NEW ZEALAND MOUNTED RIFLES

Comments from Steve Butler ■ Email contact
THOMAS COOK & SON TO THE RESCUE

computer colourised painting NZMRA 2012 - of B&W print presented in 1916 "Great War" magazine - courtesy Roger Shephard.
One way or another private enterprise has always come to the assistance of their nation's plight during the time of war. For the English, the tourist entrepreneur, Thomas Cook, readily made available his Nile paddle steamers to the British Army for the rescue attempt of General Gordon at Khartoum, Sudan (Battle of Abu Klea, 17th January 1885).
Again in 1915 during the Gallipoli Campaign, many of Cook's Nile passenger steamers were converted to Hospital Ships to transport the wounded and sick from the coastal city of Alexandria down the Nile Delta to hospitals in Cairo.
In 1916 when the new front was opened up in the Sinai Desert, military operations were centered at Kantara on the Suez Canal. This point became the largest British Military Camp outside of Europe when and a new railway was begun in March 1916. The railway and a water pipe were built to support the advance of the mounted units of the British, Indian, Australian and New Zealand fighting forces across the Sinai. The railway progressed out into the desert slowly due to the hostile conditions but reached Romani in May 1916, followed by El Arish January 1917 and finally out of the desert and into Turkish Palestine at Rafa in March 1917.
Ocean going cargo ships were used to carry supplies directly down the Suez Canal to Kantara, but the more frequent and quick Cook's steamers were bought out of the Nile River to ferry out battle casualties from the railhead at Kantara up the canal to the various hospitals on the coast.

Photograph: 13/2187 Trooper Fred Foote, Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment.

Hospital Ferry "Niagara" loading wounded from a casualty clearing station, probably at Kantara, circa 1916.
Below, excerpt from the 1918 book, With the R.A.M.C. in Egypt (Royal Army Medical Corps):-
"...Hospitalships improvised from Messrs. Cook's Nile Steamers plied to and fro on the Canal between
Kantara and the General Hospitals at Port Said, and these ships had also to be staffed and worked."

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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.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 




HORSES EVERYWHERE ON GALLIPOLI

photo: "Great War" magazine - published 1916 - Suvla Bay scene August 1915 - Roger Shephard collection.
Contrary to popular New Zealand belief, a large number of horses where landed on the Turkish mainland of the Gallipoli peninsular in 1915 as shown in these two pictures from different issues of the "Great War" magazine, published throughout WW1.
References to the non-landing of NZMR and ALH mounts in May 1915 are well documented. The result being that Anzac troopers fought as Infantrymen during the whole of the Gallipoli campaign.
However these images show that many horses were landed.
The above image shows British troops with a great number of horses standing idly by on the beachhead at Suvla Bay. That these horses and men were not pushed forward from the uncontested beachhead that August morning was a tragedy that would eventually cost the British the defeat in the Dardanelles.
In the image below, horse drawn ambulances and waggons with multiple horse shafts are seen on a 2 cart width roadway. A smaller cart can be seen being drawn by 2 donkeys in the foreground. Some horses are saddled, but most appear to be transport animals.

The Generals in charge could see that when the mounted troops arrived in support of the infantry, two weeks after the initial landing, in April, that there was not going to be an immediate breakout from the beach area. Understanding that specialised cavalry horses would require a huge effort of man-power to maintain husbandry to keep these animals prepared for an unlikely open country breakout, a decision was made to send the Anzac horses on to Lemnos or back to Egypt.
Later, after months of stalemated trench warfare, General Hamilton looked to open another landing on the Gallipoli peninsular at Suvla Bay in the North, and execute a simultaneous August offensive at the three points along the peninsular. Horses were a meaningful calculation in his proposed attack to land and breakout of Suvla Bay with a large force. His requests for barges and equipment are outlined in the letter and tables reprinted below. Among the figures are the impressive 5,000 to 7,000 horses to be sent to bolster the campaign.
photo: 2 page spread "Great War" magazine - published 1916 - Anzac, August 1915 - Roger Shephard collection.
SIR IAN HAMILTON'S PLAN FOR AUGUST 1915

To Vice-Admiral, Commanding
Eastern Mediterranean Squadron,

17th July, 1915.

