Call Sign Rickshaw

In New Zealand Ordnance vernacular, Rickshaw is a name related to a variety of Ordnance related activities. Ordnance associated exercises would be given names with Rickshaw in the title, Unit social clubs and their bars would be called the Rickshaw Club. In the post-Ordnance Logistic Regiment, a Lecture room at the Trade Training School would be called the “Rickshaw’ room alongside the “Playtime’ room for Transport and the “Bluebell” room for the Equipment Support (EME) trades.

What is a Rickshaw?

imagesA Rickshaw is a wheeled passenger cart, pulled by one man carrying either a passenger or freight. Originating in Japan in 1869, Rickshaws soon became a popular form of transportation throughout Asia until the mid-Twentieth Century.

The origin of the word Rickshaw is from the Japanese word jinrikisha (人力車, 人 which means “human-powered vehicle.”

  • jin= human, 力
  • riki= power or force, 車
  • sha= vehicle),.

What is the Ordnance Connection?

The use of Rickshaw was inherited from the British Army by the New Zealand Army during the Second World War as radio communications underwent a revolution. Transitioning from morse to voice systems as the war of movement was unfolding in the Western Desert. It became apparent the enemy was listening in and intercepting communications, so Radio Telephone Procedure (RTP) developed to keep radio communications brief and limited. Part of the development of PTP was the adoption of Appointment Titles.

Appointments Titles were specific word chosen to indicate the holder of a particular appointment as an aid to concealing the level of command, familiar appointment titles were;

SUNRAY Commander
ACORN Intelligence
MOLAR Quartermaster
IRONSIDE Armour
SHELDRAKE Artillery
HOLDFAST Engineer
PRONTO Signals
FOXHOUND Infantry
STARLIGHT Medical
PLAYTIME Supply and Transport
BLUEBELL Electrical  & Mechanical Engineering
WATCHDOG Provost
GOLDFINGER Paymaster
SKYPILOT Padre
RICKSHAW Ordnance

 

Appointment titles themselves were intended to be meaningless so not to be associated with any arms or corps.

downloadAccording to the REME history and journal, the REME appointment title “Bluebell” originated with the formation of REME in 1942, and the need for a new title identified for the new Corps. Because it was ‘New, bright and shiny’ the nickname for EME would be “Bluebell” after the then popular “Bluebell Polish” a product similar to ‘Brasso.’   Although this story is convincing it is not confirmed, and anyone who can give the definitive answer is guaranteed free entry into the R.E.M.E. museum for life.

The origin of the appointment title “Rickshaw” for Ordnance use is unclear. A hypothesis is that like a Rickshaw driver who was a beast of burden carrying large loads in his carriage, Ordnance was identifed as the combination of driver and carriage with the responsibility of supplying the whole army, in essences the Armys Rickshaw carriage?

In the 1970’s the name, Felix was adopted by the British Army in Northern Ireland as the appointment title for RAOC Bomb disposal teams.

Use of Radio Appointment titles was discontinued in the early 1990s as they were not compatible with NATO STANAGs, but their general usage remained. The usage of “Rickshaw” in New Zealand usage started to fall off after the establishment of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment in 1996, but its use was maintained by the Supply Wing of the Trade Training School who use “Rickshaw” as the name of Supply Wing exercises and activities.

 

 


Bibliography and Reference Sources

Australia

Ordnance History

  • To the Warrior his Arms: a history of the ordnance services in the Australian Army. John D. Tilbrook, Canberra: Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps Committee, 1989. Online at RAAOC History
  • The History and Customs and Traditions of the Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps. Published by Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps Committee, 1995. Online at RAAOC History, Customs and Traditions.
  • Ordnance Citizen Forces Queensland, A history of units and personnel 1925 – 1998. Online at RAAOCFQ

