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Beselare

New Zealand War Diaries

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Beselare

I am trying to find a website for the New Zealand war diaries, especially 2nd Batt., Canterbury Regiment at Messines in June 1917.   I am finding that trying to navigate through the various N.Z. websites is proving as user-friendly as the London Gazette.  Can anyone give me a simple way to access these diaries?

 

Many thanks

Bob

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Frajohn

Bob

 

I have tried, unsuccessfully' to locate the war diaries. Hopefully someone might come along with an answer.

 

However, in the meantime, you might find the link below useful to you.

 

THE HISTORY OF THE CANTERBURY REGIMENT9

 

Kind regards

 

John

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Ron Clifton

They should be available on the Kew website, and probably on Ancestry and FindMyPast as well. They are in the war diaries class: WO95/3658 to 3714. The diary of 2/Canterbury is in WO95/3699 (to end of 1917) and 3700 (for 1918).

 

Ron

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Beselare

Thanks Ron and John.  I must confess that the Discovery site was the last place I would have tried for a New Zealand diary.  I tried to access it but it has not been digitised so it is back to square one.

 

Bob

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JeffMcN

Hello Beselare

The New Zealand Division unit war diaries are held by  Archives New Zealand, the national archive - www.archway.archives.govt.nz .  It holds a lot of material and apart from the individual servicemen's records none are really available online.  (The servicemens' records are complete and comprehensive.)  Unfortunately, the Archive has been amalgamated with the National Library of New Zealand and the NL won - forcing the archive to restructure its catalogues to conform with library systems.  Total disaster.  the Alexander Turnbull Library (part of NL) has a lot of photos and other stuff.  Lots of soldiers' diaries at Waiouoru Army Museum, but not digitised.

BUT

I have photographed a lot of the various war diaries around May-July 1917 as Messines is my research area.  I have both 1st and 2nd Canterbury war diaries for this time.  Tell me exactly what you want and I will see if I have what you want.  Some of the photos are blurred, but you might have a chance....

 

1st Canterbury went up the ridge face to the Brown Line (0400 hours) with 1st Otago on its left, 3rd and 1st Rifle to its right.  2nd Canterbury took the left side of Messines south to the square out to the Yellow Line (by 0500 hours)

 

Here are the 2nd Battalion Canterbury Regt. war diary entries for first week of June to get you started. I have the rest of the month and earlier if you want.  I do not have Company reports.

Good luck

Jeff

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7-DSC03073.JPG

8-DSC03074.JPG

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Beselare

Hello Jeff

 

What a find!   It really is sad news about the NZ archives - it is almost as if the government doesn't want the rest of the world to know.  I don't suppose it is anybody's job to do anything about it so presumably it will stay in this sorry state for ever.  The Australian diaries on the other hand are a joy to dive in to.

 

Without your help I wouldn't have stood a chance.  The descendents of Pte. John Rayner, 2nd Canterbury, kia 7 June 1917 and remembered on the Messines Ridge Memorial are coming here on 26 June to pay their respects to his name.  I can now confidently take them on his final footsteps.

 

Bob

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David_Underdown
On ‎27‎/‎05‎/‎2017 at 17:12, Ron Clifton said:

They should be available on the Kew website, and probably on Ancestry and FindMyPast as well. They are in the war diaries class: WO95/3658 to 3714. The diary of 2/Canterbury is in WO95/3699 (to end of 1917) and 3700 (for 1918).

 

Ron

In general diaries of Dominion units have not been digitised from the copies held at TNA as most are already available in digital form (and often free) through their respective national archives (NZ evidently being an exception).

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JeffMcN
On 5/29/2017 at 01:20, Beselare said:

What a find!   It really is sad news about the NZ archives - it is almost as if the government doesn't want the rest of the world to know.  I don't suppose it is anybody's job to do anything about it so presumably it will stay in this sorry state for ever.  The Australian diaries on the other hand are a joy to dive in to.

 

Without your help I wouldn't have stood a chance.  The descendents of Pte. John Rayner, 2nd Canterbury, kia 7 June 1917 and remembered on the Messines Ridge Memorial are coming here on 26 June to pay their respects to his name.  I can now confidently take them on his final footsteps.

 

Bob

Glad to have helped out.

 

I presume you have looked up Rayner's record: http://ndhadeliver.natlib.govt.nz/delivery/DeliveryManagerServlet?dps_pid=IE19575808 

 

I just had a look at the Kew Archive Discovery and found "

           2 New Zealand Infantry Brigade: 2 Battalion Canterbury Regiment

           Ordering and viewing options

           This record has not been digitised and cannot be downloaded. 
 

The New Zealand decision was to digitise every soldiers' war record as a first (and probably only) priority, reflecting that  most people are only interested in what happened to their relations.  Reflects the realities of a small country with limited resources.  There would be very few people overall interested in diving into war diaries.  On the flip side - the Archives are situated with a fantastic view over Wellington harbour, so the Reading Room is worth going into just for the views, the staff are helpful and the cafe is very good.  Nice to visit in other words!

