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The Official History of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade

Part 1.—Preparation

page 1

Part 1.—Preparation.

Formation—Preliminary training of officers and non-conimissioned officers—Men march in—Posting—Training—Fatigues— Complete establishment—The first move—Rangiotu Camp—Advance parties—Musketry, leave, manœuvres, inspections— Hospitality—Changes in title.

The regiment afterwards known as the New Zealand Rifle Brigade came into being officially on May 1st, 1915, nine months after the outbreak of the Great War. February had seen the fruitless attempts of the Allied fleet to force the Dardanelles, and it was recognized that to ensure success there must be preparatory or coincident land operations. Plans were therefore laid for a landing on Gallipoli on April 25th by a military force the material for which, in the shape of the Imperial and Colonial troops then in Egypt, lay ready to hand, for it was clear that after the defeat of the Turks on the Canal at the beginning of the month there was little fear of any serious attack from this quarter for some time to come. Now, the casualties suffered by the New Zealand regiments in the Canal fighting had been practically negligible, while three bodies of reinforcements were already in Egypt, a fourth was almost ready to sail, and a fifth was in active training.

In the circumstances it was considered by the Imperial Government that the Dominion could best satisfy its desire further to assist in the great effort by sending out an entirely page 2new regiment of infantry, quite apart from the original main body, supplying this, as well as the older force, with the required stream of reinforcements. The intention was to begin the mobilization and training of two battalions at once, and when these should be well established, to follow with a further two units at a convenient interval. The offer was accepted by the War Office on April 16th, the eve of the departure of the Fourth Reinforcements.

Thus began the evolution of a body of citizen-soldiers known first as the Trentham Infantry Regiment and later as the New Zealand Rifle Brigade, and destined to participate in the achievements and share in the glories of the invincible New Zealand Division.

Lieut.-Col. H. T. Fulton, D.S.O. (Major in the 2nd King Edward's Own Gurkha Rifles), who in the South African War had served with the New Zealand contingents, had recently returned with troops from Samoa, and on April 8th assumed command of the Fourth Reinforcements. On April 16th he embarked with them, but on the following day was withdrawn to take charge of the new regiment. Certain other selected officers and non-commissioned officers of the Fourths were also held back to carry on under his command.

Following the plan first adopted in connection with the training of the Fifth Reinforcements, officers and non-commissioned officers for the new regiment were brought in for special preliminary instruction some time before the arrival of the rank and file, and all but a few of the former marched into Trentham Camp, Wellington, on April 28th. The training, which included the most elementary parts of infantry drill, supplemented by a course of special lectures, commenced at once under the general direction of Lieut.-Col. Fulton and the immediate supervision of Lieut. A. Cheater, of the Permanent Staff. Presently experienced officers, notably Lieuts. Burn, Purdy and Wilkes, all of the N.Z.S.C., but now on the strength of the regiment, took over the instruction of the non-commissioned officers, the remainder continuing under Lieut. Cheater. At the commencement of the period of training the weather conditions were fairly good, but towards the end fog and rain somewhat interfered with the work.

On May 29th and 30th, 2,207 men reported in camp. Of these, 540 came from the Auckland military district, 631 from page 3Wellington, 534 from Canterbury, and 502 from Otago. The weather was now miserably wet and cold, and the general conditions were most discouraging for civilians just entering upon a period of military life. However, they were speedily allotted to companies, provided with "knife, fork, spoon, plate, mug," and marched off for their first meal in camp. Arms and equipment were issued, the men sworn in, and the long and tedious process of making up the rolls and filling in the many forms commenced.

Hitherto the method of posting in the Main Body and its reinforcements had been to keep officers and men together according to the territorial district from which they came. Thus in the Main Body there were four regiments—Auckland, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago; and within these regiments the companies comprised as far as possible the men from the various territorial regiments. Similarly each infantry reinforcement consisted of four companies, A, B, C, D, made up of men from Auckland, Wellington, Canterbury, and Otago, respectively. In the new regiment this system was not adopted, but every opportunity was given for friends, at the first posting, to keep together; and later, by means of transfers, this privilege was extended.

