This is an officer's jacket for the New Zealand Mounted Rifles, 6th Manawatu Regiment, 1914 - 1918. It is made of khaki coloured wool, with braid and insignia for the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the 'NZMR'.
This World War I uniform jacket belonged to Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Frederick Batchelar of Fitzherbert, near Palmerston North. It bears the insignia for the rank of Lieutenant Colonel including three stripes, crown and pip badges on the sleeves. Arthur Batchelar, a farmer born in 1877, served in the Boer War and World War One, on both occasions as part of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles.
In World War I the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade was one of the first New Zealand units to sail for service overseas. It consisted of three regiments, the Wellington, Auckland and Canterbury Mounted Rifles, some 1900 men with about 30 officers. Arthur then aged 36 was a member of the Wellington Mounted Rifles and upon departure for the war, held the rank of Lieutenant, responsible for a troop of some 30 soldiers. Arthur first saw active service at Gallipoli from May 1915 with the Mounted Rifles. In early August 1915 the battle for Chunuk Bair decimated the Mounted Rifles with over 70 percent casualties for the Wellington Regiment. Arthur himself was wounded in late August in the battle for Hill 60 and evacuated to England. By then he had risen to the rank of Captain, partly responsible for a company of some 80 soldiers.
From 1916 onwards Arthur served in the Mounted Rifles' campaign for the Sinai and Palestine. In 1917 he was promoted to Major, partly responsible for a battalion of some 300 soldiers and in 1918 to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, in command of the whole battalion. A photograph album held at the National Library from fellow officer, Charles Guy Powles, suggests that they travelled and fought with the troops, rather than commanded from behind the lines back in Egypt. It may be for this leadership that he together with Charles Guy Powles was awarded the Order of the Nile, 3rd Class medal from the Egyptian government in 1920. Following the war Arthur continued as a commanding officer in the New Zealand Territorials until his retirement from military service in 1927 aged 50. Arthur died in Palmerston North in 1964 aged 86.
This object is held in the Te Manawa Collection and is part of a wider collection of Arthur Batchelar's personal effects from the First World War kept across both Te Manawa and the Ian Matheson City Archives.