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The History of the Canterbury Regiment, N.Z.E.F. 1914 - 1919

[The Formation of the Regiment]

The history of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force begins on August 7th, 1914, when the New Zealand Government cabled to the Imperial Government offering the services of the headquarters staff and personnel of a Division of two brigades—one of mounted rifles and the other of infantry.* This offer was accepted on the 14th, and the mobilisation and concentration of the Division began immediately. Major-General Sir A. J. Godley, K.C.M.G., C.B., was appointed to command the Division; and he continued to command the New Zealand Expeditionary Force after he had been given the command of an Army Corps, and until the Expeditionary Force was disbanded. As far as the infantry brigade was concerned, recruiting proceeded on a Territorial basis, and preference was given to members of the existing Territorial Regiments. It was decided to send two battalions from each island—one from each of the principal provincial districts; and the geographical situation of the Territorial Regimental areas made it possible to allot four Regiments to each battalion, for the purposes of recruiting. Accordingly, recruits for the infantry of the Main Body of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force were obtained from the following Regiments:—

* One brigade only of artillery, consisting of brigade headquarters, three 18-pounder field batteries (4 guns each), and an ammunition column, accompanied the Main Body; but the infantry brigade had the regular establishment of field ambulance, field company (engineers), supply company (Army Service Corps), etc.