Puggarees of New Zealand’s Logistic Corps

From 1912 to 1958, the sight of New Zealand Soldiers in felt slouch hats was commonplace. In addition to providing a practical form of headdress, the use of a coloured headband known as a Puggaree allowed easy identification of the Regiment or Corps of the wearer.

Origins

The Puggaree origins lay in the Hindu word, ‘Pagri,’ which is used to describe a wide range of traditional headwear worn by men and women throughout the Indian Sub-Continent, one of the most recognisable being the Dustaar or Sikh turban.

Soldiers, by their nature, are creatures of innovation and British troops serving India soon found that by wrapping a thin scarf of muslin around their headdress, not only could additional protection from sword blows be provided, but the thin cloth scarf could also be unravelled to provide insulation from the heat of the sun. Like many Indian words, “Pagri” became anglicised into Puggaree.

By the 1870s, the practical use of the Puggaree had become secondary, and the Puggaree evolved into a decorative item on British Army headdress, which, when used with a combination of colours, could be used to distinguish regiments and corps. First used by New Zealanders in the South African war, the use of Puggaree on slouch hats was formalised in the New Zealand Army 1912 Dress Regulations. These regulations detailed the colours of the distinctive Puggaree used to indicate different service branches. Although not stated in the 1912 regulations, the design of New Zealand puggarees was based on three pleats of Khaki/Branch colour/Khaki. The exception was the Artillery puggaree. The puggaree colours detailed in the 1912 regulations were

  • Mounted Rifles – Khaki/Green/Khaki)
  • Artillery –Blue/Red/Blue
  • Infantry – Khaki/Red/Khaki
  • Engineers – Khaki/Blue/Khaki
  • Army Service Corps – Khaki/White/Khaki
  • Medical corps –Khaki/Dull-Cheery /Khaki
  • Veterinary Corps – Khaki/Maroon/Khaki[1]

When first New Zealand troops went overseas in 1914, the NZ Slouch hat was a headdress that had been first used in the South Africa War and had a crease running down the crown from front to rear. From 1914 the Wellington Battalion wore their hats with the crown peaked, and after a short period where cork helmets were also worn, General Godley issued a directive that all troops, other than the Mounted Rifles, would wear the slouch hat with the crown peaked, in what became known as the “Lemon Squeezer”.[2]

Worn with both the Mounted Rifles Slouch hat and the Lemon Squeezer, the Puggaree became a distinctive mark of the New Zealand soldier, identifying them as distinct from soldiers from other parts of the Empire, although Australian and Canada would both use coloured Puggaree on their respective headdress, it was not to the same extent as New Zealand.[3] From 1917 the New Zealand puggaree also proved helpful in distinguishing New Zealand troops from the Americans, who wore headwear similar to the New Zealand Lemon Squeezer hat.[4]

Following the First World War, Dress regulations published in 1923 detailed an increased range of puggarees available to identify the other corps added to the army establishment during the war.

  • Permanent Staff – Scarlet
  • Mounted Rifles – Khaki/Green/Khaki)
  • Artillery –Blue/Red/Blue
  • Engineers – Khaki/Blue/Khaki
  • Signal Corps – Khaki/Light blue/Khaki
  • Infantry – Khaki/Red/Khaki
  • Army Service Corps – Khaki/White/Khaki
  • Medical Corps –Khaki/Dull-Cheery /Khaki
  • Veterinary Corps – Khaki/Maroon/Khaki
  • Ordnance Corps – Red/Blue/Red
  • Pay Corps – Khaki/Yellow/Khaki
  • Cadets – Khaki
  • Chaplains – Black/khaki/Black[5]

A common feature of military dress embellishments was that often there was a high-quality version made for officers and a lesser quality version for the Rank and file, with puggarees also adhering to this practice. Requestions for puggarees from 1943 indicate that the following corps and regiments utilised officer puggarees.

  • Artillery
  • Engineers
  • Infantry
  • Army Service Corps
  • Medical Corps
Example of Infantry Officers Puggaree (Top) and Infantry Rank and File Puggaree (Bottom)

The felt slouch hat and Puggaree would remain a fixture of the New Zealand Army until 1958, when the Lemon Squeezer was withdrawn from services and replaced with a new and unpopular Battle Dress cap. The lemon squeezer style felt hat returned serviced in 1977 as a ceremonial item with a plain red puggaree. The Mounted Rifles style slouch hat returned to service with Queen Alexandra’s Mounted Rifles (QAMR) in 1993 with the traditional Mounted Rifles khaki/green/khaki puggaree.

The Mounted Rifles hat with the Mounted Rifles khaki/green/khaki puggaree was adopted as headwear across the New Zealand Army from 1998 to 2012. However, corps puggarees were not reintroduced, becoming the standard army puggaree, with some units utilising coloured patches affixed to the Puggaree as unit identifiers.

In the forty-six years from 1912 to 1958 that puggarees were utilised as a uniform item, each corps adopted different coloured combinations. However, this article focuses on the use and history of Puggarees by New Zealand’s Logistic Corps,

•             The Royal New Zealand Army Service Corps

•             The Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps,

•             The Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and

•             The Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment.

Puggarees of the Royal New Zealand Army Service Corps

The origins of the Royal New Zealand Army Service Corps (RNZASC) puggarees are established in the Regulations of 1912. The RNZASC wore the Khaki/White/Khaki puggarees through the First World War and into the interbellum period.

New Zealand Army Service Corps Puggaree. Robert McKie collection

On 1 June 1924, the NZASC was split into the New Zealand Permanent Army Service Corps, consisting of the Regular ASC NCOs and soldiers, and the NZASC consisting of the Territorial Officers, NCOs and Soldiers.[6] The only uniform difference between the NZPASC and NZASC were their respective brass shoulder titles, with both branches retaining the Khaki/White/Khaki Puggaree

During the Second World War, the NZASC Khaki/White/Khaki remained in use throughout the war

In late 1942, 2NZEF placed a requisition on New Zealand to manufacture 50,000 Officer and Rank and File hat bands (puggarees) for all the different units of the NZEF. As the 3rd Division was in the process of standing up in New Zealand, the Ministry of Supply increased the requestion to 60,100, including

  • 10,000 NZASC Rank and File puggarees, and
  • 1000 NZASC Officer puggarees. [7]
NZASC Puggaree Size Ranges ordered 1943

In early 1944 the decision was made by 2NZEF to replace the lemon squeezer hat with more practical forms of dress, and the requirement for puggarees was adjusted. Considering puggarees already manufactured and the requirement for puggarees by forces in New Zealand and the Pacific, 14590 puggarees from the original order of 61,100 were cancelled.[8] 760 Rank and files NZASC puggarees had already been manufactured, so based on revised calculations, the NZASC order was reduced to 6000 Rank and file and 300 Officer puggarees. [9]

The NZPASC and NZASC were reconstituted on 12 January 1947 and a combined regular and Territorial NZASC, retaining the use of the Khaki/White/Khaki puggaree.[10]

The NZASC was granted royal status on 12 July 1947, becoming the Royal New Zealand Army Service Corps.[11]

Puggarees of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps

The New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) was formed as a unit of the NZEF in early 1915 and established as a unit of the New Zealand Permanent Forces in 1917. It is assumed that as a new unit, a distinctive puggaree was adopted for the NZAOC, but the limited photographs of NZAOC personnel are black and white, making identification of colours difficult.

A Newspaper article from December 1918 does provide evidence that an Ordnance puggaree of red/blue/red existed. The article published in the Press on 5 December 1918 stated, “There are only two units in the New Zealand Division with red in the puggaree. They are the Artillery and Ordnance, and in both units, the colours are red and blue”. This sentence identifies that the Ordnance Puggaree was red and blue.[12]

Ordnance Puggaree, RNZAOC 1947-53 Badge. Robert McKie collection

The NZAOC red/blue/red Puggaree was formalised as the Puggaree of the NZAOC in 1923 when the New Zealand Army updated its Dress Regulations for the first time since 1912.[13]

By October 1939, the expansion of the NZAOC and formation of the New Zealand Ordnance Corps (NZOC) for service with the 2nd NZEF created a requirement for NZAOC puggarees that could not be satisfied from stocks held by the Main Ordnance Depot. An urgent order was raised for 288 NZAOC puggarees

As part of the 2NZEF requestion of 1942, orders to manufacture 2200 NZAOC puggarees were raised.

NZAOC Puggaree Size Ranges ordered 1943

By 1944, 270 NZAOC puggarees had been manufactured and delivered, and despite the order quantities for other corps being reduced, some adjustment was made to the size range required, and the remaining 1930 NZAOC puggarees were manufactured.   

Puggarees of the Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

The youngest of the three New Zealand logistic corps, the Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RNZEME), progressively evolved into a corps from 1942 in three stages.

  • The New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (NZEME) formed as a unit of the 2nd NZEF in November 1942.[14]
  • The formation of the NZEME as a new unit of New Zealand’s Permanent Forces on 1 September 1946, amalgamating and co-ordinating ordnance workshops, mechanical transport workshops, and armourers’ workshops, which in the past have been under separate command.[15]
  • The granting of “Royal” status on 12 July 1947.[16]

As the RNZEME established itself as a Corps, it utilised three types of Puggaree.

Red/Blue/Red Puggaree

As a corps predominantly drawn from the NZAOC, on its establishment in 1946, the NZEME adopted the existing NZAOC Red/Blue/Red Puggaree and NZOC badge. This was a temporary measure until NZEME Puggaree and badges were manufactured.[17]

NZ Ordnance Puggaree with NZOC Badge

Red/Green/Red Puggaree

By 1948 a distinctive Red/Green/Red puggaree with its origins in the NZEME of 2NZEF had replaced the NZAOC Puggaree.

NZEME pattern Puggaree. Robert.McKie Collection

As part of the 2NZEF requestion of 1942, orders were raised for 3000 puggarees for the NZEME.[18]

NZAOC Puggaree Size Ranges ordered 1943

As the NZEME puggaree was a new pattern, its design was described

  • Shades of red material as per Kaiapoi pattern range 7443x (as used in Artillery and Infantry bands).
  • Shades of green material as per Kaiapoi pattern range 18153B 9 (as used in NZMR bands).

The NZEME puggarees were not included in the reduction and cancellation of the 1943 order, and it can be assumed that the complete order of 3000 was manufactured and placed into storage at the Main Ordnance Depot. [19]  A 1945 report places the cost of a dozen NZEME puggarees at £1.3.0 (2022 NZD $107.07).[20]

Blue/Yellow/ Red Puggaree

By 1948 the RNZEME decided to update their Puggaree with one that reflected their corps colours of blue, yellow and red, with an order for 4000 placed on the Kaiapoi Woollen Manufacturing Company. With competing manufacturing demands, the Kaiapoi Woollen Manufacturing Company could not satisfy this order but could provide the required materials. In June 1949, the War Asset Realisation Board District Officer in Auckland selected a Mrs V.I Banton of 117 Lynwood Road, New Lynn, to manufacture the RNZEME puggarees. At the cost of 1/6 each (2022 NZD $6.65). [21]

RNZEME Puggaree. Robert McKie collection

With the initial order for 4000 paced in June 1949, it was not until January 1950 that Mrs Banton provided suitable samples that met the required specifications to allow her to begin production, with the first batch of 704 provided in April 1950.

With the new RNZEME puggaree becoming available, the question of how to dispose of the 1800 red/green/red pattern NZEME puggarees in the Ordnance clothing stores was raised.

It would not be a case of a new pattern in, old pattern out, but one where the old pattern was to be progressively wasted out as stocks of the new pattern became available. The priority was to be RNZEME Territorials Force units first, then distributed to RNZEME Regular Forces units.[22] Photographic evidence suggests that the transition from the NZEME puggaree to the RNZEME Puggaree had been completed by 1951.

Farewell to the Puggaree

A 1947 survey of New Zealand Soldiers found that the Lemon Squeezer was the most popular form of headdress utilised by the New Zealand Army.[23] However, it was not the most suitable type of headdress, and for many of the same reasons 2NZEF discontinued its use during the war, the army began to look for a replacement.

In 1954 the Cap Battledress (Cap BD), commonly referred to as the Ski Cap, was introduced into service. The Cap BD progressively replaced the Lemon squeezer so that by 1960 except for its use by the New Zealand Artillery Band, the Lemon squeezer ceased to be an official uniform item of the New Zealand Army.[24]

NZ Army Cap Battledress (Cap BD), introduced in 1954, was withdrawn from service in 1964. Robert Mckie Collection

With several thousand unused puggarees sitting in Ordnance Depots as now dead stock, unlikely to ever be issued, Army HQ issued instructions that except for  150 RNZA Puggarees of a balanced size range, all other stocks were to be destroyed.[25]  By August 1961, all stocks of puggarees had been destroyed.[26]

The Lemon Squeezer was reintroduced as a ceremonial headdress in 1977, utilising the red Puggaree utilised by the Staff Corps, Permanent Staff and 1953 Coronation Contingent.

Puggaree of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment

The Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (RNZALR) was established in 1996 by amalgamating the Royal New Zealand Corps of Transport, RNZAOC and RNZEME while also absorbing all the All Arms Quartermaster Storekeepers from every corps of the New Zealand Army. A diverse regiment of officers and soldiers from across the army, a means to shape the regiment’s heritage and acknowledge the importance of its and predecessors’ role, was required. An opportunity to coalesce the RNZALR was provided in 1998.

In 1998, the RNZALR was presented with a banner providing a regimental focal point. Several unique dress items, including a puggaree, were introduced to provide the RNZALR Banner escort party with distinctive RNZALR dress embellishments. Missing the opportunity to adopt a new puggaree that reflected the role that the RNZALR’s predecessors had performed with courage and resilience in the past, the leadership of the RNZALR took the cautious and lazy option of adopting a Puggaree with no connection to the legacy corps. The Puggaree adopted was a  blue puggaree, last been utilised by the NZ Provosts in the First World War.

Also, in 1998 the New Zealand Army reintroduced the Mounted Rifles Felt hat as an item of headdress across the army. Already in service with QAMR since 1993, the Mounted Rifles hat retained the Mounted Rifles Khaki/Green/Khaki puggaree. The reintroduction of the Mounted Rifles hat could also be considered a missed opportunity by the leadership of the RNZALR for not advocating the adoption of a unique RNZALR puggaree to be worn by RNZALR units. A compromise was provided through the adoption of a unit flashed affixed to the left side of the Puggaree. While retained by QAMR, the Mounted Rifles hat was withdrawn from general army use in 2012.

In conclusion, the demise of the coloured Puggaree in 1958 removed a valuable means of identifying soldiers and their units. It was an embellishment that by 1970 was missed, and to fill the gap, some corps lobbied for the introduction of corps lanyards while others introduced regimental stable belts. The opportunity was open to reintroducing regimental Puggarees between 1998 and 2022. However, this was missed. Today Puggarres are a reminder of a time of more colourful uniform embellishments and a curiosity for collectors of militaria.


Notes

[1] New Zealand Military Forces Dress Regulations, ed. New Zealand Military Forces (Wellington, 1912). https://rnzaoc.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/1923-nz-army-dress-regs.pdf; “Formation of New Unit and Corps, Constitution of Generals’ List and Colonels’ List, Amalgamation, Redesignation, and· Disbanding of Corps, New Zealand Military Forces,” New Zealand Gazette No 2, 11 January 1947, http://www.nzlii.org/nz/other/nz_gazette/1947/2.pdf.

[2] D. A. Corbett, The regimental badges of New Zealand: an illustrated history of the badges and insignia worn by the New Zealand Army (Auckland, NZ: Ray Richards, 1980 Revised enl. edition, 1980), Non-fiction, 47-48.

[3] “Local And General,” Dominion, Volume 9, Issue 2610,, 4 November 1915, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/DOM19151104.2.38.

[4] “Visit to Paris,” North Otago Times, Volume CV, Issue 14001, 11 December 1917, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NOT19171211.2.58.

[5] New Zealand Military Forces Dress Regulations, ed. New Zealand Military Forces (Wellington, 1923). https://rnzaoc.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/1923-nz-army-dress-regs.pdf.

[6] “Formation of New Zealand Permanent Army Service Corps.,” New Zealand Gazette No 46, July 3 1924, http://www.nzlii.org/nz/other/nz_gazette/1924/46.pdf.

[7] Main Ordnance Depot O.S.56/40/1/2499 Dated 28 June 1943. “Clothing: Felt Hats, Bands: Provision,” Archives New Zealand No R17187892  (1939).

[8] Chief Ordnance Officer 56/40/1/439 Dated 14 April 1944 “Clothing: Felt Hats, Bands: Provision.”

[9] Chief Ordnance Officer 56/40/1/439 Dated 14 April 1944 “Clothing: Felt Hats, Bands: Provision.”

[10] “Formation of New Unit and Corps, Constitution of Generals’ List and Colonels’ List, Amalgamation, Redesignation, and· Disbanding of Corps, New Zealand Military Forces.”

[11] “Designation of Corps of New Zealand Military Forces altered and Title ” Royal ” added,” New Zealand Gazette No 39, 17 July 1947, http://www.nzlii.org/nz/other/nz_gazette/1947/39.pdf.

[12] “Soldiers and Dress – Ordnance Pugaree,” Press, Volume LIV, Issue 16387 (Christchurch), 5 December 1918, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/CHP19181205.2.6.1.

[13] New Zealand Military Forces Dress Regulations.

[14] Peter Cooke, Warrior Craftsmen, RNZEME 1942-1996 (Wellington: Defense of New Zealand Study Group, 2017).

[15];”Formation of Unit of the New Zealand Permanent Force,” New Zealand Gazette No 60, 29 August 1946, 1199, http://www.nzlii.org/nz/other/nz_gazette/1946/60.pdf.

[16] “Designation of Corps of New Zealand Military Forces altered and Title ” Royal ” added.”

[17] “New Unit of Permanent Forces,” Press, Volume LXXXII, Issue 24979 (Christchurch), 13 September 1946, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/CHP19460913.2.16.

[18] Main Ordnance Depot O.S.56/40/1/2499 Dated 28 June 1943. “Clothing: Felt Hats, Bands: Provision.”

[19] Chief Ordnance Officer 56/40/1/439 Dated 14 April 1944 “Clothing: Felt Hats, Bands: Provision.”

[20] Ministry of Supply 10/59/367 dated 13 September 1945 “Clothing: Felt Hats, Bands: Provision.”

[21] War Asset Realisation Board SCB.Q900 Dated 14 June 1949.”Clothing: Puggarees and Hat Bands RNZEME,” Archives New Zealand No R22496567  (1950).

[22] MOD 14/1/19 dated 22 Apr 1950.”Clothing: Puggarees and Hat Bands RNZEME.”

[23] “Lemon squeezer Most Popular NZ Army Hat,” Northern Advocate,, 22 December 1947, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NA19471222.2.17.

[24] Malcolm Thomas and Cliff Lord, New Zealand Army distinguishing patches, 1911-1991 (Wellington, N.Z. : M. Thomas and C. Lord, 1995, 1995), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 128-29.

[25] Army 213/15/1/OS3, dated 1 April 1961.”Clothing: Felt Hats, Bands: Provision.”

[26] SMD 5/20/1/ORD 13 July 1961, “Clothing: Felt Hats, Bands: Provision.”

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