Comments from Steve Butler ■ Email contact

photograph: Claire Fletcher Collection from artifacts of Trooper REGINALD PHILIP FILLEUL NZMR and I.C.C.
Trooper REGINALD PHILIP FILLEUL sends the photo above to a childhood friend in N.Z. - on the obverse is written:
"I [had] anassi, old Bedouin Guide to the Intelligence Party on Sudanese Camel
in the foreground and Trooper P. Bell on the big Bikaner camel in the rear.
Taken March 1917. R.F."
Clarie Fletcher writes to our NZMR Association President Greg Bradley:
Hello Greg

I was most interested in the NZ Mounted Rifles site.
My mother died recently and she left me letters and photos sent to my grandfather from his childhood friend.
The letters are from his inducton at Featherston camp in april 1916 until his death November 1917. He is buried in Beersheba War Cemetery. I have been trying to find out how to get his service records, maybe you could help me.
As far as I can work out he was an only child, his mother already dead and his father in 1919.
The letters although short in great detail are an account of his journey. I would like to share these and the photos but have not much trust in the safety of museums.
16291, 16th Coy. New Zealand Bn. Imperial Camel Corps
Died 7th November 1917.

My grandfather treasured these letters from his friend for ninety years. I feel so sad that no-one has told his story.

One of the photos.
Thank you
Claire Fletcher

Left: The Headstone of Trooper R.P. Filleul marks the place of his burial in the CWGC Cemetery at Beersheba, Israel. Grave reference A.12.



Right: Jonathan Paynter sent in a wonderful line drawing inspired by the photograph of Trooper Bell signalling from the camel's back.
We can see the trooper using a single flag to transmit a message by "Wagging" - that is, using the left and right side of his body to represent the longs and shorts of Morse Code.
Article on a Wagging School HERE

Photo: Auckland Weekly News 1917

Army Records show Reginald died of wounds received during action on the 7th November 1917. Probably at Khuwilfeh, north of Beersheba.

I found his name misspelled in a number of records, but finally found his Army records under "Filleu" on the
NZ Government Archway site (Archives)
If you enter "Reginald Filleul" in the appropriate box it will take you to his Army file.
File is 10 megabytes to download

Full Name: Reginald Philip Filleul
Rank Last Held: Trooper
Serial No.: 16291
Date of Birth: 1893
First Known Rank: Trooper
Occupation before Enlistment: Farmer
Next of Kin: Philip John Filleul (father), Rosebank Road, Avondale, Auckland, New Zealand
Body on Embarkation: New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Embarkation Unit: 16th Reinforcements NZ Mounted Rifles Brigade
Embarkation Date: 10 August 1916
Place of Embarkation: Wellington, New Zealand
From Auckland War Memorial Museum
Transport: Moeraki 10 August 1916
Last Unit Served: Imperial Camel Corps
Place of Death: Palestine
Date of Death: 7 November 1917
Age at Death: 23
Year of Death: 1917
Cause of Death: Died of wounds
Cemetery Name: Beersheba War Cemetery, Israel
Grave Reference: A. 12.
Obituary: Obituary: Auckland Grammar School Chronicle. Second Term, 1918.
Biographical Notes: Trooper Filleul was the son of the late Philip John and Louisa Maud Mary Filleul.
Additional Information:
  • Surname is recorded as Filluel in Nominal Rolls, as Filleul in Archives New Zealand
  • Moeraki then transhipped to "Mooltan" at Sydney for Suez.
Further References: Auckland Grammar School chronicle. 1918, Second term. p.17.


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.









I saw your postings last year about this gentleman.  He was the grandson of Frederick Ferrar by his second wife Emma Harvey. Frederick’s first wife was my ggg [great times 3] grandmother’s sister.
I have been researching Harvey, who died in a car accident in 1950.  I estimate his birth date as 1893, so he might not be as young looking as we think.   Curiously I cannot find a birth registration in South Australia where he was probably born.  His parents married there in 1890 and his siblings were all born there..
Can you tell me where I can find his service records on line?

Many thanks and regards
Gary Kent
Canberra, Australia

75567 Harvey Watson Ferrar.
Thanks Gary for your input, much appreciated - every item is a little more to the giant Mounted Rifles Jig-saw puzzle. In many instances one seemingly unrelated item helps another researcher.
Harvey's Military Service record is available by entering "75567 Harvey Watson Ferrar" HERE on this page at the New Zealand Government Archives, called ARCHWAY. His record is a PDF download of 2.8 megabytes.

Our original item and debate on Trooper Ferrar may be read on "The Last Trooper" posted November 2010


"The Kia Ora Coo-ee", was the official monthly magazine of the Australian and New Zealand Forces in the First World War stationed in Egypt, Palestine, Salonica and Mesopotamia.
However the magazine had a relatively short life running only from March through to December 1918.
The publication carried many stories and cartoons written mostly by the Anzacs in the field, and covered such topics as Regimental Personalities, Nature in the Middle East, Sports events and results, Life in different units and of course Humour.
An item that caused much interest was an article relating to the possibility of troops returning after the War to settle and farm in the newly conquered Turkish territories.

Today the magazine are relatively rare and are collectors items - keep an eye-out for the occasional copy that appears on the Trademe, EBay sites - And yes, a number of the fighting men did return and settle in the new mandated territory of Palestine.


