Introduction: The New Zealanders in Sinai and Palestine

 

It was my good fortune, as well as an honour which I appreciate very highly, to have the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade included in my command during the operations in Sinai and Palestine.

 

I had previously had considerable experience of the horsemen of New Zealand in the South African War and on the Gallipoli Peninsula (as infantrymen) and knew their sterling qualities and what might be expected of them; but when the Anzac Mounted Division was formed early in 1916, the most confirmed optimist could never have conceived the opportunities which would come in their way; opportunities which, with their Australian brothers, they grasped with both hands.

 

In the early part of the Great War the day of the mounted man appeared to be gone for ever, and it remained for the Australian Light Horse and New Zealand Mounted Rifles to demonstrate to the world that the horse soldier was as essential in modern warfare as he had ever been in the past. It was the splendid work of these Australians and New Zealanders in the Sinai Peninsula which, in the first place, turned a defensive campaign into an offensive one and, in the second place, led to the enormous increase in the cavalry in the Egyptian theatre of the War. Without large forces of cavalry, the final operations, which destroyed three Turkish armies and forced Germany's allies out of the War, could never have been undertaken.

 

From the Battle of Romani to the Armistice with Turkey the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade took a prominent part in all the operations, under the brilliant leadership of Major-General Sir Edward Chaytor and Brigadier-General W. Meldrum, and I am personally much indebted to these officers and all ranks of the Brigade for much of the successes achieved, first of all by the Anzac Mounted Division and later by the Desert Mounted Corps.

 

The achievements of the mounted men of New Zealand form a record of which their country and the Empire have every reason to be proud.

 

 

Harry Chauvel

Melbourne

Late Commanding the Desert Mounted Corps