NZ7 NZ Mounted Rifleman, Sinai-Palestine WWI
Following the evacuation from Gallipoli, the New Zealanders upon returning to Egypt were reorganised into a New Zealand Infantry Division that went to France, and the New Zealand Mounted Rifle Brigade.
The brigade with three Australian light horse brigades and four Royal Horse Artillery batteries formed the Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division (the ‘Anzac Mounted’).
In the Sinai desert to help guard the Suez Canal there were minor clashes but in August 1916, 18,000 Turkish infantry attacked Romani in a major assault. The NZ Brigade shattered the attackers' flank contributing to the Anzac victory. There followed further successful actions at El Arish, Magdhaba and Rafa. At Gaza on 26 March 1917 the mounted troops were about to succeed when the attack was mistakenly called off and trench warfare developed on a 30 mile front to Beersheba.
Attacking Beersheba on 31 October the NZ Brigade took the key redoubt at Tel el Saba opening the way for the Australian light horse to take the town, and with British infantry breaking through on the coast, the Gaza-Beersheba line collapsed. Advancing north of Beersheba there were further successful actions with the Wellington Regiment of the brigade taking Jaffa.
With Jerusalem taken the Anzacs pushed on to take Jericho on 21 February 1918. Then followed the most ambitious raid of the campaign, to cross the flooded river Jordan and take the heights of Moab. Es Salt was taken but Amman was too strong and the force was ordered back, to support the final offensive north, to break the Turkish fourth Army on the Jordan front. It was stern revenge for their reverses at Es Salt and Amman for they took both with over 10,000 prisoners.
This was the grand finale to the operations of one of the largest bodies of horsemen in the history of warfare. The rifleman in this set wears shirt sleeves, a slouch hat and a bandolier over his shoulder. The horse has a fly fringe, and carries extra bandoliers.