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Comments from Steve Butler ■ Email contact

Photograph Tim O'Brien Collection, Hornchurch Hospital, London 1916 - "ANZAC MOUNTEDS".

Tim O'Brien has done a number of things exactly right. First he has kept his father's photograph in perfect condition all these years, and secondly took the time out to ask his father about his service with the 6th Manawatu Mounted Rifles Squadron and has remembered much of what is father told him before his death in 1967. What a pleasure to receive this image last week, hidden from the general public for almost a century.
The photograph above was arranged to show the British public the mounted soldiers of the Australian Light Horse and the New Zealand Mounted Rifles. Each man and horse is presented in immaculate condition. The name of the Australian trooper on the right is not known. However the New Zealander is 11/109 Staff Sergeant John William O'Brien of the Wellington Mounted Rifles.
We can also tell by his Service Record that Trooper John O'Brien had been wounded on Gallipoli on the 9th August 1915 and was sent to England for treatments of his wounds. He arrived at Hornchurch Hospital, London on the 4th September 1915 and it appears that he recovered quickly, and although John entered the NZMR as a farmer, it seems he had hidden talents and was sent to the "Records Office" at Base Depot Hornchurch and on the 15th December 1915 and was promoted Corporal. His rapid rise through the ranks continued, becoming acting Sergeant on the 31st January 1916, then promoted Staff Sergeant on the 1st June 1916. By the 4th August, just under a year from his wounding on Gallipoli he was promoted Company Sergeant Major and 2nd Class W.O.
Therefore as John is wearing the rank of Staff Sergeant in the photograph, we can narrow the date that it was taken to between June and early August 1916.
Further study of John's Service Record shows he was later promoted W. O. 1st Class and awarded the M.S.M. and Gazetted on the 30th May 1919:-

Twelve Supplement of the "London Gazette"
His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the Meritorious Service Medal to the undermentioned Non-Commissioned Officer in recognition of valuable service rendered during the campaign.
11/109 S.S.M. J.W. O'Brien Wellington Mounted Rifles.



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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.









Below: section of hand written WAR DIARY written in the field; number 34/4/6, Transcribed dates only of the 20th and 21st August 1915 - Otago Mounted Rifles Regiment.

OMR WAR DIARY AUGUST 1915 (partial transcription)

20th August
Orders were received from Brigade Headquarters to bivouac in Mounted Rifles Gully.
6 Officers and 159 OR’s moved from BAUCHOPS RIDGE at 2100 (9 pm)

21st August
In conjunction with Canterbury Mounted Rifles under Major Hutton, the Regiment attacked trenches across KAIAJIK DERE.  The assault was made over a distance of 700 yards, across some very exposed ridges, in the face of especially heavy machine gun and rifle fire, and in the later stages high explosives and schrapnel.  The Regiment suffered about 60% of losses, but with the Canterbury Regiment secured and held about 250 yards of Turkish trench and the slope of HILL 60 across KAIAJIK DERE.  No further advance could be made by reason of the co-operating troops on the right and left failing to advance, the necessity of making good the ground taken, and preparing against counter attacks with such men as we had left.  During the night 21/22 counter attacks were made, but with no great determination.

Left: Trooper 9/911 Murdoch Campbell, one of 57 Otago men who fell wounded during the attack on the 21st August 1915. Many were later to die of their wounds (D.O.W.)

Full Name: Murdock Campbell
Rank Last Held: Trooper
Surname: Campbell
Serial No.: 9/911
Place of Birth: Dunedin, New Zealand
First Known Rank: Trooper
Next of Kin: Colin Campbell (father), care of Mr Dickson, Matata, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
Marital Status: Single
Enlistment Address: Care of Irrigation Works, Moa Creek, New Zealand
Military District: Otago
Body on Embarkation: 4th Reinforcements
Embarkation Unit: Otago Mounted Rifles
Embarkation Date: 17 April 1915
Place of Embarkation: Wellington, New Zealand
Vessel: Willochra or Knight Templar or Waitomo
Destination: Suez, Egypt
Page on Nominal Roll: 107
Campaigns: Gallipoli
Last Unit Served: Otago Mounted Rifles
Place of Death: Gallipoli, Turkey
Date of Death: 21 August 1915
Age at Death: 18
Year of Death: 1915
Cause of Death: Died of wounds
Memorial Name: Hill 60 (New Zealand) Memorial, Hill 60 Cemetery, Turkey
Biographical Notes: Son of Colin and Evilina Campbell, of Cordeaux Dam, Cordeaux, Sydney, Australia.
Description of Image: Portrait, Auckland Weekly News 1915

