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‘We have lost a good many men’

People climbing Mt Maunsell, known locally as the Tinui Taipo, to the Tinui Anzac Cross. PHOTO/FILE

One of Masterton’s first soldiers was a carpenter who served at Gallipoli, but was back in New Zealand by the first Anzac Day in 1916.

Max Christie served at Gallipoli, and after the war served on many boards, including as the foundation chairman of the New Zealand Wool Board. PHOTO/WAIRARAPA ARCHIVE

There he took part in raising the cross on top of the Tinui Taipo (Mt Maunsell) early on April 25.

Hubert Maxwell Christie (known as Max) was born in Kaiapoi in 1889, to William Christie and his wife Sarah Jane Drabble, one of nine children. By 1914 the family was living in Bannister St, Masterton, where William was working as a carpenter.

Max Christie was a single man when war was declared in August 1914, working as a carpenter for C.E. Daniell.

He enlisted on August 11, 1914, and by mid-October was on a ship bound for Egypt with the Wellington Mounted Rifles.

He was at the Gallipoli landings in April 1915, being promoted to corporal shortly afterwards, but in June he was admitted to hospital in Lemnos with gastroenteritis. He recovered quickly and was back at Gallipoli in time for the August offensive.

He was promoted to sergeant on August 27, and then wounded in the hand on the 28th.

He had previously written back to his mother explaining what conditions were like for the soldiers.

“This trench fighting is a slow business at any time, but it is especially so here, as I don’t think our people are ready for a vigorous offensive movement yet, but I think it is only a matter of a few weeks now when we will go ahead in real earnest.

“So far our regiment has only had one good go, and have lost a good many men, but our loss was very small compared with that of the Turks, in fact ever since the first landing was complete here the Turks have lost very heavily in all their attacks.

“I am speaking from what I have seen myself, as on each occasion they have attacked the ground they came over in front of our positions has been almost covered with their dead.”

After his injury Christie was evacuated to Alexandria, then to a hospital in Birmingham, England.

While in England he met and married May Keet.

He was returned to New Zealand in January 1916, arriving on April 14, when he was discharged.

It gave him time to return to Masterton, and to be present at the first Tinui Anzac Day ceremony.

After the war he bought a farm in Porangahau where he farmed.

He served on the Patangata County Council, then in 1935 was elected as the Labour member for Waipawa.

He was defeated in the next election, but continued serving on many boards, including the Loans Board and the Maori Trust Board.

He was the foundation chairman of the New Zealand Wool Board.

Max Christie died in 1982 in Hastings.

– Gareth Winter

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