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WITH THE MAORI CONTINGENT.

PENINSULA BOYS AT THE FRONT.

The following , letters from' Peninsula members of the Maori | Contingent have been received, one which is dated October 22nd 1915 has only just come to hand. , "Yesterday I received a parcel of ' two pairs of socks from you, please : accept my (hanks for same, they just

came at the critical moment. For the last live months I have been juggling' with two pairs, and as four of those months were spent on the Peninsula and sometimes in the trenches for ■ weeks at a time, where the luxury of clean socks is unknown, I leave you to imagine the dilapidated nature of them now. My regiment is the N.Z. Maori Contingent, my rank Sergeant, and my duties Pay-clerk. I may state that I zim not a Maori only been attached to them and am proud of being in their regiment, as they are absolutely the finest fighters in the world. Suppose you have read by this of the big attack on August Bth. Well that night the N.Z. boys and Maoris accomplished a feat of arms that will go down in history and will be remembered by us as the beginning- of a week of nightmares (was going to write something stronger). Will try and make you imagine that night. It was pitch dark, warships and torpedo boats , were lying-.off the shore throwing, their searchlights .on the surround-j ing hills, occasionally one of them fired on the enemy's trenches. We and the Maoris shifted round to the left, about eight, one platoon (60 men) of Maoris crept forward towards the Turks' trenches and cut j the barb-wire entanglements, they; returned safely after, accomplishing, their task. Then the N.Z. boys, Maoris and Indians advanced slowly up the gullies on each side of the ridge we were to attack. All the enemy's outposts were bayonetted, which was lucky for us in our venture. We were all in our shirts and trousers with white patches on each arm and one square patch on our backs. We were not allowed to charge our rifles. The order was to charge and take the ridge by the point of the bayonet, and this was for safety sake, as in the melee that; was to follow we would surely have shot one another, as the patches could not be distinguished at any great distance. After very little adventure we all got into our different "positions. We were then told that we had completely surrounded the Turks in this locality. The signal for the attack to commence was to be given to us by one of the torpedo boats. She was to throw her lights up . into the Heavens and extinguish it suddenly. How that light fascinated us. What hours it seemed to us while waiting for that signal. A few minutes after nine the Maoris gave their battle cry : "Komata, Komata," etc. It could be heard for miles in the still air. Away on the left it was taken up by the New Zealanders and on the right by the Australians. It was grand, made the blood run madly through ones veins. Just then the given and the order to advanctfeame along the line? In a 'little over .ten minutes we had taken ' a strong position and about a mile of ridge, a fevv machine guns, seven hundred prisoners and other booty. We then commenced our victorious march taking ridge after ridge, meeting practically no opposition. This kept on till daylight and then we met the Turks in full force. Of the next five days I cannot write about as they are too hideous, Needless to say we hung on to everything we took, despite the

frenzied attacks of the enemy. After about five days, when everybody was worn out, the fight simmered clown to the incessant sniping warfare.

About three weeks ago we were sent out here for a spell , and have been having a very quiet time since. All that are left of the N.Z. Infantry and Mounted Brigades are here resting, also the Sixth Reinforcements. The only place of any consequence here is a village called Therms. It is situated about eight miles away and boasts of a hot spring. As I had not had a fresh water bath for over six months I thought it would be a good .idea to go, there and have one while I had the chance, so hired a donkf.y (the mode of conveyance here) and had a couple of hours of thrills— climbing round precipices and sliding down rocky inclines and eventually arrived there with a whole skin and had a glorious bath, and above all a scrumptuous dinner—scrambled eggs, potatoes and tomatoes, probably does not sound very tasty to you, but was delightful after months of "bully" and hard biscuits.

Cookhouse has just gone so will have to close now, thanking you again for your parcel. Kind regards. —Yours sincerely, CLAUDE O'BRIEN

Another Peninsula Boy writes:— "Once again there is a mail leaving , , It closes at 1 p.m. to-day, so therefore I take this opportunity of answering- your welcome letter. I also had a letter from Mr G. He supposed I would be returning - to N.Z. with an Egyptian or Soudanese wife, but tell him I far prefer the N.Z. lassies. I have seen no girls yet that I would trouble my head over. You. had better tell him that it will be a Rood while before I will be able to answer it. We will be shifting camp very soon, but our destination is unknown. We have been having terribly hot weather over here lately. I saw Steel, W. Johnson, K. Beatin, and G. Robinson the other day. They are all quite well. It is ages since I saw J. Swaddeli or any of the Ericksons. I think I will go over and see if they arc back from the trenches. I am sending you some of the gear that was sent out to me. Wo can only take a certain amount with us. 1 will have to draw to a close now, so goodbye

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Permanent link to this item

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Bibliographic details

WITH THE MAORI CONTINGENT., Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXV, Issue 3547, 19 May 1916

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1,018

WITH THE MAORI CONTINGENT. Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXV, Issue 3547, 19 May 1916

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