The Volunteer Movement.
The troublous early days of the second Maori war caused a stir in Napier and Hawke's Bay that resulted in the formation of a local
The Troopers' Memorial, Marine Parade, NApier.
military organisation. Instructions were issued by the Government to form and call out the Militia, and Major William Douglas, of the 14th Regiment, was appointed to the command of the Hawke's Bay Military district, with Captain Lambert as Militia Adjutant. Through some inadvertence or flaw in the Act, the Government orders were held in abeyance. In 1863 the first volunteer corps in Hawke's Bay—the Napier Rifles—was formed, under Captain John Buchanan. At the same time all the capable adult manhood of the district were requisitioned for training for actice service. Three companies of Militia were formed in Napier. No. 1 Company consisted of single men, No 2 Company of married men, and No. 3 Company—disrespectfully termed the “fall backs”—was composed of men over forty-five years of age. No. 1 and No. 2 Companies were commanded respectively by Captain Fitzgerald and Captain Kennedy. Major Whitmore was then appointed commanding officer of the Hawke's Bay forces, the second in command being Major Lambert, who had charge of the southern portion of the district; and Captain Withers was staff adjutant. The Napier Rifles, and Companies Nos. 1 and 2 of the Militia, were called out for military training, the drills taking place early in the mornings and in the evenings. Drill instructors were obtained from the 2nd Battalion of the 14th Regiment—at that time quartered in barracks in Napier, and the training was carried out under the supervision of Captain (afterwards Major) Withers.
J. Bell, photo.
Hastings Street, Napier, Looking South.