It had been decided that there should be two battalions, the 1st to be commanded by Lieut.-Col. Fulton, and the 2nd by Lieut.-Col. A. E. Stewart, late Commanding Officer of the 14th (South Otago) Regiment. Lieut.-Col. Fulton, however, still retained command of the regiment as a whole, and the immediate control of the 1st Battalion presently devolved upon Major W. S. Austin, late Second-in-Command of the 13th (North Canterbury and Westland) Regiment, who reported on transfer from the 5th Reinforcements of the Canterbury Regiment on 9th June.

In the regimental numbers assigned to officers and men the prefixes 23/ and 24/ distinguished members of the 1st and 2nd Battalions, respectively. Similarly, when the 3rd and 4th Battalions were established, the prefix-numbers 25/ and 26/ were used. This exceedingly satisfactory arrangement was continued for a considerable time in connection with reinforcements for the Brigade, but finally, owing to the difficulty experienced at the front in ensuring that men so numbered in page 4New Zealand should be posted to their corresponding units, especially after heavy engagements, the system of using the distinguishing bar-numbers was dropped altogether in the reinforcement camps.

For the accommodation of officers and men of the new battalions, the erection of a number of large huts, the first group of those buildings that were to transform Trentham from a tented field into a small town of houses and streets, had been commenced, but these were far from finished by the time they were required. To make matters worse, the workmen engaged in their construction were themselves occupying a goodly proportion of the accommodation, so that when the men arrived and settled down the quarters available were unduly crowded. These hutments were the first erected in the camp, and though they were more weatherproof than tents, they were not as comfortable as men accustomed to the latter might think. The shell was of corrugated iron, unlined, and unpleasant down-draughts gave the impression that they were as open as sieves.

Owing to the bad weather and the amount of movement about the huts, the surroundings began to assume the appearance of a sea of mud; and during the first five or six days practically the whole force was employed in making temporary drains, carrying stones for paths, and generally rendering more habitable the vicinity of their new homes. The officers worked hard in their endeavour to complete the uninteresting task of checking the rolls and filling up the many necessary forms.

By this time those concerned were beginning to realize the fact, which later experience confirmed, that the work of the unskilled labourer bulked surprisingly large in military life, and that to possess the pen of a ready writer sometimes appeared to be more important than to know and to apply all the rules and teachings of the military manuals. The man in the ranks was unconsciously being prepared to accept without surprise or comment the title of "Digger," while the officer was learning the significance of the term "a paper war."

King's Birthday was devoted to physical exercises and camp sports, and general training commenced in earnest on the 4th June, with a break on the 7th for anti-typhoid inoculation.

It may be said at once that, under the watchful eye of Lieut.-Col. Fulton, the training throughout was efficient and page 5thorough to a degree, and eventually reached an unusually high standard of excellence. To this result there were many contributory factors. Amongst the foremost of these was the fact that the commander was an Imperial officer who had had considerable experience in the management and direction of Colonial as well as of British and Indian regular troops in actual warfare. He was able, therefore, to exercise the finest discrimination, and while enforcing the strictest discipline, and exacting from all ranks under his command the fullest measure of thought and work and care, he was able to modify his methods in accordance with his knowledge of the possibilities and limitations of the civilian who had just thrown down his tools to take up arms in the service of his country. Added to this, we had amongst the officers and non-commissioned officers several members of the New Zealand Permanent Staff, not merely as instructors, but as integral parts of the unit, and the benefit we derived from their special training was enhanced by the particular zeal arising from their intimate connection with the regiment. We had a further advantage in the presence of a number of officers and non-commissioned officers transferred from the Fourth and Fifth Reinforcements and from the force lately returned from Samoa; for these, having been through the mill in camp and abroad, not only possessed a definite knowledge of the work required but were already experienced in the handling of recruits. Lastly, there was esprit de corps, by no means the least important factor. The spirit of the regiment rapidly developed, was maintained throughout the period of training, and reached its highest pitch under fire. There was no cleavage between men of different districts. We were many companies but one regiment, whose honour as a whole was, and still remains, very precious to us. There may be some who, after the fact, hold that New Zealand was too small to supply and maintain a regiment entirely separate and distinct from those already in existence. Be that as it may, it cannot be denied that the distinction led to a very honest spirit of emulation which was in no inconsiderable degree beneficial to the Expeditionary Force in general. As in the case of old-established British regiments, this commendable rivalry occasionally engendered a feeling of antagonism; but, happily, all signs of animosity disappeared when we rubbed shoulders with our comrades of the other regi-page 6ments in the trenches of Flanders; and perhaps the least that can be said of us is embodied in the word of praise from the Corps Commander after the Somme engagements of 1916: "Yon have justified your existence."

