RNZAOC 1 April 1955 to 31 March 1956

This period would see the RNZAOC undertake a range of routine activities whilst continuing to support Regular, Territorial and Compulsory Military Training. [1]

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel F Reid, OBE

Compulsory Military Training

During this period three CMT intakes marched in;[2]

  • 17th intake of 2800av recruits on 23 June 1955
  • 18th intake of 2475av recruits on 15 September 1955
  • 19th intake of 2475av recruits on 5 January 1955

Reorganisation of Territorial Force Units

With effect, the ORBAT Amendment of 28 June 1955, the RNZAOC Ordnance Field Park Platoons were reorganised into the 1(NZ) Division Ordnance Field Park, Organised as;[3]

  • Headquarters (Not Raised in Peace)
  • MT Stores Platoon, Lower Hutt, plus MT Stores Platoon of Independent Brigade OFP
  • Tech Stores Platoon, Christchurch, Plus Tech Stores Platoon of Independent Brigade OFP.
  • General Stores Platoon, Hopuhopu, Plus General Stores Platoon of Independent Brigade OFP.

Emergency Force (Kayforce)

The RNZAOC continued to support Kayforce with the dispatch of regular consignments of Maintenance stores and with all requests for stores by Kayforce met.

Out of Kayforce

  • Corporal Abraham Barbara, 2 May 1955
  • Gunner John Neil Campbell, 21 June 1955
  • Sergeant Joseph James Enright Cates, 9 December 1955
  • Temporary Warrant Officer Class Two Philip Hayhurst Kirkman, 2 June 1955
  • Warrant Officer Class Two Barry Stewart, 13 May 1955
  • Corporal Edward Tanguru, 21 June 1955

Small Arms Ammunition

The Manufacture of Small-Arms Ammunition by the Colonial Ammunitions Company at their Mount Eden Factory continued with delivered of first-class ammunitions being well maintained. [4]

Introduction of New Equipment

As new equipment was introduced, the RNZAOC would play an essential role in the acceptance processes. Upon delivery from the supplier, the equipment, accessories, and spares would be received into an RNZAOC Depot. The equipment would be inspected and kitted out with all its accessories before distribution to units. Several examples may have been retained in RNZAOC Depots as War Reserve/Repair and Maintenance Stock depending on the equipment. Maintenance stocks of accessories and spares were maintained as operating stock in RNZAOC depots. If the new equipment contained a weapon system, ammunition specific to the equipment was managed by RNZAOC Ammunition Depots.

During this period, the following equipment was introduced into service;[5]

  • Six 5.5in Guns
  • Three Scout Cars
  • Fifty-five Field Wireless sets
  • Fourteen cars
  • Thirty-seven commercial type trucks

Equipment Disposal

The following items were disposed of through the Government Stores Board.

  • 534 Trucks
  • 268 Motorcycles

Ammunition Disposal

With large stocks of ammunition left over for the Second World War, disposal of Unserviceable and surplus stock was authorised in 1955. Small quantities would be routinely disposed of at individual depots with a significant effort put into place to dispose of 3.7-inch Anti-Aircraft ammunition and Various types of Anti-Tank Rounds.

3.7-inch Anti-Aircraft Ammunition

Since the end of the war 17000 rounds of 3.7-inch anti-aircraft ammunition had been stored in unsuitable conditions at Kuku Valley becoming unstable and dangerous with the decision made in 1955 to destroy these stocks.

After many years of poor storage, many storage containers had deteriorated to a stage that increased the risk of explosion during transport. To facilitate the transportation of the unstable ammunition from Kuku Valley to the Demolition Range, a modified armoured truck and trailer was constructed the EME Workshops at Trentham to move the condemned shells for destruction.

Twenty 20 shells would be transported unloaded at the demolition range and in batches of four destroyed by explosion. Destruction of the stockpile began in June 1955 and completed in December 1957.[6]

Examination of deteriorated shell at Trentham, Upper Hutt. National Library of New Zealand Ref: EP/1955/1792-F
Army vehicles at Trentham, Upper Hutt. Ref: EP/1955/1793-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23078184
Valentine Tank at Trentham, stacks of Ammunition can be seen in the background. NZ National Library Ref EP/1955/1794-F

Anti-Tank Ammunition

In addition to Ammunition disposal at Trentham, The Army still held more than One and a Half Million rounds of various Anti-Tank Ammunition types. As this ammunition was surplus to requirement and belonging to obsolete weapon types, a profit-sharing contract was arranged with the Colonial Ammunition Company (CAC) to dispose of these rounds. Under the terms of the agreement, the CAC would break down and salvage recyclable materials form the wartime stocks of Anti-Tank ammunition, with the army receiving a share of the funds raised by the sale of the salvageable material.

Ammunition Examiners

During this period the following Ammunition Examiners were authorised to carry out routine inspections of ammunition and allocated Ammunition Examiner Serial Numbers.

  • Central Military District,
    • Lance Corporal G.C Gilbert, Ammunition Examiner Serial No 92.

Honours and Awards

Meritorious Service Medal

  • 31004 Warrant Officer Class One William Galloway, 10 November 1955

Long Service and Good Conduct

  • 31234 Warrant Officer Class One Athol Gilroy McCurdy, 12 April 1956

Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, Resignations, and Retirements of Officers of the RNZAOC

Regular Force

  • Captain and Quartermaster K. A. Bailey, MM, to be Major and Quartermaster. Dated 2 May 1955.[7]
  • Captain (temp. Major) K. G. K. Cropp, E.D., to be Major. Dated 26 May 1955.[8]
  • Lieutenant G. W. Peters is transferred to the Reserve of Officers, General List, The Royal N.Z. Army Ordnance Corps, with the rank of Lieutenant. Dated 18 June 1955.[9]
  • Captain (temp. Major) D. E. A. Roderick to be Major. Dated 27 May 1955. [10]
  • Captain E. W. Whitacre to be Major. Dated 30 May 1955. [11]
  • Captain 0, H. Burn to be Major. Dated 1 June 1955. [12]
  • Captain (temp. Major) C. A. Penny to be Major. Dated 30 May 1955.[13]
  • Captain H. S. Sandford to be Major. Dated 17 June 1955.[14]
  • Captain (temp. Major) H. J. Mockridge is posted to the Retired List with the rank of Major. Dated 22 September 1955.[15]
  • Lieutenant H. G. Rees is posted to the Retired· List with the ·rank of Captain. Dated 9 October 1955.[16]
  • Captain and Quartermaster G. G. W. Blandford is posted to the Retired List. ·Dated 1 November 1955.[17]
  • 31617 W.O. I Ray Henry Colwill to be Lieutenant and Quartermaster. Dated 9 January 1956.[18]
  • 31253 WO II William John McCluggage to be Lieutenant and Quartermaster. Dated 9 January 1956.[19]
  • 32171 Staff Sergeant George Witherman McCullough to be Lieutenant and Quartermaster. Dated 9 January 1956.[20]
  • 31244 WO I William John Stanley Tavendale to be Lieutenant and Quartermaster. Dated 9 January 1956.[21]

Regular Force (Supernumerary List)

  • Captain (Temp. Major) · S. A. Knight is posted ‘to the· Retired List, with Lieutenant Colonel’s rank. Dated 16 February 1956.[22]  [23]
  • Captain and Quartermaster N. C. Fisher is posted to the Retired List, with Major and Quartermaster’s rank, dated 14 March 1956.[24]

Territorial Force

  • Captain T.H. Beauchamp, from the Reserve of Officers, General List, The Royal N.Z. Army Ordnance Corps, to be Captain with seniority from 23 August 1954, and is appointed Officer Commanding, 1st Armoured Regiment, Light Aid Detachment, RNZEME Dated 1 July 1955.[25]

Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, Resignations, and Retirements of Warrant Officers, Senior Non-Commissioned Officers and men of the RNZAOC

  • 31383 Sergeant Hector Searle McLachlan, promoted to Staff Sergeant, 1 April 1955.

Notes

[1] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1954 to 31 March 1955 “, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1955).

[2] Peter Cooke, Fit to Fight. Compulsory Military Training and National Service in New Zealand 1949-72 (Auckland: David Ling Publishing, 2013), 539.

[3] “Organisation and Administration: Units – Territorial: Formation and Organisation – 1 Divisional Officer[?] Rnzaoc [Royal New Zealand Army Ordinance Corps] M/T {Motor Transport] Stores Platoon (Lower Hutt),” Archives New Zealand Item No R22496443  (1950-55).

[4] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1955 to 31 March 1956,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1956).

[5] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1954 to 31 March 1955 “.

[6] Howard Weddell, Trentham Camp and Upper Hutt’s Untold Military History (Howard Weddell, 2018), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 187-88.

[7] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 41, 23 June 1955.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 43, 7 July 1955.

[14] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 45, 14 July 1955.

[15] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 60, 22 September 1955.

[16] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 69, 10 November 1955.

[17] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 3, 19 January 1955.

[18] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 10, 23 February 1956.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.

[22] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 13, 8 March 1956.

[23] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 34, 14 June 1956.

[24] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 23, 12 April 1956; “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 29, 17 May 1956.

[25] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 48, 28 July 1955.


RNZAOC 1 April 1954 to 31 March 1955

This period would see the RNZAOC. Continue to support Regular, Territorial and Compulsory Military Training. Ongoing support to Kayforce would continue.[1]

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel F Reid, OBE

Compulsory Military Training

During this period four CMT intakes marched in;[2]

  • 13th intake of 2200av recruits on 22 April 1954
  • 14th intake of 2200av recruits on 16 September 1954
  • 15th intake of 2200av recruits on 6 January 1955
  • 16th intake of 2966 recruits on 31 March 1955

On completion of CMT recruit training, recruits were posted to Territorial units close to their home location to complete their CMT commitment, with RNZAOC CMT recruits posted to either

  • 1st Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park Platoon, Hopuhopu
  • 2nd Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park Platoon, Mangaroa.
  • 3rd Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park Platoon, Burnham

Emergency Force (Kayforce)

The RNZAOC continued to support Kayforce with the dispatch of regular consignments of Maintenance stores and with all requests for stores by Kayforce met.

Out of Kayforce

  • Lance Corporal Alexander George Dobbins, 28 September 1954
  • Private James Adam (Snowy) Donaldson, 5 November 1954
  • Captain Patrick William Rennison, 10 May 1954
  • Private Richard John Smart, 5 November 1954

Into Kay force

  • Joseph James Enright Cates, 2 June 1954
  • Lieutenant John Barrie Glasson, 20 April 1954

Seconded to Fiji Military Forces

Lieutenant and Quartermaster R. D. Wederell ceased to be seconded to the Fiji Military Forces as of 14 June 1954.[3]

Ordnance Conferences

District Vehicle Depot Conference

The Director of Ordnance Services hosted a conference of the Officer Commanding of the District Vehicle Depots and the Officer Commanding Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) at Trentham Camp over 3 – 4 August 1954.[4]  

Items discussed at the conference included;

  • Vehicle accounting,
  • Tools etc., method of Recei0pt and Issue,
  • Storage,
  • Vehicle Loans – Issue and Receipt from Units,
  • District Problems.

