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New Zealand Division


armourersergeant

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armourersergeant

I am reading a book by Robin Neillands at the moment and it is currently covering aspects of dominion forces and why there reputation is so high. It makes some good points but one that occurs to me is that the New Zealand division does not get much recognition and he even says that arguably it was the finest of all Dominion forces.

I have not read much regarding this Division and wondered if any Pals have any thoughts on this statement. (i am sure there are some Aussies and Canadians out there).

He also makes a statement that many serving in the ranks of the Australian and Canadian forces were actually British immigrants, how true is this statement?

thanks in advance

Arm.

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Ian Underwood
I have not read much regarding this Division and wondered if any Pals have any thoughts on this statement. (i am sure there are some Aussies and Canadians out there).

He also makes a statement that many serving in the ranks of the Australian and Canadian forces were actually British immigrants, how true is this statement?

Interesting you bring this up, as I've been spending too much of my time recently thinking about dominion forces on the Western Front and their perceived roll in victory. Being a proud 'Anglo-Aussie' I have a foot in both camps.

To answer your second question first; Of course most Anzac troops would have British or Irish origins, but I suspect a larger number of these men than first thought would have been recent English immigrants. I have no statistics to draw from, but co-incidentally, the two AIF relatives I'm reseaching were both recent English immigrants, with neither having been in the country for more than 10 year prior to the outbreak of the war.

They include:

Harry Greenwood of Staleybridge Lancs, (2nd Field Coy of Engineers), wounded at Lone Pine, and twice at 3rd Ypres.

Edmond Miles of Rickmansworth, Herts (1st Field Coy of Engineers).

Both men surviced the war and returned to Australia, where they married but had no children.

Of course the most revered Anzac, John Simpson (of the Donkey fame) was famously an Englishmen, who was down on his luck and signed up essentially to get a free ride back to blighty!

Further illustration of the point comes from my other great uncle, George Keill, (see current thread in the soldiers section), who was a East-ender who immigrated to Canada and came back with the RFC.

I can't comment directly on actual New Zealand operations on the Western Front, but of all the Dominion countries involved in this theatre, the Kiwis seem to have no great issues with the importance history has given their troops in this theatre, (unlike the Canadian and Aussies!). I have no theories about this, other than the simple fact that the Kiwis I know are probably the least showy and bombastic people I know. Quietly preferring to go about their job, as best as they know how with the minimum of fuss.

An interesting fact, New Zealand troops had the highest rate of V.D. on the front, closely followed by the Aussies.

Ian.

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Guest Ian Topham

I cannot speak for the Aussies or Canadians.

My Great Uncle served with the 15th North Auckland Regiment in Gallipoli ( Albert Topham ), he was granted a battlefield commissioned by Lt Gen Godley on the beach at ANZAC Cove, in his personal record his Next of Kin was named as his father at an address in Southport, Lancashire, he emigrated in 1913 to NZ, he had previous military service as a Territorial

Albert Topham's cousin Albert Henry Topham also served at ANZAC Cove as a medic his NOK was also listed as Southport, Lancashire.

I believe the above was not unusual, certainly in NZ, and I would presume the same would apply to Australia and Canada.

From documents and dairies at the National Army Museum in Waiouru quite a number NZ Soldiers spent leaves with UK close family relatives.

Cheers

Ian :D

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If anyone can track down Chris Pugsley, author of some of the best work on the New Zealand forces, please invite him to comment here. I believe he is working at RMA Sandhurst?

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Guest Ian Topham
[quote:

An interesting fact, New Zealand troops had the highest rate of V.D. on the front, closely followed by the Aussies.

Ian

Sorry! I could not go past the last sentance in your reply, without asking you where the info came from about the VD rate of NZ Soldiers.

Cheers

Ian

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An interesting fact, New Zealand troops had the highest rate of V.D. on the front, closely followed by the Aussies.

Ian.

In 'Eye Deep in Hell', John Ellis indicates that, of the Dominion Forces, it was the Canadians that had the highest incidences of V.D, with a rate of 209.4 per thousand.

In fact, he indicates that the Anzac forces were better protected against infection, being issued with personal disinfection kits and says that "...the New Zealanders, who provided their men with 6 prophylactic tubes evey time they went on leave."

Of all forces, it was the French who had the highest incidences of V.D, with over a million recorded cases!

Arm, have a look here for more info on NZ involvement in the great war.

http://www.greatwar.org.nz/over.htm

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Hello,

What are V.D.?

Jan

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If anyone can track down Chris Pugsley, author of some of the best work on the New Zealand forces, please invite him to comment here. I believe he is working at RMA Sandhurst?

Correct - but the demands of full time military history can often preclude posting on WW1 forums, sadly.

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Ian Underwood
In 'Eye Deep in Hell', John Ellis indicates that, of the Dominion Forces, it was the Canadians that had the highest incidences of V.D, with a rate of 209.4 per thousand.

In fact, he indicates that the Anzac forces were better protected against infection, being issued with personal disinfection kits and says that  "...the New Zealanders, who provided their men with 6 prophylactic tubes evey time they went on leave."

