Some 10,000 New Zealand horses went overseas to serve in the First World War. Bess was the only horse from the Middle East to return home to New Zealand – and only three other horses returned from the Western Front.
Mark Briggs objected to taking part in the First World War on socialist grounds. He was arrested and became one of fourteen conscientious objectors forcibly deported to Europe and sent to military camps.
Leonard Hart was one of the New Zealand soldiers engaged in the offensive at Passchendaele. His letter to his parents which was smuggled out to avoid military censorship is the most vivid extant record of the horrors of the battle.
New Zealand received the news of the outbreak of war just before 1 p.m. on 5 August. At 3 p.m. the Governor, Lord Liverpool, announced the news from the steps of Parliament to a large and enthusiastic crowd.