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Remembered Today:

WERE NZ WAR DIARIES


JoMH
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Along with another Forum member, I am trying to trace the whereabouts of two NZ chaplains after November 1918.

The two chaplains are:

Rev Charles James Hamilton Dobson - 2/Auckland Regiment - previously Otago Mounted Rifles. (Assistant Principal Chaplain to the NZEF by this time).

Rev Clive Mortimer-Jones - 1/Wellington Regiment - previously 3/Canterbury Regiment.

They have been located working together in November 1918, (with a third chaplain William Murphy) touring the area around Cambrai and Bapaume, finding bodies, recording identities etc. Letters written by Chaplain Mortimer-Jones described this. See post #71 of this topic. [Edit 02/06/09: #71 gives the letters, but information on Chaplain Mortimer-Jones begins with post #62.]

The New Zealanders formed part of the Army of Occupation and made a long march to Cologne. I do not know if Dobson was with them - the next thing I know of is his marriage in May 1919 in Piraeus. Meanwhile, in 1919, Mortimer-Jones gained an M.A at Oxford and visited Rome along with Chaplain Murphy.

As chaplains seemed not to work solely with their appointed units, it is possible that reference to them may have been made in war diaries other than 2/Auckland or 1/Wellington. That is if war diaries were continued after November 1918...

Initially, I am seeking the answer to the topic title's question, but any information or pointers would be very much appreciated!

Joanna

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Joanna, both of the battalions that you have mentioned have war diaries through till February 1919 (WO 95/3688 and WO 95/3689 at the Public Records Office in Kew). It is impossible to know in advance what you might turn up in war diaries of other units. It might be worth the effort, but I notice that the Adjutant and Quarter-Master General's War Diary ends in October 1918.

Robert

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The MA at Oxford may be misleading- if he had an undergraduate degree from Oxford, after a certain number of 'terms' he could convert it to an MA on the payment of a small fee. In this case he would not have had to study for it .

Greg

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Robert,

Many thanks indeed for that. I can take a look at those two when I am next in London.

I didn't know any NZ war diaries were held at Kew, and had assumed they were all in Archives New Zealand.

Typically, the answer of one question leads to the posing of a new one... Does anyone know if many New Zealand War Diaries are held in Kew? I will, of course, do a search on their site as well.

Joanna

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Greg,

Yes, I'd heard about the conversion of a degree to a masters at Oxford! In this case, I'm not sure that Clive Mortimer-Jones would have gained his degree at Oxford in the first place, and I was surprised at the possibility of converting from a degree gained somewhere else.

Thank you for pointing this out.

Joanna

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Typically, the answer of one question leads to the posing of a new one... Does anyone know if many New Zealand War Diaries are held in Kew? I will, of course, do a search on their site as well.
Joanna, there are several war diaries at Kew. You can search the catalogue by typing in one of the references that I gave above, eg WO95/3688, and then using the "Browse from Here" button. You will be right in the middle of the series of war diaries. Let me know if there are any of interest. I could get you photographs of the relevant pages.

Robert

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Joanna,

With your interest in NZ Chaplains, you may be able to answer a question for me.

Some years ago now, I visited the home, and private collection, of M. Henri Caillot in Arras. Most of the contents are now in a barn museum at Avril's in Authonvillers, but not his collection of badges. It was the badges that I first noticed on entering his terraced house in Arras. He appeared to have the cap badges and collar dogs of just about every regiment and dept., that ever served in France. One set that lept out at me was a cap badge and dogs for a New Zealand Chaplain, Jewish.

I have often wondered just how many of them could there have been? How large was the Jewish population of NZ in 1914? How many Chaplains, Jewish did they need? Were these badges unique?

Bruce

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Hello Bruce,

I have had a quick look at the official history of NZ's army chaplains, and strangely only found one reference for Jews - in the bibliography:

'The History of the Jews in New Zealand' , Rabbi L M Goldman, Wellington 958 [1958?]

When I looked through the nominal roll for the 1st NZEF, I could find no Jewish chaplains. And none for the 2nd NZEF nominal roll (WW2).

I will take another (more thorough) look later.

Joanna

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Please don't put yourself out, Johanna.

It is just an idle query, but from what you have found so far, I think I might be correct in thinking that those badges are a real collectors' item.

Bruce

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Yes, possibly very rare... it would so far appear.

Perhaps one of the New Zealanders reading this thread would know more.

Joanna

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Joanna, there are several war diaries at Kew...

Robert

Do these cover the period in 1919 when New Zealanders were in Britain awaiting ships to transport them back home?

Moonraker

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Moonraker,

Looking through them quickly, there is a fair number of NZ diaries which go into 1919 - Jan, Feb and even March.

Following Robert's instructions from an earlier post for taking a look at what is available - "You can search the catalogue by typing in one of the references that I gave above, eg WO95/3688, and then using the "Browse from Here" button. You will be right in the middle of the series of war diaries." - may show you more specifically what you want to know.

Joanna

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Joanna; Thanks. I've been thinking of visiting Kew but didn't have enough files to look up to justify a trip. Now, thanks to you, I may have!

Moonraker

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Let me know if there are any of interest. I could get you photographs of the relevant pages.

Robert

Hello Robert,

I am surprised by the number of NZ war diaries held by National Archives. As I don't have enough information yet to know which ones might be relevant to my own research, I can see that I will be spending quite a bit of time there when I next visit London. So thank you for your very kind offer - my ideas are too hazy at this stage to pinpoint any one of them. I already have 2/Auckland Regiment war diaries (which are dated 1916- 19) on order from New Zealand.

Many thanks,

Joanna

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  • 2 months later...
I am surprised by the number of NZ war diaries held by National Archives. ...I will be spending quite a bit of time there when I next visit London.

Hi Joanna

I am just catching up with this thread - have been much distracted...

My father, the son of Rev Clive Mortimer-Jones, rang tonight to see if I had anything more on your Dobson fellow, and to find out if there was any chance of meeting up with you and comparing notes... He is travelling to Le Quesnoy for Armistice Day next month. This mission of finding more about his father's time after WW1 has been a very important project for him in recent years. His travelling from NZ to France at his age is a pretty big event.

I don't know where you are, but if you're interested, perhaps you can see my email address and contact me privately?

Did you visit Kew? Anything of interest?

Thanks,

jo

(Actually, I'm Joanna too, but that makes things confusing!)

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Great to hear from you! I will get back to you later today via e-mail.

I live in Poitiers - out of the war zone. But will give the whole thing some thought.

Very best wishes,

Joanna (also Jo!)

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