WW1

Events In History

Articles

New Zealand and Le Quesnoy

  • New Zealand and Le Quesnoy

    It was the New Zealand Division's final action of the First World War. On 4 November 1918, just a week before the Armistice was signed, New Zealand troops stormed the walled French town of Le Quesnoy. The 90 men killed were among the last of the 12,483 who fell on the Western Front.

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  • Page 2 – The liberation of Le Quesnoy

    The capture of the French town of Le Quesnoy by the New Zealand Division on 4 November 1918 has special significance in New Zealand's military history.

  • Page 3 – Visiting Le Quesnoy

    Just 4 kilometres east of Beaudignies in northern France is Le Quesnoy. This town was in German hands for almost all of the First World War, from August 1914, until the New

  • Page 4 – Battle accounts, Lieutenant Averill

    Leslie Cecil Lloyd Averill is best remembered for his exploits during the liberation of Le Quesnoy on 4 November 1918.

  • Page 5 – Battle accounts, Private Nimmo

    Captain James Matheson Nimmo joined 3rd Battalion, 3rd New Zealand (Rifle) Brigade on 27 September 1918.

First World War - overview

  • First World War - overview

    Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and his wife Sophie were assassinated in the Bosnian city of Sarajevo. This was a key event in sparking the Great War of 1914–18.

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  • Page 2 – Origins of the war

    As part of the British Empire, New Zealand was formally involved in the First World War (often referred to as the Great War) by the declaration of war on Germany by King George

  • Page 3 – Preparing for war

    News of the outbreak of war was received in Wellington at 1 p.m. on 5 August 1914. It was announced by the governor, Lord Liverpool, on the steps of Parliament to a crowd of

  • Page 4 – New Zealand goes to war

    Before the outbreak of war, Prime Minister W.F. Massey had made it clear that New Zealand’s main contribution would be supplying troops to the major theatre of conflict. But

  • Page 5 – The war at home

    New Zealand played a small but useful part in the British Empire's war effort, and its essential war aim was achieved with the defeat of Germany and its allies in late 1918.

  • Page 6 – The legacy of war

    The war had a major impact on constitutional arrangements within the British Empire, and it affected New Zealand's international status.

  • Page 7 – First World War timeline

    A list of key events marking New Zeland's experience of the First World War.

  • Page 9 – Further information

    Find more information about the First World War.

First World War memorials

  • First World War memorials

    The New Zealand war memorials of the First World War have become part of the common fabric of our lives, like stop signs or lamp-posts. Virtually every township in the country has one, usually in the main street.

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  • Page 2 – Further information

    Links and books relating to New Zealand's First World War memorials

Battle of the Somme

  • Battle of the Somme

    A truly nightmarish world greeted the New Zealand Division when it joined the Battle of the Somme in mid-September 1916. Fifteen thousand men of the Division went into action. Nearly 6000 were wounded and 2000 lost their lives. Over half the New Zealand Somme dead have no known grave.

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  • Page 2 – Overview

    'Somme. The whole history of the world cannot contain a more gruesome word.' This is how one German officer described the Battle of the Somme in 1916. It was here that, day

  • Page 3 – New Zealand's Somme experience

    It was on the Somme that the majority of New Zealanders were killed or wounded during the First World War, and it was here that New Zealand experienced its worst days in

  • Page 4 – Men and machines

    By the time of the Somme offensive of 1916, the Great War had become shaped by artillery. Villages, woods and fields were reduced to drab wilderness by relentless shellfire and

  • Page 5 – New Zealand artillery on the Somme

    The Great War was halfway through when the big guns roared into life along the New Zealand Division's sector on the Somme in support of a major attack on 15 September 1916.

Maori and the First World War

  • Maori and the First World War

    Māori reactions to serving in the First World War largely reflected iwi experiences of British actions in the 19th century.

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  • Page 2 – White man's war?

    Imperial policy initially doubted the wisdom of 'native' troops fighting a 'white man's war'.

  • Page 3 – Resistance to conscription

    In his recruitment waiata, 'Te ope tuatahi', Ngata made it clear that the replacement recruits that he and his colleagues had raised all came from the East Coast tribes of

Conscientious objection

  • Conscientious objection

    There are always supporters and opponents of a country fighting a war. Over 2500 conscientious objectors lost their civil rights in New Zealand for refusing to serve in the First World War.

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  • Page 2 – Military Service Act

    The Military Service Act 1916 allowed limited exemption from service. Men who were exempted had to be prepared to provide alternative non-combatant service in New Zealand or

  • Page 3 – Socialist objection

    Many socialist and labour leaders criticised the First World War as an imperialist war and strongly opposed conscription. New Zealand workers, they argued, had no quarrel with

  • Page 4 – Pacifist objection

    Pacifists and Christian socialists opposed the war on moral or religious grounds.

  • Page 5 – Māori objection

    Māori served in the First World War in the Native Contingent. At home, there was some strong Māori opposition to conscription.

The Gallipoli campaign

  • The Gallipoli campaign

    Each year on Anzac Day, New Zealanders (and Australians) mark the anniversary of the Gallipoli landings of 25 April 1915. On that day, thousands of young men, far from their homes, stormed the beaches on the Gallipoli Peninsula in what is now Turkey.

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  • Page 2 – Gallipoli in brief

    The Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of the Central Powers. New Zealand and Australian troops supported British and French soldiers in an attempt to capture the

  • Page 3 – Invasion

    Allied forces landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula on 25 April 1915. British (and later French) forces made the main landing at Cape Helles on the southern tip of Gallipoli, while

  • Page 4 – Stalemate

    By 29 April, the battle of the landing was over; both sides had fought themselves to a standstill. While the New Zealanders and Australians had established a beachhead at Anzac

  • Page 5 – The Sari Bair offensive

    As the futile attacks continued at Helles, the Allies began looking at alternative strategies to break the deadlock. Lieutenant-General Birdwood, the ANZAC commander,

  • Page 6 – Evacuation

    Hill 60 was the last major Allied attack at Gallipoli. The failure of the August offensive raised more questions about the future of the campaign, especially in light of the

  • Page 7 – Soldiers' experience

    Life for the New Zealand soldier on Gallipoli was tough. They struggled with the harsh environment, living and fighting amongst the deep ravines and high cliffs that towered

  • Page 10 – Gallipoli biographies

    Find out more about some of the New Zealanders involved in the Gallipoli campaign between April 1915 and January 1916.

Passchendaele: fighting for Belgium

  • Passchendaele: fighting for Belgium

    Ever since 1917 Passchendaele has been a byword for the horror of the First World War. The assault on this tiny Belgian village cost the lives of thousands of New Zealand soldiers. But its impact reached far beyond the battlefield, leaving deep scars on many New Zealand communities and families.

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  • Page 2 – The battle for Messines

    The assault on Passchendaele was part of a vast Allied offensive launched in mid-1917, which, for New Zealanders, started with the Battle for Messines.

  • Page 3 – The Passchendaele offensive

    The failed attempt to capture the town of Passchendaele saw more New Zealanders killed in one day than in any other military campaign since 1840.

  • Page 4 – After Passchendaele

    Military events in Belgium after the Passchendaele offensive of October 1917, including the failed attack at Polderhoek

  • Page 5 – The human impact

    One in four New Zealand men aged 20–45 was either killed or wounded in the First World War, but the impact of the war reached far beyond these individuals and directly affected

  • Page 6 – Life in the trenches

    The daily tasks of life went on despite the hellish conditions of the Western Front trenches.

  • Page 8 – Fund-raising and support for Belgium

    Thousands of women across New Zealand supported the war effort in more than 900 patriotic and fund-raising organisations, which raised nearly £5 million for Belgian and

  • Page 7 – Helping the wounded

    More than 14,000 New Zealanders were wounded between June and December 1917 in Belgium, and medical staff, orderlies, chaplains and stretcher-bearers worked round the clock to

The Arras tunnels

  • The Arras tunnels

    During the First World War the men of the New Zealand Tunnelling Company, many of them hardbitten West Coast miners, helped create a vast network of military tunnels under the French town of Arras.

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  • Page 2 – The New Zealand Tunnelling Company

    With both the Allies and the Germans trying to tunnel under each other's lines to lay mines, the New Zealand Tunnelling Company's experience was invaluable.