Sir,—I have the honour to forward a series of tables drawn up to show in detail the men, animals, vehicles, stores, etc., which it will be required to land in connection with the forthcoming operations. I shall be grateful if you will let me know as early as possible if you consider that any part of the programme indicated presents especially serious difficulties or is likely to require modification.

In informing me of the results of your consideration, I shall be obliged if you will let me know what craft you intend to use in carrying out the disembarkations referred to in tables B, C, D and E, so that detailed arrangements with regard to embarkation and to the allocation of troops, etc., to boats may be prepared.

2. Immediately after the disembarkation of the details referred to in the attached tables it will be necessary, if the operations are successful, to land 5,000 to 7,000 horses in order to render the force sufficiently mobile to carry the operations to a conclusion. Details as to disembarkation of these horses will be forwarded to you later. In the meantime the horses will be collected at Alexandria, and should subsequently be brought up to Mudros or Imbros, to begin arriving on August 6th.

It will also be necessary to land the remaining portions of the units referred to in the tables (first line transport, etc.), and, further, the remaining units of the formations to which they belong. In this latter category will be included three batteries of heavy artillery with mechanical transport. It will not be required to land any of the above until after August 7th, and details as to numbers, order of disembarkation, etc., will be forwarded to you later.

I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient Servant,

(Signed) Ian Hamilton,
General, Commanding
Mediterranean Expeditionary Force.

TABLE A.

Table showing Units and Details which it is required to Land gradually at Anzac Cove before the Morning of the 3rd of August. It will be necessary to carry out these Disembarkations by Night, and the Movements can begin as soon as it is convenient to the Naval Transport Authorities.

Unit. From To Personnel. Vehicles. Animals. Stores. Remarks.
69th Howitzer Bde. R.F.A. Mudros Anzac
Cove
312 16 guns, 16 wagons,
4 water carts
Nil    
⅓rd City of Glasgow 5"
Howitzer Battery
Helles Anzac
Cove
78 4 guns, 4 wagons,
1 water cart
Nil    
10th Heavy Battery R.G.A. On board ship at Mudros Anzac
Cove
11 4 guns, 4 wagons, 1 water cart 2 G.S. wagons Nil   I.G.C. has already been instructed to arrange for this move.
One F.A. Bde. (11th division "A" Bde.) On board ship at Mudros Anzac
Cove
33 16 guns, 32 wagons, telegraph cart 4 water carts Nil   I.G.C. has already been instructed to arrange for this move.
Reinforcements for Units of A.N.Z.A.C. Alexandria Anzac
Cove
7,000 to 8,000 Nil Nil    
Mule Corps Helles Anzac
Cove
50 Nil 200   By August 1st.
Ammunition Park Mudros Anzac
Cove
65 Nil Nil S.A. Ammn. 5,500,000 rounds Mk. VII (a) (225 tons), 760,000 rounds Mk. VI (30 tons)
Gun Ammunition (b) 10 pr. 2,700 (19 tons), 18 pr. 5,500 (70 tons), 4.5" How. 1,600 (45 tons), 5" How. 10,000 (330 tons), 6" How. 1,200 (70 tons), 60 pr. 1,000 (30 tons)
 

(a) If possible, an additional 3,000,000 S.A.A. should be landed, so that half the reserve for the whole Northern Force may be ashore before operations begin (see Table "C" Remarks).

(b) If possible, the following additional gun ammunition should also be landed, so that the full reserve for the whole Northern Force may be ashore before operations begin:—

10 pr. 3,000 rounds}
18 pr. 10,000 rounds}
6" Howitzer 1,000 rounds}
See Table "C" Remarks.

TABLE B.

