NZAOC July 1922 to June 1923

The Establishment of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department (Officers) and New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Other ranks) on the 30th of June 1923 was 109, consisting of.[1]

  • 7 Officers, and
  • 102 Other Ranks

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel H. E. Pilkington, CBE, RNZA.[2]

Chief Ordnance Officer

  • Captain T.J King, NZAOD. [3]

Assistant Chief Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant A. W. Baldwin, NZAOD

Ordnance Accounting Officer

  • Lieutenant C.I. Gossage, OBE, NZAOD.[4] [5]
  • Lieutenant T.W Page, NZAOD. [6]

 Northern Command Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant A. W. Baldwin. [7]

 Central Command Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant H.H Whyte, NZAOD

Southern Command Ordnance Officer

  • Captain A.R.C White, NZAOD

 Featherston Camp Ordnance Officer

  • Captain F. E. Ford, NZAOD.

Inspecting Ordnance Officer and Acting Inspector of Ordnance Machinery

  • Captain William Ivory, RNZA.

Proof Officer, Small Arms Ammunition

  • Captain E.H Sawle.

1922 estb

Change of Command

The Director of Ordnance Services assumed command of the NZAOC from the Chief Ordnance Officer on 30 September 1922.[8]

Ordnance Depots

Northern Command

Due to financial constraints, work on the construction of the Ordnance Depot for the Northern Command had not commenced. The plans for the Ngaruawahia Ordnance Depot also provided for magazines which were urgently required to relieve the present congested magazines located at Fort Ballance, and to enable a number of the existing magazines at Auckland to be utilised for naval purposes[9].[10]

Central Command

Work that was proposed to be carried out at the Trentham depot had also been delayed due to financial constraints. [11]

Work that was proposed to be carried out at the Burnham depot had also been delayed due to financial constraints. [12]

These delays had made the provision of proper Ordnance Depots at all three locations an urgent matter. Apart from the strategic and tactical considerations, which would be important in the event of mobilisation. The completion of new depots was essential to avoid the high cost of maintenance of the temporary buildings in which the equipment was stored, and the higher freight charges involved the distribution of stores for peace requirements from unduly distant Ordnance Depots. The lack of substantial weatherproof and fireproof depot storehouses was causing the stocks of clothing and stores to be subject to a higher degree of deterioration that would generally be the case, and also exposes them to the risk of total loss by fire. [13]

Ordnance Workshops

Armament Sergeant Major (WO1) Joseph Warren appointed as Warrant Officer In Charge of the Ordnance Workshop Wellington 0n 8 May 1922.[14] [15]

warren warrant

The overhaul and assembling of the 6-inch 26cwt howitzers were completed satisfactorily at the Ordnance workshop, Alexandra Barracks. Twelve howitzers were overhauled and issued to the Territorial Artillery on completion. [16]

Accounting Systems

The cost accounting system introduced in 1921 by Lieutenant C.I. Gossage had proved very successful, and losses had become comparatively negligible. The inauguration of the new system, combined with the changes of staff consequent upon reorganisation, involved very considerable work, and the disposal of outstanding deficiencies in stores caused mainly through unrecorded issues to the Expeditionary Force or faulty book-keeping by the ever-changing temporary staff was a work of some magnitude.[17]

dying of Khaki clothingThe sale of surplus stores through a central depot in Wellington had been continuous since the establishment of the depot and had proved successful in every way. The sales average approximately £1,000 per week, and the prices obtained are much higher than could be achieved by any other method. To enable a considerable surplus of khaki service uniform jackets to be sold, a dying contract had been arranged, and supplies of those garments, dyed dark blue, were on the market. Khaki trousers were being, similarly stained to provide complete suits. The contract is very advantageous to the NZAOC since faded garments of little sale value were restored to excellent condition and are saleable at very satisfactory prices. On completion of each training-year large quantities of uniform, clothing was withdrawn from Territorials who have completed their service. To enable this clothing to be reissued it was thoroughly cleaned and renovated under a contract dry-cleaning process. The resultant savings were very considerable. For the six months ended 31st March 1923, the figures were as follows[18];