Military mascots

  • Military mascots

    New Zealanders have one of the highest pet-ownership rates in the world. Wartime was no different. Take a tour through this menagerie of military mascots: dogs, cats, donkeys, monkeys, pigs, goats and birds. There's the famous bull terrier Major Major, along with the less well-known, but very cute, slow loris adopted by 1 RNZIR in Borneo.

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  • Page 2 – First World War mascots

    First World War mascots from the New Zealand Rifle Bigade's Great Dane, Freda, to Pelorus Jack of HMS New Zealand.

Armistice Day

  • Armistice Day

    After four terrible years, the First World War finally came to a close with the signing of an armistice between Germany and the Allied Powers on 11 November 1918. New Zealanders celebrated enthusiastically, despite having recently celebrated the surrenders of the three other Central Powers and the premature news of an armistice with Germany.

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  • Page 2 – Pre-Armistice Day surrenders

    From October 1918 New Zealanders progressively celebrated the surrenders of Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire and Austria-Hungary before the armistice with Germany on 11 November.

  • Page 3 – False armistice

    On 7 November 1918 the Prime Minister assured the public - following rumours to the contrary - that the government was not holding back news of a German surrender. The next

  • Page 4 – Armistice Day celebrations

    The news everyone had been waiting for finally came through on the morning of 12 November 1918 – a Tuesday. Germany had surrendered and signed an armistice with the Allies the

  • Page 5 – Armistice Day and the flu

    The influenza pandemic dampened some Armistice festivities, particularly in Auckland.

  • Page 6 – New Zealanders overseas

    The New Zealand Division official history records that those in France received the news of the Armistice ‘generally in a matter of fact way, totally devoid of any

  • Page 7 – New Zealand in 1918

    Some facts and stats about New Zealand in the year of the First World War armistice

Capture of German Samoa

  • Capture of German Samoa

    When war broke out in Europe in August 1914, Britain asked New Zealand to seize German Samoa as a ‘great and urgent Imperial service’. Although the tiny German garrison offered no opposition, at the time it was regarded as a potentially risky action.

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  • Page 3 – Seizing German Samoa

    With hindsight, New Zealand's capture of German Samoa on 29 August 1914 was an easy affair. But at the time it was regarded as a potentially risky action with uncertain

The Imperial Camel Corps

  • The Imperial Camel Corps

    The Imperial Camel Corps, which included two New Zealand companies, played a vital role in the Sinai and Palestine campaigns during the First World War. Between 400 and 450 New Zealanders fought in the Corps, and 41 died before the two New Zealand companies were disbanded in mid-1918.

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  • Page 2 – Formation and expansion

    Camels have often fulfilled the role of cavalry on the battlefields of the Middle East and adjacent regions, including during the Sinai and Palestine campaigns of the First

  • Page 3 – New Zealand Camel Companies

    In August 1916 No 15 (New Zealand) Company, Imperial Camel Corps, was formed from men originally intended as reinforcements for the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade.

  • Page 4 – End of the Imperial Camel Corps

    The New Zealand camel companies served with the Imperial Camel Corps Brigade in Palestine until it was disbanded in June 1918. At that point the Kiwi cameliers were reorganised

  • Page 5 – Cameliers and camels at war

    The cameliers of the Imperial Camel Corps would ride their mounts to the scene of the action but once there they were expected to dismount and fight on foot – as infantrymen.

  • Page 6 – Imperial Camel Corps organisation

    Reflecting their ad hoc origins, the camel companies used a unique mixture of infantry and mounted rifles organisation and nomenclature.

Sinai campaign

  • Sinai campaign

    The Sinai campaign is less well known than other First World War campaigns like Gallipoli and those on the Western Front. But it was here, in the harsh, arid desert, that the Allies took the first major step towards their ultimate victory over the Ottoman Turks in the Middle East.

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  • Page 2 – Overview

    The Sinai campaign arose from a change in British thinking about the defence of the Suez Canal.

  • Page 3 – Action at Katia

    In March 1916 the commander of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF), General Sir Archibald Murray, ordered his forces to occupy the area around the Katia oasis, 40 km east of

  • Page 4 – Battle of Romani

    Although the action at Katia boosted Ottoman morale, it soon became clear that it had not deterred the British from continuing their offensive into the Sinai.

  • Page 5 – Battle of Magdhaba

    By mid-December 1916 the Egyptian Expeditionary Force had advanced across the Sinai to within sight of the original objective of the campaign, the town of El Arish.