Photographs LOC Matson Collection
Receiving contact from people all round the world who make new finds and updates pertaining to the NZMR is always a highlight in running this website. Many thanks to "AJ" from the United Kingdom sending in this email and links this month. (Sept 2013).
The LOC has released a number of photographs from the "American Colony" in the past, but AJ has been quick on the draw to point us in the direction of this newer release from this large collection. AJ's email and links to the much larger files below (from 340k to 15 megabytes images)

I was interested to read your page about the ANZAC memorial that was destroyed in Port Said in 1956 (and Bess the horse, bless her), as I was trying to find a little information about it and a photo if possible, and searches led there. Then as I carried on looking, I was sent to your pages again, this time to the one at with the link to the You Tube clip, showing the site of the memorial from the water.
You have a large number of pages, so I'm afraid I don't know if you will already have this information by now or not -- you may well do -- but if not and you're still interested in images of the Port Said memorial, after visiting NZMR I came across three wonderful shots of it in a collection at the US Library of Congress.
In case you hadn't come across these, I thought I'd send on the links. These three come from a particular collection of photos held by the LOC, the Matson (G. Eric and Edith) Photograph Collection This produces three pages of results, and I only looked at some images on the first, but amongst those I found two or maybe three shots which are fairly similar to the still/screenshot you've taken out of the You Tube clip, in the sense that although you can't really see the memorial clearly as it's too far away, I knew where to look from your You Tube screenshot (by reference to the more visible lighthouse)... then it's possible to distinguish "something" which must be the memorial.

The Canal waterfront Port Said, ANZAC Statue showing Bess' head just visible.
These three photos giving a much clearer indication of where the Memorial once stood.
A 1933 Morris "soft-top" motorcar sits curbside in front of the ANZAC Memorial that was destroyed during riots in 1956.
AJ's email continues below:
I took the link for the collection as a whole, then searched within it for 'Port Said'. Here's a direct link to the search results:
They seem to have been mostly taken in the ca. 1934-39 period, and there don't appear to be any restrictions on use.
BTW, I assume you'll know of the Australian 'Animals in War' memorial unveiled at the AWM in Canberra in 2009, commemorating animals who served in wartime?
As its centerpiece it uses the head of one of the two horses from the original Port Said sculpture -- the other Aussie horse, not NZ Bess. It was shipped back to Australia (at their request, I read somewhere) as a fragment at some point after 1956 and was kept in the AWM collection, and now it's incorporated (unchanged, in its damaged state) into the recent memorial. Very striking. The horse, so I've read, was modeled on Sandy, General Bridges' mount in WW1, and much like Bess returning to NZ, is said to be the only one to have returned home to Oz at the end of the war. Or perhaps one of only very few: I'm not clear which is correct, one or a few.
(and from there, beneath the photo, is also a link to an audio file to listen to).
Four very nice shots available from here:
And at this page is a photo (which enlarges) of the plaque beside the memorial:
I fear you may find a few more instances of creeping "Aussie emphasis".....
Hope some of this may be of interest... and sorry for the length!
Kind regards
AJ (not being 'off', that's what folks call me!), in the UK

Further Update photo sent in October 30th 2013 at left, email below:

Dear Steve,

I was very excited to find the story of the Anzac Memorial on the website. I have recently found a photograph of my father (who served in WWII, and passed away in 1988) standing in front of the memorial, but didn't know where it was. I search Google images and was amazed (and a little embarassed) to find out the history of the monument. I noticed that the image used on the page was listed as a 'rare' image, so thought I would share my photo, which was probably taken around 1944 when Dad was serving in the area. My Dad is on the right, but I have no idea who the other two, or the boy, are. 

Kind regards
Sharon Flynn

Thank you Sharon. The photograph you sent in was titled "Ken Toomey Port Said Anzac Memorial".


Note: Photographic design ideas of the original Anzac Memorial are posted HERE.



Photograph: Trooper Harry Browne Collection 1915. Duotone treatment NZMRA 2013
Troops wait patiently as the officer smoking a pipe hands out the newly arrived mail from home.
Trooper Harry Browne writes below this photo in his album: "Mail day. Hill 60. Late Major Grant on left."
Unfortunately no other names are recorded here of the men, but most likely these are troopers from the Wellington Mounted Rifles.
Of further interest in this photo is the number mark in reverse "19" in the top right han corner. This numbered negative has probably been printed in reverse in Harry's album, - perhaps! The cap badge that could confirm this on the officers hat is unreadable even in high resolution.
However the number brings to attention that this photograph may well be a copy from the collection of Sergeant J. C. Read (WMR), a collection held at the Hocken Library in Dunedin today. The men often exchanged photos they took of different events relating to their units - perhaps this is from the camera of 11/606 James Read.
Further update:

One day later and some quick replies relating to the print from the negative:

Malcolm assures me a instant give-away is to take note of men's shirts, they have buttons on the right side; shirts button up by overlapping left over right.

But an email from James takes all guess work out of this image. "The photo has been printed the right way. If you look under the arm of the pipe smoker you can see clearly printed on a rolled up newspaper the word "FREE".

Therefore the so called number "19" may actually be "P1" for a "page 1" - a guess only.
Thanks men for the input, I like that.

7th August 2013



Photograph Trooper Harry Browne Collection -Gallipoli 1915 - Duotone treatment NZMRA 2013

After nearly 100 years this photograph of Ramsey Newton looks as recent as yesterday.
This image taken by fellow Wellington Mounted Rifles Trooper Harry Browne on Gallipoli.
11/719 Trooper Ramsey Alexander Newton was Killed in Action during the attack on Chunuk Bair on the 9th August 1915.
Months later while recuperating in hospital Harry Browne recorded his thoughts about the ill fated attack in a letter home. The letter refers to "Newton" in this section below:-

"All night long the firing was kept up hotly on both sides, increasing in violence each time the enemy counterattacked, and as our position was in advance of the other points of attack, we were heavily enfiladed from both flanks, which caused us to distribute our fire. Newton was hit hard near the jaw. He was helped out of the trench, and started downhill gamely at the run. I don’t know how far he got but I see by the lists that he is marked "Died of wounds.” His photo is in the album I sent you, taken when he was wearing a beard in those earlier stages when a bottle of water had to last you a day of twenty-four hours. He was a Wellington College Old Boy, and although he looked a man of forty in that photo, I think he was only twenty years of age. His cousin Walter Boyd was wounded on Table Top on Saturday the 7th of August..."

The full account of Trooper Browne's letter of Walkers Ridge and Chunuk Bair is available to read HERE.

Four men with the surname NEWTON served with the WMR.
11/506 Fred Newton
11/550 John Newton
11/1048 Ralph Newton
11/719 Ramsey Newton
three were killed in Action during August 1915. Gallipoli.
Fred Newton survived the War.
"... any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind,
and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee."

- John Donne (1572-1631)


Photograph: Trooper Harry Browne, Gallipoli 1915. Duotone NZMRA 2013

Above: Turkish rifles recovered from the field of battle and transported by mule train down from Walker's Ridge to be shipped back to Allied factories to be scrapped to make new weapons.

On the other side of the battle line, Turkish and German troops also retrieved discarded enemy weapons from the field. Some British Enfield 303 rifles made their way into Arab hands to be used against the British offensive during the Sinai and Palestine campaigns that began the following year in 1916.
One particular Enfield rifle was to gain fame by this round-about route. The rifle, issued to the Essex Regiment, was taken from an unknown fallen soldier at Gallipoli. It became one of four rifles that Enver Pasha had inlayed with gold Arabic script proclaiming - "Part of our booty in the battle for the Dardenelles". The rifles were then presented to the four sons of the of Hussein bin Ali the Sharif of Mecca as symbols of unity between the Ottomans and her Arab subjects in the South.
However, in taking his time to consider overtures from both warring parties to join in the hostilities, Hussein's third son, Emir Feisal, saw that the British advance had completely pushed the Ottoman forces out of the Sinai Desert by December of 1916. He saw that the victors breaking up the Ottoman Empire would share the spoils with any new allies.
As a sign of good faith in joining with British forces Feisal presented his engraved rifle to Lawrence. Lawrence's initials, T.E.L. and 4.12.16 (4th December 1916) were carved into the stock above the magazine.
After the Armistice, "Lawrence of Arabia" presented the rifle to King George V. The rifle is now on exhibit at The Imperial War Museum, London.

Many thanks to Graeme Browne for all the work he has now done to allow the general public to look into the life of his grandfather Trooper Harry Browne of the Wellington Mounted Rifles. These two discs arrived stacked with the memories of Harry's life on Gallipoli and beyond. I know that the scanning and editing to text of all this material takes a great deal of time and effort, thanks again Graeme.
I am always amazed at the energy and drive of our fellow New Zealanders to keep alive and update our understanding of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles.
To the many other ardent supporters of our history out there who have sent in material - I will get to it eventually - your submissions are not lost - just in need of a faster acting editor.


Photograph circa 1917. Kingston Hull Family Collection. duotone treatment NZMRA 2013
Having a quiet break while their horses get stuck into their nosebags, two troopers pose for a photograph as they relax in front of their "Bivvy". This photograph taken in Turkish Palestine circa 1917 by Trooper Kingston Hull of the Auckland Mounted Rifles. The names recorded on the photo are "Percy - Clark". Percy is most likely to be 13/2472 Trooper William Kells Percy of Hastings who departed with the 7th Reinforcements NZMR in October 1915.
Searching for a "Clark" is a more difficult task. Seventeen men with the surname Clark (or Clarke) served with the Auckland Mounted Rifles. A number of these men were killed in Action on Gallipoli, narrowing the options down, but getting any closer would require input from someone recognizing the likeness in the photo.

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