German Reconnaissance Photo: Titled: Dorf Sarafand mit 2 km südlicher und südöstlicher Umgebung- April Juli 1918.
The tiny village of Surafend as seen by a German Reconnaissance Aircraft in 1918. This image taken about five months before the infamous attack by a unauthorized renegade group of British and Anzac soldiers in retaliation for the murder of New Zealand Mounted Rifleman in December after the War had finished. The village was burnt to the ground when the inhabitants refused to hand over the suspect to the mob.
Within the photograph it is easy to make out Bell tents of soldiers stationed in the area. In the bottom of the picture, besides Bell tents, seven rows of Horse Lines are readily identifiable. The road on the right carries on to Richon Le Zion and eventually Jaffa on the coast.
The archive photo title translates to say: "Sarafand village, 2 km south and south-eastern area - April July 1918" This particular segment has been cropped by myself and greatly enlarged from a much larger glass plate image held in the records of the Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv of Germany. The full image may be accessed through reference: Signatur: BayHStA, BS-Palästina 215.


With the urging of Central Power allies, and under the Command of the Military Mission to the Ottoman Empire, headed by General Von Sanders, a Turko-German plan was developed in 1914 to cripple British interests in the Far East, Australia and New Zealand.
Von Sanders instructed fellow German General, Friedrich Freiherr Kress von Kressenstein, to join Djamal Pasha's Southern Army in a daring offensive to cross the Sinai Desert to capture and disable the Suez Canal to British shipping.
A further carrot dangled in front of Turkish eyes was the opportunity to take back her massive territories of Egypt and the Sudan, previously occupied by the British 1882, and along with Cyprus, officially annexed by the British on the 5th November 1914 in response to the declaration of War.

The attack on the Canal began in January 1915, but the special pontoon boats designed, built and carried across the great expanse of the arid Sinai were never launched into the canal for the planned assault. British troops including Indians, Australians and New Zealanders were forewarned and were ready and waiting.
After just two days of unfruitful action, and facing a supply nightmare if he could not get his men across into Egypt for water and supplies, Kress von Kressenstein was forced to retreat back into Turkish Palestine (see note*)
A year later, after the success against the British and French troops that were forced to retreat from the Gallipoli Peninsular in December 1815, Kress von Kressenstein, decided that a second attack to retake Egypt and the Canal would be successful.
However many Turkish intellectuals worried that their Sultan, Mehmed V, was making a mistake by opening yet another Front. Turkish Anatolian elite forces were already engaged in Salonaka in the West and against the Russian Caucasus Army in the North. Plus a further Ottoman Expedition Army had been sent East to invade Afghanistan, with the long term object of taking India into her Empire.
Therefore Anatolian regular soldiers were spread thinly from Greece to the Black Sea, from the freezing conditions of Sarikamish to the heat of the Persian plains. Relatively few Anatolians made up the numbers of Djmal Pasha's Southern Armies - and with hundreds of thousands of non-muslem citizens of Empire being forced marched to death and starvation under the new racially based "Tehcir Law", meant that Armenians, Jews, Druze and Greeks were not available for conscription and the Armies south became heavily populated with Arab recruits, who rallied to arms for their Turkish masters with promises of more lands and greater freedoms.
The fear for opening another Front was well grounded - Ottoman Forces were indeed far too stretched and the Empire fell, October 1918

Photograph above from the Matson Collection of the LOC titled: "Muster on the Plains of Esdraelon, preparatory to the attack on the Canal" - Duotone treatment NZMRA 2011.

Members of Djmal Pasha's Southern Armies assemble on parade. Turkish Officers wear traditional woolen "Serpuş" caps or the newer kahki cloth caps, while the vast majority of the soldiers are Arab and wear the traditional Arab headdress the " Keffiyeh".

At the beginning of 1915 when this image was recorded the men are finely turned out and all wear adequate footwear. Within a year the Armies are rag-tag affairs, badly armed, poorly fed, and with numerous soldiers having to resort to wrapping protection to their feet made from hemp or rags. The fear of Russian Invasion from the North meant valuable supplies were sent to Northern Anatolian Armies in preference.

British Prime Minister David Lloyd George was aghast at the "Inability of British Generals" to understand the needs in the Middle East Campaign, and was to write in his Memoirs in 1920:

"Yet the stubborn refusal of our military advisers to take advantage of the remarkable opportunities which were thus open to us, and their insistent concentration upon the most impenetrable fortresses of the Western Front, prevented us from scoring such a decisive success until the last moment."

*Palestine was the name given to a large part of the Levant region after it fell into British hands in 1918, and named by them - previously these three Governed Provinces south of Turkey proper were called "Vilayets". The three were known as - Vilayet Beirut, Vilayet Aleppo and Vilayet Syria. Within each of these large provinces were smaller territories called Sanjaks - examples are: The Independent Sanjak of Jerusalem, the Sanjak of Damascus, Sanjak of Tripoli, Sanjak Beirurt, Sanjak Acre.

I don't know too much about this movie - due for release this Christmas Holidays - But considering it is directed by Steven Spielberg I am sure it will be worth a look. The storyline seems to be set in Europe in WW1 and the mounted troops depicted appear to be English Cavalry, I am sure there will be lots of insights for NZMR and Australian Light Horse followers.
Completely Off Subject, but as the RUGBY WORLD CUP runs this month
I've placed this for a few days -
Ted the coach sings to his star player Sonny Bill - enjoy the humour!

standalone player