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"BILL" BRAITHWAITE

PROMINENT SOLDIER

NEW ZEALAND ASSOCIATIONS

Brigadier-General William Garnett Braithwaite, whose death was reported " ; from London on Tuesday, was one of the outstanding personalities of the New Zealand Forces during the Great War. As former commander of the Second New Zealand Infantry Brigade in France. "Bill" Braithwaite, as he was more familiarly known to the troops, was not only recognised as an "-" able soldier, but enjoyed the popular- ' ' ity of the men under his command. ' 'As Major Braithwaite, D.S.O. (a decoration he won in the South Afrl--■can War), he arrived at Auckland In . July, 1911, and took up his duties as General Staff Officer of the Auckland ■-. Military District. At that time the .. compulsory system of military training was being put into operation, and . * Major Braithwaite, who was a member of the Imperial General Staff, was one of the officers lent by the British "Government to help inaugurate the system. His regiment was the Royal Welch Fusiliers. While in New Zealand he was granted the temporary rank'of lieutenant-colonel. His term of service was originally for three years, but at the request of the New ." Zealand Government his term was extended for a year as from May, 1914. Following a further request from the New Zealand Government to the Im"perial authorities, Lieutenant-Colonel Braithwaite was appointed Chief of the General Staff in July, 1914, and granted the temporary rank of colonel. ■ ■ War broke out shortly afterwards, - I and Lieutenant-Colonel Braithwaite . ' left with the New Zealand Expedition. , • pry Force as General Staff Officer with i the rank of Jieutenant-coloneL He ... served- on --Divisional Headquarters in -i Egypt and later =went to Gallipoli. At " that time General Earl Johnston commanded the New Zealand Infantry Brl- ' «ade on Gallipoli, and later, when - • General Johnston left Gallipoli. Lieu- - tenant-Colonel Braithwaite took command of the brigade. He held his command till the evacuation, and was responsible for the safe departure W •} the brigade from the.Peninsula. On the return of the brigade to Egypt, General Johnston again assumed command New Zealand reinforcements had accumulated in Egypt, and it was decided to form the Second Infantry Brigade, and Brigadier-General Braithwaite was appointed to the command, retaining it till he returned to the Im--perial authorities jn February, 1918. "Between the time of the return of the ■ 'New Zealand troops from Gallipoli 1 ' and the formation-of the New Zealana 'Division in Egypt, Lieutenant-Colonel was in command of me • New Zealand Rifle Brigade, with the rank of Brigadier-General. Brigadier-General Braithwaite was in command of-the Second Brigade dining some-of the heaviest fighting on the WesterrTFront, including the battles of the Somme, Messines, and Passchendaele. After the war.he commanded a British brigade of the Army of Occupation, at Cologne During the war Brigadier-General Braithwaite was mentioned eight times in dispatches. He received the decorations of C.B. and C.M.G. Braithwaite Street, Karori. is named after Brigadier-General Bmth- ■ waite. Two other prominent soldiers , are also commemorated in the names of Chaytor and Birdwood Streets. Birdwood and Braithwaite Streets, n is interesting to note, give access to Messines Road, KarorL Behind a somewhat forbidding manner General Braithwaite concealed a most kindly nature, says a writer in the "New Zealand Herald" in paying a tribute to his memory. He was the - '' terror of the purposely delinquent and woe betide any subaltern who did not live up to the high standards which he demanded of his officers, especially in - the •■care of the men committed to their charge. He was wont to halt a second • lieutenant by the roadside and question 'him at length to test his knowledge of the physical state and morale of his men. He knew that slackness in .' officers was quickly revealed in the ' qualities of the soldiers. After a gruelling cross-examination, he would bark a final question: "And what did your platoon have for breakfast this morning?" Pity the youngster who had left the first rounds to a colleague and was ignorant of this important fact. But a worse fate was in store for the foolish one who tried to bluff an answer. General Braithwaite had * habit of riding Into a camp and questioning the cooks and examining the • diet sheets, and If the results did not ' "correspond with what he had been told earlier, the subsequent inquest was ' something to avoid. Had he lived Brigadier-General j ' Braithwaite would have been 77 years , old. today. , • A memorial service to the late Brigadier-General Braithwaite will be held in St. Paul's Pro-Cathedral at 9 1 a.m.' tomorrow.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/EP19371021.2.96

Bibliographic details

"BILL" BRAITHWAITE, Evening Post, Volume CXXIV, Issue 97, 21 October 1937

Word Count
742

"BILL" BRAITHWAITE Evening Post, Volume CXXIV, Issue 97, 21 October 1937

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