Mackenzie Mounted Rifles 1907
Rear (left to right) W. Milne, R. Pinkerton, A. Burgess, J. Braddick, H. Welsh
Front: J. Hamilton, Sergeant Major-Burn, Captain Bruce Gilles or ?Sergeant-Major Morgan, Staff Sergeant C.J. Talbot, A. Smith
Timaru Herald, 28 May 1900, Page 3
MACKENZIE MOUNTED RIFLES.
A meeting was held in the public hall, Fairlie, on Friday, for the purpose of enrolling members of the Mounted Rifle Company in the Mackenzie district. Lieut. - Col. Bailey was in the chair, and then were also present Lieutenant Bruce Gillis, of the South Canterbury Company and Sergeant- Major Jones. Colonel Bailey informed the meeting that the Government has accepted the offer of the proposed company, and that the meeting was called for the enrolment of those desirous of joining. He went on to say that it was of no use anyone to join who did not intend to see it through, and would attend sufficient drills and parades to qualify for capitation allowance. It was not fair to the other members and seriously impaired the finances of the company, for a man to enter and fail to do his duty in respect of drills and parades. He explained the duties necessary for obtaining capitation, and said that a substantial entry subscription was advisable, not only as a guarantee of bona fides, but also in order to put the finances in good position. The first matter to deal with was the amount of entry subscription, and the meeting decided that it should be £1 Is, each member to find his own military bridle, tie-rope, and spurs. The enrolment of members was then proceeded with, and the greater number of those came forward. Messrs A. H. McLean and F. R. Gillingham being present their services were requisitioned for taking the oath of allegiance from recruits. On the conclusion of the enrolment the members proceeded to elect officers. The position of captain was left open for the present. Mr R. L. Banks was elected Ist lieutenant, Mr F. H. Smith 2nd, and Mr Wilfred Rutherford third. Messrs Ballantyne's representative was present with a specimen uniform, which appeared to meet with the approval of the majority of the company. Colonel Bailey read a telegram from Col.- Poae-Penton, the New Zealand Commandant, recommending a plain tunic with no facings, except the shoulder straps and puttee-gaiters. The majority were in favour of yellow, facings for the shoulder straps, and that colour was decided upon. The first drill is to be held on Tuesday evening next.
Otago Witness, 26 July 1900, Page 32
FAIRLIE, July 16. The Mackenzie Country Mounted Rifles, whose services were accepted on the 8th, May last, have been hard at work since their formation. For the first fortnight the roll number increased rather slowly, and then the men began to pour in till the ''corps is almost at full strength (80). The weekly foot drill has been under Sergeant-major Jones, and has had an attendance of nearly 50 every night, and besides the drill at Fairlie there have been squads drilling at outlying centres under the officers of the corps. Lieutenant Gillies, S.C.M.R., has been of great assistance in many ways in acting as instructor, and in advising on many matters concerning the business of the corps. The first mounted parade was held on Saturday, 14th inst. The day was mild and bright and so favovourable to a good turn-out. Shortly before 3 o'clock the usually quiet township of Fairlie became very animated. Horsemen came in from all parts of the district, and vehicles crowded with fair sympathisers with the volunteer movement were seen in numbers. The Burkes Pass detachment (16) marched down the 13 miles under Lieutenant Smith. The Albury men (16) marched up their 10 or 12 miles under Lieutenant Rutherford, and the Fairlie men fell in at the township. At 3 o'clock the company fell in on the .street in front of the Catholic Church : present - Lieutenants Banks, Smith, and Rutherford, and 66 non-coms, and men. Lieutenant Gillies, S.C.M.R., took charge of the parade, and marched the men to the racecourse paddock where two hours' drill was gone through. The horses, with few exceptions, were wonderfully steady, and the men acquitted themselves well. Though not in uniform the - men looked well. The horses were mostly of a good stamp, and the drill pleased the instructor greatly. The left division, composed of the Pass and Albury men, showed to best advantage, the horses being steadier, but the right division (Fairlie men) was not far, behind, and the whole turn-out could not have disgraced a much older corps than the Mackenzie Mounted Rifles. The men were marched back to the parade ground at the trot, formed up, and dismissed to partake of some light refreshment, before returning home. The company has 60 rifles on issue, and has had to apply for another 20. The uniforms, leggings, bridles, etc., are all in hand and are expected to be supplied shortly, so that the next mounted parade will probably be in full equipment.
