Anderson. Written on the obverse of the image: "11th Squadron, leave Ismalia".
This group all wear the "Boar's Head" hat badge of the 11th NAMR, and most have visible the White and Red AMR coloured Regimental flash attached to the pugarree of the hat band, confirming the photograph had to be taken after November 1917. Considering the 11th did not go on leave to Egypt until their retirement from Richon in December 1918 this would place the men at Ismalia, Egypt on leave just prior to their shipment back to New Zealand, after the Brigade had quelled the Egyptian riots in the Delta region March 1919.

"All eyes were towards home, however, and some of the long service men were able to get away. Arrangements for
embarkation were made for about the middle of March, but another duty turned up to delay the homecoming. Nationalist rioting, presaging revolt, broke out in the Delta area of Egypt, and the New Zealanders and some of the Australian Light Horse were rushed to Kantara, hurriedly equipped, and despatched to the infected area, over which martial law was proclaimed. Columns patrolled the whole region, each being responsible for a section of it. In this manner the rising wasnipped in the bud...

...A joke popular at the time was to the effect that in the year 1925, the War Office suddenly scratched its head and
exclaimed, “ Great Scott! The New Zealand Mounted Rifles have been forgotten. They are still in Egypt.”
All things come to an end, however, and at long last the brigade embarked on the Ulimaroa and Ellinga and sailed for home. The Ulimaroa, which had the A.M.R. on board, reached Auckland on August 8, 1919.
Commenting upon the return of the Regiment, the “New Zealand Herald “ said:—
” Without wishing to make invidious’ distinctions, citizens will feel that the officers and men who arrive by the Ulimaroa today have a special claim upon their gratitude. They are the first body of fit troops from Egypt to reach the port of Auckland, and they include many veterans who have been on foreign service for years, and who have fought on Gallipoli and chased the Turks from the Nile to Moab. No soldiers deserve a warmer welcome than these mounted men, who count their campaigning in years and their conquests by countries. They may rest assured that New Zealand appreciates all they have done and all they have endured. Bare justice compels the conclusion that the’ soldiers who served in Egypt and Palestine have had a peculiarly trying experience, unrelieved by many of the relaxations which softened the hardships of the infantry in France.
For them there was little pleasant relief behind the lines, no leave in England and no contact with European civilsation and the great movements of national life in Britain. Theirs was the rigorous campaigning of the desert and the torment of thousands. Theirs also was the privilege of participating in some of the most brilliantly planned and executed movements of the whole war, and of sharing in victories which brought renown to British arms, and contributed not a little to the smashing of the hostile combination of Powers. At least they saw, war in the form in which every soldier desires to see it, and they acquitted themselves gallantly and skilfully. Auckland honours herself in welcoming them.”
In another column it was stated:
“Those who were on board the Ulimaroa before she berthed, and saw the partings between the Auckland and southern men, distinguished a phase of comradeship not often observed among home-coming troops. Drafts of troops from England usually are composed of men drawn from many units, who may never have seen one another before, but yesterday’s draft was composed of men whose friendships were cemented on Gallipoli or in
Palestine. In these campaigns—the most arduous men ever undertook—men were entirely dependent upon one another.
Although the differences in rank were honoured in the traditional way, the officers who survived and the men who
remained were comrades in the truest sense. Officially they were distinct, but humanly they were friends who had shared their biscuit and ‘bully,’ whose waterbottles were common property, who thought of each other not as major this or trooper that, but who, in fact, were partners in a dangerous enterprise, the result of which might be annihilation or victory.
Yesterday it was a common thing to see colonels and majors saying good-bye to ‘Jim’ and ‘George’ and ‘ Jack,’ and there was no restraint or hesitation.”
So parted a gallant company of friends. They had done their duty, and had left a record of service which may stand
as an example for generations yet unborn."

“The Story of Two Campains”
Official war history of the Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment, 1914 - 1919 in the
Battlefields of Gallipoli, Sinai and Palestine during WWI.
by Sergt. C. G. Nicol