New Zealanders in the First World War – The experiences of service personnel: letters, reminiscences, etc

Cecil Malthus World War I papers [letters, telegrams, documents]
A collection of Malthus’ letters has been digitised and made available online by Christchurch City Libraries. The letters are penned to his future wife, Hazel Watters. Malthus died on 25 July 1976. This collection of letters and documents dates from April 1914 to his discharge in April 1917. The collection is not complete, and portions of some letters are missing. The letters follow Malthus’ progress from training in New Zealand to his experiences throughout the war, including time in Egypt preparing for Gallipoli, and his time in France. Malthus was injured in September 1916 and returned to New Zealand in March 1917.

O'Sullivan collection : First World War memorabilia, letters, diaries
A selection of material from the collection of Barry O'Sullivan relating to the first World War. The digital collection includes personal effects of enlisted men from Christchurch, regimental badges, diaries, letters, letterhead paper, newspapers, photographs and postcards.

A Letter to Hazel, 17 August 1914. Letters Cover of New Zealanders at war

Harper, G. (ed.) Letters from the battlefield: New Zealand soldiers write home, 1914-1918
Correspondence from 35 New Zealand soldiers.

  • Gallipoli, pp. 17-49;
  • France and Western Front, 1916, pp. 50-73;
  • Sinai-Palestine, pp. 74-93;
  • Western Front (France and Belgium), 1917, pp. 94-133;
  • Western Front, 1918, pp. 134-152.
  • Epilogue, pp. 153-162 includes an historiographical discussion of First World War sources.

Ward, C. (ed.) Dear Lizzie: a Kiwi soldier writes from the battlefields of World War 1
Letters from Ira Robinson to his sister, Lizzie Baldwin, describing the daily life of an ordinary soldier. Robinson served on the Western Front, especially at Passchendaele.

Brown, E.P. (ed.) Your loving son, Don: letters home to North Otago from Sergeant Don Brown, VC
Sergeant Don Brown, an Oamaru farmer, served in France in 1916. He was killed in action on 1 October 1916 during the battle of the Somme, and awarded a Victoria Cross posthumously in June 1917 for his gallantry during that battle.

Boyack, N and J. Tolerton (eds.) In the shadow of war: New Zealand soldiers talk about World War 1 and their lives
Interviews with 11 veterans: Stan Stanfield, Lt. Col. Blyth, Vic Nicholson, Colin Gordon, Beet Algar, Gordon Neil, Eric Beveridge, Bill Wiggins, Norman Hutchinson, Russell Weir, Bert Stokes.

Boyack, N. Behind the lines: the lives of New Zealand soldiers in the First World War
Social history of soldiers’ experiences, based on private diaries and letters.

  • Ch. 1: Egypt;
  • Ch. 2: Gallipoli;
  • Ch. 3: The Western Front;
  • Ch. 4: Women, the forgotten victims;
  • Ch. 5: Prostitution (Egypt and London);
  • Ch. 6: Discipline (riots, mutinies, attacks on civilians, court martials).

Carkeek, R. Home little Maori home: a memoir of the Maori Contingent, 1914-1916
Diary of author’s experiences in Egypt, Malta, Gallipoli and France.

The Penguin book of New Zealanders at war 2009
Letters, diaries, journalists’ reports, and memoirs. Part 2: Wars of Empire, including World War 1, pp. 88-237.

Phillips, J. et al. The great adventure

  • Ch. 1: Gallipoli, the diary of William George Malone;
  • Ch. 2: Letters of Randolph Norman Gray (Otago Regiment, Western Front);
  • Ch. 3: Diary of Robin Hamley (Auckland Battalion, Western Front);
  • Ch. 4: Letters of Leonard Hart (Otago Infantry Battalion at Passchendaele);
  • Ch. 5: Letters of Peter Howden (New Zealand Rifle Brigade, Western Front);
  • Ch. 6: Letters of Wilfrid Collinson Smith (1st Wellington Infantry, Western Front);
  • Ch. 7: Letters of Alec Hutton (New Zealand Rifle Brigade, 1918);
  • Ch. 8: Letters of Walter Carruthers (stretcher bearer at Gallipoli, infantryman on Western Front).

Chronicles of the New Zealand Expeditionary Forces, 1916-1919 [microfiche]
A newspaper published with news of New Zealand soldiers in Europe and patriotic efforts at home. There is an index of names for the first volume of the Chronicles, which covers the period August 1916-February 1917: Chronicles of the NZEF: an index of names, compiled by Ann Evans.

Troopship magazines

The library holds a series of newspapers / periodicals published on board some of the troopships which carried New Zealand servicemen to Europe. These papers contain news of happenings on board and include lists of the soldiers on the voyage. Some of the titles are listed below:

For further information, you can check the libraries’ catalogue: World War, 1914-1918 Personal narratives, New Zealand

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