Regulations, Manuals and Technical Publications

Canada

Canadian Ordnance Corps

  • Hitsman, J Mackay. Military Inspection Services in Canada 1855-1950. Ottawa: Queen’s Printer, 1962.
  • Rannie, William F., ed. To the Thunderer His Arms: The Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps. Lincoln, Ont., Canada: W.F. Rannie, 1984.
  • Canada, Dept. of Militia and Defence. Standing Orders of the Canadian Ordnance Corps, 1908. Ottawa: King’s Printer, 1908.
  • Canada. Canadian Army. Regulations for the Equipment of the Canadian Militia, 1908. General Orders of January, 1909 ; Pt. 1. [Ottawa]: Militia Council, 1909.
  • Hitsman, J Mackay. Military Inspection Services in Canada 1855-1950. Ottawa: Queen’s Printer, 1962.
  • Phillips, Roger F, F Dupuis, and J Chadwick. The Ross Rifle Story. Sydney, N.S., Canada: J.A. Chadwick, 1984.
  • Units of the Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps in the Second World War . https://www.canadiansoldiers.com/organization/unitlistingbycorps/rcocorbat.htm

Canadian Army Service Corps

Regulations, Manuals and Technical Publications

Fiji

  • The history of the Fiji military forces, 1939-1945. R. Howlett, 1948

India

Ordnance History

New Zealand

Ordnance History

Books related to New Zealand Ordnance

Articles related to New Zealand Ordnance

Regulations, Manuals and Technical Publications

New Zealand Military Camp Histories

  • March past: a review of the first fifty years of Burnham Camp,  John Storey and J. Halket Millar, Christchurch, N.Z. : Pegasus Press, 1973
  • Historic Trentham, 1914-1917: The story of a New Zealand military campAvailable online
  • Trentham Camp: Upper Hutt’s Untold Military History, Howard Weddell, Self-published, 2018

NZEF, NZ Division DADOS War Diaries

2nd NZEF, 2NZ Division ADOS War Diaries

2nd NZEFIP, 3NZ Division DADOS War Diaries and Reports

Sri Lanka

Ordnance History

United Kingdom

Ordnance History

  • A History of the Army Ordnance Services: Volume 1  Ancient history (Until 1856). Arthur Forbes Medici society, Limited, 1929. Online at: A History of the Army Ordnance Services – Volume One
  • A History of the Army Ordnance Services: Volume 2  Modern history (Until 1902). Arthur Forbes Medici society, Limited, 1929. Online at: A History of the Army Ordnance Services Volume Two
  • A History of the Army Ordnance Services: Volume 3 The Great War. Arthur Forbes Medici society, Limited, 1929
  • A History of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps 1920 – 1945. Brigadier A H Fernyhough (RAOC Trust 1965)
  • A Short History of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (First Edition). Brigadier A H Fernyhough (RAOC Trust 1965)
  • RAOC Booklet McLeod, 1965
  • A Short History of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (Second Edition). Brigadier A H Fernyhough (RAOC Trust 1977)
  • A History of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps 1945 – 1982. Major General L T H Phelps (RAOC Trust 1992)
  • History of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps 1918-1993. Brigadier Frank Steer (Pen & Sword 2005)
  • 21 Army Group Ordnance – The History of the Campaign. Major J Lee-Richardson, R.A.O.C. (Published & Printed by 21 Army Group Ordnance, Germany 1946)  The story of 21 Army Group Ordnance, D-Day and beyond. Planning, units and tasks involved.
  • Arnhem, The Fight to Sustain. Brigadier Frank Steer (Leo Cooper 2000) The Untold Story of the Airborne Logisticians in Operation “Market Garden”
  • The RAOC Gazette (Journal of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps). Available online at RLC Archive
  • Ordnance: Equipping the British Army for the Great War. Philip Hamlyn Williams. Publisher The History Press, 2018
  • War on Wheels: The Mechanisation of the British Army in the Second World War. Philip Hamlyn Williams, History Press Limited, 2016
  • Supplying the British Army in the First World War. Janet Macdonald, Pen & Sword Books Limited, 2019
  • An Unappreciated Field of Endeavor. Clem Maginniss, Helion and Company, 2018
  • Supplying the British Army in the Second World War. Janet Macdonald, Pen & Sword Books Limited, 2020

Army Service Corps

Mechanical Transport

Manuals and Technical Publications

The Army List

United States

Manuals and Technical Publications

France

Logistics History

  • A War of Logistics: Parachutes and Porters in Indochina, 1945–1954, Charles R Shrader.  University Press of Kentucky, 2015

Allied Army under Marshall Foch