DADOS Conference

The Director of Ordnance Services hosted a conference of the District DADOS’s and the Officer Commanding Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) at Trentham Camp over the period 10 – 12 August 1954.[5] 

Items discussed at the conference included;

  • Corps Policy
  • Corps Establishments
  • Estimation of expenditure
  • District Vehicle Depots
    • Functions
    • Staff/Establishments
  • Audit Reports
  • Ammunition

New Cap Badge

1954 would see approval granted to update the RNZOAC Cap Badge by replacing the “Tudor” Crown with the “St Edwards Crown. The NZ Army Liaison Staff in London had provided a sample of the new badges from  J.R Gaunt of London, and on the approval of this sample in May 1954 the liaison Staff was instructed to obtain examples of Collar badges in the new design.

Routine Ordnance Activities

Over this period, the RNZAOC continued with its regular duties of provision, holding and issue of multitudinous stores required by the Army including the additional issue of training equipment to the territorial Force allowing all unit’s sufficient equipment for routine training.

Establishment of MT Stores Group at the Central Districts Ordnance Depot

Based on a series of ongoing discussions between the DOS and CDOD since 1951, in July 1953, the recommendation was made to transfer responsibility for the provision of MT Stores to CMD units (except those located at Trentham Camp) from the Main Ordnance Depot in Trentham to the CDOD at Linton Camp. Approval for establishing an MT Group at CDOD was granted in September 1953 with the transfer of stocks to begin once suitable storage in Linton Camp had been prepared to receive stocks.  

To facilitate the initial in-scaling of MT Group, 1500 Square feet of the W type Building 81 was fitted with six wooden shelves to provides storage capacity for up to 18000 lines of Stock-based on VAOS Catalogue LV6 Groups 1 to 10. LV6 Groups 1 to 10 items were small and fast-moving repair parts for Motor Transport’s current range. It was planned that once the MT Group had been established for several months’ responsibility for LV7, Larger repair parts and principle end items would also be transferred from MOD to the CDOD.

A Staff of five soldiers for the CDOD MT Group was already authorised in the CDOD Peacetime Establishment issued in 1952. However, at the time of the MT Groups establishment, The Staff of the Group consisted of one NCO assisted by the Tyre Group Storeman.

By 15 September 1954 the transfer of stock form the MOD has been sufficiently completed to allow CMD units to begin demanding MT Spares from the CDOD.[6]

Army Ammunition Stores Depot

Up to 1954, the RNZAOC maintained the Army Ammunition Stores Depot (AASD) at the Kuku Valley Ammunition Area at Trentham. The role of the AASD was to be the main bulk holding and distribution unit for Non-Explosive and Explosive stores for the regional Ammunition Repair Depots (ARD).

A review of the role and functions of AASD was conducted during a DADOS conference in 1954 with the decision made to disband the AASD and hand over its operations to the MOD and regional Ordnance and Ammunition Depots.

As part of the disbanding instructions, the regional ARDs were instructed to maintain six months working stock of non-explosive items, and sufficient explosive items to complete the current repair programme. All excess items were to be returned to the nearest Ordnance or Ammunition Depot, with all future demand for items to be forwarded to those Depots.[7]

Small Arms Ammunition

The Manufacture of Small-Arms Ammunition by the Colonial Ammunitions Company at their Mount Eden Factory continued with delivered of first-class ammunitions being well maintained. [8]

Ammunition Examiners

During this period the following Ammunition Examiners were authorised to carry out routine inspections of ammunition and allocated Ammunition Examiner Serial Numbers.

Northern Military District,

  • Corporal Radford, Ammunition Examiner Serial No 72, 29 July 1954
  • Lance Corporal T Sweet, Ammunition Examiner Serial No 83, 13 August 1954.
  • Private Thomasson, Ammunition Examiner Serial No 82, 13 August 1954.

Introduction of New Equipment

As new equipment was introduced, the RNZAOC would play an essential role in the acceptance processes. Upon delivery from the supplier, the equipment, accessories, and spares would be received into an RNZAOC Depot. The equipment would be inspected and kitted out with all its accessories before distribution to units. Several examples may have been retained in RNZAOC Depots as War Reserve/Repair and Maintenance Stock depending on the equipment. Maintenance stocks of accessories and spares were maintained as operating stock in RNZAOC depots. If the new equipment contained a weapon system, ammunition specific to the equipment was managed by RNZAOC Ammunition Depots.

During this period, the following equipment was introduced into service;[9]

  • One L2 BAT (Battalion, Anti-Tank) was a 120 mm calibre recoilless anti-tank rifle, with Eighteen more on order
  • Twenty-Two FN FAL Rifles for troop trials
  • An extra-wide Bailey Bridge
  • Fifty Field Wireless sets

Battledress Cap

During 1954 the Cap Battledress (Cap BD) but commonly referred to as the Ski Cap was introduced into service. This type of hat was extremely unpopular, especially with the troops, especially those serving in the tropics, but would endure until 1964 when it was withdrawn from service.

Equipment Disposal

The following items were disposed of through the Government Stores Board.

  • 193 Bren Carriers
  • 25 Motor vehicles of various types

Cricket Tour to Australia

In the first tour of its kind the Main Ordnance Depot in Trentham, representing the RNZAOC undertook a Cricket tour of Australia. Departing Wellington on 1 February 1955 returning on 7 March the MOD played matched in Sydney and Melbourne against teams drawn from the Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps.[10]

With the NZ Ordnance team winning the series successfully, the RNZAOC would host a RAAOC team on a reciprocal tour in 1959.[11]

The officials and players who participated in the 1955 tour were;[12]

  • Lieutenant Colonel L.F Reid, 0BE (Manager),
  • Major Derrick Roderick,
  • Warrant Officer Class One A Wesseldine,
  • Warrant Officer Class Two M.A Burt (Treasure and Player),
  • Warrant Officer Class Two Harry Le Comte,
  • Warrant Officer Class Two RS Perks (Assistant Manager and Player),
  • Warrant Officer Class Two Douglas Wilson,
  • Sergeant Douglas Bucknell (Official. Umpire and Player),
  • Sergeant G. McCullough,
  • Sergeant E.J Prout,
  • Corporal G Cormack,
  • Corporal J Morgan, (Official Scorer and Player),
  • Private W Bacon,
  • Private Brian Clarke,
  • Private Keith Danby,
  • Private A.N McAinch,
  • Private L Norton.

Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, Resignations, and Retirements of Officers of the RNZAOC

Regular Force

  • Lieutenant C. L. Sanderson promoted to Temporary Captain. Dated 9 December 1953. [13]
  • Captain E. C. Green granted a further extension of his short-service commission for one year from 1 April 1954.[14]
  • Lieutenant T. B. Glasson promoted to Temporary Captain whilst employed as Officer Commanding, NZ Base Ordnance Depot. Dated 8 August 1954.[15]
  • Captain N. L. Wallburton re-engaged for a period of two years as from 23 August 1954.[16]
  • Lieutenant (temp Captain) J. B. Glasson to be Captain. Dated 8 November 1954.[17]
  • Lieutenant (Temp Captain) C. L. Sanderson to be Captain. Dated 9 December 1953.[18]
  • 31264 Warrant Officer Class One Leslie Smith promoted to Lieutenant and Quartermaster. Dated 15 December 1954.[19]
  • Lieutenant L. C. King transferred from the New Zealand Regiment to the RNZAOC with his present rank and seniority. Dated 14 February 1955.[20]
  • Captain E. C. Green granted a further extension of his short-service commission to 31 March 1956.[21]
  • Lieutenant J. H. Doone to be Captain Dated 25 October 1954.[22]
  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster R. D. Wederell to be Captain and Quartermaster. Dated 31 March 1955.[23]

Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, Resignations, and Retirements of Warrant Officers, Senior Non-Commissioned Officers and men of the RNZAOC

Regular Force

  • W920917 Lance Corporal George Thomas Dimmock Promoted to Corporal, 1 April 1954. [24]
  • 31884Temporary Warrant Officer Class Two Alick Claude Doyle granted substantive Rank on 1 April 1954. [25]
  • B31695 Corporal Ian McDonald Russell promoted to Sergeant, 21 April 1954. [26]
  • 31259 Staff Sergeant Maurice Sidney Philips promoted to Warrant Officer Class Two, 12 July 1954. [27]
  • 31167 Staff Sergeant John Bernard Crawford promoted to Warrant Officer Class Two, 15 July 1954. [28]
  • 31261 Sergeant Earnest Maurice Alexander Bull promoted to Staff Sergeant, 22 October 1954.[29]

Notes

[1] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1954 to 31 March 1955 “, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1955).

[2] Peter Cooke, Fit to Fight. Compulsory Military Training and National Service in New Zealand 1949-72 (Auckland: David Ling Publishing, 2013), 539.

[3] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 41, 1 July 1954.

[4] Conferences – Ordnance Officers, Item Id R17188101 (Wellington: Archives New Zealand, 1950).

[5] Ibid.

[6] “Establishments – Ordnance Corps “, Archives New Zealand No R22441746  (1944 – 1947).

[7] Ibid.

[8] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1954 to 31 March 1955 “.

[9] Ibid.

[10] “Trentham Army Cricket Team Australian Tour,” Upper Hutt Leader, Volume XII, Number 8, 10 March 1955.

[11] Major J.S Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Trentham: RNZAOC, 1992), 177.

[12] “Trentham Army Cricket Team Australian Tour.”; “Army Cricket,” Broadcaster (Fairfield, NSW : 1935 – 1978), 16 February 1955 1955.

[13] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 35, 3 June 1954.

[14] Ibid.

[15] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 55, 16 September 1954.

[16] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 52, 26 August 1954.

[17] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 13, 25 February 1954.

[18] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 4, 27 January 1955.

[19] Ibid.

[20] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 20, 17 March 1955.

[21] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 6, 3 February 1955.

[22] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 15, 3 March 1955.

[23] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 37, 2 June 1955.

[24] Howard E. Chamberlain, Service Lives Remembered : The Meritorious Service Medal in New Zealand and Its Recipients, 1895-1994 ([Wellington, N.Z.]: H. Chamberlain, 1995), 128-29.

[25] Ibid., 134-35.

[26] Ibid., 410-11.

[27] Ibid., 367-68.

[28] Ibid., 109-10.

[29] Ibid., 67.


