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Colleen46

The New Zealander Battalions at Sling Camp and the construction of the

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Colleen46

Hi

I'm writing a book about the 1919 riots of NZ troops at Sling Camp and subsequent construction of the Bulford Kiwi.

This happened when the ports in the UK were closed due to strikes in 1919. NZ troops could not get home and rioted in March 1919. They had also rioted in 1918 on Armistice Day. Troops from other countries also rioted on different dates.

The Bulford Kiwi on Beacon Hill was constructed after the riots and according to the diary of the officer in charge of constructing the Kiwi it was completed on the day Peace was signed, 28th June 1919. I am interested in any information surrounding the 'Kiwi' especially photographs, any ideas as to how the 'kiwi' was surveyed ( I have two surveyors working on this here in NZ) and any UK newspaper reports about it at the time.

I have researched Archives and the National Library here in NZ, plus Papers Past and have a wealth of information regarding the NZ end of the operation. It is the UK end that i am particularly interested in. I have located a working drawing of the 'Kiwi' here in NZ, thought to be used on site.

My husband and I are travelling tot he UK in August to carry out further research and to visit the 'Kiwi'.

Thanks for any help or ideas.

Colleen Brown

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Simon Jones

Hi Colleen

Forum member Moonraker will hopefully reply. He is the author of two excellent books on Wiltshire and Salisbury Plain during WW1.

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Moonraker

And here I am, but sadly have little to offer, as Colleen has consulted most of my sources of information, plus those in New Zealand that were not readily available in my heyday of researching.

Perhaps Colleen will be putting the disturbances by NZ troops into the context of general unrest among soldiers of many (all?) nationalities after the Armistice? Certainly there were problems with Australian troops in Wiltshire, men of the 3rd West Yorkshire Regiment were court-martialled for refusing to parade at Durrington Camp, three miles west of Sling, and machine-guns had to be trained on protesting men at the demobilisation camp at Chisledon, to the north of Salisbury Plain.

Perhaps the only advantage I have over Colleen is that I was able to look at most of the Wiltshire local newspapers for 1919, but these were usually very discrete about disturbances within military camps, presumably because of wartime censorship regulations still in force.

I have 11 old postcards showing the Kiwi, but I suspect that Colleen will be familiar with them and will have found other images in NZ archives.

Shortly after the outbreak of war, some 240 New Zealanders then resident in Britain were sent for training at Sling, it at first being assumed that ANZAC troops from home would join them there. But conditions on the Plain were so bad that it was decided to send everyone to Alexandria.

I would be very interested in acquiring a copy of Colleen's book in due course.

Moonraker

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Colleen46

Thanks for the heads up about the postcards and the newspapers. As you are aware there were nation wide strikes in the UK during 1919 which effectively stopped all shipping to NZ. Brigadier-General Richardson from the NZ Expeditionary Force pleaded twice - to no avail - with the strikers to let the NZ soldiers get aboard and go home.

Soldier's diaries actually reference the strikes - but again there appears to be a dearth of information about the impact of those strikes on the soldiers - from all countries waiting to be repatriated. I have copies of papers where Brigadier -General Richardson says quite clearly that he is pleased that the riots were not published in any papers - I suspect the military were concerned about the reputation of the NZ soldiers and didn't want to have it tarnished.

The soldiers' diaries make sad reading - many of them fought the entire war - never went home, family members had died in NZ whilst they were away and all they wanted to do was to return home.

I have some photos of the kiwi but more importantly I have copy of the sketch done by Percy Blenkarne and access to the diary of the Captain responsible for overseeing the construction of the Kiwi.

I would be interested in seeing the photographs and if you have any information as to the completion date of the Kiwi I'd be very grateful to get it.

Thanks very much for your interest and help.

Colleen46

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Herekawe

Hi Colleen

If you want to look at the Kiwi at Bulford Camp - which of course is still in use - close up I think you will have to arrange that in advance? It was only a few years ago I went but I cannot remember if they let us in via the camp or directed us to another place where you could see it from a distance. Certainly security was pretty tight.

Cheers

James

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HERITAGE PLUS

Colleen

You may find this of interest:

http://talltales.me/2012/07/15/the-bulford-chalk-kiwi/

Dave

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Moonraker

Good account, Dave.

