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From its beginning Cambridge New Zealand has been a military centre and when regular forces have not been needed abroad, volunteer units have kept alive our military tradition.

It was named after the Duke of Cambridge, Commander in Chief of the British Army in 1864.

After the Imperial Army the 3rd Regiment of the Waikato Militia was on duty from the founding of Cambridge in July 1864 until October 1867. Then the Armed Constabulary stepped up and served until September 1886 when a Police Force Bill and Defence Bill were passed in Parliament.

The Cambridge Cavalry Volunteers (a mounted force) was active from 1872 to 1882 then the No.3 Company of the Waikato Mounted Rifles was formed in Cambridge in 1897.
Many of these men volunteered for the South Africa War then continued with the 3rd Company of the Mounted Rifles until the Territorials - 16th Waikato Regiment - were introduced in 1911. The first parade was held in the Alexandra Hall on 13 November 1911 with Captain Sam Lewis in command. Cadets were introduced and schoolboys lined up for drill until the late 1960s.

And again these men were ready to enlist when the Great War of 1914 was announced.
Following the war they continued as territorials. Then came World War Two and they contributed a company to the 18th Battalion 2nd NZ Expeditionary Force which operated in an Armoured role during the campaigns in Greece and North Africa. They disbanded in 1946.

In 1984 the Cambridge Borough adopted D-Company from the Sixth Hauraki army regiment to acknowledge the help given at Anzac Days and the regiment presented their crest to Cambridge. In 1997 D-Company adopted the title, Waikato Company and the following year the Hauraki regiment celebrated its centenary.

 

Researched and written by Eris Parker
Ref: Cambridge Museum Archives
National Archives Wellington

 

 

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