NZ Defence Stores July 1869 – June 1870

Military Storekeeping has been a feature of New Zealand’s military experience since 1840, and it is well known within the military storekeeping fraternity how Governor Hobson appointed Henry Tucker as the Colonial Storekeeper.  From 1840 to 1845 Tucker as Colonial Storekeeper would manage the Ammunition, Arms and accoutrements for the Militias hastily organised in the early days of colonial New Zealand. However, it is not until 1917, and the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps formation that New Zealand Military Storekeeping’s history begins with the period from 1845 to 1917 remaining as an empty void in the histography of New Zealand’s Military Storekeeping.  In this article, the period from July 1869 to June 1870 is examined. In this specific period, as New Zealand’s military “Self-Reliance” policy reached its culmination with the final Imperial Forces withdrawing from New Zealand and conflict that had raged since 1860 in its last throes. The conflict had placed an enormous financial burden on the young nation as it formed and equipped Regular, Militia and Volunteer units and as the country looked forward, the Defence Stores Department was formalised as a component of the New Zealand Forces to manage the large amount of war material that had been acquired.

Initially, Militia units in New Zealand were raised and equipped under the auspice of the Colonial Secretary. As Militia units could only be used for local defence, the Militia Act of 1858 allowed Volunteer Units to be formed for service anywhere in the colony. Like Militia units, Volunteer units were administered and equipped by the Colonial Secretary.  As conflict increased in the early 1860s with Imperial troops undertaking the bulk of the military burden, a call for the colony to take on more responsibility was advocated by Francis Weld, a member of the House of Representatives. Weld’s position became known as the “self-reliant” policy.

As Weld’s “self-reliant” policy gained traction, New Zealand’s Military Forces’ shape and how they were administered and equipped undertook a transformation with the reliance on Imperial Forces gradually decreasing until they were fully withdrawn in 1870.  A regular New Zealand Military Force was initiated with the passing of the Colonial Defence Force Act 1862 by the Government in 1863. This Act created a small Regular Force and formalised the Defence Minister’s role and created a Defence Department to administer the colony’s Defence Forces. The Colonial Store Department and Militia Store Department’s role and responsibilities were formalised, maintaining the separation between the Regulars and the Militia and Volunteers.  

In 1865 with local units taking on more of the defence burden with the scaling down and withdrawal of Imperial units well underway, a review of colonial defence proposed that the shape of New Zealand’s Military be changed to an Armed Constabulary Force supported by friendly natives with Militia and Volunteer units providing additional support when required. In October 1867 the Colonial Defence Force was disbanded by the Armed Constabulary Act 1867 with the regular members of the Colonial Defence Force transferred to the Armed Constabulary.[1]  Concurrent to implementing the Armed Constabulary Act 1867, the New Zealand Government also passed the Public Stores Act of 1867. The Act provided for the first time a comprehensive policy on the responsibility for the management of Government Stores, which as Government entities the Armed Constabulary, Militia and Volunteers were required to adhere too.[2]

With the Imperial withdrawal almost completed and military operations ongoing across the North Island, the first significant changes in stores’ management did not occur until 1869 when the entire Defence Stores Structure undertook substantial changes. One of the significant changes was recognising the Defence Stores as a permanent component of the Military.  Allocated a budget as part of the Militia, Volunteer and Armed Constabulary vote in the 1870 Government Estimates passed by Parliament in 1869, the Defence Stores were budgeted to function as follows;[3]

  • Head Office, Wellington
    • Inspector of Stores @ £500 PA
    • Inspector of Stores, Clerk @ £150 PA
  • Auckland
    • Storekeeper @ £250 PA
    • 2 x Clerks @ £160 PA ea.
    • Armourer @ £182 PA
    • 4 x Arms Cleaner @ £109 PA ea.
  • Wellington
    • Storekeeper, Militia and Volunteers @ £100 PA[4]
    • Clerk @ £150 PA
    • Armourer@ £182 PA
    • 4 x Arms Cleaner@ £109 PA
  • Wanganui
    • Storekeeper@ £100 PA[5]
    • Clerk @ £130 PA
  • Patea
    • Sub-Storekeeper @150 PA (from Jan 1870)[6]

With only a skeleton staff in the Auckland, Wellington and Wanganui, the Defence Stores had no presence in many parts of the nation and faced many challenges supporting its nationwide dependency.

Armed Constabulary

As of 15 June 1870, the Armed Constabulary was organised into six districts supported by a depot in Wellington;[7]

Sam Cosgrave Anderson, a clerk in the Defence Stores, would be appointed as the Armed Constabulary Storekeeper late in 1869, a position equal in grade and pay to the Defence Storekeepers in Auckland, Whanganui and Wellington.

  • Waikato with 108 men, dispersed across seven stations at;
    • Hamilton
    • Cambridge
    • Ngāruawāhia
    • Kihikihi
    • Alexandra
    • Raglan
    • Auckland
  • Taranaki with 170 men, dispersed across eleven stations at;
    • Wai-iti
    • Mimu
    • Urenui
    • Tupari
    • Takapu
    • Taipikiri
    • New Plymouth
    • Tikorangi
    • Okato
    • Te Arei
    • Waitara
  • Hawke’s Bay with 273 men dispersed across six stations and a Transport Corps at;
    • Opepe
    • Napier
    • Runanga
    • Tapuarharuru
    • Tarawera
    • Te Haroto
  • Turanganui (Poverty Bay) with 95 men dispersed across four stations
    • Turanganui (Gisborne)
    • Ormond
    • Te Wairoa
    • Te Kepa
  • Wanganui-Patea with 199 men dispersed across seven stations
    • Patea
    • Manutahi
    • Waihi
    • Hawera
    • Werorou
    • Wanganui
    • Wairoa (Waverley)
    • Wanganui
  • Bay of Plenty with 157 dispersed across seven stations
    • Tauranga
    • Maketu
    • Whakatane
    • Kaiteriria
    • Opitiki
  • Wellington Depot with 82 men.
New Zealand Armed Constabulary garrison at Ōpepe, near Taupō, early 1870s. Alexander Turnbull Library, Reference: 1/2-003116-F Artist: Samuel Carnell.

