A military equipment tag from the1950s is an insignificant and uninspiring piece of military heritage. Mass-produced in the thousands, an equipment tag is a disposable item designed to be used once and discarded after completing its simple task. Now an item of ephemera, this equipment tag, which was initially to have a short-term use, has been preserved and now provides a snapshot of the activities of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, Central Ordnance Depot during 1955.
The tag examined here is an Army Form NZ-513, and is a tag designed to label small pieces of Army equipment while in transit from one point to another.
The tag measure 122mm long by 60mm high and is constructed of buff coloured manila card. Rectangular in shape, the tag has two tapered corners on the edge adjacent to a reinforced aperture allowing the tag to be secured by using string or elastic bands.
The tag is divided into three printed areas.
- The left side of the tag is printed with “ARMY DEPARTMENT EQUIPMENT” clearly identifying the Army as the owner of the equipment/item that the tag is affixed to.
- The top right part of the tag is printed.
- The Army Form N.Z 513, The system of numbering military forms, is a legacy inherited by the New Zealand Army from Britain, where each piece of Army stationery is identified with a unique catalogue number. Including NZ in the number identifies the form as either a unique New Zealand Army form or one that has been adopted into New Zealand Army use from British stocks.
- Following the practice of the time, government departments in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand franked correspondence from government departments with On Her Majesty’s Service; in this case, OHMS is initialised.
- The remainder of the panel is printed with space for writing the destination/receiver of the item.
- The Bottom right of the tag is printed with From, with space to write the originator.
- The rear of the tag is blank, with no printing.
The tag was printed by the hundreds if not thousands in sheets, with tags torn off and used as required. The attachment point to other tags on the sheet can be seen on the bottom left and right corners of the sheet.
This Tag has been filled out with the following information.
- The package is addressed; Mr P Eddy of 105 Gallien St, Hastings
- It is from; ACCOUNTING OFFICER, C.D. ORDNANCE DEPOT, and has the reference number SA/98/1 of 1 written on the bottom of the tag.
- The ACCOUNTING OFFICER, C.D. ORDNANCE DEPOT has been placed on the tag by a rubber stamp in blue or purple ink, probably a job allotted to a very junior storekeeper on a slow day to keep them occupied.
- Based in Linton Camp, The Central Districts Ordnance Depot was the Depot responsible for the NZ Army units based in the Central Districts from 1946. Some of its functions are still carried out by 21 Supply Company, Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment.
- The reference number allowed cross-referencing of the documentation relating to the package.
- The 1 of 1 part of the reference indicates that it is a single package.
- On the rear, the following stamps have been affixed to allow postage.
- six 1s (Shilling) Stamps and
- two 3d (Three Pence)
This equates to approximate postage to the value of NZD$14 in 2019 currency.
- There are also two postmarks from Linton Camp NZ with a barely legible date of 27 (unclear) 55.
Based on the information on the tag, the following can be determined; at some time during 1955, the Central Ordnance Depot at Linton Comp dispatched by post a small package to Mr P Eddy in Hastings. At the time, Peter Eddy was a surgical bootmaker located in Hastings, specialising in the construction and repair of orthopaedic footwear. Given Mt Eddy’s occupation, it can be assumed that the package was either footwear or materials requiring the attention of Mr Eddys services.
This tag is the survivor of thousands of similar tags that were produced, filled out and served their intended purpose and then disposed of. As a survivor, it has become a unique piece of ephemera providing insights into the much larger narrative of the history of the RNZAOC.
Copyright © Robert McKie 2019
 Abbreviated to AFNZ