Echoes of Gallipoli
In the words of New Zealand’s mounted riflemen
By Terry Kinloch
Published by Exisle Publishing
RRP $39.99 in paperback • ISBN 9781775592624
First published ten years ago, Echoes of Gallipoli tells the tortuous journey of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles (NZMR) Brigade from mobilisation in August 1914 through to their evacuation from the Gallipoli peninsula in December 1915.
Initially sent to Egypt, the NZMR Brigade was called into action at Gallipoli in mid May as infantry reinforcements because of mounting losses.
Within a week the brigade had their first taste of full-scale trench warfare when 40,000 Turks attacked the Anzac front line.
But it was on the hilltop of Chunuk Bair on 8 August that the Brigade’s reputation was established. Thrown into support the depleted Wellington Infantry Battalion, the battle raged over two days and came at a terrible cost.
The NZMR Brigade was 1900 strong, bolstered by the addition of 500 reinforcements during the fighting. But after being withdrawn from the hilltop, the brigade had lost nearly 700 men, 200 of whom were dead.
The casualty rate of mounted riflemen at Gallipoli between May and the end of August was truly staggering, at almost 60%.
Perhaps Charles Bean summed it up best when he wrote, “the magnificent brigade of New Zealand Mounted Rifles … had been worked until it was almost entirely consumed”.