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").
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
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.