Photograph: Fred Foote Family Collection - computer colourised-circa 1915
The collection of photographs and papers held by Trooper Fred Foote's family is a treasure trove of personal records collected and held by one man. Each photo that is scanned has its own particular story to add to our nation's history. The photograph above records the soldier's name as "Fred Oxenham" and the print sits proudly affixed in Fred's personal photo album.
There is no other comment with this photo, but Fred would have needed no written reminders of this man and of the day when he himself was close to death and seriously wounded during the attack at Ayun Kara. On that day a number of his mates were killed in action beside him. Among them a friend that he had served with and seen action with from the slopes of Gallipoli, across the Sinai Desert and onto the undulating terrain of ancient Judea, fellow Auckland Mounted Rifleman, Fred Oxenham.
Trooper Oxenham was one of fifty New Zealanders to die that day south of Jerusalem, the 14th November 1917.
We are proud to remember him and his great sacrifice.
Rank Last Held:
First Known Rank:
Next of Kin:
H.G. Oxenham (father), Gladstone Road, Mount Albert, Auckland, New Zealand
Gladstone Road, Mount Albert, Auckland, New Zealand
21st Anniversary issue
penny and half-penny
50th Anniversary issue
4 penny and 5 penny
90th Anniversary of
UPDATE: An email today (11th Feb):
I was searching your updates and noticed a photo in the Jan 11th 2010 update article titled "Desert Telecom". The gentleman in the centre of the title photo is my Grandfather Angus Roderick Dunning (also known as Pat)
Cheryl Tomich Thanks for that Cheryl - more pieces to the jigsaw - have also added his name HERE-Steve
THE DAWN OF THE ELECTRONICS AGE
photograph: Trooper Fred Foote, circa 1916
I have often wondered when all my signals training would pay off. Today it seems that it has. I nearly by-passed this photograph as being one of the ordinary run of the mill snapshots men take in war time, but the lonely figure standing on the far right next to a second pole made me take a closer look.
This is a very exciting picture for an ex-sig to stumble upon. Here it is 1916 with a wagon to carry the radio and a canvas awning to shade the men from the sun, Trooper Fred Foote and his fellow signallers have erected a comprehensive "Dipole Antenna" in the middle of the desert.
Considering that the vacuum tube glass valves were not available as radio amplifiers until 1911, an invention that allowed radio equipment to be transportable, this photo is proof that New Zealand had quickly adapted and had advanced state of the art radio communications operating in the Middle East during the First World War.
Heavy though these radios were, the range of influence when coupled with dipole antennas was revolutionary, and forever changed the way the military conducted warfare and passed intelligence.
Dipole antennas are very efficient in supporting long distance "ground wave" LF broadcasts in the long wave range of frequencies that the military began to use in WW1. Later technologies through the century saw the development of better valves, transistors and diodes and the use of the HF (high frequencies) and VHF frequencies. However the advantages of surface wave broadcast has gone full cirlce, and LF and VLF frequency bandwidths are used extensively today in the military, especially with submarine communications.
Dipole Configuration (feb 10th)
SOMEWHERE IN PHILISTIA
Photograph: Trooper Fred Foote, circa 1917.
A heat haze hangs over this little village somewhere in the Ottoman Province of "Vilayet Beyrut", or perhaps it is in the even more confusing named subdivision "Kudüs-i Şerif Mutasarrıflığı". Whatever name the Turkish rulers called their southern territories we can understand why the British administrators chose to rename this land as soon as possible once the Ottoman Empire fell. The British Mandate decided on the name "Palestine" in recognition of the Philistines, an ancient Semitic trading people that once lived in this land thousands of years ago, and were referred to as the "Sea Peoples" by Ramesses III.
In the photograph we see military "bell" tents in the lower foreground where members of the NZMR have made camp. In the center of the picture magnified, appears to be a steam driven pump house that was probably used to bring well water to the surface. Near by a New Zealand trooper relaxes on the edge of the communal watering trough while his charges take a drink.
THE BRIGADE AT SHELLAT
photograph: Lieutenant Tom Lang NZ Pay Corps, cica 1917.
The afternoon sun casts the shadow of the photographer 15/118 Lieutenant Thomas John Lang of the New Zealand Pay Corps. Tom hailed from Wonwondah, Victoria, Australia and joined the NZ Army at the outbreak of war in 1914 and sailed with the second reinforcements 14th December 1914. No date is associated with this photo, but Tom notes on the back; "The Brigade at Shellat". The horses are obviously enjoying the lush feed of the undulating countryside of Palestine after enduring the arid rigours of the Sinai Desert.
Tom sadly was not to survive the war and died of pleurisy in a Cairo Hospital, Egypt 18th July 1918. Thanks to Beryl Henderson of Victoria,Great Niece.