Table showing Units and Details which it is required to Land at Anzac Cove on the Nights of August 3rd/4th, August 4th/5th and August 5th/6th.
Unit. From Date Personnel. Vehicles. Remarks.
6 Battalions (a), 13th Division Mudros Night,
August 3rd/4th
4,650 Nil Machine guns and other equipment carried by hand.
Bearer Sub-Division, personnel Anzac Mudros Night,
August 4th/5th
100 Nil Machine guns and other equipment carried by hand.
7 Battalions (a), 13th Division Mudros Night,
August 4th/5th
5,425 Nil  
Bearer Sub-Division, I Field Ambulance, 13th Division Mudros Night,
August 4th/5th
125 Nil  
4 Battalions, 10th Division. Mudros Night,
August 5th/6th
3,100 Nil Machine guns and other equipment carried by hand
29th Indian Brigade and Field Ambulance Mudros Night,
August 5th/6th
2,000 Nil Ditto
Bearer Sub-Divisions, 2 Field Ambulance, 13th Division Mudros Night,
August 5th/6th
255 Nil  
3 Field Companies R.E. (a), 13th Division Mudros Night,
August 5th/6th
525 Nil Machine guns and other equipment carried by hand

(a) These units to move from Helles to Mudros as follows:—

1 Brigade
1 Field Company
Night,
28th/29th July.
1 Brigade
1 Field Company
Night,
29th/30th July.
1 Brigade
1 Field Company
Night,
30th/31th July.

TABLE C.

Table showing Units and Details which it is required to Land at New Beach during the Night of August 6th/7th, beginning one Hour after Dark (9.30 p.m.). All Troops will come from Imbros, but Horses will come direct except where otherwise stated.
Unit. Personnel. Horses. Vehicles. Remarks.
1 Inf. Bde. and Sig. Sec. (a) 3,050 36 Nil Personnel only to be disembarked in the order shown. Animals of Mountain Batteries as soon as there is sufficient light, followed by horses of one 18-pr. Battery (82) and of H.Q. F.A. Brigade (10). Animals of remaining units to follow in the order shown. Supplies and forage for 7 days for these troops and animals to be dumped on the beach as soon as possible, will amount to about 250 tons. S.A.A. 4,000,000 will also have to be landed besides that carried by the troops, say, 150 tons.
1 Bearer Sub-Div. 40 Nil Nil
1 Inf. Bde. and Sig. Sec. and 1 W/T Station 3,065 36 Nil
1 Bearer Sub-Div. 40 Nil Nil
Field Co. R.E. 175 16 4 tool carts
2 Mountain Batts. (b) 100 80 Nil
Div. H.Q. and Sig. Co. 125 28 2 cable wagons, 1 water cart, 2 limbd. R.E. wagons
1 Inf. Bde. and Pioneer Bn. and Sig. Sec. and 1 W/T Station 3,840 44 Nil Artillery reserve ammunition will also be required as follows:—
To come by trawler from Mudros
10 pr. 3,000 rds. (20 tons)
18 pr. 10,000 rds. (130 tons)
60 pr. 1,000 rds. (30 tons)
(See notes to Table A.) If reserve S.A.A. and gun ammunition can before put ashore at Anzac Cove be operations begin this will also be done. But the above-mentioned reserves must also be landed at New Beach in case the congestion on the road from Anzac makes its forwarding a matter of great difficulty.
7 Bearer Sub-Divs. 300 Nil Nil
2 Platoons Div. Cycl. Co. 62 Nil 62 bicycles
2 Field Cos. R.E. 350 32 8 tool carts
1 F.A. Bde. ("L" Bde.) (c) 550 251 16 guns, 44 wagons, 1 telephone wagon, 5 water carts
Ammn. Park Personnel (11 Div.) 65 Nil Nil  
9 Tent Sub.-Divs. 350 84 horses or 144 mules 30 ambulance wagons, 9 water carts, 3 Maltese carts  
4 Casualty Clearing Stations 360 Nil Nil  
Bde. Ammn. Col. 60 62 8 ammunition wagons, 1 water cart, 4 S.A.A. wagons  
2 Bns. for Beach Parties 1,000 Nil Nil  
Mule Corps 150 300 150 mule carts  
Wireless Sec. 18 16 2 two-horse vehicles  

(a) Helles to Imbros, night July 31st/August 1st.

(b) Helles to Imbros, night August 1st/2nd.

(c) Animals in remarks columns (82 and 10) come from Imbros, remainder from Mudros in horse-ships

TABLE D.

Table showing Units and Details which it is required to Land at Anzac Cove beginning at dawn August 7th. Order of Landing as shown. All these Troops will come from Mudros.
Unit. Personnel. Horses. Vehicles. Remarks.
Medical personnel, tent sub-divisions A. and N.Z.A.C. Field Ambulance 900 Nil Nil spare stretchers to be carried by hand.
Bearer Sub-Divisions of 1 Field Ambulance, 10th Division. 125 Nil Nil  
One 18-pr. Battery and H.Q. F.A. Bde. ("A" Bde.) 120 92 Nil  
10th Heavy Battery R.G.A. 110 70 Nil  
Three 18-pr. Batteries ("A" Brigade) 300 246 Nil Guns and personnel already ashore.
(See Tables A and B.)
Mules of Mule Corps * 400 Nil Sufficient personnel to look after mules.

TABLE E.


Table showing Units to be ready to Land immediately after those shown in Tables A, B, C and D. Units will probably be required in the Order shown either at New Beach or Anzac Cove as circumstances may dictate.
Unit. From Personnel. Animals Vehicles. Remarks.
Divl. H.Q. 10th Divn. Mudros 125 28 2 limbered R.E. wagons, 1 water cart, 2 cable wagons  
3 Battalions 10th Divn. Mudros 2,325 40 6 water carts S.A.A. 2,600,000 rounds besides that carrried on the men.
6 Battalions 10th Divn. Port Iero 4,650 76 12 water carts  
3 Field Cos. R.E. 10th Division  
Bearer Sub-Divisions of 2 Field Amulances, 10th Divn. Mudros 250  
15th Heavy Battery R.G.A. On board ship—Mudros 121 70 4 guns, 4 wagons, 1 water cart, 2 G.S. wagons  
Tent Sub-Division of 10th Divn. Mudros 350 300 150 carts  
Mule Corps Mudros 150 54 horses or 84 mules 15 ambulance wagons, 12 carts  



Within a few months General Hamilton considers the August attack a failure. He writes of his fears should a proposed withdraw from the Gallipoli peninsular take place:-
"From General Sir Ian Hamilton to Earl Kitchener.
Our losses would depend on such uncertain factors, enemy's action or inaction, weather, question whether we could rely on all troops covering embarkation to fight to the last, that impossible to give you straight answer especially until I have permission to consult Admiral.
Once discussing this very problem with General Gouraud, we came to the conclusion that at Cape Helles we must sacrifice two divisions out of total of six divisions and Cape Helles easiest of three places to get away from. My opinion now is that it would not be wise to reckon on getting out of Gallipoli with less loss than that of half the total force as well as guns, which must be used to the last, stores, railway plant and horses.
Moral of those who got off would fall very low. One quarter would probably get off quite easily, then the trouble would begin. We might be very lucky and lose considerably less than I have estimated. On the other hand, with all these raw troops at Suvla and all these Senegalese at Cape Helles, we might have a veritable catastrophe."

AOTEA HOSPITAL, HELIOPOLIS, CAIRO

Magazine photograph: "The Great War" published 1916. - Duotone NZMRA 2011. - Roger Shephard Collection.
A scene of humour as convalescent soldiers attempt to start out on a donkey ride from the grounds of the Aotea home in Heliopolis. This picture was published in "The Great War" magazine in 1916 and therefore represents the period where the more fortunate wounded soldiers are well along the recovery road after sustaining life threatening diseases and injuries on the Gallipoli Peninsular during the eight month long campaign of 1915.
In 1916 the majority of the NZEF departed for the battlefields of Europe, but the New Zealand Mounted Rifles were retained in Egypt to defend the Suez Canal.
A second German led Turkish attack was planned against the Canal, and rather than wait entrenched the Australian Light Horse, British Yeomanry and the NZMR struck at the enemy deep in the Sinai Desert at Romani in August 1916. The defeat of the Turko-German force at Romani by the horse mounted troops was the biggest defeat suffered by the Central Powers in the war up until that time.
Major Bowerbank, O.B.E., N.Z.M.C. wrote of New Zealand Hospitals in Egypt :

"...The need for convalescent hospitals was first realised in May, 1915. A house was taken over at Zeitoun, Cairo, but as it proved quite inadequate to accommodate the rapidly increasing numbers, a convalescent hospital was opened by Lady Godley in Alexandria, where the men could have the benefit of the more bracing sea breezes.