At the end of May the officers of the regiment established a mess, a building for that purpose having been specially erected. There was nothing pretentious about the outfit, the gear being purchased with an eye to its use on active service, and there was no useless expenditure upon ornamental or luxurious accessories. The regiment gained not a little through its officers being thus brought into close contact with one another off the parade-ground. On the 18th June the comfort and well-being of the officers was still further improved through their being able to move from damp tents to the more cheerful living-quarters in the cubicles of the hutments that had been for some time under construction for their use.

In the earlier stages of training our two greatest drawbacks were the unfavourable nature of the weather and the ever-recurring demands for large fatigue parties for work on the camp as a whole. The first of these was, of course, unavoidable; but to the harassed platoon, company and battalion officers, whose interests were centred on the welfare and progress of their own commands, the matter of working-parties did not always appear to be well-regulated. Indeed, right through our career, at home and at the front, this was a never- ending source of "grouse," and the opinion is generally held that for work of a non-military character more use might have been made of volunteers found physically unfit for ordinary military service.

From the moment the men first marched into camp steps were taken to ensure that the regimental and battalion head- quarters should be as complete as possible. Captain P. H. Bell, who had been acting as Adjutant to the Regiment from the beginning, now continued in that capacity in the 1st Battalion. Captain R. St. J. Beere was appointed Second-in-Command and Lieut. A. H. Burn Adjutant of the 2nd, and each battalion had its own orderly-room and necessary clerks. Captains G. E. Simeon and W. E. Christie, Quartermasters respectively of the 1st and 2nd, were given adequate staffs, and all clothing, equipment, rations, etc., were issued through them instead of being drawn direct from the Camp Quartermaster. page 7The detail, on the regulation scale, of butchers, cooks, tailors, shoemakers, and so forth, was provided for, and military police, signal, transport, sanitary and pioneer sections were told oft permanently. The stretcher-bearer sections were organized into a regimental brass band, and the buglers combined into a drum and bugle band; and in each case part of the training time was devoted to music practice and part to drill and the more immediate work for which the personnel had been detailed. Both bands, the former under the leadership of Sergeant (afterwards Hon. Lieut.) P. E. Cole, and the latter under the instruction of Sergeant J. Lee, made rapid progress in their training and soon became the pride of the regiment. Later, each battalion bad its own brass band, and it is impossible fully to gauge the beneficial influence of these upon the morale of the men. Many a weary mile in our in- numerable marches from billet to billet in France was shortened by their cheering strains; and after a relief from the trenches for a brief rest in camp or bivouac, the daily programmes played by the battalion bands were of inestimable value in helping to remove that "fed-up" feeling, and in driving away the unpleasant memories of experiences in the line. During our first six months in the trenches at Armentieres the bandsmen in their capacity of stretcher-bearers suffered many casualties, and as this entailed a double loss it was decided, before the Brigade went to the Somme in 1916, to keep the bandsmen out of action and appoint special company and battalion stretcher-bearers.