 

Let me know if you need other records, but no promises I have them.  But in the meantime, I am about to climb into the aluminium can for a 17 hour non-stop trip to Dubai then five hours in another to Brussels and Messines!  Coming 'From the uttermost ends of the Earth'! has a downside!

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Beselare

To Jeff and Graeme

 

First of all, thank you Jeff for identifying the location of Pte. Rayner's service record - I hadn't managed to get a copy.  If you need any help with transport when you visit Messines, please let me know and I might be in a position to help you.

Secondly thank you Graeme for the link.  It's a pity that the important regiments' diaries end in July 15, Dec.16, April 167, etc., but at least it's a great start.

 

Bob

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GraemeClarke

Hi Bob,

 

Sorry about that, I checked one to see if they were actually there but not all the dates etc.

 

As you say, its a start,

 

Regards,

 

Graeme

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jvkpaulsutton

For those interested to commemorate the centenary of the battle of Messines I have written an article entitled 'Casualty Evacuation Scheme, Battle of Messines, 7-12 June 1917' which is available for free download from my personal website: http://www.pshistory.com/articles/casualty-evacuation-scheme-battle-of-messines-7-june-1917/

 

There are also lots of photos on my Messines100 Facebook page as well: https://www.facebook.com/Messines100/

 

Thanks

Paul

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JeffMcN
On 6/2/2017 at 01:52, GraemeClarke said:

Hi

 

They are here

 

https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1357008

 

Regards,

 

Graeme

Hello Graeme. Only catching up now on Messines things... Thanks for the link page.  However, it only covers NZ units while they were part of the original ANZAC Division, before the creation of the separate NZ Division in 1916. 

 

As an aside and for completeness, watch out for the reorganisation of the NZ Division's 1st and 2nd Brigades in January 1917.  Before then, both Brigades had a battalion each of the four provincial regiments:  1st Bde (1st Auckland, 1st Wellington, 1st Canterbury, 1st Otago) and similar for 2nd.  In January 1917 the battalions were  reorganised to have both battalions of a regiment in the same brigade:  1st Bde (1 & 2 Auckland, 1 & 2 Wellington; 2nd Bde (1 & 2 Canterbury, 1 & 2 Otago).  3rd (Rifle) Brigade remained unchanged, while the short-lived 4th Brigade had a battalion of each province (3 Auckland, 3 Wellington...)  Ian Passingham in 'Pillars of fire: the battle of Messines Ridge, June 1917' trips on this one! 

 

And to Bob Beselare - thanks for the offer of transport.  We had a car and got around ok, though the wind certainly played havoc with the sound system, sadly for us - not much to be heard of the morning ceremony.

 

Jeff

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Frank Flanders

hello Jeff McN,

I would very much like the war diary pages of the 1st. Battalion Canterbury Regiment for the period of early May 1917 i.e. 1st up to May 7th. of May in order to retrace the story of a fallen relative. Could you help me in this?

What is also of interest to me is the war diary of the , 1st.Battalion Otago Infantry Regiment for the period of 25- 30 December 1917 and of  3-7 April 1918. Could you help me in this? Frank

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Wendy Macpherson
On 12/18/2017 at 23:19, Frank Flanders said:

hello Jeff McN,

I would very much like the war diary pages of the 1st. Battalion Canterbury Regiment for the period of early May 1917 i.e. 1st up to May 7th. of May in order to retrace the story of a fallen relative. Could you help me in this?

What is also of interest to me is the war diary of the , 1st.Battalion Otago Infantry Regiment for the period of 25- 30 December 1917 and of  3-7 April 1918. Could you help me in this? Frank

 Forum member 'Jacks Dad' aka Roger Shepard may have these diaries PM him perhaphs. I checked my collection and cant help sorry.  

Edited by Wendy Macpherson

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Frank Flanders
On 12-1-2018 at 00:48, Wendy Macpherson said:

 Forum member 'Jacks Dad' aka Roger Shepard may have these diaries PM him perhaphs. I checked my collection and cant help sorry.  

Ok, but how can I contact  'Jacks Dad' aka Roger Shepard ?

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Bardess

@jacksdad Hopefully Roger should see this thread now

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jacksdad

If you still need help let me know, been a while since i checked in

Roger

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jacksdad

IMG_2638.JPG

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jacksdad

 

Let me know if you need help on locating the Becelaere sector, i have it maped out on Google earth. The trench coordinates here will  put you in the right place though.

IMG_7880.JPG

Edited by jacksdad
wrong photo

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jacksdad

Unfortunately the pages (photo is too blurry to read.) for the 1st - 9th April 1918 for 1/Otago.

I can give you the 31/March 1918 page, or the 9th April on.

They were at Auchonvillers, when the NZD stopped the German advance here.

 

Cheers

 

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jacksdad

Opps, nope, I have obviously gone back to the Archives and recopied them the next trip down there.

Here they are, your lucky as they are written up by James Hargest, who very detailed. they are a bit faint to read.

 

 

 

 

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Frank Flanders

thank for posting the pages, they're welcome. Frank :)

 

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Frank Flanders

of the Becelaere sector,  I also have an overlay trench map.  Yours would be welcome as well of course.  What I haven't located is Waker Camp. Thanks again. 

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