Auckland Infantry: The Story of the Auckland (Countess of Ranfurly's Own) and North Auckland Regiments and of the Citizen Soldiers Who Served New Zealand
This is the first definitive history of infantry units in the Auckland and Northland region spanning 160 years starting with the formation of the first militia volunteer units in the early 1840s right through to the current structure in 2010 of the 3rd (Auckland (Countess of Ranf... read full description below.
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|Library of Congress
||New Zealand, New Zealand - History
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Description of this Book
This is the first definitive history of infantry units in the Auckland and Northland region spanning 160 years starting with the formation of the first militia volunteer units in the early 1840s right through to the current structure in 2010 of the 3rd (Auckland (Countess of Ranfurly's Own) and Northland) Battalion Group. Over this period of time, volunteers from Auckland and Northland saw service in peace and in war. The early militia units first saw active service in the Maori wars starting with the campaign in Northland against Hone Heke and Kawiti in 1845. In later wars against the Maori Major Charles Heaphy, of the Auckland Militia, won the first Victoria Cross awarded to a New Zealander. The various independent Auckland militia units, each with its own individual distinctions, uniforms and culture, went through a number of reincarnations during the latter half of the 19th Century culminating in the formation of the Auckland Regiment in May of 1898. One year later the Regiment's first set of colours, which included the first New Zealand Ensign presented to a New Zealand military unit, was presented by Lady Constance, the Countess of Ranfurly, wife of the Governor of New Zealand. It was from Lady Constance that the Regiment took, as part of its title, "The Countess of Ranfurly's Own". The Regiment has continued to maintain ties to the present day with the Ranfurly family in the UK. Shortly thereafter, Aucklanders were in action again, with a contribution to the New Zealand contingents that served in South Africa in the Anglo-Boer War. These men earned the Regiment the first of its Battle Honours: South Africa 1900-1902. The Great War saw in excess of 13,000 men serve with the Auckland Regiment of whom some 2,220 died. The men of the Regiment were not only from the 3rd Auckland, but also came from the 6th Hauraki, the 15th North Auckland and the 16th Waikato Regiments. The Auckland Battalion was the first New Zealand unit to land at Gallipolli in the early morning of 25 April 1915. The Second World War, just two decades later, saw Aucklanders again serving overseas in Greece, Crete, North Africa, Italy and the Pacific, this time in 'numbered' Battalions: the 18th, 21st, 24th, 29th, and 35th. A brief outline of the service of these Battalions is included in the story. A section of the book also covers the little recognised service of the 5 home battalions of the Aucks whose responsibility it was to guard and protect New Zealand's northern shores and gulf islands. The 1950s were the days of Compulsory Military Training, shortly after followed by a variant of the same in the 1960s as National Service until the early 1970s. From then and into the 21st Century saw the Territorial Force Volunteer, serving both at home, and more lately, with UN peace-keeping operations. In 1964 the Auckland Regiment amalgamated with the Northland Regiment to form one of the six regional Territorial Force Battalions which continues to serve today. Included also in the book is a chapter on the history of what was, for many years, an important resource for the army, the (school) cadets. The notion of children serving as soldiers today is an unsavoury one, but preparing teenagers to take their place in the defence forces has long been a tradition in New Zealand. Important contributions were made by Auckland's and Northland's bigger schools with some, such as Auckland Grammar, King's College and Mt Albert Grammar raising complete Battalions complete with their own Colours by themselves. In conclusion, "Auckland Infantry" is a well-researched and readable account of the part-time citizen soldiers of Auckland and Northland who served New Zealand starting with the formation of the 'Russell, Bay of Islands' volunteers in 1845 to the end of the first decade of the 21st Century.
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