In the period of its existence Between 1916 and 1996, the badges of the New Zealand Army Ordnance services progressed through many transitions. Each time, as with other Commonwealth armies, following the design of the insignia of the parent Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC). With the final badge culminating in a design consisting of the following elements:
- The Crown
- Kings (Tudor) crown on the Badges for 1937 to 1955
- Queens (St Edwards) Crown on all subsequent badges
- On the 1937-47 pattern Badge, annulus inscribed with the words “New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps
- From 1948 the annulus was replaced with the royal garter inscribed with the motto of the British Order of the Garter ‘Honi soit qui mal y pense’.
- Riband, The Riband has had Many variations since 1916 all depending on the pattern of the badge common inscriptions, including;
- Army Ordnance Dept
- Army Ordnance Corps
- Sua Tela Tonanti
- Shield. The Ordnance shield of three cannons and three cannonballs is a constant aspect of all patterns of NZ Ordnance Badges.
Collar badges were miniatures of the cap badge, coming in pairs with the cannons facing both left and right. Between 1917 and 1923 the NZAOC and NZAOD used the same collar badge.
Up to 1955 Badges were usually manufactured by the Die Stamping process in Brass or Bronze, with Officers Gilt, Silver and Enamel badges produced from 1937. From 1955 the standard badges were produced in anodised aluminium.
Before the 1st World War, there was no Ordnance Organisation in the New Zealand Army, responsibility for Ordnance services were split between the Defence Stores Department, a civilian organisation and the Royal New Zealand Artillery.
Need for an Ordnance Organisation has been identified as early as 1907. It was not until the annual camps of 1913 that as part of a proof of concept trial temporary Ordnance Store Depots were established. The nucleus of an Ordnance Corps formed by the training of specific men from within the Territorial Army in a knowledge of Ordnance duties. This was a temporary arrangement established under the Director of Equipment and Stores for each Annual camp from 1913, and it is unknown if any unique insignia was adopted for the personnel working in these Ordnance Stores Depots.
1st World War
On the outbreak of the 1st World War, records show that Ordnance Depots were formed as part of the mobilisation and probably manned with the individuals trained in Ordnance duties in the previous Annual camps. Some individuals such as Temporary Sergeant Norman Levien transferred from the strength of the 3rd Auckland Regiment into the Ordnance Department as the IC of Stores and Equipment and assisted in equipping the troops for overseas service. Levien would remain with the Ordnance Services for the duration of the war attaining the rank of Major as the Chief Ordnance Officer for the NZEF.
NZ Army Ordnance Section
Conceived as an economic measure due to the tyranny of distance from traditional sources of supply, and the shortfalls caused by the 1914–19 war, it was decided to create an Ordnance Section to inspect and manufacture artillery ammunition. Established on 1 April 1915, the Army Ordnance Section of the NZ Army and located at Fort Balance in Wellington. Part of the Royal New Zealand Artillery organisation, the Ordnance Section wore the badge of the Royal New Zealand Artillery.
NZEF New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps 1916-1919
The New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) had existed as an ad-hoc organisation of the of the New Zealand Expeditionary (NZEF) since mobilisation in 1914. Formally established as a unit of NZEF in February 1916, it is unknown when insignia was adopted for the NZAOC. The insignia that was adopted followed the pattern of the existing British Army Ordnance Department (AOD) badge.
The NZEF NZAOC badge was merely the UK Army Ordnance Department (AOD) Badge with the letters “NZ” mounted on top of the shield. Its design, probably influenced by the insignia of the Canadian Army Ordnance Corps (CAOC), The CAOC had in 1903 adopted a badge based on the UK AOD badge, with a Beaver on the crest to provide the desired national distinction.
It is unknown what the process was that lead to the introduction of the NZAOC badge. In late 1916 Levien, Promoted to Captain was Chief Ordnance Officer for the NZEF and working with all the Commonwealth Ordnance Services including the Canadians in establishing Depots and standard systems and procedures, is likely to have been a significant influence on the design.
Existing examples of the NZEF NZAOC Badge were manufactured by J R Gaunt of London. The Badges were produced by the die stamping process, with the NZ was sweated on, which leads to the assumption that; either surplus UK AOD badges were used, or new badges were made using new dies.
Matching Collar badges were produced and were miniatures of the cap badge, in pairs with the cannons facing inwards.
This Badge was possibly introduced in late 1916 and was utilised until the demobilisation of the NZEF in 1919, with some individuals carrying out residual duties in the UK continuing to wear it until 1921. Unused stocks were returned to New Zealand as part of the NZEF demobilisation.
Home Service New Zealand Army Ordnance Department and Corps 1917-1923
Gazetted by regulations published on 1 February 1917 The New Zealand Army Ordnance Department (NZAOD) was the organisation of commissioned officers while the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) was the organisation of comprised the Warrant Officers, NCOs and men. Both agencies were responsible for the supply, maintenance and repair of equipment, small arms and all stores required for the Defence Force from 1917 to 1924.
