The Bryan Nelson Jennings Memorial Trophy would, for a short period in the 1990s, be a coveted trophy awarded to the most outstanding Automotive Parts and Accessories Merchandising Apprentice of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps(RNZAOC).
Apprenticeships for the Automotive Parts and Accessories Merchandising Trade (AP Trade) had been established in 1965 to provide the RNZAOC with skilled tradespeople for employment in RNZAOC Workshops Stores Sections that had been established as part of Royal New Zealand Electrical Mechanical and Electrical Engineers(RNZEME) Workshops and Light Aid Detachments in 1962.
The role of RNZAOC Stores Sections was to carry and manage the specialised holdings of spares, assemblies & workshop materials (Class 9 stores) of their parent workshops.
Administered by the New Zealand Trade Certification Board (now the New Zealand Qualifications Authority), the Automotive Parts and Accessories Merchandising apprentice training scheme consisted of 9000 working hours of study and on the job training with three Trade Board examinations required to gain the trade qualification.
Initially, apprentices would begin their training as 16-year-old Regular Force Cadets (RF Cadets), who, on graduation, would complete their apprentice training at the Main Ordnance Depot, MT Spares Section at Trentham Camp. However, during the 1970s, RNZAOC direct entry recruits were also accepted as apprentices.
Further progression in the AP trade was achieved by qualified apprentices undertaking the New Zealand Management Certificate in Automotive Parts & Accessories Merchandising. the first two Certificate level qualifications were awarded in 1988 To;
- Sergeant M Wilson (0001)
- Sergeant S O’Brien (0002)
The final AP Trade Apprentice would be recruited in 1996, following which the apprentice scheme would cease as the foundation for the AP Trade.
Bryan was born in Wellington in 1926. Too young to see active service in WW2, Bryan served with the Melrose Battalion, Wellington South Home Guard unit from 1 April 1943 to 1 April 1944, attaining the rank of Corporal.
Volunteering for service with ‘J ‘ Force, the New Zealand component of the British Occupation Forces (BCOF) in Japan, Bryana would be posted to 4 New Zealand Base Ordnance Depot (later renamed to 4 NZ Ordnance Field Park) in August 1946. Completing his engagement, Bryan would return to New Zealand on 14 September 1947. Following a short period posted to the Main Ordnance Depot in Trentham as part of the post-war Interim Army, Bryan was soon discharged and returned to civilian life.
Enlisting into the Regular Forces RNZAXCO on1 April 1948, Bryan undertook a short period of refresher training at the Army School of Instruction at Trentham before being posted to the Main Ordnance Depot as a storeman in the Technical Spares Group and later in the Tyre Store.
Temporarily posted to 10 Coastal Regiment RNZA at Fort Dorset, Bryan, like many of his contemporaries, would be employed on the wharves during the 1951 Waterfront Workers strike.
Promoted to Temporary Sergeant on 25 November 1953, Bryan would be promoted Staff Sergeant on 13 October 1958. Poste to 1 Composite Ordnance Company n loan back in 1964, Bryan would remain at the Main Ordnance Depot.
Posted to 1 General Troops Workshops, Stores Section, Linton Camp as a Warrant Officer Class Two in 1965, Bryan would soon find himself loaned back to the Central Districts Motor Transport Workshops at Trentham.
Seconded to the New Zealand Cadre (Fiji) of the Fijian Military Forces in 1968 as a Temporary Warrant Officer Class One in 1968, Bryan would spend the next two years assisting in the training and development of the Fiji Military Forces.
Returning to New Zealand in January 1971, Bryan was posted to 1 Base Workshops, Trentham and promoted to Warrant Officer Class One. Bryan would remain at 1 Base Workshops and the IC Stores section until his release from the army on n 21 April 1981.
During Bryans more than thirty-two years of service, he was awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct medal on 25 March 1965, followed by the Meritorious Service Medal on19 April 1978.
Following his retirement, Bryan would remain in Upper Hurt. Staying engaged with the community, Bryan was an active member of the Lions organisation and a member of the School Board of the Heretaunga College.
Bryan passed away on 9 August 1989 at Upper Hurt after a long illness.
In his memory, The Bryan Nelson Jennings memorial trophy was instituted in 1991. Although not an AP Trade Apprentice himself, Bryan was a mentor to many apprentices and was described as a legend in the trade.
The object of the award was to provide a tangible mark of achievement and was intended to encourage junior soldiers of the AP trade to reach and maintain a high standard of professional competence and personnel integrity.
Nominations for the award were graded against the following attributes:
- Basic Soldier Skills
- Dress, bearing and personnel appearance
- Trade Skills
Personnel eligible for consideration for the trophy were to meet the following requirements
- Not be above the rank of Substantive Lance Corporal
- Must have attended either 1st, 2nd or 3rd qualifying examinations in the past 12 Months
- Must still be serving their apprenticeship.
The Trophy now resides at the Trade Training School of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment.