comments from webmaster Steve Butler

43185 Trooper Charles Broomfield
Full Name: Charles Thomas Broomfield
Serial No.: 43185
First Known Rank: Trooper
Occupation before Enlistment: Engine driver
Next of Kin: Mrs F.E. Broomfield (mother), Otaika Road, Whangarei, New Zealand
Body on Embarkation: New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Embarkation Unit: 26th Reinforcements, Mounted Rifles
Embarkation Date: 31 May 1917
Place of Embarkation: Wellington, New Zealand
Transport: Moeraki 31 May 1917
Vessel: Moeraki
Destination: Suez, Egypt
Nominal Roll Number: 64
Page on Nominal Roll: 4
Additional Information: Moeraki then transhipped to "Port Lincoln" at Sydney for Suez.
A computer colourised image of Mounted Rifleman Charles Broomfield from a family photograph taken before departure to Egypt.
The Association was especially pleased to receive a series of photographs that were taken by Charles during his service during the Great War that have now been placed on the website for all to enjoy. These are important records to keep and we ask the general public to spread the word that we would like to digitised the photographs taken by our forefathers during the conflict. There is a general growing interest by our young people to understand what took place all those years ago - your help is appreciated.



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

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

NZMR 24th
Reinforcements Badge.

Trooper Charles Broomfield took this photograph circa 1917 in the Holy Lands of Turkish Palestine, but it could have been composed by Dutch painter Pieter Bruegel in the 1500's - the camera has caught what appears to be more a pastoral scene rather than a military compound. Charles had a great eye.
Men and horse teams struggle to load and distribute bales of horse fodder from the depot to the horse lines. The Bell tents of the NZMR camp stretch out in orderly lines on the slope of a nearby hill. The collection of Charles Broomfield's photographs are available to view HERE

Jewish children and their teachers assemble for a photograph in front of the schoolhouse. A recently re-discovered photograph (20th July 08) presented to the Association from Trooper Charles Broomfield's collection that has been held secure by his family for over ninety years. Taken by Charles near the Battlefield of 'Ayun Kara'.

Late last year I received a wonderful story translated from Hebrew by Gal Shaine in Israel. Gal is an active member of our association, regularly supplying snippets of information that he and his fellow historians of the Israeli WW1 Association gather as they research events of the Great War as it effected their area of old Turkish Palestine, now the modern state of Israel. Gal's home is situated to the south of Jerusalem at Richon le Zion, and because of this his prime focus has been the "Action of Ayun Kara" which was an entirely New Zealand Mounted force attack on the Turkish defensive line just outside that original Jewish settlement.
Before I get to the story I would like to add something that all us New Zealanders understand as a fact of life - Because we are such a small nation population wise, and remotely placed on the globe - we are most times forgotten on the world stage - or worse, considered to be someone else entirely. In the Great War - as English, or heaven forbid - Australian (nod, nod, wink, wink). And so it seems it was the case with the highly successful NZMR attack at Ayun Kara. Gal informed me as late as just a few years ago some of the old people of Richon thought that they had been wrong in thinking the troops that freed their homes from Turkish rule were English, but they had reasoned, because of their strange wide brimmed hats, Australian! Well I am pleased to say the record has been finally put right with the NZMR acknowledged in the Museums and history books as the rightfully recognised soldiers from the South Pacific.
I would like to think that the photo that Charles took all those years ago (above) are the children referred to in Aviram Hochberg's story - it is quite possible - perhaps Aviram is one of the older boys swinging from the branches of the tree in front of the school house - I certainly would like to think so!

First a covering note from Gal, as he relates the process of transcribing a school boy's story of the day the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade attacked the Turks front line at Ayun Kara:

"I've set down and translated the school essay. It was written in old fashioned somewhat "biblical" Hebrew and I tried to translate it in the same spirit. Except for one place, he always calls who fights the Turks "English". Even in that one place he adds that the English are New Zealanders. The "English" he saw on the mountains were the WMR. The "English" who passed through the village (Nes Tsiona) were of the CMR.
Gal Shaine 1st sep 2007"

Testimony by Aviram Hochberg Taken from a school essay he wrote 1918:

"A quarter of an hour passed and we shall see all the Turkish armies climbing the mountains above the village, fortifying themselves in their defence trenches. At the ninth hour exactly the first shots were heard from the side of the Turks. There were more after any minute that passed.

