The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and the Hauraki Regiment
25 April is ANZAC Day in New Zealand. ANZAC Day is the equivalent of Remembrance Day in the UK. ANZAC Day commemorates the landing at dawn of New Zealand troops, along with Australian, British, French and Indian forces, on the Gallipoli Peninsula on the 25th of April 1915. This is viewed as the first time New Zealand fought under its own flag and hence the date holds an important part within the national psyche.
And there is a link between the New Zealand Army and the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (OBLI). The OBLI has regimental associations with the Hauraki Regiment and its successor units of the New Zealand Army.
In February 1913, the Hauraki Regiment was allied to the OBLI which, as the 43rd Monmouthshire Regiment, fought at Maketu, Gate Pa and Te Ranga in the Tauranga district in 1864 and helped to garrison that district for two years afterwards.
On the outbreak of war in 1914 the regiment provided men for the 1st Auckland Battalion as the 6th Hauraki Company. The 2nd and 3rd Auckland Battalions also had 6th Hauraki Companies as part of their order of battle.
These battalions saw service in Egypt (Suez Canal), Gallipoli and France.
They were involved in several major battles on the Western Front including Cambrai, breaking the Hindenburg Line and the capture of Le Quesnoy.
Le Quesnoy is a walled town which was captured by New Zealand forces in November 1918. Fire brigade ladders were used to scale the walls in an action that has become the stuff of legend. The action is commemorated in a frieze on the town wall and in the naming of streets in the town, such as Avenue des Neo Zelandais.
The Haurakis were part of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force sent overseas in the Second World War. The regional identity (Auckland, Wellington etc) had been removed from the battalions but it was retained in the sense that the B Company of each battalion was drawn from the Haurakis.
The Haurakis fought in Greece, Crete, Western Desert and Italy.
During the Second World War the New Zealand Division was commanded by the most famous Hauraki of all, Lieutenant General Lord Freyberg, V.C., G.C.M.G.,
K.C.B., K.B.E., D.S.O. (and three bars) Freyberg served in the British Army during the First World War, winning a Victoria Cross and 3 Distinguished Service Orders and several other decorations.
After the war and several reorganisations the Hauraki Regiment has become 3/6 Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment. This is an Army Reserve unit that has a direct association with a regular unit.
The Regiment’s insignia features a lion, symbolising bravery, strength and ferocity. Also featured is the Ribbon of the Order of the Garter, the most notable British order of knighthood, symbolising the military virtues expected of the Regiment’s members.
The motto of the Order of the Garter, ‘ Honi soit qui mal y pense’ is on the ribbon, it is Anglo-Norman French meaning ‘Evil unto him who thinks evil of it’
The Regiment’s own motto, ‘Kia kaha’ means ‘Be strong’
Sources: www.ohinemuri.org.nz https://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/object/1214865