  • Page 6 – Battle of Rafah

    If the British failed to capture Rafah quickly they risked being overwhelmed by large Ottoman forces sent from Gaza.

  • Page 7 – Further information

    Further reading and links to more information about the Sinai campaign

Palestine campaign

  • Palestine campaign

    The British invasion of Ottoman-held Palestine in 1917-18 was the third - and last - campaign launched by the Allies against the Ottoman Turks in the Middle East during the First World War.

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  • Page 2 – Overview

    Victory in Sinai led to pressure from the British government, led by new Prime Minister Lloyd George, to invade Ottoman-controlled Palestine in 1917.

  • Page 3 – First Battle of Gaza

    The commander of Eastern Force mistakenly thought that the Egyptian Expeditionary Force could capture Gaza in March 1917 by using essentially the same tactics as those employed

  • Page 4 – Second Battle of Gaza

    The Second Battle of Gaza three weeks after the First Battle, was an even bigger disaster – a frontal attack by British infantry divisions resulted in their suffering

  • Page 5 – Third Battle of Gaza

    The third, successful attempt by the British to capture Gaza began in late October 1917.

  • Page 6 – The Trans-Jordan raids

    Two raids east of the Jordan River cost 3000 casualties. They are the first real defeats suffered by the EEF since the Second Battle of Gaza.

  • Page 7 – Battle of Megiddo

    The final battle of the Palestine campaign in September 1918 resulted in arguably the most decisive British victory of the war.

Central Powers

Allies

British Empire

Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment timeline

  • Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment timeline

    The Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment (WMR) was one of four mounted rifles regiments raised to serve overseas in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) during the First World War. We've provided an overview of the WMR and a detailed timeline of their activities from 1914 to 1919.

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  • Page 2 – 1914

    Timeline for the Wellington Mounted Rifles in 1914

  • Page 3 – 1915

    Timeline for the Wellington Mounted Rifles in 1915

  • Page 4 – 1916

    Timeline for the Wellington Mounted Rifles in 1916

  • Page 5 – 1917

    What the Wellington Mounted Rifles did in 1917

  • Page 6 – 1918

    The Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment (WMR), along with the rest of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade (NZMR), moves east across Palestine into the Jordan Valley in early

  • Page 7 – 1919

    Like the rest of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade (NZMR), the return of the Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment (WMR) to New Zealand in 1919 is delayed by a shortage of

Maori units of the NZEF

Researching New Zealand soldiers

Merchant marine

  • Merchant marine

    On 3 September New Zealand honoured Merchant Navy Day. Here we explore the little-known but vital role played by the merchant marine during the First World War. As in the Second World War, in 1914-18 these civilian seafarers often found themselves in the front lines of the war at sea.

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  • Page 2 – The merchant marine goes to war

    The outbreak of war in 1914 posed special problems for New Zealand due to its dependence on sea trade.

  • Page 3 – The Otaki's epic battle

    Many Home boats were lost, especially in 1917/18 when Germany stepped up its submarine warfare against Allied commerce. But one action stood out, an epic battle between the New

  • Page 4 – Hospital ships

    In May 1915, as the casualty lists mounted at Gallipoli, the government chartered a hospital ship, the Union Company's 5282-ton trans-Tasman liner Maheno

  • Page 5 – Wahine's wanderings

    Most requisitioned ships continued to carry people or cargo. One Union Company ship, however, entered the Royal Navy and bore the prefix HMS. The Wahine was no ordinary ship

  • Page 6 – Agony on the Aparima

    One of the worst losses of New Zealand lives at sea occurred aboard the Union Company’s Aparima in 1917.

  • Page 7 – Home waters

    The First World War had a dramatic impact on shipping arrivals to New Zealand.

  • Page 8 – Politics, patriotism and protest

    Although New Zealand seafarers served in many hostile theatres, some questioned the politics of the war.

Pacific aftermath

Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment timeline

  • Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment timeline

    The Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment (AMR) was one of four mounted rifles regiments raised to serve overseas in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) during the First World War.

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  • Page 2 – 1914

    Detailed account of the AMR in 1914

  • Page 3 – 1915

    The Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment actions in 1915, from Sinai to Gallipoli

  • Page 4 – 1916

    When most of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force goes to France in April 1916, the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade (NZMR) remains in Egypt as part of an Anzac Mounted

  • Page 5 – 1917

    During 1917 the Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment (AMR) and the rest of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade (NZMR) take part in three battles for Gaza.

  • Page 6 – 1918

    The Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment (AMR) and the rest of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade (NZMR) move east across Palestine into the Jordan Valley in early 1918 as part

  • Page 7 – 1919

    The return home of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade (NZMR) is delayed by a shortage of shipping.

Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment timeline

  • Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment timeline

    After training in Egypt the CMR fought in the Gallipoli campaign from May to December 1915. On its return from Gallipoli the regiment spent another four months in Egypt before taking part in the Sinai campaign of 1916 and the Palestine campaign of 1917–18.

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  • Page 2 – 1914

    Formation and first actions of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment

  • Page 3 – 1915

    In May the CMR and the rest of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade (NZMR) are thrown – as infantry – into the desperate struggle to seize the commanding heights of the

  • Page 4 – 1916

    When most of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force goes to France in April 1916, the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade (NZMR) remains in Egypt as part of an Anzac Mounted

  • Page 5 – 1917

    During 1917 the Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment (CMR) and the rest of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade (NZMR) take part in three battles for Gaza.

  • Page 6 – 1918

    The Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment (CMR) and the rest of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade (NZMR) move east across Palestine into the Jordan Valley in early 1918 as

  • Page 7 – 1919

    The voyage home of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade (NZMR) is delayed by a shortage of shipping. The men take classes designed to ease them back onto ‘civvy street’ after

Featherston camp

The Royal New Zealand Navy

  • The Royal New Zealand Navy

    Seventy years old in October 2011, the Royal New Zealand Navy is today an integral part of the New Zealand Defence Force. But its 1941 establishment was the result of a long process of naval development.

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  • Page 3 – First World War

    Establishing NZ's naval forcesWhen the Reform government took office in 1912, the way was opened for New Zealand to begin a new approach.

First World War art

  • First World War art

    During the First World War official and unofficial New Zealand war artists produced a wide range of works depicting this country's war effort. These works later became part of New Zealand's National Collection of War Art.

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  • Page 2 – Unofficial war art

    New Zealand soldiers used art to interpret the experience of the war for an audience of noncombatant civilians. Civilian artists in turn produced works that responded to and

  • Page 3 – Official war art

    The NZEF employed its first official war artist, Lance Corporal Nugent Welch, in April 1918. Welch documented the activities of the New Zealand Division in France and Belgium,

  • Page 4 – Establishing a collection

    Following the end of the war, attention turned to where New Zealand's official First World War art collection would be stored. Plans for a National War Memorial Museum in

  • Page 5 – National Collection of War Art

    There are around 1500 paintings, drawings, sketches, cartoons and prints in New Zealand’s National Collection of War Art. This collection has its origins in the final year of

  • Page 6 – Kiwi war artists

    Selected biographies of New Zealand First World War artists

  • Page 7 – Further information

    Website links and books relating to New Zealand First World War art collection

Anzac Day in the Pacific

  • Anzac Day in the Pacific

    Armistice Day was the initial focal point for commemorations in the Cook Islands and Niue after the First World War. But because men from both countries had served in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, observances gradually shifted to Anzac Day in April

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  • Page 2 – Early commemorative efforts

    During the 1920s war memorials provided a focus for commemoration services in the Cook Islands, where the first Anzac Day service was possibly held in 1927. On Niue, Armistice

  • Page 3 – The growth of Anzac Day

    By the end of the Second World War military commemorations in the Cook Islands and Niue centered around Anzac Day. Services in both countries followed the pattern of those in

  • Page 4 – Present day commemorations

    In the new millennium there has been increasing interest in the story of Pacific Island involvement in the First World War. In the Cook Islands there have been efforts to

  • Page 5 – Further information

    Books and further reading relating to the history of Anzac Day in the Pacific Islands of Niue and the Cook Islands

Schools and the First World War

  • Schools and the First World War

    Schools and children were quickly called into action at the outset of the First World War in 1914. Developing patriotic, fit and healthy citizens was seen as important to the survival of the country and the Empire. Hundreds of teachers joined the NZEF, including many from sole-teacher schools. Almost 200 never returned.