The first uniform dress was the unsightly but useful suit of denims, which from an economical point of view served its purpose well. With this was worn the well-known felt hat technically known as the "smasher." The head of the hat was creased longitudinally in accordance with the custom then in vogue in the New Zealand camps. On the 19th June the ordinary issue of khaki uniforms and forage caps was made, but these were for use only on ceremonial occasions and when going on leave. The distinguishing badge was a patch or "blaze" of black melton cloth on the puggaree of the hat, one on each side, and in the centre of the cap-band. In each case the blaze was a square of one and a half inch side, that of the 1st Battalion being placed diamond-wise, and that of the 2nd Battalion lying horizontally; while the personnel of regimental page 8 tal headquarters wore a blaze in the form of an eight-pointed star, representing the diamond and the square superimposed. Rifle Brigade buttons and "Liverpool" badges were first worn on August 31st.

Throughout June and the earlier part of July the training continued with vigour. Owing to the bad state of the camp grounds the battalions did a good deal of work further afield, and in the frequent and carefully-supervised route marches they began to excel. The somewhat congested state of the camp area, added to the long-continued bad weather, was however, telling on the health of the men. Roads and drains were being improved as rapidly as possible, but evil-smelling mud still abounded, and although baths and drying-rooms were being pushed to completion, their commencement had been unduly late. So rapidly had sickness increased that the grandstand of the adjoining racecourse was pressed into service as a temporary hospital. At last came the decision to evacuate the camp of all troops except the Sixth Reinforcements, several cases of illness having been diagnosed as cerebro-spinal meningitis. Orders came for our move at only six hours' notice, and the regiment had its first experience of shifting quarters with practically no preliminary preparation. Operations had to be pushed on with speed, and were looked upon as a very serious business. In later days, when changing billets and relieving in the trenches were so oft-repeated as to work almost automatically, we were to look back with some amusement on this our first move. However, in the circumstances, all went extremely well. At an early hour on the morning of the 10th of July the regiment had entrained in pouring rain, and by 7 a.m. had started from Trentham for Rangiotu, near Palmerston North. Instructions were received en route to detrain at Palmerston North, the 1st Battalion to occupy the buildings in the Show Grounds and the 2nd Battalion those at Awapuni Racecourse, until the bad weather abated. We found our new quarters fairly comfortable, and by degrees succeeded in drying our clothes. On the first morning in the Show Grounds, in place of the distressing "Rouse" by the bugles, we had the band on duty at reveille with more inspiring airs. So heavy had been the rain that no training was possible except on the roads, but not an hour was lost that could profitably be employed, however elementary the nature of the work.

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On the 12th of July, Capt. E. Puttick, O.C. "B" Company, 1st Battalion, was appointed temporary Camp-Quartermaster, and on the same day went with Lieut.-Col. Fulton to Rangiotu, a farming settlement on the Foxton road, some nine miles from Palmerston North, to make arrangements for establishing the camp there. It was decided to pitch a temporary camp about a mile and a half from the site of the permanent one. On the following day an advance party of 600 men commenced work and had everything ready for occupation on the 15th July, on which date the two battalions moved out from Palmerston to their new quarters. Situated close beside the road and the railway line, the camp was quite convenient as a temporary home, and the decision to occupy it for the time being proved to be very wise, as it gave ample time for the drawing up of plans for the establishment of a permanent camp so laid out as to ensure the maximum of health and comfort for the troops. The training-grounds were almost unlimited in area; the grassy sandhills and dry river-flats remained practically unaffected by the rains, and left nothing to be desired in the way of diversity; and taken altogether the conditions were almost ideal. In these new circumstances, and aided by an improvement in the weather, all ranks rapidly regained their health and vigour. As a precautionary measure, "gargle parades" were ordered for four days. These parades were held by whole battalions on the roadside at some distance from the camp, and though the proceedings seemed odd enough the treatment must have been of value, for cases of meningitis were practically unknown at Rangiotu.