  • Number of garments dry-cleaned, 43,263
  • the number of garments renovated, 16,598
  • The total cost of dry-cleaning and renovation, £3,510
  • Before the present system, clothing was laundered and renovated for £8,423
  • so that the current system resulted in a saving of £4,913 for six months

Ordnance Veteran Petitions Parliament

Mr William Thomas Beck DSO MID, who served with the New Zealanders in Egypt and Gallipoli, and who suffered from shell-shock and defective eyesight, petitioned Parliament for redress on the 20th of June 1920. An Ordnance Corps member who served on Gallipoli as the New Zealand and Australian Division, DADOS at ANZAC. On being invalided back to New Zealand, he was declared medically unfit for service with the Defence Department, and so lost, the benefits and emoluments of his employment, while on the other hand the Superannuation Board declared him fit, and refused to extend to him the benefits of the fund to which for so long he had contributed. It is unknown how successful his Petition was.[19]

Presentation on Ordnance, Otago Officers’ Club 19 July 1922

Very few civilians, and even soldiers, during the war were aware of the work of the Ordnance Corps behind the lines and at the base depots. This subject was dealt with in an interesting lecture at the Otago Officers’ Club last evening by Captain Edward Fletcher Roberts, who was with the Ordnance Corps both in France and Mesopotamia. Captain Roberts gave an instructive and entertaining address on “Ordnance Work During the Great War.” Colonel E. R, Smith presided over a fairly numerous attendance. Captain Roberts dealt with the various phases of ordnance work, and by means of diagrams lucidly explained its many activities. The public generally had no idea of the enormous expense and vast amount of labour which is utilised in repairing artillery, gun limbers, machinery, etc., for an army in the field. Captain Roberts detailed the duties of Inspectors of Ordnance Machinery—more commonly known as I.0.M. These officers received a three months’ “oram” course at Woolwich before going on active service, where they received very full instruction on the mechanism, of gun carriages and the examination of ordnance. The speaker explained the various causes of gun trouble and the methods employed in effecting the necessary repairs. In dealing with ordnance workshops. Captain Roberts said there were several classes of workshops—the ordnance mobile workshops (light), commonly called travelling workshops, and the ordnance mobile workshops (heavy), which were stationed further back on the lines of communication than the light shops, and were a much slower moving unit, being hauled by traction engines. The heavy shop acted as a feeder to several light shops, there being at one time one heavy mobile workshop to each army. There were also base workshops which were capable of doing almost any repair. There were immense base workshops at Havre and Calais. As the speaker’s experience of base workshops was limited to Mesopotamia he dealt fully with their organisation and work in that country. He described the different repair work done and said that a large number of Arabs and Indians were employed by the British authorities. The captain concluded his remarks by giving instances of the various repairs effected to artillery of all types, to wheels for different vehicles, and all that a campaign makes necessary. At the conclusion of his address, Captain Roberts was accorded a hearty vote of thanks by acclamation.[20]

Chanak crisis

During September–October 1922 Turkish nationalist forces who had expelled the Greeks from Smyrna by force in August 1922, threatened to cross into the British occupied Dardanelles. Fearing for the security of the Dardanelles neutral zone, the British reinforced their positions in Chanak, the neutral region on the Asiatic shore of the Dardanelles, thus blocking the Turkish Forces. As the possibility of war grew, the British Government reached out to the Dominions, asking for support if hostilities broke out. New Zealand responded positively and despite it only been 4 years since the 1914-1918 New Zealand’s attitudes to war had not been affected, and the New Zealand Defence establishment embarked into an intense period of planning for the contribution of Expeditionary Force consisting of an Infantry Brigade. The Director of Ordnance Services was asked to provide the following personnel as part of the Infantry Brigade headquarters;[21]

  • One Warrant Officer
  • One Clerk
  • One Storeman
  • Four Armourer Staff Sergeants

Thousands of men volunteered, but luckily the potential conflict was resolved peacefully, and the New Zealand contribution was not required.