Alexander Searle Smith, wearing the sober khaki of the Mackenzie Mounted Rifles, on "Sooty" 1908-1910 looking south towards Timaru with the Brother's in the background so the photo was taken near Fairlie. MMR initialed on the saddle cloth stands for the Mackenzie Mounted Rifles. Photo courtesy of Moira Hunt, April 2010.
Star 21 September 1901, Page 7
The Mackenzie Mounted Rifles will soon be provided with a very welcome addition to their equipment. At the Christchurch review the corps was complimented upon its smart appearance, and critics maintained that if the men had saddle cloths the Mackenzie, Mounted Rifles would compare very favourably with any mounted corps present. Through the generosity, of Mr. J. S. Rutherford, Opawa Station, saddle cloths have now been ordered. Mr Rutherford has offered to pay half the cost of this equipment and it is hoped that some other gentleman will come forward with an offer to defray the, balance. Mr W. G. Rutherford, the eldest son of Mr J. S. Rutherford, is lieutenant in charge of the Albury division. The saddle cloths decided upon are neat and attractive in appearance. The corps is to be congratulated upon possessing among its friends such a public-spirited gentleman, as Mr J. S. Rutherford.
Timaru Herald, 21 August 1900, Page 3 SHOOTING.
MACKENZIE MOUNTED RIFLES. The range of the above corps was opened at Fairlie on Saturday last. The weather was fine, but a nasty nor'wester was blowing across the range, and the glare off the new targets was very trying at times. The range, for which the corps is indebted to the kindness of the Misses McLean, is pleasantly situated just beyond the Sports' ground, running from north to south, where a range of 800 yards can be got with comfort. Firing commenced at 10.30, Mr Hervey having the honour of first shot at 200 yards, and was continued up to 5 o'clock, nearly two-thirds of the members of the corps taking part in the match, which was 10 shots at 200 yards (5 lying and 5 sitting) for trophies presented by Messrs J. L. Gillies, F. J. Fuchs, and others. Appended are a few of the scores of those who made 25 and over out of a possible 40, and taking the scores as a whole the shooting must be considered very good as hardly any of the members have fired from a Martini rifle before, and with a, little practice the corps will turn out a first class shooting team : —
Trooper W. J. Binney 34
Trooper W. J. Dick 33
Trooper B. E. Gillingham ... 33
Trooper W. O. Gilmour 32
Captain Gillies 32
Trooper W. T. Smith 31
Quar.-Mast. Sergt. Talbot ... 30
Trooper R. Connor 28
Corporal E. Cross 28
Sergeant C. J. R. Ferens ... 27
Sergeant W. R. MacKay 27
Trooper A. Wilson 26
Trooper W. Loomes 26
Sergeant-Major Burn 25
Sergeant A. S. Smith 25
Trooper J. McMillan 25
Trooper A. McKay 25
Lance-Sergeant Burrows 25
In the evening Captain Gillies held a class of instruction for the non-coms., which was well attended, and a lot of useful knowledge was imparted to those present by their energetic captain.
