RIFLES Comments from Webmaster Steve Butler ■ Email contact
OVERALL COMMANDER OF NZ TROOPS AT GALLIPOLI
Alexander John Godley (1867–1957): military commander
Englishman, Alexander Godley was initially sent by Lord Kitchener, Secretary of State for War, to command the military of New Zealand for five years in 1910.
begun his career by attending the Sandhurst Military Academy and was then commissioned in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. He saw service in the Boer War with the Irish Guards.
Godley was the nephew of John Robert Godley the founder of the Canterbury Province in New Zealand's South Island.
At the end of the Gallipoli Campaign in December 1915 the NZMR separated from the Infantry. Godley and the Infantry going to the European battlefields. The NZMR returned to Egypt where the command of the Mounted Rifles was continued on under New Zealander, General Edward Chaytor. In the open desert the mounted horsemen were to become very successful. (image above computer colourised for the NZMR 2009)
Major General Godley commanded the 1st New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) during the First World War. At Gallipoli he was in charge of the New Zealand and Australian Division that landed on the 25th April 1915. Like many senior officers of the time, he had difficulty coming to terms with the conditions of modern warfare and also the situation on the Gallipoli Peninsula.
Godley and his troops were harshly tested in the campaign. If the men came out with a better reputation than Godley, it was at least partly because their courage was supplemented by his training. Godley himself, however, appears not to have allowed for the steep, rugged ground and the need to reconnoitre it closely, the very poor communications, the losses of some of his most competent officers, and the debility of the troops after time spent on the peninsula. Neither should Godley later have claimed the troops were adequately fed; the food was appalling.
The New Zealand minister of defence, James Allen, writing to Major General Andrew Russell, said it would have been better if somebody else had been placed in command once Godley had completed his training programme. But between 1914 and 1915 the alternative, for a then unknown division, would probably have been a retired British general who was less competent administratively and even less in touch operationally. Early in the war neither Andrew Russell nor Edward Chaytor would have been regarded as qualified for divisional command. Moreover, when questions were raised in Parliament and elsewhere about Godley and he offered to resign, Allen publicly supported him.
After the failure of the Gallipoli campaign, the New Zealand Division was sent to France in 1916 as part of Lieutenant General Birdwood's I Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Godley, who had been promoted to lieutenant general in November 1915, was in command of II Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, to which the New Zealand Division was transferred on October 1916, after serving in the Battle of the Somme.
(Text in this column above from the Ministry for Culture and Heritage website at www.nzhistory.net.nz)
21st Anniversary issue
penny and half-penny
50th Anniversary issue
4 penny and 5 penny
90th Anniversary of
ACCORDING TO HOYLE
I was pleased to pick up this old 1895 Mounted Rifles Manual off the Internet auction (Trademe) this week. I am busy scanning the pages so I will be able to present it to you all in PDF book form in the next week or so.
This book outlines Drill Procedures from basic unmounted "Square Bashing" through to mounted Company Drills, such as "Moving a Company to the Flank" and Ceremonial Duties.
I was interested to see there was already in 1895 provision for "Reception of Flags of Truce and Desterters from the Enemy". This book printed by the Government Printer in Wellington for the NZMR.
I have uploaded a small part of the scanned pages for you all to read - However because each page is an image rather than text, these few pages come out at just under 1 Megabyte - In the end I will transcribed the work into text and the finished book will be a lot smaller.
I will remove this large image file PDF when the full book is processed. DOWNLOAD NOW. (866 kbs)
A WELCOMING HAND FROM ACROSS THE DITCH
Now with the "Bledisloe Cup" being contested between the All Blacks and the Wallabies this weekend (22nd August) I don't want to give our Aussie mates too much of a build-up - BUT you have to hand it to our "new" member from Brisbane, those Ockers know how to run a successful Military Association - Barry Rodgers sent across complimentary copies of the Australian Light Horse Association's "SPUR" Magazine and the DVD: "In the steps of the Light Horse", recording the ALH Ride in Israel 2007 to Commemorate the original Light Horse charge at Beersheba 90 years before.
For a number of you Barry will need no introduction, he is however the Editor of the "Spur" magazine which keeps all the ALH members informed and up to date.
Barry expects to be in New Zealand in the near future and I suspect he wants to talk to members interested in "Memorial Troops" - and on looking at the involvement of our Oz Cuzzies we have a long way to go to reach the level of turnout that the various troops can muster on the other side of the Tasman. Well I guess with a 20 million population base to draw from they have a head start. Our Association does have plans to have a full troop up and running for the Anzac Day Centenary in 2015 - so let people know what our plans are.