Suddenly the English started firing and their bullets crossed above our heads making a buzz and whistle that the death (angel) is a coming. At the first hour of the battle we were terrified and exited, but soon we were used to the shooting and we shall climb a high balcony from where we see the spectacle of war. Once in a few minutes we could hear the thunder of English guns and shortly afterwards seeing it exploding over the Turkish soldiers. All sounds of war turned into terrible furious anger of God, smoke, blood and clouds of smoke. After tough fighting we saw the Turks leave their first positions and retreat. Line after line they were running down the mountain's crest with shells exploding between their lines, many falling dead and the remaining running exhausted to find shelter at the Orange groves.

Now on the position the Turks had retreated from, we already see the English stand shooting their machine guns bullets of death with no break on the escaping Turks. An hours passed, and another one, and all Turks left the ridge of mountains, running north. At the third hour after noon the first of the English got in the village. We all hurried in joy to meet our saviors to which we waited for three years. They soon left the village, heading further to push the enemy back. Shooting went non stop, until darkness fell. After the shooting [ceased] the country was covered with English (New Zealanders) and much were we happy. I went for a night sleep with my heart full with joy and hope for the future, but then I could not fall asleep for the cry and moan of the casualties could be heard even from distance, begging for help. The next morning some of our village we went the field of death to collect the wounded. What a terrible scene it was! The mountains that were always covered with green grass and beautiful flowers, where shepherds were herding their sheep, were now covered with the dead, wounded and blood here and there. Dead Horses, rifles lying on the ground and crater everywhere from the shells. Smell of gun powder and dynamite everywhere. The wounded were collected and we shall send them on the camels of the English to the hospital that was [opened] in Rishon"


Above: Camelier veteran "Beet" Beethoven Algar gained further recognition in a 1989 with a front page story in the "New Zealand Herald" where he was acknowledged as New Zealand's oldest surviving "All Black" at 95 years. Born 28th May 1894 - Died 28th November 1989
Left: 11/1884 Beet Algar as a young man in 1916. This image sent in 20th July 2008 - So we still have keen eyed researchers hard at work re-discovering our WWI history. (thanks Byrd)

"Beet", named after the German composer Beethoven by his classical music loving mother, departed for the Great War with the 8th Reinforcements - New Zealand Mounted Rifles - Wellington Mounted Rifles. Sailing on the 13th November 1915 to the Middle East. He was to be recruited in Egypt to serve with the Imperial Camel Corps from 1916 where he rose to the rank of sergeant.
Beet saw action with the "15th" (New Zealand 15th Company, ICC) during actions across the Sinai, including Magdabah and then the three attacks on Gaza. During the third attack on Gaza that began 31st October 1917 he was twice wounded. He was evacuated by chacholet (camel stretcher) and sent to a Cairo hospital where he remained for many months before finally being sent home in 1918.
Beet had served on occasion as bodyguard and camel escort to Colonel Lawrence, the Englishman who was to become famous as 'Lawrence of Arabia", as he made visits to scattered Arab tribes looking to gain military support against the Turk.
"His job was to unite the Arabs, and he has to travel round seeking out all the Sheiks. Our job was to escort him and stand by in case anything ever happened", commented Beet in an interview with Jack Baker in 1989.
Jack Baker had a few months earlier published a number of photos of the Cameliers he had discovered in a long lost and undisturbed family cabinet draw. A printed column in the "RSA Review" (Returned Servicemen's Ass) asked members interested in the photos to contact him. Beet was one of a number of the old Cameliers who responded. Many of the men met again with Jack and the RSA's help - the subsequent newspaper article (photo above) was part of the result of that meeting.
Regaining fitness after the war Beet went on to gain the ultimate Kiwi sportsman's accolade when he was selected as an All Black in 1920. He had previously in 1913 represented Wellington at provincial level before the Great War.
The Jack Baker Collection of ICC photographs HERE.

