NEW ZEALAND MOUNTED RIFLES

Comments from Steve Butler ■ Email contact
BROTHERS WYLLIE

photograph Schmidt Studios circa 1915 - computer colourised 2012
Not only did Papatoetoe brothers, Albert and Herbert Wyllie enlist in the Auckland Mounted Rifles at the same time, on the same day, (they had sequential serial numbers) but they also joined the 8th Reinforcements together and sailed from New Zealand on the same day - 13th November 1915. 
It's not known which of the two brothers appears in this photo (left).
Both troopers survived the Great War and real estate agents,' Samuel Vale & Son', records show that the family's Papatoetoe farm was later subdivided into the housing area through which "Wyllie Road" runs today.


Hat badge of the 8th Reinforcements

NZMR Squadron Badges HERE

A comprehensive and detailed description of New Zealand Military badges HERE at the Militarianz Freeforum board.
A genuine collectors corner of all New Zealand Military unit Insignia and badges.

Full Name: Albert Sydney Wyllie
Serial No.: 13/2631
First Known Rank: Trooper
Next of Kin: James Wyllie (father), Papatoetoe, New Zealand
Marital Status: Single
Enlistment Address: Papatoetoe, New Zealand
Military District: Auckland
Body on Embarkation: 8th Reinforcements
Embarkation Unit: Auckland Mounted Rifles
Embarkation Date: 13 November 1915
Place of Embarkation: Wellington, New Zealand
Vessel: Tofua
Destination: Suez, Egypt
Full Name: Herbert Wills Wyllie
Serial No.: 13/2632
First Known Rank: Trooper
Next of Kin: James Wyllie (father), Papatoetoe, New Zealand
Marital Status: Single
Enlistment Address: Papatoetoe, New Zealand
Military District: Auckland
Body on Embarkation: 8th Reinforcements
Embarkation Unit: Auckland Mounted Rifles
Embarkation Date: 13 November 1915
Place of Embarkation: Wellington, New Zealand
Vessel: Tofua
Destination: Suez, Egypt
ADDED NOTE: As of the 13th April 2012, Albert Sydney Wyllie's daughter, Mrs Jeanette Kay of Kihikihi has confirmed that the man in the photo above is her father.

Newspaper references to the brothers:
Auckland Weekly News - 24th June 1915 - New Enlistments - [including] WYLLIE, Herbert - Papatoetoe

Auckland Weekly News - 23rd January 1919 - page 47 - Soldiers returning on the Transport "Malta" number 206. Due to arrive in Dominion port this week - 395 personal [including] WYLLIE, Albert S - J. Wyllie, Papatoetoe.



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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.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 



BREAKING NEWS! - MUSEUM ROBBED

NZMR Association President and curator of the Bulls Museum Greg Bradley confirmed last night (Thursday 22nd March) that the Bulls Museum in Rangitikei had been robbed of valuable military items including a rare WW1 Mounted Rifles hat that held pride of place at the small country town museum.
Other items included an Australian serviceman's "Slouch" hat and other equipment.

The robbery was discovered earlier in the week and reported to the Police.
Concerned Association members contacted Greg when, within a few days, the rare AMR hat turned up for auction on TradeMe with a starting bid of $300.
We are informed that Police and TradeMe were to contact the seller today. The item has been withdrawn from sale on the TradeMe site - But not before a number of potential buyers went ballistic with bids to gain this rare piece of New Zealand military history.
Within a few hours bids had jumped to $3610.


The distinctive WW1 mounted rifles hat showing the rare bowl shape and coloured pugaree, attached on the side is the Auckland Mounted Rifles red and white unit flash. This flash added to the hat before the attack on Beersheba, October 1917.
photo from our archives.
POLICE ON THE CASE AND DEVELOPMENTS HAVE ALREADY BEEN MADE -
Go to: THE WITHDRAWN TRADEME PAGE TO VIEW BIDS AND PHOTOS.
All's Well That Ends Well. As of March 28th 2012 items stolen from the Bull's Museum have been recovered in good contition. Police enquirey ongoing with suspect.