Militia and Volunteers

The Militia and Volunteers force was organised into districts and allocated a small permanent military staff to administer both the militia and volunteer units. Depending on the District’s size and the Militia and Volunteer units within the District, the permanent Military Staff would consist of an Officer Commanding or Adjutant, a Sergeant Major or Sergeant and a Bugler. Responsibility for stores issued to the Militia and Volunteers was assumed by an officer in the District appointed as Quartermaster in addition to their existing duties. In Some districts, the District Quartermaster would be responsible for the Armed Constabulary, Militia and Volunteer Stores.

Militia

The Militia Act of 1870 obliged all males inhabitants of New Zealand between the ages of seventeen and fifty-five liable for service in the Militia.[8] However, due to the many exemptions allowed under the Act, the actual number available for call up would be limited with few undertaking the necessary short periods of training required.  As of June 1870, approximately 4000 militiamen had been called up and participated in actual service or training. Militia Districts were;

  • Mongonui District
  • Bay of Islands District
  • Holcianga District
  • Kaipara District
  • Mangawhai District
  • Whangarei District
  • Auckland District
  • Wairoa District
  • Waiuku District
  • Wkangape District
  • Rangiriri District
  • Hamilton District
  • Raglan District
  • Alexandra District
  • Cambridge District
  • Thames District
  • Coromandel District
  • North Shore District
  • Tauranga District
  • Matala District
  • Opotiki District
  • White Cliffs District
  • New Plymouth District
  • Cape Egmont District
  • Patea District.
  • Whanganui District
  • Rangitikei District
  • Otaki District
  • Wellington District
  • Grey town District
  • Masterton District
  • East Coast (Native) District
  • Wairoa (Hawke’s Bay) District
  • North Napier District
  • South Napier District
  • South and Stewart Island District
Private of the New Zealand Militia in campaign dress. Harding, William James, 1826-1899 :Negatives of Wanganui district. Ref: 1/4-006785-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22807152

Volunteer Corps

Volunteer Corps were more established and would drill and meet regularly and at times, be deployed on operations. As of 31 May 1870, Volunteer Corps were organised into Calvary, Artillery, Engineer, Rifle, Naval and Cadet Corps.

Auckland Province

2600 men organised into 40 Adult and 13 Cadet Corps located at;

  • Auckland
    • 4 Cavalry Corps
    • 1 Artillery Corps
    • 1 Engineer Corps
    • 9 Rifle Corps
    • 2 Naval Corps
    • 11 Cadet Corps
  • Wairoa
    • 1 Cavalry Corps
    • 2 Rifle Corps
  • Waiuku
    • 1 Cavalry Corps
    • 6 Rifle Corps
  • Waikato
    • 1 Cavalry Corps
  • Thames
    • 1 Engineer Corps
    • 5 Rifle Corps
    • 1 Naval Corps
    • 2 Cadet Corps
  • Bay of Plenty
    • 2 Cavalry Corps
    • 1 Rifle Corps
  • Poverty Bay
    • 1 Cavalry Corps
    • 1 Rifle Corps

Taranaki Province

166 men organised into 4 Adult Corps located at

  • New Plymouth
    • 1 Cavalry Corps
    • 1 Rifle Corps
  • Patea
    • 1 Cavalry Corps
    • 1 Rifle Corps

Wellington Province

1821 men organised into 39 Adult and 8 Cadet Corps located at

  • Wanganui
    • 4 Cavalry Corps
    • 3 Rifle Corps
  • Rangitikei
    • 4 Cavalry Corps
    • 6 Rifle Corps
    • 2 Cadet Corps
  • Wellington
    • 1 Artillery Corps
    • 13 Rifle Corps
    • 5 Cadet Corps
  • Greytown
    • 1 Cavalry Corps
    • 2 Rifle Corps
    • 1 Cadet Corps
  • Masterton
    • 1 Cavalry Corps
    • 2 Rifle Corps

Hawkes Bay Province

304 men organised into 4 Adult and 1 Cadet Corps located at

  • Napier
    • 1 Cavalry Corps
    • 1 Artillery Corps
    • 1 Rifle Corps
    • 1 Cadet Corps
  • Wairoa
    • 1 Rifle Corps

Nelson Province

295 men organised into 3 Adult and 3 Cadet Corps

  • Nelson
    • 1 Artillery Corps
    • 2 Rifle Corps
    • 3 Cadet Corps

Marlborough Province

235 men organised into 5 Adult and 2 Cadet Corps

  • Marlborough
    • 5 Rifle Corps
    • 2 Cadet Corps

Canterbury Province

710 men organised into 13 Adult and 5 Cadet Corps

  • Canterbury
    • 1 Cavalry Corps
    • 3 Artillery Corps
    • 2 Engineer Corps
    • 7 Rifle Corps
    • 5 Cadet Corps

