Captain William Thomas Beck, DSO MID

Unlike Ordnance Depots in New Zealand in the 1980s, the New Zealand Advanced Ordnance Depot (NZAOD) in Singapore had little affiliation with New Zealand’s first Colonial Storekeeper, Henry Tucker. Instead of having a Henry Tucker Club, some other social gathering was required for the Singapore-based RNZAOC Personnel. The solution was found in 1986, when a small club for RNZAOC Military members was established and named “Billy Becks’ in tribute to Captain William Thomas (Billy) Beck, attributed as the first New Zealander of Godley’s Force ashore at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.

Meeting once a month on the rooftop of RSDS from August 1986, the “Billy Beck” club soon became an RNZAOC institution where all ranks could meet for a barbeque lunch and a few drinks. However, in 1989 the NZAOD closed, and the name “Billy Beck” was soon forgotten.

Who was Billy Beck?

William Thomas (Billy) was the son of Sarah Beck (Taylor) and her husband Richard Beck and was born in Castlemaine, Australia, on 7 May 1865. shortly after his birth, the Beck Family, including his two brothers and sister, migrated to New Zealand, Settling at Kanieri, Hokitika, on the West Coast of the South Island. Beck’s father was a butcher. His mother was in 1895 appointed as the first full-time Police Matron at Wellingtons Lambton Quay Headquarters, where she was responsible for handling female prisoners. She was also involved in enforcing the Infant Life Protection Act in New Zealand.

Beck Family
1917 Portrait of the Beck Family. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, 1054-584

At the age of 31, Beck married Edith Chick on 8 June 1896 in Port Chalmers, New Zealand and had three children.

  • Ellen Edith, born 8 September 1895
  • Thomas Nathan, born 1 January 1897
  • Olive Ivy, born on 10 March 1903.
spar topedo boat
The NZ Permanent Militia used the Thorncroft Spar Torpedo boat. As a torpedo man, it was a vessel Beck would have been familiar with.

In the New Zealand Permanent Militia during the 1890s, Beck was a Torpedoman Second Class with No 2 Service Company, Permanent Militia, based at Port Chalmers.

By 1904 Beck had relocated to Auckland and was employed as a civilian by the Defence Stores Department as the Defence Storekeeper for the Northern Military District, located at Goal Reserve, Mount Eden. Around 1907, Beck was granted the rank of Honorary Lieutenant in the New Zealand Staff Corps, followed soon afterwards by promotion to Honorary Captain.

From the annual camps of 1913, a new management system for Camp Equipment was implemented. Temporary Ordnance Stores Depots were established before the camps, and stores were assembled based on the strength and role of the units attending the camps. The initial trial of the new system was a success and was to be refined and repeated for the 1914 camps. For the 1914 camping season, Beck was the Officer in charge of the Camp Ordnance for the Auckland Divisional Camp at Hautapu near Cambridge in April 1914. The Camp ran from 28 April to 11 May. With a staff of 6 clerks and 12 issuers, he was responsible for managing store issues from the Auckland Defence Stores, including;

  • 66 indicating Flags,
  • 80 Axes,
  • 100 picks and handles,
  • 800 water buckets,
  • 800 wash basins,
  • 82 picket ropes,
  • 81 brooms,
  • 5000 groundsheets,
  • 13 Roberts cookers,
  • 13 horse troughs,
  • 20 overall suits,
  • 1320 yards galvanised iron piping,
  • a 2000gal water tank,
  • 1 large swimming bath,
  • 11 flagstaff’s,
  • 500 nose-bags,
  • 566 pairs of boots,
  • 455 Mattress covers,
  • 500 blankets”.

On 21 August 1914, Beck was enlisted in the Auckland Infantry Battalion with the rank of Honorary Captain. After a short mobilisation period, Beck departed Wellington on 16 October 1914 with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force’s main body on the troopship TSS Maunganui.

