Southern military history
Gore's Edmund Bowler was the whistleblower the military never forgave.
The first New Zealand Expeditionary Force member to set foot on Gallipoli, he did so soon after writing he home: "We are going ... to the Dardanelles to fight the unspeakable Turk and to strike a blow for the Empire ..if I fall, think of the Great Cause in which I have fallen."
Fine words as befitted a Lieutenant-Colonel and a leading citizen in his community; a lawyer of wealth and substance with high social connections back in Britain.
He arrived on the beach in advance of his fellow colonials, because he was attached to HQ with the British brass.
His doom, in military terms, sprang from one core problem.
Behind his reserved, quiet demeanour, he was a perceptive observer whose unguarded letters to his family back home reveal what you could call a loss of faith, or perhaps a conversion to a new one.
The unspeakable Turk became "a very gallant foe. No one here bears them any malice" .
The Great Cause became, in the most withering terms, a "show" bedevilled by "spineless mismanagement" .
Sickened not only in soul, but by physical collapse, he was convalescing in England when he went, on October 15, 1915, to New Zealand High Commissioner Sir Thomas Mackenzie and argued flatly for the Anzacs to be pulled out.
He found Mackenzie sympathetic: "He is very pessimistic and disgusted and enraged at the mismanagement and spinelessness of the authorities, " Bowler wrote.
The lines of communication into and out of the high commission were strong, and it seems officialdom soon knew all that it cared to about Bowler's actions.
In the military hierarchy this was an intolerable act. In the most non-confrontational way, Bowler found his military career effectively over. He was sent to Coventry. Not so much avoided as quietly cold-shouldered.
But he did retain an admiration for Lieutenant-General Sir William Birdwood, and was no doubt wounded all the more deeply when, after the war, Birdwood delivered a snub as telling as any other example of Bowler's fall from grace.
Touring New Zealand, Birdwood sent only his wife to a mayoral function in Gore which Bowler had helped organise, while he opted instead to go to Central Otago.
It was the only change Birdwood made to the itinerary that had been arranged for him.
Bowler's biographer, Frank Glen, wrote: "If Bowler was guilty of breaking an officer's ethical code it was because of his decisive character, the very attribute that had appealed to Birdwood when he chose him to be his APM (Assistant Provost Martial).
"Bowler would not participate in the underlying games playing of the British `old boys' military culture ... in the final analysis he was a New Zealander ... (who) possessed a large degree of common sense nurtured in a country that still had frontiers to conquer."
On return to New Zealand, Bowler lived quietly, restoring his legal practice and playing a leading role in the formation of the Gore RSA.
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