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  • Page 2 – Schools in 1914

    The head of the Department of Education believed that ‘moral purpose should dominate the spirit of the whole school life.’ Schools and teachers were to shape children into

  • Page 3 – Displaying patriotism

    In late 1917 district education boards ordered that children salute the New Zealand flag at the start of each school day. Some teachers opposed this as too militaristic.

  • Page 4 – The School Journal

    During the First World War the New Zealand School Journal played an important role in encouraging patriotism, self-sacrifice, obedience and support for the war effort among

  • Page 5 – Turning boys into soldiers

    The Defence Amendment Act 1900 introduced military cadet training into schools. The Defence Act 1909 made military training for nearly all boys compulsory from the age of 12

  • Page 6 – Supporting the war effort

    During the war children were encouraged to be ‘cheerful’ and ‘helpful’, to ease the worry and sorrow of the mothers and wives of soldiers. There were also many practical ways

  • Page 7 – Teachers who served

    Whether as school cadet officers or supporters of saluting the flag, teachers did much to set the moral tone of New Zealand schools before and during the war. Many hundreds

  • Page 8 – Education service First World War fatalities

    Roll of honour for education service employees killed in the First World War

  • Page 9 – Further information

    Links and books relating to schooling during the First World War

The Salonika campaign

  • The Salonika campaign

    23 October is the anniversary of the 1915 sinking of the Marquette with the loss of 32 New Zealanders, including 10 nurses. They were en route from Egypt to the Greek port of Salonika as New Zealand’s contribution to the little-known Allied campaign in the Balkans

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  • Page 2 – Lemnos

    The Balkan campaign of the First World War (also known as the Salonika or the Macedonian campaign) came about because of the changing strategic aims of the Allies and Central

  • Page 3 – Serbia 1915

    As New Zealand forces rested on the island of Lemnos in the autumn of 1915, the crisis in the Balkans intensified.

  • Page 4 – Campaign summary

    The failure of the Anglo-French advance into Serbia in November 1915 forced the Allied forces to dig in on the outskirts of Salonika in case the Bulgarians attacked Greece.

  • Page 6 – Hidden Anzacs

    A number of New Zealanders served in the British imperial forces at Salonika rather than with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force.

NZ's First World War horses

  • NZ's First World War horses

    Between 1914 and 1916 the New Zealand government acquired more than 10,000 horses to equip the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. They served in German Samoa, Gallipoli, the Middle East and on the Western Front. Of those that survived the war, only four returned home.

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  • Page 2 – Acquiring horses for war

    Between 1914 and 1916 the New Zealand government acquired more than 10,000 horses to equip the New Zealand Expeditionary Force.

  • Page 3 – Transporting horses from NZ

    Nearly all of the 10,000 horses the government acquired for the New Zealand Expeditionary Force between 1914 and 1916 went overseas.

  • Page 4 – German Samoa

    A total of 141 New Zealand horses were transported to Samoa during the First World War. Of these, 25 were despatched with the Samoa Advance Party of the New Zealand

  • Page 6 – Sinai and Palestine

    Several thousand of the New Zealand forces’ horses remained in the Middle East when the New Zealand Division sailed to France. These horses served with the New Zealand Mounted

  • Page 7 – Western Front

    More than 3000 horses and mules went from Egypt to France with the New Zealand Division in April 1916. Most of these horses had probably come from New Zealand originally.

  • Page 8 – The end of the war

    Of the 10,000 horses the government acquired between 1914 and 1916 very few died in New Zealand, or whilst being transported. Many died from disease or injury once overseas. Of

  • Page 9 – Further information

    Recommended books and links to information about New Zealand horses in the First World War

The War in the air

Hospital ships

  • Hospital ships

    The Maheno and Marama were the poster ships of New Zealand's First World War effort. Until 1915 these steamers had carried passengers on the Tasman route. But as casualties mounted at Gallipoli, the government - helped by a massive public fundraising campaign - converted them into state-of-the-art floating hospitals.

