Reason for the name
This Waterloo Street was named in honour of Captain RN Guthrie New Zealand Army Medical Corps, Military Cross (MC) who served on Gallipoli in WW1.
7/637 Robert Neil Guthrie was a Captain during WWI, 1914-1918. He lived at 213 Worcester Street, Christchurch, and his next of kin was Mrs Christina McLennan Guthrie, care of J. Murchison, Lake Coleridge, Canterbury. Prior to 16 October 1914 Robert was married. Captain Guthrie embarked on 16 October 1914 on HMNZT 4 or HMNZT 11 the vessel was Tahiti or Athenic. His unit was the Canterbury Mounted Rifles Main Body and Captain Guthrie was to go on to win the Military Cross (MC) which was published in the London Gazette 14/01/1916
The Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regiment was one of four regional mounted rifles regiments raised to serve overseas in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) during the First World War (the others were the Auckland, Wellington and Otago mounted regiments). It was unusual in being the only one without an exact equal by name in the Territorial Force regiments.
It served as part of the New Zealand and Australian Division on Gallipoli in 1915, and in Sinai and Palestine as part of the Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division from 1916 to 1918.
After the armistice with the Ottoman Turks in October 1918 the CMR remained in Palestine and on the Gallipoli Peninsula until March 1919, when it was sent back to Egypt to help suppress nationalist riots. The regiment was disbanded in June, when most of its officers and men embarked on the troop transport Ulimaroa for the return voyage to New Zealand.
Author: The Poppy Places Trust
The Military Cross
Robert Neil Guthrie was awarded the MC and his rank is listed as Lt Col. The Military Cross (MC) was instituted on 31 December 1914. It is awarded to junior officers and senior non-commissioned officers of the Army for courage and devotion to duty on active service. Over 500 MCs were awarded to New Zealanders during the First World War and over 250 in the Second World War. The most recent awards were for service in Vietnam. In 1993 the MC was made available to all ranks in the United Kingdom.
The Military Cross (MC) is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and (since 1993) other ranks of the British Armed Forces, and formerly awarded to officers of other Commonwealth countries. The MC is granted in recognition of "an act or acts of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy on land" to all members of the British Armed Forces of any rank. In 1979, the Queen approved a proposal that a number of awards, including the Military Cross, could be awarded posthumously.
The award was created on 28 December 1914 for commissioned officers of the substantive rank of Captain or below and for Warrant Officers. Apart from some honorary awards to foreigners serving with allied forces, all awards were announced in the London Gazette. From August 1916, recipients of the Cross were entitled to use the post-nominal letters MC, and bars could be awarded for further acts of gallantry meriting the award, with a silver rosette worn on the ribbon when worn alone to denote the award of each bar.
From September 1916, members of the Royal Naval Division, who served alongside the army on the Western Front, were made eligible for military decorations, including the Military Cross, for the war's duration. Naval officers serving with the division received 140 MCs and eight second award bars. In June 1917 eligibility was extended to temporary majors, not above the substantive rank of captain. Substantive majors were made eligible in 1953. In 1931 the award was extended to equivalent ranks in the Royal Air Force for actions on the ground.
The Dominions continued to award the Military Cross until the 1990's with, for example, awards made to Australians and New Zealanders for gallantry during the Vietnam War. In January 1991 the MC was however replaced in Australia by the Medal for Gallantry, with Canada establishing the Medal of Military Valour in February 1993, with the New Zealand Gallantry Decoration created in September 1999. Since the 1993 review of the honours system, as part of the drive to remove distinctions of rank in awards for bravery, the Military Medal, formerly the third-level decoration for other ranks, has been discontinued. The MC now serves as the third-level award for all ranks of the British Armed Forces for gallantry on land, not to the standard required to receive the Victoria Cross or the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross.
Treatment of the Wounded
For those wounded on Gallipoli, the wait for treatment and evacuation was often long and agonising. Compared with the organisation and efficiency of the Western Front, medical services at Gallipoli were a shambles. The evacuation framework for casualties — moving wounded from field ambulances to casualty clearing stations, and then military hospitals — fell apart, as poor planning and the sheer scale of casualties overwhelmed the available medical resources.
During the April landings and the August offensive, the advanced dressing stations in the gullies and the casualty clearing stations on the beach could not cope with the large numbers of wounded. The stations themselves often came under fire because of their exposed positions.
From the field ambulances and casualty clearing stations, wounded were evacuated by boat to hospital ships and ambulance transports — dubbed ‘black ships’ — waiting offshore. Poor coordination and mismanagement meant that many serious cases were left on the beach too long; once on board they found appalling conditions.
...There were no beds. Some were still on stretchers on which they had been carried down from the hills, some on the paillasses thrown down on the hard decks. The few Red Cross orderlies were terribly overworked. For twelve hours on end an orderly would be alone with sixty desperately wounded men in a hold dimly lit by one arc lamp. None of them had been washed and many were still in their torn and blood-stained uniforms. There were bandages that had not been touched for two or three days – and men who lay in an indescribable mess of blood and filth … Most of them were in great pain, many could get no ease or rest, and all were patched with thirst. Those who slept dreamed troubled dreams and those waked were in torment:
‘Orderly! Orderly! Water! Water!
‘Orderly, for Christ’s sake, ease me up a little.’
‘Orderly! I can’t sleep.’
‘Water! Fetch me a drink.’
‘Oh God! Oh God! Oh God!’
‘I can’t sleep. I haven’t slept for three nights – give me morphia.’
‘Oh God! You don’t know how this hurts.’
‘Oh thank you orderly, but can’t you give me a whole cupful.’
‘Orderly! Orderly! Fetch me a drink.’
‘Look out there! They are coming! Take that you bastard!’
‘Oh God! Oh God! – the pain!’
The ships transported wounded to hospitals in Egypt, Lemnos, Malta or even to England. Such was the chaos of the operation that some relatively lightly wounded men ended up in England, while casualties still convalescing found themselves going back to Gallipoli.