Phyllis Hartigan, born 1912: Picturing Canterbury

Phyllis Hartigan, born 1912. Kete Christchurch. Entry in the 2016 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

Photo of Phyllis in a Boer War uniform.

On the back of the photo:” Happy Returns Tom,  April 27th 1915, from sister Phyllis.”

Date: 7 April 1915.

Entry in the 2016 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt by Beverley Dickson.

About Photo Hunt

October is Photo Hunt month at Christchurch City Libraries. We invite you to share any of your photos and help grow the city’s photographic archive. All entries must be received by 31 October.

Share your photos and help us to create a true picture of our city’s rich history. Anyone can contribute.

Harold Parsons, Horse and Cart: Picturing Canterbury

Harold Parsons, Horse and Cart, 1915. Kete Christchurch. PH14-AlTu-harold_parsons_-_horse_and_cart. Entry in the 2014 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt by Alan Turner. CC-BY-NA-SA-3.0 NZ.

Harold Parsons in suit with three children. Child on Harold’s knee is Basil Turner (later general manager of Turners Office Products, Colombo & Tuam St), others unknown.

Location: St Martins, Christchurch.

Date: circa 1915

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Do you have any further information about this photo? If so, please share it with us by leaving a comment.

1915 – a brief guide to the wider war

Cover of Collision of EmpiresLooking beyond Gallipoli, an awful lot was happening in 1915. On the Western Front a number of major engagements took place throughout the year. The Battle of Neuve Chapelle, fought in March and April, was the first planned British offensive of the war. The attack had some initial success but ran out of steam.

Beginning on 22nd April – days before the Gallipoli landings – the 2nd Battle of Ypres saw Germans attack the salient (a bulge in Allied lines surrounded by German territory) around Ypres. This battle marks the first use of gas on the Western Front, the Germans having previously used chlorine gas against Russian forces on the Eastern Front. French Algerian and Canadian troops bore the brunt of this attack.

The Battle of Loos was the biggest British offensive of the year, yet once again initial success ran out of steam. Casualties were high, both amongst pre-war regular soldiers and those who had volunteered for the duration – this battle marked the first use of ‘New Army’ units on the Western Front. During this battle, the British used poison gas for the first time.

There was plenty of action in other fronts around the world. The Indian and British armies had had some success against the Ottoman Turks in Mespotamia (modern-day Iraq) in 1914, but 1915 saw forces over-extend themselves, and after defeat at the Battle of Ctesiphon in November the allies retreated back to Kut-al-Amara.

Cover of Under the devil's eyeIn October a Franco-British force landed at Salonika in Greece (now Thessaloniki) with the intention of aiding the Serbian Army against Bulgaria, an ally of Germany. Although the Serbians had been beaten by the time the force landed, they remained stationed in Greece.

Germany had various colonies in Africa and in 1915 there was ongoing fighting – often in very difficult conditions – in a number of these:

  • Cameroon,
  • East Africa (Tanganyika and surrounding countries),
  • and Namibia (German South-west Africa).

The Oscar winning film The African Queen is set during the East African campaign.

In British-controlled Egypt, New Zealand troops were involved in defending the vital Suez Canal from the Ottoman Turks and towards the end of the year helped to quell rebel Arab and Berber (the Senussi) tribes who had been agitated by the Germans and Turks.

In April 1915, William Rhodes-Moorhouse won the first ever aerial Victoria Cross, bombing a railway junction in Belgium. He died the next day aged 27. Although he spend most of his life in the UK he was descended from Wellington settlers and the iwi Ōtahui of Ngāti Ruanui.

Who will you be remembering this year?

Image of the week

A view of Beach V, one of the initial landing points for troops, Gallipoli Peninsula. 1915.

A view of Beach V, one of the initial landing points for troops, Gallipoli Peninsula

Source: The Canterbury times, 28 July 1915, p. 39. File Reference: KPCD-03-048. From the collection of Christchurch City Libraries. Collated for 2009 Beca Heritage Week’s ‘Doves & Defences’ – Discover Christchurch in Peace and Conflict

Do you have any photographs of war time? Contact us.

Contact us if you have any further information on any of the images. Want to see more? You can browse our collection here.