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On the declaration of war Colonel Neill immediately offered his services to the War Office, which promptly accepted them, and he accompanied the first New Zealand War Contingent to Samoa as adjutant.
Being recalled to New Zealand, he was given command of the Fourth Reinforcements, which he took to Egypt. He was then ordered to England to rejoin his old regiment, the Royal Irish Fusillers, with which he had served in the Boer war, and for 11 years in India.
A very large number of officers and men of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force returned to the dominion during the past fortnight. From December 23, 1917, to January 5, no fewer than 2241 arrived, 2090 landing at Auckland and 151 at Wellington. The total (says the New Zealand Herald) comprised 140 officers, 12 nurses, and 2089 men of other ranks.
Owing to the scarcity of tinplate, Australian manufacturers of dry goods, such as biscuits, foods for children, powdered milk, and many other articles, are offering to repurchase their tins, as they cannot obtain new material for new metal containers.
With the exception of tins which have to be cut with an opener, they are nearly all worth saving, and even jam tins are expected to have a value shortly.
''The visiting northerner gets quite a shock to see the ravages of blackberry throughout Westland, and to see it would break the heart of our local farmers,'' remarked Mr M. Cohen to a Palmerston North Standard report when describing his visit to the West Coast.
The Westlander disposes of the situation by claiming that there are only two blackberry bushes in Westland. The humour of this paradox is only realised with the explanation that one bush extends from Hokitika to Westport and the other from Westport to Murchison.
A Chinese greengrocer at New Plymouth is reported to have won more than 400 at the Stratford races. Among his bets were three tickets on Speedwell Mac, which romped home in the hurdles.
- ODT, 10.1.1918.
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