Arriving in Suez, Egypt on the 3rd of December 1914 and was soon attached as the Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services to the New Zealand & Australian Headquarters Ordnance (NZ & Aust HQ Ordnance) of the New Zealand and Australian Division.

Capt. Beck, DADOS, the first New Zealander ashore at Gallipoli, at daily ablutions. Auckland War Memorial Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira

Deploying to the Dardanelles in April 1915, Beck as a critical member of General Godley’s Headquarters, was amongst those in the initial landings at ANZAC Cove on the Gallipoli Peninsular on 25 April 1915. The Assistant Director Medical Services, Lieutenant Colonel Fenwick, another New Zealander, was also part of the Headquarters landing party and described the events of that day:

“we were all ready to land but were kept waiting and waiting until about 9.00am. Some barges were moored alongside and a string of boats outside of these on the starboard side. Colonels Braithwaite, Chaytor and Manders, Major Hughes and Captain Beck and I got into the first boat. We were frightfully hampered by our kit – overcoat, revolver, glasses, map case, haversack, three days rations, firewood, Red Cross satchel, water bottle – like elephants. It was certainly that we would drown if we got sunk. After waiting, a steam picket boat came along in charge of a very fat rosy midshipman. he took our string of boats in tow and we were off. Our boat grounded about 50 feet from the shore and we all hopped out. Of course I fell into a hole up to my neck. I could hardly struggle ashore and when I did the first thing I saw was Beck sitting on a stone, roaring with laughter at us.”

Although New Zealanders were serving with the Australian Division and in other roles as part of the landings, Beck was the first New Zealander of Godley’s New Zealand and Australian Division to land on Gallipoli.

Beck ANZAC Cove
Captain Beck and Lieutenant Lawless- Gallipoli 1915. Auckland War Memorial Museum

So not only was Beck one of the first New Zealanders ashore, he was also a bit of a character and The Hawera & Normanby Star, 24 June 1916 had this to say about Captain Beck’s service at Gallipoli:

“Finally, there was Captain William Beck, an ordinary officer. “Beachy Bill” was in charge of the store – a miserable little place – and whenever he put his nose out of the door bullets tried to hit it. The Turkish gun in Olive Grove was named after him, “Beachy Bill.” The store was simply a shot under fire and Bill looked out and went on with his work just as if no bullets were about. He was the most courteous and humorous, and no assistant at Whiteley’s could have been more pleasing and courteous than the brave storekeeper on Anzac Beach. General Birdwood never failed to call on Captain Beck or call out as he passed on his daily rounds, asking if he were there, and they all dreaded that some day there would be no reply from a gaunt figure still in death. But Captain Beck was only concerned for the safety of his customers. He hurried them away, never himself.”

“Brave New Zealanders.” 1916. The Hawera and Normanby Star, Volume LXXI, Issue LXXI, , 24 June 1916.

The 14th of June 1915 saw Beck Commissioned as a Captain into the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps.

At Gallipoli since 25 April, the strain of the campaign was starting to wear beck down and in a letter to the Minister of Defence on 2 July, Godley who noted that;

I am sending Beck to Alexandria and cabling for Levien in his place: the former’s nerve is quite broken down, and he wants a rest from shells. He has been shelled out of his dug-out on several occasions, has had many close shaves, and his stores repeatedly wrecked, and this, on the top of all his hard work, has been rather much for him. Now that the MEF has taken over all our stores, this should work without difficulty.”

Major General Godley, “Correspondence Major General Godley to James Allen 2 July,” R22319698 – Ministerial Files – Correspondence with General Godley  (1915).

On the 13th of July 1915, Beck was listed as a casualty on Casualty list No 50. Replaced as DADOS on 1 August 1915 by Lieutenant Norman Levien, NZAOC, Beck left Gallipoli for duty in Alexandria.