James, in post 4 above, is correct to suggest that today the Kiwi is difficult to view from a distance.

When you visit the Kiwi, Colleen, be sure to check out the nearby practice trenches:

thread

And perhaps you'll also be visiting NZ war graves in the locality - there are 173 of the Great War period in Wiltshire.

(Only 33 miles from Bulford is Brockenhurst, (in Hampshire) where there was an NZ hospital in the war; 97 NZEF graves are in the cemetery at St Nicholas' Church, just outside the village.)

Sorry, I don't have a completion date for the Kiwi.

I'll scan my cards for you shortly.

Moonraker

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Moonraker

I have little doubt that Colleen knows the following, though it may be of interest to others:

Guidance on demobilisation of New Zealand soldiers: Glutha Mackenzie, editor, Chronicles of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, December 20, 1918, p261.
Details of New Zealanders' disaffection are given by Christopher Pugsley, On the Fringe of Hell (Hodder & Stoughton, Auckland 1991). At Lark Hill in February 1919 twenty or thirty members of the Maori Pioneer Battalion, some with pistols, broke into the canteen and stole a 36-gallon cask of ale and rolled it down Amesbury Road. At Sling on March 14-15, South Islanders angered at the shipping delays raided messes, stealing cigarettes, beer and food, and destroying furniture and furnishings. Four sergeants and various privates were court-martialled for "endeavouring to persuade persons to mutiny" and "in joining in a mutiny". Three of the four sergeants were reduced to private and sentenced to up to six months' imprisonment and hard labour; privates received up to 100 days.
I have print-outs of several relevant contemporary articles from the New Zealand press, but Colleen will already have found these out for herself.
Moonraker

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Moonraker

Here are crude scans of my Sling Kiwi cards - plus one of the inside of the YMCA hut at Sling.

post-6017-0-55859700-1433358873_thumb.jp

post-6017-0-16858800-1433358951_thumb.jp

post-6017-0-31567300-1433358928_thumb.jp

Moonraker

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Colleen46

Hi Colleen

If you want to look at the Kiwi at Bulford Camp - which of course is still in use - close up I think you will have to arrange that in advance? It was only a few years ago I went but I cannot remember if they let us in via the camp or directed us to another place where you could see it from a distance. Certainly security was pretty tight.

Cheers

James

Thanks James - I have friends in Bulford who walk/run up there regularly and last weekend they biked up to get the measurements of the plaque for me; so I think that there is pretty free access if you know the way! Thanks for your interest. The unfortunate thing these days is that unlike when the Kiwi was constructed - its obscured by trees etc. I had to point it out to our friends who had lived int he area for years and didn't know it was there.

Cheers

Colleen

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Colleen46

Colleen

You may find this of interest:

http://talltales.me/2012/07/15/the-bulford-chalk-kiwi/

Dave

Thanks Dave - I had come across this post before and the NZ Herald article - it's a great way to let people know how to access the Kiwi - it really needs a brochure of sorts to tell people how to access the Kiwi - when we come over in August/September we'll take detailed notes and try to put something together. I really appreciate your sending me material as it forms a sort of check list for me as to what is out there and what i have already looked at. Colleen

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Moonraker

Yes, access to the actual carving is easy enough and on public rights-of-way (and the views across the Plain are good).

Google Images have a couple of modern photographs taken from a perhaps unflattering angle, as well as aerial shots several older ones that I don't have.

Colleen will know that in 2008 New Zealand issued a set of six stamps to mark ANZAC Day, one of which was based on an old photo of the Kiwi.

Moonraker

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Moonraker

One last pic:

post-6017-0-87598700-1433363633_thumb.jp

Moonraker

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Colleen46

I have little doubt that Colleen knows the following, though it may be of interest to others:

Guidance on demobilisation of New Zealand soldiers: Glutha Mackenzie, editor, Chronicles of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, December 20, 1918, p261.
Details of New Zealanders' disaffection are given by Christopher Pugsley, On the Fringe of Hell (Hodder & Stoughton, Auckland 1991). At Lark Hill in February 1919 twenty or thirty members of the Maori Pioneer Battalion, some with pistols, broke into the canteen and stole a 36-gallon cask of ale and rolled it down Amesbury Road. At Sling on March 14-15, South Islanders angered at the shipping delays raided messes, stealing cigarettes, beer and food, and destroying furniture and furnishings. Four sergeants and various privates were court-martialled for "endeavouring to persuade persons to mutiny" and "in joining in a mutiny". Three of the four sergeants were reduced to private and sentenced to up to six months' imprisonment and hard labour; privates received up to 100 days.
I have print-outs of several relevant contemporary articles from the New Zealand press, but Colleen will already have found these out for herself.
Moonraker

It's interesting that Chris Pugsley talks about the Maori Pioneer Battalion revolt - I haven't come across anything of this nature recorded officially - so I will have a look at it - thanks. I have the Inquiry information from both riots at Sling Camp ( November 1918 and March 1919) and from memory nothing is mentioned about a revolt in February - but I'll follow up on that line of inquiry - thanks very much. The material I have from newspapers is from the accounts that soldiers sent home. An Auckland Battalion officer's letter ( I think from memory) was handed to the local newspaper, they were not based at Sling Camp, and it was a bit pious actually. It was along the lines of - we wouldn't do anything like this. Some of the soldiers' diaries were quite gleeful and old soldiers interviewed years later were specific in what actually happened and how it all evolved. The Inquiry itself is interesting and lots of eye-witness accounts reveal that quite a few Australian soldiers recuperating at the VD hospital next door joined in as well. The Australian Army had to pay for some of the damages as well as the NZ Army. I'm interested in the demobilization material - I have the official accounts from NZ Archives but anything else is very useful as well. I'll look into the book - thank you very much. The newspaper material I have is from a few excerpts printed recently and in the previous post by Dave plus some done in the 1980s. The rest is from Papers Past. Even if you can give me dates I can look them up from here. That is fantastic - thanks so much. It's brilliant to be able to put some ideas up and get considered responses in return - especially when it's over night - a bonus in the morning!

Colleen

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Colleen46

Yes, access to the actual carving is easy enough and on public rights-of-way (and the views across the Plain are good).

Google Images have a couple of modern photographs taken from a perhaps unflattering angle, as well as aerial shots several older ones that I don't have.

Colleen will know that in 2008 New Zealand issued a set of six stamps to mark ANZAC Day, one of which was based on an old photo of the Kiwi.

Moonraker

Thanks for the update - yes the stamps have been drawn to my attention. I don't have a set - yet! Yes the Kiwi over the years almost looks as if it has a flattened back end - I'm not sure why that is - I'm having an email conversation with the archaeologist in charge of the Kiwi and it's on my list of things to talk about.

Colleen

Here are crude scans of my Sling Kiwi cards - plus one of the inside of the YMCA hut at Sling.

attachicon.gifKiwi 1-001.jpg

attachicon.gifKiwi 3-001.jpg

attachicon.gifKiwi 2-001.jpg

Moonraker

Thank you for all the photos - do you by any chance have dates for any of them? It's all so very helpful. I appreciate the time and effort it takes to send all this material.

Colleen

One last pic:

attachicon.gifKiwi 4.jpg

Moonraker

Thanks for this. Colleen

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Colleen46

One last pic:

attachicon.gifKiwi 4.jpg

Moonraker

Hi - Do you know when this picture was taken? I'd love to be able to tie down the completion date - if there are pictures of Beacon Hill in February or March 1919 without a Kiwi or any excavations on it then it makes my assertions stronger that it wasn't started until later on. Thanks

Colleen

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Moonraker

The only card with a date is the one at top right, post 9 (road leading towards gate), which is postmarked September 6, 1919.

All the articles I have in my notes came courtesy of Papers Past and pre-date the riots.

The war diary of "the VD hospital next door" is

here

I'll leave it to you to decipher it - unless you've done so already!

John A Lee's Civilian into Soldier (T Werner Laurie, London 1937) is a novel, obviously fact-based, about the war experiences of a New Zealand soldier, John Guy. One chapter describes life at Sling Camp.

Moonraker

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Colleen46

Hi Everyone - I'm trying to track down what might have happened to Fred Wright's collection of plates from the 1919 period when he took a photo/s of the Bulford Kiwi. Fred Wright operated from Andover and I have emailed the county office to see if I can get any information via their museums etc.

