2nd NZ Divisional Cavalry Regiment

div-cav-1stThe Div Cav, as they were known, were the light armoured, forward reconnaissance regiment that was always the first to scout new ground and gather intelligence for the battles that New Zealanders fought. They carried orders and essential communications through the thick of battle. And they were often the last to leave the battlefield.

Formed in September 1939 with men from New Zealand’s famous Mounted Rifles units, along with new volunteers, the Div Cav established a reputation for bravery, courage, initiative, resourcefulness, and accomplishment in battle.

The NZ Div Cav Regiment is the only unit that carries the distinction of being the first to be raised and equipped with armour in NZ and the first NZ armoured unit to be deployed operationally overseas. It also had the longest active service history of any NZ armoured unit, from its first contact with German forces in Greece in 1941 to its eventual conversion to infantry in late 1944.

For more info have a look at these excellent websites: http://www.nzdivcav.org/ http://antipodeanarmour.blogspot.co.nz/p/brief-history-of-div-cav.html#!/p/brief-history-of-div-cav.html

My beautiful wife got me these first two items for my birthday this year. Have been after an example of Deruta ceramic pottery for a while so was ecstatic to get these two great items made up for servicemen of the NZ Div Cav. (see more “trench art” items on my page here:- Trench Art )

First up is this mug. div-cav-mug-1

The sides show the unit serial number 77 (changed from 81 to 77 in July 1943) and the shoulder Div Cav battalion patch (9th Brigade red diamond introduced in 1945).

And this nice little ashtray div-cav-ashtray-1The central design shows the universal “Onward” badge with the green felt backing worn on the black beret and other headwear of the Div Cav.  (see my page on the onward badge here:- NZ Onward Badge ).

The front and base marking on this ashtray

A few more NZ Divisional Cavalry items that I have had for a little while.

This small photo shows a universal carrier (T7708) of 4 Troop B Squadron, Div Cav about to leave Helwan Camp in 1941 for the move to Greece.div-cav-photo-2

div-cav-photos-1This small group photo is taken in front of the Italian Memorial in Sidi Barrani. The people in the photo are from left to right; Major Russell (Officer Commanding ‘B’ Squadron), Lieutenant Somerville, Lieutenant Fleming, Captain Bell, Lieutenant Jim Wynyard and Lieutenant A.V. Neal. John Tinsley Russell (DSO,MID) died 9 September 1942 as Commanding Officer of the 22nd Battalion (more information on JT Russell can be found here: http://www.aucklandmuseum.com/war-memorial/online-cenotaph).

Have always enjoyed collecting cloth patches and over the years have managed to collect a few that show the transition from early to late for the Div Cav.

Starting with this one div-cav-early-badgeThis is an example of the so called Type Two system. Introduced after 2 September 1940 it was made up of the cloth black and white NZ shoulder title and the formation sign, in the case of the Div Cav this was a green disk. These formation signs were worn on the shoulders of the Battle Dress blouse, Service Dress Jacket and some were worn on right side of the sun helmet.

In late January 1945 an increased need for infantry forced 2NZ Division to form another Brigade. 9 NZ Brigade was formed with Divisional Cavalry (converted to infantry in November 1944), 27 (MG) Battalion and 22 Infantry Battalion. The new patch was based on the red diamond of the 9th Brigade and looked like this: div-cav-late-badgesThis particular little group all belonged to one individual.

This type of patch continued to be used when the 9th Brigade troops formed the core of NZ’s involvement with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan from 1946 to 1948.

My patch is an Japanese made silk thread example div-cav-j-forceMore examples of my J Force silk patches can be found on my page: “J” Force & “K” Force badges .

I have a few 2nd NZEF Christmas Cards but this one is one of my favourites.div-cav-xmas-1Just really like the art work on this one, cartoonish but with a touch of realism, particularly with the shabby looking kiwi troopers and the beaten up Staghound.Was drawn by Ted Lewis of 2NZ Div Headquarters drafting office.

Inside of the card.div-cav-xmas-2My second Div Cav Christmas card and the last of my Div Cav items.



2 thoughts on “2nd NZ Divisional Cavalry Regiment

  1. Would very much like to find out where Richard (Dick) Hawkins was in the Battle of Greece. He was C Sqn, Div Cav and 2 troops from C Sqn were ‘swapped’ for Hussar tanks from 1st Armoured Bde of 6th Australian Div. Was he swapped or did he remain in 2nd NZ Div?


    • Hello Richard, I will see what I can find out for you. Do you have a copy of Richard Hawkins’s service file yet? Can you confirm that you are interested in finding out about Trooper 21933 Richard HAWKINS. if you can confirm that the service number is correct I will know who I am looking for.


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