JERUSALEM PRISONERS

photograph Imperial War Museum 1918 (Q12666) - photographer unknown
The Internet has brought about exciting times for researchers and historians across the globe. With the advent of digitised files and their release by many museums and military archives we are able to compare information between numerous collections. Most notable is the release of hundreds of thousands of photographs which previously would have been very expensive to reproduce and make available to the public.
The photo above is from the Imperial War Museum and has been used both in books and on Wikipedia to describe prisoners being led into Jerusalem after being captured during "attacks at Shunet Nimrin and Es Salt in May 1918". However we can now positively identify that this photo was taken in Jerusalem "on the 15th July 1918 a day after the attack at ABU TELLUS that took place on the 14th."
In 2007 the Library of Congress digitally released the comprehensive Matson Collection of photographs of the prison colum coming in from Abu Tellus. We were able to see that on one particular image the photographer had recorded "Australians escorting German prisoners" which after we published this photograph on our Forum we were able to prove the men were in fact members of the NZMR escorting prisoners captured during a failed Turko German attack at ABU TELLUS north west of Jericho in the Jordan Valley.
This attack was in response to the failed first attack on Amman. The Central Powers saw an opportunity to launch a counter attack to retake Jerusalem that they had vacated in December 1917. Their focus was the Australian Light Horse entrenched along a wadi ridge named Abu Tellus in the Jordan Valley outside of the city. It was a full scale assault of combined Turk and German forces in the searing heat of a summer's day. The defense of the line was at a critical point when the Wellington Mounted Rifles were dispatched on a left hook counter attack. At great speed the WMR outflanked, then set the enemy into an encirclement. In the following pincher movement the enemy capitulated with heavy losses. The men and material lost this day made way for "Chaytor Force" to make the second and successful attack on Amman in the September.
A hand drawn map by an Australian Lighthorseman Othu Hewett of the Abu Tellus (Abu Tellul) battlefield is an accurate reference to all positions Showing the enemy (green) and the Australian Light Horse dugout entrenchments (prefixed names with either a "V" or "W" and containing small numbers of men) and the direction of the reposte attack led Captain Wilder (9th Wellington Squadron) and supported later by Captain Cruickshank (6th Manawatu Squadron) to encircle the attack. The official WMR history states:-
" In addition to prisoners, the W.M.R. captured a machine gun and a Burgmann automatic rifle, the Regiment's casualties - nearly all of which were inflicted by artillery fire and bombs whilst the Regiment was in camp - being four other ranks killed and one officer and eight other ranks wounded, besides eight horses killed and seven wounded.
It was noticed that the Germans possessed an abnormal number of automatic rifles in proportion to the strength of the battalion, and it is probably due to the intense heat and trying conditions that they did not make more effective use of them. Only one Wellington man was wounded during the counter-attack, whereas under normal conditions the Regiment must have suffered heavy casualties..."

The NZMR trooper second from right wears two canvas satchels, the result being a distingtive "cross" chest appearance clearly visible here and in the IWM photo above.
The subsequent series of photos from the Matson Collection show the exact same configuration of escorts and men entering Jerusalem as the IWM photograph above. Various angles show the prisoners being led by an Australian Officer, followed by a line of NZMR horsemen abreast, followed by an English officer riding alone on a grey, then the captured German officers following on foot guarded each side by mounted Australian Light Horsemen.
Below: a further photograph for comparison in the book published by Auckland Mounted Rifleman Briscoe Moore "The Mounted Riflemen in Sinai and Palestine."1920
The English officer on the grey horse easily identified within the IWM image.

TWO YEARS ON

original: National Lib. Wellington
This "Anzac Dinner" menu has more than a little foxing to its covers, and time has given the document a rather tattered and dog eared appearance, but it is an important milestone in the development of the Returned Soldiers Association. The association was formed in 1916 by the soldiers returning home from Gallipoli, mostly men seriously wounded that would not be eligible to ever take up arms again.
By 1920 the name had changed to the "Returned Services Association" to incorporate returned servicemen and women from the Navy and Air Force.
The dinner was held on the second anniversary of the Gallipoli landing on the 25th April 1917 and was hosted by the Wellington RSA in the Town Hall. The event was well attended.
After the dinner the men signed each others menus. This individual copy now held in the National Library in Wellington has a number of signatories. Unfortunately some so faint and faded, or so scribbled that they are unable to be deciphered. Below are the names that can be read and cross referenced with the Cenotaph Database, They are:-

7/883 Trooper William Miller McArdle, Canterbury Mounted Rifles
7/59 Trooper William Harris, Canterbury Mounted Rifles
1/305 Private Oscar Louis Bruhn - 15th August Samoan Advance Party
12/238 Private John McDonald Rough
10/485 Corporal Kenneth Olaf Anderson
15/111 Private John Batchelor
8/147 Private, later Sergeant George Allan Young (who made a total of four crossing from NZ to Egypt by sea)
10/976 Lieutenant Douglas Bryan, W.I.B.

One very lightly penciled entry appears to read: "Corp Matt Kearney 1st K.S.L.S. 7089"
I would like to think this entry was made by one of the soldiers on the night to remember a dead comrade, I believe it honours: 8/238 Lance Corporal Martin Kearney, Killed in Action (K.I.A.) 29th April 1915 - one of the first casualties, or perhaps the 1st soldier to be killed from the Otago Infantry Battalion at Gallipoli.


