Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Gallantry Medals of WW1

This postcard printed in England by Gale & Polden Ltd., London, Aldersot, and Portsmouth. No. 1355.

This postcard shows three very important medals that were used during the First World War to recognise special deeds of bravery. On the far left is the Military Cross, made of silver, which was instituted on 28 December 1914. It was awarded to commissioned officers of captain and below, and Warrant Officers in appreciation of distinguished and meritorious service in time of war. Some of the New Zealanders to receive this award include; Lieutenant Colonel Hugh Stewart, Captain NH Prior, Captain S Natusch, the Reverend C Houchen, Captain T Hiroti, and Captain Harold Eric Barrowclough.

The Victoria Cross is the highest award for all ranks awarded "For Valour" in the face of the enemy. This medal (pictured in the centre of the postcard) was introduced in 1856 and is made from metal of guns captured from the Russian army in the Crimean War. New Zealanders to win this prestigious award for valour during the First World War include; Leslie Andrew, Cyril Bassett, Donald Brown, James Crichton, Samuel Forsyth, Samuel Frickleton, John Grant, Reginald Judson, John Laurent, Henry Nicholas, and Richard Travis.

The Legion d'Honneur is the highest decoration in France and was established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802. The award is made from a selection of five categories; Chevalier (Knight), Officier, Commandeur, Grand Officier, and Grand Croix. Some notable New Zealanders to receive this award during the First World War include; the New Zealand Prime Minister (1912-1925), William Fergusson Massey awarded the Grand Officier; Major General George Napier Johnston, Commander of the NZ Division Artillery; Major General Sir Andrew Hamilton Russell, Commander of the NZ Division on the Western Front; Doctor Leslie Cecil Lloyd Averill, first up the ladder during the liberation of Le Quesnoy in 1918, and many others. 

Monday, 10 February 2014

NZ Army Band

This post is inspired by the wonderful and highly entertaining display put on by the New Zealand Army Band at the International Rugby 7's tournament held at the sports stadium in Wellington over the weekend.
Military bands had a very important duty to fill during the First World War. Grief and a sense of loss was widely felt among soldiers on the frontline. Some of the simple pleasures to help restore some normality to the lives of our soldiers coming out from the battlefield was listening to music. Military bands entertained troops in this way. They helped to raise morale and roused patriotism among the ranks.

 New Zealand Army Pipe Band c.1918

"Victory March Through London, 3rd May 1919. The New Zealand Pipers." Printed and published by Beagles, England.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

One More Shell For The Front

"One More Shell For The Front" by British artist 'G.A.S.'

"One More Shell For The Front" - back of the postcard written by Private Reg Simson whilst On Active Service in 1918.

This postcard was one of many artistic humoured cards whose meaning intentionally ran much deeper. Artist 'G.A.S.' popular with silhouette postcards during WW1, produced this card of a cheerful looking chicken wearing a soldier's cap. By all appearances, the artist has succeeded in providing a little humour but has also strongly emphasised the patriotic fervour to push out "one more" deadly weapon to support the allies fighting at the Front line.

Private Reginald Fowler Simson of Dannevirke wrote the above message from Sling Camp in England during the latter stages of the war in 1918. Reg addressed this postcard to his older brother Frank Luckins Simson (pictured) now back in his hometown Dannevirke. Frank was on active service in France when he was wounded in the head and legs in June 1916. He was declared no longer physically fit for war service and returned to New Zealand on the hospital ship Maheno in March 1917.
Reg mentions his older brothers Bertie Ambrose and Louie Harry Simson in the postcard message above. Bert was declared no longer physically fit for war service on account of suffering from neurasthenia (shell shock) in 1918, and returned home to New Zealand. Louie came through the war relatively unscathed and returned to New Zealand after the war ended.

Lance Corporal Sydney Simson of 1st Battalion Wellington Infantry Regiment was Reg's older brother. Reg, Bert, Frank and Louie never saw their brother Sydney again. He was killed in action in France on 16 September 1916, age 23 years.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

100 Years Ago...

At time of print and publication these 1914 Calendar post cards were intended for sale and to help spread the message of a bright, promising and happy New Year to many around the world.

Few would predict that later in the year the World would go to war.