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SIGNATURES FROM ANOTHER ERA
A signed menu card from the "Forth Annual Reunion and Dinner" of the First New Zealand Mounted Rifles Association Reunion of the South African Boer War 1899 - 1902. The evening was held at Melbourne House, Wellington on the 21st October 1904 with a good attendance.
This menu souvenired with members signatures reveals a history lesson in miniature. Six men have written their names, and in some cases their regimental numbers. We are able to be certain of each man except for the scrawled initial of a Trooper Ross, the initial is probably an "H" but it could be an "A". If the initial is indeed H, then the man would have been 202 Hugh Ross.
The other names are:
number 820 D'arcy Chaytor
number 80 Rowland Spencer Young.
number 149 Claude Lockhart Jewell.
number 1395 Martin Laland Sundin
and number 148 John Gethin Hughes - John Hughes 1866 - 1954 has a special place in NZMR history, he left New Zealand as a Trooper for South Africa with 2 Company, 1st Contingent, NZ Mounted Rifles. He became the first New Zealander in our nations history to be promoted from the ranks to Lieutenant "in the field of action", December 1899 . On January 15th 1900, at Slingersfontein, through a heroic counter-attack against Boer troops on a defensive position later to known as "New Zealand Hill" he was awarded the D.S.O., the first ever New Zealand serviceman to receive the honour. Much later he landed at Gallipoli during World War One and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He was invalided off Gallipoli 1915 and returned to NZ where he was placed on the retired list and given an honorary rank of Colonel 1916.
Ake Ake, Kia Kaha, hautana awahiawa.
21st Anniversary issue
penny and half-penny
50th Anniversary issue
4 penny and 5 penny
90th Anniversary of
Members of the 30th Reinforcements assemble for morning roll call at Featherston Military Camp north of Wellington 1917. Interesting to note the men parade without putties which were standard issue in the field. Also various pieces of uniform differ, some men wear hat badges of the Reinforcemnts, some wear wear the earlier pattern bandolier others the 03 pattern bandolier.
The photograph is titled "Bill Masseys Dare Devils", the photograph records the photographer as "Cameron". This photo is from the collection of Rowland Smih's estate - Trooper Smith stands first on the left.
William (Bill) Massey, or "Farmer Bill" as he was known, served as Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1912 to 1925.
MANAWATU HERO OF GALLIPOLI
From the Heights of Chunuk Bair, to the last group of men to leave the deserted trenches of Gallipoli, to the Camel Corp and the sands of the Sinai Desert, Sergeant Gary Clunie of the Manawatu Mounted Rifles saw it all and lived to tell the tale. His amazing story includes the incredible odds of survival where he was one of only 73 men able to walk off Chunuk Bair on August 9th 1915. He was one of 173 Wellington Mounted Riflemen that took part in the ill-fated attack.
Presented to the NZMR to commemorate ANZAC DAY 2009 is the Diary account of a brave man who served his country well. We thank Glenn Clunie, who has compiled and transcribed events of Gallipoli 1915 through his grandfathers eyes.
Here is the first part of his journey - GARY GOES TO WAR.
REMEMBER THE ANZACS
REMEMBER THE ANZACS THIS ANZAC DAY - 25th April.
A further photograph, previously unpublished, from the camera of Trooper Rowland Smith. Members of the 3rd Auckland Mounted Rifles Squadron pose for an informal picture aboard a troopship returning home from the Great War 1919.
GREAT UNCLE SAM
"I've got a job for you to do when I get home," said my wife by telephone from New Plymouth this Easter weekend.
She had taken the opportunity of the extended holiday to travel with her sister to a family reunion.
"And what's the job?" I replied cautiously.
"Scan about fifty old film negatives kept by my Aunt."
"You have to be joking!" I started to reply defensively, thinking of the hours of work involved. I was interrupted mid sentence.
"One is a photograph of my Grand fathers brother, Uncle Sam, I've just found out he was a "Rough Rider" with the NZMR during the Boer War."
Enough said - I conceded immediately.
Here viewed for the first
time in 100 years - Great Uncle Sam - Trooper 7368 Samuel Trass - Anglo-Boer War, 1899-1902.