'COASTERS FAR FROM HOME
An interesting group photo sent in by Gordon Sylvester, himself a ardent Masonic Lodge member and Westcoaster. The photograph is of men of the 12th Reinforcements in Egypt 1916. One can appreciate the humour of the two hand held signs in the front row. This also appears to be some added Westcoast skulduggery. According to a handwritten note on the obverse the photograph, one of banners had read only: "Westcoast", but by the time the development process was completed a prankster had added his own messages.
Good afternoon Steve.
Well you just never know when something comes out of the woodwork.
I was clearing out some old Lodge Records prior to cataloging them a found an old wallet, inside was a photograph.  The wallet belonged to Walter Gutberlet Who was a [Masonic Lodge] member of Advance Lodge No. 61.  The diary was very basic and seemed to cover the voyage from NZ to Egypt only.  There was  pencil written message on the reverse. I have photographed that as well.
 
The other photo is a document which I have never seen before.  I was almost certainly owned by Walter Angel 53657 32nd Reinforcements who was also a member of Advance Lodge No. 6.  We have Walter Angel's NZEF Jewel  (medal) on display in the Lodge rooms which is open  to the public. 
I have no record of Walter Gutberlet being a member of The NZEF in France Masonic Association.  But I can confirm that Walter Angel was.
 
I now also have an unattached 2nd NZEF Masonic Association Medal.  But unfortunately cannot as yet locate a owner for that.
 
Are you ready for some parts of the WMR diary?  Have four on hold
I have just completed a list of all of the NZEF in France and Palestine men, including their war status and where possible their marriages and  year of death.
Each man has his own page with all relevant info that I have at this point.
Anyway that is about all for the moment.
Kind Regards
Gordon

Our records show the 12th Reinforcements was a convoy of three ships that arrived in Egypt, the first on the 6th and the other two on the 21st June 1916.

The troops arriving on the "Ulimaroa" (led by Major Chas. Mackesy, NZMR returning to service), the "Mokoia" (Captain John Short) and the "Navua" (Captain A.E. Mcdonald).
I am unsure if these men pictured are "Mounteds" as the 12th Reinforcements contained many men for the NZRB (Infantry - New Zealand Rifle Brigade) that were eventually transshipped onto Europe. It is difficult to know because the men wear pith helmets, however one man, (fourth row- third in from the left) wears the NZMR bandolier and hat.
Most likely this photo is of all the westcoast men from the three ships and not a specific unit, as the 12th Reinforcement convoy had replacements for the 1st, 3rd, 4th Battalions NZRB plus members for the NZMR Brigade.
To add to the confusion, Walter Gutberlet, the owner of the wallet and photo was former Westcoast miner, Rifleman 12176 Gutberlet, a reinforcement private to the 3rd Battalion, G Company NZRB.

I had hoped the officer in the center of the picture (and inserted right:) would be traced by his home address, but the convoys officers, Major Charles Mackesy of the NAMR was from Whangarei, Captain 10/146 John Lawrence Short was Headquarters Staff from Wellington and Captain 12/805 Alfred Ernest McDonald from Frankton Junction - all North Island married and settled men - not a 'Coaster in sight!

And yes Gordon, members will be looking forward to your continuing transcriptions of the Brigades WAR DIARIES



THE HEAYS BOYS
Although a picture is worth a thousand words, it certainly prompts a researcher to look further than just admire these two strapping young men about to depart our shores with the 11th North Auckland Squadron of the Auckland Mounted Rifles in 1914.
This image is part of the extensive collection of 27,000 gelatin glass plate negatives from the Schmidt Studios. The once "lost" plates recovered from building demolition work in Queen Street during the 1970's.
The original image is from the days of black and white photography. But with a little bit of modern magic the Association has computer colourised the men to give us a look into the world of 1914, as Corporal Robert John Heays and his brother Trooper Wilbert Harold Heays prepare to depart for the Great War.
To trace the history of the brothers required a little luck, and the source came from an unexpected quarter. The father, Captain W.H. Heays was not a military man but a ships captain and the first records of him came from the "State Records Authority, New South Wales Government, Australia" - Below are the first of two records I found related to the family.
Of great interest is that Captain Heays took his oldest son to sea early - sailing on the "Zelateur" from the Far North port of Kohu Kohu. Robert John Heays is listed as a boy seaman, 16 years old.
Three years later we see another record, this time aboard the "Casablanca", Captain Heays is again the Master but Robert at aged 19 has risen to the rank of "Able Bodied" seaman.