Mentioned in Dispatches by the Commander in Chief, Mediterranean, Sir Ian Hamilton on the 26th of August 1915, this was followed up with the awarding of the Distinguished Service Order for distinguished service in the field during operations in the Dardanelles, which was recorded in the London Gazette of 8 November 1915

With a Medical Board finding him “incapacitated for military duty”, Beck was invalided back to New Zealand on the RMS Tahiti on 20 November 1915 and struck off the strength of the NZEF on 19 February 1916. He was transferred to the reserve list of officers with the rank of Captain, resuming his pre-war duties at the Northern District Ordnance Depot as the District Storekeeper. In 1917 with the formation of the Home Service NZAOC, Beck transferred into the NZAOC with the new title of Assistant Director of Equipment and Ordnance Stores for the Northern Military District, a position he held until his resignation in March 1918.

William Thomas Beck Circa 1921

Taking up employment with the Public Works Department in Apia, Samoa, Beck remained there until his retirement in 1922.

Divorcing his first wife Edith in the mid-1930s, Beck remarried in the late 1930s.

Retiring in Wellington, Beck passed away on the 15th of January 1947 and is interned in the soldiers’ section of the Karori Cemetery, Wellington, New Zealand.

Beck’s medals are now on display in the Gallipoli Room of the Maryborough Military and Colonial Museum, Queensland, Australia.

beck display
Captian W.T Beck whose medals and memorabilia, belonging to the Maryborough Military & Colonial Museum, Maryborough, Queensland, Australia
The first meeting of the Billy Beck Club August 1986. Back Row: Hiroti, Finlay, Marshall, Rangi, Canton, Newton, Ellis Middle Row: Sweetman (PTI), Brit exchange Officer, Crafts, Goddard, Juno, Pook, Le Gros. Front: McIntosh, Haewera, Clarke, Govan, Christie, Madgwick.
The Final Billy Becks, 1989 Back Row: Watmuff, Kearney, Davis, Ngatai, Tombleson, Tyler, Bourne Middle Row: Tamehana, Wiersma, McKie, Coleman, Carver. Front Row: Thomas, Clarke, Simonsen, Theyers, Reid


New Zealand, Marriage Index. 1896.

“Gunner W T Beck”.

New Zealand, Electoral Rolls. Waikouaiti Otago. 1896.

New Zealand, Electoral Rolls. Waikouaiti Otago. 1900.

Glackin, Rusell (2009). In Defence of our land. Penguin. p. 71. ISBN 9780143011866.

“W T Beck Defence Storekeeper,”.

New Zealand, Electoral Rolls. Eden Auckland. 1905–1906.


Bolton, Major J.S (1996). History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps. p. 53. ISBN 0477015816.

Pugsley, C (1998). Gallipoli: the New Zealand Story. Reed New Zealand. ISBN 9780790005850.

Harper, Glyn (2015). JOHNNY ENZED: The New Zealand Soldier in the First World War 1914–1918. Exisle Publishing. ISBN 9781775592020.

“Brave New Zealanders”. The Hawera and Normanby Star. 24 June 1916. p. 5.

Stowers, Richard (2015). Heroes of Gallipoli. John Douglas Publishing. ISBN 9780994105950.

“Military personnel file”.


Reports of the Defence Committee. 1 January 1922. p. 4.

Beck, William Thomas. “Cemeteries Search”.

“New Zealander Decorated and Mentioned in Despatches”.

The London Gazette. 4 November 1915.

“Maryborough Military & Colonial Museum”.

RNZAOC Pataka Magazine. December 1986. p. 38.

Copyright © Robert McKie 2017

New Zealand Ordnance Roll of Honour


This Roll of Honour lists the Military and Civilian staff who have died whilst serving in New Zealand’s Ordnance Services encompassing the;

  • Defence Stores Department, 1862-1917
  • New Zealand Army Ordnance Department, 1917-1924
  • New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, 1917-1947
  • New Zealand Ordnance Corps, 1939-1946
  • New Zealand Temporary Staff (posted to Ordnance units)
  • Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, 1947-1996


  • James Hawthorne, Defence Stores Magazine Keeper, Auckland 7 December 1894, Waikumete Crematorium, Auckland, New Zealand


