Special constable's baton

Special constable’s baton, 1913. Gift of Mr Hugh White, 2005. (A zoomable view of this image is available on Te Papa's website.)

Hugh Macalister White, a 20-year old farmer from Manaia in south Taranaki, became a member of ‘G squad’ of the mounted specials in Wellington. Mounted specials were armed with long wooden batons, and Hugh carved his with elaborate motifs and a slogan – ‘Society combats Anarchy Brutality Syndicalists’ – which shows his motives for volunteering as a special.

Like many of the specials, Hugh was a part-time soldier or Territorial. He volunteered for the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in June 1915 and became a trooper in the Wellington Mounted Rifles. White served on Gallipoli from October to December 1915, and then in Egypt and Palestine. He was promoted to sergeant on 15 November 1917, but a few days later fell dangerously ill with acute gastritis and died on 27 November at El Arish. He is buried at the Kantara War Memorial Cemetery.

See this and other objects relating to the 1913 strike here (Flickr).

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