CONFERENCE AT PALMERSTON NORTH 1916
© NZ Command LF

CONFERENCE HELD ON 22ND JUNE 1916, AT
PALMERSTON NORTH, NEW ZEALAND
(From the “Auckland Weekly News”)

The Legion Conference, held at the Oddfellows’ Hall Palmerston North, on Thursday last week, was attended by the following: - Lieutenant F.E. GADDUM and Frontiersman HM WHITE, K.M. HUTTON and W.P. WILLIAMS (Poverty Bay), Frontiersman W.A. NEALE (Wairoa H.B), Captain J. McGREGOR (Waikato), Frontiersman C.N. TAYLOR (Northern Wairoa), Lieutenant A. HALDO, Frontiersman J. BAYNTON and J.A. RAYNE (Wanganui), Frontiersman G. COTTERILL and W.J. CONNOR (Heretaunga),  Frontiersman D.J. WRIGHT, C.G. HAYWARD and W.H. KUMMER (Wairarapa), Hon. Captain A.K. GREENFIELD and Frontiersman H. GRAHAM (Bay of Plenty), Sergeant V. KLEE and Frontiersman R.G. KENNEDY and L. KLEE (Pouatu Troop, Whangamomona), Frontiersmen FRASER, JONES and F. BURGESS (Egmont Troop), Frontiersman J. TAIT (Mohaka Troop), Frontiersman W.C. REID (Kattleke, Sub Unit), Frontiersmen W.A. HALL, S.J. GRAHAM (Pahiatua), D. COBB (Takaka, Nelson), J. JONES (Auckland), H. NIELSEN (Whangamomona), W.J. FRASER (Fordell), and R.B. FOORD (Wanganui).  The Staff Officer for New Zealand, Captain E. D’ESTERRE, presided.  This total muster of 32 was a most satisfactory evidence of the growing importance of the Legion in New Zealand.  Apologies for unavoidable absence were received from the following: - Captain V. BLANE and Lieutenant GIESON (Northern Wairoa), Captain SIMPSON (Bay of Plenty), Lieutenant RD ESDAILE (Ohura), Lieutenant J. BARRACLOUGH (Christchurch), and Frontiersman F WRIGHT (Featherston Camp).  Lieutenant A. HARDIE was elected Hon. Secretary.
The Chairman briefly welcomed the delegates and read a report covering the period since last conference.  The report stated that Legion affairs had moved along quietly, and there had been a marked falling off in the recruiting rate, which was naturally to be expected, as the cream of the men of the country had gone to the front, and, as far as New Zealand is concerned, the chief recruiting centre shifted to Egypt.  Members joined up out there would ultimately be recorded on the New Zealand strength.  Since last October only 115 unattached members’ forms had been forwarded to London Headquarters.  Applications since the outbreak of war totalled 508, apart from applications by Squadrons and Troop members, which had followed the usual channel.  Close on 30 applications had been refused in New Zealand, and all applications forwarded to London Headquarters had been accepted.  Enlistments of members of the Legion into the Expeditionary Forces had been remarkably regular, and, notwithstanding the large numbers of members who rushed into the Main Body and the second and other early reinforcement drafts, there had been no reinforcement draft left these shores that had not had its little group of members of the Legion.  Of the delegates at the Auckland conference in October 1915, one had secured a commission in the Army Service Corps, another had proceeded to East Africa to join the Legion Battalion, a third had proceeded to England and a chief engineer in one of the naval patrol units operating off the English coast.  A fourth was in Trentham camp, two others had enlisted, but were rejected as unfit for service, and yet another had been turned down as being over military age.  The report of last conference had been forwarded to London Headquarters and the staff there thought so highly of it that it was reprinting it for circulation amongst Home and Oversea Commands as an example of interesting and practical Legion work and government.  An interesting feature of the previous conference was the election of the executive council, but the difficulty of getting members together from such widely scattered districts was such that the council had really not had a fair show, and a somewhat different method of selecting a council might be tried.  During the interim a number of Legionaries had returned from the front after doing their duty.  Some had recovered from wounds or sickness and again departed for the front; others had been discharged unfit for further service and others were undergoing treatment for wounds and sickness.  The Legion should endeavour to do something for the unattached members who were returned wounded or invalided.  The Legion Battalion in East Africa had done some magnificent work, and interesting letters from the field would be read.
The New Zealand members at the front had carried the best traditions and principles of the Legion with them.  It was not for him to praise men for doing their duty, but he could not refrain from saying that of all the fine men that went into the New Zealand forces the members of the Legion were the picked men of the lot, and they had provided a most important stiffening or backbone for many sections of the New Zealand Army. Moreover, their conduct and bearing had been such as to win whole-hearted admiration, and it was certain that, after the war, the Legion would have very large numbers of men seeking admission to the comradeship of the Legion.
