Mounted Rifles units

Page 5 – Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment

Wellington Mounted Rifles in Jaffa

The Wellington 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, Canterbury and Otago mounted 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 WMR remained in Palestine 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

WMR cloth patch

Cloth patch for the Wellington 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.

Wellington Mounted Rifles squadrons

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

2nd Wellington West Coast Squadron badge

2nd (Wellington West Coast) Squadron. Cap and collar badges: A punga tree encircled by garter bearing the words ‘Queen Alexandra’s 2nd W.W.C. Mtd Rifles’ over the motto. Motto: Ake ake kia kaha (For ever and ever be strong)

.

6th Sth Wellington Squadron badge

6th (Manawatu) Squadron. Cap and collar badges: The number of the Regiment ‘6’ within a wreath of laurel leaves, surmounted by a crown with a scroll below bearing ‘Manawatu Mounted Rifles. Motto: He kawau maro (Unyielding as the shag)

.

9th Wellington East Coast Squadron badge

9th (Wellington East Coast) Squadron. Cap badge: A horse forcene over a scroll with the regimental motto. Collar badges: Smaller version of the cap badge. Motto: Fortes fortuna juvat (Fortune favours the brave).

Formation of squadrons

These squadron designations were intended to represent each of the three Territorial Force mounted rifles regiments from which the WMR 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 (Wellington: Exisle Publishing, 2007)

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

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

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

Wilkie, A.H., Official war history of the Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment, 1914–1919 (Naval & Military Press, Uckfield, East Sussex, 2003)

How to cite this page

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