Tuesday, August 9, 2016

a century ago people knew WW1 was going to last much longer than they had thought

In August 1914 the expectation was that the little clash of European empires would be over by Christmas and NZers were keen to support the glory of the British Empire.

In December 1914, however, more troops were needed. That is the time setting of this painting by Walter Armiger Bowring (1874-1931) showing the dockside farewell to members of the 2nd Reinforcements for the New Zealand Expeditionary Force aboard HMNZT no. 14 (Willochra), which sailed from Wellington on 14 December 1914. On Saturday 12th they had paraded in front of thousands of people at Newtown Park before marching through city streets lined with spectators.

This appeared in a supplement to ‘New Zealand at the Dardanelles’ (a special war number of the Weekly Press of 18 September 1915) with the caption, 'The joyous rally of New Zealand's sons to the King's call. A typical departure of reinforcements for the Expeditionary Force.' Regulations which came into force in October 1917 ended public access to the wharves.

In December 1915 the disastrous Gallipoli campaign -- the destination that these troops would be headed to -- was over, but ANZAC troops were then on their way to the next scene of slaughter, the Western Front in France, which had been raging for 2 years and would be for more than another 2 years.

For lots more, see the book Voyage to Gallipoli. 

No comments: