During World War I, Maori forces fought alongside Australians at Gallipoli.
"The pioneer unit generally did the groundwork. They dug the trenches and so on. There was a lot of protest among the Maori leaders because they were deemed to be from a warrior race and should have been frontline troops."
Soutar says some Maori men felt compelled to fight in World War I because their ancestors had in 1840 signed the Treaty of Waitangi and agreed to the rights and responsibilities of British citizenship. Maori forces led a bayonet charge alongside Australian soldiers in the battle of Crete and fought valiantly in Italy, Libya and Syria.
However, increasing casualties among the Anzac forces at Gallipoli led to the deployment of the 461 man battalion. The battalion arrived at Anzac Cove on 3 July 1915.
Here they joined the New Zealand Mounted Rifles and were deployed as infantry soldiers. In 1917, the battalion was renamed the New Zealand Maori (Pioneer) Battalion. After the Gallipoli there was considerable criticism of three officers of the Māori Pioneers, who were charged with desertion in the face of the enemy. Godley sent them home and broke up the Māori force when it was sent to France. In France the Māori troops were interspersed with troops from the Otago Mounted Rifles Regiment who were adapted into the pioneer role after suffering many casualties at Gallipoli.
Much of the time the soldiers were engaged in making support or communication trenches well behind the front lines. When they had to work closer to the front they usually worked at night.
During the winter months of 1916 the pioneers were well behind the front lines in comfortable billets where they were able to use local cafes and hotels, and socialise with French civilians. Often during these times they were able to play rugby against other military teams. In letters home they praised the French beer which was very cheap, and the good quality champagne.
They had time to observe French farmers and those soldiers with a farming background made critical comments about the backward French methods. Although leave was rare most soldiers had a chance to visit England and Scotland to take in the sights. They had the opportunity to visit tourist attractions in London. The war diaries of the battalion say casualties were well below the rate for the NZ infantry Division, but this was due to their service being primarily behind the lines. On at least one occasion the battalion was used to launch stealthy attacks on German trenches, armed with bayonets and patu.
In late August 1916 the battalion was engaged at the Somme, and began work on an 8 kilometre communication trail known as 'Turk Lane.' At Messines Ridge, the battalion suffered 155 casualties, including 17 deaths. In December 1916, 43 Māori soldiers from the Māori Pioneer Battalion joined the New Zealand Tunnelling Company in the lead-up to the Battle of Arras.
In 1917 the remnants of the Otago Mounted Rifles Regiment, which made up 50 per cent of the battalion's remaining strength, was replaced by newly arrived Māori reinforcements. Around the same time a contingent of 150 Niue Islanders was sent home after failing to adapt to the conditions in Western Europe.
The last reinforcements was predominantly composed of Cook Islanders, and most were sent to join the Rarotongan company in the Palestine campaign. At the conclusion of the war the battalion was involved in an unpleasant incident when a group of Māori soldiers, possibly suffering from battle fatigue, started shooting in a rest camp. When an officer was sent to investigate he was shot.
A QUEST to discover why the Maori warrior who led his troops into the Battle of Chunuk Bair was sent home after being accused of "cowardice", has uncovered a dark secret from New Zealand's valiant Gallipoli campaign.
The explosive incident led to Maori troops being withdrawn from the frontline and stopped from again fighting as a unit during World War I.
Captain Roger Dansey, commander of the Native Contingent's A Company, was sent home after clashing with his British-born commanding officer following the bloody battle, and after being accused of "desertion, lack of control and cowardice", according to his great nephew, broadcaster Brendon Butt.
But official documents show Dansey was far from a coward. The former Maori All Black led his men on a bayonet charge at the enemy lines, "personally disposing of three Turks," according to reports.
Major General Alexander Godley, commander of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force and the officer in charge of the ANZAC division that landed at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915, wrote he had read reports of the Maori involvement at Chunuk Bair and "all speak most highly of the individual bravery and courage of the men and their gallantry during the fight".
In the days leading up to the battle, Dansey brought the haka to the hills of Gallipoli, encouraging his men to perform the war cry in the trenches.
Turkish soldiers later reported the chants of "ka mate, ka mate" had been like "satan opening the gates of hell". The Turks later admitted it made them think their time had come.
In New Zealand, Maori leaders were outraged at the decision to send Dansey home.
Prime Minister William Massey and War Minister James Allen intervened to get Dansey returned to the war and for a Maori unit to again be formed.
John and Ellen Jillett's Children
All four of those Allied aircraft, were part of the now famous No 32 Squadron, RAAF, whose story, from its formation on February 21, 1942, until its departure south seven months later, Is told in Moresby's Few, by Leslie Jillett, formerly the squadron's intelligence officer.
