Country: New Zealand
Issued on: Departure
Date of presentation: 29/03/1900

Number issued: 3


Gold Maltese crosses, suitably inscribed, to:

5th New Zealand Mounted Rifles –
2447 Trooper George ASHBY
2666 Trooper Joseph Walter BAKER (subsequently 5159 Sgt J.W. Baker, 8th N.Z.M.R.)
2516 Trooper Charles Joseph SHEIL [Sheill]
Presentation made by the Mayor (Mr T. Drummond), at the Railway Station.
Hawke's Bay Herald, 30th March 1900


March 29, 1900.

Three of our local men who were fortunate in being selected for the Fifth Contingent received a hearty send-off at the railway station to-day. The Mayor (Mr T. Drummond), on behalf of the citizens, presented each of them with a gold Maltese cross suitably engraved, and wished them every success and plenty of fighting. Afterwards the Rev. Mr Robertshawe stepped forward amongst the crowd and wished them God speed and a safe return.
Canterbury Press, 15th June 1900


Troopship Waimate, April 28.

Though the Maori reached Albany some nine hours before us, she only got away two hours ahead — viz., at six o'clock on Thursday morning (April 12th). At a general parade, Colonel Newall announced that we were to proceed direct to Beira. It is understood that no special instructions were received as to what is to become of the sixty-nine Reserve men. Speculation is now rife as to whether they will be landed at Beira. As they have not horses and only part of their kit it seems doubtful, unless the Imperial authorities have made arrangements for them.

Since leaving Albany, we have lost two more horses.


Veterinary Lieutenant Lillico met with an accident at Albany, when he put his knee out slightly. He was on the sick list for a day or two but is now able to hobble around. Other small accidents have happened through slipping on the decks. Lieutenant Rose sprained his wrist, but has now recovered. Trooper Davis (Reserve) met with a similar accident. Lance-Corporal Rose (formerly from Wanganui) sprained his ankle, and is still laid up.


The orders for to-day contain the following — Further acting appointments in the Reserve, recommended by lieutenant Tuckey, are made aa follows: — Trooper Parsons and Trooper Hay Mackenzie to be sergeants, Trooper BAKER to be corporal. Sergeant Parsons formerly belonged to the Wellington Navals, and is a member of the well-known musical family. Sergeant Hay Mackenzie comes from Dunedin (formerly Napier). His parents reside at Westport. Corporal BAKER held a similar position in the Dannevirke Rifles. His parents reside at Ashburton. The appointments of lance-corporals are made by officers commanding companies, and are not approved in orders. Lieutenant-Commanding Tuckey has appointed Troopers Charlton and Steward to be lance-corporals in the Reserve. The former comes from Hawke's Bay, and the latter is a son of Hon. Major Steward, M.H.R. for Waitaki.


Lieutenant-Colonel Newall paid all hands to-day. There has been considerable rejoicing accordingly. Frequent complaints are made that petty thieving is rife in the men's quarters. Small sums of money, razors, and the like, are most favoured by the thief or thieves.


The Transvaal President has a namesake on board, in the form of a fox terrier dog. We got him a silver-mounted collar at Albany, and had it inscribed "Kruger, Fifth New Zealand Contingent". Kruger howls dismally whenever a dead horse is thrown overboard. He went into camp at Newton Park with the Fourth Contingent, and when they went away he joined the Fighting Fifth, and decided to accompany them to South Africa. "Kruger" used to live in the guard tent, and he regularly went round when the sentries were being relieved. He will have nothing to say to our officers.


Our midday meal has been greatly improved the last two days in an unexpected manner, two hogsheads of beer from Mr J. Morrison's brewery at Petone having been brought to light. A hearty vote of thanks was passed to Mr Morrison, and it was unanimously decided that his beer deserves the highest testimonial. A further welcome parcel of magazines has been discovered, Mr A.B. Clater being the donor.


