Title: The History of the Canterbury Regiment N.Z.E.F. 1914 – 1919
Author: Ferguson, David MC
Edition: 2nd Edition
Publication Date: 2003
Cover: Soft Cover without Dust Jacket – 364 pages
Comments: The Canterbury Battalion was formed on the outbreak of war recruited from the four existing Territorial Regiments in the province: 1st (Canterbury), 2nd (South Canterbury), 12th (Nelson) and 13th (North Canterbury and Westland). The four companies in the battalion were numbered and named after the four regiments, a system unique to the NZEF, which explains why they were numbered 1st, 2nd, 12th and 13th. When the 2nd and 3rd Battalions were formed the same company numbering was used.
The battalion arrived in Egypt with the New Zealand Infantry Brigade in December 1914. The Turks attacked the Suez Canal at the beginning of February 1915 and part of the battalion was in action, suffering only one man wounded. On 25th April 1915 the battalion landed on Gallipoli with the New Zealand Brigade and there it fought throughout the campaign till taken off in December 1915 and transported back to Egypt. On 1st March 1916 the 2nd NZ Infantry Brigade was formed and one of the battalions created for it was the 2nd Canterbury; in April 1916 the NZ Division arrived in France where it served until the armistice and then took part in the march to Germany.
This is a straightforward account, intended, as Ferguson explains, to give in a clear and concise manner a record of the doings of the Canterbury Regiment from formation to disbandment and he has certainly done a first class job. It consists mainly of a compilation of battalion War Diaries and those of brigade and division, supplemented by personal recollections of various officers. As a general rule he has not attempted to describe the dangers and hardships of war, no dramatic language or picture painting of dramatic events; the result is a factual unvarnished story.
But the indexes are a godsend to researchers and historians alike. One shows the dispositions of the Canterbury battalions and their companies in front line trenches in France, giving date into the line, date out, whom they relieved, and by whom they were relieved. Another shows the locations of the battalions when out of the line giving the place, when they arrived and when they left. There is a list of Honours and Awards with date of the London Gazette and the Roll of Honour is in two parts, first up to the arrival of the NZEF in France and second after the arrival in France, with date and how the man died.