In October, there arrived in Cairo the Aotea Convalescent Hospital, equipped by the residents of Wanganui. A house was taken at Heliopolis, a suburb of Cairo, and even though the accommodation was raised to 80, and later to 100, the establishment was always taxed to the utmost. This hospital remained after the Division had embarked for France, and was the convalescent centre for the N.Z. Mounted Brigade until the Armistice. It was in every respect an ideal establishment, and was thoroughly appreciated by the "diggers," especially after the departure of the N.Z. General Hospital and the closing down of the other convalescent hospitals.

It was only after the later experience of hospital methods and administration in England and France that one could realise the tremendous difficulties which beset those who bore the burden of the day in Egypt during the summer of 1915. In those days there was a shortage of drugs, and of equipment, and though the glory of the battlefields was not the lot of those who worked in them, yet these New Zealanders by their enthusiasm and devotion to duty established and built up an organisation which proved to be, then and later, of inestimable benefit to their sick and wounded countrymen."


Report from the Wanganui Chronicle, Volume LX, Issue 16730, 31 August 1916, Page 7:

AOTEA HOME. EXTRACTS FROM OFFICIAL REPORTS.

The following extracts are from the report of Lieut.-Colonel the Hon. R. Heaton Rhodes T.D., M.P., commanding the Canterbury Mounted Rifles Brigade, on his mission to the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in Malta, Mudros, Gallipoli, and Egypt, as the representative of the Government :—

"Aotea Convalescent Home" at Heleopolis situated close to the Zietown Camp, was also excellently equipped and managed, the matron being Sister M. A. Farley, late of the Wellington Hospital, who had a capable and enthusiastic staff. The Institution was generously provided by Wanganui, Rangitikei, and Wairarapa residents.
The idea was, I understand, conceived by three Wanganui ladies. Misses M. MacDonell, M. Macdonald, and M. Duncan. After doing duty at " Aotea" for some time Miss MacDonell accepted the position as Matron of the Empire Nurse's Convalescent Home at Zietown, which, has been established largely through the efforts of Mrs. A. de Castro, of Wellington, for the comfort and convenience of Army nursing sisters. In opening the Home on the 25th February last, General Sir John Maxwell, G.O.C. (Egypt) paid a personal tribute to the committee, and especially to Mrs. de Castro, whom I may say, had charge of the Empire Soldiers' Cafe in the Esbekiah Gardens, which was a great boon to all soldiers.

The cheapest and best method of remitting money for the benefit of our sick and wounded is through the Defence Department, Wellington.

Mr. Gibbons had a call from Farrier-Sergt. Blackburn, who was serving in Egypt two years—he went with the main body. He called to express on behalf of our boys in general, their thanks for the benefits received from the Aotea Home, and also wished to express his and their thanks to the staff personally. Sergt. Blackburn tells me that the fame of Aotea was so widespread that when asked in hospital if they had preference for any particular Convalescent Home the majority of them claimed cousinship or relationship of some kind with one or other of the Aotea staff in order to make certain that they got there. He says if the word of the boys went for anything, any member of the staff could claim scores of relations with our forces. He described it as "exactly home."

Writing to Mr. Hope-Gibbons, under date 18th June, the matron of "Aotea" Home says : —

"On behalf of Aotea patients will you kindly thank the Wanganui College Old Boys for the second sum of £20 for 'smokes.' We are able to buy good cigarettes with this (Green Three Castles), and if the W.C.O. Boys could only see how these 'good smokes' are appreciated they would be more than gratified. The "ration allowance" of two packets per week of a very poor cigarette is not much good but the 'Aotea boys' are always fortunate having good smokes. Yellow Three Castles are unprocurable in Cairo, but the green may nearly always be found somewhere. Mr. Macintosh notified me that yellow and green T.C. cigarettes, with a case of Havelock tobacco, had been sent to us, but so far we have not been able to trace it. Major Watson is keeping a look out for them, so we hope to receive them sooner or later.