  • Captain Sam Anderson, Defence Storekeeper, Wellington 7 December 1899, St John’s Anglican Church, Johnsonville, New Zealand


  • Mr Thomas Henry Sewell, Assistant Defence Storekeeper 30 June 1900, Karori Cemetery, Wellington, New Zealand


  • Mr  Edwin Henry  Bradford,  Defence Stores Armourer 22 April 1901, Karori Cemetery, Wellington, New Zealand


  • John Henry Jerred, Assistant Defence Storekeeper 20 December 1902, Karori Cemetery, Wellington, New Zealand


  • Armourer Sergeant John William Allday, NZAOC NZEF, 9 January 1917, Tidworth Military Cemetery, Wiltshire, England, United Kingdom
  •  Sergeant Percy Clarence O’Hara, NZAOC NZEF, 11 April 1917, Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, France


  • Sergeant Alexander Charles Wisnofski, NZAOC NZEF 6, November 1918, Ramleh War Cemetery Palestine
  • Private Frederick William Manyard, NZAOC, 28 November 1918, Karori Cemetery, Wellington, New Zealand


  • Conductor Clarence Adrian Seay MSM, NZAOC, 25 February 1919, Cologne Southern Cemetery Germany
  • Captain Arthur Duvall, NZAOD, 4 July 1919, Purewa Cemetery, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Lance Corporal Duncan Macgregor, NZAOC, 25 July 1919, Karori Cemetery, Wellington, New Zealand


  • Corporal Peter Gow Scrimgeour, NZAOC, 24 October 1923, Upper Hutt Cemetery, New Zealand


  • Staff Sergeant Sydney C. Tennyson, NZAOC, 22 July 1930, Bromley Cemetery, Christchurch, New Zealand


  • Private Berkeley Kristian Bunbury, 18 LAD, NZOC, 5 January 1941, Cairo War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt
  • Private Clive George Savage Cross, 19 LAD, NZOC, 23 February 1941, Cairo War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt
  • Warrant Officer Class I Andrew Gunn, 13 LAD, NZOC, 18 April 1941, Athens Memorial, Greece
  • Lieutenant Harry Duncan Arthur Bauchop, 9 LAD, NZOC, 20 April 1941, Athens Memorial, Greece
  • Private Daniel William Neil, 9 LAD, NZOC, 20 April 1941, Athens Memorial, Greece
  • Sergeant Thomas Morris Drummond, NZOC, 26 April 1941, Athens Memorial, Greece
  • Private Nigel Felix Daniel A’Court, NZOC, 27 April 1941, Athens Memorial, Greece
  • Private Norris Cochrane Kerr, NZOC, 25 May 1941, Athens Memorial, Greece
  • Private Roderick Mcleod Matheson, NZOC, 2 June 1941, Cairo War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt
  • Sergeant Hubert Joseph Edward Avery, NZOC, Attached 18 Infantry Battalion 12 June 1941, Cairo War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt
  • Lieutenant Mervyn Vance Wilson, NZOC, 12 September 1941, Maunu Public Cemetery, Whangarei, New Zealand
  • Staff Sergeant Walter Jack Perry, NZOC, Attached to 25 Battalion 9 October 1941, Alamein Memorial, Egypt
  • Captain Frank Daniel Barry MC, 15 LAD, NZOC, 20 October 1941, Alamein Memorial, Egypt
  • Private Samuel Victor Viall, 19 LAD, NZOC, 23 November 1941, Alamein Memorial, Egypt
  • Private Maurice Thompson,  16 LAD, NZOC, 28 November 1941, Alamein Memorial, Egypt
  • Temporary Major William Andrew Knox, Officer Commanding, Divisional Ordnance Field Park, NZOC, 5 December 1941, Alamein Memorial, Egypt
  • Private Leo Gregory Narbey, Divisional Salvage Unit, NZOC, 23 December 1941, Alamein Memorial, Egypt


