New Zealand’s Flaming “A” Badge

Since 1971, Ammunition Technical Officers (ATOs) and Ammunition Technicians (ATs) of the New Zealand Army have proudly worn the Flaming “A” Badge, a symbol of the dangerous and skilful nature of the AT trade. The AT trade evolved from managing powder magazines in the 19th century to managing the full range of ammunition and explosives available to the modern New Zealand Army. The Flaming “A” Badge is more than a symbol of the dangerous and skilful nature of the AT trade but an acknowledgement to those who wear it of their trade’s long and proud whakapapa.

In early Colonial New Zealand, Ammunition and explosives were imported from the United Kingdom and Australia. To safely store and distribute powder and shot, Powder magazines were established at Wellingtons Mount Cook and Auckland’s Mount Albert, with specialist expertise required for the handling and storing of these stocks provided by qualified and experienced individuals from the British Military Stores Department and Royal Artillery and Engineer officers. As the Imperial Forces completed their withdrawal from New Zealand in 1870, full responsibility for New Zealand’s Magazines and Ammunition was passed to the Defence Stores Department.

From 1873 the powder magazines at Mount Albert and Mount Cook were replaced by new facilities at Auckland’s Mount Eden and Wellingtons Kaiwharawhara, both of which remained in use through to the 1920s. Supporting the dispersed Militia and Volunteer Forces, magazines were maintained by the Defence Stores Department at most provincial centres.

With the formation of the permanent Garrison Artillery in 1884, Frederick Silver and Robert George Vinning Parker, Sergeant Majors with considerable experience in the Royal Marine Artillery and Royal Garrison Artillery, then serving as constables in the Armed Constabulary, were transferred to the Garrison Artillery as instructors. Providing a solid base of experience, Silver and Parker were instrumental in mounting much of New Zealand’s Garrison artillery, compiling books and manuals and, in conjunction with the Defence Storekeeper managing the stocks of Artillery ammunition.

With the government’s encouragement, Major John Whitney established Whitney & Sons as an ammunition manufacturing company in Auckland. With additional investors, this company became the Colonial Ammunition Company (CAC) in 1888, the first ammunition manufacturer in New Zealand and the first in Australasia. Entering a contract with the New Zealand Government to produce Small Arms Ammunition (SAA), the deal was that the government provided the powder with the CAC providing the components for manufacturing complete cartridges. The Government retained the right to inspect and conduct quality control inspections on each batch before acceptance by the New Zealand Forces. The testing regime was a simple one which consisted of testing only a small percentage of a batch by test firing. The test results were based on the performance of this percentage that the ammunition is accepted or rejected.

With the production of .577 Snyder Ball Ammunition underway by 1890, the first testing, inspection and acceptance of the initial batches were conducted by Major John Pirie of the New Zealand Militia. Formerly a Major in the Guernsey Militia, Major Pirie immigrated to New Zealand, becoming the Auckland District Musketry Instructor in 1881 and conducting inspections of manufactured Ammunition until July 1891. From July 1891, ammunition inspection was passed to the Officer Commanding the Auckland District, Major Goring. In 1893, Lieutenant J E Hume of the Permanent Militia was responsible for examining ammunition. Hume held this responsibility in addition to his other duties until 1898.

On 6 February 1898, a formal request was placed on the United Kingdom for the recruitment of a suitable Warrant Officer from the Royal Artillery to “Take charge of the testing operations of SAA and the supervision of the manufacture of the same”. Quartermaster Sergeant Instructor Arthur Duvall, Royal Garrison Artillery of the Artillery College, was selected as the Small Arms Testing officer for the New Zealand Forces. To be promoted to 3rd Class Master Gunner on appointment, it was to be a three-year engagement at a rate of Nine Shillings a day with free quarters or a £50 per annum housing allowance. Arriving in New Zealand in July 1898, Duvall was soon at work at the CAC premises at Mount Eden in Auckland. Extending his engagement every three years, Duvall completed twenty years of service with the British Army in 1911. Taking his discharge in New Zealand, Duvall was immediately attested into the New Permanent Staff as an Honorary Lieutenant on 26 April 1912 and then promoted to Honorary Captain on 1 April 1914.

In 1902, Silver was discharged from the Artillery and was appointed as the Assistant Defence Storekeeper. While taking on the duties of Assistant Defence Storekeeper, Silver also retained responsibility for managing all the Artillery’s stores and ammunition. Following the implementation of the Defence Act 1909 and subsequent reorganisation, Silver transferred from the Defence Stores to the office of the Director of Artillery. He was appointed as Quartermaster (Honorary Lieutenant) into the post of Artillery Stores Accountant, retaining responsibility for all artillery stores and ammunition. Retiring in June 1913, Silver was replaced as Artillery Stores Accountant by Parker, who was promoted from Warrant Officer to Quartermaster (Honorary Lieutenant).

With the Colonial Ammunition Company in Auckland manufacturing SAA, thus allowing a measure of self-sufficiency, the same could not be said for artillery ammunition which all had to be imported from overseas. Parker conducted a cost-benefit analysis to assess the virtues of locally made-up artillery ammunition compared to imported items. Parker estimated that by cleaning and refilling casings, inspecting and refurbishing propellant bags, and manufacturing new ones as required, annual savings of £3,333 (2022 NZD$633,605) could be made. To achieve these savings, a recommendation that a specialist Royal New Zealand Artillery Ordnance Corps Section be established to manufacture and modify ammunition was made. General Godley approved the proposal in mid-1914, and on 1 March 1915, authority was granted under New Zealand Defence Forces General Order 90 to raise the New Zealand Army Ordnance Section with effect from 1 April 1915.

On 31 May 1917, regulations constituting the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department (NZAOD) and New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC), backdated to 1 February 1917, were approved and published in the New Zealand Gazette of 7 June 1917, concluding forty-eight years of service provided by the Defence Stores Department,

Administrative control of the New Zealand Artillery Ordnance Section was passed to the NZAOC, and Parker was commissioned as Captain in the NZAOD as the Inspector of Ordnance Machinery. However, his time in this post was short, as he retired on 30 September 1919.

On 10 January 1918, Duvall was transferred from the Permanent Staff to the NZAOD, graded as an Ordnance Officer Class 3 with the rank of Captain as the Proof Officer SAA. The post of Proof Officer SAA was to be a continuous appointment in the New Zealand Army ammunition supply chain until 1968, when the CAC shifted its operations to Australia, ending its long relationship with the New Zealand Army.

Experience during the 1914-18 war highlighted the need for specialist officers trained in the technical nature of ammunition. Undertaking several courses of instruction in the United Kingdom, Captain William Ivory, RNZA, returned to New Zealand at the end of 1919 to assume the role of Inspecting Ordnance Officer (IOO). Lieutenant A de T Nevill, RNZA, took the post of Acting IOO in 1925 to allow Ivory to undertake regimental duties within the RNZA, with Ivory reassuming the position of IOO on 2 January 1927. On Ivory’s retirement in 1933, Lieutenant Ivan Roberts Withell, RNZA, assumed the appointment of IOO, a role held until his death on 31 August 1946.

On the formation of the NZAOC in 1917, the Royal New Zealand Artillery (RNZA) Ordnance Section at Fort Ballance passed to NZAOC control, continuing with its task of storing, repairing, and refurbishing ammunition under the control of the RNZA. With The Kaiwharawhara Magazines closed in the early 1920s, Watts Peninsular on the north end of Wellingtons Miramar peninsular became the first large-scale ammunition depot of the NZAOC. The ammunition infrastructure consisted of 19 magazines, one store and a laboratory spread out across the peninsula at Shelly Bay, Kau Point, Mahanaga Bay, Fort Ballance and Fort Gordon. These were not purpose-built ammunition magazines but repurposed submarine mining and coastal artillery fortifications dating back to the 1880s. In the case of Kau Point and Forts Ballance and Gordon, the large six- and eight-inch disappearing guns had been removed in the early 1920s, and the gun pits roofed over, becoming ad-hoc magazines. This accommodation was far from ideal as temperature and moisture control could not be adequately controlled, resulting in potential damage t ammunition stocks.

A smaller Ammunition section was also maintained at Mount Eden in Auckland until 1929, when along with some staff from Fort Balance, the Mount Eden Ammunition Section was transferred to New Magazines at Hopuhopu Camp. Envisaged to be the principal ammunition depot for New Zealand, eleven magazines and a laboratory were constructed between 1925 and 1927. Built into the hillside to contain any blasts, the magazines were made of concrete, with double walls forming an inspecting chamber. The intent of the inspection chamber was for sentries to observe thermometers and adjust the ventilation to maintain the stock at optimal temperatures by consulting a chart.

The NZAOC Ammunition sections were civilianised in 1931 when nearly all of the NZAOC military staff were transferred to the Public Service as civilian staff at a lower rate of pay or placed on superannuation as the result of government budgetary restraints.

When New Zealand entered the Second World War in September 1939, the responsibility for ammunition was shared between the RNZA and the NZAOC.

  • The Director of Artillery was responsible to the General Officer Commanding for.
    • The provision and allocation of gun ammunition,
    • The receipt, storage, and issue of gun ammunition and explosives other than small-arms ammunition
  • The Director of Ordnance Services, assisted by the IOO and the SAA Proof Officer, were responsible to the Quartermaster-General for.
    • The inspection and repair of gun ammunition,
    • The provision, receipt, storage and distribution of small arms ammunition.

NZAOC Ammunition facilities and personnel shared by the RNZA and NZAOC in September 1939 consisted of.

  • The IOO, Captain I.R Withell, RNZA
  • The Proof Officer, SAA Mount Eden Auckland, Honorary Lieutenant J.W Fletcher, NZPS
  • 19 Magazines, 1 Store, and an Ammunition Laboratory at Fort Ballance managed by
    • an RNZA WO1 seconded to the NZAOC
    • five members of the NZAOC civilian staff
  • 11 Magazines and an Ammunition Laboratory at Hopuhopu Camp managed by
    • an RNZA WO1 seconded to the NZAOC and
    • two members of the NZAOC civilian staff.
  • Single SAA Magazines at Trentham and Burnham Camps.

From 1940 as the New Zealand Army moved from a peacetime to a wartime footing, the Ammunition trade grew exponentially as new infrastructure was constructed to accommodate the extensive range of ammunition required for training and home defence, with Modern Explosive Store Houses built at.

  • Burnham – 8 Magazines
  • Ohakea – 6 Magazine
  • Papakura (Ardmore)- 28 Magazines
  • Hopuhopu and Kelms Road – 55 Magazines
  • Waiouru – 45 Magazines
  • Makomako – 39 Magazines
  • Trentham (Kuku Valley) – 22 Magazines
  • Belmont – 62 Magazines
  • Glen Tunnel – 16
  • Mount Somers – 10
  • Fairlie – 9
  • Alexandra – 9

In 1942 a conference of the QMG, DQMG2, AQMG5, COO, DCOO and IOO reset the wartime policy and organisation of New Zealand Military Ammunition services in which,

  • The COO and the Ordnance Ammunition Group were responsible for the management and storage of ammunition
  • the Chief IOO (CIOO) was responsible for all technical management and inspection of ammunition.

With the role of the IOO branch now defined, from January 1943, the establishment of the IOO Branch was steadily increased to more robust levels.

From mid-1945, discussions started taking place on the post-war shape of the NZAOC. Some thought was given to returning the NZAOC to its pre-war status as a predominantly civilian organisation. Reality prevailed, and the future of the NZAOC was assured as a permanent component of the post-war Army.

The Proposed establishment of NZAOC Ammunition units saw the first widespread use of Ammunition Examiner (AE) as the ammunition trade name. AEs had existed in the British Army since 1923, evolving from the trade of Military Laboratory Foreman that had been established in 1886. Although the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) authorised the use of a specialist AE badge consisting of an ‘AE in Wreath’ in 1942, permission to wear this badge was not granted to New Zealand AEs.

RAOC Ammunition Examiner Trade Badge 1942 to 1950 with ‘homemade’ Brass Version.

The first New Zealand AE were in the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary (2NZEF), where New Zealand Ordnance Corps (NZOC) AEs were included as part of the 2nd New Zealand Division NZASC Ammunition Company establishment. Little information is known about the 2NZEF AEs. They were likely recruited from within 2NZEF, given some rudimentary training by the RAOC and set to work.

From 1 June 1945, the Artillery Headquarters element responsible for managing Gun Ammunition, the Ammunition and Equipment Section, was transferred to the control of the Chief Ordnance Officer (COO), ending the RNZA roles in the management of ammunition that had existed since the 1880s and the employment of Parker and Silver. As a result of the transfer, 11 Officers and 175 Other Ranks of the Royal New Zealand Artillery were absorbed into the NZAOC establishment.

On 15 November 1945, the QMG directed that the care, maintenance, accounting and storage of all ammunition and explosives was the responsibility of the COO. Under the COO, these duties were to be undertaken by

  • The IOO Section
  • The NZAOC Ammunition Section

Under the CIOO, the IOO Section was responsible for.

  • The control of all work on ammunition for all purposes other than accounting and storage,
  • Maintenance of Ammunition and explosives in stock in a serviceable condition and ready for use,
  • Provision of personnel for inspection and repair and for working parties to carry out repairs,
  • Provision of all equipment and stores required for the inspection and repair of ammunition,
  • Provision and accounting for Motor Transport necessary for the transport of stock for inspection and repair,
  • Administration and control of Repair Depot Trentham,
  • Maintenance of buildings at Repair Depot Trentham.

The NZAOC Ammunition Section was responsible for.

  • The accounting, storage and care of ammunition and explosives,
  • Maintenance or magazines areas and of buildings and services connected with the storage of ammunition and explosives,
  • Administration of personnel of the IOO Section, while attached to ammunition depots concerning pay, rations, quarters, clothing and discipline,
  • Transport arrangements for the movement of ammunition not connected with the inspection and repair of ammunition at depots.

The provision of suitably trained personnel was a constant problem for the CIOO. A course for IOOs was conducted over November/December 1945 to provide sufficient Officers to fill the IOO establishment. Graduates included

  • Captain John Gordon Renwick Morley
  • Captain Gerald Arthur Perry
  • Lieutenant Heaphy
  • Lieutenant W.G Dixon
  • Lieutenant Eric Dudley Gerard

On 1 September 1946, Army Headquarters “Q” Branch underwent a significant reorganisation which included the formation of the New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (NZEME) and the reorganisation of New Zealand’s Ordnance Services under the Director of Army Equipment (DAE) which became the senior NZAOC appointment.

Under the DAE, Ordnance Services were divided between the,

  • COO, responsible for Headquarters New Zealand Ordnance Services, including the Provision Group
  • CIOO, responsible for the IOO Group

On the retirement of the incumbent DAE, Lieutenant Colonel C.S.J. Duff, DSO, RNZA, on 3 July 1947, the appointment of DEA was renamed Director of Ordnance Services (DOS), with Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Huia Andrews, RNZAOC, appointed as the first post-war DOS on 1 October 1947.

By 1949 the Ammunition organisation had further evolved, combining the IOO and NZAOC Section into a single ammunition organisation, with

  • The CIOO and staff providing DOS with the required technical advice on ammunition
  • District IOOs appointed to each District Headquarters as the Ammo advisor to the District DADOS
  • District Ammunition Sections now renamed as
    • Northern District Ammunition Depot
    • Central District Ammunition Depot
    • Southern District Ammunition Depot
  • Army Ammunition Repair Depot
  • Army Ammunition Supply Depot

To facilitate the further reorganisation and refinement of the Ammunition functions, the DOS hosted the first conference of Senior Ammunition Officers at Trentham Camp from 21-24 June 1949.

RNZAOC IOOs and AEs 1949

With the role of Inspection Ordnance Officers and Ammunition Examiners now embedded into the structure of the New Zealand Army, The Ammunition trade remained an under-resourced trade, struggling to fill its establishments despite having a high operating tempo. Typical activities supported during the 1950s included,

  • Continuous inspection of wartime ammunition held depots
  • Disposal of surplus and obsolete ammunition by
    • Dumping at sea
    • Destruction within depots
    • Sale to the public (SAA natures)
    • Transfer to allied nations
  • Supply of Ammunition to support Compulsory Military Training
  • Disposal of Blinds and unexploded Ammunition discovered in wartime training areas
  • Trials and introduction into service of new natures of ammunition
  • Technical Ammunition support to the Fiji Military Forces

In the United Kingdom, a competition was held in 1948 to design a new badge for RAOC Ammunition Examiners, with a design by Major Leonard Thomas Herbert Phelps accepted. Rumoured to be based on the Elizabeth Arden Cosmetics Company logo, the new Ammunition Examiner badge, consisting of a 3″ x 2″ Red, Black and Gold Flaming Grenade superimposed with the Letter A in the body of the Grenade signifying the AE trades position as an “A” Class trade, and was the first three-colour trade badge in the British Army.

Elizabeth Arden lipstick

In 1950 The British Army Dress Committee gave authority for AEs of the rank of Sergeant and above to wear the ‘Flaming A’ Trade Badge as a ‘Badge of Appointment’. However, it took time for this badge to be approved for wear by New Zealand’s Ammunition Trades.

Large ‘Ammunition Examiner’ Badge c1950, Brass and Anodized ‘Flaming A’ Badges. https://raoc.websitetoolbox.com/post/ammunition-technicians-badge-1566875?highlight=ammunition%20technician%20badge

In 1959 a comprehensive review of army dress embellishments was conducted to provide a policy statement on the wear embellishments such as

  • Shoulder titles
  • Formation Patches
  • Service Badges
  • Badges of Appointment
  • Instructors Badges
  • Skill-at-Arms Badges
  • Tradesmen’s badges

In reviewing Badges of Appointment, it was found that in comparison with the British Army, some badges of appointment worn by the British Army were also approved for wear by the New Zealand Army. Worn below the rank badge by WOs and above the chevrons by NCOS, examples of British badges of appointment worn by the New Zealand Army included,

  • Gun, worn by WO2s, SSgts and Sgts of the RNZE
  • Grenade, worn by WO2s, SSgts and Sgts of the RNZA
  • Hammer and Pincers, worn by WO2s, SSgts and Sgts of the RNZEME
  • Lyre, worn by Bandsmen

In the case of the RAOC AE flaming “A” badge, it was felt that there was merit in supporting the use of the same badge for wear by RNZAOC ammunition trades, and the adoption of the flaming “A” badge was recommended.

Despite the many recommendations for the army dress embellishment review, the only decision was to adopt shoulder titles and formation patches. The Army Dress Committee invited the Adjutant General to prepare a paper on dress embellishment and draw up a policy on Badges of Appointment, Instructors Badges, Skill-at-Arms Badges and Tradesmen’s badges. The wait for a badge for AE’s was to continue.

As the RNZAOC organisation matured in the late 1950s, it became apparent that the system in place of having separate Ordnance, Vehicle and Ammunition Depots located in the same locations but under different command arrangements was impracticable and not an efficient use of resources. Starting in 1961, a reorganisation was undertaken to consolidate administrative, accounting and store functions under one headquarters. The restructuring resulted in only one RNZAOC depot in each district, which consisting of,

  • Headquarters,
  • Stores Sub-Depot,
  • Ammunition Sub-Depot,
  • Vehicle Sub-Depot
  • Traffic Centre.

To achieve this, all the existing District Ammunition Depots became sub-depots of a District Ordnance Depot, designated as.

  • Ammunition Sub-Depot, Northern Districts Ordnance Depot (NDOD) – Ngāruawāhia,
  • Ammunition Sub-Depot Central Districts Ordnance Depot (CDOD) – Linton,
  • Ammunition Sub-Depot Southern Districts Ordnance Depot (SDOD) – Burnham

Ammunition Sub-Depots now consisted of:

  • Ammunition Inspection Section.
  • Ammunition Repair Section.
  • Non-Explosive Store.
  • NDOD Ammunition Areas.
    • Ardmore
    • Kelm road
    • Ngāruawāhia
  • CDOD Ammunition Areas
    • Waiouru
    • Makomako
    • Belmont
    • Trentham
  • SDOD Ammunition Areas
    • Burnham
    • Glentunnel
    • Fairlie
    • Mt Somers

In 1960 the RAOC renamed their Ammunition Trades, and concurrent with the 1961 reorganisation, the RNZAOC decided to align the Ammunition Trade with the RAOC and adopt the same trade names, making the following changes.

  • Chief Inspecting Ordnance Officer became Chief Ammunition Technical Officer
  • Senior Inspecting Ordnance Officer became Senior Ammunition Technical Officer
  • District Inspecting Ordnance Officer became District Ammunition Technical Officer
  • Inspecting Ordnance Officer became Ammunition Technical Officer
  • Ammunition Examiner became Ammunition Technician

Up to 1961, Ammunition Technical Officers (ATOs) were usually only employed in Ammunition-related duties. However, as a result of this reorganisation, ATOs were now used across all of the RNZAOC and, as such, were required to balance their regular duties with their Ammunition responsibilities.

1968 saw further reorganisation with the Main Ordnance Depot at Trentham was renamed 1 Base Ordnance Depot and the District Ordnance Depots renamed

  • Northern District Ordnance Depot to 1 Central Ordnance Depot
  • Central District Ordnance Depot to 2 Central Ordnance Depot
  • Southern District Ordnance Depot to 3 Central Ordnance Depot

A significant aspect of the 1968 reorganisation was the Disestablishment of The Small Arms and Proof Office co-located at Mount Eden when the CAC closed down, ending the ammunition trades’ long relationship with the CAA. Additionally, the Ammunition Proof and Experimental Centre operations at Kuku Valley was closed down, and its operations moved to the new Joint Services Proof Establishment at Kauri Point in Auckland.

Keen to provide the Ammunition trade with a suitable trade identifier Major D.H Rollo, the CATO, sent a message to the New Zealand Defence Liaison Staff in London in September 1968 requesting the following information from the UK Chief Inspector of Land Service Ammunition (CILSA) on the RAOC AT Badge

  • Do other ranks and officers wear it
  • Conditions of entitlement to wear
  • Cost of badge
  • Possibility of procuring samples
  • Any other pertinent details which may guide in adopting a similar badge

By the end of November 1968, through the New Zealand Defence Liaison Staff, the UK CILSA provided the following information on the RAOC AT badge to the New Zealand CATO,

  • Worn by all Ammunition Technicians on No 1 and No2 Dress. It is not worn with any other form of dress.
  • Price
    • No1 Dress – 7/6d each,
    • No 2 Dress – 5.1/4d each
  • Samples of each badge to be provided

Armed with this information that the RAOC badge was only approved for wear by ATs and not ATOs, CATO raised a submission to the 77th meeting of the Army Dress Committee in April 1969 for approval to introduce the Flaming “A” badge for New Zealand ATs. However, it was not a robust submission and was declined because it was contended that there was not sufficient justification for the badge, with the following reasons given.

  • Other trades in the Army were equally deserving of such a badge
  • The low standard to qualify for the badge

The Dress Committee agreed to reconsider the matter if further justification could be supplied.

By 1969 developments in the United Kingdom and the troubles in Northern Ireland saw the unofficial wearing of the RAOC AT badge by ATOs, and by 1971 an ATO badge consisting of a small ‘Flaming Circle’ without the superimposed A was introduced in the June 1971 DOS Bulletin.

Moving forward from Major Rollo’s initial submission, New Zealand’s CATO, Major Bob Duggan, reconsidered the earlier proposal and, on 13 July 1970, through the DOS, submitted the following for a combined AT/ATO Badge,

CONSIDERATIONS

6.            R & SO Vol II provides for the wearing of qualification badges, and a study of that publication reveals that a large proportion of Army Corps already have these. Many badges require less effort for qualification than would the exacting trade of Ammunition Technician. In addition, and supporting the acceptance of an ATO/AT Badge, these technicians are frequently required to deal with other services and members of the public.

7.            The low standard required to qualify for this badge has been reconsidered in light of information obtained on similar standards received from overseas. In addition, it was never the intention to cheapen the significance of this badge in the RNZAOC or those of any other Corps. The standard required to qualify for the ATO/AT badge would now be as follows:

a. Technical Officers who have practised for a minimum of one year.

b. All Ammunition Technicians, regardless of rank, who have qualified in all ways for four stars in their trade.

8.            The Public Relations side of the duties of ATO/Ats, as mentioned in paragraph 6 above, is further explained. This aspect concerns the collection and disposal of stray ammunition and explosives as well as involvement with the Police and other Government Departments in bomb scares. The average annual number of items, all natures and types of stray ammunition which have been collected over the last three years is 5750, which represents approximately 450 calls by ATOs or four-star ATs. ATO/ATs are requested by Police Stations throughout New Zealand

a. To visit many private homes to identify-stray ammunition.

b. Assess whether or not the items are in a dangerous state, and

c. Remove such items for disposal. If an item is in an armed state, it could mean disposal in situ’.

9.            The request is therefore not for a trade badge, but one of recognition and identification as to the dangerous and skilful nature of their specialist work.

With the Support of the Army Q Branch, the Army Dress committee approved the introduction of the AT Badge for qualified RNZAOC ATOs and ATs on 31 May 1971

The New Zealand AT badge adopted in 1971 was identical to the RAOC AT Badge. The criteria for being awarded was for Officers to have completed one year of practical experience after graduating from the ATOs Course in Australia or the United Kingdom. For ATs to qualify, they were required to be qualified in all aspects of the trade, which could take up to six years.

The United Kingdom continues to maintain different ATO and AT badges. The Australian Army utilises an RAOC style, ATO badge with a stylised Wattle for ATOs and ATs.

Australian Army Ammunition Technical Officer/Ammunition Technician Badge. https://www.army.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Army%20Dress%20Manual_0.pdf

Examples of New Zealand ATO/AT Badges

1st pattern Ammunition Technician Badge. Robert McKie Collection
1st pattern Ammunition Technician Badge Mess Kit Badge. Robert McKie Collection

In 1988, as part of a New Zealand Army initiative to develop insignia with a unique New Zealand flavour, fern fronds were included across many New Zealand Army badges, including the AT Badge.  The fern fronds represented New Zealand’s national plant, the silver fern, which had been used to represent New Zealand in sports uniforms and military insignia since the 1880s.

New Zealand ATOs and ATs matured into a highly specialised trade that, on the amalgamation of the RNZAOC into the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (RNZALR) in 1996, had a wide range of responsibilities, including

  • The inspection, storage and maintenance of all ammunition and explosives used by the Army
  • The conduct of technical trials on new ammunition,
  • The conduct investigations into ammunition incidents and accidents,
  • The disposal of unserviceable or obsolete ammunition,
  • The management of Explosive Ordnance Devices and Improvised Explosive Devices.

New Zealand’s Ammunition trade has progressed from storing and managing black powder magazines in the 19th century to managing the many modern ammunition natures available to the 21st century New Zealand Army. Although introduced in 1971 to recognise and identify the specialist, dangerous and skilful nature of the Ammunition trade, the flaming “A” badge is a fitting symbol of the trade’s progress.


Plan of the Defence Stores Mount Eden

This undated plan of the Mount Eden Goal Reserve provides a view of the layout of the long-forgotten Auckland Defence Stores Mount Eden location. Located between the Goal and Auckland Grammar School, this plane was drawn up sometime between 1907 and 1917

The Defence Stores footprint at Mount Eden started in 1871 when two magazines were constructed to house Defence ammunition, then stored at Albert Barracks in the centre of Auckland.

In 1903 the Defence Stores Office in O’Rourke Street (now Auckland University) was relocated to Mount Eden. Initially, the existing magazines at Mount Eden were thought to be sufficient. However, it was soon found that additional buildings were required, and a Stores building and Armourer’s shop were constructed during 1903/04. Eventually, a house was also built for Captain W.T Beck, the District Storekeeper.

In 1917 the Defence Stores were reorganised into the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC), with the Mount Eden Defence Stores becoming the Northern Districts Ordnance Depot.

By 1920, with little space available for expansion to allow the storage of the large number of mobilisation stores required by the Norther District, construction of an alternative site for the Mount Eden Ordnance Depot began at Hopuhopu in the Waikato.

While the Hopuhopu site was still under construction, Stores from the Mount Eden site began to be transferred to Hopuhopu in 1927. The new depot officially opened in 1929, with the Mount Eden Depot closing.

The Store constructed in 1903 was dismantled and re-erected at the Narrow neck Camp on Auckland’s North Shore. The fate of the original magazines is unknown, but they were likely taken over for a time by the nearby Colonial Ammunition Company (CAC).

The closure of the Mount Eden Depot did not totally sever to the connection between Mount Eden and the Ordnance Corps, with Ordnance Ammunition staff remaining attached to the CAC until 1967, testing the supply of Small Arms Ammunition provided by that factory.


Anti-Aircraft Ammunition Disposal 1955-57

During the Second World War, New Zealand had utilised approximately one hundred and thirty British Ordnance QF Mk 3 3.7inch Mark 3 Anti-Aircraft guns.[1]

Deployed across New Zealand at fixed and mobile sites with wartime scales of ammunition, these guns sat ready during the wartime years in anticipation of Japanese Air raids. New Zealand’s anti-aircraft defences were never tested, and with the immediate threat removed, the guns were placed into storage with the ammunition returned to ammunition depots for refurbishment. However, due to the considerable amount of ammunition returned to New Zealand’s Ammunition depots at the war’s end, the capacity to hold all of the returned stock soon be outstripped with large amounts required to be stored under tarpaulins in field conditions.

Valentine Tank at Trentham, stacks of Ammunition can be seen in the background. NZ National Library Ref EP/1955/1794-F

By 1954, 17000 rounds of 3.7-inch anti-aircraft ammunition had been stored in unsuitable conditions at the Liverpool Range outside Trentham Camp. With sufficient 3.7-inch stocks available to meet training needs in other depots, the Liverpool range stocks were considered surplus. Although initially intended to be inspected and refurbished at the Kuku Valley Ammunition Repair Depot, inspections revealed that the Liverpool Range stocks had deteriorated to the state where destruction was the only option.

Examination of deteriorated shell at Trentham, Upper Hutt. National Library of New Zealand Ref: EP/1955/1792-F

A plan was formulated to transport the 17000 rounds of unstable 3.7-inch ammunition from its storage area at the Liverpool range across the valley approximately 1.4 kilometres to the demolition area at Seddon Range, where the explosive content was destroyed, and recoverable components such as the brass casings recovered and sold as scrap.

To create a safe working area around the stacks and provide access between the Liverpool and Seddon ranges, the Royal New Zealand Engineers undertook the engineering task of creating access to the stacks and constructing a road between the ranges.

Due to the detonation of the ammunition and its storage containers and the likelihood of an explosion, a modified armoured truck and trailer was constructed to facilitate the transportation.

Army vehicles at Trentham, Upper Hutt. Ref: EP/1955/1793-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23078184

The 3.7-inch round was a 12.7kg single piece of ammunition consisting of a cast steel projectile with a tapered nose filled with Amatol, TNT or RDX/TNT explosives, mounted in a brass casing. The brass case consisted of an explosive primer and a cordite propellant charge that could propel the projectile to a maximum ceiling of 9000 meters or a horizontal range of 15000 meters. Each 3.7-inch round was packed in a fibre cylinder, with two rounds packed into a C235 steel case.[2]

Examples of 3.7-inch rounds
C235 Ammunition Tin (2 x 3.7-inch rounds per tin)

With 17000 rounds in 8500 cases, ten cases (twenty rounds) were transported from the Liverpool range to the Demolition area at a time. The cases were the unloaded at the demolition range, and in batches of four, the rounds were detonated.

From June 1955, five or six detonations occurred daily, with the frequency and strength of the explosions causing some distress to local residents, with the Upper Hutt Council questioning the Army on the reasons for the explosions.[3] Another resident forwarded a strongly worded protest letter to the editor of the Upper Hutt Leader Newspaper.[4]

Letters to the Editor

Dear Sir, The terrific explosions at the Trentham Camp which have wrecked our nerves for some considerable time, are the subject of this letter. Mr Editor. The world is at peace, yet we are at war (by the sound of things) in this beautiful valley in which we live. Every day these loud blasts shake our houses, waken our babies end sleeping little ones also elderly people having an afternoon nap, have a rude awakening, It takes very little imagination to realise the effect this bombing has on the nerves of bed-ridden patients at the Silverstream hospital. I ask you to publish this letter in the hope that the authorities will cease-fire, or at least explain why and how long this blasting is to be endured.

I am etc.,

ATOMIC BOMB

However, the explosive destruction of the old ammunition continued with the daily explosions becoming an accepted and routine feature of life in Upper Hutt.[5]

The demolition of the 17000 rounds of unsafe 3.7inch ammunition was concluded in December 1957. The destruction had proceeded without incident, with the local residents thanked for their considerable forbearance in putting up with the noise of explosions nearly every day.


Notes

[1] Damien Fenton, A False Sense of Security: The Force Structure of the New Zealand Army 1946-1978, Occasional Paper / Centre for Strategic Studies: New Zealand: No. 1 (Centre for Strategic Studies: New Zealand, Victoria University of Wellington, 1998), Bibliographies, Non-fiction.

[2] Great Britain. War Office, Anti-Aircraft Ammunition: User Handbook (War Office, 1949).

[3] “The “Boom” from Trentham Camp,” Upper Hutt Leader, Volume XII, Number 28, , 28 July 1955.

[4] “Letters to the Editor,” Upper Hutt Leader, Volume XII, Number 29, , 4 August 1955.

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


NZ Aid to French Indo China 1952-54

Having a traditional reliant on the United Kingdom for military equipment, the rapid expansion of New Zealand’s military and the threat of invasion by Japan during World War Two necessitated New Zealand to seek and receive substantial war material from the United States. As the New Zealand Army reorganised in the post-war era, it soon became apparent that New Zealand’s military warehouses and ammunition depots were overflowing with surplus war material. In a move to enhance New Zealand’s national security by abetting our allies in their efforts to contain Communism in South-East Asia, New Zealand transferred free of charge to the French authorities in Indochina much of the surplus arms and ammunition held in RNZAOC Depots across New Zealand.