I've told you people all before - ask around Family, look in the old suit-cases, our history is still locked away there. (Told you but didn't follow up this family lead myself, great find for our family, great find for the Association.)
The Trass Family were one of the original settler families in the Taranaki region in the middle of the 1800's - branches of the family now live across New Zealand but many live in the New Plymouth area. FURTHER UPDATE:
A welcome e-mail arrived from Phil:
You may be interested to know that Samuel Trass's QSA was sold at auction in the UK at "Dix Noonan Web" in 2005.
We have had an abridged version of "The Story of Two Campaigns" available on our site for a number of years - it was about time I added the rest of the Chapters.
Now available FREE to download the full text of the 1921 published volume. Please note this eBook has no photographs or maps included in the original book - this is to make the book as small a download as possible.
Click on the eBook cover above to begin the download or visit our BOOKS PAGE to download this or the three other main books covering the New Zealand Mounted Rifles in World War One.
Contrary to a popular belief created by Englishman Colonel T.E. Lawrence and American showman Lowell Thomas, the majority of the Arab population within the Ottoman Empire fought with Turkish forces during World War One.
Above: A Turkish officer prepares to lead out a column of the Turkish Camel Corps on patrol from Beersheba (circa 1916). The tens of thousands of Arabs that populated the ranks of the Turkish Army in the South of their Empire enabled other Ottoman Armies to engage the Russian enemy in the North and open a new front in the East by attacking through Afghanistan in an effort to conquer and absorb India into its Empire.
Unfortunately elsewhere Colonel Lawrence, Colonel Joyce and other British envoys had spent fruitless years trying to persuade Arab tribes to join British forces and throw off the shackle of servitude of their Turkish rulers. However Arabs believed their position as fellow Muslims in a Muslim Empire gave them at least a secondary position behind their Anatolian masters in a hierarchy over Christian Armenians, Drews,Greeks, Kurds and Jews. Besides, the
Arabs reasoned, the Turks had claimed and ruled the Middle East for over 600 years, it was unlikely these newcomers would change anything.
By the end of 1916 Anzac mounted troops supported by British Artillery and Infantry had crossed the great Sinai Desert in a series of bloody defeats of Turko-German forces, finally entering into Turkish Palestine with a victory at Rafa in January 1917. The Ottoman Empire was also experiencing massive loss of life in its other campaigns.
Two months later in March 1917 in the Hajez Desert in the south of the Arabian Peninsular, Colonel Lawrence and a band of Emir Feisal's Arab insurgents make their first attacks to blow up railway tracks to disrupt supplies to the garrison town at Medina.
1916 - A column of Arab volunteers led by Turkish officers of the the Turkish Camel Corps proceed through the outskirts of Jerusalem as they move out to the Front.
Tunic jackets hang in the fronds of a palm tree as men from the Auckland Mounted Rifles have their morning shave.
This photograph has been titled: "soldiers Charley Fitton Bunkall and AF Buckland of 11th squadron Auckland Mounted Rifles shaving." - A long title I know, and a little confusing, if anyone remembers sending this to me please get back in touch. Although the title appears to mention only two men's names I believe this photo to be the following:
Left to right: 13/605 Lance Sergeant Charles Fitton, 13/583 Trooper Ernest Bunkall and 13/164 Trooper Alfred Francis Buckland. All three men departed New Zealand with the Main Body in October 1914 and were veterans of the Gallipoli Campaign. All were members of the 11th North Auckland Mounted Rifles, AMR.
This photograph was taken probably in Palestine. Sadly Charlie Fitton Died of Wounds on the 2nd April 1918 and is buried in the Jerusalem War Cemetery, Israel. Charles was 34 and hailed from Waimiha. His father listed as next of kin is listed as M. Fitton, Taihape.
(It is possible that Charles received his wounds during the first failed attempt to capture Amman, the action carried out between the 27th - 30th March 1918)
Update received 29th March 2010 from Bob Haycock:
"Charles Fitton is the soldier on the right. He was the brother of my Grandmother.
He was Charles Randal Fitton b.1884" Webmasters comment: It would be nice to confirm the order of the men sitting here if we could get further photographic evidence. Thanks Bob for the contact.