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New Zealand Artillery in the Field, 1914-18


By the end of October, it had become apparent that the German Armies were in such desperate plight that one strong determined blow, struck in a vital quarter, would go far towards completing their utter disorganisation. Already they reeled from the effects of the rapid succession of heavy blows which they had sustained at the hands of the Allied Armies since the defensive had been first definitely assumed in the early days of August. The German soldiers had fought bravely, and their retreat had been conducted with skill, but their losses in artillery, machine guns, and material of every description had been enormous, and their reserves were exhausted. Now Germany was to be left alone to face the final issue. Bulgaria and Turkey had capitulated, and Austria was on the imminent verge of collapse. Confronted with conditions of such an utterly dispiriting character it is not surprising that the morale of the enemy troops was fast weakening, while the confidence of the Allied soldiers grew as they passed from success to success, and their belief in final victory became invincible. The day of victory was already beginning to dawn at the moment, when plans were laid for the last great British attack on November 4th. This was to be delivered by the Third, Fourth, and First Armies, on a front of about thirty miles from the Sambre, north of Oisy, to Valenciennes. The capture of Valenciennes was regarded as a necessary preliminary to the main advance, and this was satisfactorily accomplished in an attack which was launched on the morning of November 1st.

In the advance on November 4th the New Zealand Division was to attack with the 37th Division on its right, and the 62nd Division on its left and establish itself on the line Franc a Lour-Herbignies-Tous Vents. If opportunity offered, success was to be exploited by advancing through the Mormal Forest, and towards the Sambre. Le Quesnoy, fortified by a double moat page 290and the high sheer walls of its ramparts, stood directly in the path of the Division; beyond, to the east, lay the large mass of the Mormal Forest. The field artillery supporting the Division was divided into Right and Left Groups, the former commanded by Lieut.-Colonel Symon, and the latter by Lieut.-Colonel McQuarrie. Right Group consisted of the 1st and 2nd Brigades, and the 211th Brigade R.F.A., and Left Group of the 3rd Brigade and the 210th and 72nd Brigades, R.F.A., and the 14th (Army) Brigade, R.H.A. Three batteries of six-inch howitzers were also to support the attack, while "X" and "Y" Trench Mortar Batteries were placed at the disposal of the G.O.C., 3rd (Rifle) Brigade. The barrage was to be carried forward to a depth of six thousand yards, and in order to accomplish this it was necessary to advance four out of the six brigades while the barrage was actually being fired. Brigades were to advance one battery at a time, the remaining batteries of the brigades distributing their fire over the brigade front during the move, and increasing their rate of fire. Routes were to be reconnoitred in advance, and ammunition dumped as far forward as possible, in order to maintain the supply during the barrage. The fullest use was to be made of the greater range of guns equipped with air recuperator buffers, and such guns were to be the last to move forward in every case. A section of 4.5in. howitzers from the 1st Brigade, and a section of 18-prs. from each of the 2nd and 3rd Brigades, were detailed for independent work in close co-operation with the infantry. These sections were to be responsible for engaging hostile tanks as well as movement, and in addition every battery was to be prepared to run one gun forward to engage enemy tanks over open sights. By the night of November 3rd all guns were east and north-east of Beaudignies, in their positions for the attack.

This was the last occasion on which the New Zealand Artillery paved the way for the advance of their infantry in a major operation, and from the complicated nature of the barrage and the masterly precision with which it advanced through all its stages, it may be regarded as a fitting climax to the work of the guns in supporting the infantry in attack. It was known that there was a large number of civilians in Le Quesnoy, and it was therefore decided that the barrage should sweep the ramparts page 291garrisoned by the enemy, and as it moved forward completely encircle the town, but that no fire should fall within the limits of the town itself. This called for accurate calculation and planning in preparing the barrage table, and for extreme accuracy of fire at the guns. From its opening line at zero hour the barrage advanced in even lifts until it swept.on to the western ramparts of the town. It then divided and continued eastwards, encircling the town as it went, and deluging the ramparts on the north and south with sharpnel and smoke shell, in order to protect the advance of the infantry on each flank. Having arrived on the eastern outskirts of the town it advanced again in a straight unbroken line, until it had reached a depth of six thousand yards from the starting point.

