Official History of the Otago Regiment, N.Z.E.F. in the Great War 1914-1918
Formation of the 2nd Battalion
Formation of the 2nd Battalion.
With the arrival of reinforcement drafts and the return of men who had been evacuated through wounds or sickness, the strength of forces was steadily growing, and on February 11th orders were received which led to the formation of new and distinct units. This embraced the establishment of an additional infantry brigade. As evidence of the further expansion of Colonial forces, connection with the Australian formation was severed, and on March 1st the New Zealand Division, which now included the 1st and 2nd Infantry Brigades, and the 3rd (Rifle) Brigade, with a correspondingpage 79 increase in artillery, officially came into being as a distinct and separate unit in the Field. On February 26th the 4th Australian Infantry Brigade had commenced to move out to Tel-el-Kebir at the rate of one battalion daily, thus severing its long association with the New Zealanders. The 1st New Zealand Infantry Brigade was now comprised of the 1st Battalions of Otago, Canterbury, Wellington and Auckland Regiments, and was commanded by Brigadier-General F. E. Johnston, C.B. The 2nd New Zealand Infantry Brigade embraced the newly formed battalions of the same Regiments, Brigadier-General W. G. Braithwaite, D.S.O., being appointed to the Brigade Command. It had been notified that 50 per cent of officers and from 15 to 25 per cent of non-commissioned officers from available forces were to be drawn upon for the new Brigade; but there was considerable readjustment of personnel before appointments to the different battalions were finally made. The postings which were now made in respect of Otago Regiment, and which included a number of officers from the Otago Mounted Rifles, were as follows:—
To 1st Battalion.—Lieut.-Colonel A. B. Charters; Captain (temporary Major) D. Colquhoun, Captain D. White, Captain S. Rice, Captain W. D. Jolly; Lieuts. D. H. S. Buddle, W. G. A. Bishop, R. H. Nicholson, P. Mackenzie, W. Ward, W. J. Bevis, G. L. McClure; 2nd.-Lieuts. W. F. Tracy, T. Gillman, J. E. Cuthill, J. P. Hewat, M. J. White, J. G. Johnston, N. Hall, W. H. S. Widdowson, C. H. Clark, A. P. McCormack, A. G. Brockett, R. R. Gow, A. R. Sutherland, W. D. Stewart.
To 2nd Battalion.—Major D. B. McKenzie, Major J. A. Mackenzie, Captain W. Domigan, Captain W. G. Wray, Captain D. Thomson, Captain W. T. Joll; Lieuts. G. H. Ferguson, C. St. C. Hamilton, E. B. Alley, A. H. Wright, L. S. Jennings, H. Salmon, H. R. Ker, L. G. Wilson, L. M. Scott, J. H. Barr, P. W. G. Spiers, J. B. Struthers, F. T. Christian; 2nd-Lieuts. W. K. Dougall, T. Fitzpatrick, M. McP. Watt, J. R. Patterson, J. F. M. Fleming, J. Robertson, A. R. T. McDougall, H. G. Brodie, P. Pile, P. A. Spurdle, A. Craig, C. Barry.
Still further changes were made in commands and appointments in respect of both Battalions; in some instances due to the posting of additional senior officers to the Regiment.page 80 However, Lieut.-Colonel Charters, who had taken over the 1st Battalion on February 24th (on the occasion of Lieut-Colonel Moore's departure on account of ill-health) continued in command without interruption; while the posting of Major C. E. Andrews, Auckland Regiment, to the Otago Regiment, determined the appointment of Second-in-Command of the 1st Battalion. With the arrival of Major G. F. Hutton, of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment, and his appointment to the command of the 2nd Battalion, with the rank of Lieut.-Colonel, Major J. A. Mackenzie relinquished his temporary appointment as Officer Commanding, and filled the position of Second-in-Command. The establishment of Infantry Training Battalions, one for each Brigade of the Division, towards the close of March was responsible for the transfer, though in some instances merely of a temporary nature, of several officers and n.c.o.'s of the Regiment. Lieut.-Colonel Moore, now returned, commanded all New Zealand Training Units and Depots, but later, interchanging with Major Hutton, assumed command of the 2nd Battalion of the Regiment. On April 6th Major G. Mitchell and Major G. S. Smith, both of whom had been evacuated wounded from the Peninsula, returned to the Regiment; among later postings there was on April 12th recorded the transfer of 2nd-Lieut. J. Hargest from the Otago Mounted Rifles Regiment to the Otago Regiment.
All troops of the Training Units were finally transferred to England under the command of Major G. Mitchell.
On March 5th orders were received that the New Zealand Division was to move to Ferry Post Camp, on the east bank of the Suez Canal; replacing the 2nd Australian Division, which was ordered to Moascar. This move commenced forthwith, and on completion the dispositions were as follows: 1st Infantry Brigade, Ferry Post; 2nd Infantry Brigade, half-mile west of Allbury Hill. The New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade occupied the front line of defences. The 1st Battalion of the Regiment had remained at Moascar until March 8th, when it marched out and relieved the 28th Australian Battalion at Ferry Post East and Bench Mark Post. On March 20th the Division commenced its return to Moascar, where by the close of the month the whole of its strength was concentrated.page break