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

A Message of Grateful — Remembrance

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A Message of Grateful

As one intimately connected with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force from the day of its birth in August, 1914, up to Christmas, 1917, and more especially associated with the Otago and Canterbury Battalions as Brigadier of the 2nd New Zealand Brigade from March, 1916, to December, 1917, I rejoice to think that the work of the Otago Regiment is to be handed down to posterity, and that the glorious deeds of the Otago men are to be kept evergreen and chronicled in a Regimental History.

No History can adequately describe the fighting qualities and the endurance displayed by these New Zealand men. No task was ever too formidable for them, and to their eternal glory it can be claimed that they never once failed to carry out the duty allotted to them.

Whether the Otago men were scaling the steep and scrubby slopes of Gallipoli, or charging the German wire entanglements under close machine gun fire, as at the Bellevue Spur, Passchendaele, on October 12th, 1917, they always displayed the highest courage, and an initiative surpassed by none and equalled by few other troops.

To have served with the New Zealand Division is an honour in itself, but to have commanded its three Infantry Brigades at various periods is a privilege enjoyed by no other man, and will be my constant pride for the rest of my life.

I hope this History of the Otago Regiment will do full justice to all those gallant souls who came 13,000 miles to uphold their Empire's cause, and especially to those who will never return to their homes in New Zealand.

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We must never forget that it is to these, more than to any others, that we owe the Victory.

"Who shall sing the song of them,
The wonder and the strength of them,
The gaiety and tenderness they bore across the sea?
In every heart's the song of them,
The debt that England owes to them,
The chivalry and fearlessness
That strove and won her free."

I hope all New Zealand boys will read the histories of their own Regiments. When they do, the story of the daring deeds of that gallant soul, Sergeant Dick Travis, V.C., D.C.M., M.M., Croix de Guerre, of the 2nd Battalion, Otago Regiment, will surely stir them to the depths.

W. G. Braithwaite


late Commanding 2nd New Zealand Brigade.

Northern Brigade, Independent Division,
British Army of the Rhine.