Presbyterian Archives Research Centre

Photo Gallery No 14 :

"New Zealand at War : 1914-1918" (Page One)


Almost a hundred years ago, hostilities ceased on the Western Front and peace finally reigned supreme after four years of bloodshed. Our Autumn Photo Gallery features a diverse and rather eclectic range of images and ephemera from our varied collections which relate to New Zealand's involvement in the 'Great War' of 1914-1918. The purpose of this gallery is not only to highlight our collection of 'Great War' related images, ephemera and related manuscript material, but also to remember a generation from 'the furtherest ends of the earth' who answered the Empire's call to take up arms for King and Country and to fight a war on the other side of the world. These images do not portray any combat scenes or damage.

The majority of these images were taken as a permanent record of various people, places and events, as well as for family and friends back home. Diaries and letters held in the Archives often contain detailed descriptions of the events and places pictured however military censorship of letters generally forbade detailed descriptions of or photos of combat zones. War diaries we hold do however reveal much of the true nature of the war in personal terms.

Interspersed with these images are extracts from New Zealand Presbyterian Church journals and sermons which attempt to portray how the church and its ministers at home viewed the war, or at least attempted to justify and support it from a religious perspective. Please take the time to read these fascinating excerpts. Ministers of the church, who held considerable influence over their Parishioners, often held very strong opinions on the nature of the war and many did not hesitate to expound such views from the pulpit or in published form. Such diverse views ranged from fighting a just 'holy war' to the bitter end; to smashing German militarism in order to 'free' the German people; to promoting a 'League of Nations' where conference would henceforth replace armament and war; to promoting temperance in order to save ourselves and our soldiers from the moral and financial collapse attributable to drink; and not forgetting ones own sin and self interest by 'profiteering' from the war. We would welcome further academic and student research of this wealth of fascinating published and primary material.

The majority of these photos were taken by the soldiers themselves on small amateur Kodak roll film cameras, and despite some rather grainy or now faded images they have left us with a unique record. A number of faded or indistinct images have however needed to be digitally enhanced to provide an acceptable viewing standard. But quite remarkably, a number of images have also been scanned from the original highly inflammable and inherently unstable nitrate negatives. These have often survived in better condition after 90 years than the original prints.

We would value your comments and feedback :

Presbyterian Church Archives Research Centre Home Page.

Donald Cochrane
Curator of Photographs (Retired)


Page One Page Two Page Three Page Four


Light Horse Regiment in Egypt


"In Egypt" :

Officers of a light horse regiment in Egypt pictured with their horses; a large quantity of soldiers' kits stacked up at rear. Note the tassles over the horses heads, either to discourage flies or to provide some relief from the hot sun. (Moore Collection)


"The Presbytery of Cairo, 1914-1915" :

The "Presbytery of Cairo", formed of Protestant Chaplains on active service in Egypt; Incl (Left To Right) :

-Back Row: Mr Andrew Stewart (Glasgow, Scotland); Rev. Ernest N Merrington (Senior Chaplain, Australian Imperial Force); Rev. William Grant (Chaplain, NZ Expeditionary Force); Rev.A.Gillinson (Chaplain, Australian Inperial Force); Rev. JC McPhee (Senior Chaplain, Australian Imperial Force).

-Front Row: Rev. George S King (Chaplain, NZ Expeditionary Force); Rev. McIlroy (YMCA worker, UF Church Scotland); Rev.Angus McDonald (Senior Chaplain, NZ Expeditionary Force); Rev J. Gillon (Civil Chaplain Cairo & Moderator of Presbytery); Rev. JK Miller (Chaplain, Australian Imperial Force); Rev.Dr. Kennedy (YMCA worker, Refugee Missionary from Beirut Syria).

Both The Rev William Grant and the Rev Andrew Gilkison were killed in action at Gallipoli.


The Presbytery of Cairo


Dardanelles Campaign Souvenir 1915


Dardanelles Campaign Souvenir, 1915:

This small card which carries the New Zealand flag along with the Union Jack, commemorates the landing of New Zealand and allied forces at Gallipoli in the Dardanelles in April 1915. (Knox College Collection)

Strategically flawed, the campaign started out full of hope and in expectation of swiftly establishing a useful beach head to strike for Constantinople, thus assisting Tsarist Russia by knocking the Ottoman Turkish forces out of the war. By the end of the year, and after particularly strong and well organised counter-attacks from Turkish forces fighting on their home ground, including appalling casualties on both sides, the allied Commanders finally deemed it prudent to withdraw from this unwinnable bloodbath. The statistics are sobering : 480,000 allied troops took part in the eleven month campaign at Gallipoli, at least 44,000 died, and an estimated 97,000 were wounded. Of the gallant Turkish regiments, almost 56,000 died with at least 195,000 wounded [source Wikipedia].


"In view further of the number of young men belonging to the churches of our order who have joined the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, this Presbytery recommends kirk sessions within its bounds to prepare Rolls of Honour containing the names of all who have volunteered to serve their country during the present crisis in her history;…. once a month, or at such other time as may be considered desirable, the names may be read over in the intercessory meeting…." - Dunedin Presbytery Minutes 1915.



Chaplain-Major Rev William Grant 1859 - 1915

"He didn't care as long as he was with his boys"

The first NZ Presbyterian Chaplain to offer his services in the war. Appointed Senior Chaplain to the Main Expeditionary Force under the NZ Mounted Rifles Brigade, with the rank of Chaplain-Major. Left NZ in October 1914, serving on the "Orari" troopship, at the Zeitoun Camp in Egypt, and at Gallipoli in the Dardanelles.

"He takes absolutely no notice of the shrapnel and bullets, ... he only smiles. He told me that he had no orderly, and no dug-out of his own to sleep in, and was living on bully beef and biscuits. I asked him 'But where do you sleep?' He said just where he dropped; he didn't care as long as he was with his boys."

"Ministering to the wounded and dying, performing the last offices for the dead, cheering and inspiring our fighting men – thus his last days were passed. He met his death in going ‘a little further’ into the enemy trenches, seeking a wounded man." Died 28 Aug 1915. His funeral was held on the 30th Aug 1915 with "a large number of men present", his grave "on a little flat in the middle of some foothills about half to three-quiarters of a mile from where he fell" being covered with a cairn of stones and a wooden memorial cross. Chaplain Grant is now only commemorated on the New Zealand Memorial at "Hill 60".



Chaplain Major William Grant



Orari Tatler Invoice


The sad but poignant sequel to the Rev Grant's Death :

The Rev Grant personally underwrote the cost of printing the 102 page publication "The Orari Tatler", being a souvenir magazine for those New Zealand soldiers who had embarked on the troopship "Orari" from Wellington on the 16th October 1914, arriving at Alexandria in Egypt on the 3rd December 1915. Sold for a small charge (which many actually thought excessive), this was evidently still not enough to cover the printing cost of 4/6 a copy. The Rev Grant continued to make part payments to the printers out of his own pocket and promised to continue to do so after his departure for Gallipoli. While he felt that his comrades on the "Orari" would not see him shoulder the debt alone, he did wonder "if any are left at the end of the day" to do so.

Upon the Rev Grant's untimely death in August 1915 the amount of £74:7:1 was still oustanding. The printers then attempted to recoup this debt from the NZ Military authorities then from his estate, writing to his widow in New Zealand. Viewed as a 'private debt', the NZ Military authorities actively pressed Mrs Grant to make payment. As the matter was placed in the hands of the Presbyterian Church General Treasurer by her Solicitor it appears likely that monies were indeed paid from his estate and/or his widow's annuity. (PCNZ General Treasurer Collection)

"The duties of the Chaplain are exceedingly important… There are 5000 men in the camp, and of these about 5000 are Presbyterians… Mr Dutton's work, needless to say, is not limited to addressing gatherings of the troops…. He daily visits the sick in the camp hospital. He seeks the company of men when off duty, and strives to gain their confidence. He will by and bye put himself in touch by letters with their parents. He is the soldiers' friend, and already the men are learning to look up to him as such" - Rev Chaplain-Major Dutton appointed to Trentham Military Camp 1915. 


Chaplain-Major Rev Daniel Dutton :

A dashingly portrayed Chaplain-Major Rev Daniel Dutton who served on the Hospital Troopship "TSS Maheno", carrying injured soldiers from Gallipoli back to New Zealand. The vessel departed Anzac Cove Gallipoli Nov 1915, arriving in Auckland on New Years Day 1916. The TSS Maheno made a striking sight, the hull and superstructure painted white with a long green stripe along the hull seperated by three large red crosses.

The Rev Dutton served as a Chaplain in both the Boer War in South Africa and The Great War, gaining various medals and clasps, retiring with the Military rank of Lieutenant Colonel Chaplain.  He had a keen interest in scientific pursuits, especially astronomy and geology, being in popular demand as a lecturer in these subjects.


Chaplain-Major Rev Daniel Dutton



Knox College Reunion Dinner in France 1916


"Somewhere in France" :

A menu card listing the names of those past students of Knox College in Dunedin New Zealand who joined for a Reunion Dinner "Somewhere in France" on the 15th December 1916. Both this printed version and the original hand-written version survive. Of those who attended, three were later killed (AR Madill, WH Pay & WP Thompson), with one wounded and one very ill. (Knox College Collection)


The Presbyterian Church, along with other denominations, opened its own "Presbyterian Institute" at Trentham, being supported by a Church wide appeal :
"…Every evening crowding all the institutes, engaged in letter writing, reading, yarning with chums, or listening to music. Frequently we have good concert parties from the City. We hold a regular Church service on Sunday evenings…. When I look upon the many men present at these services I think how it would gladden the hearts of our ministers… to see so many young men at our services." - Chaplain Major Daniel Dutton, 1915.