Otago and Southland Province

1303 men organised into 18 Adult and 3 Cadet Corps

  • Otago
    • 1 Artillery Corps
    • 13 Rifle Corps
    • 2 Naval
    • 2 Cadet Corps
  • Invercargill
    • 1 Rifle Corps
    • 1 Cadet Corps
  • Riverton
    • 1 Rifle Corps

Westland Province

207 men organised into 3 Adult Corps

  • Hokitika
    • 1 Rifle Corps
  • Ross
    • 1 Rifle Corps
  • Greymouth
    • 1 Rifle Corps

Defence Store Department

The Defence Stores was not a new organisation, but rather an amalgamation of the Militia Stores Department and the Colonial Stores Department, which had both been created in the early 1860s. The significant change was the appointment in April 1869 of Lieutenant Colonel, Edward Gorton as Inspector of Stores. [9] Appointed as Inspector of Stores at the age of Thirty-One, Gorton had come to New Zealand with the 57th Regiment where he had spent time as Cameron’s aide-de-camp. Taking his release from Imperial service in 1863, Gorton was appointed as Major in the Militia assuming command of the Wellington Militia District. Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, Gorton was placed in command of the Whanganui and Rangitikei Militia Districts and would serve as Quartermaster to General Whitmore during the Tītokowaru War of 1868/69.[10]

Lieutenant Colonel Edward Gorton

Establishing his office in Wellington, Gorton was assisted by a Clerk, Mr C.S Lockie. Shortly after his appointment, Gorton drafted new rules and regulations for keeping store accounts and the proposed forms to the Defence Minister for approval.[11]

Auckland Defence Stores

Located at Albert Barracks, the Auckland Defence Store was the most extensive and principle Defence Store in New Zealand.  Although the Storekeeper in Auckland was Capitan John Mitchell, he had been suspended as Colonial Storekeeper in May 1869 due to a dispute about some absences.[12] Mitchell tendered his resignation on 5 July 1869, with and Major William St Clair Tisdall was appointed as acting Sub-Storekeeper of the Auckland Defence Stores.[13]

Major Tisdall was assisted by a small long-serving and experienced staff consisting of;[14]

  • John Blomfield, Clerk
  • John Price, Clerk
  • D Evitt, Armourer Sergeant
  • 4 x Arms Cleaners
  • J Broughton, Magazine keeper Appointed Jan 1870

Wellington Defence Stores

The Wellington Defence Store located at Mount Cook was divided into two functions;

  • The Armed Constabulary Stores
  • The Defence Store

Storekeeper Sam Anderson controlled the Armed Constabulary Stores. Anderson position was paid from within the Armed Constabulary budget and as part of the Armed Constabulary Depot was technically not part of the Defence Store organisation. However, records indicate that the two organisations were closely associated.

The Wellington Defence Store was under Lieutenant Colonels HE Reader’s supervision who as the Commander of the Wellington District Militia was also the Wellington Defence Storekeeper. In his Defence Store duties Reader was assisted by;[15]

  • Sergeant Alexander Crowe, Clerk
  • Armourer Sergeant E. H Bradford, Armourer
  • 4 x Arms Cleaners, including
    • Mr John Shaw
    • Mr James Smith
    • Mr Walther Cristie
  • Magazine Keeper, Appointed in January 1870

Whanganui Defence Stores

Due to the Tītokowaru War, Whanganui had been a significant military hub with the Defence Store post graded as one requiring a Storekeeper assisted by a Clerk. The Storekeeper position was filled by the Officer Commanding and Adjutant of the Wanganui Militia and Volunteers, Major Chas Chalkin. In January 1870, the military situation had changed, and the Storekeeper position in Whanganui was downgrade to that of Sub-Storekeeper.

Patea Defence Stores

With the cessation of hostilities after the Tītokowaru War, Patea would prosper and become a significant regional hub. A Sub-Storekeeper was appointed to manage Defence Stores affairs in the area in January 1870

Tours of Inspection

Gorton had a tremendous job ahead in organising and transforming the Defence Stores into an effective organisation. Since 1860 the New Zealand Government had purchased thousands of weapons such as Enfield, Terry and Snider rifles and carbines, and the associated sets of accoutrements from Australia and the United Kingdom to equip the various New Zealand Forces. All this war material needed to be accounted for and redistributed to the Armed Constabulary and Volunteer units or placed into Militia storage.

Gorton was a hands-on leader and during his first year would conduct several tours of inspection to inspect the stockpiles of military material distributed across New Zealand. On one such outing, Gorton left Auckland on the Friday 13 November 1869 on the NZ Government Paddle Steamer Sturt to inspect the military depots and garrisons on the East Coast of the North Island.  Landing at Port Charles, Tauranga, Opotiki, Hicks Bay, Port Awanui, Tūpāroa, Tologa Bay, Poverty Bay Gorton found many stores that had been stockpiled as part of the recent East Coast campaign but not utilised. Gorton took the opportunity to revise the holdings at each location and redistribute as necessary, handing over the balance to Captain Bower, the District Quartermaster at Napier.[16]

The Imperial Withdraw

Since 1842, an Imperial Storekeeping organisation was based in New Zealand with the Ordnance Department establishing Store’s offices in Auckland and Wellington. The Ordnance Department was then reorganised into a new organisation called the Military Store Department on 1 February 1857. With its primary location at Fort Britomart in Auckland, the Military Store Department principal role was to support the Imperial Garrison, with support provided to colonial forces when necessary.  By 1866 the conflict in New Zealand had reached a stage where with the “Self-reliance” policy the colonial forces had reached a level of independence allowing them to conduct the bulk of military operations, resulting in a drawdown and withdrawal of Imperial units. As the Imperial commitment decreased with the departure of five Imperial Regiments in 1866, the Military Store Department also had to reduce and optimise its operations.

