Topic: Harry Manship

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Harry Manship (Service no. 16420) was a First World War soldier with links to Halswell.

Harry Alexander Manship was born in Halswell, Christchurch on 11 November 1889. His parents were John Daniel Manship, a sheep drover, and Edith Blanche Manship (née Biggs). He was the third eldest child of six children – two older brothers Alick and George, and two younger brothers Clarence and William, and a younger sister Lilly. Harry’s eldest brother Alick, died at the age of two, from drowning.  All the Manship boys were schooled at Halswell School, however there is no record of Lilly having attended school. Harry Manship Online Cenotaph record from Auckland War Memorial Museum

Harry was working as a farm labourer in the North Island when he travelled to Auckland in December 1913 to volunteer as a Mounted Special Constable during the 1913 Great Strike. His last employer before he enlisted was W A Wright, of Manawaru, in the Waikato.

Harry travelled back to Christchurch before he enlisted on 10 May 1916, and was assigned as a trooper to the Canterbury Mounted Rifles, as part of the 17th reinforcement to the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade. He would have trained at Featherston Camp. Training included “eight weeks of dismounted drill, two weeks of shooting, eight weeks of mounted drill and two final weeks of leave…..The men also received lectures on subjects such as ‘the soldierly spirit’, care of the feet, sanitation, military law and discipline, animal management and stable duties” (Kinloch, pp243).

Prior to his departure for the war, Harry and two other local troopers (H.Cox and Herbert Moyna) were presented with pipes, tobacco, and pouches. The gifts were presented during a euchre party at the Halswell public hall.  The chairman of the Patriotic Committee “conveyed to them the good wishes of the district for their welfare and safety”.

On the 5th of October 1916 Harry embarked on the Manuka, then transferred to the Morea in Sydney, bound for the Suez.  Upon arrival in Egypt (14 November 1916), he was posted to a training camp to await the call for reinforcements at the front. In mid-December 1916 Harry was part of the reinforcements to the Canterbury Mounted Rifles (CMR), and they rode to join the rest of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles (NZMR) to form a new outpost at Mazar. During December 1916 and January 1917 the NZMR were instrumental in the capture of Magdhaba and Rafah.

On the 28th March 1917, Harry’s military record notes that he was ‘assigned cook’.  This most likely means that he was cook for his section. The four-man section “was the basic building block of the regiment. In combat, one man in each section was responsible for holding the horses while the other three fought on foot. These four men lived, worked and fought together and usually became close friends. Camp duties were shared: one man was responsible for cooking, another for looking after the horses, the third for keeping the campsite clean and tidy, while the fourth took care of the section’s share of guards and fatigues.”(Kinloch, pp37).

The CMR (along with the rest of the NZMR) joined the Australian Light Horse in the battles for Gaza and Beersheba during 1917. By the end of 1917 the way was clear for the Egyptian Expeditionary Force to move along the coast of Palestine, and onwards to Jerusalem.

In 1918 the NZMR were involved in the occupation of the Jordan Valley, and the capture of Jericho.  During the early part of the year heavy rain and bitterly cold temperatures in Jerusalem and the Judean Hills made life very difficult, especially as the men were clothed and equipped for summer.  Worse was yet to come as they moved further into the Jordan Valley, and into summer. The Jordan Valley is about 400m below sea level, with extremely hot summer temperatures, high humidity, lingering dust clouds, and large expanses of marsh by the Jordan River. Harry was one of hundreds of men struck down by a particularly virulent strain of malaria, and on the 31st July 1918 he was admitted to the 47th Stationary Hospital in Gaza.

He was transferred to the 27thGeneral Hospital in Abrassia, Cairo, as his condition worsened. He was discharged from hospital on 26th August 1918, and sent to the Aotea Convalescent Home in Heliopolis. After a month at Aotea, he was discharged and rejoined the regiment in the field in early October, not long after the fall of Amman.

The Ottoman Turks surrendered on 30 October 1918, and Germany followed suit on 11 November 1918. The war was over.

The Canterbury Mounted Regiment, along with the 7th Australian Light Horse Regiment, was posted to Gallipoli to monitor Turkish compliance with the Armistice. They left Kantara on the HMT Huntcastle on 28th November. “The ship was unsuitable, men were overcrowded and weather on the voyage was dreadful. The sickness rate peaked at 80 men per day during an outbreak of influenza, overwhelming the five-berth ship’s hospital.” (Kinloch pp327). Harry was one of these men.  He was admitted to the hospital at Chanak on the 12th December, and was reported as ‘dangerously ill’ on the 13th.

Trooper Harry Alexander Manship died of influenza on 19 December 1918, aged 29. He is buried at Chanak Consular Cemetery.  

Harry was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, and these were presented to his widowed mother Edith Manship at her address of 189 Fitzgerald Street (now Geraldine Street). Edith was still living at that address up to her death in October 1952.

Harry is remembered on the Halswell War Memorial.




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Harry Manship

First Names:Harry
Last Name:Manship
Place of Birth:Halswell, Christchurch