In 1910-1911 New Zealand organised a Territorial Force of some 30,000 men, with permanent staff and an expanded General Headquarters. New weapons and improved training meant that when war broke out on 4 August 1914, New Zealand was able to offer Britain an expeditionary force immediately. There were enough volunteers to fill the numbers required for the force and its reinforcements until 1916.

News of Gallipoli and of the trenches in Belgium and France showed that the war was no longer a ‘glorious adventure’. Conscription was introduced in 1916 to maintain force numbers. In the First World War, just over 100,000 troops left New Zealand for service overseas in Samoa, Gallipoli, Sinai-Palestine, Belgium and France. Of those serving overseas, more than 16,000 lost their lives and over 41,000 were wounded, a very high casualty rate.

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