5 Advanced Ordnance Depot (5 AOD) was a short-lived Australian and New Zealand Ordnance Depot located in Singapore from 9 March 1970 to August 1971.
Created as a direct result of Australia’s and New Zealand’s commitment to the Five Power Defence Arrangements between Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore and the United Kingdom, 5 AOD was established to support the Australian and New Zealand Forces remaining in Singapore after the planned British withdrawal.
5 AOD was officially raised on 9 March 1970 with an advance party made up of:
- Major N.W Spenser RAAOC OC
- Capt J.H Short RAAOC OC BKS SVCS
- Capt D.J Spreadbury RAAOC ATO
- Capt L.G Gittins RAAOC LPO
- WO2 A.J Morton RAAOC Chief Clerk
- WO2 A.C Phillips RAAOC Control Office
- WO2 W.s Eaglesham RAAOC Traffic
- WO2 R.R Robertson RAAOC AT
- WO2 J Twiss RNZAOC Control Office
- SSgt J.A Green RAAOC LP
- Sgt K.L Dodds RAAOC Documentation
- LCpl S Shepherd RNZAOC Machine Operator
Set up from scratch in March 1970, initially, finding working accommodation was a priority and problematic. The Singapore authorities were unwilling to provide suitable accommodation in any of the recently vacated British facilities, so as a temporary measure 5 AOD was housed with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, 3 Base Ordnance Depot (3 BOD) at Alexandria and Keat Hong. A lack of accommodation plus political wranglings forced a change of location to the H.M Naval Base at Sembawang, where the unit occupied Transit Shed No 4 on 15 July 1970.
Transit shed 4 was an iron framed Building with corrugated iron walls with a concrete floor. The total area of the building was 112500SqFtt, of which 70500 sq ft was initially available to 5AOD.
The building was located on the dockside in very close proximity to the water, with a circuit for vehicles around the building with access to the east and west sides, Sliding walls made up the West side with one door available on the east side.
The ceiling clearance was 25ft, and the building was served with natural lighting from skylights; electrical lighting was available but not suitable for detailed tasks.
on the establishment off 5 AOD the temporary Control, Stores and traffic Office and Orderly Room was a curtained area in the main warehouse set up for the clerical and administrative functions.
In-scaling of stores was achieved by assuming the responsibilities of the Australian Cell of 3 BOD and their existing stocks. Additional stocks were delivered directly from Australia by HMAS Jeparit. By October 1970, 5 AOD was functioning as a unit.
The Strength of 5 AOD in September 1970 was:
- 10 Officers
- 38 Other Ranks
- 58 Locally Employed Civilians (LECs)
Although 5 AOD was established in March 1970, the New Zealand contribution did not start to be in place until June/July/August 1970 with the arrival of the advance party, including;
- Captain Ian Ross
- WO2 Jim Twiss
- Sgt B Kukutai
- Cpl Neilson
- Cpl TT Smith
- LCpl PP Reti
- LCpl Shepard
During its short existence, New Zealand strength within 5 AOD averaged two Officers and 18 Other Ranks, including members of the advance party, soldiers such as:
- Peter Cox
- Ray Bennseman
- Max Mclean
- Terence Sharpe
Due to elections in the United Kingdom in 1971, the UK decided to not wholly withdraw as initially planned but to retain reduced forces in Singapore as part of the newly constituted ANZUK Force. Succeeding the Far East Strategic Reserve, which had been in place since the 1950s, ANZUK Force was a tripartite force based in Singapore and was formed by Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom to provide military support in the Asian Pacific region while the nations of Malaysia and Singapore grew their Armed Forces.
As a valid economic measure, a combined Australian, New Zealand and UK Ordnance Depot, later known as the ANZUK Ordnance Depot, was organised to take over the responsibility of UK 3BOD and 5 AOD.
Ceasing to exist in Aug 1971, 5AOD responsibility, personnel and stock were absorbed by the new ANZUK Ordnance Depot.
Copyright © Robert McKie 2017