Here is a little workmanlike war book of a type that servicemen prefer; for this reason: like the talk of fighter pilots in RAAF messes it is practical, gritty, and unromantic. The only enthusiasm shown is for a machine or (rarely) for an airman's skill, and then only briefly. As a result this is almost a branch of tech-nical literature, narrow in appeal but potent enough among its special readers.
"Continuity is difficult to achieve in writing the story of No 32," says Mr Jillett. "For instance, the squadron as a whole seldom underwent a common experience, apart from Japanese air raids. The crews, who go out at any tick of the clock, night or day, to bomb Japanese-held aerodromes, to photograph, to attack, mast-high, warships and transports, to shoot down Japanese aircraft - they are the history-makers. And their experiences are essentially individual."
No 32, commanded for the first year of its existence by Wing-Commander D. W. Kingwell, included airmen whose names are RAAF history. One of the first DFC's in 1942 went to Wing-Commander John Lerew, of Melbourne, who had commanded Squadron 24 at Rabaul. He joined the RAAF in 1932, with a prodigious sporting record. A grim humorist, he sent from Rabaul on the eve of its fall the signal (but in Latin): "We who are about to die salute you."
Happily Lerew and most of his men escaped to fight on conspicuously. Jillett quotes extracts from the diary Lerew kept during his nine-day journey back to Moresby from a forced parachute landing. It is a nightmare that begins with a whack on the head from the tail of his just-abandoned plane; continues through lack of food, water and medicines, loss of bearings, stumbling into native villages, into abandoned white men's huts and Japanese posts; and ends with men in slouch hats pointing tommyguns and asking the dazed, unrecognisable Lerew, with his nine days' beard (for want of a password) : "Could you do a long cold one?"
The story of Flight-Lieutenanfc W. A. ( Pedro") Pedrina, DFC, "the perfect Pilot," is gay with the daring of one who cruised casually, bombing, straf-ing, or just photographing, in the face of fierce Japanese "resentment"; dark with the roll Of air crews, skilful and brave, who were lost on the same missions.
FO Stuart Hermes got a reputation as a "character" when the air warfare round New Guinea was so fluid that one constantly mistook Japanese ah; bases for Allied ones, and photo-graphed unrecognised enemy and American aircraft with equal sang-froid.
Sgt Geoff Fletcher's Hudson one night struck shallow sea near a piece of land with mangroves. He rescued one companion; dived for another; applied artificial respiration without success. Then he heard a train whistle. It was from the Queensland coast, but the sharks and crocodiles, which could not prevent him diving for his comrades, kept him stranded on the islet till a launch came by.
Moresby's Few is largely the tale of such "individual adventures," gallant and strange, of "several farmers and graziers, two or three bank clerks, several school teachers (who usually make excellent navigators), salesmen, accountants, insurance men, students . . . and one sole representative of the corset industry."
"No squadron in the north had a finer record," writes Jillett. "In critical days they stayed in the sky."
Moresby’s Few - Being an account of the activities of No. 32 Squadron in New Guinea in 1942
Author: Jillett, Leslie
Comments: The detailed history of No 32 Squadron RAAF in New Guinea during World War II. Now an exceptionally scarce and highly desirable RAAF unit history title.
The Squadron was established as a reconnaissance and bomber unit, equipped with Lockheed Hudson aircraft, at Port Moresby on 21 February 1942. It was formed from elements of other RAAF Hudson squadrons deployed from their home bases for combat operations against Japanese forces. 32 Squadron played an important role during the early stages of the New Guinea campaign, conducting anti-submarine and anti-shipping patrols, flying bombing sorties against enemy airfields and flying boat bases, as well as conducting reconnaissance and supply missions.
32 Squadron's first mission took place the day it was formed, when aircraft were launched to search for a reported enemy submarine. A few days later the Squadron undertook the first of many bombing raids on the Japanese air base at Gasmata. After only a few weeks of operations, due to enemy raids on Port Moresby's Seven Mile airfield, the Squadron was withdrawn to Horn Island, Queensland but continued to stage out of Seven Mile on its missions, its aircraft refuelling there en route to their targets. In March 1942 one of the Squadron's Hudsons was the first to spot the Japanese convoy transporting the forces for the invasion of the New Guinea mainland. Later the same month the Squadron was engaged against Japanese forces landing at Lae and Salamaua. In July 1942, 32 Squadron was active in the Gona area and during the lead-up to the Battle of Milne Bay.
Redeployed to Sydney in September 1942, 32 Squadron conducted anti-submarine patrols, initially from RAAF Base Richmond and then from Camden. In March 1943 the Hudsons were replaced by DAP-built versions of the Bristol Beaufort, which it used until the end of the war. The Squadron was disbanded in November 1945.
Missing Dust Jacket and has kids scribble on cover front and back. One pen line through one page otherwise a good condition copy on an exceptionally scarce book.