Title: The Mounted Riflemen in Sinai and Palestine – The Story of New Zealand’s Crusaders
Author: Moore, A Briscoe
Edition: 2nd Edition
Publication Date: 2003
Cover: Soft Cover without Dust Jacket – 175 pages
Comments: An account of the operations of the NZ Mounted Rifle Brigade in the Sinai and Palestine campaigns 1916-1918. Gives a very good idea of the country through which they operated and of the hardships and difficulties experienced in their various engagements.
The author of this book served with the Auckland Mounted Rifles which , with the Wellington and the Canterbury Mounted Rifles, a Machine-gun troop, a field troop of Engineers, a Signal Troop, a Mounted Field Ambulance and a mobile Veterinary section made up the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade. The approximate strength was 1,850 men and 2,200 horses. The brigade had fought at Gallipoli, where it had suffered severely, and following the evacuation had returned to Egypt to become part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force.
In April 1916 all the other NZ troops which had been in Egypt since the evacuation of Gallipoli left for France. The Mounted Rifles Brigade were then the only NZ troops remaining on this front though other units were added subsequently. The brigade was in the fighting from the start from the first major action, at Romani in August 1916, right through to the end. The three regiments suffered a total casualty figure of 219 officers and 3,035 other ranks of whom 1100 died. The aim of the author was to give an account of the campaign, not just the fighting, of which there was plenty, but also of the daily life, the surroundings in which they operated and the places of historical interest through which the men passed.
There is quite clearly the feeling that the work of the brigade did not receive the recognition it deserved and the Commanding Officer comments that there was little publicity back home, in fact there was a fairly common opinion that the Mounted troops were merely tourists. the NZ Division on the Western Front was what mattered. Moore has done a good job in redressing the balance and gives an impressive account of the very strenuous life of a Mounted Rifleman on active service and of the many hardships and difficulties encountered.