The post-war NZ Army was based on the 2nd NZEF of WW2 and consisted of an Infantry Division with integral Artillery, Armoured and Logistics elements. Based on the era’s strategic thinking, it was expected to deploy an NZ Division to the Middle East alongside British formations. Despite the reliance upon the United States for war material in the previous war and the large stock of American equipment in storage, the NZ Army was to remain armed and equipped with British pattern weapons, uniforms and equipment[1] By 1952, France was struggling to hold onto Indochina, and although receiving 7200 tons of material a month from the United States, it was still falling short of its requirements.[2] Realising that large stockpiles of British and American equipment had been declared surplus or abandoned across Asia and Australasia, the French established purchasing missions to acquire this equipment.[3]

French transport regiment train ct515 Hanoi-Nam Dinh convoy 15/17 May 1950 black and white kodak film on kodak camera http://www.indochine.uqam.ca/fr/la-galerie.html

Responding to French requests, it was announced in September 1952 that New Zealand was to provide at no cost weapons and ammunition of American origin that were of a different calibre used by New Zealand forces. This shipment of firearms and ammunition were lend-lease weapons that had urgently been provided to New Zealand in 1942 and used by the Home Guard and some New Zealand units in the pacific, notably with RNZAF units co-located with American Forces, been lend-lease in origin, concurrence on the transfer had been sought and obtained from the United States. The Minister of External Affairs, T. C. Webb, stated that a substantial part of the consignment had been delivered to Singapore on HMNZS Bellona and then on shipped to French Indochina. [4] This first shipment included[5]

  • 13000, .30inch calibre Springfield M1903 rifles
  • 700, .30inch calibre Machine Guns, and
  • 670000 rounds of .30inch calibre Small Arms Ammunition (SAA).

Early in 1953, the Chief of the NZ General Staff, Major General Gentry, met with the French Commander-in-Chief, General Henri Navarre, at Saigon and discussed the transfer of surplus military equipment. Following Gentry’s report on this meeting, the NZ Government offered surplus equipment to the French authorities. With the war going badly for the French with the battle of Dien Bien Phu underway, a French Military mission consisting of Lieutenant-Colonel Cathala and Captain Mugg arrived in Auckland on 10 September 1953 for a two-week visit to examine the equipment and consider its suitability for use in Indochina.[6]

Reinforcements occupying positions in the dugouts during the battle of Dien Bien Phu, March 3 1954

With equipment identified and agreed upon, it was concentrated that Main Ordnance Depot at Trentham and following final inspections loaded onto a British vessel at Wellington in early March 1954.[7] Equipment dispatched to Indochina included[8]

  • 500 Revolvers,
  • 3000 .30inch calibre Springfield M1903 rifles
  • 750 .30inch calibre Machine Guns,
  • 50 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns and ammunition,
  • 10000 round of 37m armour-piercing shot,
  • Wireless Sets
  • Field Telephones,
  • Charging Sets
  • Assorted Uniform Items
  • 670000 rounds of .30inch calibre SAA
Bofors Guns Trentham, 1 March 1954. Evening Post illustrations file and prints. 1950-2000. (PA-Group-00685). [Series]

With the French surrendered at Dien Bien Phu on 7 May 1954. and the final withdrawal of French Forces from Vietnam concluded by April 1956; it is doubtful that the small New Zealand contribution of weapons and equipment assisted the French in any way. However, it might have found some utility in the new nation of South Vietnam or on some other French colonial battlefield.

Despite the small quantity of material provided, the French Minister to New Zealand, Mr Noel Henry, conveyed the French Government’s gratitude to New Zealand, acknowledging that New Zealand had done all it could do within its limited means.[9]


Notes

[1] Damien Fenton, A False Sense of Security: The Force Structure of the New Zealand Army 1946-1978, Occasional Paper / Centre for Strategic Studies: New Zealand: No. 1 (Centre for Strategic Studies: New Zealand, Victoria University of Wellington, 1998), Bibliographies, Non-fiction.

[2]N.S. Nash, Logistics in the Vietnam Wars, 1945-1975 (Pen & Sword Military, 2020), 63.

[3] Charles R. Shrader, A War of Logistics: Parachutes and Porters in Indochina, 1945-1954, Foreign Military Studies (University Press of Kentucky, 2015), Non-fiction, 134.

[4] “NZ Gives Arms to French,” Press, Volume LXXXVIII, Issue 26838, 17 September 1952.

[5] New Zealand Foreign Policy: Statements and Documents 1943-1957, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Wellington: Government Printer 1972).

[6] “Arms for Indo China,” Press, Volume LXXXIX, Issue 27192, 9 November 1953.

[7] “Arms Aid for Indo-China,” Press, Volume XC, Issue 27332, 24 April 1954.

[8] Roberto Giorgio Rabel, New Zealand and the Vietnam War: Politics and Diplomacy (Auckland University Press, 2005), Bibliographies, Non-fiction.

[9]“Arms Aid for Indo-China.”


Reorganisation of NZ Ordnance Services 1 October 1946

Due to the reorganisation of the New Zealand Army Headquarters “Q” branch and the formation of the New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (NZEME), new establishment tables for the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) were approved for use from 1 October 1946.

Under discussion since 1944, the 1 October 1946 Establishments provided the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps with a framework within the interim post-war New Zealand Army that woud allow future growth.

Responsibility for the NZ Army’s Logistic Functions fell to the Quartermaster-General who delegated responsibility for Ordnance Services to the Director of Army Equipment (DAE).

Under the DAE the NZ Army Ordnance Services were organised as;

  • Headquarters NZ Ordnance Services
    • Headquarters
      • Chief Ordnance Officer (COO) & Staff
    • Provision Group
  • Main Ordnance Depot, Trentham
  • Three District Sub-Depots
    • No 1 Ordnance Sub-Depot, Hopuhopu
    • No 2 Ordnance Sub- Depot, Linton
      • Sub-Depot Waiouru
    • No 3 Ordnance Sub-Depot, Burnham
  • Inspection Ordnance Group, comprising:
    • Headquarters, Trentham
    • Ammunition Repair Depot, Kuku Valley
    • IOO Section Northern Military District (NMD), Hopuhopu
    • IOO Section Central Military District (CMD), Trentham
    • IOO Section Southern Military District (SMD), Burnham
  • Ordnance Ammunition Group
    • NMD Ammunition Section HQ, Hopuhopu
      • Ammunition Section, Hopuhopu
      • Ammunition Section, Ardmore
      • Ammunition Section, Kelm Road
    • CMD Ammunition Section HQ, Trentham
      • Ammunition Section, Belmont
      • Ammunition Section, Makomako
      • Ammunition Section, Waiouru
    • SMD Ammunition Section HQ, Burnham
      • Ammunition Section, Glentunnel
      • Ammunition Section, Mount Somers
      • Ammunition Section, Fairlie
      • Ammunition Section, Alexandra

Tragedy at Tikao Bay

Today Tikao Bay is a calm, peaceful little bay with a laid-back holiday vibe hidden away in Akaroa Harbour with few clues remaining of its military use and the tragic drowning of two Ordnance soldiers.

During World War Two, with the threat of invasion by Japan just over the horizon, the isolated Akaroa Harbour was fortified to deny its use by the enemy. However, by the time the battery of 6-inch guns, Naval Armament Depot and controlled minefield was completed in 1943, the threat had diminished, with the defences becoming an expensive white elephant. In early 1944 The controlled minefield was fired, and all the navy stores at the Tikao Bay Naval Armament Depot were transferred to other installations and facilities offered to the army.[1]

Akaroa Harbour Defences. Peter Cooke Defending New Zealand 2000

The extensive facilities at Tikao Bay, including a mine magazine, examination room, primer magazine wharf and accommodation buildings, were taken over by the Southern District’s Ordnance Depot at Burnham Camp in 1944 as a satellite storage depot for Gun and Artillery Equipment.[2] With an initial establishment of seven men in 1944, this had been reduced by 1955 to two soldiers responsible for the storage and maintenance of the equipment held at Tikao Bay.

Former Defence buildings Tikao Bay. Suff.co.nz/Ewen Sargent

Staff Sergeant Frederick Hastings Kirk aged 52, was married with three children and had been the Non-Commissioned Officer in charge of the Tikao Bay depot since 1950. Staff Sergeant Kirk had joined the Ordnance Depot at Burnham in 1939 as a civilian before enlisting into the 2nd NZEF early in 1940. As a Temporary Warrant Officer Class Two in 23 Battalion, Kirk was taken prisoner at Crete in 1941 and remained a Prisoner of War for four and a half years. On his return to New Zealand, he joined the temporary staff and was posted to the Ordnance Depot at Burnham. In 1948 he became a member of the Regular Force and transferred to Tikao Bay in 1950. 

Private Donald George Dixon was aged 28 and was married with three children. Private Dixon initially served with the ammunition inspection branch after his 1953 enlistment and was transferred to the Tikao Bay Depot in October 1953.

On Tuesday, 10 March 1955, on completion of their daily duties, Kirk and Dixon left the depot at about 7 pm to check a set net approximately 200 yards (183 Meters) from the Tikao bay jetty. Having not returned by 11 pm, the police were notified, and Constable Egan of Akaroa and Mr G Brasell undertook an initial search. At 3 am Wednesday, Egan and Brasell located the missing men’s upturned dingy at the high-water mark near the set net, which was still in position. Reinforced with a party from Burnham Camp, local residents, and the police, the search for the missing men continued for the rest of the week.[3]

Private Dixon’s body was located and recovered from the harbour on Saturday morning.[4] The search for Staff Sergeants Kirks’ body continued with his body found on 18 March.[5] It was assumed that a southerly wind had risen after the two men left the depot, causing the dingy to capsize with the coroner’s report ruling the deaths as asphyxia by drowning due to misadventure.

Tikao Bay remained as an Army installation and training area into the early 1970s; however, its role as a storage depot ceased in the 1960s as the army progressively disposed of the remaining artillery equipment held there.[6]


Notes

[1] Sydney D. New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs War History Branch Waters, The Royal New Zealand Navy (Wellington, N.Z.: War History Branch, Dept of Internal Affairs, 1956), 229-36.

[2] “Establishments – Ordnance Corps “, Archives New Zealand No R22441743  (1937 – 1946).

[3] “Two Soldiers Missing,” Press, Volume XCI, Issue 27606, , 12 March 1955.

[4] “Unsuccessful Search for Body,” Press, Volume XCI, Issue 27608, , 15 March 1955.

[5] “Soldiers Body Recovered,” Press, Volume XCI, Issue 27612, , 19 March 1955.

[6] “Army Sells Guns,” Press, Volume C, Issue 29469, , 22 March 1961; “Tikao Bay Depot,” Press, Volume XCIX, Issue 29331, , 10 October  1960.


Belmont’s Chemical Weapon Stockpile

Of all the Ammunition magazine areas constructed in New Zealand during the Second World War, the Belmont magazine area nestled in the hills north of Wellington between the Hutt and Porirua was the largest and closest to a large population area. In the early 1970s, following the removal, disassembly for scrap, and destruction of its stocks, Belmont’s life as a magazine area concluded with the land reverting to civilian use.   As with any retired military facility kept out of the public eye during its operational life, urban legends and rumours thrive about secret tunnels and forgotten caches of buried military material.  In this respect, Belmont is no different as items such as empty 3.7-inch Anti-Aircraft projectiles are occasionally discovered, fuelling such rumours. Although there is little evidence to support the stories and urban legends, Belmont does have some secrets from its wartime past. The most significant is that Belmont was the home to the bulk of New Zealand’s chemical weapon stockpile.

As the threat of war with Japan became inevitable in 1940, the New Zealand Government initiated a full mobilisation of New Zealand’s home defence forces. By early 1942 this mobilisation saw two Infantry Brigades deployed to Fiji and Three Divisions and several independent Brigades mobilised for home defence.

This massive mobilisation initiated a rearmament program resulting in vast amounts of war material from the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States being delivered to New Zealand. Included as part of the infusion of new weapons and equipment were the required scales of ammunition required for each type of weapon system. Ammunition scales used by New Zealand were based upon the standard British scales. They included all the ammunition natures needed by New Zealand for use in the Pacific and home defence, including Anti-Tank, High-Explosive, Smoke and a stockpile of Chemical rounds consisting of,

  • 112,770 25-Pounder Chemical rounds, and
  • 10,300 4.2-inch B4 (Tear) and Y4(Blister) chemical mortar bombs.

With consignments of ammunition due to arrive in New Zealand in late 1942, construction of the new ammunition magazine areas had been initiated in 1940, with the construction of the Belmont Magazine Area beginning in September 1942.[1]  The Belmont Magazine Area consisted of sixty-two Magazine buildings, with buildings 28 and 29 dedicated to holding chemical rounds from late 1943.

All the 4.2inch Bombs were stored at Belmont with the recommended distribution of the 25-Pounder chemical rounds,[2]

  • 30,000 rounds to the Northern Military District
  • 30,000 rounds to the Southern Military District
  • 52,770 rounds to the Central Military District Belmont Depot

However, records are uncertain if this distribution occurred, so it is quite probable that the entire stock of 25-Pounder ammunition was held at Belmont.

The New Zealand Stockpile was significant as a lethal percutaneous dose of mustard was 4.5 gm. With 300 tons of the agent in the NZ stockpile, the potential lethal doses held in Belmont were approximately 60 million. To put the size of the stockpile in context, it was equal to 5% of the United States Stockpile in 1993.

The use of Chemical Weapons was highly controlled and only to be used in retaliation if the enemy used it first. Although US forces on Guadalcanal had captured some Japanese Chemical Weapons, the NZ Deputy Chiefs of Staff were confident that there did ‘not appear to be any other or greater evidence that the Japanese propose to use gas in this area’. However, it is believed that 3 NZ Div did deploy with Chemical rounds for their 25-pounders just in case.

If Chemical rounds were deployed with the 3 NZ Div, they were returned to New Zealand in 1944 and stored at the Kelms Road Depot at Ngaruawahia alongside the other natures of ammunition utilised by the Division.

Following the war, the disposal of wartime ammunition became a standing task for the RNZAOC Ammunition functions as damaged, obsolete, and surplus stocks were disposed of by a variety of methods.

Ammunition that was damaged was often disposed of by demolition; for example, the destruction of 3.7-inch Anti-Aircraft ammunition issued to units and returned to Depots took up to 1957 to complete.[3]

The stockpile of chemical munitions was dumped at sea, with two dumping operations found in archival sources.[4]

  • Two hundred tons of chemical shells scuttled on the tug Maui Pomare at the 100-fathom line in the Hauraki Gulf in April 1946.
  • One thousand five hundred tons of 25-Pounder chemical shells and twenty tons of bombs had been dumped by the Marine Department steamer Matai off the Wellington coast by October 1946.

Stock from the Belmont magazine area was delivered by Army personnel to the wharf at the RNZAF base at Shelly Bay in lots of 250 Tons and loaded onto the Marine Department steamer Matai. All possible safety precautions were applied with each crew member was issued protective capes, respirators and gloves. With special chutes constructed, cases of shells were jettisoned fifty Nautical miles off the Wellington coast in the Cook Strait Canyon, which reaches depths of three kilometres.[5]

N Z Government S S Matai, on the patent slip at Evans Bay, Wellington. Smith, Sydney Charles, 1888-1972: Photographs of New Zealand. Ref: 1/2-049255-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22744146

The dumping of the Chemical munitions was well publicised, with newspaper articles describing the disposal operation;[6]

Stored since 1943, 1500 tons of gas shells are to be dumped at sea by the Matai.  Fuses have been removed from the 25lb shells that contain the gas, but to ensure that there is no risk to those carrying out the work, full Admiralty and War Office safeguards will, be taken. The gas is of the blister variety. The boxes containing the shells will be filled with sand to guard against possible leakages. Each box is painted with a substance that will indicate even a pinpoint of escaped gas.

Northern Advocate, 18 September 1946

Although the archival records that at least 15,220 tons of Chemical munitions had been dumped at sea by the end of 1946, there is no accurate reconciliation of the actual number of rounds disposed of. However, it is a reasonable assumption that New Zealand had no desire to maintain a contingency stock of Chemical weapons and that all wartime stocks were disposed of by the end of 1946.


Notes

[1] F Grattan, Official War History of the Public Works Department (PWD, 1948).

[2] “Defence Works – Magazine – Belmont Hills,” Archives New Zealand Item No R22435088  (1942).

[3] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for period 1 April 1957 to 31 March 1958,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (3 July 1958 1958).

[4] “Ammunition – Disposal of unserviceable ammunition 1945-1952,” Archives New Zealand Item No R21465842  (1945).

[5] A Hubbard, “Chemical War: Our seabed legacy,” New Zeland Listener, 16 January 1993.

[6] “Gas Shells to be Dumped at Sea,” Northern Advocate, 18 September 1946, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NA19460918.2.17.


