Defending Wellington: The Home Guard at Makara – History Geek

Braithwaite, a young member of No. 12 Platoon, Makara Battalion, New Zealand Home Guard, 1942. Lemuel Lyes Collection.

These previously unpublished photographs of the Home Guard offer a rare candid view of an often-overlooked part of New Zealand’s experience during the Second World War. Far from being a safe sidesh…

Source: Defending Wellington: The Home Guard at Makara – History Geek

On this day: the death of Kate Sheppard | In Times Gone By…

In 1905

In 1905 Kate Sheppard, New Zealand’s most famous suffragette, died on the 13th of July, 1934. Born to Scottish parents in England in 1847, Sheppard moved to New Zealand in 1869. She became a …

Source: On this day: the death of Kate Sheppard | In Times Gone By…

Gallipoli: Tom’s Story

History Geek

This post is dedicated to the memory of my great great uncle Thomas Alexander Gillanders, who was killed in action one hundred years ago today, and to those who fought alongside him at Gallipoli.

Tom was a native of Inverness and the eldest of eleven children. He was a much-loved brother of my great-grandmother who fondly recalled the time he took her on a trip to Edinburgh when she was thirteen years old. He had recently spent some time working on a farm owned by cousins in Winnipeg but had returned announcing that he did not want to face another Canadian winter and had decided to try New Zealand. His father decided that the whole family would emigrate, as the other sons would likely follow Tom eventually anyway.

Thomas Alexander Gillanders (8 April 1881 - 25 April 1915) Thomas Alexander Gillanders (8 April 1881 – 25 April 1915)

The family left for New Zealand in 1908 and in 1910 they…

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Gallipoli 1: The Enduring Myth

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First World War Hidden History

Map showing Constantinople, the Dardanelles and the Gallipoli PeninsulaThe infamous Gallipoli campaign of 1915 was set up to fail. 180,000 allied soldiers were sacrificed, wounded or dead, for a strategic policy which served the imperial designs of the British Empire by failing. This is the essential truth which the next series of blogs will prove. Over the last century, in both Britain and Australia, Gallipoli has been turned into a heroic-romantic myth; [1] a myth promoted by court historians and pliant journalists in order to hide the stark truth. It was a ruse, a sop to the Russians to keep them out of Constantinople in the belief that allied forces would capture the city on their behalf. Put into the hands of incompetent generals and admirals, starved of determined leadership, ill-equipped, ill-advised and certain to fail, the attack on the Dardanelles obligated the Russians to turn back to the eastern front and wait. As an integral part of…

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WAKEFIELD AT WASHINGTON: The New Zealand Founding Father Who Set Fire to the White House

History Geek

The destruction of the White House is a scene most commonly associated with fictional alien invasions or terrorist plots on the big screen, but today marks two hundred years since an enemy force marched on Washington and set fire to the famous residence. This is the relatively unknown yet remarkable story of how one of the junior officers in the force that torched the White House went on to become the founding father of one of New Zealand’s earliest settlements and ultimately met his fate during a skirmish with one of the most revered and feared of all Māori chiefs – Te Rauparaha.

Arthur Wakefield was only ten years old when he joined the Royal Navy in May 1810. The British had enjoyed naval supremacy since their famous victory at Trafalgar, less than five years earlier, but the fate of Europe was still uncertain with Napoleon’s armies waging war across…

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Hit and run

Acton Books

Early in 1873, 342 emigrants gathered at London’s West India Docks. Most were in men their late teens or early twenties. They were drawn from the tough underclass that built Victorian Britain. There was a sprinkling of older men – the oldest said he was 46 – and a few had brought wife and family (there were 42 women and 52 children under 12). The 950 ton Northfleet was chartered by the greatest international railway contractor of the day to carry 340 tons of rails plus labourers who were to build a new railway between Hobart and Launceston in Tasmania.

The 180 foot long Northfleet was a fast and seaworthy Blackwall frigate. Blackwalls were a class of elegant, sleek three-masted sailing ship, somewhat reminiscent of a clipper.

One person was missing from the 37-strong crew – the captain. A letter from the Treasury Solicitor saved him from certain death. He…

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