The battle which was about to open was destined to be the last of the long series of desperate combats, in which the Division had figured since that distant April morning, when the New Zealanders had first leapt from their boats on to the shores of Gallipoli and climbed the hills to grapple with the Turk. If their arms had not achieved invariable success, each successive engagement had added fresh lustre to the laurels which the New Zealanders had won for themselves in the Gallipoli campaign; and disappointments had been endured with the same calm in which the soldiers viewed their victories.

The morning of November 4th dawned fine, but visibility was lessened by a mist which rose up from the ground after sunrise. Zero hour was at 5.30 a.m., and the barrage came down promptly and with practised precision. The enemy's fire was comparatively feeble, but a good deal of hostile fire fell on battery areas. The 9th Battery had two guns put out of action, and "D" Battery of the 211th Brigade had five guns destroyed in succession, and practically the whole of its personnel casualtied. Heavy shelling was also experienced at the waggon lines of the 11th Battery, more than fifty horses having been killed and wounded. The success of the infantry was rapid and complete, and at an early hour they were encircling Le Quesnoy, the garrison of whieh still held out, on the north and south. While troops of the 3rd (Rifle) Brigade were endeavouring to effect an entrance into the town, other battalions of the Rifle Brigade page 292and the 1st Infantry Brigade swept round to the north and south and completely enclosed it. The advance, which was now due east, was continued to the line Villereau-Potelle- Jolimetz, and on towards the Forest de Mormal.

At 9.30 a.m. a reconnoitring party from the 2nd Brigade, consisting of the Brigade and Battery Commanders, moved forward and crossed the railway line about a mile north-west of Le Quesnoy, but was then held up by machine gun fire from the ramparts. A detour was made to the north, through Ramponeau and Villereau, battery positions eventually being chosen in the vicinity of St. Sepulchre about midday. Batteries were ordered up from their rendezvous near L'Orgnies, and the first battery was in action in the new area within a couple of hours. Reconnaissance parties went forward from the 1st and 3rd Brigades very shortly after the batteries of the 2nd Brigade had commenced to move. The 1st Brigade party was held up by machine gun fire on the northern outskirts of the town, and made a detour round to the south. Batteries of this brigade eventually occupied positions near Potelle; 3rd Brigade batteries went into action in the vicinity of St. Sepulchre. The advanced guard artillery now consisted of the three New Zealand Brigades under Lieut.-Colonel McQuarrie.

By the afternoon the infantry had reached Herbignies. Pressing determinedly on they crossed the road that skirted the western edge of the Forest de Mormal, and entered the tangled undergrowth of the Forest itself. By midnight they had penetrated deep into its heart. Le Quesnoy was not entered by the New Zealanders until the afternoon. The garrison at first refused to surrender, and ignored messages, explaining their hopeless situation, which were dropped into the town by low-flying aeroplanes. In the afternoon an officer of the Division, accompanied by a captured German officer, attempted to enter the town to explain the situation to the garrison, but they were fired on from the ramparts. Later in the day the garrison surrendered, and the New Zealanders entered the town to the wild delight of the civilian inhabitants. The Division had achieved a memorable and striking success in its last battle, making an advance of about six miles in depth, capturing the page 293towns of Le Quesnoy, Rompaneau, Villereau, Potelle, and Herbignies, about two thousand prisoners, sixty field guns, and hundreds of machine guns. Included in the captures of field guns were complete batteries, with their gun crews, and teams and drivers.

