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Official History of the Otago Regiment, N.Z.E.F. in the Great War 1914-1918

The Battalion Disbands

The Battalion Disbands.

The time was now approaching when the 3rd Battalion of the Regiment was to cease to exist as such, under orders of the G.O.C., N.Z.E.F.; a decision arrived at in consequence of the impracticability of maintaining four New Zealand Brigades in the Field at the required strength with the reinforcements coming to hand. On February 7th the 4th Brigade terminated its existence as an infantry unit of the Division, and came to be known as the New Zealand Works Group, Headquarters then being at Hoograaf. Thus the 3rd Battalion of the Regiment, the foundations of which were laid in England in March, 1917, brought to a close its comparatively short though highly effective career as an active infantry unit of the Regiment and of the New Zealand Division on the Western Front.

From the reinforcements thus made available, and from those passed as trained by the New Zealand Reinforcement Wing at Abeele, temporary units, representative of each Battalion, were formed for work under Corps. Lieut.-Colonel Colquhoun now proceeded to the 2nd Battalion of the Regiment, remaining there for a period of two months, and then leaving for New Zealand on a tour of duty. Shortly afterwards the four Works Battalions were reorganised into three Battalions corresponding to the three Brigades of the New Zealand Division, and this arrangement was given effect to at midnight on February 20th. The name "New Zealand Works Group" was altered to that of "New Zealand Entrenching Group," and the three Battalions were similarly known as Entrenching Battalions—1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Drafts were to be forwarded periodically to the Division from the Entrenching Group, such drafts to be assembled at the New Zealand Reinforcement Camp for completion of equipment and for necessary training prior to going forward.

page 264

The gradual absorption of officers and non-commissioned officers of the 4th Brigade into the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Brigades followed, and 200 other ranks were almost immediately transferred to the two active Battalions of Otago Regiment.

At midnight on February 20th, 1918, all rolls of the 3rd Battalion of Otago Regiment were closed; and approximately 600 other ranks transferred to the New Zealand Entrenching Group.