Role of the 12th Foot in New Zealand

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Role of the 12th Foot in New Zealand

Postby SFayers » 01 Dec 2009 13:50

Hi folks,

I wonder if anyone can tell me about the roll the 1st Battalion 12th Foot played during the Maori Wars; or if not if you could point me in the direction of a useful book? I'm aware the 1st Battalion was garrisoned in Australia at the time, and companies were transferred to New Zealand, but I'm afraid that's about all I know - so any help would be greatfully received!

Kind regards

Steve
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69th Battery RFA (Boer War period)
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Re: 12th Foot in New Zealand

Postby uzbashi » 02 Dec 2009 10:27

A detachment of the 12th Foot and the 70th took part in the Waitara War at Koheroa on 12 July and at Rangariri on the 30th November 1863. Major Miller was in command of the 12th Foot detachment. An account of the action with maps, by Maj Gen. T. Bland Strange is to be found in Battles of the 19th Century Vol2 , Cassell and Co, 1897
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Re: 12th Foot in New Zealand

Postby SFayers » 02 Dec 2009 22:25

That's very useful uzbashi, thankyou very much!

Kind regards

Steve
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59th Foot (2nd China War period)
69th Battery RFA (Boer War period)
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Re: 12th Foot in New Zealand

Postby tupara » 16 Feb 2010 01:33

Kia ora. The 1st battalion, 12th Foot were at koheroa and Rangiriri but these were battles that followed the invasion of the Waikato in 1863. Waitara was a block of land whose disputed sale was central to the North Taranaki War (March 1860 - March 1861). The 12th Foot were stationed at a camp in Otahuhu, now a suburb of Auckland, prior to the invasion. The Battle of Rangiriri was the bloodiest encounter of the New Zealand Wars. Rangiriri was a defensive line next to the Waikato River. The 12th Foot (along with 2nd battalion of the 14th) were positioned on the British left (nearest the river) and suffered higher proportionate losses than other British units that day.
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Re: 12th Foot in New Zealand

Postby SFayers » 20 Feb 2010 22:35

Thankyou for that information tupara, very much appreciated!

Kind regards

Steve
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59th Foot (2nd China War period)
69th Battery RFA (Boer War period)
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Re: 12th Foot in New Zealand

Postby Banker » 21 Feb 2010 00:58

If not already known there is a book called "Soldiers Bleed Too The Redcoats at the Eureka Stockade 1854" where it list biographical details of the men and some have references to their later service in NZ.

Regards Steve
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Re: 12th Foot in New Zealand

Postby SFayers » 01 Mar 2010 21:32

Hi Steve,

No, I did not know of that particular book - many thanks for posting!

Kind regards

Steve
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59th Foot (2nd China War period)
69th Battery RFA (Boer War period)
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Re: 12th Foot in New Zealand

Postby Andre Chissel » 27 Feb 2012 10:59

There is a DVD set called the New Zealand Wars which is available - it will give you a feel for the era and the wars. NB the Brits never won a battle against the Maoris, trnech warfare was invented by the Maoris (not the US in the civil war) - the series is a fascinating insight into a number of little wars that no one really has ever heard of. The trenches at Rangiriri (The angry heavens) are still there - saw tooth arrangement although the anti artillery bunkers are gone.

Hope this helps a little

Andre
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Re: 12th Foot in New Zealand

Postby colsjt65 » 28 Feb 2012 22:47

Andre - surely you are being sarcastic -

NB the Brits never won a battle against the Maoris)


Sure, the British did lose quite a few battles, most notably Kororareka, Ohaeawai, Puketakauere, Camerontown, Ahuahu, and Gate Pa.
And some were indecisive, at best, like Puketutu, Boulcott's Farm, Horokiwi, St. John’s Wood, Waireka, Allen's Hill, Maketu, and Nukumaru.
And some were "British attack pa, Maori hold out for the day then escape, British capture empty (or almost empty) pa and call it a victory" - Ruapekapeka, L Pa, or variation "British attack pa, Maori hold out for the day then most escape, British 'misunderstand' parley white flag and 'accidentally' capture pa and call it a victory" - i.e. Rangiriri.

But many were indisputably Maori defeats - Mahoetahi (which Belich dismisses as irrelevant because it was against visiting Waikato, not Kingi's men), repulse of attack on No. 3 Redoubt, Katikara, Koheroa, Pukekohe East Church, Waiari, Rangiaowhia, Hairini (which Belich dismisses as merely an attack on a Maori rearguard), Kaitake, Orakau, Sentry Hill, Te Ranga, Kakaramea, Okotuku, Te Putahi, Otapawa, and Waikoko.

As for
trnech warfare was invented by the Maoris (not the US in the civil war)

This statement at the time stirred up a hornet's nest of derision at the time from a huge number of academics, as simply being untrue. At a conference I attended last year, the good professor, faced by most of said critics, told everyone that surely there were more important things to focus on, and at least it stirred up debate.

Back on topic - Steve, I have a written a draft history of the role of the 12th Regt. in New Zealand, with biographies of all the officers, if you are still interested. I can send it to you.

Regards
Bruce
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Re: 12th Foot in New Zealand

Postby Andre Chissel » 29 Feb 2012 06:29

Hi Bruce,

Woah there !!! Serious apologies if I ruffled feathers. It is clear you know far more about this than me Brucw and I apologise for saying something that may not have been 100% accurate but it certainly seems that the Brits lost many of their engagements !

