Auckland Museum - Collections Online

Predicate Object 1994.154 2015-08-17T00:00:00.000Z 1 2017-09-20T05:31:43.367Z 55 New Zealand Mounted Rifles (NZMR) shoulder title, WW1 Collection of Lieut. Colonel William Robert Lang OBE (1935) MC (1917) VD (1932), (23 May.1890 - 27 October 1970) Military service: pre-WW1: Mounted Rifle Volunteers (from 1908, final rank: Lieutenant) WW1: enlisted as Lieutenant, service number: 9/1884 Otago Mounted Rifles, transferred to Auckland Infantry Regiment (15th North Auckland Company) post-WW1: North Auckland Mounted Rifles WW2: Home Defence: No 1 Mounted Rifles Squadron Information from donor (1994) William Lang of Waipu was the eldest son from a family of six children. His father had died in 1905, and following his enlistment in 1915 his mother was left with four daughters and a younger son (born 1901) to run the family farm. In 1916 William embarked with the 9th Reinforcements for Egypt as 2nd Lieut. in the Otago Mounted Rifles (service number 9/1884). He was then posted to the Auckland Infantry Regiment when many Mounted Riflemen were transferred in order to build up the strength of New Zealand Division in France. He was Lieutenant with the 15th North Auckland Coy at Messines and Passchendaele and was promoted to Captain and awarded a Military Cross after the Passchendaele action. The Gazette notice records his being the only Officer left in the Company and that he succeeded in getting to the Company’s objectives. William had only four month’s away from his unit in the time it was in France and was twice wounded. He was company commanding officer at the end of the war and went with the Army of Occupation to the Cologne area. Following his return to New Zealand William Lang returned to the family farm at Lang's Beach, Waipu, and when Territorial Units were reformed after the war, William Lang became Captain in the North Auckland Mounted Rifles and in 1934 was appointed Commanding Officer of this Regiment (Lieutenant Colonel was his highest substantial rank). Was posted to the Reserve of Officers in 1937 when Mounted Rifle Regiments in the Northern Military District were disbanded and one of the Light Armoured Field Vehicle Regiments formed in their place. Although not required for Overseas Service during WW2, he became involved in Home Defence and was called up to command No 1 Mounted Rifles Squadron on 10 January 1942. When he ceased mobilised service in July 1943 (once the immediate threat of war had receded from New Zealand he held the rank of Commander of Zone 3A . William did not talk much about his WW1 experiences, particularly not his daughters, he said it had been a terrible war and he just wanted to forget it. However, with the outbreak of World War 2 he did enlist, with the ambition of becoming Commanding Officer of the Maori Battalion, but was turned down on account of his age and health. However he did serve on the Home Front spending much time up north, and in his absence his wife and eldest son looked after the farm with neighbours helping out from time to time. New Zealand Mounted Rifles (NZMR) shoulder title, WW1 Collection of William Robert Lang 1; metal NZMR badge with spring clip & metal backing plate badge, regimental
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