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Arnold Henfrey Watson was a farmer at Pongakawa when in March 1916 he took a trip to the recruiting office in Rotorua to join up. From the 19th Mounted Reinforcements, he was drafted into the 15th New Zealand Company of the Imperial Camel Corps, where he remained until it was disbanded in mid-1918. Throughout his life, Watson was interested in drawing, painting and natural history. Towards the end of the war, he was co-opted by Lt-Col. James McCarroll, commanding officer of the Auckland Mounted Rifles, as a semi-official war artist. Throughout the last year of conflict and the more relaxed time after the Armistice in November 1918, he had enough free time to sketch the native wildlife of Palestine and Egypt. He filled the spare spaces in his diaries with tiny, carefully-observed drawings of plants and insects, some in full colour. He also had cartoons published in the ‘Kia Ora Coo-ee’, the magazine produced in Cairo for ANZAC troops in the Middle East.
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Diaries of Arnold Henfrey Watson
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