Otago Witness, 23 August 1900, Page 34
Volunteering. This has become quite an important factor in our daily concerns, so much so that really everything else seems to pale into insignificance whenever enthusiastic youth congregate. The local division is now established, numbering six sections strong, officered by Lieutenant Rutherford (in command), assisted by Sergeants W. M'Kay and A. S. Smith, supported by Corporals W. Couper and F. Charles. Needless to say, one and all of the local men are bent on keeping upside with the senior (or main) division, Fairlie, with its seven sections, under Captain B. Gillies and Lieutenant R. L. Banks, and also the more northern division, Burkes I Pass, of six sections, under Lieutenant F. H. Smith. The corps first field day was held at Fairlie, on the 18th inst., when the firing range was opened, with a match covering the 200 yds distance of the Minor Class Firing, when a strong muster of the local division, and also of the Albury men, was the result, the Pass being but poorly represented, Troopers R. Cowan and J. M'Millan only attending. The friendly, rivalry was consequently confined to the two divisions, Fairlie proving the winner. The individual winner turned up in Trooper J. Binney, with the very creditable score of 34 out of p, possible 40 points, this register showing four bulls and six inners, closely followed by Troopers J. Dick and Robert Gillingham with 33 points, the former securing second prize with his extra " bull." Captain Gillies and Trooper Gilmour 32, several at 31, and many at 30 indicate that the average shooting was high throughout. On the completion of the class firing the average score was nearly 50, as against 30 as required by regulation. This high order of marksmanship is the more praiseworthy when it is considered that fully half of the recruits had not had an opportunity of trying their Martini-Henris ere opening on the range-in fact, had never done any rifle shooting at all. So with "careful coaching and steady practising some good shots should come out of the corps. The corps are under a deep sense of gratitude to Messrs M'Lean, of Strathcommon [sic: Strathconan], for placing at their disposal such a capital site their butts, which are most conveniently situated adjacent to the township. Thanks are also due to the several donators of prizes for the recent match, which no doubt played no small part in instigating the enthusiasm so manifest. Our soldiers go into camp for their first week's training early next month, for which purpose I understand the sports ground at Fairlie has been secured for a site to camp. A capital place, too, well planted round, with plenty of shelter, is secured for the horses as well as tents, etc.. ,so given fine weather, our soldiers should have a pleasant time of it.
Otago Witness, 5 December 1900, Page 20
Mr John Nixon, a member of the Mackenzie Mounted Rifles, left Fairlie on Wednesday morning for South Africa.
Otago Witness 1 January 1902, Page 23
Mr H. W. Baron, of Nevada, on Thursday received the following telegram from Lord Ranfurly: —"I much regret to inform you that I have received a cable from South Africa informing me that your son, Sergeant Francis Arthur Baron, South African Light Horse, died of enteric fever at Kroonstadt on 16th December." We are informed that Sergeant Baron was accepted for the sixth New Zealand contingent, but being unable to join it at the proper time, paid his own passage to South Africa, and joined the South African Light Horse. He was 24 years of age, and was formerly a member of the Mackenzie Mounted Rifles, South Canterbury.
Star 12 July 1902, Page 5
The resignation of Lieutenant W. G. Rutherford, of the Mackenzie Mounted Rifles, is gazetted.
Star 31 October 1903, Page 7
The Timaru Garrison Band, with the usual willingness of its members to assist the various corps in the district, is sending a detachment to Fairlie to play for the "Macs," otherwise the Mackenzie Mounted Rifles, on November - 8 and 9. The "Macs"' will entertain the bandsmen, the latter sleeping in camp and joining the mess of the corps. The detachment will go up by the evening train on, Saturday, and will play the corps to church on Sunday, and play at the sports on Monday. The action of the band is highly appreciated by the Mackenzie Mounted Rifles.
Grey River Argus, 20 November 1914, Page 6
CURIOUS ACCIDENT. TIMARU, Nov. 19.
A curious accident happened this evening to two trooper of the 8th Regiment (200 of whom are now in camp). A number of men were exercising horses on Caroline Bay sands, when two horses going fast in opposite directions had a head, to head collision. Both broke their neck, and died immediately. Trooper Turnbull, of Rakaia, was taken to the Hospital rather seriously injured. The other was but little hurt.
The Militia Act of 1858 officially sanctioned the the NZ Volunteer Corps, amended by the Volunteer Act of 1865. Over ninety volunteer units had been formed up to 1872. Then there was a decline until 1881 when the Government renewed support. After the end of the South African War there were two volunteer units in between Ashburton and the Waitaki. They trained in their own districts but once a year met, often at the Temuka Domain, for their annual camp.
The 1st Squadron, South Canterbury Mounted Rifles, commanded by Major J.T.M. Hayhurst with the HQ at Timaru:
A Co. South Canterbury Mounted Rifle Volunteers at Timaru, Capt G.P. Wood
B Co. Ashburton Mounted Rifle Volunteers
C Co. Mackenzie Mounted Rifle Volunteers at Fairlie. Disbanded 1908. Capt. Bruce Gillies.
