New Zealand Post issued the third set of stamps, 1916 Courage and Commitment, as a part of five-year programme commemorating the centennial of First World War.
By 1916 the scale of the Great War had been truly realised. Few New Zealanders had been left unscathed by the Gallipoli campaign, with fathers, brothers, friends and neighbours lost.
At home, volunteers for service had slowed to a trickle and the first Anzac Day was observed a year after the Gallipoli landings. As the battle moved to the Western Front, where it would remain until 1918, the courage and commitment of the servicemen were sorely tested.
The Post and Telegraph Department played a key role in delivering wartime communications, as well as being the bearer of sad news for many.
Abroad, the New Zealand Tunnelling Company (NZTC) made its mark in the Arras tunnels and the HMS New Zealand took part in the largest naval battle of the First World War, the Battle of Jutland.
New Zealand troops continued to play a part in the Middle East and the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) was part of one of the bloodiest battles in human history and New Zealand’s costliest campaign of the war – the Somme.
Centennial of First World War : 1916 Courage and Commitment
Against the backdrop of the Western Front, we tell the story of Cook Islander Solomon Isaacs. Solomon left behind his life in New Zealand and his family in the Cook Islands to serve in the First World War.
He was just one of many Pacific Islanders to volunteer for service, and with the Pioneer Battalion he experienced the realities and difficulties of war first-hand.
80c Serving his country – Solomon Isaacs
Solomon Isaacs served overseas for eight days short of three years as a member of the 3rd M?ori Contingent, the Pioneer Battalion, the NZTC and the Rarotongan Company in Palestine, before returning to Auckland and eventually Tautu between 1920 and 1922.
80c The Pioneer Battalion
In February 1916 the 3rd Maori Reinforcements left New Zealand for Suez, Egypt. By 1917 the New Zealand Pioneer Battalion had become popularly known as the Maori Pioneer Battalion, a name that would stick until their return to New Zealand in 1919.
80c The Arras tunnels
The NZTC arrived in France on 10 March 1916 to help carry out the Empire’s war strategy underground. The NZTC made its mark in the tunnels, naming key locations after New Zealand towns and cities. These markings are still visible today.
$2.00 The first Anzac Day
25 April 1916 was New Zealand’s first Anzac Day, one year after the landings at Gallipoli. Local services like the one featured on this stamp on the church steps in Nelson were the first of many in the years to come.
$2.50 The Battle of Jutland
On 31 May 1916, the Imperial German Navy’s High Seas Fleet met the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet in a clash in the North Sea known as the Battle of Jutland. The Indefatigable-class HMS New Zealand was one of 151 British vessels involved.
Conscription arrived on 1 August 1916 when the Military Service Act became law. All able-bodied Pakeha men aged between 20 and 46 were required to register for military service by 15 September – coincidentally, the first day that New Zealanders would fight at the Somme.
80c The Middle East
New Zealand troops continued to play an important role in the Middle East theatre throughout 1916 and beyond. In March the New Zealand Mounted Rifles joined the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, and in the next few months pushed back Ottoman forces from the Suez Canal.
80c The Somme
In September 1916 the first major offensive involving the NZEF got under way near the River Somme in northern France. By the time New Zealand troops and artillery were withdrawn from the front line, more than half of the 15,000 NZEF troops involved had been killed or wounded.
$2.00 Away from the front
Many New Zealanders serving on the Western Front were still able to satisfy their sense of adventure and explore European soil. The NZEF soon had a permanent presence in London; its Bloomsbury Square headquarters is shown on this stamp.
$2.50 The home front
As well as being the place to enrol for military service, the local post office delivered news of deaths and injuries to anxious families. The Kaikoura Post & Telegraph office was one of many in New Zealand that played a crucial role in meeting the communication needs of war time.
The two miniature sheets in this Centennial of First World War stamps (one containing six 80c stamps and one containing two $2.00 stamps and two $2.50 stamps) feature a map of the Western Front as well as newspaper clippings from 1916.
The four-stamp miniature sheet features a newspaper report on the first Anzac Day while the six-stamp miniature sheet features a newspaper clipping reporting on New Zealand’s involvement at the Somme.
First day covers
The photographs on the covers complement the newspaper clippings, with the four-stamp miniature sheet first day cover featuring a photograph of the first Anzac Day in Dunedin and the six-stamp miniature sheet featuring a photograph of the New Zealand Medical Corps in Armentieres, France.
Commemorative Proof Coins
As part of the First World War five year programme, New Zealand Post will issue legal tender commemorative coins. These highly collectable and intricately designed silver proof and gold proof coins highlight New Zealanders roles in the war in 1916.
The 1oz silver proof coin illustrates New Zealand’s involvement in the Battle of the Somme, the costliest campaign of the First World War.
The stunning gold proof coin features the celebrated New Zealand Tunnelling Company in the Arras Tunnels. The New Zealand Tunnelling Company (NZTC), were the first New Zealanders on the Western Front, creating a vast underground network providing access to the front line.
Title: Centennial of First World War stamps : 1916 Courage and Commitment
Date of Issue: 6 April 2016
Country: New Zealand
Denominations: 80c x 6, $2.00 x 2, $2.50 x 2
Source: New Zealand Stamps