Mariners and ships in Australian Waters
ZELATEUR
OFAUCKLAND, W H HEAYS, MASTER, BURTHEN 524 TONS
FROM THE PORT OFKOHU KOHU TO SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES,
6 JANUARY 1906
Surname Given name Station Age Of what Nation Status Comments
HEAYS W H MASTER CREW
BENETT C W C MATE 31 ENGLAND CREW
CAMBRIDGE D H 2ND MATE 24 NEW ZEALAND CREW
KEWLEY W H COOK & A. B. 62 ISLE OF MAN CREW
HANSON H A. B. 22 GERMANY CREW
ALBERTSON C A. B. 49 DENMARK CREW
JANSEN KARL A. B. 40 NNORWAY CREW
SNEDDON W H A. B. 25 MELBOURNE CREW
PETTERSON J DONKEYMAN & A. B. 26 SWEDEN CREW
JICKELL J O. S. 17 NEW ZEALAND CREW
CHATFIELD SA BOY 19 NEW ZEALAND CREW
HEAYS R BOY 16 NEW ZEALAND CREW

Source: State Records Authority of New South Wales: Shipping Master's Office; Passengers Arriving 1855 - 1922; NRS13278, [X170-X171] reel 464. Transcribed by Ian Sinclair.

Mariners and ships in Australian Waters
CASABLANCA
OF AUCKLAND, W.H. HEAYS, MASTER, BURTHEN 569 TONS
FROM THE PORT OF KOUTU & HOKIANGA TO SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES, 13TH JULY 1909
Surname Given name Station Age Of what Nation Status Comments
HEAYS W.H. MASTER CREW
McADIE ALEX. 2nd MATE 22 ORKNEY CREW
ROYGAARD P. COOK & STEWARD 39 DENMARK CREW
DACEY J. A. B. 35 ADELAIDE CREW
JOHNSON J. A. B. 47 NORWAY CREW
HEAYS R.J. A. B. 19 AUCKLAND CREW
BONE ALEX. H. A. B. 25 GLASGOW CREW
SILVA F. O. S. 17 SYDNEY CREW
BRACEY T. BOY 22 MORTLAKE CREW
DONOVAN G. A. B. 43 NOVA SCOTIA CREW
DOMERSCHIKIFF M. A. B. 26 RUSSIA CREW
BUTZMUHLEN A. A. B. 24 GERMANY CREW
EDEN J. BOY 31 NEW ZEALAND CREW
McINTYRE A. MATE 56 SCOTLAND CREW
HALLIWELL H. BOY 16 NEW ZEALAND CREW

Source: State Records Authority of New South Wales: Shipping Master's Office; Passengers Arriving 1855 - 1922; NRS13278, [X260] reel 2046. Transcribed by Lyn Mulcahy.

Sometime between 1909 and the next five years before the departure of the Main Body of the NZMR Captain Heays decides to retire from the seafaring life. His family leave their base in the Far North and start farming in the Rotorua District. Robert joins his father ashore.
It is obvious that both Robert and his brother Wilbert had been volunteer members of the 11th North Auckland Squadron as both register their enlistment addresses as "Kopuriki, via Rotorua, New Zealand" which is the catchment area of the 4th Waikato Squadron. Robert returns to the 11th Squadron and Wilbert enters the Veterinary Corps of the Brigade. However we still see both men wearing the collar dogs of the North Auckland Squadron.

Full Name: Robert John Heays
Surname: Heays
Serial No.: 13/266
First Known Rank: Lance Corporal
Next of Kin: Captain W.H. Heays (father), Kopuriki, Rotorua, New Zealand
Marital Status: Single
Enlistment Address: Kopuriki, via Rotorua, New Zealand
Military District: Auckland
Body on Embarkation: Main Body
Embarkation Unit: Auckland Mounted Rifles
Embarkation Date: 16 October 1914
Vessel: Star of India or Waimana
Destination: Suez, Egypt
Full Name: Wilbert Harold Tasman Heays
Surname: Heays
Serial No.: 17/85
First Known Rank: Trooper
Next of Kin: Captain W.H. Heays (father), Kopuriki, via Rotorua, New Zealand
Marital Status: Single
Enlistment Address: Kopuriki, via Rotorua, New Zealand
Military District: Auckland
Body on Embarkation: 2nd Reinforcements
Embarkation Unit: Veterinary Corps
Embarkation Date: 14 December 1914
Place Embarkation: Wellington, New Zealand
Vessel: Verdala or Willochra or Knight of the Garter
Destination: Suez, Egypt

After the Brigade arrives in Egypt the horses remain with a skeleton staff consisting of Farriers and Vets, while the great majority of the men are sent to Gallipoli to fight as Infantry. Wilbert stayed with the animals and the veterinary section in Egypt.
Corporal R.J. Heays served with the Auckland Mounteds for many months but like so many men, the odds caught up with him during the fateful attack to take Chunuk Bair, 6th August 1915.


