Mounted Rifles units

Page 3 – Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment

CMR troops on Gallipoli, 1918-19

The Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment was one of four regional mounted rifles regiments raised to serve overseas in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) during the First World War (the others were the Auckland, Wellington and Otago mounted regiments). It was unusual in being the only one without an exact equal by name in the Territorial Force regiments. 

It served as part of the New Zealand and Australian Division on Gallipoli in 1915, and in Sinai and Palestine as part of the Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division from 1916 to 1918.

After the armistice with the Ottoman Turks in October 1918 the CMR remained in Palestine and on the Gallipoli Peninsula until March 1919, when it was sent back to Egypt to help suppress nationalist riots. The regiment was disbanded in June, when most of its officers and men embarked on the troop transport Ulimaroa for the return voyage to New Zealand.

Unit attached toCampaignsDatesFurther information
New Zealand and Australian DivisionGallipoli, 1915August 1914–March 1916Unit diaries at Archives New Zealand;
Unit diaries at Australian War Memorial;
Unit diary extracts on NZHistory
Anzac Mounted DivisionSinai campaign, 1916
Palestine campaign, 1917–18
April 1916–November 1918Unit diaries at Archives New Zealand;
Unit diaries at Australian War Memorial;
Unit diary extracts on NZHistory

Cloth patches, shoulder titles and badges

CMR cloth patch

Cloth patch for the Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment, worn on both sides of a soldier’s puggaree (hatband) from October 1917.

NZMR title badge

Shoulder title worn by all mounted rifles units. 

The green-on-kahki puggaree (hatband) worn by all mounted rifles units.

Canterbury Mounted Rifles squadrons

The Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment comprised three squadrons, each with about 180 men. Here are their badges:

1st Canterbury Squadron badge

1st (Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry) Squadron. Cap badge: Fern-wreath surmounted by a ram’s head and the letters ‘CYC’. Collar badges: A ram’s head above the letters ‘CYC’. Motto: Pro focus et patria (For home and country).

8th Sth Canterbury Squadron badge

8th (South Canterbury) Squadron. Cap badge: The Earl of Ranfurly’s Coat of Arms and Crest. Collar badges: The Earl of Ranfurly’s Crest. Motto: Moveo et profitor (By my actions I am known).

10th Nelson Squadron badge

10th (Nelson) Squadron (renamed 10th (Nelson & Marlborough) Squadron in 1917 after the parent unit in New Zealand was renamed). Cap badge: A stag’s head over the regimental motto. Collar badges: Smaller version of the cap badge. Motto: Rem gero stenue (Fight with zeal).

Formation of squadrons

These squadron designations were intended to represent each of the three Territorial Force mounted rifles regiments from which the CMR drew its personnel. As far as possible, each squadron drew its recruits from its geographical region until September 1917. From then on, men were sent overseas as generic mounted rifles reinforcements but were still generally assigned to their region’s unit.

Further reading

Kinloch, Terry, Devils on horses: in the words of the Anzacs in the Middle East 1916–19 (Canterbury: Exisle Publishing, 2007)

Kinloch, Terry, Echoes of Gallipoli: in the words of New Zealand’s mounted riflemen (Canterbury: Exisle Publishing, 2005)

Moore, A. Briscoe, The mounted riflemen in Sinai and Palestine: the story of New Zealand’s crusaders (Canterbury: Whitcombe & Tombs, 1920; reprinted by Naval & Military Press, Uckfield, East Sussex, 2003)

Powles, C.G., The history of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles, 1914–1919 (Auckland: Whitcombe & Tombs, 1928; Naval & Military Press, Uckfield, East Sussex, 200?)

Powles, C.G., The New Zealanders in Sinai and Palestine (Canterbury: Whitcombe & Tombs, 1922)

How to cite this page

'Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/canterbury-mounted-rifles, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 22-Mar-2017