Search billions of records on

Dating a Soldiers Photographs

The C.C.S. set up for the Casino show at Presenzano

a. Close up scan of the collar and hat badges, buttons, arm patches and hat help.
b. Identifying a photographic studio wording often embossed at the bottom
c. Location where photo was found - country, state. PreFederation Victorian troops had the slouch hat raised on the right side and after 1903, all AUS. troops had the slouch hat raised on the left side. Officers wore leggings and troops had bandage style leggings.
d. Dress: Maybe dressed up for a formal photograph. The belt fitted with small pockets, for carrying cartridges, and worn across the chest the soldier's is called a bandolier, came in different patterns, for a mounted regiment. A plume in the hat, his puggaree (hat band), a high collar is pre-Great War, of a Boer War style, jacket style, piping on sleeves, ammunition belt. Jodhpurs, boots and spurs - may mean a cavalry regiment. Light Horse. Most military supplies were still moved by horse, hence the boots.
e.  It was quite easy in that era for a photo to be (accidentally) laterally reversed, by placing the negative the wrong way up on the photographic paper. Find out which side of the shoulder the army colours were worn. If there is a firm tradition regarding that, then we may be reasonably confident that the photo is not reversed.
f. Was the background is a standard studio set? Can be an old fashioned photographer who was too mean to update his sets.
g. NZEF soldier WW1 wearing his hat the Aussie style. AIF headwear WW1.

Christchurch Press on Anzac Day 2005 had a feature on the Gallipoli campaign amongst which they included a whole page of casualties as published at that time. Names scan

WWII general service cap or shoulder badge. Onward, Onward!During the South African War the NZ Army felt hats were turned up on the left side with a fore and aft dent in the crown. Later rifle regiments did not slope arms so there wasn't any need to pin the hat up.  Lt. Col. W.G. Malone at an annual training camp at Takapua in 1911 eliminated the dents as they collected water and pinched it in four places. The hat was later dubbed the "lemon squeezer".  In 1914 Major Herbert Hart transferred to the 17th (Ruahine) Regiment. He has been credited with introducing the lemon-squeezer hat into service with this regiment.  The hates were always worn with a puggaree, the coloured cloth band worn on the rabbit-fur felt or wool felt hats. The colours of the band identified the branch of service. NZEF soldiers wore leather dog tag's.

The New Zealand General Service Badge was first worn in 1914 and later issued to servicemen in the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force which consisted of three echelons which all sailed from New Zealand in 1940. The Pacific Division of the 2NZEF was renamed the 3rd New Zealand Division and sailed for New Caledonia in 1943. Returning servicemen had to hand in their uniforms including their hats but were aloud to keep the badge. The badge was worn by the servicemen up on their "lemon squeezer hats" until 1947 when it was last worn by the New Zealand J-Force contingent of the British Occupation Forces in Japan. The felt hats went out of service in 1962 but are still used on ceremonial occasions.  

A lovely looking photograph – a pity there’s not more identifying information. Photo taken at Gale's Studios Ltd, England. Real photo postcard of a 2nd (South Canterbury) Company of the Canterbury Infantry Battalion, NZEF soldier. Unfortunately there is no complete list of 2nd (SC) men. There is the WWI War Census Cd that was produced by the St. John’s branch NZSG, but trying to find the right ‘Arthur’ would be a bit of a needle in a haystack (there are almost 11,000 entries with “Arthur” and no unit given!) The photograph is however, probably 1916 or later – i.e. after the lemon squeezer was issued.

A child born on the day the great war ended was older enough to die in the next great war!

Regimental Numbers WW1

Service numbers and  service person's name might be found on a service persons headstone, death notice in newspaper or on the  reverse side of the 1914-1915 Star. WWII medals were not inscribed. My grandfather enlisted 17 August 1914 and was at Gallipoli in the NZ Army Medical Corps and his service number was 3/133A. The Army double up on service numbers, so instead of giving out new ones they added the A. When ordering a Service Personnel File include the A otherwise could end up with the service file of the person who had a similar number e.g. 3/133. 

The following prefixes were used for WW1 service numbers of troops. Extracted from "Orders, Decorations and Medals awarded to New Zealanders - an illustrated guide for collectors" by Geoffrey P. Oldham and Brett Delahunt.

  1/ Samoan Advance Force
  2/ Royal New Zealand Artillery
  3/ New Zealand Medical Corps
  4/ New Zealand Engineers
  5/ New Zealand Army Service Corps
  6/ Canterbury Infantry
  7/ Canterbury Mounted Rifles
  8/ Otago Rifles
  9/ Otago Mounted Rifles
10/ Wellington Rifles
11/ Wellington Mounted Rifles
12/ Auckland Rifles
13/ Auckland Mounted Rifles
14/ Army Service Corps Divisional Train
15/ New Zealand Expeditionary Force Headquarters Staff
16/ Maori Battalion
17/ New Zealand Veterinary Corps
18/ New Zealand Chaplains Department
19/ Samoan Relief Force, Infantry
20/ Samoan Relief Force, Mounted Rifles
21/ New Zealand Army Pay Corps
22/ New Zealand Nursing Service
23/ 1st Battalion, New Zealand Rifle Brigade
24/ 2nd Battalion, New Zealand Rifle Brigade
25/ 3rd Battalion, New Zealand Rifle Brigade
26/ 4th Battalion, New Zealand Rifle Brigade
This system was employed until the formation of the Tenth Reinforcements, following which the prefix was omitted and a strict numerical sequence was used.

Photographers’ Database is an index to photographers who have worked in New Zealand from the 1840s to the present day.
Auckland City Libraries photograph collection

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


CYC - near Dunedin 1930s. They did wear spurs.
C.Y.C. at Wingatui, Dunedin, late 1930s. They had to supply their own horses. Note the spurs.

World War One

Lance Corporal Edwin Bray, age 30, was b. 15 August 1888, Akaroa. Iris, age 8, born 9 November 1910. This photo must have been taken before he embarked in Auckland.

Reg. No 40499 New Zealand Rifle Brigade 23rd Reinforcements, Company G.
Enlisted: 2 Oct. 1916 at Auckland
Married Violet Edmunds in 21 July 1910 registrar, Auckland.
NOK: Mrs Violet Bray c/o Mrs R. Edmunds, 3 Exeter St. Newton, Auckland
Relative Relationship:
Occupation: Locomotive driver Takapuna Tramway Co.
Rank: Rifleman
Remarks: Fit Approved by A.G. Talbot, Medical Officer, Auckland
Embarkation: 1917
Overseas service 2 years and 94 days
Other units:
1916 Company A 23 Reinforcements
1917 4th NZ Infantry Reserve Battalion, Camp Sling in Wiltshire
3 October 1917 No. 3 Machine Gun Company, France in the field
6 October 1917 4th NZ Infantry Reserve Battalion, France in the field
22 December 1917 -23 February 1918 detached to No. 3 NZ Light Mortar Battery
23 February 1918 transferred to 1 Battalion 3 Brigade NZ Rifle Brigade
8 March 1918 No 3 NZ Light Mortar Battery
27 July 1918 detached to IV Corps school
Nominal Rolls: Vol. 3: 1 Jan 1917 - 31 Dec 1917. #57, page 28
Weight / Height: 175lbs 5' 9˝"

Edwin was attested for service at Auckland on 2 October 1916 and marched into camp to join Company A 23 Reinforcements as a private. The 23 Reinforcements, a total of 2094 troops embarked from Wellington aboard the Ruapehu on 14 March 1917 and the Corinthic on 2 April. Edwin aboard the Corinthic, under the command of Captain H.E. Burrell, the ships master was Captain F. Hart. The Corinthic disembarked at Plymouth on 10th June and the troops marched into Camp Sling, Wilthsire to become part of the 4th NZ Infantry Reserve Battalion. After a short stay in England Edwin left for France on 6 July and marched into Etaples Camp on 11 July. On 3 October Edwin was posted to No. 3 Machine Gun Company in the field and on 6th October rejoined the Battalion in the field. On 22 December he was detached to No. 3 NZ Light Mortar Battery until 23 February 1918 when he was transferred to 1 Battalion 3 Brigade NZ Rifle Brigade.  Edwin was reposted to the No. 3 NZ Light Mortar Battery on 8 March and for the period 17 March to 4 April went to the United Kingdom on leave. On 27 July he was detached to IV Corps school and on 27 September was appointed to Temporary Corporal and the same day this was made substantive.  Corporal Bray was embarked 27 May 1919 at Liverpool with 1192 other troops aboard the Tahiti under the command of Major Geddes, the ship master was Captain F. P. Evans. Corporal Bray was discharged on the termination of his period of engagement on 1 August 1919.

World War Two

1914 photo. New Zealanders soldiers to the left, Australians on the right.

1. Why the difference between a private's cap and hat? Was one for dress occasions? 
2. There does not appear much difference between a NZ soldier's uniform and the one of the Australian soldier in 1915. When were the NZ Army felt hats were no longer turned up (slouch hats) on the left side and became the "lemon squeezers"? My father was a private / driver, served in the Middle East and Italy, during WWII, never, never, wore a "lemon squeezer" but a beret

Map. Vasto Nov. 1943, Presenzaro Feb 1944, Siena July 1944, Arezzo 1944, Fori Nov 1944

Vic Woodcock, of Days Bay, Wellington, on hills, Mt Etna, Sicily, WWII . Beret. The archetypal New Zealand soldier; casual demeanour, a keen grin, tanned appearance and sleeves rolled up to tackle just about anything. "Good on yer mate".

