Sport and NZAOC in the interwar years – an examination of how sport contributed to the military preparedness and community links of the NZAOC

The Military of New Zealand has a proud sporting tradition; a tradition often touted as an example of how sport and the Military have had a complementary partnership credited with the shaping of the unique New Zealand Identify. Accounts of the 1919 “New Zealand Services” tour of the United Kingdom, France and South Africa and “Freybergs All Blacks” in the wake of World War Two have provided much material for articles, books and documentaries, reinforcing the New Zealand Sporting/Military tradition. However, New Zealand’s Military participation in sport in the period between the world wars is one that has remained mostly unrecorded and unknown. Using the example of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC), this essay will examine how the members of the Ordnance Corps participated as administrators and players in sporting competitions during the interwar period of 1918-1939.  This participation, while a general reflection of New Zealand society of the time, was nonetheless significant because it contributed to the Military’s profile in the community and the military preparedness of the NZAOC.

NZ-Army-team-1919-800

Sport has been a constant companion to New Zealand’s Military endeavours. New Zealand service members are well known for taking any opportunity to put their military duties aside and with the full encouragement of the military hierarchy, participate in sporting competition. Sporting participation in the Military is encouraged because it is not only an easy and practical way of encouraging physical fitness but as stated in the New Zealand Army Publication the NZP20 Sport, useful for promoting “the development of unit morale and esprit de corps, the development of leadership, teamwork, skills, dexterity, comradeship, development of personal qualities and character and the enhancement of the image of the Army in the community.”[1] Although the NZ P20 is the latest interpretation of the role of sport, it is an interpretation that has remained constant throughout all of New Zealand Military endeavours.[2] New Zealand’s final campaign of the First World War was not a military campaign, but rather a nineteen match, six-month tour of France, the United Kingdom and South Africa. The N.Z. Services team chosen from the cream of the NZEF were retrospectively considered in 1928 by Percy Day, the manager of the 1919 South African Services side “superior to the best XV the 1928 All Blacks could field. Being ex-soldiers, their teamwork and team spirit were alike admirable, and they blended into a most workmanlike side.”[3] Additional validation of the relationship between sport and military service came in 1920 as France began to rebuild their Military. Based on observations by the French of fighting quality of British Imperial troops, the French War Minister instructed that the development of sport participation throughout the French Army be made compulsory in every regiment. The radical change was made in part by the French wish to emulate the “fine physique and fighting qualities of the Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans and Canadians, who are the greatest exponents of football, cricket and general sport in the world”.[4]

In the wake of the First World War, sport would undergo a popular resurgence in New Zealand. The nation was determined to move forward to put the losses of the war behind them and “people were determined to enjoy themselves and to forget, or pretend to forget” the traumatic events to the previous four years.[5] Sport as a national institution had already been well established in the years leading up to the First World War and considered by some in New Zealand society as “a moral and physical training ground for young men and therefore a vital component of soldier-making”. However, by 1915 participation would begin to decline as the war effort began to take priority. The resurgence of sporting competitions began in 1918 and by 1919 was in full swing with Rugby Union, Football, Cricket, Shooting and Bowls competitions flourishing across the nation. However, despite the post-war resurgence of sport as a national pastime, the participation of the Military and the Ordnance Corps is less clear. The focus of most contemporary histories of the New Zealand Army for the period 1918-39 are less on sport but on how, despite the high esteem of the Army, how it faced many challenges and struggled for resources. In a period of growing anti-war sentiments, faith in the League of Nations, financial austerity and global depression, the Army underwent many reorganisations restructures and reductions so that by 1931 it had been reduced to a strength of around five hundred men.[6] However, despite the financial limitations of the era, the Ordnance Corps under the leadership of Major Thomas Joseph King, would not only conduct its military duties but also was an active participant in the sporting community.

As the Army adjusted and found its place in post-war New Zealand Society, the Ordnance Corps undertook a similar journey. In 1919 the Ordnance Corps was a relatively young military organisation, having only been formed as a component of the New Zealand Permanent Forces in 1917.[7] With its headquarters and main depot at Wellington’s Mount Cook, the Ordnance Corps was a nationwide organisation with sub-depots in Auckland, Palmerston North, Featherston, Trentham, Christchurch and Dunedin and was the defence agency vested with the responsibility for the provision, storage, maintenance and repair of all of the Defence Forces stores and equipment.[8] Reorganising to meet the need of the post-war Army, the Ordnance Corps would reduce its presence at Mount Cook when it transferred its warehousing functions to Trentham in 1920, followed by the Ordnance Workshops in 1930. Not immune from the effects of the depression, the Ordnance Corps faced its most significant challenge in January 1931 when massive workforce reductions across the NZ Army saw the Ordnance Corps reduced to a strength of 21 Officers and Soldiers with seventy-four men transferred to the Civil Staff, and the remainder retired. Few records of the sporting participation of the Ordnance Corps during the interwar period remain with one of the few pieces of evidence a photo in Joe Bolton’s 1992 History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps. [9] Bolton dedicates eight pages to the interwar period, but in tune with other publications covering New Zealand Military history during the same era, makes no mention of the NZAOC’s sporting participation, except for a single photograph of the 1934-35 Ordnance Cricket team at Upper Hutt’s Maidstone Park.[10]  The general theme of published military history works covering the period set the narrative of the interwar period of one of the struggles of the Military with much of the focus on the Territorial Army with little written about the small Permanent Forces, leading to the assumption that the Ordnance Corps as a military entity did not participate in any sporting activities. However, newspaper archives and records held by Archives New Zealand provide ample evidence that the Ordnance Corps was the most prominent component of the Permanent Forces that participated in community-based sporting competitions, with members of the Ordnance Corps acting as either administrator’s or players.[11] A search of the Papers Past Database using a combination of search criteria show that the Ordnance Corps was an active participant in many sporting activities in two distinct periods during the interwar years. The first recorded period of sporting activity was from 1918 to 1920, with the second period from 1933 to 1939. The absence in the newspaper record between 1920 and 1932 of any Ordnance Corps participation sporting competitions is unexplained. It could have been that resources and the tempo of work precluded participation, or it could be due to a quirk of editorial choice and sports were just not covered in detail during that period.

From 1918 to 1920 the Ordnance Corps was active in a range of team and individual sports including Rugby Union, Shooting, Cricket and Bowls. The Evening Post of October 14 1918, provides an account of a Rugby match between Ordnance and Base Records resulting in an 11 to 3 win for Ordnance. The article describes how the winning tries were scored by Captain King and Private Batchelor with Quartermaster-Sergeant McIntyre converted one try.[12] During 1919, prominent Wellington Newspapers such as the Evening Post and Dominion provided extensive coverage of most sporting competitions in the Wellington region which the Ordnance Corps provided teams to including the Wellington Miniature Rifle Association Osmond Challenge Cup.[13] The Osmond Challenge Cup was an intense competition between several Military and civilian teams from across the Wellington region. An exciting feature of this tournament was that the competition was mixed gender with a team of ladies competing, several of whom were the wives of some of the senior Ordnance Staff.[14] Cricket was also anther popular sport with the Ordnance Corps contributing a team into the Wellington Cricket Association Junior Men’s competition.[15] Lawn Bowls was also popular with the Ordnance Corps maintaining a bowling club up to 1918 participating in competitions and one-off matches. The Ordnance Bowling Club merged into the long-established Johnsonville Club in 1918, raising that club’s membership from Twenty-Four to Forty-Two.[16]  Based on the newspaper records Ordnance Corps participation in Wellingtons sporting competitions fell off after 1920. The likely reason for this sudden disengagement could be attributed to the move of the bulk of the Ordnance Corps to Trentham in 1920, and the reduction of Army staffing levels.