New Zealand Army Ordnance Department Badge 1917-1924
The NZAOD badge was based on the UK Army Ordnance Corps (AOC) insignia.
The New Zealand version modified the UK AOC badge by Having the letters NZ replace the centre cannonball in the top panel of the shield and with the inscriptions Army Ordnance Department on the scroll beneath the shield.
Current evidence indicates that this badge was only produced in Brass
The Collar badge was a simple version of the Cap badge without the scroll with the cannons facing inwards
New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps Badge 1917-1937
The home service NZAOC badge was possibly based on the UK Army Ordnance Department badge. The New Zealand version modified the UK AOD badge by Having the letters NZ replace the centre cannonball in the top panel of the shield and with the inscriptions Army Ordnance Department on the scroll beneath the shield.
This New Zealand Pattern Ordnance Corps Badge is unique in the world as it is the only Ordnance cap badge where the cannons face in the opposite direction to all other ordnance badges. Current evidence indicates that this badge was produced in Brass and Bronze
The Collar badge was a simple version of the Cap badge without the scroll with the cannons facing inwards.
When the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department was absorbed into the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps in 1924, the NZAOC badge remained in use as the Corps badge until 1937.
New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps 1937-1947
By 1936, stocks of the 1917 pattern Cap badge had been exhausted, with only collar badges remaining in stock. The Director of Ordnance Services of the time proposed to the Quartermaster General that existing stock of the NZEF NZAOC badge (180 Cap Badges, 319 Pairs of Collar Badges) be used as a replacement, and the current badge be made obsolete. The Quartermaster General did not authorise the replacement of the 1917 Badge but did allow the use of the NZEF NZAOC Badge until the provision of new badges could be arranged from the UK.
The Director of Ordnance Services counted with a proposal in February 1937 with a design for a new NZAOC badge, which was a similar pattern to the current RAOC Badge which had been introduced in 1918. The New Zealand Badge differed from the RAOC version by having the Inscription “New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps” in the Annulus field, and the inscription “Sua Tela Tonanti” in the Riband. The new design was approved on the 31st of May 1937.
This badge was produced in Brass for ORs. Bronze and Gilt, Silver and Enamel badges were also provided for officer use. All versions had matching collar badges.
(This picture illustrates the Brass OR’s Cap badge and Officers Bronze Collar Badge)
New Zealand Ordnance Corps 1940-1947
With the massive expansion of the Home army in 1940, the New Zealand Ordnance Corps (NZOC) was formally constituted as a stand-alone Corps in December 1940. The NZOC was the Ordnance element of the New Zealand Territorial Army and was tasked with home defence and as a feeder for the Expeditionary Forces.
In 1947 a Reorganization of New Zealand Military Forces removed the distinction between Regular and non-Regular soldiers, and the NZOC ceased to be a separate Corps, becoming part of the NZAOC.
The earlier NZEF NZAOC badge was utilised as the badge for the NZOC; Photographic evidence suggests that only the Cap badge was used.
The badge was produced in both Brass and bronze as a complete piece by the die stamp process.
Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps 1947-1955
On 12 July 1947 the NZAOC was granted Royal status, an adopted a new badge.
Mounted with a Kings (Tudor) crown, the new RNZAOC badge had in the Garter the inscription ‘Honi soit qui mal y pense’, the letters NZ below the Garter surrounded by the Riband with the inscription ‘Sua Tela Tonanti’.
The Badge was produced in Brass, with a Gilt, Silver and Enamel badge available for officer use.
The Design for the new Badge was approved on 27 October 1947 and orders placed on 14 January 1948 from;
- United Kingdom;
- 175 Gilt, Silver and Enamel cap badges,
- 158 Pairs Gilt, Silver and Enamel cap collar badges.
- New Zealand;
- 1600 Brass cap badges,
- 850 Pairs Brass collar badges
In 1947 NZ Army Order 36/1947 authorised that a 2 inch Diamond patch was to be worn on the Cap GS or Beret as a backing to Corps cap badges. The patch for Ordnance was Red and Blue (vertical), an example is shown below.
With the ascension of Queen Elizabeth, to the throne in 1953, the design of the RNZAOC badge was upgraded from having a Kings crown to having a Queens (St Edwards) crown.
The new badges were to be no longer brass but constructed of anodised aluminium, which was light and required no polishing. Gilt, Silver and Enamel badges were available for officer use along with a bullion woven version.
The new design was approved in 1955 with the first anodised badges ready for issue on 31 May 1962.
The original issue of post-1955 badges were plain gilt anodised badges; these were replaced in the 1970’s by a coloured anodised version.
Copyright © Robert McKie 2017