A NZ Army field service cap occasionally referred to as a 'Khaki Forage Cap' or 'Side Cap' was introduced into the army as around 1937 was khaki colour, fully lined and had two brass buttons on front. It used to be worn with the battle dress and saw extensive service overseas.

 "I wasn't anything special. I just did my duty. Most of us lost a lot of blokes. They were all good friends. You can't help but think of them on Anzac Day, we WILL remember them".

Monty with a beret and Freberg at Vasto. Monty heading to the old country. The security men are wearing peaked caps.

A mishap at Presenzano. Happy Johnson, Dug, Aussie Cruse, Jim

Victor Thomas Woodcock
Embarkation: 1941
Army Number: 42875
Dvr. 2 Div. A.S.C. Reinfs.
Place of enlistment: Wellington
Occupation: Accountant
Last Residence: Wellington, New Zealand
Relative Name: Mr T F. Woodcock, 114 Te Anau Rd, Wellington
Relationship: Father
Nominal Roll: 1 Apr 1941 - 30 Jun 1941
Died: 28-06-1978 Age: 61yrs Karori Crematorium

Owen Fisher Cruse
Embarkation: 1941
Army Number: 46703
Dvr. 2 Div. A.S.C.
Occupation: Cheesemaker
Last Residence: Waimann, New Zealand
Relative Name: Mrs I Cruse, c/o P.O. Taneatua
Relationship: Mother
Nominal Roll: 1 Jul 1941 - 30 Sep 1941
Birth: 1920 in New Zealand
Died: 2000 in Whakatane, BOP

Frank Johnson
Embarkation: 1940-1941
Army Number: 36844
Dvr. 2 Div. A.S.C.
Last Residence: Wanganui, New Zealand
Occupation: baker
Relative Name: Mrs L Johnson, 75 Keith St. Wanganui (mother)
Relationship: Mother
Nominal Roll: 1 Jul 1940 - 31 Mar 1941

Vic Woodcock at Presenzano.

Ruins of Cassino, Harold  

Continental Hotel, Cassino

The C.C.S. Cemetery at Cassino, Presenzano

Our home at Sienna. Harold, Snubber, Mac. A lemon squeezer on the tent.

The road to Aressa 

A knocked out tank. Dug and Bill Fleming.

Jerricans, the containers had three handles on them which allowed easy handling by one or two people. Forli, Italy. WWII. Harold, Snubber, Mac, Sunny

It is also important to recognise those who did their bit and were then lucky enough to make it home and be able to get on with their lives.

New truck, three ton Morris, being loaded on board the ss Comliebank at Maadi, the ship Bill went to Greece on 8 March 1941. Landed at Piraeus three days later.

Evacuation. The boys returning from Greece, 1941. At Monemvasia, the men were let off the trucks, in the dark we drove crossed the causeway, the road climbed around a hill, the trucks were rolled backwards into the sea, these were new trucks, only about 1500 miles on the speedos. The drivers then walked back and boarded the HMS Griffin on 28 April 1941 and headed for Crete. At Suda Bay a rope net was put over the side of the Thurland Castle and we climbed on board and sailed for Port Said in Egypt.

North Africia. WW2  

Lined up for inspection by General Freyberg in 1942. Bill fourth from left. "It's only a bloody desert- a bloody big one."

Otago Witness 20 March 1901, Page 55
Which I wish to remark
And my language is plain
That if you've a spark
Of respect you'll refrain
From observing the cult of the khaki;
My reasons straightway I'll explain.

Rud. Kip. was his name,
And a poet was he
Of consid'rable fame;
'Twould be foolish of me
To deny that Rud. Kip. was a fav'rite;
I wish he'd change places with me.

Which he wrote a war pome,
Full of sentiment sound,
Which directly went home,
And secured, at a bound,
For the gent, ordered south, dressed in khaki,
A place right away on Fame's mound.

It went to the heart Of the mighty B. P.,
And induced them to part
With their s and d
On behalf of the widows and kiddies
Tommy Atknis left Care of U-Me."

His poem did more
For the Fashion it set
On Zealandia's shore
(And 'tis why I fret)
And caused everyone to don khaki,
A shade more depressing than jet.

Men, women, and chicks
Went mad o'er the hue
(Which was like dirty bricks),
And only a few
Found strength to resist the infliction
That swept through the land like the 'flu.

Books, neckties, and pipes
Gloves, feathers, and frocks,
Boots, bonnets, and swipes,"
Prams, hansoms, and "crocks"
All all of them dun-coloured khaki
'Twas like giving Creation "socks."

And so I observe
That we've reason to bless (!)
Rud. Kip. who'd the nerve
His "beggar" to dress
In dreary, dispiriting khaki.
You'll join in my protest, I guess?
Yours sincerely,

South CanterburyGenWeb Project