Mounted rifles for Greendale

by Kent Caddick

Attendees at this year’s Anzac Day memorial service in Greendale are in for a treat, with members of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Charitable Trust and their horses set to attend.

The service will also mark the anniversary of the final year of the first world war, although the armistice itself wasn’t signed until November 11. 

One of the organisers for this year’s event, Ian Warren of Greendale, said having the Mounted Rifles is significant for the local community and Selwyn as a whole. 

“Thirteen of the names inscribed on the Greendale War Memorial gates, which lead into the Greendale Domain, were members of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles, which became part of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles brigade. 

“We heard the Mounted Rifles Trust was set to bring some of their members to the Burnham dawn service at the military camp, so we contacted them to see if they could come here as well. 

Fortunately for us they agreed, and they will be attending our afternoon service.”

New Zealand Mounted Rifles Trust member Mark Appleton who visited Greendale School this week in preparation for the service said New Zealand sent around 10,000 horses to the war and only four returned. 

“We are hoping to have around 25 horses and riders coming to attend the service in Greendale.”

Ian Warren said 57 former pupils of Greendale School were involved in WWI. 

Mr Warren’s father, Dorsey Warren, and his father’s brother, were two of the Greendale contingent who served. 

New Zealand Mounted Rifles Trust members Mike Donaldson (left) on Tommy and 
Mark Appleton on Prue visited Greendale School this week in preparation 
for this year’s ANZAC service

George Warren embarked for the war in August 1915, and served at Gallipoli and then in Egypt, the Sinai and Palestine. 

Dorsey Warren, along with cousin and neighbour Frank Rudd, embarked for the Middle East in April 1917, and served in the Sinai and Palestine. Ian Warren said his father hardly ever spoke about the war and it wasn’t until after he had died, that he came across the letters that his aunts had, from both his uncle and father, that he learnt of their war experience. 

“These letters have now been typed and produced in a booklet for the descendants of George and Dorsey,” Mr Warren said. “They express a great love to their families back home and they relay at first, the excitement of the war and then the realities of a deathly war, and their yearning for the green pastures of home.”