Canterbury Mounted Riflemen depart for the front.
Squadrons throughout the country prepare to leave for the Great War.
Above members of the 10th Nelson Mounted Rifles make a farewell parade for family and friends as they go to join the 1st Canterbury and 8th South Canterbury Squadrons that make up the Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment. The script on the photograph reads: "The Mounted Rifles leave for the front. Nelson N.Z. August 1914".
Also above: A postcard sent home from Egypt is franked by the New Zealand Military Post Office. Most mail arrived home without postage stamps at the time. Also shown is a pink Three Shilling "Canteen Coupon" used by Troopers onboard the Transport ships to the Middle East.


1st Canterbury


8th South Canterbury


10th Nelson


7/692 Cyril Waters dies of
wounds received 31st August

Raised in Nov. 1864. Disbanded in 1871. In August 1881 the CYC was divided into two troops: the A or North Canterbury Troop and the B or South Canterbury Troop but in 1883 reduced to one troop. Saw service in WW1 as part of the Canterbury Mounted Rifle Regiment comprising of 1st (Canterbury Yeomanry Calvary), 8th (South Canterbury), 10th (Nelson and Marlborough) Mounted Rifles.
Officers of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles photographed before their departure in August 1914.
back row: Lieutenants Chaytor, Taylor, Barker, W. Deans, F. Gorton, Haytor, D.S. Murchison.
second row: Lieutenant Marchant, Captain. Talbot, Lieutenant Blackett, Captains Hurst, Hammond, Lieutenants Free, Bruce.
sitting: Major Wain (O.C. 8th Sqd.), Captain Cody (Q.M.), Major Overton (2 I.C.), Lieutenant -Colonel Finlay (C.O.),
Captain Blair (Adjudant), Major Acton-Adams (O.C. 1st Sqd.), Major Hutton (O.C. 10th Sqd.).
front row: Lieutenants Gibbs (Signals Officer), Davison (Machinegun Officer), G. Dailey.

On September 23rd 1914 the Canterbury Mounteds left camp for the last time and rode through Sumner to the docks at Lyttlelton and embarked immediately on arrival.
Two Transports were tied up waiting for both men and horses.
Right: The men dismount and stow their tack. In the background is the s.s. Athenic with the horse shute erected to take most of the horses to horse-boxes below, however a few animals were housed on deck. All animals spent the entire voyage to the final destination to Alexandria, Egypt standing in their stalls.
The first horses proceed up the shute while the men look on. In the background is the second Transporter, the s.s. Tahiti (H.M.N.Z.T. 4 - Transporter number 4).
The Tahiti became home for the 1st Canterbury Yeomanry Calvary and the Headquarters Company.
The ships sailed to Wellington to meet up with the other contingents that were to make up the Main Body.
Horses standing in line waiting their turn to be loaded aboard. The Athenic again in the background - (H.M.N.Z.T. 11).
This ship housed both the 8th South Canterbury and 10th Nelson Squadrons.
The ships crossed the globe, sailing by way of Wellington, Hobart, Albany, Colombo, Aden and finally arriving in Alexandria to disembark on December 3rd 1914.
Although the troops were disappointed at leaving the ships in Egypt, as they thought the posting would mean only isolated garrison duty - a duty well distant from the war in Europe, the relief for the horses to be again on dry land was evident for all to see, after the first wobbly steps the horses could not be restrained from rolling in the sand, kicking up their heels or breaking free in sheer delight at being out of their restricting stalls.

photos: Alexander Turnbull Lib.
Within a few weeks of departure the Turkish Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of Germany. The New Zealand and Australian Forces were directed to Egypt to defend the Suez Canal.
Then in April 1915 the Infantry and Artillery departed Egypt to attack the Turkish mainland on the Gallipoli peninsular. The combined British, French and the New Zealand - Australian division's attack found themselves unable to dislodge the capable Turkish defenses. Within three weeks the Canterbury Mounted Rifles along with the rest of the Brigade found themselves fully committed in the Dardenelles, fighting not as mounted riflemen but as Infantry. There was no opportunity to utilise horses on the precarious hills of Gallipoli at ANZAC.
After the retreat from the Dardenelles in December 1915 the regiment withdrew back to Cairo, and early in the following year began the Campaigns in the desert of Sinai and Turkish Palestine. This second campaign was a much different scenario to the Gallipoli failure. Men and horses of the NZMR proved a much more capable fighting force in the open desert and plains of the Holy Lands. A long two year campaign that only finished with the surrender of Turkish forces in October 1918.


Computer colourised NZMRA 2011
Weekly News 1915

2,701 New Zealanders paid the ultimate sacrifice at Gallipoli.

December 1915, officers of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles Headquarters pose for a final photograph before evacuation. All British troops are forced to leave the Gallipoli Peninnsular after a failed eight month campaign to invade the Turkish mainland. It would be three more long years before victory was reached over the Turkish foe in October 1918.
Standing: Lieutenant Anderson (Quartermaster), Captain Stout (Medical Officer), Captain Gibbs (Adjutant).
Sitting: Captain R. Harper (Machine Gun Officer), Major Powles (Commanding Officer, later promoted Lieutenant Colonel), Major Studholme (2nd in Command).

Above:One of the thousands who lost their life at Gallipoli in 1915.
7/786 Albert Stemmer of the 2nd Reinforcements - K.I.A. 19th August 1915.
Albert enlisted in Blenheim with the 10th Nelson Mounted Rifles.

In the official 1920 publication of casualties Albert's name was misspelt as "Stemner".
After ninety odd years - now corrected HERE

 Later in 1921 the 1st Canterbury amalgamated with the 8th (South Canterbury) to form the Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry. In January 1942 all Mounted Rifle Regiments added to their name 'Light Armoured Fighting Vehicles Regiment.' In March 1944 the NZ Armoured Corps reorganized into three Regiments. The 3rd Armoured Regiment comprised the 1st CYC, 5th(Otago) and 10th(Nelson and Marlborough) LAFV Regiments. The 3rd Armoured Regiment went into recess in 1956.
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Motto 1st Canterbury : Pro Focis et Patria (For our home and country)