Monday, April 4, 2016

Big Boys at Te Papa 2

As a supplement to my last blog post 'Big Boys at Te Papa' on the Museum's 'Gallipoli: The scale of our war' exhibition and my comment about the reported NZ casualty numbers, interesting research has just been published, which confirms that the real rate is about half what had been stated (see the Te Papa blog for more details). 

I had certainly come to a view that the casualty rate of 93% would have been emblazoned on the minds and psyche of every New Zealander if it were true. But what it has thrown up is that there were in fact casualty rates of this level in the First War. The Newfoundland Regiment went over the top at Beaumont-Hamel in the Battle of the Somme, on that fateful day of July 1st 1916, where 30,000 men were killed or wounded before breakfast and 60,000 by the end of the day. The Regiment went into action 753 strong and only 68 answered the roll call the next day, a casualty rate of 91%.

The effect of such a loss on the local community must have been cataclysmic.

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