  • Private David Porter, Base Ordnance Depot, NZOC, 15 May 1942, Heliopolis War Cemetery, Egypt
  • Captain Robert George Brasell, 16 LAD, NZOC, 27 June 1942, Alamein Memorial, Egypt
  • Private Fredrick Albert Single, NZOC, 16 July 1942, Alamein Memorial, Egypt


  • Sergeant Ronald Roy Moore, NZ Divisional Ordnance Field Park, NZOC, 13 February 1943, Fayid War Cemetery, Egypt
  • Private Alan Norman Head, 9 LAD, NZOC, 6 March 1943, Sfax War Cemetery, Tunisia
  • Corporal Alexander McCorkindale, Workshop Sec, NZOC, 29 March 1943, Sfax War Cemetery, Tunisia
  • Lieutenant John Omri Beaver, 1 May 1943, Waikumete Crematorium, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Lance Corporal Donald James McInnes MID, NZOC, 2 July 1943, Perth War Cemetery and Annex, Australia
  • Sergeant Allan John Jamieson, 2 Divisional Workshops, NZOC, 2 August 1943, Heliopolis War Cemetery, Egypt
  • Private Alan James Robinson, Base Ordnance Depot, NZOC, 28 August 1943, Heliopolis War Cemetery, Egypt
  • Corporal James Oscar Hedlund, 10 September 1943, Waikaraka Park Cemetery, New Zealand
  • Sergeant William James Pearson MID, NZOC, 27 October 1943, Bourail New Zealand War Cemetery New Caledonia
  • Sergeant Richard John Keebel, NZOC, 8 November 1943, Bourail New Zealand War Cemetery New Caledonia
  • Private Trevor James Cunningham, 16 LAD, NZOC, 12 November 1943, Sangro War Cemetery Italy


  • Second Lieutenant Augustus Henrickson Brown, NZOC, 4 January 1944, Suva Military Cemetery Fiji
  • Lance Corporal Owen Earle Penny, NZOC, 28 June 1944, Rome War Cemetery Italy
  • Private Oscar Harold Maxted, Advanced Base Workshops, NZOC, 5 July 1944, Caserta War Cemetery Italy
  • Staff Sergeant Huia Cecil Helean, 9 July 1944, Anderson’s Bay Cemetery, Dunedin New Zealand
  • Captain Robert John Gamble, 6 September 1944, St Johns Anglican Cemetery, Trentham New Zealand
  • Corporal Ivan Lawrence Fairbrother, 16 LAD, NZOC, 29 October 1944, Ancona War Cemetery Italy


  • Private Ivan James Curin, Divisional Ordnance Field Park, NZOC, 24 March 1945, Ravenna War Cemetery Italy
  • Corporal Albert Walter Findlater, 2 Divisional Workshop, NZOC, 1 May 1945, Padua War Cemetery Italy
  • Lance Corporal John William Merson, 10 LAD, NZOC, 1 May 1945, Padua War Cemetery Italy
  • Private Trevor Ronald Beach, 5 October 1945, Richmond Cemetery, New Zealand
  • Private Sedrick Montague Cameron, 5 October 1945, Karori Cemetery, Wellington, New Zealand
  • Private Alister Alexander Phillips, 38 LAD, NZOC, 18 October 1945, Florence War Cemetery Italy
  • Sergeant Allan Edward Agnew, Divisional Ordnance Workshops, NZOC, 2 February 1945, Alamein Memorial Egypt


  • Private Walter Thomas Hoare, 21 April 1946, Taita Cemetery, Lower Hutt, New Zealand
  • Private Donald Ewart Chapple, 27 June 1946, Kawakawa Cemetery, New Zealand
  •  Private Joseph Irwin, 28 August 1946, Koputama Cemetery, Stratford, New Zealand
  • Lieutenant Colonel Ivan Roberts Withell, RNZA, Chief Inspecting Ordnance Officer, 31 August 1946, Wallaceville Presbyterian Church Cemetery, New Zealand
  • Gunner Jack Beattie, 16 December 1946, Te Awamutu Public Cemetery, New Zealand