Two troopers from the Lockyer Light Horse Troop await their turn to compete against the Queensland Mounted Police in team riding events staged at this years Royal Brisbane Show.
The Lockyer Troop had six troopers competing and were successful in winning a number of events including the coveted "Best Presented" title for [quote from Barry , with tounge firmly placed in cheek] the first time in "living memory."
Making a striking picture with immaculate preparation of horse, tack and uniform are Troopers Lynda Rodgers and Jordan Bill
Barry must have known something as this report was posted in the New Zealand Herald Today: (21Aug09)
11/422 Sergeant David Webster - Computer colourised image from circa 1914 photograph.
Sergeant David Webster is recorded as having Died of Wounds (DOW) on the 20th April 1917, and hopefully we will be able to confirm more about David's life when we receive his military records from Wellington Archives. However I have received a number of emails from members that allows me to suggest something of the events that led to David's loss of life in the service of his country.
The Official Wellington Mounted Rifles account states:
"...At 6.30 on the evening of April 16th the New Zealand Brigade advanced from
Deir El Belah with the Anzac Division, and, marching all night, the column reached
Shellal, on the Wadi Ghuzze, at 4.30 next morning."
Sergeant Webster was to become part of the attack on the Second Battle of Gaza that took place that morning, and lasted from the 17th to the19th. The attack by British Forces against the stronghold of Gaza was for the second time unsuccessful and the Wellington Mounted Rifles along with other units withdrew:
At 1 a.m. on 20th April the Regiment arrived at Tel El Jemme, where it watered the horses and bivouacked.
The W.M.R.'s casualties were one other rank killed and 23 wounded, the total casualties in the British force amounting to about 14,000.
David was buried at Deir El Belah later that day. Also of interest is that this photograph of David Webster was part of the personal effects sent home to Lieutenant David Paterson's family after he was Killed in Action nearly a year later on the 1st April 1918. Obviously both these men were firm friends - both from Taranaki, both served with the QAMR and both departed New Zealand with the Main Body aboard the "Arawa" 16th October 1914.
Sergeant David Richard Webster
First Known Rank:
Next of Kin:
George Webster (father), 8 William Street, Christchurch, New Zealand
Urenui, New Zealand
Body on Embarkation:
Wellington Mounted Rifles
16 October 1914
Place of Embarkation:
Wellington, New Zealand
Page on Nominal Roll:
Mentioned in Despatches (MiD)
Last Unit Served:
Wellington Mounted Rifles
Place of Death:
Date of Death:
20 April 1917
Year of Death:
Cause of Death:
Died of wounds
Deir el Belah War Cemetery, Israel
And here an additional email from Peter that provides more information that will help out the hundreds of people who visit our website researching family trees.
David is on the embarkation roll for the Arawa. ( I have copied the National Archives lists: that is for the 2nd Q.A. Squadron, Wellington Mounted rifle Regiment 12 October 1914). Number 11/422 Group 6 (Group 6 and Group 8 are the only ones listed for the squadron, and I have no idea what they mean). His Mother was Patience.
His siblings are: 1887, Harriet Barbara, died 1925 under that name age 37; 1890 George Fox, married Jane I D Whitesmith 1911; 1893, Harry Campbell, died 1901 aged 8 years; 1898, Daisy Helen; 1900, Evelyn Moorhouse. (George Fox 36504 served in the NZ Rifle Brigade.)
David was at West Christchurch School 1897, born 16 June 1885, Last day of school was 14 July 1901.
His destination was Hodges Wicker Work (NZGSIndex5). His photo (above)was kept by David Paterson and was very likely in his Valise, the photos in which were returned to his parents by Trooper Sydney Meredith James, of Inglewood, Taranaki.
NEW - List compiled - Wellington Mounted Rifles - ADDRESS BOOK
Printed 1945, this booklet sent to members on the 25th Anniversary of the "Old Regiment"
- transcribed July 2009 by President Greg Bradley. (download PDF 191kbs)
OVER THE ASADABAD PASS
Members of the 1st Wireless Signals Squadron of the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force take a well earned break on a section of the "Old Silk Road" after crossing the Zargos mountains outside the ancient Persian Capital of Hamadan - (Mt. Elwend - 11,000 feet in the background),
The 1st were also known as the 1st Anzac Wireless Squadron, and provided communication support back to British Headquarters in Sharbon from Baratov's Russian Force (1st Caucasian Division) and the highly mobile Ford car driven "Dunsterforce". (join the Forum as we try and gather more information on Dunsterville and his Anzacs).