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  • Page 3 – Gallipoli calls

    The terrible casualty rate of the Gallipoli campaign spurred Governor Liverpool to raise funds for New Zealand hospital ships

  • Page 4 – Civilians at Gallipoli

    The Maheno arrived in the Mediterranean in time for the Allies’ bloody late August 1915 offensives to find that not much had improved since the April landings

  • Page 5 – Life on board

    What was life like aboard a hospital ship? That largely depended on your job, your rank and your gender.

  • Page 6 – Later service and legacies

    The Marama missed Gallipoli, reaching the Mediterranean a few weeks after the Allies abandoned the peninsula. The ships’ service pattern would now be dominated by long voyages

  • Page 7 – Hospital ships' movements 1915-19

    Movements of the hospital ships Maheno and Marama during the First World War

First World War postal service

  • First World War postal service

    The Post and Telegraph Department (the government agency from which New Zealand Post, Telecom and Kiwibank are descended) was crucial to this country’s participation in the First World War.

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  • Page 2 – Post and Telegraph timeline

    Key events in the Post and Telegraph Department before, during and immediately after the First World War.

Great War Stories

  • Great War Stories

    Videos screened on TV3 as part of the Great War Stories series. Each video is accompanied by extra information and links to primary sources

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  • Page 1 - Great War StoriesVideos screened on TV3 as part of the Great War Stories series. Each video is accompanied by extra information and links to primary

Pacific Islanders in the NZEF

Links - military history

1919 peace celebrations

  • 1919 peace celebrations

    Although the guns fell silent on 11 November 1918, peace wasn't officially proclaimed until 28 June 1919, when the Treaty of Versailles was signed. In July 1919 communities throughout New Zealand and the Empire celebrated peace with elaborate public events over several days.

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  • Page 3 – Plans change

    Instructions from the British government hindered New Zealand's efforts to plan peace celebrations, but the coal shortage had a much greater impact on the form they eventually

  • Page 4 – Peace celebration days

    Peace celebrations were held throughout New Zealand. Most communities held a Soldiers’ Day, a Day of Thanksgiving, and a Children’s Day on Saturday 19, Sunday 20 and Monday 21

  • Page 5 – Further information

    Suggestions of where to find further information on the peace celebrations.

Food in the 20th century

  • Food in the 20th century

    The pavlova - that frothy, baked confection of egg whites and sugar - has long been seen as an icon of New Zealand cuisine; its place of origin has been debated with Australians for just as long in one of the many instances of trans-Tasman rivalry.

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  • Page 5 – Fruit and vegetables

    A house and garden on a patch of land were part of the 'New Zealand dream' for most of the twentieth century.

Temperance movement

  • Temperance movement

    Temperance was one of the most divisive social issues in late-19th and early-20th century New Zealand. Social reformers who argued that alcohol fuelled poverty, ill health, crime and immorality nearly achieved national prohibition in a series of hotly contested referendums.

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  • Page 4 - Voting for prohibitionThe First World War period brought total or partial prohibition to several countries: New Zealand came within a whisker of joining

The Ottoman Empire

  • The Ottoman Empire

    Few Kiwis today know much about one of our main First World War enemies, the Ottoman Empire - a sophisticated but often forgotten empire whose soldiers fought against New Zealand troops for four years in the Gallipoli, Sinai and Palestine campaigns.

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  • Page 5 – Ottoman Empire at war

    How the Ottoman Empire fared during the First World War

  • Page 7 – Rise of Arab nationalism

    As the Ottoman Empire entered the First World War in 1914 the loyalty of its Arab subjects could no longer be taken for granted.

War and remembrance

  • War and remembrance

    War has played a defining role in shaping our nation since we first sent troops overseas to South Africa in 1899. As the centenary of the the First World War (2014-18) approaches, many New Zealanders will reflect on our nation's experiences of war and the impact of conflict on our society.

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  • Page 4 - They shall grow not old…

Passchendaele activities

First World War bibliography

New Zealand and the First World War book

Western Front in 1918

  • Western Front in 1918

    In 1918, a series of major German and Allied offensives broke the stalemate of trench warfare on the Western Front, resulting in the collapse of the German Army and the end of the war within the year. New Zealand units played an important part in the Allies' final push for victory.

