Search billions of records on

Is this a pre-1859 photo of a group of
58th Rutlandshire Regiment NCOs
taken in New Zealand?

The above photograph was noted in 2002 on a webpage titled 58th Rutlandshire Regiment Descendants Interest Group that the following year became defunct when removed from the web by its author and never reinstated.
       The defunct web page purported the undated photo was of a group of 58th Rutlandshire Regiment of Foot NCOs. As the regiment left New Zealand on 18 Nov. 1858 to return to England it follows if taken in New Zealand it was before then. It is possible it was taken in England in the 1860s and has little to do with NZ other than some in it, particularly those with medals displayed, may have served there with the regiment in the 1840s and 1850s. It is even possible the photo is not of 58th regiment NCOs but of those of another regiment?
       Email enquires in April/May 2002 to the author of the Descendants Interest Group web page and, the New Zealand War Memorial Museum Library pictorial collections curator, seeking information about the photo such as where it was held and its providence etc. were disappointingly not responded to.
       The height of the window in the background suggests it could have been taken outside Albert Barracks in Auckland. The tallest soldier placed third from the left with chevrons in the form of four downward pointing bars on each sleeve denoting the rank of Sergeant-Major and, on his left side supporting himself by leaning on his sword scabbard, bears a close resemblance to a photograph of William Moir appearing at the top of a Descendants of William Moir web page who was the Sergeant-Major of the 58th Regiment from 1 Nov 1840 until 15 Oct 1847 when promoted to officer rank as Quarter Master. From 30 Mar 1848 when the appointment was confirmed he would have worn an officer's uniform. Suggesting William Moir would have been tall is that surviving photos of three of his sons indicate they were all tall. He was severley wounded, in likely the upper left leg, at the assult on Heke's Pa at Ohaeawai on 1st July 1845 so employing the sword's scabbard on his left side for support while waiting for the photo to be taken would not be unexpected. However he could not be the Sergeant-Major in the photo as the tunic worn by all six was not authorised as dress uniform for the rank and file until 1856 replacing the coatee.

New Zealand's earliest surviving photograph

        The only known contender for the distinction of being the earliest surviving NZ taken photograph is believed to be one of the 58th Regiment that was possibly taken in 1851 and published on page 16 of the 15 July 1909 edition of the Auckland Weekly News. It was possibly of Lt. Colonel R.H. Wynyard and some companies of the 58th Regiment parading in tribute in front of Albert Barracks following his January 1851 appointment as the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces in New Zealand. Indicating it may have been taken in 1851 is that when published in 1909 the paper twice stated it had been taken 60 years ago. Given the "60 years" was an approximation the year may well have been 1851 1, 2.

