Samoa was garrisoned by men of limited military capability - often men either over age or suffering from a medical condition that precluded full combat deployment.
The first realistic Turkish threat materialised in early February 1915. For the New Zealanders, two companies of the Canterbury Regiment were involved in repelling the Turkish assault. This saw the first combat casualty for the NZEF - Private William Ham dying of wounds received in battle
In the first few days after the declaration, the New Zealand Government requested advice from London regarding the role New Zealand would play. The Government was able to offer the rapid despatch of an Expeditionary Force mainly because of the well-established Territorial army system that was already in place.
London gratefully accepted the offer and also requested New Zealand, if possible, raise a force to capture German Samoa.
German Samoa was the sight of a radio station that was part of a wide network of similar facilities stretching across Africa and well into the Pacific. These stations provided the German Navy with the means to co-ordinate the work of surface raiders - ships that were a definite threat to commerce and troop transports from the Empire.
German Samoa was captured by the Samoa (NZ) Expeditionary Force on 29 August 1914 - the first complete capture of German territory in the war.
Whilst the men of the Samoa Expedition were settling into a low-key start to their war, the Main Body and First Reinforcements were preparing to sail to Europe. Over 8000 men plus several thousand horses left New Zealand in mid-October 1914. They steamed westward first to Tasmania, then Western Australia before Ceylon and on to Egypt, arriving in December 1914. Many of those sailing as part of the NZEF thought their final destination would be the Western Front, but the War Office directed that the untried men of New Zealand along with our Australian cousins were to stop in Egypt. Here they were to train into a fighting force capable of defending the Canal from the Turks to the East. Few of the New Zealanders spending that first Christmas in Egypt would not have heard of a place called Gallipoli - how that was to change...Whilst Gallipoli would be the first great test for the NZEF, some of the Expeditionary Force would get a brief taste of battle defending the Suez Canal in February 1915.
The term "Anzac" was about to enter the lexicon. Standing for the "Australia and New Zealand Army Corps", the term was first coined by a clerk in the Corps HQ in Egypt in late 1914. It was simply easier to write "Anzac" than it was to spell out every word. It is a term that lasted throughout the Great War and beyond.