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Papakura Camp News, 23 August 1940

Third Echelon Parades

Auckland's Impressive Tribute

Splendid Body of Men

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With the swift passage of the months New Zealand's Second Expeditionary Force is taking shape. On Saturday, under blue skies and in bright sunshine Auckland saw a parade of Third Echelon troops who, as recently as May 15, marched into Papakura and Ngaruawahia camps as untrained men.

Businesslike in Battle Dress

Since all batteries and battalions were uniformed in battle dress the parade was strikingly different from those of the First and Second Echelons, when all save the Forestry Battalion were attired in old-time service kit. Battle dress gives an entirely new appearance to a large body of troops. It somehow makes them appear more businesslike and purposeful. They look like fighting men.

Most middle-aged people who saw the parade must have regretted that the famous peaked hat of the New Zealand Division is not a proper part of battle dress. The jaunty service cap is smart, but for New Zealanders it lacks the distinctive appearance of which our troops were so proud in the last war. What a wealth of tradition is bound up with the old peaked hat! Old Diggers especially must regret its virtual passing. Nowadays, it seems, the famous hat, still part of the general "issue", is worn only with training denims. A sad degradation for a hat which everywhere advertised the presence of this Dominion's tough fighting forces in 1914-18.

Artillery, Engineers, Infantry

The parade was under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel C.E. Weir, RNZA, officer-commanding the Sixth Field Regiment, and he was attended by Captain H.E. Gilbert, RNZA. Units assembled were the Sixth Field Regiment, New Zealand Artillery, the 33rd Battery of the Seventh Anti-Tank Regiment, the Artillery Training Regiment, the 13th Railway Construction Company of the New Zealand Engineers, the 16th and 17th Railway Operating Companies of the New Zealand Engineers, the 24th (Auckland) Rifle Battalion, and the First Infantry Training Regiment.

Prior to the addresses by military, civic and State dignitaries, all units were paraded in mass formation, stretching the full length of the Domain oval. Bayonets were fixed by the engineer and infantry units, and officers, almost indistinguishable in battle dress, took post in review order. As the official party moved to the grandstand, all ranks came to attention. The officer commanding the district, Colonel N.D. Weir, was received with a general salute.

To the crowds of people massed on the banks about the oval the drill movements of the troops were impressively smart. Applause marked each movement. As the engineer and infantry units came to "the present", and afterwards sloped arms, the simultaneous smacking of many hands on buts and stocks sounded like the splashing of water in a mechanically-operated fountain. The precision was admirable. Following the speeches there was a final general salute before the troops marched off.

Especially striking on the march out of the Domain were the reinforcement units for the Maori Battalion now in England. Lieutenant-Colonel C. Shuttleworth's 24th Auckland Battalion, also won much admiration by their marching, bearing evidence of much skilful training and hard practice. It is a most efficient unit, of which Auckland can be proud. On the line of march most civilians were puzzled by the unit designation tags, but to those who could read them they were as revealing as the pugaree colours of old.

3rd Echelon parades through Auckland City
Third Echelon parading through Auckland City (Auckland Star photo)
Click the image to enlarge it.

Papakura Camp News, 23 August 1940
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