Specialist Units of the NZEF

Page 8 – Railway companies

Light-rail ammunition train, Belgium
Light-rail ammunition train, Belgium

New Zealand Railway Company (New Zealand Engineers)

The New Zealand Railway Company, part of the New Zealand Engineers, was a component of the New Zealand Advance Party which occupied German Samoa in August 1914. The Company was despatched to operate light railways for the occupying force. It was disbanded when this force was reduced to a garrison in April 1915. 

NameUnit attached toCampaignsDatesFurther information
New Zealand Railway CompanyNew Zealand EngineersSamoaAug 1914–Apr 1915 Railwaymen in the NZEF

No. 5 Light Railway Operating Company

The No. 5 Light Railway Operating Company (or Section), New Zealand Engineers, was created in January 1917 to help operate the network of railways behind the British front lines which helped divisional trains and ammunition columns get supplies and ammunition to the troops. Read our article about Light Railways

NameUnit attached toCampaignsDatesFurther information
5th (NZ) Light Railway Operating CompanyNew Zealand EngineersWestern Front, 1917–18Feb 1917–Mar 1919Unit diaries at Archives New Zealand

Badges, shoulder titles and puggarees

NZ Engineers cap and collar badges

Cap badge: Light Railway men wore the Engineers’ insignia. The hat badge contains the initials ‘NZE’ in a circle bearing the motto Quo fas et gloria ducunt (Where right and glory lead) surmounted by a crown and lion. Collar badge: small grenade.  

NZ Engineers shoulder title

Shoulder title worn by the New Zealand Engineers.

NZ Engineers pugaree

Puggaree (hatband) worn by the New Zealand Engineers.

Further reading

Napier, Paul, ‘The 5th Light Railway Operating Company’, in Barry O’Donnell (ed.), New Zealand railwaymen at war 1914–1918), pp. 34–41 (Wellington: KiwiRail, 2016)

See also: New Zealand Railways at war


How to cite this page

'Railway companies', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/specialist-units/light-railways, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 28-Mar-2017

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