  • Sergeant Matthew James Gaffney, 9 February 1947, Bromley Cemetery, Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Staff Sergeant Thomas John Aloysius Rooney, 5 April 1947, Timaru Cemetery, New Zealand
  • Staff Sergeant John Murdo Graham, 16 May 1947, Ngaruawahia Public Cemetery, New Zealand


  • Corporal John Aitken Fairley, No.1 Ordnance Depot, RNZAOC, 9 August 1948, Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland, New Zealand


  • Captain John Francis Finn, MT & Ammunition Q Branch Army HQ, RNZAOC, 25 February 1953, Taitā Lawn Cemetery. Naenae, Lower Hutt City, New Zealand


  • Private Donald George Dixon, 10 March 1955, Port Chalmers (New) Cemetery, New Zealand
  • Staff Sergeant Frederick Hastings Kirk, 10 March 1955, Linwood Crematorium Chapel, Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Warrant Officer Class 2 Colin John Patterson, RNZAOC, 12 November 1955, Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland


  • Lance Corporal Horace Claude Clark, Northern District Vehicle Depot, RNZAOC 25 May 1960, Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland, New Zealand.


  • Sergeant David Neil Stewart, SAA Production Proof Office, 24 September 1962, Purewa Cemetery, Auckland, New Zealand


  • Major Andrew Bernard West, ADOS, SMD, 23 January 1966, Ruru Lawn Cemetery, Bromley, Christchurch, New Zealand


  • Warrant Officer Class 1 Charles Neil Maxwell, 1 Base Ordnance Depot, RNZAOC, 24 September 1971, Maunu Cemetery, Whangārei, New Zealand


  • Staff Sergeant Jack Harley, 3 Composite Ordnance Depot, RNZAOC, 18 February 1973, Taihape Cemetery, New Zealand


  • Lance Corporal Michael Douglas Armstrong Ordnance School, RNZAOC, 26 January 1977, Maunu Cemetery, Whangārei, New Zealand
  • Staff Sergeant Brian Edward Arnold  Burgess, 3 Composite Ordnance Depot, RNZAOC 5 March 1977, Ruru Lawn Cemetery, Bromley, Christchurch


  • Lance Corporal Nigel Richard MacDonald, 1 Supply Company, RNZAOC, 22 January 1985, All Saints Anglican Church Graveyard, Burwood, New Zealand


  • Warrant Officer Class 2 Whakaaro Rangi (Joe) Mato, HQ Army Training Gp (Finance), RNZAOC, 10 August 1986, Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland, New Zealand


  • Lieutenant Paul Grenville Benstead,  1 Supply Company RNZAOC, 1 February 1987, Ngaruawahia Cemetery, New Zealand
  • Lance Corporal Scott William Moses, 1 Supply Company, RNZAOC, 24 February 1987, Archer Street Cemetery, Masterton, New Zealand


  • Warrant Officer Class 2 Kevin Douglas Crye, 1 Logistic Regt RNZAOC, 21 October 1993, Jackson Street Cemetery, Ngaruawahia, New Zealand


  • Private Russell John Casey, 1 Logistic Regt RNZAOC, 16 January 1994, North Shore Memorial Park. Auckland New Zealand

The Origins of the RNZAOC Petroleum Operator

RNZAOC Petroleum Operators were a specialist sub-trade that was open to any regular or Territorial member of the RNZAOC. Petroleum Operations worked as part of 47 Petroleum Platoon or in small sections attached to regional Supply Companys, Combat Supplies Platoons or at times working alongside Royal New Zealand Air Forces Aviation refuellers.  Petroleum Operators performed a wide range of technical fuel functions, including.

