NEW ZEALAND MOUNTED RIFLES

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NOW AND THEN
Above: A view of the modern day city of Beer Sheva that was once the garrison outpost of Turkish Palestine on its southern border. A successful attack by mounted Anzac forces on the 31st October 1917 captured the town.
Below: The isolated railway station of Beersheba was the start point for the Turkish invasion to reclaim the Suez Canal and its old territory of Egypt. The attack failed in 1915. In this early photo taken circa 1915, two members of the Kaiser's entourage are taken on tour of the outpost by the Turkish regional commander.
For the railway, men and livestock of this southern Ottoman province, everything hinged of the supply of fresh water that was available here at the Beersheba wells.



SITE MAP

 


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.

THE MAD DASH ACROSS PHILISTIA
CLICK ON THE MAP ABOVE.
In a hectic period of just 15 days the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade and the Australian Light Horse broke out of the desert of the Sinai, attacked the garrison town of Beersheba on the Turkish left flank. The NZMR then chased the fleeing enemy North to Tel Khuwilfeh, then swept across the width of Turkish Palestine to the enemies right flank and penetrated up the coast to attack and take the fortified entrenchments at Ayun Kara.
This was a magnificent feat of logistics,horsemanship and valour. Next to fall was Jaffa and a few days later Jerusalem surrendered to Allenby's forces.


Computer colourised image from 1917 photograph

Full Name: Charles Collings
War: World War I, 1914-1918
Serial No.: 50407
First Known Rank: Trooper
Occupation before Enlistment: Carter
Next of Kin: Mrs M. Collings (mother), 2 Elgin Street, Grey Lynn, Auckland.
Body on Embarkation: New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Embarkation Unit: 30th Reinforcements Mounted Rifles Brigade
Embarkation Date: 13 November 1917
Departed: Wellington, New Zealand
Transport: HMNZT 98
Vessel: Tofua
Destination: Suez, Egypt
Nominal Roll Number: 74
Page on Nominal Roll: 6
Above: Charles Collings wearing the flying Pegasus hat and collar badges of the 30th Reinforcements. Charles was part of the continuing supply of specialist troopers trained as signallers or machine gunners to return the numbers of the NZMR Brigade back to full strength. The 30th arrived in Egypt on HMNZT Tofua and then travelled to Moascar Camp outside Cairo arriving on the 21st December 1917. Like the reinforcements before them, and the reinforcements that were to follow, the men of the 30th once in camp were designated to report to one of the three regiments within the Brigade. Here they would take up their new positions within the ranks and replace their reinforcement insignia with that of their new adoptive squadron within that regiment.
17,723 New Zealanders were to serve with the Mounted Rifles during the Great War. (source: Lieutenant Colonel Guy Powles - New Zealanders in Sinai and Palestine.)
Squadron badges may be viewed HERE.

THE BLOODY NIGHT AT BOTHASBERG
Left to right: Sergeant D. McLaren, Corporal J. Cane. Trooper John Isbister and Trooper Hardie.
Above, four of the surviving members of the New Zealand 7th contingent that took part in the night action at "Langverwacht" on February 23rd 1902. The action was also known as "Bothasberg" and was an attempt by the Boer forces under De Wet to breakout of an encircling maneuver by British forces. Using the cloak of darkness the Boers used a screen of cattle to approach the driving line, they made a spearhead attack at a point held by the New Zealanders. During the bitter fighting Boer and the 7th lost many men, the Mounted Rifles sustaining 65 casualties from a unit of 80 men. 600 Burgers were able to break the line and escape. However they suffered heavy casualties and although De Wet escaped through the corridor, his own son was captured along with approximately 780 other men. Such a numerical loss of fighting troops greatly reduced the Boers ability to continue the fight and by May 31st hostilities ceased.
Read an extract from a book about The Boer War, and this action, written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle HERE.

ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF MOUNTED INFANTRY

Thanks to the Air Force boys who sent in this magnificent photograph of two immaculately turned out Light Horseman leading out the military's "Horses" of the modern day battlefield.
Grandson of NZMR Gallipoli veteran Wilfred Fitchett, WO Marty Fitchett of the RNZAF keeps us up to date on all things "Mounted" in the modern day forces, he writes:
"Here's another interesting photo from our cousins across the ditch. Australian Army Light Horse infantry lead the procession. Helicopters are the 1st Australian Army Aviation Regiments 'Tigers' and 'Blackhawks'.

"There is no place in war for the horse"- Has been the catch phrase of generations of soldiers and horse-lovers across the centuries. Indeed the price the horse has paid during mans conflicts has been horrendous. Conservative records place the number of horses that perished during the Great War as 7 million alone.
The head on cavalry charge became obsolete fiasco with the creation of the machine-gun. However the innovation to use horses as fast individual infantry mounts to move troops quickly about an intended battlefield brought about the formation of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles and the Australian Light Horse Brigades. These mounted infantry units changed the course of the war in the Middle East during 1916 - 1918.
Thankfully the horse has been retired from war zones.
I always recall with affection my grandfathers statement to me during the 1960's when I was in the army training with the then new delivery of Iroquois helicopters.
"Ah I see!" Said my Grandfather, "The Iroquois are the new infantry horse."


ANZACS RIDE ANOTHER DAY

A casual observer could well have felt he had been trapped in a time warp when a troop of mounted riflemen wheeled onto the airfield at the Omaka Aerodrome in Blenheim on the weekend of the 10th - 12th April.
The occasion was the "Classic Fighters" Air Show, and event that focuses on WWI Aircraft. A diligent Air force man, Marty Fitchett sent a few photos to the Association with the comments:

They have a large contingent of 're-enactors' that also display over the weekend and they cover WW1, WW2 and some later stuff with lots of 'themes' running throughout. Lots of guns and 'blanks' and they even had a fully functional WW2 German 88mm anti aircraft gun this year..!
 
I understand the NZMR re-enactors were Steve Wagner, Peter Lyon, Callum Forbes and Bill Gregorson.



THE BROTHERS KLEE
Lloyd Klee is on a family mission of compiling the story of his Grandfather and his Great Uncles - The three brothers sit above in a studio portrait - Grandfather George Klee seated left with arms folded, Victor standing, and Louis on the right.
The image was taken circa 1900 ( Campaign ribbons are visible on the jackets of two of the men.)
Lloyd writes: I am attempting to research the 23rd and 26th companies of the
Seventh Contingent that went to the Boer war. My grandfather and two of his
brothers all fought for the 7th Contingent.
Do you know where I can access records of the Sevenths Contingents activities
Regards
Lloyd Klee

Certainly archive records held in Wellington will bear fruit about individual servicemen, ( the government agency makes charges for the service.) What other books and records are available on the 7th? Could members give some reference works Lloyd should seek out.
George Klee saw action in the Orange Free State and Transvaal, later becoming a member of the NZ Permanent Force, serving in the military most of his working life - Astoundingly he was again in service at the outbreak of not World War One but WWII in 1939.
Lloyd comments further: George would have retired aged 55 in 1934 but his political connections allowed him to continue until aged 60. Then with the outbreak of war his service was again required until his retirement due to medical grounds in December 1940. He was 62 and had served his country for 37 years.

An experiment in communication.
Is Twitter the new Facebook, the new E-mail, the new Fax?
Launching today (3rd May) my new attempt to make the connections across cyber space to track down material and help researchers find information on the NZMR.
Twitter away! or Tweet! (whatever the new buzz words are) - you have 140 key-strikes to start your search or supply a lead.
Welcome and good luck!

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