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3/400 - 11/400A Trooper Archibald Foley - New Zealand Medical / Wellington Mounted Rifles
 
Archibald Foley was born in Cape Town, South Africa on 22nd August 1891. Archibald’s father, 14508 Sapper Timothy Foley, the British Royal Engineers had arrived in December 1878 in South Africa and was engaged the Anglo-Zulu wars.[i]
 
Family history is that he was wounded and while being nursed met and later married his wife. The Foley family left South Africa with the army in 1884 but returned in 1888 with Corporal Foley being finally discharged in 1896.
 
The family remained in Cape Town with Archibald’s service record noting that he had served, as part of compulsory military training, with the Cape Peninsular Rifles.
 
Archibald arrived in New Zealand about 1911 he had resigned from the Cape Peninsular Rifles prior to departing South Africa and this unit was disbanded in 1912.[ii] There was a large recruitment program for young single men from the British Empire, mainly Scotland and England, to staff New Zealand’s mental hospitals.  
 
In October 1914 Archibald enlisted in the New Zealand Army, when he enlisted he was employed at Porirua Hospital as
a hospital attendant.[iii] Archie enlisted with eight other men from the Porirua Hospital, a number he had played Association Football (Soccer) with as part of the Hospital team[iv].   All entered the Trentham Military Camp as part of
the reinforcements for the Mounted Field Ambulance, New Zealand Medical Corp. 3/400 Private Foley was quickly promoted to Sergeant possibly because of his military experience with the Cape Peninsular Rifles and he sailed for Egypt, from Wellington, in December 1914 as part of the 2nd Reinforcements, Field Ambulance, New Zealand Medical Corps.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sergeant Archibald Foley, with four other sergeants of the New Zealand Medical Corps, at Trentham Camp in November 1914 prior to departure for overseas service.
 
In January 1915 on joining the Main Body of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) in Egypt Sergeant Foley reverted to Private Foley and later in March 1915 transferred to the 2nd Queen Alexandria’s (Wellington, West Coast) Squadron as a Trooper. Trooper Foley was given a new regimental number 11/400A. The mounted elements of the NZEF remained in Egypt during the April landings at Gallipoli but heavy casualties resulted in the mounted units, without their horses,
being shipped in May 1915 as reinforcements to ANZAC Cove.
 
 
 
 
11/400A Trooper Archibald Foley at Zeitoun Camp 25th March 1915.
 
 
The lack of the red cross badge on the sleeve indicates the Trooper Foley
is now part of the fighting element of the Wellington Mounted Rifles.
 
In August 1915 with a large scale British landing at Suvla Bay the plan was
an attack by the Allied forces in ANZAC Cove that would enable a link up
with the Suvla Bay force and the capture the strategic heights of the
Sari Bair range, including Chunuk Bair. The New Zealand Mounted Rifles
(NZMR) was assigned to the Right Covering Force with the mission to clear
the way for the assault column to capture Chunuk Bair. The three
squadrons of the Wellington Mounted Rifles (WMR) were to capture
Destroyer Hill and Big Table Top. On the evening of 6th August 1915
the mission starts well with the capture Big Table Top, after hand to
hand fighting, by the 6th Manawatu’s.  The 2nd Queen Alexander’s and
9th East Coast then passed through this position then climbed to
attack the Turkish positions from the rear capturing Destroyer Hill.
 
In the early hours of 8th August 1915 the Wellington Battalion captured Chunuk Bair and were subjected to repeated counter-attacks by Turkish forces and the 2nd and 6th Squadrons of the WMR consisting of 173 men moved to Chailak Dere and then was ordered to attach to the Otago Infantry Battalion on Chunuk Bair with orders to ‘hold their position
at all costs’.[v] The WMR at 10:30 pm, 8th August 1915 was occupying the Cockpit a centre position in the line.  During
9th August 1915 the Allied troops on Chunuk Bair are subjected, from 4 a.m., for the next 10 hours to repeated attacks
by the Turkish infantry supported by heavy artillery, machine-gun and rifle fire.
 
Trooper Foley’s military records note that he was wounded on the 9th with a gunshot wound to the elbow. Trooper
Foley was evacuated from ANZAC Coveand was admitted on 14th August 1915 to hospital in Cairo, Egypt.
 
In September 1915 Trooper Foley was medically assessed and it was recommended that he return to New Zealand for convalescence and treatment and he sailed on 25th September 1915 from Egypt on the SS Willochia. Also returning to New Zealand on the Willochia were 3/460 Private Frank Walsh and 3/401 Private Herbert Foster both men Archibald Foley had worked with at Porirua Hospital and had also played soccer with in the Hospital team. Archibald, Herbert and Frank were members of the group of nine hospital men who had enlisted together in October 1914.[vi]
 
Archie Foley was discharged from the NZEF on 19th January 1916 as ‘medically unfit for active service’ and returned to work at the Porirua Hospital. In March 1917 he married Marcella Ruby France from Lower Hutt, Wellington. Marcella
would lose one of her younger brothers later that year when Frederick (Freddie) Carey France was killed in October 1917 at Passchendaele.
 
In 1917 Archibald and Ruby Foley were successful in
the ballot for farm settlement under ‘The Discharged
Soldiers Settlement Act 1915’.[vii] This Act was
enacted to provide farm settlement schemes and
vocational training to First World War veterans.
The Foley’s settled in the Marakeke Settlement,
Takapau, Hawkes Bay with Archibald’s medals being
sent to him there in 1922.
 
 
Archie & son on the farm c1920's.
 
 
 
Archibald and Marcella Foley had four children.
 
Archibald Foley died in 1941 with Marcella Ruby Foley dying in 1971.
 
The Foley family still farms, including the original soldier / settler’s farm, in the Takapau area.
 
Notes:
Two other Porirua Hospital man, also won ballots Arthur Harold Topham and Frank Walsh also farmed in the area in the 1920’s.
 
Photos:
Five NZMC Sergeants at Trentham Camp November 1914: Foley family
3/400 Trooper Foley in Egypt  25 March 1915: Foley family
Archie and Patrick (son) on the farm 1920’s: Foley family
Background ANZAC Landings 1915: Private Collection
 
References:
Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Records: 3/400 & 11/400A Trooper Archibald Foley
Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Records: 3/460 Private Francis William Walsh
History Online: Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment Timetable
Official War History of the Wellington Mounted Rifles 1914 - 1919
Papers Past Online
NZ BDM Online
 
[i] Foley Family Papers
[ii] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Records 3/400 & 11/400A Trooper Archibald Foley
[iii] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Records: 3/400 & 11/400A Trooper Archibald Foley
[iv] Hospital staff enlisting 21st September 1914: J Alexander*, A Foley* H Foster*, H Heath*, K Munro, P Roots*, W Skinner*, A Topham & F Walsh*. (* Hospital AFC Players)
[v] History Online: Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment Timetable - 8th August
[vi] Hospital staff enlisting 21st September 1914: A Foley, F Walsh.
[vii] Soldier Settler: confirmed by Foley family
[viii] Evening Post 10 August 1927: Death of Soldier Settler -
 
 
ANZAC Landiongs 1915