Well I can't disagree with that info :)

I was actually quoting information from an excellent ABC (Aust Broadcasting Commission) documentary that was shown a few years ago around Anzac Day that followed a study group from both the Aust War Memorial and the Imperial War Museum along the battlefields of the Western Front. The premise of the doco being an attempt to debunk the popularly held myth down under that the Aussies were the best troops on the front, and found the key to victory despite poor British Generalship, etc. It highlighted the current revisionist 'post-Laffin' viewpoint of Aust historians, and was actually very good....but may have been off the mark with the VD facts.

In regards to the NZ efforts at Gallipoli, the battle of Chunuk Bair is one of the most gallant and tragic of that campaign, and it saddens me to say is virtually unknown to most Australians who would be familiar with the actions at Lone Pine and the Nek - actions which were part of the same offensive.

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Judging by the amount of soldiers on local memorials I have researched, my guess would be that large amounts of Australian & Canadian servicemen were native of the UK & emmigrated prior to the war. I have a couple of dozen Canadian & Australian serving men & a couple of New Zealanders & one South African. All born in the North Bucks Area. Many had siblings serving in UK regiments & one (Private George Whiting) although serving in the Canadian Army was buried in the local cemetary not far from where his mother lived.

Will

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He also makes a statement that many serving in the ranks of the Australian and Canadian forces were actually British immigrants, how true is this statement?

Hi Arm:

Here's the breakdown of enlistment in the CEF by country of birth:

Canada: 1914 - 10,880 (30%) 1914-1919 - 318,705 (52%)

UK: 1914 - 23,211 (64%) 1914-1919 - 228,174 (36%)

Other: 1914 - 2,176 (6%) 1914-1919 - 72,757(12%)

Garth

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I was actually quoting information from an excellent ABC (Aust Broadcasting Commission) documentary that was shown a few years ago around Anzac Day that followed a study group from both the Aust War Memorial and the Imperial War Museum along the battlefields of the Western Front. The premise of the doco being an attempt to debunk the popularly held myth down under that the Aussies were the best troops on the front, and found the key to victory despite poor British Generalship, etc. It highlighted the current revisionist 'post-Laffin' viewpoint of Aust historians, and was actually very good....but may have been off the mark with the VD facts.

In regards to the NZ efforts at Gallipoli, the battle of Chunuk Bair is one of the most gallant and tragic of that campaign, and it saddens me to say is virtually unknown to most Australians who would be familiar with the actions at Lone Pine and the Nek - actions which were part of the same offensive.

I agree Ian. The New Zealand efforts at Chunuk Bair deserve a higher recognition in Australia.

I only know of one movie that has been made about Chunuk Bair, a New Zealand movie that I got out on video around 5 or so years ago.

It was always surprising to me that after Gallipoli the Australians & New Zealanders didn't fight side by side more often in France, apart from Messines, Third Ypres & Hebuterne.

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Hello All,

Approximately 1 in 4 soldiers enlisting in the A.I.F were not born in Australia.

In fact ,many Australian soldiers had N.O.K in the UK & many considered themselves ‘Australian Britons’.

I quote C.E.W Bean (pg 84 Official History Vol 1) “Colonel MacLaurin left it on record that at one period 60 per cent of the recruits for his brigade were British born; before it sailed , 73 per cent of the men in the first contingent were Australian born, and of the remainder many more, no doubt, had lived in Australia since childhood”

It's been noted by some British historians that the New Zealanders appear to be the only dominion troops that acknowledge that their single division did not win the war in 1918. The New Zealanders were magnificent and courageous soldiers and 'full of dash'. They had a reputation as being as effective as, and somewhat more reliable than the 'larrakin' Australian comrades.

The four New Zealand Official Histories are very well written and illustrated. (well worth reading for those interested) They were written very soon after the War, in comparison to the twelve volumes that Bean was still completing many years later. Indeed, Bean’s Chapter on Chunuk Bair (one of my personal favourites) clearly shows how brave these men fought and died.

(I remember reading it the first time & feeling sick in the stomach)

Comparing Australians and New Zealanders in the War- like comparing Australians and Canadians is not a easy task. The truth be known, they probably had more in common than any major differences. You are more likely to find differences in British vs Dominions soldiers. The reasons for this have been frequently recorded in many books - I will not go into them here)

It is sad many Australians still fail to recognise New Zealands contribution to the Great War. There has always been a love- hate relationship between Aussies & Kiwis. It still exists today-(clearly evident to me on Sat night at the Rugby) It’s difficult to explain, but I think it loosely based on fierce sporting rivalry and ‘silent’ mutual respect of each others 'shared' history.

Just a few rambling thoughts!

Cheers

Geoff S

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armourersergeant

here i go again getting led off on another tangent to what im doing but my ganders up!!

Chunak Bair, anybody know of any good online sources to this engagement/battle that i can read?

thnaks All good info on a subject i know little about, but i feel i will know alot more soon.

Arm.

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Guest Ian Topham

As one ex Armourer Sergeant (RAF) to another, (now living in NZ)

If you ever get the chance, see the dawn come up on Chunuk Bair, Gallipoli on the morning of the 25th April any year, with the New Zealander and Australian Soldiers present, and, with the hundreds of young New Zealander's and Australian's who are doing their oversea's experience (almost a pilgrimidge for them), and as the last notes of the Last Post sound if you do not have a tear in your eye for those men that fought on those slopes, then......

It is an unforgettable experience, you will not have to read about it, you will feel it, believe me!

Ian

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