Title: Official History of the New Zealand Engineers During the Great War 1914 – 1919
Author: Annabell, N
Edition: 2nd Edition
Publication Date: 2003
Cover: Soft Cover without Dust Jacket – 315 pages
Comments: A record of the work done by the NZ Engineers, including the Signal and Wireless Troops, during operations in Samoa, Egypt, Gallipoli, Sinai, Palestine, Mesopotamia and on the Western Front. Roll of Honour, list of Honours and Awards and roll of officers who served.
This history describes the work carried out by the Field Companies, Field Troops, Signal Troop, and Wireless Troop of the NZ Engineers during operations in Samoa (1914-1915); Egypt, Gallipoli, Sinai and Palestine (1914-1918); France, Belgium and Germany (1916-1919); and Mesopotamia (1916-1918).
In his preface, Major Annabell comments on the difficulties in preparing this account as a large number of war diaries, the notes prepared for the Field Troops’ history and various other records never reached New Zealand, and the bare material available from existing diaries and records was insufficient to produce a worthwhile history. So it was decided to introduce a personal note and an appeal was sent out for details of any noteworthy exploits in the field, any incidents of a sensational, amusing or humorous nature and any facts concerning the Corps that it was felt should be chronicled and any suggestions which would tend towards the general improvement of the Regimental History. It has to be said that the effort was eminently worthwhile and the result is a fine history providing a memorable record of life on active service which began at New Zealand’s backdoor, Samoa, a German possession which was occupied in August 1914 by a NZ force that included two sections of an engineer field company without a shot being fired.
The list of Honours and Awards is headed by the Victoria Cross, a posthumous award to Sgt Forsyth in August 1918 while he was attached to an infantry battalion on probation for a commission. The Roll of Honour lists 215 officers and men who died. The NZ sappers saw active service in all theatres except Macedonia; they provided wireless troops in Mesopotamia and Persia. There is a list of all the officers who served with the NZ Engineers, 89 in all of whom 36 gained commissions in the field.