Further reductions of Imperial troops necessitated the closing of its regional Depots such as the Depot in Whanganui in March of 1867.[17] With the departure of four more regiments in 1867, the Tauranga Depot closure soon followed.[18]  The final Imperial Regiment would depart New Zealand in February 1869.[19]

Fort Britomart’s dismantling had commenced in January 1869, with all the military content of Fort Britomart and Albert Barracks belonging to the Imperial Government, such as guns, ammunition and stores shipped to the United Kingdom on the SS Himalaya.[20]  With the withdrawal of Imperial Forces completed by July 1870.[21] Although the Military Store Department had provided valuable support and advice to the Colonial Defence Force over the years and had provided a useful logistic backstop, the New Zealand Defence Stores under Gorton were now required to stand alone.

Burglary from Wellington Militia Store

A testament to the importance and accuracy of Gorton’s stocktaking endeavours was demonstrated in August 1869. Gorton had finalised a stocktake and reorganisation of the Wellington Militia Store on 29 July 1869. Two days later the Militia Store was broken into and several items of clothing stolen. On discovery of the break-in, a quick inventory by Sergeant Crowe was able to identify the nature and quantity if the stolen items and an accurate report provided to the Wellington Police. Within a short time, the thief and his accomplices were apprehended while wearing some of the stolen items.[22]

Gorton faced many challenges in establishing the Defence Stores as an organisation. Active Military Operations were still being undertaken along with a sizeable force of Militia, Volunteers and Armed Constabulary positioned in redoubts and blockhouses in the frontier regions, with each of these presenting unique logistical challenges. Concurrently the Defence Stores were required to manage Militia and Volunteers units’ stores and equipment in all parts of the country to allow them to maintain their efficiency status. However, Gorton had come into the job with the Defence Stores’ foundations already established with staff who had learned military storekeeping skills through the busy conflict years of the 1860s. To complement his team’s existing experience and strengthen to the Defence Stores’ effectiveness, early in his tenure, Gorton set new rules, regulations, and forms for keeping store accounts that would begin the journey to professionalise New Zealand’s Military Storekeeping.


Notes

[1] General Assembly of New  Zealand, “Armed Constabulary Act 1867,”  (1867).

[2] “The Public Stores Act 1967,”  (1867).Notes

[3] “Estimates for General Government Services for the Year Ending  30th June, 1870, as Voted by the Gemeral Assembly,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1869, Session I, B-01d  (1869).

[4] The Storekeeper in Wellington was also the Officer Commanding and Adjutant of the Wellington Militia and Volunteers with salaries for these duties covered under another allocation of the Defence vote

[5] The Storekeeper in Wanganui was also the Officer Commanding and Adjutant of the Wanganui Militia and Volunteers with salaries for these duties covered under another allocation of the Defence vote

[6] Nominal Roll of Officers in the Store Department – August 1870 – for Printing, Item Id R24174657, Record No Cd1870/2744 (Wellington: New Zealand Archives, 1870).

[7] “Papers and Reports Relating to the Armed Constabulary,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1870 Session I, D-07  (1870).

[8] General Assembly of New  Zealand, “The Militia Act 1870,”  (1870).

[9] “Estimates for General Government Services for the Year Ending  30th June, 1870, as Voted by the Gemeral Assembly.”

[10] “Colonel Gorton,” Feilding Star, Volume IV, Issue 1072, Page 2, 31 December 1909.

[11] Edward Gorton, Forwarding Rules and Regulations for Keeping Store Accounts, Also Proposed Forms for Approval of Defence Minister, Item Id R24142601 Record No Cd1869/2900               (Wellington: New Zealand Archives, 1869 ).

[12] Suspension of Captain Mitchell Colonial Storekeeper for Absence from Duty. Major Tisdall Is Placed in Temporary Charge of Stores, Item Id R24175550 Record No Cd1869/2824 (Wellington: New Zealand Archives, 1869).

[13] Gorton, Forwarding Rules and Regulations for Keeping Store Accounts, Also Proposed Forms for Approval of Defence Minister.

[14] Nominal Roll of Officers in the Store Department – August 1870 – for Printing.

[15] Ibid.

[16] “Arrival of the P.S. Sturt.,” Hawke’s Bay Herald, Volume 13, Issue 1103, 23 November 1869.

[17] “Wanganui,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXIII, Issue 3003, 11 March 1867.

[18] “Page 2 Advertisements Column 5,” New Zealand Herald, Volume IV, Issue 1079, 30 April 1867.

[19] A. H. McLintock, “British Troops in New Zealand,”  http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/1966/british-troops-in-new-zealand ; “The Troops and the Home Government,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXV, Issue 3643, 23 March 1869.

[20] “Dismantling of Fort Britomart,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXV, Issue 3616, 19 February 1869.

[21] “Projected Departure of Mr Hamley,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXVI, Issue 4007, 25 June 1870.

[22] “Supreme Court, Ciminal Sittings,” Wellington Independent, Volume XXIV, Issue 2885, Page 6, 4 September 1869.