Sunday, April 3, 2016

New Zealand 2016
1916 Courage & Commitment

ISSUE DATE: 6 April 2016
THEME:Grey Duck
STAMP SIZE: 36.95 x 37.5 mm 
DESIGN: Strategy Design and Advertising

With the increasing number of loved ones lost in service, by 1916 it must have felt as though there was no end in sight to the escalating conflict. The illusion of the ‘great adventure’ had been truly shattered and conscription was introduced on 1 August 1916 to counter the dwindling number of volunteers. The Post and Telegraph Department played a key role in delivering wartime communications, as well as being the bearer of sad news for many.

Abroad, the New Zealand Tunnelling Company (NZTC) made its mark in the Arras tunnels and the HMS New Zealand took part in the largest naval battle of the First World War, the Battle of Jutland. New Zealand troops continued to play a part in the Middle East and the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) was part of one of the bloodiest battles in human history and New Zealand’s costliest campaign of the war - the Somme.

1916 Courage & Commitment is the third instalment in New Zealand Post’s five-year programme commemorating the First World War.

Against the backdrop of the Western Front, we tell the story of Cook Islander Solomon Isaacs. Solomon left behind his life in New Zealand and his family in the Cook Islands to serve in the First World War. He was just one of many Pacific Islanders to volunteer for service, and with the Pioneer Battalion he experienced the realities and difficulties of war first-hand.

80c Serving his country - Solomon Isaacs
Solomon Isaacs served overseas for eight days short of three years as a member of the 3rd Māori Contingent, the Pioneer Battalion, the NZTC and the Rarotongan Company in Palestine, before returning to Auckland and eventually Tautu between 1920 and 1922.

80c The Pioneer Battalion
In February 1916 the 3rd Māori Reinforcements left New Zealand for Suez, Egypt. By 1917 the New Zealand Pioneer Battalion had become popularly known as the Māori Pioneer Battalion, a name that would stick until their return to New Zealand in 1919.

80c The Arras tunnels
The NZTC arrived in France on 10 March 1916 to help carry out the Empire’s war strategy underground. The NZTC made its mark in the tunnels, naming key locations after New Zealand towns and cities. These markings are still visible today.

$2.00 The first Anzac Day 
25 April 1916 was New Zealand’s first Anzac Day, one year after the landings at Gallipoli. Local services like the one featured on this stamp on the church steps in Nelson were the first of many in the years to come.

$2.00 Away from the front
Many New Zealanders serving on the Western Front were still able to satisfy their sense of adventure and explore European soil. The NZEF soon had a permanent presence in London; its Bloomsbury Square headquarters is shown on this stamp.

$2.50 The Battle of Jutland
On 31 May 1916, the Imperial German Navy’s High Seas Fleet met the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet in a clash in the North Sea known as the Battle of Jutland. The Indefatigable-class HMS New Zealand was one of 151 British vessels involved.

$2.50 The home front 
As well as being the place to enrol for military service, the local post office delivered news of deaths and injuries to anxious families. The Kaikoura Post & Telegraph office was one of many in New Zealand that played a crucial role in meeting the communication needs of war time.

80c Conscription
Conscription arrived on 1 August 1916 when the Military Service Act became law. All able-bodied Pakeha men aged between 20 and 46 were required to register for military service by 15 September – coincidentally, the first day that New Zealanders would fight at the Somme.

80c The Middle East
New Zealand troops continued to play an important role in the Middle East theatre throughout 1916 and beyond. In March the New Zealand Mounted Rifles joined the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, and in the next few months pushed back Ottoman forces from the Suez Canal.

80c The Somme
In September 1916 the first major offensive involving the NZEF got under way near the River Somme in northern France. By the time New Zealand troops and artillery were withdrawn from the front line, more than half of the 15,000 NZEF troops involved had been killed or wounded.






Stamp images and description thanks to New Zealand Post

New Zealand Post