Sometime in 1918 Trooper Charles Broomfield took this photograph of Arab traders selling goods to a group of British soldiers - fairly mundane scene you might say - However on closer inspection we can see a number of interesting pointers that make this photograph quite remarkable and unique.
Obviously the two men on the right are Black soldiers, a very rare occurrence in World War One, as only a few photographs exist of these combat troops. France had some Negroid soldiers as combatants at Kum Kale and Gallipoli during the Dardenelles Campaign, but most other Black troops from Allied forces were non combatants usually restricted to Labour Battalions.
Not so these men, they are members of the British West Indies Regiment (B.W.I.) that served as Infantry under New Zealand General Edward Chaytor in his attacks out of Jerusalem to Jericho, across the Jordan to Es Salt and to wars end in Amman.
The army group was known as "Chaytor Force", and besides the New Zealand and Australian mounted Anzac troops, the force contained horse drawn artillery and Infantry units from the West Indies and England.
However to say these additional Infantrymen were "Englishmen" would be a disservice to the gallant Jewish volunteers who flocked to England in their thousands to join the fight against the Central Powers. The British government detailed the Jewish volunteers into the "Fusilier Regiments". The distinctive flaming bomb hat and collar badges of the Fusiliers readily identifies the men on the left of the photograph above as Jewish Troops. Initially local Jews of London and Jews who arrived from Russia and ex-members of the disbanded "Zoinist Mule Cops" were to become the 38th Fusiliers. Later American Jews made up half the manpower of the 39th and men from all points of the globe the 40th Fusiliers - before the war concluded these combined regiments were given the honour of being renamed the "Jewish Legion". Many of these men would go on to establish the state of Israel and indeed the IDF through the creation of the Palmach.

I have never seen a photograph before with members of both these minority British units together.
My thanks to Judy and Richard Cato of Ohaupo who sent in a fantastic batch of photographs that Judy's Grandfather - Trooper 43185 Charles Thomas Broomfield of the 26th Reinforcements, took during his service in Turkish Palestine.
President Greg Bradley has been on the case and has created a great slide show gallery of the Broomfield collection HERE - There is also more on the background of the Black and Jewish soldiers HERE.


Trooper Harwood and Corporal Delany

On a photograph post card Trooper Jack Shepherd writes home to his sister from Hornchurch Camp, England. Jack and his fellow troopers have recovered from their ordeal on Gallipoli and have now begun training to gain fitness and return to the front lines:

Well dear I am afraid there is very little news of any interest. Will write as often as I can. Feeling pretty tired, it is pretty hard work carrying the pack, but I am doing my best.
Goodbye for the present.
With fond love to you all.
H.Harwood and Corporal Delaney [pictured]

Within a few weeks Jack is detailed and transferred to the Auckland Infantry Battalion to France. Others are relocated or sent back to join the NZMR in Egypt.
What became of these two men?

On the right is Corporal Arthur Delaney of the 11th North Auckland Mounted Rifles. He rejoins the Mounteds and is included during the opening attack into the Sinai Desert. He is promoted Sergeant but dies of wounds in the 27th Genera Hospital, Cairo on the 17th August 1916.
(4 NZMR men killed and 35 wounded on the opening attack at Romani that began on the 4th August 1916, presumably Arthur Delaney was among this initial number of wounded).

Trooper Nataniel Harold Harwood also returned to Egypt, and having first been transferred from the Auckland Mounted Rifles to the Wellingtons on the 28th March 1915, he now transferred to the New Zealand Army Service Corps on 14 January 1916 as a Driver attached to [N.Z. M. Field Amt], before transferring to No. 4 Company, New Zealand Army Service Corps, as a Shoesmith on 20 May 1918. He was finally promoted to Shoesmith Corporal on 10 January 1919. He embarked for New Zealand from Suez on the "Kaikoura" on 6 March 1919.

Dotted across the English countryside were convalescent camps to house the soldiers sent to England to recuperate from wounds and sickness inflicted during service on the front-line. Many New Zealand Mounted Riflemen were sent to "Hornchurch" in the southern part of the country to rest and recover after hospitalisation. That recovery could not have happened without the unselfish dedication of Doctors and Nurses and the special volunteers of "Canteen Ladies" that dedicated time and energy away from their own families to help "the cause".
This rare photograph, again from the Shepherd collection, shows a group of Canteen Ladies relaxing in the sun for a photograph - On closer inspection we can see a NZMR trooper trying his best to disrupt proceedings (top left hand corner) - this brief glimpse in time shows the relaxed relationship Colonial troops had with their benevolent and capable hosts.