Camaraderie in Camp :

New Zealand Army recruits, including Claude Moore (at front in light shirt), posing for the camera during a meal break outside their tent at "Canvas Camp", Featherston Military Camp. Here the soldiers lived for several weeks under canvas before the march from Featherston to Trentham at the end of training and prior to leaving New Zealand in 1917. Note the rifles with fixed bayonets. (Moore Collection)


NZ Army Recruits in Camp c.1916-17



New Zealand Army Recruits in Camp c.1916-17


Soldiers pictured standing on an obstacle course at Trentham Military Training Camp, c.1916-1917 (Moore Collection)


"What are needed from the pulpit and the press today are not exhortations and statements calculated to inspire and inflame a hatred of the German nation, but exhortations and statements which will inspire a hatred of war." Editor of "The Outlook" 1916.


Kit Inspection

This image portrays a "B" Company 23rd Reinforcements kit inspection at Trentham Military Training Camp, c.1916-17 (Moore Collection)


Kit Inspection at Featherstone Camp c.1916-17



SS Corinthic at Sea 1917


Soldiers relaxing on the deck of the troopship "SS Corinthic" at sea en-route to Plymouth in England via Cape Town. The troopship departed Wellington on the 3rd April 1917, arrived Cape Town 3rd May, departed Cape Town 10th May in a convoy of 8 boats, including other troopships, arriving in Plymouth England on the 10th June 1917. (Moore Collection)

Nearing the African and European continents, all ships and convoys maintained a zig-zag pattern to lessen the risk of being torpedoed or their courses being accurately plotted by active German U-Boats. 400 miles out from England ten destroyers picked up the convoy, escorting them through the dangerous waters to Plymouth.


"In God's name we must go on - on to the bitter end. We must send every man that can go. We must accept the sacrifice when our own fall in the battle front. We must stiffen out hearts to endure whatever further of hardship this war shall entail. … for the right, for peace, for honour, for justice, for truth, for mercy, yea for Christianity's sake we are called to go forth and smite the evil thing and not to falter. "Give them according to their deeds and according to the wickedness of their endeavours,… render to them their desert… Pray not for peace merely, but that they may be able in the name of God and of humanity to carry through this tremendous work for truth and honour and civilisation; to carry it through to the end without flinching, without seeking an easy way out - no matter how terrible the sacrifice; yea, though our hearts are rent in twain." - Sermon by Rev JW Shaw, Invercargill, 9 May 1915   


Another view of soldiers passing the time on deck during the long voyage of the "SS Corinthic" to Britain. Sailing through the sweltering tropics many soldiers also slept up on deck.

Obviously a keen photographer, Gunner Claude Moore notes in his diary that he printed and fixed photos one sunny day on the troopship deck (Moore Collection - scanned from the original negative).


Soldiers on deck, SS Corinthic, 1917



Soldiers Boxing Match, SS Corinthic, 1917


A friendly boxing match on board the troopship 'SS Corinthic' (Moore Collection - scanned from the original negative).


"All that has happened…. should simply serve to make our resolution stronger. We here in New Zealand must play our part. We must neither hesitate nor count the cost in this holy war until we have vindicated once and for all Christian truth and Christian liberty, Christian sentiment and principle…. It is for us these days to bear our anxieties with courage and cheerfulness, to face our sacrifices without flinching." Rev James Aitken, Mosgiel 1915  


Another friendly boxing match on board the "Corinthic" :

Apart from sporting and recreational activities, the time was taken up with physical drill, lectures, church and army parades, washing one's clothes, and also 'submarine guard' when nearing the African and European continents. (Moore Collection)


Soldiers Boxing Match, SS Corinthic, 1917



Captured German Anti-Aircraft Gun, Capetown, 1917


Captured German Anti-Aircraft Gun :

11th Batallion Gunner Claude Moore pictured beside a captured German anti-aircraft gun from German West Africa (now known as Namibia) displayed outside the entrance to Capetown Museum, South Africa. Even with low flying and relatively slow monoplanes, one wonders at the effectiveness of this relatively fixed gun! Taken 5 May 1917 (Moore collection)


"There is talk in some quarters of the kind of peace which we must impose in the end. It is suggested that we must not humiliate Germany too far. We are reminded of much that is great and good in that people….. It has been said that the finest result that could possibly be obtained from this war would be that a generation hence the Germans should look back upon their experience of utter and unmitigated defeat and say : 'After all, it was a good war for us. It delivered us from the illusion of Pan-Germanism and the incubus of militarism, and left us free to live and work and trade in a world no longer unfriendly.' That would be the finest possible issue of the war, the most glorious victory the Allies could win… We look further ahead and pray for such a victory as will confirm the liberties of Europe, and issue in the growth of liberty in Germany herself." Rev James Aitken, Mosgiel 1915.  


"Out for a Joy Ride" :

Some of the New Zealand Soldiers from the Corinthic "out for a joy ride", taken at Camp Bay, South Africa, May 1917 The very attractive Dutch influenced architecture is obvious. (Moore Collection)


Soldiers Out for a Joy Ride, Capetown, 1917



Page One Page Two Page Three Page Four