NZ Dental Corps cap Badge -Vulcanite

The New Zealand Dental Corps was formed on 7 November 1915 as part of New Zealand’s contribution to World War 1.  The corps was formed from personnel who were transferred from the New Zealand Medical Corps, who were charged with ensuring the dental fitness of New Zealand troops being sent overseas, and for the provision of emergency dental care in the field. The royal designation was adopted in 1947. Today, the corps consists of full-time and part-time commissioned officers and soldiers who are employed in a tri-service environment, using their specialist skills and knowledge as dental officers, dental hygienists and dental assistants.

The outbreak of war in September 1939 found the New Zealand Dental Corps poor in strength but rich in theory. On 6 September 1939, three days after the declaration of war, Cabinet authorised the mobilisation of a Special Force of 6600 men to serve within or beyond New Zealand. Volunteers for this force were immediately dentally examined according to plan. Within two weeks, the results showed that the number falling into dental category ‘F’ was so low that too many otherwise medically fit men were being rejected for dental reasons. The standard for acceptance was then lowered by including in category ‘F’ those whose treatment to make them dentally fit would take six instead of three hours. Even then, many men who were medically fit were rejected because of dental defects. The added burden to the civilian dentists by this change of standard and the rejection of valuable manpower gave impetus to the Army’s programme for the construction of dental hospitals in the mobilisation camps and the formation of a Corps capable of undertaking full treatment of all troops.

It has been estimated that 50 to 60 per cent of New Zealand WW2 troops were wearers of artificial dentures of some kind. All these artificial dentures were made from a substance called vulcanite.

In 1843, the American Charles Goodyear discovered how to make flexible rubber, named vulcanite, which he made from India rubber (caoutchouc). In 1851, his brother, Nelson, patented an improved manufacturing process to produce hard rubber. Vulcanite found instant use in the fabrication of denture bases world-wide and quickly replaced previously-used materials as it was cheaper. Vulcanite starts out as a soft, rubber-sulphur compound. It fits precisely to a model of a patient’s gums and palate. The main disadvantage was that the material was dark-red colour. To obtain the pink colour, to resemble gum, weakened the vulcanite. 

In my collection I have a very interesting NZ Dental Corps badge that has been made out of this substance, vulcanite.

NZ Dental Corps badge made out of vulcanite

The reverse of this badge shows that loops have been added meaning that it could have been worn as a cap badge.

Reverse of the vulcanite badge

I do not know why this badge was made, if it was just an experiment to see if it could be done or was it a legitimate way a serviceman could replace a lost badge. Rather than go to the Engineers workshops and use sandcasting with brass, did they use a much lighter and more readily available substance to achieve this? I have seen another example of one of these badges in another collectors items so I know there are more examples out there, just not how many.

For comparison here is the normal brass, pre-1947, NZ Dental Corps cap badge .

NZ Dental Corps

The back of the same badge showing the mounting loops.


Jay Force was the name by which New Zealand’s contribution to the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) was known. Between 1946 and 1948 approximately 12,000 New Zealanders served in Japan as part of the Commonwealth Occupation force. The first kiwis to land in Japan were sent over as part of the Featherston Camp Japanese POW repatriation. The 8 guards on board the two LST’s (LST 273 & 275) transporting the 800 former POW’s stayed on in Japan and later joined the first batch of servicemen who arrived from Italy in March 1946. The initial contingent of the NZEF (Japan) was formed in Florence, Italy, on 19 November 1945. 

The initial draft consisted of two infantry battalions—the 27th and 22nd Battalions—as well as the 2nd Divisional Cavalry Regiment, the 25th Field Battery, and the 5th Engineer Company along with supporting elements which included signals, transport, workshops and medical units. Among the first draft were 36 Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps personnel (WAACs) and 30 women from the New Zealand Army Nursing Service (NZANS). All were volunteers.  

Jay Force’s first task was searching for and collecting military equipment. Little was found as Yamaguchi had not had a major military presence during the war. Jay Force also oversaw the repatriation of Japanese soldiers coming home from the war and Koreans being returned to their country. Post-war Japan was economically devastated which made it an ideal environment for black marketeering. As such, Jay Force’s policing duties included monitoring black market groups and also large gatherings of people on public occasions and generally keeping order until civilian government could be re-established. Jay Force also assisted the Americans in promoting democracy in Japan by supervising local and national elections in the prefecture. For a period of a month Jay Force also provided a guard battalion to Tokyo. This was based at Ebisu Barracks and took part in ceremonial guard duty at the Imperial Palace and the British Embassy. 

