John Douglas Publishing

Publications

 
 

Tales of Three Campaigns (2nd Edition) - 12th (Nelson) Company N.Z.E.F.
Author: Lieutenant Colonel Cyprian Bridge Brereton

In 1926, Colonel Brereton who had taken the 12th (Nelson) Company of the Canterbury Infantry Battalion into the Great War in the Main Body of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, wrote the well-received first edition of this title.

The three campaigns alluded to, were the Battle of the Suez Canal on 3 February 1915; Gallipoli as it related to the Landing at Anzac, and the Second Battle of Krithia at Cape Helles (where the author received a serious head wound); and the Western Front, including First Somme in September 1916 and two periods in the line in the Northern Zone, in and about Armentières.

Although it was only 24 hours or so in duration, the rarely-written-about Battle of the Suez Canal was of signal historic importance. No one was better able to write about New Zealand’s role in it, than Brereton. All four battalions of the New Zealand Infantry Brigade were called upon to reinforce the canal defences, when the very real threat of a Turkish attack developed. Only a minor element of them became involved - two platoons of 12th Company, commanded at first-hand by Major Brereton; 100 all ranks. Solely by their musketry skill, they helped deter a brigadesize assault over the narrowest point of the canal. We read his front-line account of their baptism of fire, and his later shrewd analysis of how the Turks should clearly have won, had they conformed to their German-authored plan.

Colonel Brereton strongly identified with his soldiery; his concern clearly was with them rather than upwards towards his seniors, and the prospects of personal advancement. He describes the relevant skills brought by them from their rural pursuits. Personally cool under fire, he writes in an attractive, flowing style, quite lacking in military jargon, and with occasional dry humour, to which the reader will warm. This is whether discussing battle, desert training in Egypt, troopship journeys, inter-action with French civilians or the multiplicity of other incidents experienced in over four years of active service, at a responsible, but not too-elevated level.

Foreward:
I have a battered copy of Major C.B. Brereton’s Tales of Three Campaigns that I purchased many years ago in Smith’s Bookshop in Christchurch. It, together with Cecil Malthus’s Anzac: A Retrospect, opened the door to my understanding of the New Zealand experience in the Gallipoli Campaign. To me, it read like a Boy’s Own tale of adventure, balanced by quips and comments – it was a great read by a personality who seemed to laugh at the world and at himself in the most desperate of situations.

My favourite is the description on landing at Anzac Cove, and Brereton’s alarm when the waiting staff on the beach said, “We are very glad to see you, Brereton”, and his comment that the situation ‘must indeed be grave’ for he and his men to be welcomed like that. However, as he notes, ‘a few minutes later one of them commenced swearing at us, so we cheered up, feeling that all was not yet lost’.

It is this slightly off-beat view of the war that captured me. Brereton seems on the surface not to take anything too seriously, yet, at the same time, his account captures the tensions, the reactions of both commanders and men, and the realities of combat, all told in a way that only later did you realise how insightful his words were.

Walking the area of the Daisy Patch at Cape Helles in 1983, it was Brereton’s immediate response to his being wounded that stayed with me, and which I recall each time I return. ‘I felt the terrible pain of a bullet through the top of my head, and as I fell I could see in imagination, but very vividly, great flames rushing out of my head. It crossed my mind instantly, “Serve you damned well right for ordering men into such a fire”.’ His statement carries with it the awful responsibility of command that every officer has in battle, and sheets home the personal responsibility that cannot be deflected by the words ‘simply carrying out orders’.

This is a book of home truths – ‘a soldier’s plain unvarnished story’. Brereton’s Tales of Three Campaigns is an important insight into the nature of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force that went to war in 1914, its make-up and its character. He shows us both the enthusiasm and the inexperience and how this was balanced by hard training and pragmatism in Egypt, Gallipoli and then in France.

Brereton is lucky to survive his three campaigns and this new edition is enriched with both superb and previously unpublished photos from his own collection, but also includes the fourth campaign – the love story between Daisy and “Cyp” – she 21 and he 38, which allows us to see another side of the man and the love match that anchored his life.

This is a marvellous book, brought alive again with the combined efforts of John H. Gray’s editing; Peter Millward’s contribution from the Nelson Provincial Museum’s collections, and the tangible support of the Tasman Bays Heritage Trust; Bob Anderson’s enormous enthusiasm and dedication in resurrecting forgotten gems in New Zealand military history, and Mrs Annie Coster’s lovely coda to her grandparents.

Christopher Pugsley

ISBN: 9780994105936
Published: April 2015
Price: $75.00
Size: 180mm x 240mm
Extent: 380 Pages
Illustrations: 115 Photographs 14 Maps
Binding: Casedbound & Dust Jacketed

 
 

Brothers in Arms - Gordon and Robin Harper in the Great War
Authors: Jock Phillips, with Philip Harper and Susan Harper

Brothers in Arms is an extraordinary account of two brothers who fought side-by-side at Gallipoli and then in the Sinai Desert with the Canterbury Mounted Rifles. The book climaxes with the tragic account of Gordon harper’s death in the Sinai in August 1916.

