College – Issue 40

left for Egypt as part of the Main Body on either the troopship Tahiti or Athenic . Robert was wounded at Bachop’s Hill and was on his way back to New Zealand on board SS Tofua before his brother stepped foot at Gallipoli. Thomas Rayne had spent some time in hospital in Malta before arriving in October. He was one of those who were evacuated in December 1915. Robert Paul Harper’s citation for the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) mentions conspicuous gallantry between 21–30 August 1915 on Hill 60 (Kaiajik Aghala) and adds that, “He invariably displayed great bravery and devotion to duty.” xiii Subsequently, during the December blizzard that swept the Dardanelles, he was hard pressed to keep the machine guns firing, as water froze in their jackets. The problem was solved by adding glycerine and wrapping puttees around the guns. In January 1916 the New Zealand Division was reorganised to take account of the evacuation from the Dardanelles and reinforcements arriving from New Zealand. The Mounted Rifles were reunited with the horses they had left in Egypt and remained in the deserts of the Sinai Peninsula and ultimately moved north through Palestine. On 1 March 1916 the Infantry Division came into being and on 11 April arrived on the Mediterranean coast of France. Fewer of those who signed the menu can be traced to the New

Zealand Mounted Brigade as it fought its way from Romani to Jaffa. Conditions in the desert took their toll on both men and horses. Kinloch wrote … “The lack of water, the deep sand and the extreme heat meant that they could only fight continuously for a week before they were too exhausted and weak to continue.” xiv Every fighting man had a horse and they, like the men, endured extreme heat and bitter cold, wounds, exhaustion and could be soaking wet and covered in mud. xv In Egypt and the Sinai malaria was a constant threat. Stagnant pools of water and swamps where the mosquitos bred were drained or covered in a film of oil. Reeds growing alongside the slow moving streams were removed and channels straightened. Mosquito nets were issued for sleeping. xvi Despite these efforts at eradication nothing could be done about the wind that blew the mosquitos about. Research has shown that over 111,000 blood smears were examined by the ANZAC laboratory and 40,000 by the British diagnostic stations and 28.9% were positive for Plasmodium falciparum , the most dangerous form of malaria. xvii The personnel record of Thomas Rayne Wreaks shows that in July 1918 he was admitted to hospital suffering from malaria. By October 1917 the infantry was moving towards Passchendaele, a

70m high ridge that would, if won, stop the German view over the Ypres battlefield. It was planned that New Zealanders would build on the English advance and move towards Goudberg Spur. They had to first capture Bellevue Spur in the mud and mist and drizzle. The wire had not been cut as planned by the artillery fire and the guns fired short. George Augustus King was killed by British artillery fire. xviii McKenzie Gibson was also dead, two of the 957 lives that it is estimated were lost on 12 October. Donald Dobson was wounded for the second time. John Percy Hanmer, the only Old Boy to sign the menu that was not in a New Zealand regiment, enlisted in the Australian Imperial Army on 17 April 1914 and was wounded at Gallipoli. He then proceeded to France with the 3rd Field Artillery Battery xix but died as a result of gas poisoning at Bailleul on 29 March 1918. The statistics tell the final part of the story: 62 of the 67 (92.53%) Old Boys who signed the Heliopolis Menu spent time on Gallipoli. Of those 17 (27.41%) were Killed in Action or died as a result of wounds. Another 26 (41.93%) were wounded as a result of action on Gallipoli and two of those were wounded twice. A further six were killed in action on the Western Front, and others were wounded for the second time either there or in Palestine. For many the effects of enlistment in the Great War affected the rest of their lives.

Abbreviations for the tables on the following pages


Killed in action Died of wounds Died of sickness Prisoner of war


Auckland Infantry Battalion AucklandMounted Rifles Canterbury Infantry Battalion Canterbury Mounted Rifles

NZE NewZealand Engineers NZFA NewZealand Field Artillery NZMC NewZealandMedical Corps MGC Machine Gun Corps RAF Royal Air Force







WIB Wellington Infantry Battalion WMR WellingtonMounted Rifles EEF Egyptian Expeditionary Force FAB Field Artillery Batter





Number of entries

College Issue 40 2021


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