This photograph from the Australian War Memorial Museum (P00-562.126) was taken by 2055 Sapper Eric Keast Burke of the Australian 'D' Troop Wireless Section., and his subjects here are the "No.9 Horse Drawn (New Zealand) Station - 1st Wireless Signals Squadron."
Eric Keast Burke recorded many photographs of the Anzac Signallers in Mesopotamia and after the war was ardently pursued by Australia's Official Historian Charles Bean to record the "Unit's" history. The prodding worked and Bean was able to post in the Sydney Morning Herald in 1927:
The editor of "With Horse and Morse in Mesopotamia (the Story of
the Anzacs in Asia)" has just published one of the finest memorial
unit histories of the war which Australians have yet produced.
It is my intention to make available an eBook copy of Buke's "With Horse and Morse in Mesopotamia" in the near future.
Eric Keast Burke joined the AIF straight from Sydney University but originally hailed from Christchurch, New Zealand. This was not an uncommon practice - Many New Zealanders joined Australian units at the outbreak of the war, Likewise hundreds of Australians joined NZ forces.
Thanks to Nigel for this "never before published" photograph from his Grandfathers collection. There are some startling images within this collection and it is our hope that we may be able to bring to you more of these valuable pieces of historical references in the near future.
This photograph was taken on the 23rd May 1917 as the Cameliers and the New Zealand Mounted Riflemen preparred to destroy 15 miles of railway line and the great 18 arch long culvert bridge at Asluj. While one team rests another team rips up line and sleepers on the bridge. Underneath bags of Gun-Cotton explosive are placed in every second arch.
Lieutenant-Colonel Guy Powles and Major Wilkie write in "The New Zealanders in Sinai and Palestine":
Such was the perfection of the training of the “demolition squadrons,” that the destruction went on just as fast as a man could walk - In front went the led horses of the demolition party, straight along the railway as fast as they could walk. Then came two teams of men on foot in single file on each rail. The leading man put down a slab of gun cotton in the middle of a rail and then doubled on to the next but one, doing the same there, his vis-a-vis on the other side meanwhile putting down a slab of gun-cotton in the middle of the rail on his own side that paired with the rail missed on the other side Then the next man following (on either side) wired the slab to the rail and doubled on, the third man put in the detonator and fuse which he carried ready, and the fourth man light the charge. And so they went on, each squadron doing it for five miles. The gun-cotton blew a piece of rail clean away of some twelve to fifteen inches in length. The bridges were destroyed by blowing down each alternate arch with gun cotton charges fired electrically.
below: The bridge at Asluj being demolished - photo NZSP
We can always tell when a new school term starts - all of a sudden the visiting numbers to our website increases dramatically as Teachers begin new assignments, and it is great to see the different colleges and schools across New Zealand and Australia downloading our material. One college, Otago Boys High School has uploaded a fantastic "Lest We Forget" student project programme onto the Internet for their pupils to use as a development tool. It is pleasing for our Association to see OBHS uses our website as one of their reference sites for this latest project.
Contact keeps coming from around the globe (2nd Aug 09) - Various photographs keep arriving from personal family records from all points. Last week Jimmy Chater from Canada wrote sending down a family photograph from 1901. (above right) that records William and Fanny Chater with their sons, about 1901. The photo includes all Jimmy's Uncles and his father - of special interest is Ernest Chater, (light jacket 3rd from left) whom Jimmy has been trying to gather information on to compile a family record - He explains in his letter: "...I have been looking for some months for detail of his life about which my father left no notes. However, fortuitously, thanks to a Military Museum in British Columbia (!) I have come upon and downloaded the website of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles.
I am the son of Alleyne Frank Chater, youngest of six sons whose eldest brother was Ernest William Chater, 13/305 Trooper and later Sergeant of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles, 4th Troop of the 4th Waikato Mounted Rifles. I was very moved to read of his part in the New Zealand forces’ assaults in Gallipoli in August 1915..."
Clockwise: The Otago Boys’ High School archway was built in 1920 as a memorial to those ’old boys’ who fought in the Great War. An infantryman statuette stands in one portal and a Mounted Rifleman in the other. - Behind, An old photograph from England showing Arab Cameliers of the Turkish Army in Sinai. - Above, A written reference by the OBHS for the NZMR website. - Next, 13/1305 Trooper Ernest Chater (computer colourised from original 1914 photograph) before departing to Gallipoli - and below the Chater Family photograph 1901.