The New Zealand Expeditionary Forces
The Great War 1914-1918 & the Second World War 1939-1945
Regimental & Battalion Numberings
At the beginning of the Great War, New Zealand had four military districts consisting of a total of 17 distinct infantry or mounted infantry regiments. These were numbered one through to 17. Therefore when the Second World war began, the infantry battalions raised to see active service as part of the 2nd New Zealand Division were numbered from 18.

Soldier's Numbers.....
The Second NZEF used a simple system of sequential numbering to enrol and track the thousands who served. The same cannot be said of the early drafts of the first NZEF.

Up to the formation of the 10th reinforcements, all those enrolling to serve received a number consisting of the prefix of the unit or formation to which they were to serve followed by their service number.

Thus someone serving with the Engineers had the prefix "4" while a soldier serving with the Wellington Mounted Rifles had the prefix "11".

The rising toll of Gallipoli meant that many of the drafts travelling to war found themselves transferred to other formations. Hence the numbering was no longer accurate.

In total there were 26 separate prefixes from the Samoa Expeditionary Force ("1") through to the 4th Battalion of the NZ Rifle Brigade (prefixed "26").

The First New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Within hours of the declaration of war by the British Government, New Zealand followed - appalled by the German invasion of little Belgium. Our Dominion status did not make our participation mandatory, but there was really no doubt where we would stand - with the Mother Country.

Within days thousands of men flocked to enlist and the Government was able to confirm its intention of providing an Expeditionary Force to serve at the pleasure of the Imperial Government. Thus the birth of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. Over 100,000 New Zealanders were to enlist and they were to see action in Egypt and the Holy Lands, Gallipoli, France and Belgium, Mesopotamia, and Samoa.

The fighting in France and Belgium (1916 onward) saw the NZEF fight as a Division, while the Mounted troops in Egypt fought as part of an Anzac Division with Australian troops.

Following the Armistice, the New Zealand Division formed part of the Army of the Rhineland. The Great War was to see the birth of the "Anzac Legend", one that has endured ever since.

This site is dedicated to the enduring memory of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Great War and to the Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force of the Second World War as well as to the men and women who served in the air, at sea, in the hospitals, and on the Home Front. To them we owe our very existence.

We Will Remember Them

The Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force
The War to end all Wars saw a peace last only 20 years. The rise of Nazism and all the evil that brought with it meant the Empire was again at war in September 1939. The sons of the (First) New Zealand Expeditionary Force, and some of the Great War men themselves, demonstrated the same desire to serve as those of 1914.

Arriving first in Egypt the men of the 2nd NZEF began training for war, but the threat of a German invasion of Britain saw the deployment of troops to Britain.  Here many of the initial drafts of the 2nd NZEF had a grandstand view of the Battle of Britain, fought out in the skies of Southern England.

The German failure to defeat the RAF saw the threat of invasion diminish enough to allow the entire 2nd NZEF to congregate in Egypt. Much of 1940 saw little if any real action for the 2nd NZEF, but early 1941 was to see the troops thrown into battle, first with the Germans in Greece and Crete, then the Axis forces of Germany and Italy in the Western Desert.

The Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force as a full Division was to see fighting in Greece, Crete, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Italy. The 3rd NZ Division was to fight in the Pacific against the Japanese.