Thanks to everyone's help I have found Jim Fuller - he has confirmed that his grandfather took photos of Sling Camp and the Kiwi but I'm looking for verification of the finish date of the Kiwi - I have a lot of information to suggest it wasn't March - in fact I don't think it was started until well after March and from memos I have from Archives here in NZ it would suggest that June was the completion date.

I'm after any diaries, letters , dates on the back of postcards - any scrap of information that will help. Kind regards and a huge thank you to all those who've replied and ferreted things out for me - its been an exciting week or two for me with the research slowly taking shape and being revealed. Colleen46

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Moonraker

I've already PM'd Colleen but others may like to know that Fred Wright was a prominent postcard photographer of the Great war periods who produced many images of Tidworth Barracks. He published the Kiwi card to which I refer in post 17.

I've suggested to Colleen that the carving of the Kiwi would have been unlikely in the early months of 1919 because of the weather inhibiting work on the steep hillside.

Sadly very few postcard photograph archives of a century ago survive, T L Fuller's being a very welcome exception.

Some years ago I heard that the descendants of A J Bealing of Shaftesbury had destroyed his glass plates. He took studio portraits of soldiers at Fovant Camp and also produced postcards of the badges carved on the nearby hillside.

Moonraker

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Wendy Macpherson

Hi Colleen - Welcome to the Great War Forum.

If you are looking for more information or material

you may also like to contact forum member Kiwi Bob.

Robert works at Archives New Zealand and Turnbull Library, Wellington.

For over ten years he has read and catalogued/indexed WW1 letters and diaries and post cards etc.

He is an incredibly learned gentleman all thing diaries and New Zealand Soldiers.

His use of the forum is a bit of a challenge to him so get in touch via good old email, or you could try your luck via PM.

I will PM you his name and email as I don't think is on his blog. Google Kiwi Bob also.

He is the gentleman that you see on the news in New Zealand returning WW1 items to families.

Best - Wendy

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Colleen46

Hi Wendy - thanks for your information - it's staggering actually but I got exactly the same information from the head of Toitu Museum in Otago - Sean Brosnahan. Sean's information also arrived today. I have looked at many of the diaries and of course Jane Tollerton's interviews, however I'm sure I will get more information from Robert. Thanks for your speedy response. I really appreciate it.

Cheers Colleen

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Colleen46

I've already PM'd Colleen but others may like to know that Fred Wright was a prominent postcard photographer of the Great war periods who produced many images of Tidworth Barracks. He published the Kiwi card to which I refer in post 17.

I've suggested to Colleen that the carving of the Kiwi would have been unlikely in the early months of 1919 because of the weather inhibiting work on the steep hillside.

Sadly very few postcard photograph archives of a century ago survive, T L Fuller's being a very welcome exception.

Some years ago I heard that the descendants of A J Bealing of Shaftesbury had destroyed his glass plates. He took studio portraits of soldiers at Fovant Camp and also produced postcards of the badges carved on the nearby hillside.

Moonraker

Thanks for your help on this. Yes I agree with you about when the Kiwi was started - in his diary Harry Clark says that they had a stack of work to do early in 1919 and from what he says it would have been about April at least before they started working on the Kiwi. I've looked at the weather reports for the areas also during early 1919 - it was pretty grim - rain and cold - so getting soldiers up Beacon Hill would have been a pretty hard task.

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Colleen46

I'm sending out another request - does anyone know anything about The Bulford News - it is mentioned a number of times in NDG' James' book - Plain Soldiering but I've looked at newspapers in the UK, asked locals and also Wiltshire library/archives to no avail. People think that it is a military publication. I've emailed Rosemary Meeke who writes Drumbeat for the Tidworth area but no one seems to know much about it. It was being printed up to at least 1985 as James has a reference to it on page 226 of the Plain's book. I have emailed the Defence Academy at Shrivenham today and await their reply. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Colleen

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Colleen46

Does anyone know of a Colonel P. W. Herring OBE or a Major W. J. A Withers who are quoted in the book Gods and Graven Images: The Chalk Hill Figures of Britain by Paul Newman pub 1987. The W. J. A Withers may be a New Zealand officer but at this stage I can't get that confirmed here in NZ.

Thanks

Colleen

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Wendy Macpherson

Hi Colleen

Start a new thread for each of your two other inquires,

that way you will get more views and interest.

I cant help on either account sorry.

Wendy

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