King George V inspects 7,000 New Zealand troops at Bulford Field on 1 May 1917. New Zealand’s high command did not miss the opportunity and also present were Generals, Brigadiers, the Prime Minister William Massey, Joseph Ward – Leader of the Opposition and their wives and daughters and other dignitaries.
The 7,000 New Zealand troops on parade included: 4,000 from 4th Brigade; 1,500 from Sling Camp; 1,000 from Codford Command along with Engineers, ASC, Cadets and a few mounted rifles. After inspecting the troops, the King took the march-past and presented medals.
"The toughest part of the war was lack of sleep"
Coupled with the lack of shelter or water and a very poor diet, Australian and New Zealand soldiers on Gallipoli found the lack of sleep almost impossible to get used to. The cramped conditions, noise, heat and flies made a good night’s rest a rare luxury. Men often fell asleep where they were sitting – or standing, as New Zealand veteran Jerry Duffel recalls in this radio interview recorded in the 1960s.
Dust in our ears, eyes, mouth, nose and everywhere
In late 1914 the New Zealand and Australian forces were diverted from their original destination of England to Egypt. There they combined to form the ANZAC Corps that would eventually fight in the Gallipoli campaign. This film shows an activity that became a routine part of soldiers’ life - the troop inspection.
As well as the blazing Egyptian heat, the ANZAC troops had another menace to contend with – dust. Herbert Hart wrote in his diary “[t]he sand is worked into such fine dust near camp, that it now flies everywhere whenever the troops move over it. We had dust in our ears, eyes, mouth, nose and everywhere, it fell from our puggarees [cloth wrapped around the regulation sun helmets], pouches, pockets, putties [long cloth strips wrapped around the calves] or from all our clothes.”
The Daisy Patch
Joseph Gasparich was a gumdigger and school teacher before he joined the Auckland Infantry Battalion. In May 1915 he was serving with the combined Australian and New Zealand forces at Anzac Cove in Gallipoli. General Sir Ian Hamilton decided to try and break through to the south of the Gallipoli peninsula, and New Zealand and Australian infantrymen were sent to Cape Helles by ferry. On 8 May the New Zealanders launched a series of attacks across an open field of poppies and daisies. In 1968 Joe Gasparich recorded his memories of the unsuccessful attacks in the Daisy Patch. “It was absolute murder – or suicide, whichever way you like to look at it.”