HEAYS, Corporal R J, Auckland Mounted Rifles, who is reported to have been wounded in the right shoulder, is the third son of Capt W H Heays of Galatea. Cpl Heays was educated at the Bayfield school and afterwards took up a seafaring life. On his father leaving the sea to engage in farming, Cpl Heays joined him and was thus employed when war broke out. He enlisted with the 11th, North Auckland, Mounted Rifles and left with the main body. Cpl Heays has a brother, Wilbert Heays, serving in Egypt with the veterinary section of the first reinforcements.
[Auckland Weekly News 26.08.1915, P.22]
Below a further entry from the Newspapers.
HEAYS, J R L/Corporal Out of danger AMR 14th Oct 1915
HEAYS, R J L/Corporal Hospital, Taplow AMR 14th Oct 1915
HEAYS, Robert John Corporal Wounded, shoulder AMR 19th Aug 1915 F: Capt W H Heays, Kopuriki, Galatea, Rotorua
From the Official History of the AMR Regiment an earlier incident in May also mentions Robert, the item states:

(from "The story of two campaigns")
"It was evident the Turks were doing a lot of work in front of the A.M.R., and a patrol, under Corporal McDonald, was sent out on May 15th, and returned with valuable information that the enemy were making trenches, etc. On May 16th, a large concentration of the enemy was evident on this front. Lieutenant P. Logan volunteered to reconnoitre the position.
Taking Trooper Heays with him, he went out about an hour before dark, and got quite close to the enemy trenches. He came back with the exact positions of the works the enemy were building on the “Nek,” information that was very valuable when the attack came..."

Later, on page 256 under the heading "Wounded - Gallipoli" : 13/266 Heays, R.J. L/cpl 6.8.15

As always any further information would be appreciated.

THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM

Photograph: Trooper Dalrymple 1915 , from Helen Tobin, Roy's daughter

Trooper 11/38 Roy Walter Ogilvie Dalrymple must have taken this photograph of his fellow members of the 6th Manawatu Squadron, WMR in Egypt between late December 1914 and May 8th 1915. He was a member of the NZMR "Main Body" sent from New Zealand that were stationed in Egypt during that time frame.
Where exactly in Egypt will remain a mystery, but considering these men are in full dress uniform with fixed bayonets I suspect the men are taking a break after a formal parade, probably at Zietoun Camp North of Cairo.

We know that Roy departed Egypt with the Brigade to support the Infantry assault at Anzac on Gallipoli, and because he sustained severe wounding never returned to Egypt.
He was one of the very few survivors to reach the heights of Chunuk Bair in August 1915 were he cheated death a number of times, but twice was wounded in the legs and was forced to make a slow painful retreat to the beach. He was sent to England for hospitalisation.
He was fortunate to recover but was kept in the European Front until the end of the war.

Roy's letter to his mother from a hospital bed in Epsom, England, is a startling and graphic account of the attack by the WMR against the Turkish defenders of Gallipoli. A section of his letter below:-

"After just a momentary halt to see that the telephone connections were alright and coming along behind, we went round a corner and bullets started to phizz and ping round us in all directions. I was in the front four and we got word to double. The front line was Major Dick, Crpl. Meads, Ian Cruichshank, Joker smith and myself and Dick Smith. Now we could see the flashes about 20 yards ahead and we made for them, Meads was the first man down and very suddenly (shot through the head) Joker fell next and Dick Smith fell over him, but got up again. Meanwhile Ian threw three bombs (concussion) one of which went off a good explosion, but I never noticed any damage done by it. We were just about on them when Major Dick fell, but managed to get out a "Go on boys" when he was down. Next thing what I thought was a very large bomb hit me a biff on the shoulder and down I went - "All up now", I wonder when it is going off but to my surprise it did not go off. It turned out to be a huge stone. After discovering that I was not blown to bits, I wasted no time about getting up. By this time it was a general mix up and a few shouts and yells etc. I jumped and rushed in to Dick and where some others were after some Turks in a little side trench. When I got there, there were two Turks left and one of our men wounded on the ground, and about five of us. The Turks were soon despatched with the bayonet, not a pleasant job, but a necessary one. On looking round we found there were about a dozen men of No.1 Troop, and no officers to be found..."

Roy Dalrymple's complete letter home HERE...