comments from webmaster Steve Butler

Three more Reinforcement badges from Iain's collection have been prepared for the dedicated page - copy needs also to be added - However it is nice to see the variables that were made for the different drafts of Mounted Riflemen over the years 1915-19. and I have taken the opportunity to post them here on our updates page first.



21st Anniversary issue
penny and half-penny
stamps 1936.

50th Anniversary issue
4 penny and 5 penny
stamps 1965.

NZMR 24th
Reinforcements Badge.


Among the recent and continuing influx of material that arrives with great regularity from New Zealanders everywhere - was this pre-war photograph titled "Arthur Robins, 5th Reinforcements, AMR" sent in by Jim who is an ardent supporter of our Association with interests also in the Waiuku Museum, south of Auckland.
Of course the image was in black and white, but I have taken the liberty of computer colourising the photo to see what "Arthur" Robins would have looked like in a world of colour film.

Initially I was a bit discouraged when I was unable to find any reference to an Arthur Robins in any of the search engines, and I thought I was on the track of "one of those" lost entries of World War One.
Curiosity was raised when I could only find a 'Arthur Robins' in the Infantry and from Manawatu - I could clearly see this man here is an Auckland Mounted Rifleman - So, out came my copy of "The story of Two Campaigns" (limited free download HERE).
At the back of the book, which is the official history of the Regiment, I looked up the casualties of both Gallipoli and Sinai. There to my surprise on page 262 is the record: "Wounded, Sinai Palestine" - 13/1087 Robins A., Tpr., 14.11.17.
Now I had a service number to work with and by entering this at the Cenotaph Search Engine I got a much better result - and an explanation as to why 'Arthur' had led me astray. (see record below).

For the Auckland Mounted Rifles, and indeed the whole brigade, the date 14th November 1917 is the greatest day of action carried out by the Mounteds. The attack on the strongly fortified Turkish trenches near the town of Richon le Zion in present day Israel is a story of guile, courage and great daring against a superior force. You may read references to the action of AYUN KARA written by Lieutenant Colonel McCarroll HERE.
The official history of the AMR states:
"The A.M.R. lost heavily, 15 being killed including Lieutenant J. D. Stewart, of the 3rd Squadron; 74 wounded, including Lieutenant Colonel McCarroll, Captain Twistleton, M.C. and Lieutenants K.J. Tait, M.C., S.C. Reid, G.L. King, C. G.R. Jackson, and E.A. H. Bisley. Captain Twistleton and Lieutenant King died of wounds..."
Also recorded further on: "...The W.M.R. lost 8 killed and 44 wounded; the C.M.R., one killed and six wounded; and the Machine Gun Squadron, eight killed and 18 wounded. The Turks, who retired during the night, lost 160 killed and 250 (estimated) wounded..."

Unfortunately the plight and fate of many of those '74' ordinary troopers is unrecorded. But it would appear that the wounding of Arthur Robins was severe - he returns home, but dies in Auckland less than a year after wars end in 1919, aged 25 years.

The resting place of Arthur Robins in the Waikaraka Cemetery in Auckland is marked by two headstones - one erected by the Military and another by his family.

Photo of gravestone provided by Paul F. Baker.

Name: Trooper Henry James Robins
Rank Last Held: Trooper
Forename(s): Henry James
Surname: Robins
Also Known As: Arthur
War: World War I, 1914-1918
Serial No.: 13/1087
Next of Kin: Josiah Robins (father), Onehunga, New Zealand
Marital Status: Single
Enlistment Address: Onehunga, New Zealand
Body on Embarkation: 5th Reinforcements
Embarkation Unit: Auckland Mounted Rifles
Embarkation Date: 13 June 1915
Place of Embarkation: Wellington, New Zealand
Transport: HMNZT 24 or HMNZT 25 or HMNZT 26
Vessel: Maunganui or Tahiti or Aparima
Place of Death: New Zealand
Date of Death: 29 November 1919
Age at Death: 25
Year of Death: 1919
Cemetery Name: Waikaraka Public Cemetery, Auckland, New Zealand
Grave Reference: Area 1, Block G, Grave 84.
Biographical Notes: Arthur Robins was the son of Josiah and Annie Amelia Robins, of 65, Trafalgar St., Onehunga, Auckland. Served at Gallipoli and in Egypt.
Further References:
  • Search for information about this person's Military Personnel File. Use the Simple Search option.


(13th Mar 08) A welcome and unexpected letter arrived today that needs to be shared with you all - I hope members take up this unselfish offer!

