A History of QAMR

On 16 September 1864, the Alexandra Troop of the Wanganui Cavalry Volunteers was accepted for service by the New Zealand Government. The Troop was named after Princess Alexandra, the Princess of Wales. The Troop saw active service in the New Zealand Wars, mainly on patrolling and despatch riding duties, before being disbanded in late 1865. Reformed as the Alexandra Cavalry Volunteers, the Troop guarded Wanganui during the Titokowaru campaign (1868), and took part in the Parihaka operation (1881).

In 1868, Trooper William Lingard, a founding member of the Alexandra Troop, won the New Zealand Cross for rescuing a comrade under enemy fire at Titokowaru's pa at Tauranga Ika. In 1897 the unit was renamed the Alexandra Mounted Rifles. Volunteers from Alexandra Mounted Rifles served in South Africa during the Boer War, where Farrier Sergeant MajorWilliam James Hardham won the Victoria Cross at Naauwpoort, in January 1901, where he rescued two wounded comrades while under heavy enemy fire. In 1911 the unit became the 2nd (Wellington West Coast) Mounted Rifles.

In the First World War (1914–1918) men of the Regiment saw active service in the Queen Alexandra's 2nd (Wellington West Coast) Mounted Rifles squadron of the Wellington Mounted Rifles RegimentNew Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade.

The Squadron of 158 men and 169 horses was initially commanded by Major Jim Elmslie. The New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade was sent from Egypt to Gallipoli in May 1915, without its horses. On Gallipoli the mounted riflemen gained a reputation as excellent scouts and hard fighters. New Zealand's mounted regiments were particularly prominent in battles fought at Outpost No 3, Table Top, Chunuk Bair and Hill 60. For his gallentry on Chunuk Bair, Major Elmslie was recommended for a posthumous Victoria Cross.

Following the Hill 60 battle the 2nd Squadron could only muster 14 fit men. After the evacuation of Gallipoli in December 1915, the squadron spent the remainder of the war on horseback, fighting the Turkish Army in the Sinai Desert and in Palestine, as part of the ANZAC Mounted Division. Notable battles were fought at Rumani, Rafa, Magdhaba, Gaza, Beersheba, Ayun Kara, in the Jordan Valley and at Amman.

The Regiment received its first Guidon in 1929, at Waverley. During the Second World War (1939–1945) many volunteers from Queen Alexandra's Mounted Rifles served overseas in various units, particularly in the 2nd New Zealand Divisional Cavalry Regiment. This Regiment fought in Greece, Crete, North Africa and Italy. Some men also served in the Long Range Desert Group.

M113A1 APC and Ambulance in East Timor in 2002.

Later in the war some men of the Regiment saw active service with the 3rd New Zealand Division's Special Army Tank Squadron Group in the Pacific, and with the 4th New Zealand Armoured Brigade in Italy. Some men of the Divisional Cavalry Regiment performed occupation force duties in Japan after the war. Men of the Regiment also served in New Zealand during the war, firstly on horses and then in a wide variety of light armoured vehicles. In January 1942 the New Zealand Armoured Corps was formed. It included the 2nd Light Armoured Fighting Vehicle Regiment (Queen Alexandra's Wellington West Coast Mounted Rifles). In 1947 the Royal New Zealand Armoured Corps (RNZAC) was formed.

Following the Second World War the Regiment underwent a series of name, role changes and amalgamations. Some men of the unit served with British Centurion-equipped tank regiments during the Korean War. In November 1964 the Regimental Guidon was paraded for Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace, by a composite group of 140 members of the New Zealand Army. In 1992 the unit, as Queen Alexandra's Squadron, RNZAC received a new Guidon.

NZLAV from QAMR.

A year later the unit regained the title of Queen Alexandra's Mounted Rifles, Royal New Zealand Armoured Corps. From 1994 until 2002 most members of the Regiment gained operational experience operating M113A1 armoured vehicles in Bosnia-Herzegovina and East Timor. Many other officers and soldiers also crewed British armoured vehicles with British Armyregiments in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Over this prolonged period, the Regiment sustained a higher operational tempo than any other unit of the New Zealand Army. In 2004, the unit now down sized to a squadron, began re-equipping with the NZLAV, a version of the LAV III armoured vehicle especially developed for the New Zealand Army. In 2005 the unit moved to BurnhamMilitary Camp.

In December 2011, Queen Alexandra's Mounted Rifles was formally re-formed as a Regiment from its previous Squadron size, with the sub-unit formally known as QAMR being dubbed NZ Scottish (NZ Scots) Squadron and Wellington East Coast (WEC) Squadron.

A wide range of armoured vehicles have been used by the unit. These include the Valentine tankStuart tankDaimler DingoScout Car, Ferret Armoured Car, Centurion tank, M41 Walker BulldogFV101 Scorpion light tank, and M113A1 armoured personnel carriers.

Queen Alexandra's Mounted Rifles is the oldest serving Regular Force unit of the New Zealand Army.

The Story of Queen Alexandra's Own by Ted Andrews

(extracted from Wikipedia)

Upcoming Events

Documents and Files