College – Issue 40

“They made Overton President and I was Chairman of the Pit, and we made an awful row till about 10.15pm, when Red Caps (otherwise Military Mounted Police) came and chased us out. “Some Tommies from the Lancashire Division came and had a look at us with their mouths open – they had never dreamed of seeing all ranks mixed up like that and making such a row. “We sang all the old school songs and drank to the health of the school and got home about 11pm. This morning sent a wire to the school conveying greetings (everyone put 1 piastre into the hat for the cable).” v Intriguing as the obverse of the menu is, it is the signatures of 67 Old Boys on the reverse which really tell the story. There are two names which stand out and may explain how the menu arrived at Christ’s College. Across the top on the reverse are the words “Return to JD Boys”. John Donald Boys was identified as the source of the photographs of Gallipoli in the Christ’s College Register in 2013 and Frederick John Gorton as the developer of those photographs when he was invalided home. vi Was the menu in Gorton’s kitbag when he returned to New Zealand? The First World has been well traversed by authors in recent years so in conjunction with this historical background and personnel records vii some of the individuals that signed the menu can also be highlighted as representative of all the attendees and indeed of all the Christ’s College Old Boys who were involved in the war. Deciphering the names and extracting the information (to follow) has been gleaned from a number of sources, some of which contradict each other. viii

Figure 2: Reverse of the Heliopolis Menu

Table 1 groups together the dates of death and wounding, and from it, it becomes clear that there were specific events which took their toll on the Old Boys. Initially it was the infantry that bore the brunt of the first part of the Gallipoli campaign, and this is seen in the deaths and wounds associated with the Battle of the Landing, Quinn’s Post, Daisy Patch and Helles during May. August saw the arrival of the mounted regiments, but they were fighting as infantry. The resultant deaths and wounding of Old Boys increased. Rhododendron Spur, Bachop’s Hill, Hill 60 and Chunuk Bair are etched into New Zealand’s corporate memory. The Wellington Infantry Battalion on Chunuk

The majority of those whose names are on the menu enlisted in Canterbury regiments, but as Table 1 shows (see page 76), many Old Boys enlisted in other parts of the country and in specialist units. Some transferred during the course of their war service and others were commissioned in Imperial regiments and were decorated for their gallantry and bravery. The Gallipoli campaign forms a large part of the story, but some Old Boys did not even get across the Dardanelles from Egypt to the Peninsula. Dysentery sent many soldiers to hospital in Mudros and on a troop ship back to New Zealand (see Table 2, page 78).

College Issue 40 2021


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