First World War in the News is an edited review of hand-picked World War I (1914-1918) articles - covering everything from the soldiers and generals to the trenches and militaria.

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New Zealand

Latest hand-picked First World War news. See also: See also 'Battlefield Journeys', 'WW1 Leaders', 'VC: Victoria Cross Medals', 'WW1 Uniforms, Flags'.

The Great Wrong War: New Zealand Society in World War I by Stevan Eldred-Grigg (WWI book review)
In this provocative history of New Zealand society during the First World War, Stevan Eldred-Grigg chooses a judgmental stance. While no one has written a comprehensive home front history before, not all the material presented is new: The outrageous treatment of conscientious objectors and the high rates of sexually transmitted diseases among the troops have become as much a part of NZ history as the landings on Anzac Cove. Eldred-Grigg pulls all this into a narrative - with a good number of colour illustrations - which insists that the war was not a national rite of passage but a national blunder of monumental proportions.
(nzherald.co.nz)

The Devil's Own War: The First World War Diary of Brigadier-General Herbert Hart (book review)
When Herbert Hart left New Zealand in 1914 to serve as a major with the NZ Expeditionary Force, he never dreamed he would return home as a much-decorated brigadier-general. Talented and decisive, his quick rise through the ranks saw him command the Wellington Battalion during the the Gallipoli campaign then serve as a battalion and brigade commander on the Western Front. Like many, Hart kept a diary of his experiences, now considered as one of the key personal sources about the NZEF. A born diarist, his factual style makes his account of the war very powerful, including horrific details of day-to-day fighting, the injuries his men suffered and the deaths of comrades.
(stuff.co.nz)

The Other Anzacs: Nurses at War 1914-1918 by Peter Rees [book review]
New Zealand military history during the past 150 years has with some unwillingness recorded the place of NZ women at war. Only 3 pioneer females were recipients of the New Zealand War Medal in recognition of their bravery during the NZ Land Wars of the 19th century. This is a far cry from the use of nurses in WW1 when women from the Anzac nations volunteered to serve either as nurses or nurse aids. They were posted at field hospitals close to the battle lines and in the rear and reserve areas where the wounded were eventually moved. It was the numbers of women who volunteered that is as noteworthy as was their readiness to sacrifice their lives.
(stuff.co.nz)

First World War flying ace William Rhodes-Moorhouse had Maori roots
He was a pioneering aviator and a war hero to boot, but the mystery of William Rhodes-Moorhouse's Maori link has never been solved. He was the first airman to get the Victoria Cross medal after a daring WWI mission that took his life. Now film-maker Julian Arahanga is following the trail, with the search focused on an unknown Maori grandmother who gave up her daughter (the pilot's mother) as a child: "We're having real trouble trying to find out who his grandmother was." William Rhodes-Moorhouse became friends with the Wright brothers, and was one of the first people to hold a pilot's licence.
(stuff)

ANZAC honoured in NZ stamps: The ANZAC Series – Stories of Nationhood
The many New Zealanders who died fighting on foreign fields are being honoured in NZ Post's Stamp Issue: The ANZAC Series – Stories of Nationhood. While the acronym ANZAC (Australia and NZ Army Corps) is now synonymous in New Zealand and Australia with people who have served as peacekeepers, it originated from soldiers who were brought together on Turkey's Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915. There, nearly 3,000 New Zealanders and over 8,000 Australians made the ultimate sacrifice. Each stamp tells a unique story: The 50c Gallipoli 1915 stamp has a photo of the Auckland Infantry Battalion landing at ANZAC Cove.
(scoop)

National treasure, stolen Waiouru medals, returned for slice of reward
There was a phone call, a coded message and Chris Comeskey knew that the medals had landed. For 10 weeks police had searched for the missing Waiouru medals, while old soldiers grieved and angered Kiwis called for answers. All the while, Chris Comeskey, the military-styled lawyer using his contacts in criminal underworld, was on the trail. Within a week he was sure he knew who had seized the medals. His mission was to secure their return: before the thieves sneaked them out of the country into the collectables black market, where they would be worth millions. But as media shone a limelight on the case, the two men holding the collection of medals became nervous.
(nzherald)

Western Front: Exploits of NZ tunnellers showed in a museum 22m underground
France: On the streets of Arras people head to work. But below the city, a maze of tunnels probe deep into the rock. The darkness become oppressive, raised only by astonishment at how any man could work and fight in this underworld. Yet such was the life of a band of Kiwis: the 446 men of the New Zealand Tunnelling Company, whose feats on WW1's Western Front are being presented in a museum 22m below ground. The tunnellers were brought to France in a bid to break the gridlock of trench warfare. Allied commanders dealing with the barbed wire, machine-gun nests and concrete shelters saw that the best chance of a breakthrough might come from underground.
(nzherald)

WWI NZ Soldiers honoured in France - Tunnellers` museum, Carrière Wellington
Mahara Okeroa represents New Zealand at two ceremonies marking the role kiwi soldiers played in France during the First World War. The opening of the tunnellers` museum, Carrière Wellington, in Arras marks the feats of the New Zealand Tunnelling Company which, in 1916-1917, built a series of tunnels underneath Arras. This allowed for the placing of mines under German positions. Okeroa will mark another piece of New Zealand military history at a handover ceremony in Albert when he gets the identity tags of World War 1 kiwi soldier Richard Kemp (Richard Keepa). Tags were found by a 6yo school girl on the nearby Somme battlefields.
(scoop)