RNZAOC 1 April 1959 to 31 March 1960

This would be a significant period for the RNZAOC. The RNZAOC School would be established, and challenges with officer recruitment identified. This period would also see the fruition of plans to re-shape the Army into a modern and well-equipped Army with the first tranches of new equipment arriving to replace much of the legacy wartime equipment.

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Temporary Lieutenant Colonel H. McK. Reid

Chief Inspecting Ordnance Officer

  • Major JW Marriot

Officer Commanding Main Ordnance Depot

  • Major Harry White, from 1 May 1959

RNZAOC School

  • Chief Instructor – Major Harry White
  • Regimental Sergeant Major – Warrant Officer Class One Alfred Wesseldine

2nd Battalion, the New Zealand Regiment

Reformed at Waiouru in July 1959, the 2nd Battalion of the New Zealand Regiment would undertake workup and training that would see the Battalion deploy to Malaya in November 1959 to relieve the 1st Battalion. To enable the 2nd Battalion to conduct its training and work up the RNZAOC would equip the Battalion for the ground up with its necessary entitlement of equipment from existing holdings.

Establishment of RNZOAC School

Upper Hutt City Library (29th Jan 2020). Trentham Camp; Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps School sign.. In Website Upper Hutt City Library. Retrieved 14th Jul 2020 11:51, from https://uhcl.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/1335

Under discussion by the Army Board since 1956, the RNZAOC School was established in September 1959. Established within the Peacetime Establishment of the Main Ordnance Depot, the RNZAOC School would be under HQ Ordnance Services’ direct control and independent of the Army Schools.[1]

The initial school organisation would be.

  • A Headquarters,
    • Chief Instructor – Major Harry White
    • School Sergeant Major – Warrant Officer Class One Wesseldine
  • Ammunition Wing
  • Stores and Vehicle Wing

The function of the RNZAOC School would be to run courses and training for RF and TF personnel of the RNZAOC, including

  • Star Classification Courses – particularly for Storeman/Clerks RNZAOC and Ammunition Examiners.
  • Promotion courses for both officers and ORs.
  • Recruit training RNZAOC Personnel, including Recruit training for Group 2 personnel.
  • Advanced training for both officers and ORs, in all types of Ordnance activities.
  • Technical training in ordnance subjects, e.g. Inspecting Ordnance Officer courses.
  • Preservations and packing etc.
  • Refresher training for qualified personnel.
  • Other course notified in the annual Forecast of Courses.

Additionally, as directed by DOS, the RNZAOC School was required to.

  • Plan and hold conferences and training exercises.
  • Draft procedure instructions.
  • Test, or comment on new procedures, materials, or equipment.
  • Research various aspects of Ordnance activities.

The first course conducted by the RNZAOC School would be an Instructors Course conducted in late 1959.

First Instructors Course, 1959. Chief Instructor Major Harry White is seated 3rd from left. Officer in the front Centre id Makor K.G Cropp. Robert Mckie RNZAOC Collection

Officer Shortfall

 A forecast of the planned retirement of RNZAOC Officers up to 1962 showed that Seventeen officers would be retiring. Up to this period, the principal means of filling RNZAOC officer posts had been thru the commissioning of Other Ranks with Quartermaster Commissions, with only three officers joining the RNZAOC as Officers since November 1956. When the planned Officer retirements had been balanced against the RNZAOC officer establishment, it was found that the RNZAOC was deficient six Officers with two significant problems identified.

  • The RNZAOC Officer Corps was becoming a Corps of old men, with 83% of Officers in the 39 to 54 age group
  • The RNZAOC Other Ranks Structure was denuded of the best SNCO’s and Warrant Officers.

To rectify the situation, the following recommendations were made.

  • The RNZAOC press for an increased intake from Duntroon and Portsea of graduates to the RNZAOC.
  • Suitable officers no older than 30 years of age, and in the two to four-year Lieutenant bracket, be encouraged to change Corps to the RNZAOC.
  • Further commissioning of QM officers be strongly resisted unless there was no other alternative.

Conferences

Over the period 1 -3 September 1959, DOS hosted a conference at Army HQ for the District DADOS, Officer Commanding MOD, and the Ordnance Directorate members. The general agenda of the meeting included.[2]

  • Local purchase of stores by DADOS
  • Training of group 2 Personnel
  • RNZAOC School
  • Provision Problems
  • Surplus Stores
  • Personnel – postings and promotions
    • DADOS and OC MOD were required to provide in duplicate, personnel lists by unit containing.
      • Regimental No, rank, and name
      • Marital Status
      • Establishment statue, either PES, CSS or HSS
      • Present posting
  • Purchases for RF Brigade Group
  • District Problems

Small Arms Ammunition

The 7.62mm rifle introduction would require the Colonial Ammunitions Company to convert manufacture from the current 303 calibre to the new 7.62mm calibre. The CAC had been the supplier of Small Arms Ammunition to the Defence Force since 1888 and to maintain this long relationship had purchased and installed the required tools and machinery to allow the production of 7.62 ammunition, with the first production run completed during this period. Although the NZ Army had sufficient stocks of .303 ammunition for the foreseeable future, CAC would retain the capability to manufacture 303 ammunition if required.

Introduction of New Equipment

As new equipment was introduced, the RNZAOC would play an essential role in the acceptance processes. Upon delivery from the supplier, the equipment, accessories, and spares would be received into the Main Ordnance Depot. The equipment would be inspected and kitted out with all its accessories before distribution to units. Several examples may have been retained in RNZAOC Depots as War Reserve/Repair and Maintenance Stock depending on the equipment. Maintenance stocks of accessories and spares were maintained as operating stock in RNZAOC depots. If the new equipment contained a weapon system, ammunition specific to the equipment was managed by RNZAOC Ammunition Depots. During this period, the following equipment was introduced into service;[3]

  • 110 Land Rover Series 2a 109.
  • 144 Truck 3-Ton Bedford RL, 48 fitted with winch
  • 3 Ferret Mark 1/1 Scout Car
  • 270 Wireless Sets. C45 – VHF transceiver,
  • 2000 9mm Sub Machine Gun Sterling Mk4 L2A3.
  • 500 7.62 mm Self Loading Rifle, L1A1 (SLR).

Uniforms

The Clothing and Equipment Committee accepted as the basic training uniform for New Zealand soldiers in all conditions in NZ to be;

  • Boots (Fory types under trial and development)
  • Anklets (Australian pattern)
  • Shirt (light wool)
  • Trouser ( Green drill material cut to UK pattern)
  • Hat (Jungle Type)

Disposals

In August 1958 a new disposal organisation was established within the Army to manage the declaration and disposal of surplus and obsolete equipment. Since August 1959 over 9000 lines covering thousands of items had been declared to the Government Stores Board for Disposal through this new disposal’s organisation.

Ammunition Disposal

The disposal of dangerous or obsolete ammunition continued with over 900 tons of obsolete ammunition dumped at sea. An additional 130,000 rounds of dangerous artillery ammunition were destroyed by burning or detonation. 

Where possible the maximum amount of recyclable metal was salvaged, with around £10000 (2020 NZ$243,276) received for the scrap and containers sold.[4]

Ration Packs

Following successful user trials, the Royal New Zealand Army Service Corps (RNZASC) assembled 24000 one-person 24-hour ration packs during 1959. Along with new solid fuel cookers, these new ration packs were extensively used by the 2nd Battalion the NZ Regiment in the build-up Training for Malaya and the Territorial Force during the Annual Camp.

Shooting Competition

Staff Sergeant I.G Campbell, RNZAOC was selected by the National Rifle Association as a team member representing New Zealand at 91st Annual Prize Meeting at Bisley in the United Kingdom, 4- 20 July 1960.