The home is going on as usual. I will not write you of it at length just now, because Mr Macintosh tells me he sends you copies of all my letters. There is not much change from week to week. We are kept full, but may get instructions to move to England any day, but so long as there are mounted men in Egypt to whom we can be of help we are quite happy to be left here.
The staff are all pretty well. They all have ample opportunities for a change and holidays. And the members of the staff are taking it in turn to go, two at a time, to Alexandria, where there is a beautiful 'Rest Home' for nurses. It is cooler there and the sea bathing is pleasant.
With kind regards from the staff.— Yours faithfully, M. A. Early."



photograph: Carolyn Grey - compiled: Steve Butler - postcard: Sgt Major Duncan McMillan of the 9th W.M.R -1917
A timely reminder of the festive season was sent in by Tim Brinkley . A Divisional Christmas card printed for the men by the Anzac Mounted Division for Christmas 1917. The inside of the card declares the battle stations of the Anzac's during the Great War.
Egypt 1914, Gallipoli 1915, Sinai 1916 and Palestine 1917. There would be another Christmas to come before the men could return home.


Outer card view of front and back of Sergeant Major Duncan McMillan's 1917 Christmas Card sent home from Jaffa, Turkish Palestine.

Jaffa
2-12-17
Dear Jessie
We have been on the move ever since I wrote to you last, the country here is splendid oranges enough to supply the world & there is a wine brewery only 100 yards away from our camp.

We were the first troops into the town of Jaffa. Jaffa is not a small town there is 70,000 inhabitance [sic] in piece [sic] time we had some very hard fighting during the advance here & lost some very good men.

 In one fight we had 8 killed but we captured 10 michens guns [sic] & killed over 100 Turks, that was just our Squadrons work for the day & a very lukie [sic] day that we did not lose all. My old groom was killed.

The main Body men are not getting leave to N.Z.. as we expected.

Inside: From Duncan to Jessie with love wishing you all a Dinkum Xmas 1917.


Left: Artwork on the inside of the card enlarged. Signed by Divisional Headquarters Artist, W. (atho) Hewitt.

The pen and ink drawing is of an Australian Light horseman wearing an enlarged tin of "Fray Bentos" bully-beef, and his partner a New Zealand Mounted Rifleman wears a large "Huntly & Palmer" biscuit cracker - a reference to the rather sparse faire supplied to the men in the field - at their feet two dixies bubble away on a camp fire, lifting smells of a home cooked Christmas Pudding the men hope to eat at their next Christmas of 1918.

Duncan McMillan hailed from Gisborne and departed Wellington with the 2nd Reinforcements as 11/800 Trooper McMillan of the 9th (East Coast) Wellington Mounted Rifles.

His convoy left New Zealand bound for Suez, Egypt on the 14th December 1914.

Sergeant Major Duncan McMillan survived the Great War to return to New Zealand at the end of hostilities.


VISIT TO PAPAKURA
I took the opportunity of a Summer day to take a short run out of Auckland city and down SH1 to Papakura yesterday (Nov 27th) - I had promised myself for some time now that I would re-visit the Papakura Museum now that the local council has upgraded to its new home that also includes the Town's Library.
I recalled from an earlier visit a year or so back, that the museum had a comprehensive collection of "Weekly News" magazines that were the major publication for New Zealanders during the years of the Great War. The items I hoped to record were the images of the thousands of men who were either wounded, missing or Killed in Action during the Gallipoli Campaign.
I had rang the museum prior to my visit and when I arrived the ladies at the museum had kindly arranged picture folios of the men I had asked to see.
Looking at the pages and the faces of these men who gave so much for this nation is a humbling experience, and to consider that nearly a century has passed does not lessen the impact.
Above is a half page scan that I pulled at random to promote here on the website. Not only does this quick glimpse from one of the pages give the viewer a sense of loss, I was also amazed to discover another factor that must have caused families great grief during those terrible days.
I have been editing this website for many years now, and over that time I have come to recognise so many faces as I search through records. On this page alone I see two mistakes immediately.
TPR E.P. (Burt) Burrowes (first on left top row) is recorded here as "wounded" - however Trooper 13/779 Edwin Fitzherbert Burrowes was Killed in Action, 8th August 1915.
The second face that caught my eye is the trooper wearing the NAMR badges, 5th in from the left middle row. The caption to the photo is "TPR. A. Cameron, Auckland M.R, wounded" - when in fact this is Trooper Andrew Booth of the Auckland M.R. and we have a copy of an original correctly named photograph from an Auckland photographic studio sitting taken before his departure that confirms his correct name.