It brings together: Beautifully-written letters by Gordon Harper; Stunning photographs of the war experience largely shot by Robin Harper; Images of extraordinary artefacts sent back from the war and held ever since by the family including the Maxim machine gun used by Gordon and Robin, a German-made machine gun captured from the Turks at Gallipoli, a prayer book marked by bullet tracks which was in Robin’s chest pocket, the bivvy bag used by Gordon in the desert, the last orders issued to the ‘C’ party who were the very last New Zealanders to leave Gallipoli in December 1915; Background on the war written by award-winning historian Jock Phillips.

ISBN: 9780473308773
Published: 01 April 2015
Price: $40.00
Size: 216mm x 280mm
Extent: 180 Pages
Illustrations: Photos through out
Binding: Soft Cover

 
 

Rampant Dragons - New Zealanders in Armour in World War II
Author: Jeffrey Plowman

A ‘gritty’ history of the 4th New Zealand Armoured Brigade, from its formation by Freyberg because of the shortcomings of British armoured support, through to its final campaign in Italy in 1945.

ISBN: 9780987667502
Published: July 2014
Price: $75.00

 

The Silent Division - and Concerning One Mans War 1914-1919
Author: Ormond Edward Burton

It is appropriate that the imminent centenary of the start of World War l should be marked by publishing in one volume, two works of the greatest New Zealand front-line writer about that war twice decorated and thrice wounded.

Ormond Edward Burton lived life at an uncompromising extreme, whether as a soldier – when, as recounted in this book, he more than once voluntarily went to considerable lengths to put himself in harm’s way, as he saw it in his unit’s interests - or later as a clergyman and Christian pacifist.

ISBN: 9780987667540
Published: May 2014
Size: 180mm x 240mm
Extent: 416 Pages
Illustrations: 50 Photos, 22 Maps
Binding: Hardback, Dustjacket
Price: $75.00

 
 

The Great Adventure Ends - New Zealand and France on the Western Front
Authors: Nathalie Philippe and others

This book by a diverse group of French, German and New Zealand writers and researchers examines the differing perceptions of the wartime experience, climaxing with the battle before Le Quesnoy and the scaling of the town walls by the soldiers of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade on 4 November 1918.

ISBN: 9780987666581
Published: May 2013
Price: $85.00

 
 

28 (Maori) Battalion - Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Author: J. F. Cody

Recognised as an infantry battalion that had a distinguished record, saw muche fighting and suffered heavy casualties. Encapsulates the Maori warrior tradition.

ISBN: 9780987667519
Published: November 2012
Price: $65.00

 
 

Keeping The Peace - A Kiwis Modern Conflict Experience
Author: Greg Allnutt

This timely publication has many coloured photographs and its writing gives an interesting insight of what the modern New Zealand soldier was involved in, in the service of his country in Angola, Bougainville, Kuwait, East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq.

ISBN: 9780987666567
Published: June 2012
Price: $45.00

 
 

Bunty Preece - Soldier of 28 (Maori) Battalion
Author: Tom O’Connor

Story of Alfred (Bunty) Preece of the Chatham Islands, soldier, farmer, local body politician, kaumatua and tireless advocate for his people.

Complete Maori translation by Kingi Ihaka.

ISBN: 9780987666543
Published: June 2012
Price: $70.00

 
 

Auckland Infantry
Authors: Peter Cooke, John H Gray, Ken Stead

The long-awaited history book of the 3rd Battalion, Auckland (Countess of Ranfurly's Own) & Northland and all of its predecessors is now available. It is the first detailed history of the 'Aucks' and the 'Norths' (also incorporating the Cadet Units) from the formation of the first militia units in the 1840s all the way to the 3rd Auck (CRO) & North Battalion Group of the early 21st century. 'Auckland Infantry' is 576 pages long (16 of which are in colour) and includes just over 640 photos, diagrams and graphics. It covers the period from the first of the Auckland Infantry units formed in 1845, shortly thereafter into active service with the Units first casualty being Private William Reily at the Battle of Ohaewai on 1st July 1845. The latter part of the 19th Century saw the formation of the 3rd Aucklands' and 15th North Aucklands' then service in the South African War, WW1 from Gallipoli to the western front in France and Belgium. World War II saw the Aucks and North Aucks as the 'numbered' Battalions (18th, 21st, 24th, 29th and 35th) in Greece, Crete, North Africa, Italy and the Pacific, through the CMT and National Service eras to the Territorial Force Volunteer of today. This is a must read (and have) for anyone with an interest in the history of the 'Aucks'' and the 'Norths' in war and peace.

ISBN: 9780473174521
Published: December 2010
Price: $75.00
Size: 305mm x 220mm
Extent: 516 Pages
Illustrations: 600 Photographs Colour & Black and White
Binding: Casedbound & Dust Jacketed