Persistent rain fell on November 5th, rendering doubly difficult the advance through the dense and tangled undergrowth of the forest. Moving forward behind the barrage the infantry encountered little opposition until they reached Forrester's House, considerably more than half way through the forest. This was strongly held by machine guns, but was eventually taken under cover of artillery fire. At 9 a.m. the 3rd Brigade moved forward into positions of readiness near Rue Haute; the 12th Battery was detached from the brigade and went forward in support of the infantry. The 2nd Brigade moved up through Herbignies, and along the western edge of the forest until it reached the 3rd Brigade area. Batteries were in this neighbourhood by 5 p.m., but did not fire that night. The road along the western edge of the forest was in very bad condition, which was rapidly being made worse by the heavy rain. The 1st Battery of the 1st Brigade advanced in support of the infantry, the 3rd and 15th Batteries bivouacking on the edge of the forest. By evening the infantry had gone right through the forest, and reached their final objective on the eastern outskirts. That night the New Zealand Division, less artillery, was relieved in the line by the 42nd Division. The artillery came under the command of the C.R.A., 42nd Division.

On the following morning, November 6th, certain batteries fired a barrage in support of an attack by the 42nd Division, which was to make an effort to advance from the eastern edge of the Forest. The attack, however, was not successful. The 2nd Brigade, which was advanced guard artillery for the day, had its teams at the gun positions, ready for a move, at 7 a.m.; but a reconnaissance showed that the roads through the forest were quite impassable. The enemy had blown up bridges, and made the roads of little use to wheeled transport by mining cross-roads and other important points. Until bridges were erected it was almost an impossibility for the guns to cross the page 294forest, in which few, if any, positions could be found for batteries; but it was imperative that the guns should go forward. A working party was, therefore, dispatched to make an endeavour to erect a temporary bridge over one stream, whilst the track running south-east through the forest to the north of the road was reconnoitred, and an advanced section of the 2nd Battery was got through and into action half way through the forest. A section of the 6th (Howitzer) Battery also got into action a little further to the north. About midday an attempt was made to get the remaining guns of the 6th Battery across the temporary bridge which had been constructed. It was a risky business; but the guns and vehicles were got safely over with the loss of one waggon, which went over the side into the stream, rendering the bridge unsafe for further traffic. As a demand had been made for some howitzers and 18-prs. to support a small operation by the 42nd Division, a section of the 5th Battery was sent forward over the forest track, the 9th Battery following the route taken by the advanced section of the 6th Battery, and going into action in the same locality.

The bridge having been repaired again, with the assistance of some Pioneers of the 42nd Division, the remainder of the guns and waggons of the Brigade were got across by dark, with the exception of two waggons which went over the side, but four others which had attempted to advance through the cross roads on the northern edge of the forest found the way blocked by mine craters. With the exception of the 9th Battery, and one section of the 6th Battery, which were on the northern edge of the forest, the whole of the 2nd Brigade had succeeded in getting into action near la Corne by 7 p.m.

Rain was still falling on November 7th, and conditions on the roads and tracks became steadily worse. The day was quiet, the enemy offering little opposition to the advance of the 42nd Division, which attacked at 8.45 a.m., under cover of a barrage fired by the 2nd Brigade. The 1st Brigade moved forward during the afternoon to the south of Hargnies and Vieux-Mesnil, and the 2nd Brigade became reserve brigade. The 3rd Brigade, less the 12th Battery, which went back to billets, also advanced to the eastern edge of the forest, and occupied positions of page 295readiness. The 9th Battery, having got out of touch with its Group, pushed forward and got as far as the outskirts of Hautmont, where it got into action, and effectively engaged a variety of targets. The battery returned to the brigade area about dusk.

The New Zealand Artillery was in action for the last time on November 8th, when the 1st and 3rd Brigades carried out a little harassing fire. The enemy, now completely disorganised, was still retiring, and in the afternoon both these Brigades moved forward to the vicinity of Boussieres. The following day all batteries were relieved by the 42nd Divisional Artillery, and orders were issued for the three brigades and the Divisional Ammunition Column to march to Quievy, to rejoin the Division. This move was to be carried out on the 11th and 12th, the intervening night being spent in billets at Villereau.

