WW1 NZEF Ist Maori Contingent Corporal Maku Hale, Regimental No. 16/96.
My maternal grandfather after an initial basic training here in NZ at 27 years old and married with a young son departed from Wellington on the SS "Wairrimoo"on the 14th of February and arrived in Egypt on the 26th of March 1915.After a spell of training in Egypt they were transfered to the island of Malta for further specialist training and it was there that the 1st Maori Contingent gathered word of the Dardanelles landings on the 25th of April witnessing the many wounded soldiers returning from the Gallipoli landings and hearing of its disastrous situation. He along with his 477 strong 1st Maori Contingent would have clearly understood the dangerous confused situation they were to face before arrival at Gallipoli on the Dardenelles Peninsular, landing at ANZAC cove on the 3rd of July 1915. Initially assigned to B company of the 1st Maori contingent on arrival their he was attached as an Assault Rifleman to the Canterbury Infantry Battalion.
He fought in the murderously ferocious and briefly successful assault on Chunuk Bair at Gallipoli over the days of the 7th and 8th of August ultimately under command of Lt. Col. William Malone who was killed in action their on the 8th of August 1915.
Corporal Hale was evacuated from ANZAC cove on or before the 14th of December 1915 one of only 132 1st Maori Contingent remaining as 345 of them were already departed either sick, wounded, missing or killed in action.
Initially promoted to a Lance Corporal N.C.O. in NZ on the 1st of February 1915 and later to full Corporal on the 28th April 1916 at the Western Front in France.
Corporal Hale was wounded in action seriously damaging his left hand and lower fore arm in France on the Somme during the Battle of Morval after surviving unscathed the previous Battle of Flers-Courcelette on the 26th of September 1916. He was removed and placed in the nearest Forward Dressing Station then to a Casualty Clearing Station whereby he was stabilised and sent on to England for 5 months to recover.
On his return home during 1917 to his whanau on the East Coast at Tolaga bay he returned to his beloved wife Riria at Waipiro bay and to their first son Sonny Richmond Hale whom he had used interestingly as his next of kin on his military application into the 1st Maori Contingent and NZEF...suggesting to me his wife Riria being my grandmother refused to sign as next of kin and was not supportive of his signing up to fight. However they ultimately settled at the beautifull Ngati Porou land of Haurataunga Ki Hauraki known as Kennedy Bay on the east coast of the Coromandal peninsular. They produced a living total of 17 children one of whom was my birth mother Mere Arihi Hale or Alice (Alice was the name of Maku's sister) and two of whom Richard and Frank Hale later serving with the 2nd NZEF as members of the 28th (Maori) Battalion during WW2.
Maku was born on the 12th of May 1890 and died at Port Jackson on the 15th of June 1953. He is laid to rest at the Coromandel War Veterans Cemetary where his son Frank Hale of the 28th (Maori) Battalion also lies.
His elder brother Sergeant Richard Hale, Regimental No 16/5 also of Tolaga Bay and B Company 1st Maori Contingent fought along side his young brother Maku in all the above war arenas and went on (after Maku being wounded 1916) to see further actions in France at Messines and in Belgium on the Ypres Salient where he was killed in action their on the 14th of August 1917.
Brothers in arms. - Reference: Denis Clough archive Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 9 February 2016 - http://www.28maoribattalion.org.nz/photo/corporal-maku-hale-nzef-1st-maori-contingent