Historic Trentham



When war was declared by Great Britain against Germany, on August 4, 1914, there was no New Zealand Army, in the strict sense of the word. The outline of one existed, and the country had been fortunate in securing the services of some capable Imperial Officers and n.c.o.’s for the training of her citizen army on a territorial basis. The possibility of the Dominion ever finding it necessary to send an army overseas to fight had been dreamed of by a few far-sighted military experts, but officially it had never been contemplated seriously. In spite of this, the military authorities faced, undismayed the problem of mobilising and dispatching seven thousand Men without the loss of time, and of training and sending reinforcements at regular intervals. And it was interesting to record that the first tents to be occupied by this army were pitched by civilians. Within a week of the declaration of war, camps were established at Awapuni–where the people of Palmerston North provided fatigue parties to pitch the tents–Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Wellington. It was the beginning of a new phase of military work, a new era in the Dominion. But the early camps were only temporary ones. Trentham where the Dominion Rifle Association had it’s fine rifle ranges, was in view all the time, and many of the mounted rifles of the main body completed their brief period of training at Trentham. Thus it had been identified with every draft that had gone overseas, except the Artilitary, Mounted Rifles, Divisional Signalers, and A.S.C. drafts which mobilised after the new camp at Featherston had been built. Drafts of reinforcements for these branches of services are now wholly trained at Featherston. The Main Body and First Reinforcements sailed on October 14, 1914. On the same day, nearly three thousand recruits and huge quantities of camp equipment arrived at Trentham. this book tells the day-to-day life of the Camp at Trentham, with many black and white photographs.


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