Over a year ago, RNZAF WOI Marty Fitchett was kind enough to send in an AMR Reunion photograph taken outside the Auckland War Memorial Museum. We are unsure of the date this was taken, but by using the car model in the background, and the fact that 1965 was the 50th anniversary of the Aucklanders landing at Gallipoli in WW1, we think this reunion picture was taken1965.
We asked at the time; "Is Your Granddad in this photo?"
Well, we Aucklanders are not known for our speed on the uptake and it has taken some time for the bush telegraph to reach the outer boundaries of the Regiments catchment area. But at last two more names to add.
TWO NEW NAMES ADDED.
Wifred Firchett and Ernie Picot names are now joined by two others as members of the public recognise family. I have deliberately cut out this segment of the larger photo to place the two new names we have been able to add to this great shot of the men - Why? because of "Murphy's Law". My reasoning is, if I spend time doing this somebody is bound to contact me and tell me that they also recognise so-n-so, and he will be partially obscured under one of the name balloons. Or he will be standing at the other end of the photo, and then I will have to re-do the whole image again!
Hopefully that will be the case - we would like to connect more names to the men. This image of the men taken in later life is probably easier for grandchildren to recognise their grandpas' on how they looked when they themselves were children.
What has proven important about this photo, is that with each name that is added along comes a wealth of new material.
Wilfred Fitchet and his mate Ernie, both men from the Kawhia Coast in the Waikato, set off on their great adventure in 1914. The real events that awaited them on Gallipoli was horrendous, but luck was with them and they return home together, Wilfred with a commission. His Gallipoli Diary and photos are HERE Last month Judith Brown was good enough to spot her Dad here, and we members are reaping the rewards from that contact - Fred Footes photos and unpublished writings are a one-man history lesson.
Two weeks ago Bryan Calder contacted the Association to say he had recognised his Grandfather some months back, and had taken pleasure in downloading the Reunion Photo and showing it to his Mother and the senior members of the family, who were so surprised to see Bill Foster with all his mates outside the Museum..
Bryan is compiling a few comments on his Granddad's career with the Auckland Mounted Rifles - and he informs me, he can identify one of the Military Cross winners shown in the photograph as well. Seven AMR men received the Military Cross during WW1. I can feel "Murphy's" coming on here - I bet the one he names is the old soldier under Fred Foote's name balloon!
What I would like you to consider; is the men pictured here above are the same men preparing to advance on Beersheba in the next photo below - some fifty years before.
THE NZMR CROSSING WADI EL ESANI
The photographs from Trooper Fred Foote's camera continue to astound. This beautiful panoramic image is an amazing snapshot of our history, and gives a sense of the true magnitude of the effort our small nation of just over 1 million people were able to muster during the Great War.
Fred has written next to this photograph in his album: "AMR Regiment crossing a dry river bed (Wadi) on their way to capture the Turkish Fort of Beersheba."
If this is on the way to attack Beersheba, then this must be a day or two before the attack, as the Anzacs rode through the final night to attack the garrison town of Beersheba at dawn of the last day of October 1917. Now what would Bill Woerlee who runs the impressive "Australian Light Horse Studies Center" on the other side of the ditch be able to add?
- within a few hours comes the reply:-
This remarkable photograph shows the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade baggage train in a waggon park in the foreground while in the background a Regiment is seen crossing Wadi el Esani and assembling on the southern bank at Esani during the late afternoon of 28 October 1917. Each Troop of every Squadron is clearly separated giving the ability to determine the number of troops approaching the crossing in the picture. The men in the photograph have received their final orders for the attack on Beersheba and are moving to their jump off point, a march of two nights to arrive on the morning of 31 October 1917.
Bill is not finished, he quotes from the Auckland Mounted Rifles War Diary Entry, 28th October 1917:
The Regiment stood to Arms at 0400 till 0600, and remained in bivouac all morning. At 1330 orders were received that the Brigade would move out to Khalassa at 1700. Wadi Imal Aaga was crossed at Malassa at 1800, and the Brigade moved to Khalassa via Esani - Khalassa Road on East side of Wadi. At 2030 the Regiment reached a Point 1 mile north of Junction Esani - Khalassa and Beersheba - Khalassa roads, and bivouaced there for the night.
This photo is really calls out for a closer view - Double click on photo for ENLARGEMENT (3rd Feb 2010)
SOUTHLAND MAN TRUE
computer colourised from original photograph - circa 1915
Private Ira Rubel Evans
First Known Rank:
Occupation before Enlistment:
Next of Kin:
Thomas Evans (father), Longbush, Southland, New Zealand
Body on Embarkation:
New Zealand Expeditionary Force
10th Reinforcements Otago Mounted Rifles, D Squadron
4 March 1916
Place of Embarkation:
Wellington, New Zealand
Willochra or Tofua
Last Unit Served:
Otago Infantry Regiment
Killed in Action :
Date of Death:
14 July 1916
Thank you Iain for collecting the CD off Bill and Betty (Invercargill) - great wealth of information again to process. (29_Jan)