In 1915 New Zealand’s role in the First World War reached a new level. In near-impossible conditions, the New Zealand Expeditionary Force took part in the Gallipoli campaign alongside our Australian neighbours. The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) was formed and the spirit of Anzac lives on today.
First observed in 1916 and commemorated as an official day of remembrance in 1921, Anzac Day commemorates the landing of the troops at Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915. 100 years on a new generation reflects on the events that occurred at Gallipoli, and remembers all New Zealanders who have served their country during times of conflict and peace.
The intention of the Gallipoli campaign was to open the Dardanelles strait to the Allied fleets, giving them access to the Ottoman capital of Constantinople to possibly force a Turkish surrender. After nine months of conflict, the ultimately unsuccessful campaign came to an end and the peninsula remained in its defenders’ hands.
The effects the Gallipoli campaign had on New Zealand and Australia were devastating. More than 8,700 Australians and more than 2,700 New Zealanders lost their lives fighting for King and Empire in this ambitious campaign. It was through this hardship that the Anzac spirit was born, a comradeship felt and remembered to this day with the annual observance of Anzac Day - 25 April.
The second issue in this special five-year stamp and coin programme, 1915 The Spirit of Anzac told the story of New Zealand’s role in the First World War. Through the Anzac theme we look at the tale of Evelyn Brooke, a nursing matron from New Plymouth. Evelyn was one of more than 500 nurses from New Zealand who served overseas during the war, and the only New Zealand nurse to be awarded the Royal Red Cross and Bar for her services.
When the Gallipoli campaign was being planned, few foresaw the need to provide hospital ships for the treatment and evacuation of the wounded. In July 1915, as casualties mounted, the Maheno left Wellington for Egypt, with a matron, 13 nursing sisters, five medical officers and 61 orderlies among the personnel on board.
The Anzac Book, compiled by Australian war correspondent C.E.W. Bean, was first published in early 1916 and told the story of the Gallipoli campaign through satire, poetry, and illustrations. Included in the book was this poster by Australian soldier Otho Hewett, a contemporary look at the beginning of the Anzac tradition.
The stamps in this special issue were complemented by the sheetlet, two miniature sheets, first day cover and two miniature sheet first day covers.
The second in a series of five, this unique book contained more details on the story of each stamp and tells New Zealand’s story in 1915 – from training in Egypt to the Gallipoli campaign and those at home.
Weaved within the pages was the story of Evelyn Brooke. Usually known as Eva and sometimes ‘Brookie’, Evelyn was a dedicated nurse who once described herself as “very pleased to be able to help”. Her service spanned the length of the First World War and took her across the globe before returning to New Zealand in 1919.
As well as a range of imagery and ephemera, this collectable book contained 12 unique miniature sheets – not available individually. It fit into a case that was specially designed to house the entire series of five.
The Evelyn Brooke Story
In 2015 we told the story of Evelyn Brooke, a nursing matron from New Plymouth. Known mostly as Eva and sometimes as ‘Brookie’, Evelyn was the only New Zealand nurse to be awarded the Royal Red Cross and Bar (the equivalent of winning a second Royal Red Cross distinct from the first) for her services during the First World War.
Evelyn Gertrude Brooke was born in New Plymouth on 13 September 1879 to her father Thomas, a carpenter, and her mother Kate. Thomas died 12 years later and Eva moved to Wellington with her mother soon after. She chose a career in nursing and completed her nursing training at Wellington Hospital in 1907.
When war broke out Evelyn joined the Samoan Expeditionary Force to German Samoa in August 1914. Within a year she was promoted to the position of matron in the New Zealand Army Nursing Service (NZANS). She embarked for Egypt on the hospital ship Maheno in July 1915 and made several trips to Anzac Cove between August and November. In 1916 she arrived back in New Zealand in 1916 where she was appointed matron of the Trentham military hospital. For the remainder of the war she was stationed in both England and France before returning to New Zealand in 1919.
Evelyn Gertrude Brooke died in Wellington on 11 February 1962. Today, 100 years on from her service at Anzac Cove, we can recognise her as a truly great New Zealander and as a humble woman who was, as she once said, “very pleased to be able to help”.
Evelyn Brooke’s extended family kept her belongings from the First World War in excellent condition, imagery of which was included in this year’s special commemorative book - including the autograph book she carried with her throughout the war, her certificate of service and the medals she was awarded for her service.
Product Listing for 1915 The Spirit of Anzac
|Mint, used or cancelled sheetlet with ten gummed stamps.
|Set of Miniature Sheets
|One mint, used or cancelled miniature sheet with six gummed stamps and one mint, used or cancelled miniature sheet with four gummed stamps.
|Sheetlet First Day Cover
|First day cover with gummed stamp sheetlet affixed.
|Set of Miniature Sheet First Day Covers
|Set of two first day covers with gummed miniature sheets affixed.
|Miniature Sheet Booklet
You could learn more about the story of Evelyn Brooke and New Zealand’s role in the First World War in 1915 with this commemorative book. The second in a series of five, this unique book contained more details on the story of each stamp and tells New Zealand’s story in 1915 – from training in Egypt to the Gallipoli campaign and those at home. This commemorative book was the second in our five year series.
Pin issued alongside the stamp issue. WW100 is a programme established by the New Zealand government to mark the First World War centenary through a range of activities from 2014 to 2019.
|Date of issue:
|23 March 2015
|Number of stamps:
|10 gummed stamps
|Stamps and first day covers designed by:
|Strategy Design and Advertising, Wellington, New Zealand
|6 x 80c, 2 x $2.00, 2 x $2.50
|Printer and process:
|Southern Colour Print Ltd by offset lithography
|Number of colours:
|Four process colours
|Stamp size and format:
|36.95mm x 37.5mm (horizontal)
|Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
|Number of stamps per sheet:
|14.4 x 14.62
|Period of sale:
|These stamps remained on sale until 22 March 2016. First day covers remained on sale until 23 May 2015.