New Zealand Heroes of WW1

New Zealand contributed a large number of men to the war effort during the conflict of WW1. Many of these heroes distinguished themselves, and have been recognised for their efforts. Regarding these soldiers, some of the most gallant men saw action at the devastating Battle of Gallipoli.

Cyril Bassett stands out as a person worth mentioning in this regard. He was the first man from New Zealand to be awarded the Victoria Cross during the war. This was because he helped to repair a telephone wire while under heavy fire. He was not injured during the conflict. However, his uniform was grazed by many bullets. After the war, he was humble about his achievements.

Jesse Wallingford was a prolific marksman. He even won a gold medal for shooting during the Olympic Games of 1908. During Gallipoli, the soldiers nicknamed him the Prince of Riflemen. He was known to be able to snipe enemies from far distances. One report even claims that he killed over 700 men.

During Russell’s Top landing he ran into gunfire to help fix a New Zealand machine gun that was broken. Alongside a wounded comrade, he repelled the enemy back for several hours. This helped to prevent the Turks from assaulting the area. For his efforts, he was awarded the Military Cross.

Not all heroes were involved in direct fighting. Others had more ordinary tasks that were no less treacherous. Richard Alexander Henderson was one such person, who became known as the “Man with the Donkey”. His role was to ferry wounded men away from the battle and into a field hospital. He did this to great acclaim during Gallipoli. His job was made even more difficult when his partner stretcher bearer was killed. Henderson was eventually immortalised in a painting called Simpson and his Donkey.


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