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Red Cross train, 1915


Images of the crowds that gathered at various stops along the North Island Main Trunk Line to greet the first large group of Gallipoli wounded following their return to Wellington on the Willochra on 15 July 1915.

The men who lived in Auckland and other North Island towns along the Main Trunk Line were transported home from Wellington by New Zealand's first-ever military 'Red Cross Train'. The New Zealand Herald reported in detail on the welcomes the men received throughout the night through to their arrival in Auckland’s suburbs the following morning:

From the very outset of the journey is was evident that the passing of the Red Cross train was not only expected, but awaited by residents of the towns and settlements en route. Stations flashed by as the train sped outwards, and with the flash would rise and speedily fade away the sound of cheers. These greetings were continuous throughout the night…From the earliest hour of daylight until the train arrived in Auckland similar demonstrations of welcome were made. At Taumarunui, Te Kuiti, and Te Awamutu the residents turned out in imposing numbers. In each instance the ambulance car drew the crowd like a magnet. Women of all ages showered little delicacies upon the soldiers.

How to cite this page

Red Cross train, 1915, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated