Welcome to our website dedicated to the history of New Zealand’s Military Ordnance Services. We aim to fill a gap in the New Zealand military history narrative by providing a comprehensive and growing history of the Ordnance Services from 1840 to 1996.
The provision of weapons, ammunition, clothing, and equipment used to maintain and service these items is known as Ordnance Stores in the vernacular of British and Commonwealth Militaries. Ordnance Services have been a constant feature of the New Zealand Military landscape since 1840, with the Colonial Storekeeper appointed as the first Government storekeeper responsible for providing arms, munitions, and accoutrements to the first militias.
During the New Zealand Wars between 1840 and 1870, the Commissariat was responsible for keeping the soldier well-fed. The Military Store Department was tasked with keeping the soldier well and comfortably clad and supplied with the munitions of war. The passing of the Colonial Defence Act of 1862 saw New Zealand forces take on a bulk of the responsibility, allowing the withdrawal of Imperial forces by 1870.
The indigenous New Zealand Military saw the growth of a Defence Stores organisation, which supported the military until the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) replaced it as part of the Permanent Forces in 1917. The contribution of the NZAOC to the success of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) in the First World War has rarely been examined. Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Henry Herbert, the first Officer Commanding the NZEF Ordnance Corps and the NZEF Assistant Director of Ordnance Service (ADOS), was tasked after the war to produce a war history of the NZAOC. However, this task was never completed.
The men of the New Zealand Ordnance Corps (NZOC) supported the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force of the Second World War in all theatres. The New Zealand Division in the Western Desert and Italy was regarded as one of the finest Divisions of the war. However, the Ordnance Story was considered an area of little interest. The project was not pursued any further despite its crucial role in understanding the importance of logistics in modern warfare.
On the home front, the Hope Gibbons fire on 29 July 1952 destroyed a bulk of the files relating to the Defence Stores Department, leaving a massive hole in the History of New Zealand’s Ordnance Services.
This website expands on Major Joe Bolton’s 1992 History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, examining in more detail the Ordnance Support and the men and women who provided it during the Colonial era, the World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, and Somalia. It also examines Ordnance Services during peacetime in New Zealand and overseas garrisons.
Thank you for visiting our website, and we hope you find it informative and engaging.
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