New Zealand Rifle Brigade (Earl of Liverpool's Own)

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The New Zealand Rifle Brigade
N3N011.jpg
NZRB cap badge
Active 1 May 1915 – 4 February 1919
Country New Zealand
Type Infantry
Size Four Battalions
Nickname "The Dinks"
Motto Soyes Ferme
Engagements First World War
Commanders
Ceremonial chief Earl of Liverpool
Notable
commanders
Harry Fulton
Herbert Ernest Hart

The New Zealand Rifle Brigade (Earl of Liverpool's Own), affectionately known as The Dinks, was formed on 1 May 1915 as the 3rd Brigade of the New Zealand Division, part of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. During the First World War it fought in Egypt, against the Senussi, and then on the Western Front. It was disbanded on 4 February 1919.

History[edit]

When the first World War commenced New Zealand only had sufficient infantry battalions to form a single brigade and this was combined with an Australian brigade to form the New Zealand and Australian Division. New Zealand had also been recruiting reinforcements to fill the ranks of soldiers killed and wounded and after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire Suez Offensive with minimal losses, it became clear that additional units could be formed.

Formation[edit]

The decision was taken to use the three battalions of reinforcements in Egypt, with another inbound, to form the 2nd New Zealand Brigade. The 5th Reinforcements were still in New Zealand and were nominated to form the nucleus of a new infantry unit that was initially designated as the Trentham Infantry Regiment, after the camp where it was formed. Consisting of two battalions and commanded by a British Army officer, Lieutenant Colonel Harry Fulton, it did not become the New Zealand Rifle Brigade until 1 Oct 1915[1] shortly after a 3rd and 4th Battalion had been added.

Egypt[edit]

Two battalions left Wellington on 8 October 1915 eventually arriving in Cairo on 14 November. They were then attached for duties with the Western Frontier Force. They were joined on 13 and 15 March 1916 by the third and fourth battalions. After a period of reorganisation the full brigade left Alexandria on 7 April for France.

France[edit]

Members of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade operating a mortar at the front near Le Quesnoy, 1918

After a period of training the brigade entered the line on 13 May east of Armentieres. It participated in the vast majority of the battles of 1916, 1917 and 1918. Notable examples include:

The end[edit]

The first elements of the Brigade were returned to New Zealand from 26 December 1918, with up to 1000 per week leaving. By the end of January 1919, the four battalions had been reduced to two with the final units being disbanded on 4 February 1919.

Mascot[edit]

Marble headstone for Freda

The unit had a Harlequin Great Dane dog called Freda, as a mascot, which died in England in 1918. A marble memorial to the dog can be found on Cannock Chase in Staffordshire.

Model WW1 battlefield[edit]

In September 2013 it was reported that Staffordshire County Council would excavate the World war I model battlefield near Brocton, Staffordshire, which had been constructed by German Prisoners of War held in a camp on nearby Cannock Chase and guarded by soldiers of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade (Earl of Liverpool's Own).[2] The model of the village and surrounding area of Messines in Belgium, which included replica trenches and dugouts, railway lines, roads, and accurate contours of the surrounding terrain, would be open to public view for a few weeks before being buried over again to ensure its preservation.[3][4][5] The excavation [6] has revealed amazing details of the 40 metre square battlefield which is said to be perfectly preserved. "Staffordshire County Council will be using laser-scanning technology to re-create the site as a 3D interactive model that can be explored online." [7]

Awards[edit]

Battle honours[edit]

During its short existence the Brigade was awarded the following battle honours[8]

1916

1917

1918

  • Colincamps
  • Hebuterne
  • Puisieux
  • Favreuil
  • Trescault Ridge
  • Lesdain
  • Le Quesnoy

Individual medals[edit]

Two members of the Brigade won the Victoria Cross; LCpl Samuel Frickleton on 7 June 1917 and Sgt Harry Laurent on 12 September 1918. In addition, the following were awarded:[9]

References[edit]

External links[edit]