  • The management of Static and field fuel facilities
  • Refuelling of aircraft and vehicles
  • Operate vehicles, including;
    • RT-25, Hough 60c, Matbro and Sktrak forklifts,
    • RL Bedford or Unimog U1700 Truck mounted Unit Bulk Refuelling Equipment’s,
    • M131 18000 litre Trailer Tanker Fuel or Lowes 23000 Litre Tailer tanker Fuel
  • Field and laboratory testing of fuel,
  • Jerrycan inspection and refurbishment programmes,
  • Accounting for fuel as a supply item,
  • First Aid Firefighting,
  • Pollution Control

The RNZAOC assumed the responsibilities for Petroleum Operators in 1979 when the Royal New Zealand Army Service Corps (RNZASC) was disbanded, and the Royal New Zealand Corps of Transport (RNZCT) formed with the Supply functions (Rations and Fuel, Oils and Lubricants) of the RNZASC transferring to the RNZAOC.

World War Two

With the army’s total number of motor vehicles in 1939 sitting at around 86 vehicles of all types, it should be no surprise that no unit was specially formed or trained to supply a modern fighting force with Fuel, Oil and Lubricants. Understanding that the next war was to be one of mobility the decision was made to form a specialist Petrol Company for service with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force overseas.

2 Composite Company, NZASC of the Territorials (today’s Reserves) was on a weekend Training course when the war was declared, and many members of the soon to be raised Petrol Company were present including the 1st OC and CSM. On the 4th of September, Volunteers from the Territorials of 2 Composite Company were immediately required to deliver supplies to hastily mobilised Vital Points. And so, more than a week before recruiting opened for the NZEF, about twenty citizen-soldiers of the ASC had begun their war effort, many of whom served in Petrol Company for the duration of the War. From 1939 to 1945, the Petrol company provided sterling services to the NZEF finally being disbanded in late 1945.

1945 – 1964

20171105_153711-1374950190.jpgAlthough the general organisation of the RNZASC is well documented during this period, the records examined so far do not shed light as to the organisation of the Petroleum assets.


Truck Mounted tank and bowser, 1 Battalion Wellington Regiment Annual Camp, Daba Camp, Waiouru, summer 1953-53

It is known that within 10 Transport Company in Korea from 1951 to 1955 there was a composite platoon which held specialist vehicles and was also responsible for the running of Petrol points, so it is assumed that Petroleum assets were dispersed throughout the various Transport units of the time.

1964 – 1979

1964 sees the appearance of 7 Petroleum Platoon, 21 Supply Company, RNZASC onto the ORBAT. Based at Waiouru as a combined Regular and Territorial unit.

Pet Op1

7 Petroleum Platoon (7 Pet Pl) at Annual Camp 1975 Waiouru Airfield


7 Petroleum Platoon (7 Pet Pl) at Annual Camp 1975 Waiouru Airfield – (Cpl Harris (TF) & Cpl Jack Tai (RF))

The late 1960s and early 1970s saw the introduction of new equipment purchased from the United States, Australia, United Kingdom and items manufactured in New Zealand.


Trailer Tanker Fuel 18000Ltr (Vietnam era US M131 Semi Trailer, Tank, Fuel, 5000-Gallon). Fitted four compartments and a 200 GPM pump which could either pump fuel from an external source and dispense fuel thru bulk hoses or hose reels.


One of the stalwarts of the Pet Trade from the 1970s and ’80s, A.J Weston. The pump unit is a 35GMP self-contained Pump/Filter/Meter unit powered by a Briggs and Stratton motor. This type of pump unit was originally used for aircraft refuelling but was often used for dispensing MT

1979 – 1996

In 1979 7 Petroleum Platoon RNZASC was transferred to the RNZAOC. Remaining as a Regular and Territorial Force unit, it remained as a subunit of 21 Supply Company, which became the Territorial Force element of4 Supply Company. The designation ‘4’ was added to its name, and it became 47 Petroleum Platoon RNZAOC.

From 1979 47 Petroleum Platoon became fully bedded into the RNZAOC organisation, recruiting internally from within the Corps.

Petroleum Operators served across the RNZAOC and were transferred to the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment on its creation in 1996.


Unimog mounted Unit Bulk Refueling Equipment C1992. RNZAOC School

Copyright © Robert McKie 2017