Cricket 1919

The second and most crucial period of Ordnance Corps sporting participation began in 1932 when after twelve years at Trentham the Ordnance Corps Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) entered a team into the Upper Hutt Cricket League competition.[17] The Ordnance Corps would provide a single Ordnance team from the 1933/34 season until the end of the 1938/39 season. During the duration of each season, the Evening Post Newspaper would provide a summary of each game detailing the results of the matches and the high scoring players.[18] By following the Newspaper articles, a roster of the teams participating in the competition is identified, with the Ordnance team along with Upper Hutt and Trentham teams identified as one of the anchor teams of the competition. The Newspaper articles also identify twenty of the men who played for the Ordnance team from 1934 to 1939. Having the names allows cross-referencing against other articles and military personnel files, providing further evidence that the Ordnance Cricket team was not only a sports team but an incubator for the future leaders of the Ordnance Corps. A high number of the players would serve in some capacity in all the different theatres that NZ Ordnance units served in during the war.[19] For example two of the players’ Alan Andrews and Henry McKenzie Reid, then both junior officers would rise to senior Ordnance command positions during the war. Andrews in the 2nd NZEF in the Middle East and Reid in the Pacific. After the war, both would be Director of Ordnance Services (DOS) and then Colonel Commandants.[20] Other players such as Leighton, Stroud and Keegan would all be commissioned during the war and end up commanding Ordnance Subunits in Trentham, Palmerston North and Linton into the early 1950s. The war would bring an end to the Upper Hutt cricket competition with the 1938/39 season the final season of the decade. Sports would flourish in Trentham during the war years, as the camp became a major training camp and logistics centre.[21] However, the Ordnance Corps would not place any terms into the local competition until 1950 when Rugby and Cricket teams representing the MOD once again represented the Ordnance Corps in regional sporting competitions.[22]

ord-cricket-team

One of the most interesting aspects of the Ordnance Cricket team is the use of symbology in the team strip. The existing photograph of the 1934/35 team, picture the team dressed in a simple team strip of whites, with each member wearing a blue cheese cutter type hat with a stylised NZAOC Badge.[23] The use of the Ordnance badge is significant as symbols such as a coloured cap, and a badge can represent the values of the organisation and distinguish the wearer from others.[24] The 1930s were a period of economic austerity, and the provision of a cap badge stylised badge could have been seen as a frivolous and necessary expense. However that these items existed demonstrates a level of commitment by the individual team members to represent their organisation, in this case, the Trentham Main Ordnance Depot in the best possible light.

King

Brigadier T J King, CBE, RNZAOC Regimental Colonel 1 Jan 1949 – 31 Mar 1961. RNZAOC School

In addition to the Ordnance Corps personnel participating in sports throughout these two periods, two individuals are prominent in the field of sports administration, Major Thomas Joseph King and William Saul Keegan. As the DOS from 1924, King was the head of the Ordnance Corps until 1939. In addition to his military duties managing the Ordnance Corps, King was also a significant member of the Wellington Rugby Union (WRU) administration. In the lead-up to the Great War, King served in the Territorials while working as a public servant. King had a lifelong passion for sports and was an accomplished swimmer and capable rugby player. Serving in the NZEF King was one of the first two officers promoted into the newly created NZEF Ordnance Corps. King would serve at Gallipoli where he was injured and repatriated back to New Zealand early in 1916. King continued to serve in the Defence Stores in Wellington and commissioned into the NZAOC on its formation as part of the permanent forces in 1917. He was serving as the second in command of the Ordnance Corps until 1924, King then assumed the appointment of DOS.  As a member of the Oriental Rugby Club in Wellington, the club elections of 1923 saw King appointed as a Vice President.[25] King would then be elected to the WRU management committee from 1926 until 1939. King would not only be involved in the day to day operation of Wellington Rugby; he would also be one of the WRU delegates to the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU). [26] On one occasion King’s WRU duties intersected with his military responsibilities when he recruited Alan Andrews into the NZAOC. Studying at Christchurch University, Andrews played rugby for Canterbury and had made the grade for selection as an All Black in 1934. However, as he was at university, Andrews made the difficult decision to forgo rugby and complete his studies. This decision would be a lifelong regret. Andrews moved to Wellington to complete the practical work for his degree, and King had organised a placement for Andrews through the WRU on the proviso that Andrews played rugby for the Hutt. On completion of his degree, King recruited Andrews into the Ordnance Corps and an Ordnance Officer in 1936.[27] Kings decision was a wise choice, Andrews would have an eventful career attaining the rank of Brigadier. Andrews rugby career high would be when he was selected by General Freyberg early in the war to manage the 2nd NZEF Rugby Team on the cessation of hostilities, a task he completed with much success, with the Khaki Blacks becoming one of the most famous and successful Rugby teams produced by New Zealand.[28] Wartime service would see King resign from the management committee of the WRU, however, in recognition of his long and dedicated services to Wellington Rugby; King received the honour of life membership of the union in 1939.[29] King’s passion for rugby continued during his service in the 2nd NZEF, where in addition to his duties as the Deputy Director of Ordnance Services (DDOS) King would put his skills as a rugby administrator and selector to good use organising fixtures for the various 2nd NZEF teams.[30]

Administering at the club level was William Saul Keegan. Keegan had been a regular Ordnance soldier who was transferred to the civil service in 1931 as part of cost reductions across the Army, continuing to work at the MOD as a civilian throughout the 1930s. In addition to playing cricket for the Ordnance team in the Upper Hutt competition, Keegan was also the President of the Upper Hutt Rugby Club. A legacy of Keegan’s time as club President was the institution of the Wylie-Keegan cup, which remained an annual fixture with Otaki for several years.[31]  A highlight of Keegan’s tenure was that he brought he club out of the financial difficulties into a more stable position.[32] Keegan volunteered for war service and was commissioned as an officer in 1940 and would serve in Ordnance Command appointments until 1950.[33]

In conclusion, the participation of the Ordnance Corps in sporting competitions during the interwar years has remained anonymous in the historical narrative of the period. However, the Ordnance Corps participation was far from anonymous with the newspapers of the day, providing a record of the Ordnance Corps sporting participation with teams and individuals as players and administrators throughout the interwar period from 1918 to 1939. The single reaming team photograph offers a view of the team strip, demonstrating a level of commitment and pride in the Ordnance Corps and a desire to promote it to the local community. Given the nature of the sports, it is evident that sporting participation was useful in maintaining morale and esprit de corps during some difficult times while enhancing the image of the Ordnance Corps and the Army within the community. Finally, the leadership and teamwork that sport encourages were to provide inherent benefits to the Ordnance Corps in the World War of 1939-45. Many of the men who participated in sport as either administrators or players would go on to occupy critical leadership positions within the expanded wartime Ordnance organisation.

Bibliography

Primary Sources

“Army Team Enters H.V.C.A.” Upper Hutt Leader, Volume XII, Number 40, 5 October 1950.

“Compulsory Sport.” Wairarapa Daily Times, Volume 46, Issue 14081, 23 March 1920.

“Dinner and Presentation.” Upper Hutt Weekly Review, Volume III, Issue 39, 16 September 1938.

“Hutt Valley Cricket.” Evening Post, Volume CXVIII, Issue 140, , 11 December 1934.

“Johnsonville Club.” Evening Post, Volume XCVI, Issue 9, Page 5, 10 July 1918.

“Junior Competition.” Evening Post, Volume XCVII, Issue 33, 10 February 1919.

“Minature Rifleshooting.” Evening Post, Volume XCVI, Issue 14, 16 July 1918.

New Zealand Army. “Role of Army Sport.” NZ P20 Sport Chapter 1, Section 2 (2000).

“New Zealand Army Ordnance Department and New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps Regulations.” New Zealand Gazette, No 95, June 7 1917, 2292.

“Regulations for the Equipment of the New Zealand Military Forces.” New Zealand Gazette, June 14 1917, 2369-498.

“Regulations for the Military Forces of the Dominion of New Zealand.”. New Zealand Gazette, 25 May 1927, 1555-600.

“Rifle Shooting.” New Zealand Times, Volume XLIV, Issue 10310, Page 8, 19 June 1919.

“Rugby Football.” Evening Post, Volume XCVI, Issue 91, 14 October 1918.

“Rugby, the Oriental Club.” Evening Post, Volume CV, Issue 57, Page 4, 8 March 1923.

“Upper Hutt Club.” Evening Post, Volume CXXIII, Issue 63, Page 5, 16 March 1937.

“War Diary, 2nzef – Ddos [Deputy Director of Ordnance Services], June 1940 to November 1942.” Archives New Zealand Item No R20111233  (1940).

“William Saul Keegan.” Personal File, New Zealand Defence Force Archives, 1918.

Secondary Sources

Bolton, Major J.S. A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps. Trentham: RNZAOC, 1992.

Cape, Peter. Craftsmen in Uniform: The Corps of Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers: An Account. Corps of Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, 1976. Non-fiction.

Clayton, Garry. The New Zealand Army: A History from the 1840s to the 1990s. [Wellington, N.Z.]: New Zealand Army, 1990, 1990. Non-fiction.

Cooke, Peter. Warrior Craftsmen, Rnzeme 1942-1996. Wellington: Defense of New Zealand Study Group, 2017.

Elliott, Matt. War Blacks. HarperCollins Publishers, 2016. Bibliographies, Non-fiction, Collective biography.

Kelleher, J. A. Upper Hutt: The History. Cape Catley, 1991. Bibliographies, Non-fiction, Government documents.

McGibbon, I. C., and Paul William Goldstone. The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Military History. Auckland; Melbourne; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, 2000. Bibliographies, Non-fiction.

McKie, Robert. “Ordnance Cricket Team 1934/35.”  https://rnzaoc.com/2020/04/19/ordnance-cricket-team-1934-35/.

Ryan, Greg, and Geoff Watson. Sport and the New Zealanders: A History. Auckland University Press, 2018. Bibliographies, Non-fiction.

Swan, Arthur C., and Gordon F. W. Jackson. Wellington’s Rugby History, 1870-1950. Reed, 1952. Non-fiction.

Van Maanen, John Eastin, and Edgar Henry Schein. “Toward a Theory of Organizational Socialization.”  (1977).

Weddell, Howard. Trentham Camp and Upper Hutt’s Untold Military History. Howard Weddell, 2018. Bibliographies, Non-fiction.

Whatman, Mike. Khaki All Blacks: A Tribute to the ‘Kiwis’: The 2nd Nzef Army Rugby Team. Hodder Moa Beckett, 2005. Bibliographies, Non-fiction.

Notes

[1] New Zealand Army, “Role of Army Sport,” NZ P20 Sport Chapter 1, Section 2 (2000).

[2] I. C. McGibbon and Paul William Goldstone, The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Military History (Auckland; Melbourne; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, 2000), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 506.

[3] Matt Elliott, War Blacks (HarperCollins Publishers, 2016), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, Collective biography, 274.

[4] “Compulsory Sport,” Wairarapa Daily Times, Volume 46, Issue 14081, 23 March 1920.

[5] Greg Ryan and Geoff Watson, Sport and the New Zealanders: A History (Auckland University Press, 2018), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 151.

[6] Garry Clayton, The New Zealand Army: A History from the 1840’s to the 1990’s ([Wellington, N.Z.]: New Zealand Army, 1990, 1990), Non-fiction, 105-10.

[7] “New Zealand Army Ordnance Department and New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps Regulations,” New Zealand Gazette, No 95, June 7 1917.

[8] Less rations and Fuel “Regulations for the Equipment of the New Zealand Military Forces,” New Zealand Gazette, June 14 1917.

[9] Major J.S Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Trentham: RNZAOC, 1992), 80-88.

[10]  Peter Capes, 1976 Craftsmen in Uniform and Peter Cooke’s 2017 Warrior Craftsmen both, cover the NZAOC during the interwar period, but similarly to the contemporary military histories any mention of the Sporting contribution of the NZAOC is absent  Peter Cape, Craftsmen in Uniform: The Corps of Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers: An Account (Corps of Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, 1976), Non-fiction, 16-34.; Peter Cooke, Warrior Craftsmen, Rnzeme 1942-1996 (Wellington: Defense of New Zealand Study Group, 2017), 14-17.

[11] The 1927 Regulation for NZ Military Forces details that the Permanent Forces consisted of the following elements:

  • NZ Staff Corps.
  • NZ Permanent Staff.
  • Royal NZ Artillery.
  • NZ Permanent Air Force.
  • NZ Permanent Army Service Corps.
  • NZ Army Medical Corps.
  • NZ Army Ordnance Corps.
  • NZ Army Pay Corps.
  • General Duty Section of the Permanent Forces.
  • NZ Air Force.
  • NZ Veterinary Corps.
  • NZ Dental Corps.

“Regulations for the Military Forces of the Dominion of New Zealand.,” New Zealand Gazette, 25 May 1927.

[12] “Rugby Football,” Evening Post, Volume XCVI, Issue 91, 14 October 1918.

[13] “Minature Rifleshooting,” Evening Post, Volume XCVI, Issue 14, 16 July 1918.

[14] “Rifle Shooting,” New Zealand Times, Volume XLIV, Issue 10310, Page 8, 19 June 1919.

[15] “Junior Competition,” Evening Post, Volume XCVII, Issue 33, 10 February 1919.

[16] “Johnsonville Club,” Evening Post, Volume XCVI, Issue 9, Page 5, 10 July 1918.

[17] J. A. Kelleher, Upper Hutt : The History (Cape Catley, 1991), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, Government documents, 312-13.

[18] “Hutt Valley Cricket,” Evening Post, Volume CXVIII, Issue 140, , 11 December 1934.

[19] Robert McKie, “Ordnance Cricket Team 1934/35,”  https://rnzaoc.com/2020/04/19/ordnance-cricket-team-1934-35/.

[20] Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, 35-35.

[21] Howard Weddell, Trentham Camp and Upper Hutt’s Untold Military History (Howard Weddell, 2018), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 129-67.

[22] “Army Team Enters H.V.C.A,” Upper Hutt Leader, Volume XII, Number 40, 5 October 1950.

[23] The colour of the type is badge is confirmed as an example remains on display in the NZ Army’s Trade Training School at Trentham.

[24] John Eastin Van Maanen and Edgar Henry Schein, “Toward a Theory of Organizational Socialization,”  (1977): 44.

[25] “Rugby, the Oriential Club,” Evening Post, Volume CV, Issue 57, Page 4, 8 March 1923.

[26]. Arthur C. Swan and Gordon F. W. Jackson, Wellington’s Rugby History, 1870-1950 (Reed, 1952), Non-fiction, 187-88.

[27] Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, 257.

[28] Mike Whatman, Khaki All Blacks : A Tribute to the ‘Kiwis’ : The 2nd Nzef Army Rugby Team (Hodder Moa Beckett, 2005), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 18-26.

[29] Swan and Jackson, Wellington’s Rugby History, 1870-1950, 126.

[30] “War Diary, 2nzef – Ddos [Deputy Director of Ordnance Services], June 1940 to November 1942,” Archives New Zealand Item No R20111233  (1940).

[31] “Dinner and Presentation,” Upper Hutt Weekly Review, Volume III, Issue 39, 16 September 1938.

[32] “Upper Hutt Club,” Evening Post, Volume CXXIII, Issue 63, Page 5, 16 March 1937.

[33] “William Saul Keegan,” Personal File, New Zealand Defence Force Archives 1918.

 

Copyright © Robert McKie 2020


Deputy Superintendent of Stores – Joseph Osbertus Hamley

Maull & Co (Photographers) : Joseph Osbertus Hamley

Portrait of Joseph Osbertus Hamley in military uniform, photographed by Maull & Co, of London, circa 1885. Maull & Co (Photographers): Joseph Osbertus Hamley. Ref: 1/2-096511-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22824704

 

During the conflicts that occurred in New Zealand between 1847 and 1870, Joseph Osbertus Hamley was a key player in the provision of Logistical support to the Imperial and Colonial Forces. Although Hamley played an important role in supporting the Imperial and Colonial Forces he has faded into obscurity. However, Hamley legacy is a collection of paintings that record various landscapes that Hamley observed while in the field.

Hamley had joined the Ordnance Department as an 18-year-old in 1838 and appointed to the Ordnance Department in Sydney. Transferred to New Zealand in 1847, Hamley was appointed Deputy Ordnance Storekeeper in Wellington and participated in the Hutt Valley and Wanganui campaigns. In 1857 he was appointed Deputy Superintendent of Stores as the head of the Imperial Army’s Military Store Department.[1]

The Military Store Department is an organisation whose contribution to the campaigns of the 1860s has been overshadowed by the much larger and more well-known Commissariat, but existing records show that Hamley was well regarded and provided effective leadership of the Military Store Department.  Hamley was no military bureaucrat but a man of action who when fires threatened both Wellington and Auckland, Hamley would also play a key role in leading the firefighting efforts. [2] [3] On one occasion in Wellington, Hamley risked his own life saving the life of a girl who had fallen into Wellington Harbour.[4] A keep sportsman, Hamley was a keen cricket player and also established the Hamley Shooting Club and Swimming Baths in Auckland.

After thirty-two years of overseas service, of which twenty-Three had been spent in New Zealand, and one of the last Imperial Officers remaining in New Zealand, Hamley would return to England in 1870.[5]  Hamley would retire as a Major-General in 1880 after more than 42 years of service and died on 5 July 1911.

A keen painter and sketch artist Hamley produced over fifty-one watercolours of various scenes while on campaign in various part of New Zealand. Providing a value record of early New Zealand, this collection now resides in the Turnbull Library at Wellington.

 

 

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :[March on the beach between Wanganui and Taranaki. A stroll on the beach, Mount Egmont in the distance after marching all night. Wanganui Campaign. 16 February 1856]
Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :[March on the beach between Wanganui and Taranaki. A stroll on the beach, Mount Egmont in the distance after marching all night. Wanganui Campaign. 16 February 1856]. Ref: E-047-q-038. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand

 

New Plymouth from Marsland Hill
Photograph of an ink and watercolour painting, dated 1860 and signed by Joseph Osbertus Hamley. Looks over New Plymouth from Marsland Hill. St Mary’s Anglican church is in the foreground. The Huatoki River is visible. The camp on the right is occupied by Imperial forces of the 65th Regiment, under the command of Lieutenant Urquhart. Photograph taken by John Nicol Crombie circa 1861.  Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911. New P

 

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :Auckland, Ordnance Store buildings, Fort Britomart [August 1864]
Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: Auckland, Ordnance Store buildings, Fort Britomart [August 1864]. Ref: E-047-q-030. A

 

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :Auckland, with St Paul's church, and Ordnance Store, Fort Britomart [August 1864]
Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: Auckland, with St Paul’s church, and Ordnance Store, Fort Britomart [August 1864]. Ref: E-047-q-029. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22654738

 

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :Taranaki, Mount Eliot in centre, landing place at base, New Plymouth [July 1864]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: Taranaki, Mount Eliot in the centre, landing place at base, New Plymouth [July 1864]. Ref: E-047-q-024. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22780364

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :Auckland Cemetery. Graves of Commodore Burnett, R. N. and Captain Mercer, R. A. [Between late 1863 and 1866]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: Auckland Cemetery. Graves of Commodore Burnett, R. N. and Captain Mercer, R. A. [Between late 1863 and 1866]. Ref: E-047-q-023. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22762994

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :[Sandhills and waterfall near Tauranga. 1864?]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :[Sandhills and waterfall near Tauranga. 1864?]. Ref: E-047-q-047. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22312176

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :Soldiers bathing. Wanganui Beach [January 1865?]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: Soldiers bathing. Wanganui Beach [January 1865?]. Ref: E-047-q-040. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22834039

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :Near Nukumaru. [January 1865?]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: Near Nukumaru. [January 1865?]. Ref: E-047-q-042. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22915539

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :Maungatautari [March or April 1864]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: Maungatautari [March or April 1864]. Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: Sketches in New Zealand [ca 1860 to 1864]. Ref: E-047-q-034. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22874689

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :Whata Whata peach grove [Spring, 1864]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: Whata Whata peach grove [Spring, 1864]. Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: Sketches in New Zealand [ca 1860 to 1864]. Ref: E-047-q-014. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22884414

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :Kanniwanniwah, Waikato [1864]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: Kanniwanniwah, Waikato [1864]. Ref: E-047-q-032. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22340150

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :Whata Whata peach gardens [1864]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: Whata Whata peach gardens [1864]. Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: Sketches in New Zealand [ca 1860 to 1864]. Ref: E-047-q-013. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23089592

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :View from Razorback [1864]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: View from Razorback [1864]. Ref: E-047-q-003. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22805954

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :Soldiers making gabions, Pukerimu, Waikato [April? 1864]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: Soldiers making gabions, Pukerimu, Waikato [April? 1864]. Ref: E-047-q-033. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22801039

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :Te Rore, Waikato [1864]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :Te Rore, Waikato [1864]. Ref: E-047-q-011. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23221070

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :Ngaruawahia from opposite bank. General's quarters. King's palace. King's flagstaff. Council Chambers [1864]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: Ngaruawahia from opposite bank. General’s quarters. King’s palace. King’s flagstaff. Council Chambers [1864]. Ref: E-047-q-009. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23169418

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :Meremere, Waikato [1864]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: Meremere, Waikato [1864]. Ref: E-047-q-006. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23192397

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :Taranaki landing place [1864]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: Taranaki landing place [1864]. Ref: E-047-q-020. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22631635

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus 1820-1911 :Taupiri, looking down the Waikato [March 1864]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus 1820-1911: Taupiri, looking down the Waikato [March 1864]. Ref: E-047-q-008. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23082097

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus 1820-1911 :Waiari. Hongi's pah on the left - 70th Regt's redoubt on the right. [February 1864]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus 1820-1911: Waiari. Hongi’s pah on the left – 70th Regt’s redoubt on the right. [February 1864]. Ref: E-047-q-015. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23148710

Zealand. /records/22863632

 

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus 1820-1911 :Waitotara. [1865]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus 1820-1911: Waitotara. [1865]. Ref: E-047-q-012. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22324767

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :Camp at Patea [1865]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: Camp at Patea [1865]. Ref: E-047-q-050. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22317949

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus 1820-1911 :Horowhenua Lake, famous for wild duck shooting. [Lake Papaitonga, ca 1870]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus 1820-1911: Horowhenua Lake, famous for wild duck shooting. [Lake Papaitonga, ca 1870]. Ref: E-047-q-051. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23142967

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :Camp at Waitotara, Taranaki - Wanganui [1864. One of our Brasier's non fighting days]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: Camp at Waitotara, Taranaki – Wanganui [1864. One of our Brasier’s non fighting days]. Ref: E-047-q-036. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22772498

lymouth from Marsland Hill. Ref: PA1-q-250-05. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23179948

 

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus 1820-1911 :[Oakura Stream near Taranaki. 28 June 1864]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus 1820-1911: Oakura Stream near Taranaki. 28 June 1864]. Ref: E-047-q-037. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23152927

 

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :Wanganui, showing blockhouses from the sandhills. [16 January 1865]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: Wanganui, showing blockhouses from the sandhills. [16 January 1865]. Ref: E-047-q-039. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22323722

lexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22813691

 

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :Te Awamutu from Picquet Hill [1864]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: Te Awamutu from Picquet Hill [1864]. Ref: E-047-q-017. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22794696

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :Henui Bridge, Taranaki [June 1865]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: Henui Bridge, Taranaki [June 1865]. Ref: E-047-q-022. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22634591

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus 1820-1911 :The Bluff Stockade, Waikato [1864]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus 1820-1911 :The Bluff Stockade, Waikato [1864]. Ref: E-047-q-004. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23042698

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :Near Ngaruawahia [1864]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: Near Ngaruawahia [1864]. Ref: E-047-q-010. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23160348

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus 1820-1911 :Pukerimu, Waikato. [April 1864]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus 1820-1911: Pukerimu, Waikato. [April 1864]. Ref: E-047-q-046. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23142277

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus 1820-1911 :Martin's Farm, Drury, on the road to the Waikato. [1863]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus 1820-1911: Martin’s Farm, Drury, on the road to the Waikato. [1863]. Ref: E-047-q-001. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22788823

[Hamley, Joseph Osbertus] 1820-1911 :Blewitt's Redoubt. Rangiawhia. [ca 1864].

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus 1820-1911: Blewitt’s Redoubt. Rangiawhia. [ca 1864].. Ref: E-047-q-016. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22672192

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :[Maori fishing pa, Wanganui Coast near Hawera, possibly the Waingongoro River, South Taranaki, 1864 or 1865]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: Maori fishing pa, Wanganui Coast near Hawera, possibly the Waingongoro River, South Taranaki, 1864 or 1865]. Ref: E-047-q-043. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23178467


 

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :Nukumaru - Lieut. Johnson killed there. [Picket at Nukumaru, 30 January 1865]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: Nukumaru – Lieut. Johnson killed there. [Picket at Nukumaru, 30 January 1865]. Ref: E-047-q-041. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23202880

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus 1820-1911 :Bell Block near Taranaki. [1864]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus 1820-1911: Bell Block near Taranaki. [1864]. Ref: E-047-q-026. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23099222

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :Taupiri from the Coal mines [1864]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: Taupiri from the Coal mines [1864]. Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: Sketches in New Zealand [ca 1860 to 1864]. Ref: E-047-q-007. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23133076

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :Marsland Hill, Taranaki [New Plymouth, 22 June 1864]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: Marsland Hill, Taranaki [New Plymouth, 22 June 1864]. Ref: E-047-q-019. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23031226

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :Onehunga, near Auckland. [1864]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: Onehunga, near Auckland. [1864]. Ref: E-047-q-027. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23199887

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911 :View looking up the Patea River. [South Taranaki, 1865]

Hamley, Joseph Osbertus, 1820-1911: View looking up the Patea River. [South Taranaki, 1865]. Ref: E-047-q-045. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23030473

 

Notes

[1] Una Platts, Nineteenth Century New Zealand Artists : A Guide & Handbook (Christchurch, N.Z. : Avon Fine Prints, 1980, 1980), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, Collective biography, 117.

[2] “Accident,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XVI, Issue 1204, , 15 March 1859.

[3] “Fire in Wyndham Street,” New Zealander, Volume XIX, Issue 1944, Page 2, 12 August 1863.

[4] “Local Intelligence,” Wellington Independent, Volume XV, Issue 1328, , 2 March 1859

[5] “Projected Departure of Mr Hamley,” Wellington Independent, Volume XXV, Issue 3017, 9 July 1870.


Furness Bomb Disposal Camera and Control Panel

A Little bit of Ammo Tech Porn

Tales from the Supply Depot

The Furness bomb disposal vehicle was a remote controlled ‘robot’ that was a sacrificial tool used to blow up car bombs by placing a charge against the suspected bomb and then blown up to safely destroy the bomb. Parts of any sort of bomb disposal vehicle are pretty scarce, but I have been lucky enough to pick up both the control panel used by the EOD officer and the armoured video camera used to see what the robot can see:

The control panel is a large metal box with controls to move the Furness robot and control the cameras, lights and robotic arm:

The top of the control panel has a multi pin connector that is used to attach the panel to the control cable that ran to the Furness and sent the signals down to the machine to control it:

The side of the panel has more buttons and…

View original post 212 more words


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.

20171124_082624-166274243.jpg

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.

Solomons

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

NZAOD

  • 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.

RIP Joe
Sua Tele Tonnti

1592109768278-6ec536ce-0240-44b3-a36f-a49f34da41c6_.jpg

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

 


1914 – 1919 War Memorial Plaque, St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Palmerston North

Taking a break from telling the story of the New Zealand Ordnance Services, this article examines how the loss of war is memorialised in many New Zealand communities.

The First World War was a traumatic and defining event for the young county of New Zealand with over one hundred thousand men and women serving during the war. The effects of the war would be felt across all sectors of New Zealand society as New Zealand suffered a fifty-eight per cent casualty rate. As the nation collectively grieved, one way it came to terms with the tremendous loss of life was in the erection and dedication of war memorials across the nation. One example of such a memorial is the St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Memorial Sunday School building at Church Street in Palmerston North, a building dedicated to the memory of the thirty-six members of the congregation that did not return from the war.  The building ceased to serve its original role many years ago and is now a bridal studio located in what is now a side street adjacent to Palmerston Norths only mall. However, the memorial plaque remains as a reminder of the losses inflicted onto the local community by the First World War. This article will focus on four of the men from the St Andrews congregation, and examine their’ life geography’ to tell their story of where they came from and the community that they lived-in.

st-andrews-sunday-school-memorial

The former St Andrews Church Sunday School, Palmerston North: Bruce Ringer, 2018

In the years from 1910 to 1923, the congregation of St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church maintained an average congregation of 306. So given that the church had lost 11.6 per cent of its congregation in the war, it was a fitting and appropriate memorial to those men that the new Sunday School building was dedicated in their memory in 1923. [1] The memorial plaque is a simple marble tablet with the dedication and the names of the fallen engraved and filled in with lead lettering, parts of which are starting to deteriorate. The Names are in alphabetical order with Surnames followed by post-nominals and then initials, unfortunately not all the initials are entirely correct, leading to a disconnect between the memorial and records.

st-andrews-sunday-school-memorial1

St Andrews Church Sunday School, War Memorial Plaque. Palmerston North: Bruce Ringer, 2018

To determine the correct names and to construct the comparative table below (Table 1), verification of the names on the memorial was in the first instance checked against records held online by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC).[2] From the data held by the CWGC, the individual’s service number was identified, which in turn was then used to extract the individual’s personnel file from either Archives New Zealand,[3] or the National Archives of Australia.[4]  To simplify the reading and interpretation of the Individuals service record, a search of the records held in the Auckland War Memorial Cenotaph website would often provide a transcript of the individual’s service record.[5]  Although the service record is robust and provides all the essential information on a serviceman’s military service but little on the service members his life outside of the military. Two useful websites offered additional information on the civilian life of the servicemen, the National Library of New Zealand Papers Past website,[6] and the pay for use website Ancestry.com, both these sites contribute in filling in many of the gaps found in the service records.

Table 1

This combination of multiple sources, which in some cases provided useful cross-referencing of information and the inclusion of new information created the table at appendix 1; providing details on the thirty-six men including;

  • Date and place of birth,
  • civilian occupations,
  • previous military service,
  • marital status,
  • Location on enlistment,
  • Enlistment date, servicer umber, rank at time of death and unit they were serving in, and
  • age and places of death.

Given the range of information and geographic data that can be filtered from such a table, for this research, only four servicemen were examined in detail. Table 2 details four men who based on some simple criteria, became candidates for this study. The criteria are based on their situation at the time of their enlistment, in that they; were all living in suburban Palmerston North, they were between the ages of 20 and 26, and they all belonged to the same Territorial Army Unit.[7]

Table 2

Robert Carville Bett

Robert Carville Bett joined the NZEF on 10 December 1914 as part of the initial surge of enthusiastic volunteers in the early years of the war. Born in Palmerston North, Bett was the older brother of three sisters. A coachbuilder by trade, Bett was an active member of St Andrews Church Presbyterian Church, where he contributed to the church as a lay preacher and secretary and sub-leader of the Bible Class. Bett would also fulfil his compulsory military service commitment by serving in J Battery of the New Zealand Field Artillery (NZFA). Deploying on the 2nd Reinforcements of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF), Bett would serve with the Veterinary Corps in Egypt and be invalided home in November 1915 after contracting typhoid fever. During his time in Egypt, he continued his civic spirit by contributing to the work of the Egyptian YMCA organisation in providing welfare services to the New Zealand troops.[8]

Returning to New Zealand and regaining his fitness, Bett was back in camp in March 1916 and offered a commission in both the Veterinary and Army Service Corps, Bett, however, chose to join the infantry as a private soldier. Leaving with the Fourteenth Reinforcements in June 1916, Bett wold serve with the Otago Infantry Regiment of the New Zealand Division in the Battle of the Somme and would die as a result of wounds during the Battle of Messines on 14 June 1917. Bett’s death was felt hard in Palmerston North as he was a well-admired young man. Regretfully Bett was the sole male child of his family, leaving it without a representative for the future.[9]

James Henry Carson

James Henry Carson would be called up by Ballot in April 1917 and would serve in Trentham and Featherston camps, succumbing to the Influenza in November 1918. James was born in Wellington and was the third child in a family of four boys and a girl. The Carson family had moved to Palmerston North by 1907 when the fourth child, Sydney, died at the age of thirteen in a tragic shooting incident.[10] The Carson family patriarch James Senior was a Cordial Maker and proprietor of the business of ‘Carson and Son’ which James was an also an employee. James would also meet his compulsory military service commitments by serving in J Battery of the NZFA.[11]

James married Linda Edwards at St Andres Church on 14 October 1917.[12]  James was called up for Military service by Ballot, and when serving on the Artillery Details at Featherston Camp, Linda passed away after a short illness on 29 June 1918.[13] The tragedy of this death would have only compounded the family’s pain as they had only received notification that John Carson, the Oldest of the Carson children, had died in France a month earlier.[14] James continued to train at Featherston, but sadly on the day after peace was declared, Carson died of Influenza at Featherston Camp on 12 November 1918.[15]

James Henry Carson

Vernard Clifton Liddell was from a long-established Foxton family and was the second child in a family of four boys and one girl. A competent Hockey player, Vernard had played reprehensive hockey for both the Manawatu and Wellington districts. Meeting his compulsory military service commitments, Liddell would serve in J Battery of the NZFA.[16]  At the time of his enlistment, he was working as a clerk for the agricultural sales firm of Messrs Barraud and Abraham’s on Rangitikei Street. Liddell’s sister Rita would later be working for the same firm in1939.[17] Liddell would enlist into the NZEF in October 1915 and see service with the New Zealand Division in France until 24 April 1918 when he died of wounds as a result of combat operations.[18]  Two of Liddell’s brothers would also serve in the NZEF during the war.

Owen George Whittaker Priest

Owen George Whittaker Priest was the eldest son in a family of two boys and two girls, originally from Akaroa, the Priest family would move north, first to Inglewood and the settling in Palmerston North by 1910. Like his peers, Priest would also complete his compulsory Military service obligations with J Battery NZFA and at the time of his enlistment was working as a clerk for the Stock and Station agents, Abraham and Williams Ltd.[19] Liddell would be one of the earliest volunteers for the NZEF, enlisting on 11 August 1914. Liddell would see service at Gallipoli and France. Having survived Gallipoli, Liddell was killed in action in the early days of the N.Z. Divisions actions in France on 9 July 1916.[20]

Conclusion

In this small church community of about three hundred, it is certain that almost all of these thirty-six men were acquaintances of each other, and their families were connected in some manner, with the loss of these men was felt collectively across the community. This sense of community is highlighted in the examples of Bett, Carson, Liddell and Priest. As well as their connection to the church, they all lived and worked in proximity to each other, and as Territorial soldiers would have trained and socialised together. So next time you pass a memorial such as this, please don’t ignore it as a relic of an event long forgotten but instead take the time to reflect on the men and women listed on the memorial and the supreme sacrifice that they made.

Appendix 1

Notes

[1] 1910 congregation was 253, 1919 congregation was 422, 1923 congregation was 343. They Ventured – Who Follows?: St Andrews Presbyterian Church, Palmerston North, 1876-1976., ed. St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (Palmerston North1976), 33-34.

[2] Commonwealth War Graves Commission, “Find War Dead,” https://www.cwgc.org/find/find-war-dead/.

[3] Archives New Zealand, “Archway Search,” https://www.archway.archives.govt.nz/.

[4] National Archives of Australia, “Record Search,” https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/SearchScreens/BasicSearch.aspx.

[5] The Auckland War Memorial Cenotaph is essentially a simplified transcript of the individual’s service record with the inclusion of additional information such as photos, documents and family research not included on the service records. Auckland War Memorial Museum, “Online Cenotaph Search,” http://www.aucklandmuseum.com/war-memorial/online-cenotaph.

[6] National Library of New Zealand, “Papers Past” https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/.

[7] J (Howitzer) Battery of the New Zealand Field Artillery. A Palmerston North Territorial Army unit that was formed in 1912. Alan Henderson, David Green, and Peter D. F. Cooke, The Gunners: A History of New Zealand Artillery (Auckland, N.Z.: Reed, 2008, 2008), Non-fiction, 67.

[8] Archives New Zealand, “Bett, Robert Carville – Ww1 17/253 “Personal File, Record no R22276304 1914-1918.

[9] “Roll of Honour (Bett),” Manawatu Times, Volume XL, Issue 137278, 26 June 1917, 26 June 1917.

[10] “Sad Affair in Palmerston North,” Manawatu Herald, Volume XXIX, Issue 3769, 22 August 1907.

[11] “Carson, James Henry – Ww1 53956 “Personal File, Record no R121892583  (1914-1918).

[12] “Wedding Bells,” Manawatu Standard, Volume XLI, Issue 10495, 17 October 1916.

[13] “Deaths,” Manawatu Standard, Volume XLIII, Issue 1287, 2 July 1918.

[14] “Roll of Honour (Carson),” in Manawatu Times, Volume XL, Issue 13895 (1918).

[15] “Roll of Honour (Carson),” Manawatu Times, Volume XLIII, Issue 14265, 11 November 1919.

[16] “Liddell, Vernard Clifton – Ww1 2/2667 ” Personal File, Record no R121892583  (1914-1918).

[17] Palmerston North Libraries and Community Services, “Barraud & Abraham Ltd. Staff,” https://manawatuheritage.pncc.govt.nz/item/3a21b537-ae9e-4708-908a-9d108d3f7d37.

[18] “Personal (Liddell),” Feilding Star, Volume XIV, Issue 35197, 7 May 1918.

[19] Archives New Zealand, “Priest, Owen George Whittaker – Ww1 2/381,” Personal File, Record no R20802976  (1914-1918).

[20] “Roll of Honour (Priest),” Manawatu Standard, Volume XLII, Issue 10141 9 July 1916.



The Gruber Ration Pack

Emperor Haile Selassie in 1935 before the Ethiopian Mobilisation order against Mussolini’s Invading Italian forces.

“Everyone will be mobilised and all boys old enough to carry a spear will be sent to Addis Ababa . Married men will take their wives to carry food and cook. Those without wives will take any woman without a husband.”

The supply of rations is not a traditional Ordnance responsibility, however with the rationalisation of New Zealand Army Logistics in 1979, the RNZAOC assumed responsibility from the RNZASC for the Supply of Rations and Fuel. Part of these responsibility’s was the manufacture of Ration Packs, which was carried out by the Ration Pack Production Section (RPPS) in Trentham. In addition to the ration packs produced by the RPPS, the New Zealand Advanced Ordnance Depot (NZAOD) in Singapore assumed  responsibility in 1979 for the production of the “Gruber Pack” a unique ration pack designed to supplement the standard ration packs in the tropical conditions of South East Asia. Never told before, this article provides the background on the “Gruber Pack”.

It it a necessity for rations to be provided to soldiers on the move or when situated away from their normal home base with the necessary to supply rations on the basis of :

  • the individual,
  • the small group (squad, section, platoon), and
  • the large group (company size or larger).

Dramatic improvements have occurred over the last two hundred years that have seen the improvement of military field rations. led by the the invention of the can and then preservation techniques including drying and freeze-drying to the modern retort pouches that now the staple of modern Military Ration packs.

New Zealand traditionally followed the British lead when it came to military field rations with the British army issue ration biscuit the ‘Huntley & Palmers Army No 4’ and tinned bully beef the staple during the First World War. The Second World War would provide a boost in the technology of military field rations with the United Kingdom developing military field rations for use across the world and the United States in parallel developing 23 different military field rations and ration supplements.

New Zealand would take its first steps in developing a military field ration in 1958 when trials were conducted to develop;

  • 24 hour, four man ration pack for armored units, and
  • a 24 hour, one man for infantry units.

The results of these trial were the development of the following Ration packs

  • One-Man 24 Hour Ration Pack (Canned) – (one man/one day) for use when individual feeding is necessary , e . g . patrols. Suitable for continuous use up to seven days . A combination of tinned and dry items designed for reheating although tinned food can be eaten hot or cold . There were are three different menus related to this ration pack
  • One-Man 24 Hour Ration Pack (Lightweight) – An individual ration (one man/one day) for use when individual feeding is necessary , e . g . patrols. Suitable for continuous use up to seven days . As the items in this pack are dehydrated, it should not be used in areas where water is not available. Designed to provide three meals per ration pack .
  • Ten Man Ration Pack – A composite ration of tinned foods. Designed for reheating in communal feeding in multiples of 10 .
Canned Ration Pack
1986 Individual Contents of the One Man, 24 Hour Ration Pack (Canned)

By 1976 these ration packs had been in service for a number of years with little work carried out in developing them further.  To supplement these rations packs, a habit had evolved where soldiers when deploying into the the field would take additional “Bits and Pieces” such as potatoes, onions, curry etc to supplement the meagre “ration pack”.

During 1976,  Warrant Officer Class Two J.A Gruber, the Catering Warrant Officer, 1 RNZIR in Singapore took note and decided to design a New Zealand supplementary pack based on tropical needs to enhance the 24 Hour Ration Pack used by soldiers living in the field for weeks on end and the “Gruber Pack” was developed.

The origins of the Gruber Pack date back to the Vietnam era where the idea of a supplementary ration pack originated. In those days the United States Army provided a Combat Composite Pack monthly to each company. The Combat Composite Pack contained extra “goodies” such as cigarettes, gum, fruit juice, tins of fruit, etc today termed jack rats.  The supplementary pack that WO2 Gruber designed was intended to supplement the existing 24-hour ration pack and was to be consumed on the ration of one Gruber to five 24-hour packs.

The actual components of the Gruber Pack would vary from time to time, but were a combination tinned and dry items and based on the daily nation allowance for Singapore which in 1986 was SDG $6.11.

Designed to be eaten by an individual over 24 hours, Gruber Packs needed half a litre of water to reconstitute the beverages, and had a nutritional value of 2433Kcals. Given the climate and components used, a Gruber Pack had a shelf life to two years.

Gruber Packs were assembled on an as required basis from locally purchased components by work parties from 1RNZIR, initially under the control of the NZ Supply Platoon, RNZASC until 1979 and then by the NZAOD until 1989.

The components would be carefully packed into plastic bags to keep them dry and safe, with individual packs packed, ten to a fiberboard carton.

Technical Data for the Gruber pack was;

  • Gross weight 10.2 Kg per carton of ten.
  • Individual pack measurement 40.6mm x 21.4mm x 33mm.
  • Volume .028m3 or 1.14 cu ft.

MENU

  • Chicken Curry/Beef curry/Mutton Curry 170gm. Tin: 1
  • Pea/Mixed Vege 184gm Tin: 1
  • Fruit Cocktail 248gm Tin: 1
  • Cornflakes 60gm Pkt: 1
  • Instant Noodles 85gm Pkt: 1
  • Herring in Tomato sauce/Pork in Tin/Luncheon Meat 98gm Tin: 1
  • Tea Bags Bags: 2
  • Instant Coffee Sachet: 3
  • Milo Sachet: 2
  • Raisins 42gm Pkt: 1
  • Chewing Gum Packet: 2
  • Non-Dairy Creamer 3gm Pkt: 6
  • Toilet Paper Sheets: 5
  • Salt Sachet: 2
  • Pepper Sachet: 2
  • Sugar Sachet: 6
  • Fruit Drink Container: 1
  • Tomato Sauce Sachet: 2
  • Chilli Sauce Sachet: 2
  • Matches Packet: 1
  • Kleenex Tissues Packet: 1

The Gruber Pack was unique to the New Zealand Forces in Singapore. Following the withdrawal of New Zealand Forces from Singapore in 1989, the Gruber Pack disappeared from the New Zealand Military ration menu. However, trials to upgrade the in service ration packs had been underway since 1986, and many of the lessons learnt from the Gruber pack were absorbed into the new ration packs that began to be manufactured by the RNZAOC from 1990.


VE Day 75 and the RAOC

Philip Hamlyn Williams blog

Bill Williams’s Victory message paid particular tribute to the non-regular officers, women of the ATS and civilians who worked so hard and well with regular officers and men. He welcomed the even closer links welded with the Ordnance Corps of the British Empire: India, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. He ended by encouraging renewed efforts for the war against Japan. The QMG added, ‘‘never before had British Armies been so adequately maintained under such difficult and varied conditions’

Five months earlier, Bill had written this in his Christmas message to the men and women of the RAOC and ATS:

1944 will be recorded in history as a year of wonderful achievement. Our heroic invasion army, this time last year, scattered throughout Great Britain and the Mediterranean is now battering its way through the last line of defence to the Ruhr and Germany itself. The gallant Eighth Army has…

View original post 398 more words


Central Districts Vehicle Depot

The RNZAOC established Vehicle Depots in 1948 when the RNZAOC absorbed the stockholding responsibilities of the wartime Mechanical Transport Branch(MT Branch). Three Vehicle Depots were established as standalone Ordnance units, separate of the regional Ammunition and Ordnance depots;

  • Northern Districts Vehicle Depot (NDVD), at Sylvia Park, Auckland,
  • Central Districts Vehicle Depot (CDVD), Trentham Camp,
  • Southern Vehicle Depot (SDVD), Burnham Camp.

The role of the Vehicle Depot was to manage;

  • a fleet of a “CL” and “GS” vehicles for use during training periods and Annual Camps,
  • a pool of “CL” vehicles for admin use, new vehicles pending distribution,
  • and BER/BLR vehicles pending repair of disposal.

A typical RNZAOC Vehicle Depot consisted of:

  • A Vehicle Park,
  • A Kit Kit Store, and at times
  • an RNZEME Maintenance Section.

Having the CDVD Located at Trentham was not the ideal location as Linton and Waiouru housed the bulk of its customer units. The movement of vehicles and personal between these locations to uplift and return vehicles from the CDVD pool was time-consuming and a significant administrative effort. Therefore in 1957, the decision was made to relocate the CDVD to Linton by the end of 1958.

The move to Linton would see the CDVD relocated to the Battalion Block between the ASC Supply and Transport unit by the Linton railhead and the Central Districts Ordnance Depot (CDOD) in the North West of Linton Camp. Occupying purpose-built facilities ad Dante Road at Trentham, the move of the CDVD would see the construction of storage sheds, complete with servicing pits and a headquarters building at Linton to complement the existing WW2 Era buildings.

Not all the CDVD functions would be relocated to Linton. The Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) would establish a Vehicle Sub Depot with responsibility for;

  • The receipt, processing and issue of all new vehicles,
  • Custody of vehicles considered part of the Army reserve
  • Custody and disposal of surplus vehicles held by CDVD that were declared or about to be declared for disposal.

The CDVD remained a standalone Ordnance unit until 1961 when it became a sub-unit of the Central DIstricts Ordnance Depot.

Selection of Vehicles held by CDVD Linton1957-61

The following photos illustrate a variety of WW2 Era vehicles held by the CDVD at around 1957-61. These could be pool vehicles for the Central Districts, or as the NZ Army was introducing into service the RL Bedford and Series 2 Landrover, these could be vehicles for disposal.

GMC CCKW 2½-ton 6×6 truck

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GMC CCKW 2½-ton 6×6 truck. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

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GMC CCKW 2½-ton 6×6 truck. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

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GMC CCKW 2½-ton 6×6 truck. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

 

GMC CCKW 2½-ton 6×6 truck (Binned Stores)

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GMC CCKW 2½-ton 6×6 truck. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

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GMC CCKW 2½-ton 6×6 truck. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

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GMC CCKW 2½-ton 6×6 truck. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

 

CMP Ford GS 4 X4

 

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3/4 front view of NZ Army Ford truck. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

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Side view of CMP Ford GS 4 X4. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

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Rearview  CMP Ford GS 4 X4. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

CMP Chevrolet GS 4×4

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3/4 front view CMP Chevrolet GS 4×4. Air Force Museum of New Zealand.

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Rearview CMP Chevrolet GS 4×4. Air Force Museum of New Zealand.

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Side view of CMP Chevrolet GS 4×4. Air Force Museum of New Zealand.

CMP Chevrolet 4×4

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3/4 front view of CMP Chevrolet 4×4. Air Force Museum of New Zealand.

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Side view of CMP Chevrolet 4×4. Air Force Museum of New Zealand.

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Rearview of CMP Chevrolet 4×4. Air Force Museum of New Zealand.

CMP Chevrolet 15-cwt

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CMP Chevrolet 15-cwt. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

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CMP Chevrolet 15-cwt. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

CMP Chevrolet 3 -ton 4 x 4 Wrecker

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CMP Chevrolet 3 -ton 4 x 4 Wrecker. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

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CMP Chevrolet 3 -ton 4 x 4 Wrecker. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

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CMP Chevrolet 3 -ton 4 x 4 Wrecker. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

AEC MATADOR

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Side view of NZ Army AEC Matador. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

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Side view of NZ Army AEC Matador. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

Ambulances

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Side view of Ford V8 ambulance. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

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Air Force Museum of New Zealand

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Air Force Museum of New Zealand

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Air Force Museum of New Zealand

 

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Linton Camp, March 1962

CDVD Legacy

As the NZ Army vehicle fleets changed the need for dedicated Vehicle Sections decreased, with the vehicle sections within the RNZAOC Supply Companys shadows of the Vehicle Depots of the 50’ and ’60s.

In the modern New Zeland Army, the concept of managing vehicles in pools was reinvented in 2011 with the creation of the Managed Fleet Utilisation (MFU) programme. The MFU programme was several equipment fleets managed as a loan pool on behalf of the New Zealand Defence  Force by a civilian contractor.

In 2020 the same WW2 Era buildings alongside the building erected in 1958  thas served the CDVD in 1958 are still utilised by the MFU and the legacy RNZALR Supply Company.

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Storage sheds built for the CDVD in 1958, the middle shed is an extension added in the late 1990s. Robert Mckie Collection

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WW2 Era buildings on the edge of what was the CDVD Vehicle Block. Robert McKie Collection

 

 

 


Memories of Service – Ron Cross

Memories of Service

 

Lieutenant Colonel Ron Cross is a military man through and through, A Regular Force Cadet, Artilleryman, Infantryman, a Graduate of the Officer Cadet School, Portsea and RNZAOC Officer, including a stint as Chief instructor of the Ordnance School from November 1972 to August 1974 and Officer Commanding of the NZAOD from April 1976 to May 1978, Ron is a  proud soldier.

In this Memories of Service video produced by the New Zealand Returned Services Associaton.  Ron recounts the experiences that shaped his life. Joining up as a regular Army Cadet, Ron served in both the Malayan conflict and the Vietnam War. From the comedy of preparing for jungle warfare in snow-covered hills around Tekapo to the tension of being fired on at close range on the roads of Vietnam, Ron’s vivid recollections are captivating.

Click on the attached link to view the video:

https://www.nzonscreen.com/title/memories-of-service-ron-cross-2017