D Co. Studholme Mounted Rifle Volunteers at Waimate, Capt. A. Garland
E Co. Geraldine Mounted Rifle Volunteers, Capt T.J. Maling
The South Canterbury Infantry Battalion commanded by Lt. Col. W.M. Moore of Geraldine.
A Co. Timaru City Rifles, Capt John Gillis
B Co. Temuka Rifles, Capt E. Richardson
C Co. Ashburton
D Co. Port Rifle Guards, Capt Frank Raymond
E Co. Timaru Rifles Capt. W. Beckingham
E Co. Waimate Rifles, Capt. H.C. Barclay
G Co. Geraldine Rifles, Capt. Kenneth Mackenzie
THE GERALDINE RIFLES were first formed on the 17th of April, 1885, and their first officers were Captain Walter Montague Moore, Lieutenant George Ward and Lieutenant Robert Henry Pearpoint. Dr. Robert Fish was honorary surgeon, and the Rev. James Preston the honorary chaplain. In 1886, on the formation of the South Canterbury Rifle Battalion, Captain Moore was appointed Major. Lieutenant Pearpoint was elected Captain, and Sergeant Kenneth Mackenzie, Lieutenant. The first-non-commissioned officers were Colour-Sergeant Thomas Hughes, Sergeants W. Stonehouse, Fred Worner, A. Penny; Corporals Edward Hardcastle, George Porteous and Edward Mellard. In 1890, Lieutenant George Ward resigned his commission, and Mr B.R. Macdonald was appointed in his stead. When first formed the company was one of the smartest in the Battalion, and continued to do good work until the 11th of November, 1894, when, from various causes, the corps was disbanded. In 1898, there was a movement to re-establish the corps, and on the 5th May, 1899, its services were again accepted; the officers begin Captain Kenneth Mackenzie, and Lieutenants John Rogerson Montgomery and Guy MacDonald. The corps started with its full strength of sixty-three officers and men, and is doing excellent work. Shortly after it was re-formed Lieutenant MacDonald resigned, and Mr. Ernest Edward Tasker was elected in his stead. Reference: Cyclopedia of New Zealand, Canterbury edition. Vol. 3 pages 872 Published 1903
Major John Albert Young has always retained his interest in volunteering, and was one of the prompters of the Temuka Rifles, which were enrolled in 1868. He was promoted to ensign in that year, lieutenant in 1870, captain in 1875 and major (unattached) in 1883, and has received the long service and imperial medals. He was quarter-master of the South Canterbury battalion until it was disbanded in 1888, and has served the full limit of service for an officer allowed by the volunteer regulations. Cyclopedia of New Zealand, Canterbury edition.
Otago Witness, 24 January 1895, Page 19
Major Young, of Winchester, South Canterbury, hasten awarded the Imperial decoration for volunteer officer. This decoration was instituted in 1892 for the volunteers in the United Kingdom, and was subsequently extended to the volunteers in Canada and the colonies. The Timaru Herald understands that length of service is one of the qualifications for the reward, and in this respect there are very few volunteer officers in New Zealand ahead of Major Young.
Poverty Bay Herald, 11 November 1916, Page 3
Up to noon today the following were the names of recruits who leave with tomorrow's draft:- Gillingham, Stephen England, married, 35 years, sheepfarmer, Mangakori, Gisborne (Legion of Frontiersmen, Mackenzie Mounted Rifles). S.E. Gillingham and H.C. Williams (Muriwai) are going to the n.c.o. camp.
By 1903 there were some 277 volunteer units in NZ. These officers and men formed the backbone of the ten New Zealand contingents to South Africa. On 17 March 1911 the Volunteer Corps was officially disbanded and members were absorbed into the Territorial Force. Archives NZ, Wellington, holds capitation rolls for a number of the Volunteer Corps. The volunteer corps were the foremost component in New Zealand defence forces until transformed the Territorial Army in 1910-1911. Each corps was local in character and very self contained. Capitation rolls list all members of the unit for a particular year. The rolls held are incomplete, and are indexed by the name of the unit only.