The decisive nature of the results produced by the complete success of the great battle launched on November 4th speedily became apparent. The enemy's resistance was virtually broken. At odd points in the long battle line he still clung tenaciously to his positions and defended them with skill and courage. But the vast and complex machine of the German Army was rapidly going to pieces as a result of the incessant and irresistible blows of the French and British Armies, and the disintegrating influences which preceded from the unrest and bitter discontent which permeated the whole Empire. The Allies continued their steady advance eastwards, and on November 9th the enemy was in retreat along the whole of the British Front and all semblance of resistance was rapidly disappearing. To save its armies from the complete disaster which threatened to overwhelm them at any moment the German Supreme Command appealed for an Armistice. This was granted, but in its unconditional terms it represented for Germany nothing less than complete surrender.

The Armistice took effect from 11 a.m. on November 11th. The official intimation to this effect, announcing that hostilities would cease at 11 a.m., was received by units of the Divisional Artillery when they were on the march to Quievy or preparing to take the road. The announcement was received calmly, with no cheering, no demonstration. For these men, tired in body and mind and fresh from the tragic fields of battle, this page 296momentous intelligence was too vast in its consequences to be appreciated in a single thought.

The brilliant nature of the work performed by the New Zealand Division during the period it was in the 4th Corps, and particularly during the last great series of battles, is sufficiently well indicated by the following letter which was sent to the Division by Lieut.-General Sir G. M. Harper, K.C.B., D.S.O., Commanding IV. Corps:—

"As the New Zealand Division is leaving the IV. Corps, I desire to place on record my appreciation of the valuable services they have rendered, and to thank all ranks for the magnificent fighting qualities which they have invariably displayed.

"The Division joined the IV. Corps at a critical time on the 26th March, 1918, when it completely checked the enemy's advance on Beaumont Hamel and Colincamps, and thus closed the gap between the IV. and V. Corps. By a brilliant stroke it drove the enemy from the commanding ground at La Signy Farm, and gained observation over the enemy's lines which greatly assisted in his defeat on the 5th April, 1918, when he made his last and final effort to break our front. Throughout the summer the Division held portions of the Corps front with but a short interval of rest. During this period I never had the least anxiety about the security of this portion of the front; on the other hand, by carefully conceived and well executed raids, the enemy was given little respite, and identifications were procured whenever required—in this connection I deplore the loss of that brave man, Sergeant Travis, V.C.

"It was the ascendancy gained by this Division over the enemy that compelled him to evacuate the ground about Rossignol Wood.

"At the commencement of the great attack on the 21st August, 1918, only a minor part was allotted to the Division, but subsequently on the night of the 24th August the Division was ordered to attack, and swept the enemy from Grevillers, Loupart Wood, and Biefvillers, and gained the outskirts of Bapaume. Stubborn fighting was experienced around Bapaume, but eventually the enemy was overcome and pushed back to the east.

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Open Fighting Official Photo

Open Fighting Official Photo

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"From 24th August till 14th September the Division was constantly engaged, and drove the enemy back from Bapaume to the high ground west of Gouzeaucourt, where very heavy fighting occurred at African Trench.

"After a short period of rest the Division was put in again on 29th September to complete the capture of Welsh Ridge, and to gain the crossings over the Canal de 1'Escaut. A night advance over difficult country, intersected by the trenches and wire of the Hindenburg Line, was brilliantly carried out and entirely successful, and resulted in the capture of over 1000 prisoners and over 40 guns. On the 1st October the Division captured Crevecour against strong opposition, and held it in spite of heavy shelling and several counter-attacks throughout the subsequent days until the great attack on 8th October, when the Division broke through the northern portion of the strongly organised Masnieres Line and penetrated far into the enemy's line at Esnes and Hancourt.

"Going out to rest on 12th October the Division was again in the line on 23rd October and drove the enemy back from the outskirts of Romeries to Le Quesnoy. Finally, on the 4th November, the Division, by an attack which did much to decide the finish of the war, forced the surrender of the fortress of Le Quesnoy and drove the enemy back through the Forest of Mormal, the total captures by the IV. Corps on that day amounting to 3,500 prisoners and some 70 guns.

"During the period the New Zealand Division has been in the IV. Corps they have captured from the enemy 287 officers, and 8,745 other ranks, 145 guns, 1,419 machine-guns and three tanks, besides much other material.

"The continuous successes enumerated above constitute a record of which the Division may well be proud. It is a record which I may safely say has been unsurpassed in the final series of attacks which led to the enemy's sueing for peace.

"I send every man of the Division my heartfelt good wishes for the future."

The Division might well entertain a justifiable feeling of pride in the unbroken record of success which it had achieved since the opening of the offensive on August 21st. Within a page 298period of less than three months it had advanced to a depth of fifty miles, had captured many thousands of prisoners, seized enormous quantities of guns and booty of every description, and inflicted decisive defeats on the enemy in a series of battles in some of which, at least, the fighting was of as determined a character as had been experienced during the whole course of the war. In no arm of the service had the radical and complete change in the character of the fighting been more strongly exemplified than in the artillery. From the moment the offensive was fully under way, and the Division, having broken through the enemy's first organised system of defence, began to move eastward with increasing momentum, the guns were on the move almost every day. They fought in the open fields with only the sky above them, and often in positions which were under direct observation from the enemy's lines.

The constant movement imposed a heavy burden on batteries, falling more heavily on the drivers and their horses. In addition to moving the guns forward, they had to stock each fresh position with ammunition, generally to the extent of six or seven hundred rounds per gun. Beyond those stretches traversed by the enemy's first defensive systems and by the broad system of entrenchments which constituted the Hindenburg Line, the country elsewhere was well roaded and did not present any very serious obstacles to wheeled traffic. At the commencement of the offensive, batteries had rid themselves of all gear and stores that were not absolutely essential for fighting purposes, and the men's surplus kit had been stored in a dump located in one of the villages in rear of the old line.

After passing through the enemy's trenches near Puisieux, the Division, in its advance on Bapaume, crossed the old Somme Battlefields, and the ground over which the enemy had retreated in the winter of 1916-17. East of Bapaume, and until Havrincourt Wood and the Hindenburg Line were reached, the fighting was on open rolling country, all of which was admirably suited for artillery operations. For a depth of more than five miles beyond Havrincourt Wood very different conditions were encountered. Besides being somewhat broken in itself, this country was intersected with the wide network of trenches page 299and defensive works which formed the Hindenburg Line. In breaking through the advanced system of this deep and formidable line the Division experienced some desperately hard fighting, and during the struggles for Gouzeaucourt Ridge and at Dead Man's Corner, four brigades of Field Artillery alone fired a total of 60,000 rounds. Beyond the thick belt of enemy wire on the eastern banks of the Canal de l'Escaut, near Cheneaux Wood, the guns fought over absolutely open country, and so far as they were concerned, the war became one of movement to a constantly increasing degree.

Batteries and even brigades frequently carried out their moves forward, and went into action in the new positions on the orthodox lines laid down in the Manual of Field Artillery Training. Ever since their arrival in France the Artillery Brigades had had but little respite from active duties in the line, as batteries seldom accompanied the Division when it was withdrawn for rest or training, but remained in action covering the troops of some other Division. The few spells of any duration which they had been afforded had generally been devoted to training for some impending operations, such as the first Battle of the Somme or the Battle of Messines, or had been devoted to rest and refitting after an exhausting period of severe fighting, such as was experienced at Passchendaele. It followed, therefore, that there had been little opportunity of indulging in any thorough training for moving warfare. The readiness and ease with which all ranks were able to adapt themselves to the altered conditions, however, proved that the years of trench warfare, often in elaborately constructed positions and served by secure and well-established systems of communication, had not induced any decay in those qualities of initiative and boldness in conception and execution which play so large a part in operations of a more active nature.

