Major Joseph Seymour Bolton

Today we mark the passing of a major influence on this website,  Major Rtd Joseph Seymour Bolton (1947-2020).

Joe authored the History of the RNZAOC that was published 1992 and it was with his blessing and encouragement that I have continued on this webpage the expansion of his original research to unpack the history of the RNZAOC.


Joe joined the New Zealand Army as a Regular Force Cadet in the Bennett class of 1963. On completion of his RF Cadet Training,  Joe graduated into the RNZAOC on 2 May 1965.

Joe would have a varied and interesting career as an RNZAOC Soldier and Officer, including;

  • Operational service in South Vietnam during 1970

Vietnam 1Vietnam 2

  • Service in the Solomon Island with the first Tranch of RNZAOC ATO’s and AT’s clearing the islands of WW2 munitions.


  • Officer Commanding NZAOD, Singapore: 21 May 1982 to 10 May 1984


  • Chief Instructor, RNZAOC School: May 1985 to December 1986
  • Chief Ammunition Technical Officer: 1986 to 1988

In 1988 Joe was awarded the RNZAOC 20-year certificate for service from  2 May 1965 to 2 May 1988.

In Joe’s post-military career, he would continue to maintain an interest in the RNZAOC and manage the RNZAOC mailing list, sending out notifications on the passing of a Corps member or other such important information.

I never worked with Joe while he was serving, but got to know him when he was working a civilian in the CATO Branch. As I was working upstairs in Ops/Plans as the Policy WO,  I would often refer to Joe as the expert on ammunition policy issues. Often a short question on ammunition would turn into a lengthy conversation about RNZAOC History.  Many years later, as I was beginning to foray into RNZAOC research, we would catch up on the Rembermance Days in Palmerston North as the Poppy Places Charitable Trust, a passion of Joe’s in later years,  unveiled their distinctive street signs. It was at these brief meeting we would discuss the progress of my research and the future direction.

Sua Tele Tonnti


Major Joe Bolton Officer Commanding NZAOD receiving the Higgins Cup RFL Trophy form the New Zealand Director of Ordnance Services LtCol T.D McBeth.


5 thoughts on “Major Joseph Seymour Bolton

  1. wayne bray

    A great leader and a very professional soldier. Well liked by all. A standard setter for the Ammunition Technician trade and RNZAOC. A great sense of humor and very loyal to his staff. He will be missed by many. Rest In Peace Major Joseph Seymour Bolton.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. rsc64

    To the best Boss ever: It breaks my heart knowing you have left this world. Thank you for being a part of my life, for your kindness and generosity and for making sure the boys looked after me 🙂 I am privileged to have known you and will cherish my memories of you always ❤

    Haere ra e te rangatira. Moe mai, moe mai, moe mai ra….

    Rua Carlson: 1986-87

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dee O'Connor

    A true Officer & Gentlemen, I was so glad to see you earlier this year on my trip back to NZ, I am a better person today thanks to you, your wisdom, kindness, love for everyone else when they needed a gentle push from you in the right direction. Our working relationship as Manager and me as your mini Joe…… would have to be one of the best jobs I ever had, as our leader / mentor you taught us so much……. you always found time to have a laugh with the team, and you knew how to get the best out of all of us……. the jokes we would share between us two……… I loved the fact we always had each others backs, regardless of outcome. Rest easy now my friend, I will come and visit you on my return to NZ in Dec. Kia Kaha Tweedle

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jim Harvey

    Never did get it together Joe, but I know you will understand.
    Did not know of your health fight old friend and you have left far to early for such a neat man and awesome soldier.
    Privileged to have met you in Cadets, barrack room neighbour and to fill the boots you left me in RSVN, not being an Ammo Tech the learning curve was rather fast, Thanks for the recommendation,
    We we never did catch after that last Beer in the Kiwi Club, God speed on this your final TOD,


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