The CYC cap badge is a surmounted by a ram's head, with two ferns fronds and the letters CYC in the center, the motto Pro Focis et Patria (For our home and country) with the date 1864 at the bottom. NZMR The 1910 Defence Act ushered in the territorial system of training. In 1911 Mounted Rifles (Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry) was formed by amalgamation of 2nd Regiment, North Canterbury Mounted Rifles, and 1st Regiment, North Canterbury Mounted Rifle Volunteers. In 1921 amalgamated with 8th (South Canterbury) Mounted Rifles, to form The Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry.
In WWI the 2nd (South Canterbury) Regiment served in Egypt, at Gallipoli and on the Western Front. The 1914 NZEF Enlistment rolls gives Reg. No., rank, name, body or reinforcement draft, unit or regiment, last NZ address, military district and name and address of next-of-kin and relationship. The men wore a brass bi-metal collar badge. In 1921 the 2nd (South Canterbury) Regiment was absorbed into the 1st (Canterbury) Regiment to become The Canterbury Regiment.
G.S.S. Hardy was in the second reinforcement for the NZEF, previously a captain in the 8th South Canterbury Mounted Rifles. Lt F N Marchant, South Canterbury Mounted Rifles, with the rank of honorary Captain was appointed a quartermaster in the NZEF.
BENNINGTON, Sergeant Alexander, CIB, who died of wounds on June 2, was a son of Mr Bennington of Geraldine. He was a sergeant in the territorials and was also a member of the Geraldine Brass Band. He was 24 yrs of age. [AWN 01.07.1915]
CRIBB, Major C W E, who has been wounded, was second in command of the 13th North Canterbury and Westland, Company. When Major David Grant was killed in action on April 25 Captain Cribb was promoted to the rank of major and given that officer's command, the 2nd South Canterbury Infantry Co. Major Cribb served in the South African war, for which he holds the Queen's Medal with four clasps and the King's Medal with two clasps. At the time of the outbreak of the war he was in the Postal Dept at Greymouth. [AWN 19.08.1915]
HUGHES, Colonel John Gethin, C.M.G. - is a well known NZ staff corps officer. He won the D.S.O. in South Africa and was employed on the headquarters staff. At the outbreak of the present war he was appointed to the NZEF as assistant military secretary at Anzac. Colonel HUGHES commanded the Canterbury Infantry Battalion for some time. He later was invalided to London and at the latest advices was still in Wandsworth Hospital, progressing favourably. Colonel Hughes was educated in Timaru. [AWN 20.01.1916]
JERVIS, Captain V G, Canterbury Battalion, wounded, was senior subaltern of the 12th Nelson Co. but was promoted and appointed to the position of second in command of the 13th, North Canterbury and Westland, Co., succeeding Captain Cribb, who had been promoted to the command of the 2nd South Canterbury Company. [AWN 19.08.1915]
McKAY, Pte John - of the Fiji contingent, who has been wounded in Flanders, was born at Woodstock, New Zealand. He is 22 yrs of age and a bank clerk by calling. He served six years in the State & High School Cadets (junior lieutenant), three years in the 1st, Westland, Rifles, Hokitika (senior sergeant) and three years in the NZ Territorials, South Canterbury Regt. Mr W D McKay, Woodstock, Westland, is his father. [AWN 24.06.1915]
NANCARROW, Lieut. Vincent Fosbery , 7/688, 8th (South Canterbury) Mounted Rifles
WAIN, Major P J, Canterbury Mounted Rifles, reported wounded, is a prominent farmer in the Waimate district. He has a long acquaintance with military matters and passed through the ranks of the Studholme Mounted Rifles. [AWN 15.07.1915]
YOUNG, Private Leslie Victor, 16th, Waikato, Company, Auckland Battalion, wounded at the Dardanelles, is a grandson of the late Major J A Young, V.D., of Winchester, South Canterbury. He was a member of the Temuka Rifle Volunteers for six years and was well known in cycled circles, having won several road and track races. He has two brothers on active service - Andrew YOUNG, lately a telegraph operator at Wanganui, now in the Field Engineers at the Dardanelles, and Richard Arthur YOUNG, serving on HMS Pyramus. [AWN 22.07.1915]
Lieut. Cyri HAYTER, Canterbury Mounted Rifles, NZEF cap badge is the 8th (South Canterbury) Mounted Rifles, size 61mm x 42mm, brass, sand cast. The regiment served Gallipoli and Palestine during WWI and then merged with Canterbury Regt. in 1922.
