Rules for returned soldiers

As this section of the Returned soldiers' handbook shows, returned men were required to attend ‘whatever public reception has been arranged’ when their ship arrived in New Zealand.

The director of military hospitals, Thomas Valintine, observed that these functions were ‘extremely unpopular with the men, and the enforcement of their attending such will undoubtedly raise considerable protest and bring the matter to a head’. [1]

Shortly after the handbook was released the commandant of the New Zealand Military Forces, A.W. Robin, advised the minister of defence that attendance ‘should be optional’. Not only were the receptions not ‘an unmixed good for half-sick men’, they also contradicted ‘the spirit of the Returned Soldiers Handbook’ and inhibited the provision of facilities for the men’s next of kin. [2]

[1] Medical – Evacuation – Sick and wounded to New Zealand – General file, 1915, AAYS 8638 AD1/967/49/145/1, Archives New Zealand
{2] Ceremonies, entertainments, etc. – Reception sick and wounded returning, AAYS 8638 AD1753/15/58, Archives New Zealand

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