By the end of July the lines of the permanent camp had been completely pegged and everything was ready for the move, which took place on August 14th, heavy rain having delayed the transfer. Marquees, tents, floors, indeed everything in the camp, even to a cookhouse intact, were conveyed by hand a distance of over a mile, and in a very little time our new canvas town was completely erected. The site had been inspected by the military and medical authorities and had met with general approval. The camping-ground was extensive, and Lieut.-Col. Fulton's plan was to occupy the whole area at once, providing for two large spaces, each for one battalion, and allowing for very wide roadways separating the various company blocks. This was supported by the medical officers page 10as preferable to camping in a small space and shifting camp periodically. In order to avoid cutting up the ground, no wheeled vehicle was allowed in the camp; all stores, etc., had to be brought in by hand until tramways were constructed from the special railway siding to the cookhouses and quarter- masters' stores.

In the meantime, Lieut.-Col. Fulton having gone on sick leave, owing to trouble from an old wound, Lieut.-Col. R. W. Tate, commanding the Wellington District, assumed command on July 24th and continued in charge until August 23rd. when Lieut.-Col. Fulton returned.

At the beginning of September a supply of transport horses and harness arrived in camp, and the special training of drivers and grooms was taken in hand by Lieut. Wilson, R.N.Z.A., who reported for this duty on the 6th. We had had the vehicles for some time, and it was not long before the transport section of each battalion was able to carry out the practical tests with a considerable degree of efficiency. As in the subsequent history of the regiment, little reference is made to these sections, it may be stated that in later days we learned to look with pride on our men of the transport. Their turn-out did not always compare most favourably in appearance with that of their brothers-in-arms of some English regiments, but in the greatest of all their duties—the supply of rations—they never once failed. No matter what the state of the weather, the condition of the roads, the length or number of the journeys, or the intensity of the shell-fire, they always "got there," never counting the cost in the faithful service of their comrades. To mention here only one instance of such devotion to duty, it is recorded that on April 5th, 1918, when the Germans made their big attack on our newly-established line in front of Colincamps, the water-carts of one battalion actually passed through the enemy barrage and took supplies practically to the front line itself.

The Advance Party of the Brigade, consisting of 50 other ranks of the 1st Battalion under Lieut. R. O. Brydon, and a like number of the 2nd under Lieut. T. M. Wilkes, left for Egypt on September 18th.

Practically the only disadvantage connected with the Rangiotu Camp as compared with Trentham was the lack of facilities for carrying out the regulation musketry course. The page 11 only existing rifle-ranges within fairly easy reach were those at Palmerston North and Wangaimi, on both of which accommodation was limited. For this reason it was decided to send off the 2nd Battalion on the seven days' final leave on August 20th and place both ranges at the disposal of the 1st Battalion, the companies of which left for final leave as they completed the course. The preliminary grouping practices were carried out on a very useful temporary range we constructed for the purpose in the vicinity of the camp, and the first company marched out to the range at Palmerston North on August 17th. On the return of the companies of the 2nd Battalion from their final leave they were put through their musketry in a similar manner. Notwithstanding the drawbacks, the standard attained by both units in this branch of training was very high.

Shortly after the completion of the musketry course and the final leave, the two battalions went out in turn to the sandhills in the neighbourhood of Bainesse, near the West Coast, for continuous training in attack and defence, outpost work and field firing, and in the short period at their disposal gained considerable practical experience in working over unknown country, patrolling; bivouacking, field-cooking, supplying rations and ammunition, writing orders and reports, etc. On return to Rangiotu, more intensive training was carried out with the object of emphasizing the lessons learned in this general work, and the rapid setting-out of the various forms of bivouac-camps was practised.