When Great Britain and India withdrew from the BCOF in 1947 enthusiasm for New Zealand’s ongoing involvement waned. In April 1948 the New Zealand government made the decision to withdraw from Japan. The last New Zealand Jay Force troops returned home in September 1948.

My first figure represents an Major of the 22nd Battalion dressed in a wonderful badged service dress and type 1 cap.

Service Dress and cap

The ribbons on his chest indicate pre war Territorial service. They are, from left to right, War Medal 1939-45, New Zealand War Service Medal, Efficiency Decoration and Rosette, and finally NZ Territorial 12 Year Service Medal. The last two medals are particular to the Territorial Force. The NZ Territorial 12 Year Service Medal was introduced in 1911 and replaced by the Efficiency Medal in 1931. The Efficiency Decoration was introduced in 1931 as an Territorial officer only long service medal recognizing 12 years service, clasps were awarded after an additional 6 years.

WW2 and Territorial Long Service Medal ribbons

On the left shoulder is the first type red diamond distinguishing patch of the 22nd Infantry Battalion.

On the right shoulder is a nice example of the British Commonwealth Forces patch and another 22nd Battalion distinguishing patch.

BCOF Patch

The BCOF patch is not the standard type of model (almost looks like watered pattern silk). Below, on the right, is an example of the standard BCOF patch and next to it is a standard patch that has had the crown over wire embroidered.

Standard BCOF patch and with crown wire embroidered

The second figure represents a Driver (same rank as an infantry Private) of the 19th New Zealand Army Service Corps Company.

Battle Dress Blouse and Trousers

Close shot of the General Service Cap with standard NZ “Onward” badge, shirt, tie and Battle dress blouse.

On the left arm is an example of a Japanese silk made white distinguishing patch of the NZ Army Service Corps.

On the right sleeve is example of the standard BCOF patch and another white diamond distinguishing patch that have been nicely cross stitched onto the blouse.

BCOF patch and Japanese silk white diamond NZASC patch

Amongst some of the photo albums I own, one belongs to a former 19th NZASC company serviceman. Below are some of the photos from the album.

19th NZASC coy, Jay Force

On the front of the truck you can see two BD’s badged up like the example above. Hanging on the bumper are two General Service caps, again badged up like the example above.

Some of transport platoon.

Number 1 section Transport Platoon, 19th NZASC Coy 1947
Ebisu Barracks, Tokyo
Japanese being transported to Hong Kong to stand trial for war crimes.
Coming ashore Wellington, New Zealand July 5th, 1947

NZ Multi Terrain Camouflage Uniform

Introduced in 2013 to replace NZ Disruptive Pattern Material (NZDPM) which had been in use in the NZ Army since the early 1980’s, the Multi Terrain Camouflage Uniform (NZ MCU) is the shortest run camouflage items in the NZ uniform inventory being replaced by NZ Multi Terrain Pattern Uniform (NZ MTP) in 2019.

Royal NZ Infantry Regiment.

The new NZ MCU garments were produced in a camouflage pattern designed by Guy Cramer and Hyperstealth Technologies, whose inventors were heavily involved in the design of the CADPAT and MARPAT digital camo patterns used by both Canadian and US military forces respectively.

The figure represents a NZ Territorial soldier. Rank is Private

Side shot showing 100 anniversary patch worn from 2014-2018
Velcro badge of the Territorial 5/7 RNZIR

With the MCU jacket off the figure shows the special wicking material brown Tee Shirt.

Striped down for a spot of physical training.

As well as the jacket and trousers there is also a under armour like shirt.

Black beanie with the operational kiwi.

Back view showing back of shirt and trousers.

Tag from the shirt

Unfortunately the tag for the jacket is washed out but like the shirt is a product from Workwear Group.

RNZAF Sweetheart badges

The collecting of sweetheart badges is a bit of a specialist area in militaria collecting and it’s not something I have got that deep into, however, over the last month or two I have managed to pick up a few “sweet” air force examples.

These “love tokens” showed that the wearer had a loved one who was doing their bit and was serving in the branch of the service represented by the miniature badge being worn proudly by their loved one. These little representations of the badges being worn in service were very popular in both World Wars where it seemed that almost every women was wearing one.