The fullest use was made of mobile sections of 18-prs., which were sent forward under the command of a subaltern who acted in direct co-operation with battalion commanders. These sections performed useful and often brilliant work, and even their presence so far forward was a cheering sight for the infantry. Sometimes, when the latter were waiting for the page 300barrage to come down and take them forward, one of the mobile sections would come clattering right up to the front line, and there await its opportunity to go forward into action behind the advancing infantry. Wherever the enemy's resistance was inclined to stiffen, or where tike advance was held up by enemy machine guns, they directed their fire, and their active support came to be invaluable to the infantry. Sometimes under direct fire from enemy machine guns, harassed from the air, and the target for the enemy's light field guns, they played their part with such resolution and skill as to win the highest praise from responsible infantry commanders. The gunners, on their part, enjoyed the experience on many occasions of laying on to their targets over open sights, and observing the effect of their own shells. While the guns were in action teams were always kept close at hand in charge of the senior non-commissioned officer. Ammunition was carried in the limbers and the firing battery waggon, each gun, therefore, having a total of about 100 rounds.

All battery positions were harassed a good deal by low-flying enemy aeroplanes; their only defence was the Lewis machine guns with which batteries had been equipped for defensive purposes while in the Ypres salient, and the gunners who had been trained in their use fought many exciting duels with the German airmen. Although they never succeeded in disabling any of the aeroplanes, it is certain that they saved many casualties by preventing the line of guns being swept by machine gun fire.

Great numbers of enemy guns of all calibres were captured during the advance; on one occasion at least a field battery was seized with its teams hooked in and drivers mounted as it was in the act of effecting a retirement. There was a plentiful supply of ammunition, and gunners took a particular pleasure in shelling the enemy with his own guns. They had no difficulty in mastering the details of the mechanism or the sights, and guns were always given a generous elevation in order that there should be no risk of the shells landing on the wrong side of the line. Light German field pieces were often run into position for use as anti-tank guns should occasion arise, thus obviating the necessity of detaching any of the Division's own 18-prs.

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The original batteries which left New Zealand in 1914 and 1915 were equipped with the most modern type of gun and howitzer then in use by the British Army, and these were never superseded by any more modern or improved pattern guns during the War. In the winter of 1917-18, however, the Division was issued with a very few 18-prs. which had been fitted with a new type of buffer. The function of the buffer, of course, is to absorb the recoil of the gun, and the more efficiently this is done, the steadier and more accurate the shooting of the gun becomes. In the new air recuperator buffer, as it was known, air and oil inside the buffer replaced the springs and oil which had been used in the old type of buffer. In addition to being very steady in action, air recuperator guns had an increased range of about three thousand yards, their maximum range being 9,600 yards, as against 6,600 yards possessed by guns fitted with the spring buffer.

When the New Zealand batteries first went into action at Gallipoli, the 18-prs. used shrapnel only, and the 4.5in. howitzers both shrapnel and high explosive. About August, 1915, high explosive shells were issued in very limited quantities to the 18-pr. batteries, and from the time the Division went into the line in France, the use of shrapnel by howitzer batteries was discontinued altogether. A great variety of new types of shell was introduced during the course of the War; on the Somme in 1916, the howitzers were first issued with gas shell, both lethal and lachrymatory. The 18-pr. batteries were later issued with smoke shell, which was used a good deal in barrage work for screening the advancing infantry from the eyes of the enemy; and thermite, an incediary shell, for use against occupied buildings and similar targets. Thermite, which was first used by the 2nd (Army) Brigade, N.Z.F.A., in the retreat from Messines, was frequently used in barrages as a "beacon" to indicate some point or boundary to the infantry. Bursting low down in the air, it emitted a vivid sheet of flame, which was conspicuous even in the haze of the barrage.