The forgotten New Zealand's mounted soldiers who halted the Turks
Terry Kinloch is frustrated that the role played by New Zealand's mounted soldiers in the British campaign to defeat Turkish forces in the Middle East in the First World War is forgotten. 12,000 Kiwis served in the arduous campaign to push Turkish forces out of the Sinai Desert and Palestine 1916-1919. They earned a formidable reputation, and more than 500 were buried in graveyards scattered around the Holy Lands. But their exploits are overshadowed by the static battles in Gallipoli and the trenches on the Western Front. Lieutenant Colonel Kinloch has written a book on the mounted rifles called Devils on Horses.
(stuff)

Gunner Billy: The only NZ naval officer to ever win the Victoria Cross
Naval historian Grant Howard, author of "Gunner Billy", spent 5 years researching about war hero Lieutenant Commander William Edward Sanders - the only New Zealand naval officer to ever win the Victoria Cross medal. The HMS Prize was attacked by a German U-boat in April 1917. Sanders hoisted the navy ensign as the enemy craft approached and opened fire, severely crippling it. He died 4 months later in another attack. Howard had a breakthrough when he tracked down Sanders' great-grand-nephew Eric Welch who was able to fill in a few gaps. Navy PR manager Lieutenant Commander Barbara Cassin says Sanders holds a unique place in New Zealand's maritime history.
(stuff)

New Zealand's Great War: NZ, The Allies and The First World War
Most books about the Great War are from the soldier's perspective, presenting a picture of mayhem, mud, slaughter and incompetence. The generals never seemed to learn, hurling wave after wave of soldiers in futile attacks on trenches. "New Zealand's Great War: New Zealand, The Allies & The First World War," edited by John Crawford and Ian McGibbon, presents a different perspective, reflecting a shift in historical study. Chris Pugsley sums it up: "The British army was no mastodon stuck in its ways: from the highest level down there was an ongoing assessment of how the Germans were reacting to evolving British tactics."
(stuff)

The full list of 22 New Zealander Victoria Cross medal winners
Leslie Wilton Andrew - 1917; La Bassee Ville, France: Corporal Andrew was in charge of a small party in an attack on the enemy's position. His objective was a machine-gun post, but on leading his men forward he faced another machine-gun post. He attacked it, capturing the gun. He then continued with his attack on the original objective and captured the post. Cyril Royston Guyton Bassett - 1915; Gallipoli: On 7 August 1915 at Chunuk Bair Ridge, Gallipoli, after the New Zealand Brigade had established itself on the ridge, Corporal Bassett, in daylight and under fire, succeeded in laying a telephone line from the old position to the new one on Chunuk Bair.
(nzherald)

Gallipoli is national symbol - For Australians, a Turkish pilgrimage
9 decades after 130,000 people died in the great allied fiasco of WW1, the hills of Gallipoli peninsula are still littered with shrapnel. The trenches where the soldiers of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac) fought still riddle the hillsides, in places so close to the Turkish lines that the soldiers could lob hand grenades back and forth 3 times. Today no one swims in the waters of the Aegean out of respect; the Australians and New Zealanders who come to visit go to the nearby "Brighton Beach" instead. And come they do, in numbers that have exploded since the last diggers, or Anzac soldiers, died.
(iht)

NZ claiming war hero Shout as own
Like Phar Lap, Russell Crowe and pavlova, Gallipoli war hero Captain Alfred Shout is being claimed on both sides of the Tasman. The man whose Victoria Cross was sold at auction for a record $A1 million to Kerry Stokes served in the Australian army and was posthumously awarded the medal on Australia's recommendation. But it's a fact that Shout was born and bred in New Zealand. He signed up with an army reserve regiment in 1907 and the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) when World War I broke out in 1914, joining Anzac forces at Gallipoli 1915.
(aap)

The first New Zealand Expeditionary Force casualty of WW1   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Ludolph West, who died on August 25, 1914, is to be formally recognised as the first New Zealand Expeditionary Force casualty of World War I, in spite of never leaving the country. Ludolph Edwin Wynn West - known at Palmerston North Boys' High School as Wynn - signed on for service and camped at Awapuni with the main body of the regional field artillery regiment. War had been declared on August 4. New Zealand and other Empire nations immediately offered troops. Within a week of entering camp, Gnr West, 19, died of pneumonia.
(stuff)

New Zealand and the First World War - Overview
On 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Serbian Nationalist, assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the Bosnian city of Sarajevo. It seems incredible that the fall-out from this event so far from New Zealand would claim the lives of 18,500 New Zealanders and wound a further 50,000. Places thousands of miles from home with exotic sounding names like Gallipoli, Passchendaele and the Somme would forever become etched in the national memory during what became known as the Great War.
(nzhistory)


See also

'Battlefield Journeys'

'WW1 Leaders'

'VC: Victoria Cross Medals'

'WW1 Uniforms, Flags'.