These “sweethearts” come in many forms some being quite simple while others show the jewellers skill in representing the various badges in miniature.

My first few examples are on the simpler side of the scale and are probably the most common form of these sweethearts when a military button or badge simply has the back converted with the addition of a broach making it easy to wear.

My first example is simply a RNZAF button that has had the button shank removed from the back and has been replaced with a simple broach.

For comparison here is a example of a un-modified Firmin made NZ air force button.


The second example is a converted RNZAF other ranks cap badge. Always thought this was a cool badge with the way the RNZAF letters have been squeezed into that little space available between the laurel leaves. Makes a nice little sweetheart.

Again for comparison here is an unconverted badge with the original lugs on the back.

The following examples are miniature versions of air force qualification wings.

First up a rather simply manufactured cast version of the pilots wing. The RAF in the centre of the badge has the addition of NZ on the wings.


Next example is of a sterling silver, blue enamel miniature of the Observers Wing. There is no makers mark other than the “Sterling” stamp in the back.

observer sweetheartobserver sweetheart 1

Next up, appropriately enough as the large version of the Navigator badge replaced the Observers badge in 1942, is a nice mini navigators badge in gold. The back of this is marked JWB (James William Benson), and hallmarked with the crown (for Gold), 375 (for 9 caret), and an assay mark which I cant make out even with a loop.


My last example of these rather cool badges is a miniature of the Air Gunners qualification wing. This one only has “Silver” stamped into the back, unfortunately no makers mark.




New Zealand prisoners of Japan WW2

Over the last year and a bit I have been working on a register of all New Zealanders (both military and civilian) who were held captive by the Japanese in the Second World War. The intention was to create something that would be useful at my work and as an online resource that might be useful to others. Currently my register has 785 names on it.

My methodology in deciding who is a New Zealander is broad. If they were born there, resided there and still have next of kin there or were married to a New Zealander, I have included their names in my list. I haven’t included all those New Zealanders who were in the “Far East” and either got away or were killed in the fighting, only those that were captured by the Japanese.

If they served in the Army, Air Force, Navy or Merchant Navy I have counted them as Military. If they were a civilian working in the Far East but then joined and served with one of the many volunteer forces in the area at the time, I have counted them as military too. If they were one of the many missionaries working in the area before capture, I have considered these as civilians.

The civilian classification is broken into 1.) New Zealanders 2.) nationality undetermined (indicated by *) 3.) British nationality (indicated by **).

The main source of information for civilian names in my register, is the card index of the “New Zealand Missing and Prisoners of War Agency”, held by Archives NZ in Wellington. I have also used online resources like the Ancestry, CWGC, Cambridge Digital Library, FEPOW family, Centre for research – Allied POW’s under the Japanese, Australian Department of Veterans Affairs – nominal roll, Hong Kong War diary, plus others. I am lucky in that where I work, I have access to the WW2 New Zealand military service files and some other resources that have helped me compile the names of NZ military held as POW by the Japanese.

Some interesting numbers from my register:

Of the 785 kiwis there were 153 women and 632 men held in captivity.

There were 119, who died while in captivity, 114 of those were men.

Of the 785 names, 351 were in the military. 98 (or 27%) of them died in captivity.

I have identified 31 kiwis who worked on the “Death Railways”. Of the 25 kiwis who worked on the Thailand/Burma Railway, 19 of them died. Of the 6 kiwis who worked on the Sumatra railway, 2 of them died.

The first kiwi death in Japanese custody was on 16 December 1941, the last was 10 August 1945.

52 captive New Zealanders served with the Federated Malay States Volunteer Force. 25 kiwis with the Australian Military Forces (14 of them died). The British forces had 22, and Hong Kong Volunteer Defence force 19. There were smaller groups of kiwis who served with the military forces of lots of other groups/countries in the area.

I don’t believe I have captured the names of all the New Zealanders who were held by the Japanese and I am sure there are some names I have listed that, for one reason or another, shouldn’t be here. I want to make this register as accurate as possible so that is why I want to put the draft register here for comment, correction or addition.

If you see any errors, names spelt wrong, names listed that shouldn’t be here, tell me. If you know of a name I have missed, let me know. There are lots of gaps in the roll, initials, names of camps missing etc, if you can fill-in any of these details please add a comment with the details and I will correct/update my master list.



Royal Air Force, Officers Service Dress

Has been a while so thought I would show one of my most recent purchases. Picked this RAF Officers Service Dress up at a local auction. Nice padded WW2 period, RAF pilots wing and ranked to a Squadron Leader who was awarded the Air Crew Europe Star with “France & Germany” clasp.RAF wing

RAF ft 1 The thing that made me “had to have it” was that it was named, came with his service ID discs, and also came with a little research that the previous owner had done on the original owner.

Something that makes this RAF service dress a little different is the New Zealand shoulder titles.RAF NZ title

At the outbreak of World War Two, New Zealand did not have the capacity to completely train aircrew in any great numbers. Prior to the instigation of the Empire Training Scheme, were New Zealand air crew had their provisional training at home and finished their training in another Commonwealth country, usually Canada (Of the 131,000 trainees who graduated in Canada, New Zealanders formed 5.3%) many kiwi’s (approx. 401) took a short service commission in the RAF and finished their flight training in the United Kingdom. There were 134 trained pilots who relinquished their RNZAF commissions and accepted a five year short service commission in the Royal Air Force. Of all the 401 kiwis who sailed to the UK, 213 did not survive the war to make the trip back to NZ. Fortunately, William George Charles GASQUOINE, the original uniform owner, did make it back.

Written in the lining of one of the sleeves is the name GASQUOINE and the two id discs have the same surname with the initials WG and RAF service number 45703. The research done by the previous owner came up with the answer that this uniform belonged to William George Charles GASQUOINE. I did a quick “Google” search and found a number of London Gazette notices confirming RAF service and the name and service number.

At the end of their five year RAF short service commission, most men accepted a commission back into the RNZAF. I have managed to locate William’s RNZAF file which, along with all his RNZAF service, details all of his RAF postings.

William George Charles GASQUOINE was born in 1918 in Wellington, New Zealand. He grew up in Nelson, going to Nelson Collage until leaving in 1936 and taking up a Drafting cadetship with the Lands and Survey Department where he stayed until the outbreak of World War Two. In October 1939 William joined the RNZAF and was awarded his flying badge, 10 February 1940. He left NZ on the 26 April 1940 and on arriving in the UK in June, accepted his commission into the RAF. After continuing his flight training with 10 and 12 Operational Training Units he was posted to 78 Squadron (78 Squadron was used to drop British airborne troops into Italy in February 1941-Operation Colossus, the first use of Brit airborne troops). After two months with the squadron he was posted to 1 Anti Aircraft Co-operation Unit (AACU) in November 1940. While with the 1 AACU he took command of “G” flight Cleave and “Q” flight at Aberporth. In August of 1942 he was posted to 42 Operational Training Unit where he was an instructor, going on to be the Chief Flying Instructor and Flight Commander. At the end of his time with the OTU he was posted to 487 (NZ) Squadron flying de Havilland Mosquitos. 487 (NZ) Squadron is perhaps best well known for its bombing attack on Amiens Prison (Operation Jericho) in February 1944, William was not involved in this operation but he was involved in the retaliatory attacks after the execution of 30 SAS prisoners of war who were members of the behind the lines Operation Bulbasket (June-August 1944). On 1st August 1944, 23 Mosquito FB VI (21 & 487 Squadron) attacked Caserne des Dunes barracks, Poitiers. William was the pilot (navigator was Flying Officer P.E. PRIOR) of Mosquito-EG-K, PZ164 which was latter lost in the Aarus attack, 31 October 1944 when it lost a engine after flying through a bomb blast and was forced to land in Sweden and was set alight by the crew before it could be captured. At the end of his time with the squadron, in September, he was posted to staff duty roles, first with the 2nd Tactical Air Force Headquarters and then with Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force. In August 1945 he had his final overseas posting to 1 Ferry Unit, Pershore where he qualified as a flying instructor “C” category. In May 1946, after six years 22 days overseas and 240 operational flying hours, he left the UK and arrived back in New Zealand on the 30 June 1946. He was finally discharged from the RNZAF on the 19 January 1947 and returned to civilian life. The types of aircraft he flew were; de Havilland Tiger Moth, Miles Hawk, Avro Tutor, Miles Mentor, Percival Proctor, Avro Anson, Fairey Gordon, Victor Vildebeeste, Fairey Battle, Armstrong Whitley III & V, Hawker Henley, Hawker Hurricane, de Havilland Mosquito VI, XVI and XX.

One of the things I discovered on doing a little research on William was that in January 1943 he was awarded a Kings Commendation for Bravery.

Interestingly, the Kings Commendation for Brave Conduct (1916-1952) was awarded in three forms. From 1916-1942, it was awarded just as a certificate similar to the ones issued with Mention in Dispatches. In 1943, they were issued as a gold and red plastic pin – backed badge. From 1944 onwards, the badges were not issued and instead, a silver laurel leaf was issued for civilians and worn on the Defence Medal if held, or on the tunic if not. For armed forces, an oak leaf identical to the M.I.D. was issued and worn on the War Medal 1939-45.




Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Aircrew badges

RNZAF WING FTWill start off with this interesting badge. It is perhaps unique for a Commonwealth World War Two aircrew badge in that it is both marker identified and dated.

This particular type of badge was intended for wear on a tropical uniform where the badges could be removed so the uniform could be laundered. As you can see in the photo of the back of this example it would have been held onto the uniform by the loops on the badge and a cotter pin, there was also a backing plate shaped like the badge, that is unfortunately missing from my example, that would have gone between the uniform and badge holding it tight on the uniform. Visible just above the cotter pin is 44 indicating the date 1944.


These pilots wings were worn by RNZAF pilots in the Pacific theatre during WW2 but they were also worn latter by RNZAF crews based in Singapore and serving during the Malayan Emergency.


Under the blue paint, that a particular NZ collector used on the backs of all his badges, is the makers mark, M&K, W, this is for the company Mayer and Kean Ltd, Wellington. The company was established in 1902 and now operates as Mayer & Toye Ltd. It is still fully owned by the Mayer Family and still makes badges.

I have another example of this badge which is a little different from the one pictured above in that it doesn’t ever seem to have had a silver coating and is pin backed.RNZAF WING PIN FRNTI believe this example was originally the same as the example shown above but has been converted, perhaps in the field, by the removal of the cotter pin and one of the loops on the back. There does seem to be a bit of scorching to the back where the pin hinge has been secured over the area of the missing loop. The other loop hasn’t been removed but has been cut and used to catch the pin. I do not believe this is an example of a “Sweetheart” badge, as it looks a little plain, I am not sure why it is not silver coated.RNZAF WING PIN BCK

As in the top example this badge is marked M&K, W and again above the pin you can make out the date 1944.RNZAF WING PIN NAME

Here is a example of a RNZAF Pilot wing that was worn in the  European and North African theater. RNZAF CONT WING FT

My example has seen better days but is still a nice example of a WW2, padded pilot wing. The photo of the back shows the padding and one of the backing types commonly seen on commonwealth wings of this period.RNZAF CONT WING BCKClose up of the central badge of the wings showing the embroidery of the kings crown laurel leaves and central “NZ” indicating that these are New Zealand Air Force Wings.


For comparison here is a Royal Air Force non padded flat pilot wing dating from around the same period as the wing above.RAF WING FTClose up of the central badge showing the embroidery of the kings crown and “RAF” showing these are Royal Air Force wings.RAF WING CLSEThe photo of the back shows a different backing material that is encountered on these wings. There is also an indication that these either had press studs or perhaps a pin to secure the wing to the uniform. The red fluff on the back is a bit of the backing material I use to display my badges that has stuck to glue residue.RAF WING BCK

Will finish with some examples of the modern pilot wings from my collection. First up is the modern version of the first wing shown. Rather than pressed it is a cast wing I am not sure who the manufacture of these  are but do not think they are made by Mayer & Toye. Rather than having a cotter pin it is secured to the uniform with modern clutch backs. This wing is intended to be worn while in light blue shirt sleeve order.MOD RNZAF FRNTDetail is not as crisp as in the earlier pressed wings but still a nice looking badge.

The back showing the mounting arrangement of pins and clutches.MOD RNZAF BCKThe clutch backs are marked “Made in USA”.MOD RNZAF CLUTCH My last pilots wing is the worn on the flight suit. It includes the pilots name and this particular one belonged to a Flight Lieutenant from the 3rd Squadron, RNZAF.MOD RNZAF FLIGHT SUIT FTClose up of the central machine embroidered detail of this wing showing the Queens crown, laurel leaves and NZ.MOD RNZAF FLIGHT SUIT CLSEThe rear of the badge shows how it is secured to the flight suit using the common method of attaching badges these days, of hook and pile (commonly called Velcro).MOD RNZAF FLIGHT SUIT BCK



How am I going?

Just checking out my stats and seeing how many view/visitors I have been getting. Have been with WordPress since 2015 and the numbers have been steadily increasing but just want to check to see if what I am providing is any good. What I guess I am trying to do is show items that aren’t that common and perhaps provide some useful information. Some of the research on the items shown is my own and other bits of information I have found from published books or on the web, I do try and credit these sources where I use them but this is something I could be better at.

With my figures I have used all original items and I have tried to not cut corners, using repro items or items incorrect for the time period depicted, I have tried to make the figures as authentic as possible. I have to admit I do enjoy putting these figures together so will try and put a few more together.

If anyone out there has comments or suggestions on what I already have on this blog please feel free to leave a comment. If there are things I could do better of if there are any things you would like to see more of please let me know.



New Zealand Divisional Provost Company, Italy 1944

MP clseDuring World War 1 New Zealand military police served on all fronts where New Zealand soldiers fought as part of 1st New Zealand Expeditionary Force. They were all mounted. After the Armistice, the NZ Military Police were disbanded.

During World War 2, the NZ Military Police were re-established. The first detachment sailed for the Middle East in January 1940, where they served on all fronts and in all engagements with 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force. After the 2nd World War ended, the military police were again disbanded.

Below is the duties of a Provost Unit as described in the unofficial history of the 5th NZ Provost Company (this company was based in the Pacific but the duties performed in Italy would have been much the same).

1. The duties of a provost unit are many and varied.

2. No community or body can function efficiently without some police system, and the provosts supply the system for the Army.

3. The patrolling of roads to enforce speed limits to save excessive wear on vehicles and road surfaces is an apparent need; but the elimination of accidents by these patrols, efficient signposting, and escort of convoys is apparent only by results.

4. Patrols in towns and villages not only prevent incidents or disturbances with the local population, but also protect military personnel from being exploited. The military policeman, in directing soldiers away from suspected sources is only protecting the soldier.

5. The protection of equipment and supplies from theft or damage is as vital as the detection of thieves and vandals, but the provosts fill both needs.

6. Specialised knowledge of road conditions and terrain enable convoys of vehicles to be brought safely and quickly to their destination.

7. Prisoners of war require collecting and guarding en route to rear areas and special knowledge is needed to carry out this work.

8. From the time of a landing until hostilities cease, provosts are incessantly directing stragglers to their units, directing traffic, and signposting routes and captured areas.

9. Liaison and control of native populations in the battle or occupied areas is, in itself, a big task.

10. These are but a few of the duties of the provosts. If there are any other odd jobs to do, just call on the military police. They are always willing and will do the job well.

The below photo of a NZ Provost taken near Casino in Italy and was the inspiration for my figure. NZ mil police 1

My figure is wearing a US made war aid, herring bone twill (HBT) bush jacket with sergeant rank and British made MP brassard. The khaki drill trousers are privately made possibly of Indian manufacture . The webbing is a mix of Indian (Bata Shoe Company manufactured belt and cross brace) and British (Webley ammunition pouch and the Mills Equipment Company holster). The brass silver plated whistle doesn’t have any manufacturing marks. MP full

Closer look at both the MP brassard and the whistle and lanyard.





Anzac Commemorative Medallion

ANZAC in case

This bronze medallion was instituted in 1967 for award to Australian and New Zealand personnel who participated in the Gallipoli campaign in 1915. ANZAC 1The main design on the obverse of the medallion depicts Simpson and his donkey carrying a wounded soldier, an iconic image of the ANZAC experience at Gallipoli.


It was based on a watercolour by 4/26A Sapper H. Moore-Jones, NZ Engineers, who fought on the ridges above Anzac Cove until overcome with exhaustion. He was later re-employed as an artist and made numerous sketches of the men and actions in and around the Gallipoli Peninsula. Sapper. Moore-Jones based his paintings upon a photograph of Pte. Richard (Dick) Henderson and a donkey.

R Henderson

Richard Henderson


Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick (born 6 July 1892, died 19 May 1915), better known as ‘Simpson’ or ‘the man with the donkey’, was assigned to the 3rd Field Ambulance, Australian Army Medical Corps. He was among the covering force which landed on Gallipoli at dawn on 25 April 1915.  At Gallipoli he used a donkey (named ‘Abdul’, ‘Murphy’ or ‘Duffy’) to carry wounded soldiers to the dressing station and gained a reputation for being undaunted by enemy fire.


John Simpson Kirkpatrick


On 19 May 1915 he was killed. The myth-making began almost immediately after his death, and he soon became one of the best-known images of the ANZAC experience. The task of evacuating wounded by donkey was then continued by a New Zealander, Pte. R.A. Henderson.

Below the main design is a wreath of gum leaves (Australian Eucalyptus), below which is a scroll bearing the word “ANZAC” (Australian New Zealand Army Corps). ANZAC BckThe circular portion of the reverse has a map of Australia and New Zealand with the Southern Cross. Beneath which is a wreath of fern leaves (representing New Zealand) and a blank scroll allowing for the inclusion of the recipient’s name. The medallion measures 76mm x 50mm, and is engraved on the reverse with the recipient’s initials and surname only. Because of insufficient space on the scroll, the rank and number had to be omitted. Originally all NZ medallions were engraved at the Royal NZ Electrical Mechanical Engineers (RNZEME) workshop at Trentham Military camp, they are still engraved in Trentham but not by the RNZEME, it’s now done by civilians of Personnel Archives and Medals section NZDF.

The design of the medallion was the work of Raymond Boultwood Ewers, a well known artist and Australian War Memorial sculptor.

The medallion itself is not designed to be worn, however, those personnel who were still alive when the medallion was issued also received a lapel badge sized version of the full medallion, numbered on the reverse with the individual’s First World War service number. Those who claimed the award on behalf of a deceased relative received only the medallion.  The medallion was issued with a certificate.  ANZAC cert The medallion is sometimes referred to as the Gallipoli Medallion.

The idea of officially awarding something that commemorates the service at Gallipoli of the Anzac troops seems to have been a contentious and drawn out matter.

As early as 1917 Lieutenant General Birdwood was suggesting the idea that a medal the “Gallipoli Star” (originally to be called the ANZAC Star) should be awarded to members of the Australian Imperial Force and 1NZEF who served at Gallipoli. The medal and ribbon were designed by Warrant Officer, R.K. Peacock of Defence Headquarters, Melbourne. King George V approved the design for the Gallipoli Star medal and ribbon to be awarded to “…all Dominion officers and soldiers of the Australian, New Zealand and Newfoundland military forces who actually served with an Expeditionary Force provided that they landed on the Gallipoli peninsula prior to the evacuation thereof”.

However, by August 1918 when the design of the star and the conditions for award had been finalised, and stocks of ribbon forwarded to New Zealand and Australia (according to a document in the Australian War Memorial, “thousands of meters of ribbon were woven”, and was ready for issue), the proposal was reviewed by the British government following criticism from both members of Parliament and the media in the United Kingdom, who were uneasy about British and other forces of the Empire being ineligible for the proposed star. After consultation with the Australian and New Zealand governments, the British War Cabinet agreed that the 1914-15 Star would be awarded to all personnel who had served at Gallipoli.

Since 1918, notably in 1949-50, and in the period 1962-66, efforts have been made, through parliamentary representations, to have the Gallipoli Star awarded. The United Kingdom Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals ‘expressed strong objections to any special form of recognition which would indicate discriminatory treatment in favour of any individual contingent participating in the Gallipoli campaign.” Eventually, in October 1965, after rejecting the idea of producing an Army emblem with the “A” on it for veterans to wear, the idea of a medallion and lapel badge was favoured by members of the Australian Defence Committee. From March 1967 the Anzac Commemorative Medallion began to be issued, however this was not the end of the story of the “Gallipoli Star”.

Gallipoli Star

In 1990 Mr Ross Smith, of Canberra a former Australian Army Warrant Officer and Vietnam veteran, arranged, at his own expense, for dies from the original design to be manufactured and for AJ Parkes & Co Pty Ltd, of Brisbane to strike 1000 examples of the medal. Two hundred of these medals were personally presented by Mr Smith to Australian (150) and NZ (50) Gallipoli veterans. The remaining stars were made available to the public through Suttle Medals of Sydney. After the initial striking of the 1000 stars, the dies were donated to the Australian War Museum in Canberra; however due to high interest in the medal, Suttle Medals subsequently secured a second and final striking of three hundred medals. These second strike stars are marked on the back with “COLLECTOR’S/ITEM”.

Even after all this time the Gallipoli Star remains a private award, without official approval.