10 May 1917, Page 4
AT TIMARU SHOWGROUNDS. The Casual Camp for members of the Eighth (S.C.) Mounted Rifles and Second (S.C.) Regiment, who failed to attend the annual camp at Orari, commenced on Monday last, and will conclude on May 15. The site again, chosen, was the Timaru A. and P. show-grounds, whore about 250 men are under canvas. There are about 40 tents, which were pitched by an advance party and members of the A.S.C. and ample shelter is provided. Despite the very wet weather experienced, it has caused little inconvenience, and the work has not been interfered with. Most of the men, who comprise 175 infantry and some 85 mounteds, arrived in camp on Monday, but owing to the railway curtailments, many did not report till Tuesday. The syllabus is similar to that carried out at the Orari Camp, and is on the lines of the work given the men at Featherston and Trentham.
It consists chiefly of squad and platoon drill, and musketry (firing practice). Much importance is being attached to extended order drill in sections, and N.CO.'s and men will, at the end of the camp, have mastered the intricacies of the harder drill.
The important factor in keeping men in good spirits—namely, amusements has not been forgotten, and a large C.E.M.S. marquee, under the supervision of Mr W. G. Adams, is capable of accommodating all the men in the camp. The officers in camp are as follow Camp Commandant, Captain A. N. Oakey, M.C., N.Z.E.; Camp Adjutant, Lieutenant d'A. S. L. Grut, N.Z.I., Assistant Adjutant, Lieutenant M. W. P. Blathwayt; Camp Q.M.S. Sergeant-Major (W.O.) A. H. Thatcher; Camp Sergeant-Major, Staff Sergeant-Major- G. G. Johnston; Sergeant Instructors, Sergeants-Major Gracie and Tozer. The officers in camp are: —Captains W. G. Marriott and Buist; Lieutenants' Martin, Cave, Scott, Sherratt, Johnston, Harper, Orbell, Hodges, Friedlander, McIiwraith, and Jones (Ashburton); Chaplains, Rev. A. H. Norris (Church of England), and Rev. W. Marshall (Presbyterian).
Tobin, Christopher. Gone to Gallipoli : Anzacs of small town New Zealand go to war / Christopher Tobin. 1st ed. c2001. Publisher : Timaru. Bosco Press, c2001. ANZAC - 2nd South Canterbury Infantry Company, South Canterbury Mounted Rifles. Personal narratives. 154 p. ill. Includes bibliographical references p. 151. ISBN : 0473075156 pbk. The book is completely out of print, and unfortunately, the files were destroyed in an accident with the printer, so it won't be republished.
Corbett, D. A.- The regimental badges of New Zealand : being a concise and illustrated history of the badges worn by the militia, volunteer and territorial corps which were the proud forerunners of the New Zealand army. 1970
Early CYC badge. NZMR badges more badges shoulder badges badges
Soldier in Egypt - NZMR
Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry
Motto: Pro Focis et Patria (For our home and country)
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 Yoemanry Calvalry), 8th (South Canterbury), 10th (Nelson and Marlborough) Mounted Rifles.
In 1921 amalgmated with the 8th (South Canterbury) to form the Canterbury Yoemanry 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
"I would not say the CYC prepared me for war. Being in the CYC involved camping together a couple of times a year. We would ride around with our horses, and fire blank ammunition. It was a good opportunity to get away from the farm with your mates, but nothing like the real thing. The CYC did not take part in the war - somebody realised that there was no place for horses and cavalry in World War II" wrote NTB. He spent five years with the CYC during the mid thirties. Two weeks each year of those five years at various camps. These summer camps were at Wingatui near Dunedin, Mt Summers, twice, Motukara, and the Christchurch Showgrounds. They were all volunteers and had to supply their own horses which had to be shod. A special train was supplied to transport the horses and the members. Besides these annual summer camps sometimes a weekend camp would occur at the Washdyke Racecourse.