A number of changes have been made in our non-commissioned officers. Corporal H.F. Henry has been made sergeant, and Trooper A.S. Wier made corporal, on the recommendation of Captain Abbott, who has also appointed Troopers A. Anderson, Sullivan. H.H. Fletcher, and H. Thompson, lance-corporals. On Captain Tanner's recommendation Lance-Corporals G.D. Carter (Napier) and Jones (Wanganui) have been made corporals, and Troopers Simpson, Brown, Flynn, F. Bruce, and ASHBY, lance-corporals.


A boat drill was held on the Sunday morning, when we had been a week out, and we were paraded wearing our life-belts. Divine service was held as usual by Lieut.-Colonel Newall. Dr Thomas addressed us on a few simple principles regarding health, and urged us to abstain from excessive eating and drinking. Lieut. Dewar's service in the men's quarters was largely attended at night.


On Monday morning firing practice was indulged in, squads from each company keeping up a steady fusillade all day. The horses were entirely unconcerned by the rifle reports. Tho officers practised with their revolvers, Captain Abbott making top score.

That much-hackneyed song "Soldiers of the Queen" has been completely cut out on board by Mr Alf. Hill's tuneful song, "Boys of the Bush Brigade", the capital chorus of which is to be heard every evening.

Compulsory baths are ordered on board. The captain and lieutenant for the day come along at 5.30 a.m., and sees that every man goes under the hose regularly. Hospital parades are also held once daily, when Surgeon-Major Thomas gives each man a refresher of quinine.


We arrived off Beira about 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 28th. Shortly afterwards the pilot came on board, but as he was a Portuguese and spoke very little English we were able to gather only meagre war news. However, he told us that the Maori had arrived, and he showed us a Lisbon paper with a picture of the New Zealanders relieving the Yorks at Slingersfontein.

April 29.

We anchored for the night when the pilot came on board, and made a fresh start at 5 a.m. About an hour later we ran aground, and were fast on the mud all the morning, floating off easily at 2.30 p.m., when the tide was again nearly high. From the time we left Wellington to the present we have only lost four horses — a feather in the cap of Vet. Lieutenant Lilico.
Ashburton Times, 12th July 1901

The Returning Troopers.

According to the official list of troopers who returned by the Tagus it would appear that only four Ashburton members of the Fifth Contingent have returned in that vessel, namely Trooper ANDREWS, KNOX, J. SMITH, and WILLIAMS. There appears to have been an unusual number of Invalids amongst them, twenty-eight being in the hospital, eleven of the cases being serious.

Sergeant BAKER, an old Ashburton boy, who joined the fifth at Dannevirke has wired that he has also returned, but he is not included in the list of Canterbury men. It is possible therefore that there may be one or two more similarly circumstanced.


Surname: ASHBY
Reg No: 2447
Given Names: George
Contingent: Fifth
Rank: Private
Unit: No 13 Company (Wellington, Nelson and West Coast, South Island Sections)
County/City: Waipawa
Age: 35 years, 1 month
Occupation: Groom
Ship: “Waimate”, 31 March 1900
Address: Dannevirke
Surname: BAKER
Reg No: 2666
Given Names: Joseph Walter
Contingent: Fourth (Reserve) – served with Fifth
Rank: Private
Unit: Reserves sailing with Fifth
County/City: Waipawa
Age: 23
Occupation: Plumber
Ship: “Waimate”, 31 March 1900
Address: Dannevirke
Next of Kin: Baker, Mr William
Next of Kin Address: Burnett Street, Ashburton
Relationship to Soldier: father
Surname: SHEIL [Sheill]
Reg No: 2516
Given Names: Charles Joseph
Contingent: Fifth
Rank: Private
Unit: No 13 Company (Wellington, Nelson and West Coast, South Island Sections)
County/City: Waipawa
Age: 27 year, 11 months
Occupation: Shearer
Ship: “Waimate”, 31 March 1900
Address: Dannevirke, Hawkes Bay
Next of Kin: Sheil, Ms Sarah A.
Next of Kin Address: Post Office, Wellington