It should be mentioned that the facilities for entrenching work at Rangiotu were utilized to the full. The use of the entrenching-tool in throwing up temporary cover was constantly practised; the varied nature of the country gave excellent opportunities for instruction in the proper siting of trenches; and laying out and digging, both by night and by day, formed a very important part in the general scheme of training.

On September 28th the regiment was inspected by the Honorary Colonel. His Excellency the Earl of Liverpool, who, after complimenting all ranks on the smartness of their appearance and their steadiness on parade, referred to the traditions of the Imperial Rifle Brigade, and exhorted the officers and men to emulate the deeds of that famous regiment and strive to excel in every respect, both in camp and on the field. He was pleased to say he felt confident that when the time came page 12for this young Brigade to participate in active operations alongside British regiments, their conduct would be such as to redound to their own honour and add lustre to the fair name of their country.

The final official inspection was held on October 5th, a few days before embarkation, when Colonel Gibbon. Chief of the General Staff, took the parade.

Throughout the stay of the regiment at Rangiotu much kindness was received at the hands of the citizens of Palmerston North, Wanganui and Foxton, and of the people of the district generally. Their patriotic societies sent regularly gifts of fruit, puddings and other dainties, to relieve the monotony of the regulation rations, and the concerts given in camp by parties from town were as heartily appreciated as they were excellent in quality.

We were glad to know that the efforts of the Regimental Band to give some pleasure in return, by playing programmes and taking part in concerts in several of the neighbouring towns, met with marked signs of approval. Grants from patriotic societies, together with the receipts from five special concerts and a subsidy from the Trentham Camp Commandant, were sufficient to enable the band to leave New Zealand free of debt. When the instruments were destroyed by shell-fire just two years later, the riddled remains were forwarded to the Mayor of Palmerston North as mementoes.

The band's final concert in New Zealand was given, at the invitation of the Wellington Patriotic Society, on the eve of departure overseas. This was held in the Town Hall, and Lieut. Cole conducted with the baton presented by His Excellency the Honorary Colonel at the afternoon parade and subsequently carried safely through the whole of the campaign.

This may be a fitting place in which to set out in detail the changes made in the designation of the regiment from time to time.* They were many. In the earliest days, while preparation were being made for its mobilization, it was spoken of vaguely as "The New Battalions," On May 27th, 1915, it received the title "The Trentham Regiment" (Earl of Liverpool's Own) as from May 1st, and at the same time His Excellency the Governor became its Honorary Colonel.

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Extract from New Zealand Gazette, 27th May, 1915:—

Wellington, 19th May, 1915.

His Excellency the Governor has been pleased to approve that the special infantry battalions now mobilised at Trentham Camp be designated "The Trentham Regiment" (The Earl of Liverpool's Own), and with effect from May 1st, 1915.

(Signed) J Allen, Minister of Defence.

Department of Defence,

Wellington, 19th May, 1915.

His Excellency the Governor has been pleased to approve of The Right Honourable Arthur William de Brito Savile, Earl of Liverpool, G.C.M.G., M.V.O., Lieut.-Colonel 8th (City of London) Battalion, the London Regiment (Post Office Rifles), Reserve of Officers, the Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort's Own), Honorary Colonel, 11th Regiment (Taranaki Rifles), as Colonel of "The Trentham Regiment" (The Earl of Liverpool's Own), New Zealand Expeditionary Force, and with effect from 1st May, 1915.

(Signed) J. Allen, Minister of Defence.

Both the Commanding Officer and the Honorary Colonel of the Regiment were Rifle Brigade officers, and it soon became evident that it was their desire to have it transformed into a Rifle Regiment with the dress and drill modified accordingly. Samples of Rifle Brigade buttons were procured from India about the middle of May, and negotiations were entered into with the object of obtaining sanction to use as a regimental badge the crest and motto of the Earl of Liverpool—a lion rampant supporting a man-of-war's pennant proper; motto "Soyes Ferme."