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  • Page 1 - 1918: Amiens, Bapaume and victory - Western Front campaignIn 1918, a series of major German and Allied offensives broke the stalemate of trench warfare on the Western Front, resulting in the collapse of the German Army and the end of the

HMS Philomel

  • HMS <em>Philomel</em>

    New Zealand's first warship, HMS Philomel formed the core of the country's naval forces during the First World War. The aged and largely obsolete vessel was commissioned in New Zealand in July 1914, and went on to serve in the Pacific, Mediterranean and Middle East.

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  • Page 1 - NZ's first warshipNew Zealand's first warship, HMS Philomel formed the core of the country's naval forces during the First World War. The aged and largely obsolete vessel was commissioned in New

Biographies

  • Freyberg, Bernard Cyril

    A First World War hero and commander of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force, Bernard Freyberg proved to be a charismatic and popular military leader who would later serve a term as Governor-General

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  • Begg, Charles Mackie

    Charles Begg was New Zealand's most decorated member of the Medical Corps during the First World War. He played a major role in the treatment of troops during the 1915 Gallipoli campaign.

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  • Frickleton, Samuel

    Lance Corporal Samuel Frickleton took part in the attack on Messines, Belgium, on 7 June 1917 where his acts of extreme gallantry earned him a Victoria Cross.

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  • Massey, William Ferguson

    William Massey is our second-longest serving leader. Although he was reviled by the left for crushing workers in 1913 with his ‘Massey’s Cossacks’ (strike-breakers), he also kept most of the Liberals’ reforms, cleaned up the public service, increased home ownership rates and spent more on education, roads and electricity.

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  • Welch, Nugent Herrmann

    Nugent Welch was New Zealand’s first ‘war artist.’ Thirty-two of Welch’s works are in New Zealand’s National Collection of War Art held at Archives NZ. 

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  • Butler, George Edmund

    George Edmund Butler became New Zealand’s second official war artist in August 1918 – as it turned out, just three months before the end of the war. There are almost 100 of his works in New Zealand's National Collection of War Art, making him this country's most prolific First World War artist

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  • Russell, Andrew Hamilton

    Andrew Russell was one of New Zealand's most important military leaders of the First World War, known for his strategic brilliance and meticulous planning.

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  • Burton, Ormond Edward

    Ormond Burton was a Methodist minister and prominent pacifist who developed anti-war views after serving in the First World War.

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  • Allen, James

    As Minister of Defence from 1912 until 1920, James Allen was responsible for the organisation of New Zealand’s military forces during the First World War.

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  • Godley, Alexander John

    Godley was a man with considerable talent for organisation, as evidenced by his training of the Territorial Force in the early 1910s, and later command of the New Zealand Division in the First World War.

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  • Baxter, Archibald McColl Learmond

    Archibald Baxter's memoir, We will not cease, is a powerful account of dissent and its consequences, and has become a classic of New Zealand literature.

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  • Rout, Ettie Annie

    Ettie Rout gained an infamous public profile as a safe-sex campaigner during the First World War.

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  • Logan, Robert

    Robert Logan ran the military administration of German Samoa on behalf of Britain during the First World War.

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  • Burn, William Wallace Allison

    William Wallace Allison Burn was the first New Zealander to qualify as a military aviator. During the First World War he served in the Middle East, where he became the first New Zealand pilot to be killed in action.

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  • Caldwell, Keith Logan

    One of New Zealand's greatest aviators, Keith Caldwell recorded 25 confirmed victories while serving as a pilot in the First World War.

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  • Rhodes-Moorhouse, William Barnard

    William Rhodes-Moorhouse, the first airman to receive a Victoria Cross, served as a mechanic and pilot in the early months of the First World War. 

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  • McGregor, Malcolm Charles

    Malcolm McGregor, known to colleagues as ‘Mad Mac’, achieved fame as a First World War air ace and later helped to establish civil aviation in New Zealand.

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  • Dickson, Euan

    Euan Dickson was one of the most successful Allied bomber pilots of the First World War, flying 175 raids, and shooting down 14 enemy aircraft with the help of his observer.

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  • Brandon, Alfred de Bathe

    Wellington lawyer, Alfred de Bathe Brandon, was famed for his attacks on German Zeppelin airships during the First World War.

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Related keywords

  • Main image: Zeppelin wreck

    The burnt-out wreck of Zeppelin L-48 near Theberton, Suffolk, June 1917.

Images and media for WW1