1   Unpublished manuscript by Colin J. Andrews of 29 p. dated 1995-2000 titled: The earliest known surviving photograph of New Zealand : Colonel Wynyard and the 58th Regiment parading at the Albert Barracks, Auckland 1851 - part copy provided courtesy of Special Collections, Auckland City Library. Also an email dated 19 Oct 2002 to the compiler from the manuscript author C. J. Andrews advising the Albert Barracks photo referred to in the last paragraph above as possibly taken in 1851 could not have been taken in Nov. 1858 at the time of the 58th's marching-out parade when the regiment was departing NZ, as claimed in an Auckland Museum 1996 military history of NZ publication titled Scars on the Heart, because as would be the practice of any British regiment on such an occasion of pomp and formal military ceremonial significance the not in evidence Regimental Colours would have been proudly displayed !!
2   If the NCO group photo in question is in fact a photo of NCOs of the 58th Regiment taken in New Zealand it could have been taken at any time between mid 1845 when the regiment arrived in NZ and 18 Nov 1858 when it departed for England. Because fashions and uniforms change old photos can often be ascribed at least an earliest taken date by ascertaining when the clothing worn by those in it first came into use or became fashionable. Thus in this case the wearing of the tunic, that was not authorised until 1856, instead of the coatee determines it could not have been taken before 1856. It could not have been taken in the 1840s if a book titled To Face the Daring Maoris was correct in stating the uniform jacket worn by sergeants in the 1840s was cut double-breasted - quote "those of the officers and sergeants were scarlet and cut DOUBLE-BRESTED, while the rank and file's were red and fastened with a single row of buttons"  10. The jackets of the sergeants in this photo are single-breasted and fastened with a single row of buttons thus dating the photo as taken later than the 1840s. However it is not clear if the uniform referred to in the book was the dress uniform or that worn daily and whether both uniforms were cut the same.
      Another way of dating the photo is to establish the date from when NCOs ceased to carry swords as part of the dress uniform as the photo could not be later than that date. In a book titled In Search of the Forlorn Hope it is said swords were abolished in 1852 except for Staff-Sergeants 3 . That book also stated in 1856 Sergeants wore the sash over the right shoulder but did not say that the practice only began then. If the book was correct about the 1852 sword wearing abolition, indicating this photo was taken no later than 1852 is that all in it appear to be all carrying swords either naked, scabbard sheathed, or in the case of the Sergeant-Major both a sword and its scabbard in each hand. The obvious question is if the the tunic as dress uniform was only authortised in 1856 and sword carrying as part of the same was abolished in 1852 for all except staff segeants then why is the Lance Corporal carrying a sword? All including the Lance-Corporal are wearing the sash over the right shoulder seemingly dating the photo as taken in 1856 or later if the quote meant the practice only began in 1856? So the matter of the carrying of a sword as part of the dress uniform and sash wearing requires further clarification to date the photo using those indicators.
       It is possible a "W. Haslam", who was mentioned on the "Descendants Interest Group" web page that disappeared from the web in 2003, descended from Patrick Haslam who together with an also Dublin born and likewise prior to enlistment cabinet maker brother or cousin Edward Haslam, who on 1 Nov 1949 transferred 6  out of the 58th Reg't to the 68th, enlisted in 1842 in the 58th before the transfer to Australia and subsequently New Zealand began in July 1843. Patrick Haslam was promoted to Corporal sometime between the end of Sept 1847 5 and end of March 1849 6, to Sergeant on 7 Oct 1853 7  and to Colour Sergeant (the senior sergeant of a company) on 16 June 1856 replacing Michael Rafferty who died the previous day in the Provincial Lunatic Asylum 8. Haslam left NZ with his wife and children on the 18 Nov 1858 on the troop ship Mary Ann when the regiment returned to England. So if he is in the photo it could have been taken in England. According to the Auckland Museum's Scars on the Heart ... after leaving the British army Haslam returned to NZ as a settler in 1865  9. From at least 1866 to 1919 when he died the Haslam family residence was at 19 South Street, Newtown.
       April and May 2002 inquires by the compiler directed to John Young author of the then online "58th Rutlandshire Regiment Descendants Interest Group" web page and, the NZ War Memorial Museum Library then Pictorial Collections curator Gordon Maitland, seeking to ascertain whether the photo was held by the Museum and establish its provenance etc. were ignored by both parties. It may be the Auckland War Memorial Museum Library, if not then, was at least at some time the holder of the NCO photo. If so perhaps explaining its unwillingness to advise whether or not it held the photo or to provide any information may have been be that the photo or the records pertaining to it had been lost, stolen, or mislaid and it was unwilling to make such an admission re an item of historical significance, or it had given the photo a description and date etc. based on assumption rather than hard evidence ? It is possible the photo was donated to the Museum by the Patrick Haslam family of NZ, perhaps by a descendant of a Mr. W. Haslam who was mentioned on the defunct "Descendants Group" webpage, and that Patrick Haslam is in the photo with perhaps the rank of Colour-Sergeant which if so would at date the photo as taken after 16 Jun 1856 when he achieved that rank. Hoever that would still not establish whether the photo was taken In New Zealand or England. It is apparent from the medals displayed by two that they must have served in battle in New Zealand.
3   In Search of the Forlorn Hope Vol. I, by John M. Kitzmiller (Manuscript Publishing Foundation, Salt Lake City, Utah , 1988) - a guide to locating British regiments and their records.
5   Ibid  reel #3829 - a Private at end of Sept. 1847.
6   Ibid  reel #3830 - a Corporal for the full Qtr. ended 30 June 1849.
7   Ibid  reel #3833 - 7 Oct 1853 promoted to Sergeant.
8   Ibid  reel #3837 -  16 June 1856 promoted to Colour Sergeant.
9   Scars on the Heart : two centuries of New Zealand at War by Chris Pugsley with Laurie Barber & others (David Bateman in assoc. with Auckland Museum, NZ, 1996), near p.48 in text accompanying three colour photos of Patrick Haslam's medals etc. held by the Auckland Museum.
10 To Face the Daring Maoris, by Michael Barthop (Hodder & Stoughton, 1979), p.34.

Compiled by John Raymond, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
first posted 24 May 2002 - last updated 22 Oct 2002

1941 -

click above thumbnail to email complier to provide information to date photo
below to return to Descendants of William Moir web page