The strength of the NZAOC on the 31st May 1937 was 34 consisting of:
- 6 Officers, and
- 28 Other ranks.
Four Armourer recruits were enlisted during the year, they had undergone training and made good progress. In addition, two Armourer recruits for the RNZAF had also made satisfactory progress. In November 1936 a course of instruction for all Armourers was held. This course was very successful and helped to coordinate the work of inspection of arms throughout the Dominion.
Director of Ordnance Services
- Major Thomas Joseph King, NZAOC
Inspecting Ordnance Officer
- Lieutenant A. de T. Nevill, RNZA
Northern Command Ordnance Officer
- Lieutenant D. L. Lewis
Central Command Ordnance Officer
- Lieutenant H. E. Erridge NZAOC
Southern Command Ordnance Depot
- Lieutenant D. Nicol
Assistant Inspecting Ordnance Officer and Ordnance Mechanical Engineer
- Lieutenant I. R. Withell, RNZA
Assistant Chief Ordnance Officer Trentham Camp
- Captain W. R. Burge, M.C., NZSC
Ordnance Officer Main Depot and Officer in Charge Trentham Military Camp
- Captain W. M. Bell, NZAOC
Assistant Inspecting Ordnance Officer and Assistant Ordnance Mechanical Engineer
- Lieutenant S. B. Wallace,
- Completed the Ordnance Mechanical Engineer’s Course in England. Arrangements were made for him to attend certain other courses and undergo various attachments. He was scheduled to return to New Zealand in September 1938.
Ordnance Officer (provisional) at the Main Ordnance Depot
- Lieutenant H. E. Erridge
Officer In Charge, Ordnance Workshop, Trentham
- Lieutenant A.H Andrews
Proof Officer, Small Arms Ammunition, Auckland
- Honorary Lieutenant J.W Fletcher, NZPS
NZAOC personnel has been engaged throughout the year in the following activities :
- Care, preservation, turnover, and accounting for all stores, arms, equipment, and clothing held in Ordnance Depots.
- Receipt and classification of clothing returned from Territorials and Cadets. Allocation of clothing for dry-cleaning and renovation, and examination on return from dry cleaning contractors.
- Examination of new clothing supplied by contractors.
- Annual inspection of rifles and light machine guns on charge to Territorial Units and Cadets, and half-yearly inspection of Vickers guns.
- The issue of camp equipment and training stores for camps, bivouacs, and courses of instruction throughout the Dominion, also hire of stores to various organizations.
- Sales of rifles and barrels to gunsmiths, to rifle clubs, and to the general public, and sales of S.A.A. to rifle clubs.
- Routine issues of clothing, arms, equipment, S.A.A. and expendable stores. No progress has been made during the year with the stripping, cleaning, and preservation of the balance of the rifles, S.M.L.E. Mark III, held in store, and which have not been examined since receipt from the United Kingdom in 1920. Authority had been obtained, however, for the engagement of four arms-cleaners, and the work has now started.
Received as credits for the sale of rifles, ammunition, and cordite – £16,573 Is. 10d.
Provision of cloth and trimmings to contractors; waste products, etc. £4,751 5s. 11d. (This represents the proceeds of sales of cloth and trimmings to contractors for use in the manufacture of Territorial clothing.)
The accommodation for mobilization stores at Trentham remained very unsatisfactory.
The sales of small arms to rifle clubs and the general public continued during the year. The total value of rifles, barrels, and components sold during the year, ending 31st March 1937 was £3,166 75, which was about £1,000 more than any previous total during recent years. These sales involve a considerable amount of work for the NZAOC Armourers, but this was counterbalanced by the returns.
Australia visit by the Director of Ordnance Services
As the guest of the Commonwealth Government of Australia, The Director of Ordnance Services paid a six-week visit to Australia at the end of 1936. During this visit, he inspected the munition establishments of the Commonwealth and visited the Ordnance establishments at Melbourne and Sydney. He also carried out an investigation into the accounting system of the Royal Australian Air Force. Much of the information obtained will be of value in the future.
The new instrument workshop at Trentham was occupied in August 1936 and provides greatly increased facilities for repairs. There was a large amount of Armourers’ work in arrears, but owing to the shortage of staff, it was not been possible to undertake it.
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.
Copyright © Robert McKie 2018