It is interesting to note that when in camp at the Christchurch Showgrounds they put on a display of riding around the Cathedral in the Cathedral Square. There were approximately 360 horses involved in this, being lead by a brass band. Banners were also display by the lead troopers.
"The three boys would take turns going camps as they all couldn't be spared from farm duties at one time. They would ride their horses to the closest railway station, for NTB that was eleven miles, catch the steam train to Dunedin or elsewhere with their horse and tack. The Army supplied the uniforms, rifles, tents etc. The tents were the large bell shaped tent with a center pole and the men would sleep on a palliasse, a bag filled with straw, all with their feet to the middle."
C.Y.C. at Wingatui, Dunedin, late 1930s. They had to supply their own horses.
Before WWII, the territorials were short of members and the legal age was 18 to join but they would take youths at 17½ and when war broke out they knew their age, and men couldn't go overseas until they were 21. Some during the following year, chose to take a course for officer's commission, and on became an officer in the local forces. That gave them a taste for army life. Once the Japanese came into the war, the army established a camp in the Ashburton area, Westerfield. Once they were 21, they were sent overseas. My father went away on a large vessel called the Nieuw Amsterdam. There were 6000 troops on that ship; nine in a two-berth cabin.
Aquitania leaving Wellington 1940
VOYAGE ACCOUNT - letter home
Reg. No 42151
5th Reinforcement 5 /14/41
As we are unable to send cables home to NZ; as we are told, I thought I would drop you a note to let you know a bit about the voyage.
Amsterdam and the Mauritania were two the two troopships that left NZ and on the trip on the Amsterdam I only feed the fish once, that was crossing the Tasman so that was not so bad for me.
10th April we sailed into the Sydney harbour and passed the Queen Elizabeth loaded with Aussies; then pulled into the wharf opposite to where the Isle of France was tired up. There we loaded on more food supply plus twelve hundred Aussies and by joves they are great lads, and there was no leave for us there so we were very disappointed as Sydney was a town where we wanted leave.
11th Set sail for Fremantle, and just out side the heads of the Sydney harbour we picked up the Queen Mary so by this time we had with us the biggest convoy that has ever left NZ or Australia. As we were told by the Aussies that came on board our boat, it was the first trip for the Queen Elizabeth out to Australia so the troopships were Amsterdam, Mauritania, Isle of France, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth.
16th Sailed into Fremantle harbour where the two Queen 's and the Isle of France anchored outside while the Amsterdam and the Mauritania sailed on and tired up to the wharf. There we managed to capture two days leave and the people of Perth gave us a great welcome to their town. Showing us the town in their cars, free rides on the buses, trams, boats, etc., also cup of tea and dance arranged for us at different places. There were boys scouts scattered all over the town to give us any information what we wanted to know.
19th Set sail again up the coast of Australia and after three days out from Fremantle we left the main convoy and set off for the Singapore Naval Base and arrived there on the 24th of April.
Anzac morning was spent transhipping on to the Acquitania, a cattle boat what we called her when we went on board but we soon got settled down. The afternoon was spent on a small route march to a swimming bath about two miles from the boat, I will say the swim was good, but the march had me beat, it was too hot, enough to melt a man into a grease spot. There was no leave for us so one night we rushed the gangway and made an escape onto land where we could get a bit of fresh air. Myself I never want to see the place again, too hot and the water is rotten so the climate does not suit me. I cannot say I have been to Singapore though I was within 15 miles of it, and I saw the town when we were sailing for Colombo.
Left the Aussies at Singapore and on the 26th set sail for Colombo and arriving there on the 1st May where we picked up part of the old convoy, Mauritania and the Isle of France while the two Queens sailed straight for Egypt. At Colombo I captured three days leave so I had quite a good look around the town. One trip I did was 60 miles out to the rubber plantation and the rice field etc., it was very interesting trip. The roads are very narrow there, a two way road there we would use as a one way road in NZ. You should see them drive their cars in town, if we drove ours in town in NZ how they do there traffic inspectors would have a job to control the traffic, an inch is nothing to them.
6th May set sail for Suez and just before we struck the Red Sea we passed the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth on their return trip. Just at present I am writing this at Suez, waiting to go ashore to catch a train to go into camp near Cairo.....