Generally speaking, there were three distinct types of fuze, in addition to the time fuze, which was used for securing air bursts. These were the non-delay; the delay action, in which page 302the disruptive effect of the explosive was heightened by allowing the shell to bury itself some distance in the ground before bursting; and an instantaneous fuze known as the 106 fuze. This fuze was remarkable at once for its simplicity and its deadly effectiveness. It secured an absolutely instantaneous burst at the moment of impact, and against personnel in the open, hight explosive shell fitted with these fuzes were quite as effective as shrapnel. In barrage fire 18-prs. normally used 50 per cent. shrapnel and 50 per cent. high explosive, and generally the latter had the 106 fuze. The fuze was first used by the New Zealand Artillery when it carried out its practice shoot at Calais when the Division first went to France, but it was not until the middle of 1917 that howitzer batteries were first issued with shell fitted with this fuze, its use being extended to 18-pr. shell some time later.

The flow of reinforcement drafts to replace casualties in the Artillery was always steady, and generally sufficient, but at all periods of heavy fighting, when casualties were abnormally high, batteries were a good deal under strength, and conditions in consequence became more trying. Up to November 12th, 1918, the total number of artillerymen who sailed from New Zealand was 132 officers and 5,441 other ranks, making a grand total of 5,573. To this total there must be added the numbers of men who were transferred to the artillery from other units, the majority of them drawn from the Mounted Rifle Regiments, which supplied a good percentage of the personnel which formed the batteries that were created at Moascar in 1916. The following table shows the total casualties to officers and other ranks during the whole period of the War:—

Officers Other Ranks Total
Killed in Action 37 411 448
Died of Wounds 17 254 271
Died of other causes 6 129 135
Wounded 136 2,217 2,353
Totals 196 3,011 3,207

All drafts from New Zealand passed through the Artillery Reserve Depôt in England, whence after a period of further training they were dispatched to the Division as required through a base reinforcement camp in France. The page 303Reserve Artillery Depôt was first opened in England in June, 1916. It was then incorporated with the New Zealand Reserve Group at Sling Camp, on Salisbury Plain. It was commanded by Major Swaine, R.F.A., who was detached from his own regiment for this duty. On September 19th, 1916, Major F. G. Hume, of the New Zealand Divisional Artillery, assumed command of the Depôt, and a few months later two more officers were sent over from France to assist in the training of reinforcements. A few horses were available for training, but there was no equipment.

On January 8th, 1917, the Depôt moved to the Talavera Barracks, Aldershot, and came under the direct supervision of N.Z.E.F. Headquarters, London. While at Aldershot four complete sections were raised and trained and sent over to France to assist in completing the reorganisation of the Divisional Artillery on a six-gun basis. At the beginning of April, 1917, the Depot transferred to Chadderton Camp, Royton, and remained there until August 13th, of the same year, when it was finally established at Ewshott Barracks, Fleet, in the Aldershot command, where it remained until the close of the War. Before moving from Chadderton, Major Hume had relinquished his command to Lieut.-Colonel I. T. Standish. For purposes of administration and training the Depôt was divided into two sections, known respectively as Headquarters and Battery. In the one were men below Class "A," who attended to all fatigues and camp duties; in the other were the fit men training for the front. The training was of a more comprehensive character than had hitherto been possible, owing to increased facilities and improved equipment. At various periods, visits of inspection were paid to the camp by his Majesty the King, accompanied by Princess Mary, Viscount French (at the time Commander-in-Chief of the Home Forces), and Lieut.-General Sir Archibald Murray, General Officer-in-Chief, Aldershot Command.

On July 1st, 1918, Lieut.-Colonel F. Symon assumed command of the Depôt and remained in charge until a week or two before the close of the war. A week after the Armistice Lieut.-Colonel Falla took charge of the Depôt, and remained in command until it was closed.