In respect of the engagements they won, were they purely British attacks of did they employ "friendly" Maori to fight in these battles on the side of the British ? It would be interesting to know how many of the battles you mention were won by the Brits purely acting "on their own". I simply do not know the answer but have been led to believe from - as you quite rightly surmise
Belich, that the Brits never won a battle. I do have to admit that when watching the DVD series I got the impression that Belich a somewhat one sided in his view !

In respect of the trench wafare comment, I suppose it all depends on how you define trench warfare. My understanding is that the Maori even had their own form of barbed wire - some form of native bush which may have been prickly and apparently the defences at the Gate Pa were quite substantial (from the DVD I mentioned -again Belich - my only source I am afraid) and that per square metre more "tonnage" of artillery shells fell on the Gate Pa than on the Somme - like I say this is Belich.... but nevertheless, like the Germans on the Somme, the Maori did emerge from their bunkers in the Gate Pa, massed in trenches and volley fired the Brits who were stuck on the "wire".

In terms of the 12th as I am in the Waikato does anyone want me to see if any library books exist on them down here ?
Happy to have a look - its not out of my way - Hamilton Central library has a surprising amount of books on the Maori/New Zealand Wars - King country, what do you expect !

Again, apologies just calling it as I have been told to see it from Mr Belich I am afraid ! :D

Andre
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Re: 12th Foot in New Zealand

Postby Pgeddes » 01 Mar 2012 05:53

Bruce and Andre,

I would be very keen to know more about the 12th in New Zealand. My great great grandfather was battalion paymaster and as he had the New Zealand medal I assume he must have spent at least some time there. Hart's is consistently silent on this though, despite several of the other officers being noted as having served in NZ (mind you, Hart's also consistently fails to mention his time in the Crimea - I wonder if he and the editor had had words :wink: )

According to what I can glean from Hart's lists, to return to something close to the original question, detachments of the 12th Foot were in New Zealand in 1860-61 and again in 1863-66.

As to the invention of trench warfare, the ancient historian in me seems to recall trench warfare during the siege of Syracuse in the fifth century BC, at which time the only things digging trenches in NZ were ratites, kakapos etc. :wink:

Paul
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Re: 12th Foot in New Zealand

Postby Andre Chissel » 01 Mar 2012 09:54

Hi Paul,

I will see what Hamilton library has re the 12th tomorrow and I will pop into Whitcouls (its on the way) - local book shop to see if they have anything - no promises obviously but it will be something I will enjoy doing !

Andre
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Re: 12th Foot in New Zealand

Postby Andre Chissel » 02 Mar 2012 00:20

Hi Paul,

Found something - is the 12 foot the Suffolk Regiment ? if so the library has their history in NZ also found NZ service history for the 57th, 40th, 50th, Royal Irish Regiment, 14th and the 43rd.

I also found a small book about the east coast wars and a magazine about Von Tempsky

and a Book about the Gate Pa - very detailed A5 88 pages - not bad for one battle. Seems that the 12th lost quite a few there so did 14th 40th, 43rd (many casualties), 68th (many casualties) quite a few naval personnel one from the 65th they are all named with type of wound they received and whether they lived or died.

Okay now that I have possibly opened a can of worms - what to do ? I am sure that you could arrange for stuff to be photocopied and sent to you as I can provide all the library code references. First thing - is the 12th mentioned the 12th you are interested in ? If so, the next step is getting this info to you as it is all reference not for loan (of course - that would be too simple).

For interest 12th casualties Gate Pa

Pte Wm Brissington no age gunshot chest killed
Pte Pat Monaghan 23 gunshot right thigh severe
Pte And Mitchell 22 gunshot right arm slight

Hope some of this has been of some use.

Right back to the Boer War !

Andre
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Re: 12th Foot in New Zealand

Postby Pgeddes » 20 Mar 2012 04:38

Hello Andre,

Yes, the 12th Foot is the same as the Suffolk Regt. Throughout most of the nineteenth century it was styled '12th (East Suffolk) Regt. of Foot'. In 1880 it became the Suffolk Regt. The first battalion was stationed in Australia from (I think) 1854 until 1867. During the 1860s, companies of this battalion served in New Zealand. My great great grandfather was Battalion Paymaster Walter Rice Olivey, ranked as captain during the time of the Maori Wars, being promoted to major in 1867. As he had the New Zealand medal I have always been led to believe he actually served there for some time. That said, as paymaster he was not always in the same place as the rest of the battalion (throughout much of the 1870s he was in Lancashire, despite the battalion being in Ireland) so he might have been based in some other part of New Zealand from where the men of the battalion were on operations.
For reasons I am not exactly sure of, there is a card-de-visit in the Te Papa museum in Wellington with his picture on.

Paul
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Re: 12th Foot in New Zealand

Postby A.Roads » 21 May 2012 08:49

If not already known there is a book called "Soldiers Bleed Too The Redcoats at the Eureka Stockade 1854" where it list biographical details of the men and some have references to their later service in NZ.

Regards Steve


Hi Steve thanks for that, I was unaware of this reference & it has piqued my curiosity, presumably it covers the 40th as well as the 12th, do you know if it details which company, as well as the regiment, that each soldier was enlisted to?
Regards, Adrian.
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