The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]
New Zealand Volunteers
New Zealand Volunteers
The inception of the Volunteer force in New Zealand dates as far back as the year 1856, or about three years prior to its institution in the Mother Country, and may be attributed to the forethought of Dr John Logan Campbell. That interesting and notable man did many things indicating public spirit and foresight, and his initiation of the volunteer movement was undoubtedly one of them. During the year 1856, when Dr Campbell was Superintendent of the Province of Auckland, Governor Gore Browne received a despatch from the Secretary of State for the Colonies, stating that in future New Zealand would have to pay the cost of Imperial troops, or do without their assistance in dealing with the Maoris. As Superintendent, Dr Campbell received a copy of this despatch, and, in view of the fact that the Colony must, sooner or later, become self-reliant in the matter of defence, caused a sum of £1000 to be placed on the estimates, for the purpose of purchasing a supply of rifles of the best class, with a view to arming a body of efficient marksmen, consisting of such of the militia as might volunteer to form a rifle corps. Colonel Hay, of the Hythe Rifle School, was entrusted with the selection of the weapon; and in drawing up a memorandum for the Colonel's guidance in the matter, Dr Campbell observed that, in order to create a rivalry among the proposed rifle clubs, an annual prize for competitive marksmanship should be given. This prize, which consisted of a rifle and silver vase, Dr Campbell provided, in September, 1856, for competition amongst members of the rifle corps formed at his official suggestion. To this day these prizes, or their substitutes, are competed for, and are known as Dr Campbell's Silver Vase and Champion Belt. The first competition was held in 1859, the year in which the great volunteer movement took definite shape in England, which had in a sense been forestalled in the matter by New Zealand. Another point worth noting in this connection is that competitions, akin to those instituted by Dr Campbell in 1856, have been proposed during the present year (1900) in England, as a means of raising efficient volunteers and avoiding conscription.
Dr Campbell's plan proved so far successful as to become a means of encouraging, subsequently, the formation of Volunteer Rifle companies. These companies have had a varied existence up to the present time, being always influenced by the barometrical pressure of the approach of war, when the dormant military spirit of the people has always asserted itself, and the slender ranks of the various companies have been filled to their authorised strength. The premier company bore the personal name of Her Majesty the Queen, and it still exists. It, together with four other companies numbered respectively 1, 2, 3, and 6, with the addition of an efficient naval corps, long constituted the effective strength of Auckland's volunteer organisation; and, as it was supplemented by militia, of the first, second, and third class, it formed a fairly effective force for ordinary requirements.
During the call to arms to check the native rebellion in the year 1863, and following year, these companies proved to be very useful auxiliaries to the regular force of the Empire, then on service in the North Island, and were almost, if not absolutely, the first volunteer companies in the Empire to gain the distinction of serving under fire, in conjunction with the regular troops of the line. The members of the No. 1 company (1st Royals), together with detachments of the No. 3 and 6 companies, were the more fortunate in this respect, receiving, as they did, their baptismal fire, in company with the 18th Royal Irish regiment, while defeating a large force of the rebels, at the defence of the Galloway Redoubt and Stockade, and subsequently in the attack and capture of the native settlement of Otau, in the Southern Wairoa district. In these encounters neither the Regulars nor Volunteers sustained a single casualty, but inflicted a severe chastisement upon the rebels, who subsequently admitted a loss of fourteen killed and forty-one wounded. For these services the men, when peace was restored, received, in addition to the grant of land conferred upon all Volunteers who had fulfilled certain conditions of service, the decoration bestowed alike upon the local and regular troops. At the close of the war, the various corps subsided into a normal condition, and the personnel of the Volunteer force was from time to time influenced by the fluctuating nature of the population. The efficiency or otherwise of the various succeeding commandants—of whom Auckland has, up to the present time, had fourteen—was subject to a corresponding influence.
During more recent periods, and at the present time, under the dominant influence of war prevailing in South Africa, the status of the troops throughout the colony, has been largely fostered in point of numbers and of efficiency. A comparison will show that, whilst in earlier times, the establishment in Auckland was confined to the few infantry corps and the naval company, the effective force of the present day comprises the various branches of artillery, mounted infantry, engineers, infantry, naval, sub-marine mining, and torpedo corps, which are well represented in both town and country districts.
Captain James Reid, Adjutant of the Auckland District, was born in Berwickshire, Scotland, in 1850. At the age of thirteen he was enrolled as bugler in the 1st Berwickshire Rifle Volunteers. He joined the ranks in 1867, and was associated with the Dumbarton Artillery, 1st Haddingtonshire Rifle Volunteers, in the F. Company of which he received his commission on the 20th of March, 1877. In 1886 he left for New Zealand. Captain Reid formed and commanded the Hamilton Light Infantry Volunteers from 1887 to 1900. During the last three years of this service the corps was changed to that of the No 1 Waikato Mounted Infantry. Captain Reid was also instrumental in forming the second and third companies of the Waikato Mounted Infantry. In January 1900, he was transferred to the Permanent Staff as District Adjutant of Auckland.page 159
Brigade Sergt.-Major Robert Carpenter. Drill Instructor, was born in Gloucestershire, England, in 1850. He joined the Royal Marine Light Infantry in 1866, and served with them from 1870 to 1875 in China and Japan, and from 1875 to 1879 in South Africa. He was transferred to the Middlesex Regiment as sergeant-major (Warrant Officer) in 1883, and served on the permanent staff till 1892. Then he was posted to the depot as regimental district sergeant-major, and appointed acting garrison sergeant-major at Hounslow, where he remained until December, 1894, when he was engaged for his present position.
Sergt.-Major A. Cheater, Drill Instructor of the New Zealand Volunteers, Auckland District, was born at Warley, Essex, England, in 1869. He joined the Manchester Regiment in 1885, and served in India from December, 1887, to February, 1897. Then he returned to Aldershot, and was sent thence to depot at Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, as colour-sergeant on the permanent staff. He was engaged by the New Zealand Government through the War Office in August, 1899, as drill instructor, for a term of three years.
Sergt.-Major Hoar, of the Permanent Staff, and formerly of the Hampshire Regiment, arrived in New Zealand in October, 1899, under a three years' engagement with the Government of the Colony.
Unattached Active List.
Lieut.-Colonel P. Dignan, of the Unattached Active List, is fully referred to elsewhere in this volume as an exmayor of Auckland.
Major Harris, who is on the Unattached Active List, is fully referred to as a member of the Legislative Council.
Captain J. Grant.
Honorary Unattached List.
Major A. Morrow.
Major W. H. Skinner.