Kings Medal Shooting Competition

Corporal F. W. Ching, of the Ordnance Staff at Trentham, finished at 2nd place at the championship at the National Rifle Association meeting held in March 1923, earning an N.Z.A.R.A. Gold Jewel and £8. [22]

Personnel Movements -July 1922 to June 1923


  • 977 Private William Charles Hastings

Transfers from Royal New Zealand Artillery

  • 807 WO1 (Hon Lieutenant) Thomas Webster Page. [23]
  • 954 Company Sergeant Major Joseph Arthur Head, from Wellington Detachment
  • 956 Staff Sergeant Saddler George Alexander Carter, from Auckland Detachment
  • 960 Sergeant Frank William Ching, from Wellington Detachment
  • 961 Corporal Edgar Charles Boult, from Dunedin Detachment
  • 965 Bombardier Philip Alexander MacKay, from Featherston Detachment
  • 967 Bombardier Robert John Gamble, from Dunedin Detachment
  • 968 Bombardier Thomas Alexander Hunter, from Auckland Detachment
  • 974 Gunner Henry William Le Comte, from Wellington Detachment


  • 12 Staff Sergeant James Brown
  • 43 Staff Quartermaster Sergeant William James Frost
  • 51 Private John Edward Hedderwick
  • 58 Staff Quartermaster Sergeant Thomas Reid Inch
  • 71 Staff Sergeant Bernard Terence Leydon
  • 92 Private Hector Finch McKay
  • 110 Corporal Frederick William Savill
  • 121 Private William Thornton
  • 227 Private Daniel Clarke
  • 669 Lance Corporal Thomas William Cooper
  • 750 Private Peter McIlroy
  • 826 Artificer Joseph Graydon Crawford
  • 832 Private Richard Teehan
  • 835 Private William Joseph Conroy
  • 860 Private Hugh Lawton Owen
  • 943 Sergeant Major Artificer James Edward Nesbitt

Copyright © Robert McKie 2019


[1] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces from 1 July 1922 to 30 June 1923,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1923): 2.

[2] “Pilkington, Herbert Edward,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand  (1896 – 1930).

[3] “King, Thomas Joseph,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914-1946.

[4] Relinquished commission due to retirement 31 December 1922.”Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfer of Officers of the New Zealand Military Forces,” New Zealand Gazette No 2  (1923).

[5] “Personal – Gossage,” New Zealand Herald, Volume LX, Issue 18332,  (1923).

[6] Howard E. Chamberlain, Service Lives Remembered : The Meritorious Service Medal in New Zealand and Its Recipients, 1895-1994 ([Wellington, N.Z.]: H. Chamberlain, 1995), 350-51.

[7] “Lyons, Michael Joseph,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand  (1914-1919).

[8] “Change of Command,” NZAOC Corps Orders No 51  (1922): Part 2, Para 1.

[9] Major General E Chaytor, “Report on the Defence Forces of New Zealand,” AJHR H-19 (1923).

[10] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces from 1 July 1922 to 30 June 1923.”

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] “Warren, Joesph,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand  (1915-1931).

[15] “Change of Command,”  Part 2, Para 2.

[16] “Six-Inch Howitzers,” Evening Post, Volume CIV, Issue 13, 15 July 1922.

[17] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces from 1 July 1922 to 30 June 1923.”

[18] “Report on the Defence Forces of New Zealand.”

[19] “Soldiers Grievance Loss of Employment,” New Zealand Herald, Volume LIX, Issue 18221, 14 October 1922.

[20] “Ordnance Work in the War “, Otago Daily Times, Issue 18611, 20 July 1922.

[21] “Ordnance – Turkish War – Ordnance Personnel – General Instructions, Ad1 1059 /95,” Defence Archives, Archives New Zealand  (1922).

[22] “Shooting at Trentham,” Manawatu Standard, Volume XLIV, Issue 657  (1923).

[23] Appointed Conductor on transfer into NZAOC

One thought on “NZAOC July 1922 to June 1923

  1. Pingback: NZAOC Between the wars – "To the Warrior his Arms"

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