Hi Steve,

              By way of introduction I am currently the New Zealand RSM of the NZ Contingent working for the MFO in the Sinai. I am also a RNZAC WO1 and have served in all of the NZ Armored Units since I joined the Corps in 1983. As you will be aware the NZMR eventually evolved into the current RNZAC within the NZ Army. I have served with Lt Col Kinloch and know him well I was also his gunner in three troop for about a year, before becoming the Troop Sergeant.

I have tried to visit most of the battlefields where New Zealanders fought here since my arrival in Nov 07 and I will shortly return to NZ in May 08. I recently visited the cemetery in Beer Sheeba (now known as Beer-sheeva) on the request of a family member for some photographs of a family members grave. During that visit I placed a NZ poppy on all NZ graves in the cemetery.

The NZ contingent from here will participate in ANZAC Day ceremonies in Gallipoli, Cairo Jerusalem and Beer-sheeva so if any of your members have any requests for photos etc please ask and I will do my best to facilitate.

Also another event occurring of note is the Australian Government will unveil a new memorial in Beer-sheeva on the 28th of April at 1630hrs, both myself and my Commanding Officer Lt Col P Hibbs will be official guests as well as a few contingent members. The new memorial is represented by a Mounted Rifleman on horse back jumping a trench with turkish soldiers. I will provide further information and photos after the ceremony.

If you would like any further information or have any requests please ask and I will endeavour to help out where I can.

Ext 3038
I have started a thread HERE for members and visitor input.

I had the opportunity to drive through Papakura today (8th March 08) and made sure I took this image of the townships fine WWI Monument that sits on the entrance of the towns main street leading into the shopping center.

The names of the fallen from this small rural district can be seen etched onto the sides of the plinth. Too many names it seems from such a small population, but that was the nature of the Great War.
One name deeply carved into the base is that of Auckland Mounted Rifleman, Farrier Sergeant Alfred Thomas Bates. (His name can be faintly made out here on the lower right of picture.)

It struck me as ironic that this young man from the local village of Pokeno where he was born has his name carved here forever in remembrance but that his body lies buried in a grave half a hemisphere away in the Kantara War Cemetery in Egypt.

I would have liked to post an image of Alfred, but alas at this time I can find none - perhaps one will surface now I have posted this.

Alfred departed New Zealand with the 7th mounted rifles reinforcements and arrived in the Middle East late in 1915. Later he was Killed in Action - along with 73 other Anzac troops - 30 being members of the NZMR, on the 9th August 1916 during the battle of "Bir el Abd".
Of this vicious and bloody desert Battle of Bir el Abd one trooper wrote:
"Chaps who had been on Gallipoli had not seen [action] hotter, I do not want to go through it again..."

Left: The Papakura War Memorial unveiled in 1921. Near by is the towns lovely Ernest Clarke Memorial Museum in East Street and is well worth a look - staff tell me a special display is planned for this ANZAC Day on the 25th April.

The notation on the back of this photograph says it all.

Sergeant Martin Eccles and his trusted steed "Billy" fought with the Wellington Machine Gun Section.
"The Martin Ashton Eccles Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library."
Full Name: Martin Ashton Eccles
Serial No.: 11/1145
First Known Rank: Trooper
Next of Kin: Rev. Canon Eccles (father), Woodville, New Zealand
Marital Status: Single
Enlistment Address: Care of Mrs Pyke, Ranui, Manutuke, Gisborne, New Zealand
Body on Embarkation: 5th Reinforcements
Embarkation Unit: Wellington Mounted Rifles
Embarkation Date: 13 June 1915
Place of Embarkation: Wellington, New Zealand
Transport: HMNZT 24 or HMNZT 25 or HMNZT 26
Vessel: Maunganui or Tahiti or Aparima
Destination: Suez, Egypt

Among the photographs sent in on Ernest Kemp was this exceptional image of Nigel Robson's great uncle, a Quartermaster in the AMR. The photograph (the original sepia photograph below) showed off the uniform so well I decided to see what Leslie Buchanan would have looked like if the photograph had of been taken in a later world of Kodak color.

Leslie James Buchanan, Regimental No 13/2512 Born 6th February, 1892. Photographed at Schmidt Studios Auckland in his Quartermaster Sergeant's uniform of the 3rd Auckland Mounted Rifles, July 8th 1915.
Leslie enlisted from the family home in Takapuna and departed New Zealand with the 8th Reinforcements on the 13th November 1915 on "SS Tofua", the same ship that Ernest was to board two years later.

The Power of the Search Engine. Auckland Museum has an online resource capable of tracking down the records of most soldiers that fought in the Great War. Above- This photograph taken in the Middle East of Trooper Joseph Topp and his horse "Bint" is an important momento of the NZMR. Joe wears a NZ Army leather jerkin, an item of clothing still issued by the army today. A collar badge of the CYC (Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry) sits at the top of the form. A record file was easily obtained by entering the trooper's name HERE.