The matinee, to be given at the Grand Opera House on Saturday, commencing at 2.30 pm, promises to be the biggest thing of its kind ever held in Wellington. The programme to be submitted will be one that in itself, and apart from patriotic sentiment, should attract a crowded house. The first part will be provided by the members of the Brenman-Fuller company, after which the Prime Minister will speak for five minutes. Then will follow the second act of of “Never Say Die” by the Fred Niblo-Josephine Cohan Company, one of the most laughable farces ever seen in Wellington. the Hon James Allen (Minister of Defence) will then speak, and the third part will be provided by the gifted “Smart Set”. During this part Mr Ernest Parkes is to sing “Britons All”, a new song written by Mr Bert Royle, and composed by Mr Frank Crowther (of His Majesty’s orchestra). Mr Fred Niblo is also to give us a taste of his talent as a monologuist. The box plan is now open at the Dresden, where seats are being book with great patriotic fervour.
During the matinee there will be an auction of the first-grade two-yard Union Jack, which has been preserved for this purpose. This flag will have an historic interest, and should bring a substantial addition to the Patriotic Fund. The flag will be auctioned by Mr Fred Niblo, who has spent some of his happiest years of his life under the old flag.
Call for Men and Horses
This morning the first batch of Wellington volunteers for the main Expeditionary Force will leave for the concentration camp at Palmerston North. The number will be about 100, and will consist only of Territorials now serving. To the number of about 50, including a score from the Post and Telegraph Corps, the men paraded at the Drill Hall, Buckle Street, last night. They comprised artillery, infantry and a small number from the Army Service Corps. Four concentration camps will be held before the Force is dispatched – at Dunedin, Christchurch, Auckland and Palmerston North.
Applications are still flowing in to join the Force, and yesterday just on 100 handed in their names at the drill hall. It is said that more have already applied than will be needed, and probably a selection will be made.
The case of certain members of the railway service who came to Wellington to join the Expeditionary Force and who have not been selected for the railway corps was referred to ion the House of Representative last night.
Sir Joseph Ward said his attention had been drawn to the fact that a considerable number of young men had been brought from all parts of New Zealand to serve in the railway section of the Expeditionary Force, and he understood that some eighteen of them had been ordered to stand aside on the ground that their services were not required. In some cases these young men had been farewelled by their friends, and he would ask the Minister whether it would not be possible for them to go away with the contingent. Would the Government say what their position was? He had been informed that if the men joined another contingent they would not get their half-pay, and their positions would not be kept open for them.
Dominion Forces of 20,000 Men
(Rec. August 13, 11.15 p.m.)
London, August 13, morning.
“The Times,” in a leader says “The imperial force will number 75,000 men, including Australia’s 20,000 men and New Zealand’s 8,000. New Zealand’s warship is already one with our own in the defence of the Home seas: Australia’s battleship and cruisers have been freely offered, and German possessions in the outer seas will have to yield to the Dominions’ forces. The test has come and the result has been a spontaneous advance towards Imperial consolidation.”
Boy Scouts’ Help
When the Boy Scouts made their offer to the Defence Department last week the Department probably did not realise how thoroughly they were going to carry out their self-appointed task. About four of them have been kept constantly in attendance at headquarters, two at the Commissariat, two at the stores, three at the Area office, while the others are at the beck and call of any member of the Expeditionary Force who might want a message sent or purchase made in the city.
Rather a curious difficulty that has to be faced sometimes is when they receive a few pence change when sending a telegram, as a scout is not allowed to take money for any help which he may have given. One scout was left with 4½d which was promptly spent in biscuits for the patrol, as no owner could be found.
Young at 51
Applications for enrolment with the Expeditionary Force are being received from volunteers of all ages, from youths of 17 to men of over 50 years. As the age limit is set at 35 many are apt to be disappointed. Yesterday a tall, well-set-up man had his name put on the list at the Drill Hall, and in reply to the question as to his age, said that he was 51 years. The enrolling officer expressed surprise at this, and questioned two spectators, who gave their estimate of the man’s age at 33 and 36 respectively. The volunteer had served for many years with the Royal Army Fusiliers, and for 14 years was stationed in India. He does not drink, and thought that he was entitled to go down on the roll as 30 years of age. “There’s an example for you,” said the sargeant-major, as he put the name down.
All the text in this post is from The Dominion of 14 August 1914.