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War in the desert

Written by on November 3rd, 2017.      0 comments

"...we were just about a forgotten unit on a forgotten front."
Ted McKay, Auckland Mounted Rifle

October 1917 is remembered for the disastrous Passchendaele offensive.

But on the 31st October New Zealanders were fighting a very different but no less challenging battle in the Middle East. The capture of Beersheba was a turning point in the struggle between the British and Ottoman Empires and the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade played a key part in the capture of the town.

New Zealand troop with horses in the desert

The New Zealanders fought in Sinai and Palestine and were part of the ANZAC mounted division, some also served in the Imperial Camel Corps. Horses were a vital part of the fighting, carrying men through the desert often at night. Over 10,000 horses went to war, only four came home.

New Zealand soldiers with camels Bess one of the few horses who came home Camel laden with equipment

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The Fields of Remembrance Trust was established in 2012 to honour those who served and died for our nation during World War One.

The Trust is made up of the Passchendaele Society, the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association, New Zealand (RNZRSA) representIng all local RSAs, and the Auckland RSA. It is a registered charity.