Note: 13/172 Trooper Charles Walter Francis of the AMR. (5th from left bottom row) although originally listed here as missing, was found to be "Deceased by a Courts of Inquiry", viz. Killed in Action, 8th August 1915.
Obviously many mistakes on records were made, but how stressful for the families of the day.

These images are a great asset, and I will continue to place them on our website as time allows, and having recorded the images in high resolution the Association can now supply larger formatted photos to members who ask for them.

I have talked about family likenesses before when trying to connect names to photographs, and I received a further surprise as I looked through these files. There in front of me was a photograph of the Best-man at my wedding of some forty-odd years ago. Well, the dates didn't match, but I covered the caption of the man and asked my wife, "Who is that?"
"A younger Murray McKay," she replied.
A striking resemblance we thought to our Best-man. After a search of the Cenotaph Database that told me that this McKay was from Waipu in North Auckland. I immediately gave my mate Murray a video-call (Skype) to his home.
"I have found a relative of yours I am sure." I said, and showed him the photograph.
And so it proved to be. Murray quickly retrieved a detailed Family Tree, and there, listed as his father's cousin, and without any fanfare, in a dour Scots way: "Alexander Peter McKay - died 1915."
That Murray could so quickly find his relative came as no surprise. The McKays are part of a Scottish immigrant community who are proud of their ancestry. Members of this particular community departed Scotland in the early 1800's for Nova Scotia. After years of hardships in Canada the elders of the clan decided to risk all and set out for New Zealand where they finally settled in Waipu.
The Waipu Scots influence in the North continues to this day. Many thousands of holiday makers descend onto the town each New Years Day to celebrate the successful arrival of the ships with Highland Games and dancing and piper competitions.


One of the Heroes of Chunuk Bair.
13/250 Alexander Peter McKay of Waipu.

A small find, but significant one for relatives of one Trooper Albert Stemmer and historians using database searches to find records.
The 1915 publication of "The Weekly News" carries the photograph and correctly spelt name of 7/786 Trooper Albert Stemmer of the 10th Nelson Mounted Rifles, Killed in Action on Gallipoli 19th August 1915.

Unfortunately a "typo" was entered into the publication of the official casualty list published in the 1920 book, "The History of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles 1914-1919". At that time Albert's surname was written as "Stemner".
Cross references of "Archway" and "Cenotaph" confirm the spelling as Stemmer.
After 95 years the mistake is corrected on the official list
thanks to the visit to Papakura Museum and the Weekly News entries held there.
On entering "Stemmer" into the "Search NZMR site" box I found no reference to Albert, this alerted me to an error. The search boxes are able to access text references anywhere within our records. Contact from the public with any other discrepancies will be appreciated.

Left: Albert Stemmer's obituary photo published in "The Weekly News" 1915. Computer colourised NZMRA 2011.

Gordon
Sylvester
Gordon is still diligently transcribing the massive cache of hand written WAR DIARIES from AWM Archives.
Releasing today is the fascinating on site military report written by Lieutenant Colonel and later
Brigadier General W. (Bill) Meldrum, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O. in the WAR DIARY OF THE WELLINGTON MOUNTED RIFLES for DECEMBER 1916.
This month includes the victorious Attack on MAGDHABA