From August 18th till 30th, the title was given in Regimental orders as "The Trentham Infantry Brigade" (Earl of Liverpool's Own), and in Brigade orders of the latter date it was laid down that in future the correct nomenclature would be "The Trentham Rifle Brigade" (Earl of Liverpool's Own). On the following day the wearing of Rifle Brigade buttons and the "Liverpool" badge was ordered.

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In the middle of September, 1915, the mobilization of the 3rd and 4th Battalions commenced, and in Brigade orders of the 28th the following correspondence was published for general information:—

From His Excellency the Governor,

To Field Marshal His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught, Colonel-in-Chief of the Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort's Own).

Wellington, N.Z., September 23rd, 1915.

The newly-raised Regiment, the New Zealand Rifle Brigade, shortly proceeding to the Dardanelles, consisting of four battalions, tender to your Royal Highness, as Colonel-in-Chief of the Rifle Brigade, their resolution to do their utmost to emulate the glorious record of the Imperial Regiment with whom they hope they may be associated on service.

(Signed) Liverpool. Honorary Colonel, New Zealand Rifle Brigade.

From Field-Marshal His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught, Colonel-in-Chief of the Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort's Own).
To Colonel His Excellency the Earl of Liverpool, New Zealand Rifle Brigade.
September 24th, 1915.

As Colonel-in-Chief of the Rifle Brigade, I warmly appreciate your message from New Zealand comrades, and wish them all luck and success.

(Signed) Arthur.

The change of title from "Trentham Rifle Brigade" to "New Zealand Rifle Brigade" will be noted. The alteration in name, however, did not appear in the New Zealand Gazette till October 7th, 1915, when the following announcement was made:—

New Zealand Gazette No, 115, of 7th October, 1915.

Abolition of the Designation of "Trentham Regiment" (Earl of Liverpool's Own), and its formation into a Rifle Brigade.

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Department of Defence, Wellington, 5th October, 1915.

His Excellency the Governor has been pleased to abolish the designation of the "Trentham Regiment" (Earl of Liverpool's Own), as published in the New Zealand Gazette of 27th May, 1915. and to approve of its formation into a Brigade to be designated as under:—

"The New Zealand Rifle Brigade—Earl of Liverpool's Own."

Dated 1st October, 1915.

(Signed) J. Allen, Minister of Defence.

On the organization of the New Zealand Division in Egypt at the end of February, 1916, the New Zealand Rifle Brigade became the 3rd Brigade of the Division, and New Zealand Expeditionary Force Orders, dated April 22nd, laid down that in accordance with War Office instructions, it would in future be known as the "3rd New Zealand (Rifles) Brigade." Later the word "Rifle" was substituted for "Rifles." Thus, as a regiment it remained "The New Zealand Rifle Brigade." but as part of the Division "The 3rd New Zealand (Rifle) Brigade."

The following appeared in N.Z.E.F. Orders of 15th January, 1917:—

"241.—Colonel-in-Chief, New Zealand Rifle Brigade.

"His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to appoint Field Marshal His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, K.G., K.T., K.P., G.C.B., G.C.S.I., G.C.M.G., G.C.I.E., G.C.V.O., Col. G. Gds and A.S.C., and Col.-in-Chief 6th Dns., High. L.I., R. Dub. Fus., and Rifle Brigade, Personal A.D.C. to the King, to be Colonel-in-Chief to the New Zealand Rifle Brigade."

Slight modifications in dress were made from time to time; indeed, so frequently were changes ordered that they became a source of no little irritation. The Dress Regulations as they finally stood are set out in Appendix IV.

As to drill, every effort was made to attain perfection by hard training along the lines in vogue in the different Imperial Rifle Regiments, but owing to the fact that "regimental quiffs" varied so greatly, and that there was no official Rifle Brigade drill manual extant, some difficulty was experienced in securing rigid uniformity.

* Nicknames are referred to in Appendix VII.