Letters from the Chief Executive Officer, Lieutenant Colonel D. P. DRISCOLL D.S.O., describing the work of the Legion; from Captain F. M. TWISLETON describing operations on Gallipoli Peninsula; from Lieutenant Colonel E. R. JOHNSON, Acting Chief Executive Officer in London, complimenting the New Zealand division on the report of last conference and on the manner in which New Zealand members had responded to the call, and announcing the appointment of Dr. Jessie SCOTT as Honorary Lieutenant in recognition of her work in Serbia; from Frontiersman W. ANDREW, of Wairarapa, now engaged in Red Cross work in England; and from other members of the Legion in different places were read to the gathering.
The council elected at the 1915 conference reported certain alterations in the application form to fit to New Zealand conditions, and this was approved.  The council also reported that it had considered the matter of official recognition by the Government and had come to the conclusion that this matter be better left until the return of members from the war, when the Legion would seek the recognition in the terms and conditions it felt it was entitled to.  The meeting agreed to this course, and the feeling was unanimous that the Legion must not be classed with the National Reserve, the Legion being a front line fighting force and not a reserve.
After an interesting discussion it was decided to divide the North Island into three districts:- No 1, North Auckland, Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty; No 2, Poverty Bay, Hawkes Bay; No 3, Wellington and Taranaki; the council to be selected from each district alternately, and the annual conference to be held in each district alternately.  Poverty Bay and Hawkes Bay district was selected as the council district for the ensuing year, and the representatives of that district who were present were elected as the council, with power to add to their number.
The election of Captain F. M. TWISLETON M.C., for the approval of the Executive Council, as Commandant of the New Zealand Command, was confirmed, the motion being carried unanimously and with applause.
A remit from Wanganui Squadron, that unattached members of Squadrons and residents in the district of a squadron for a term of six months or more, become ordinary members and pay the subscriptions as set down in each squadron’s rules and regulations, was proposed by Lieutenant HARDIE and carried.  It was also agreed that members failing to comply with this rule shall be dealt with unless they forward satisfactory explanations to the Squadron O.C.
Captain McGREGOR moved that the annual subscription to headquarters shall be 5/- per member, whether attached or unattached, and this shall be paid to the Executive Council, the council forwarding each member’s annual fee of 2s 6d to London, the other 2s 6d being retained by the council for expenses in New Zealand.  This was seconded by Frontiersman Fraser JONES and carried unanimously.
This means that squadrons, upon receiving their members’ annual fees, shall forward 5/- for each financial member to the council and unattached members will forward their own 5/- to the council.
On a Wanganui remit it was agreed that a book of rules and regulations based on London Headquarters rules be compiled by the executive council to suit requirements in New Zealand.
The conference unanimously decided that f there was any A class active member or unmarried B member in New Zealand who had not yet offered his services for the front he be called upon for satisfactory reasons, and, failing such, be struck off the strength.
It was agreed on Frontiersman TAYLOR’S motion to again urge upon London Headquarters the desirableness of having a different badge issued to honorary members than the one issued to active members.
The conference resolved, on Frontiersman KLEE’S motion, to ask the council to consider the offering of assistance to the Government in connection with any industrial organisation that might be decided upon during the year.
Sergeant V. KLEE moved that an appeal be made throughout the Dominion for a fund to assist the Legion’s sick and wounded who might require aid, the fund to be administered by the executive council.  Captain McGREGOR seconded, and suggested that the appeal should be made to the public as well as to members of the Legion, for the Legionaries on active service were fighting for the country as well as for the Legion.  The motion was carried and the suggestion agreed to.
Captain McGREGOR moved that the council be asked to consider ways and means of appointing Legion organiser and general instructor for the Dominion, this was seconded by Frontiersman TAYLOR and carried.
It was decided that all squadrons and troops be required to forward quarterly reports to the executive council, and also an annual report within three months of the annual conference.
The conference decided to record its hearty approval of the Military Service Bill as passed by the House of Representatives, and to suggest that the Bill should be bought into operation forthwith; it also thoroughly endorsed the remarks of the Prime Minister in his recent replies to organisations which objected to the Bill, and agreed that the Legion would offer its services to assist the Government in dealing with any organised opposition to the enforcement of the Act.
Frontiersman NEALE moved that the officers and comrades of the Legion attending the annual conference at Palmerston North desire to convey to Lieutenant Colonel DRISCOLL D.S.O., and to Captain F.M TWISLETON and all their comrades in arms or returned invalided their warmest greetings and appreciation of the gallant manner in which they are upholding the honour of the Legion and the Empire.
A special vote of thanks to the ladies who are looking after Legionaries who are on active service or who returned wounded or invalided was carried with applause.
Next conference was fixed for July, the exact date and location being at the discretion of the council
declined.
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