Award of Army Sports Colours

In recognition of his contribution to Army Sport, Major D.E Roderick of Auckland was a recipient of the 1960 Army Sports Colours. Major Roderick has represented Army at cricket, hockey and badminton and was instrumental in developing the sports facilities at Trentham Camp. Within the RNZAOC Major Roderick had been a long-term member of the Upper Hutt Cricket Club and a player and administrator of the MOD Cricket team. [5]

Honours and Awards

British Empire Medal

Sergeant (Temporary Staff Sergeant) Maurice William Loveday, Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Regular Force), of Trentham.[6]

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

Regular Force

  • Major Ronald Geoffrey Patrick O’Connor is transferred to the Reserve of Officers, General List, Royal NZ Army Ordnance, in Major’s rank, 4 May 1959.[7]
  • Major and Quartermaster K. A. Bailey, M.M., having reached retiring age for rank, is transferred to the Supernumerary list, and granted an extension of his engagement until 12 January 1960, 11 August 1959.[8]
  • Captain Frederick George Cross is transferred to the Reserve of Officers, General List, Royal NZAOC, in the rank of Captain, 1 September 1959. [9]
  • Captain L. C. King is re-engaged for a period of one year, as from 4 October 1959.[10]
  • Captain (temp. Major) J. Harvey relinquishes the temporary rank of Major, 6 March 1960.[11]

Regular Force (Supernumerary List)

  • Major and Quartermaster K. A. Bailey, MM., is granted an extension of his engagement for one year from 13 January 1960.[12]
  • Captain and Quartermaster S. H. E. Bryant is re-engaged for one year as from 28 October 1959.[13]
  • Captain and Quartermaster R. P. Kennedy, E.D., is re-engaged for a period of one year as from 13 April 1960.[14]
  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster George Witherman McCullough is posted to the Retired List, 12 February 1960.[15]
  • 2nd Lieutenant J. T. Skedden to be Lieutenant, 12 December 1959.[16]
  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster R. H. Colwill to be temporary Captain and Quartermaster, 9 February 1960.[17]

Territorial Force

  • Captain Keith Stothard Brown relinquishes the appointment of OC, Technical Stores Platoon, 1st Divisional Ordnance Field Park, RNZAOC and is posted to the Retired List, 4 August 1959.[18]

Reserve of Officers

  • Captain Hugo Sarginsone posted to the Retired List, 10 July 1959.[19]
  • Captain Noel Lester Wallburton posted to the Retired List, 10 August 1959.[20]
  • Captain Sidney Paxton Stewart posted to the Retired List, I September 1959. [21]
  • Major Percival Nowell Erridge, MBE posted to the Retired List, 25 December 1959.[22]
  • Major Alexander Basil Owen Herd, from the British Regular Army Reserve· of Officers, to be Major, 3 October I 959.[23]
  • Major Frank Owen L’Estrange, from the British Regular Army Reserve of Officers, to be Major, 11 November 1959.[24]
  • Captain Cyril Peter Derbyshire, from the British Regular Army Reserve of Officers, to be Captain, 1 January 1960.[25]

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

Regular Force

  • H594833 Private David Orr NZ Regiment Transferred into the RNZAOC, November 1959.
  • B31685 Staff Sergeant Ian McDonald Russell promoted to Temporary Warrant Officer Class Two, 23 June 1959.

Notes

[1] “Charter for the Rnzaoc School,”  in Organisation – Policy and General – RNZAOC (Archives New Zealand No R173115371960); Major J.S Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Trentham: RNZAOC, 1992), 176-77, 252.

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

[3] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1959 to 31 March 1960,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1960).

[4] Ibid.

[5] “Army Sports Colours,” Upper Hutt Leader, Volume XVII, Number 11, 24 March 1960.

[6] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 35, 18 June 1959.

[7] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 31, 28 May 1959.

[8] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 56, 17 September 1959.

[9] Ibid.

[10] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 59, 1 October 1959.

[11] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 23, 7 April 1960.

[12] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 63, 22 October 1959.

[13] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 68, 4 November 1959.

[14] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 4, 21 January 1960.

[15] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 15, 3 March 1960.

[16] Ibid.

[17] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 41, 7 July 1960.

[18] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.”

[19] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 51, 27 August 1959.

[20] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 53, 3 September 1959.

[21] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.”

[22] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.”

[23] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 70, 19 November 1959.

[24] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 78, 17 December 1959.

[25] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 8, 11 February 1960.


RNZAOC 1 April 1958 to 31 March 1959

This period would see a significant shift in the focus of the Army’s effort. The Government had decided to retain the force structure to meet the requirements of a global war and transform the regular Army into a force capable of meeting the needs of limited War. This would see Compulsory Military Training end, and Territorial Training becoming Voluntary and the Regular Force’s operational framework modified, with recruiting initiated to build up the force and new equipment purchased within the limits of available finances.[1]

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel H. McK. Reid.

Commanding Officer Main Ordnance Depot

  • Major O.H Burn to 21 July 1958
  • Major G.J.H Atkinson from 21 July 1958

United Nations Posting

Major O.H Burn took up a posting as a United Nations military observer in the Middle East from July 1958 as a Temporary Lieutenant Colonel. Due to a typographical error, Major Burn was listed in the New Zealand gazette as promoted to Lieutenant General and New Zealand’s only peacetime Lieutenant General. Correction of the typographical error, demoting Lieutenant-General Burn to the correct rank of temporary lieutenant-colonel would be published in the Gazette. However in the meantime, many messages of congratulation were sent to Lt Col Burn by facetious friends, but they were likely to have puzzled him as he left New Zealand before the Gazette notice appeared.

Compulsory Military Training

During this period one CMT intakes marched in with the RNZAOC recruits posted to 1 (NZ) Division Ordnance Field Park on completion of initial training;[2]

  • 27th intake of 1542 recruits on 1 May 1958
  • 28th intake planned for August 1958 but not held

After 63,033 men were trained under the CMT Scheme, the Labour Government halted the CMT scheme and replaced the 1949 Military Training Act with the National Service Registration Act 1958 in early 1958.

Conferences

DOS Conference 27-29 May 1958

Hosted by the DOS at Army HQ, the agenda for this meeting included.[3]

  • DOS Instructions
    • New format and reprint
    • Drafts of instructions C/1 and C/2
  • Local Purchase
    • Spares for post-war vehicles
    • Officer Commanding Depots £25 authority (2020 NZ$1250)
    • Purchase of stores by DADOS
  • Disposal of Stores
    • Produce and items from Boards of Survey
    • Survey of Stores – Army 246/37/1/Q(Org) of 6 October 57.
  • Accounting
    • Clothing
  • Demands
    • Identification of items
    • Bright Steel nuts and bolts
    • Trade names and trade equivalents
  • Finance
    • Vapour proof packaging of stores
    • Use of export cases
  • General
    • District problems
    • Further Army HQ problems if necessary

Uniforms

During this period, RNZAOC ordnance Depots and clothing stores would introduce the following new uniform types.[4]

  • Males Other Rank Service Dress – this uniform was issued to all-male soldiers of the Regular Force.
  • Jungle Green Drill – the issue of Jungle Green uniforms to replace uniforms previously produced in Khaki Drill also commenced.
  • NZWRAC Uniform – The issue of new summer dress consisting of a green short-sleeved frock commenced. Production of a new pattern green went into production.

Disposals

Vehicles

One hundred ninety-five vehicles from 5-ton trucks to motorcycles were declared surplus to the Government Stores Board.

Ammunition

By the end of December 1958, the Makomako, Waiouru and Belmont Ammunition areas had concluded the destruction of 317,440  items of ammunition ranging from detonators to 9.2in Cartridges; this included the detonation of 108 tons of Explosives with an additional 1217 tons of ammunition dumped at sea. Makomako was cleared of dangerous ammunition.

Move of Central Districts Vehicle Depot to Linton

As part of the Central Districts Vehicle Depot (CDVD) move to Linton during 1958, consideration was given to retaining some of the functions of the CDVD within the Main Ordnance Deport. To this end, the MOD Vehicle group was established. The MOD Vehicle group took over the existing CDVD compound at Trentham and had the following responsibilities:[5]

  • Receipt, processing, and issue of all new vehicles.
  • Custody of vehicles that were considered as part of the Army Reserve Stocks.
  • Custody and disposal of vehicles held by CDVD Trentham that were considered surplus or had or been declared for disposal.

This ensured that when the CDVD completed its move to Linton, only the vehicles and equipment needed to operate were transferred to Linton.

Linton Camp Ordnance Depot Issues

Since its establishment in 1946, the Central Districts Ordnance Depots had occupied accommodation buildings in the North West corner of Linton Camp in what had initially been the wartime RNZAF Base Linton. Two additional warehouses had been assembled in 1949; however, storage space remained at a premium. Some example of the issues faced by the Ordnance Depot was; [6]

  • Block 1 Clothing Store – unable to be heated and uncomfortable for staff due to the risk of fire caused by the large quantity of clothing packaged with Naphthalene. This created a potential fire risk due to the Salamander heaters used for heating buildings.
  • S&T Block Tent Store – a multi-purpose building, used as a tent Store, repair shop and Traffic Centre. This building required repairs and was in such a state that it could not be secured against illegal entry. As the MOW estimated repairs to this building to cost at least £2000 (2020 NZ$49,882.32), the authority to repair would require approval from the DCRE. However, the DCRE had advised that this building was not worth repairing, with no alternative accommodation the Ordnance Depot was in a difficult position.

It was advised in December 1958 that because of the preliminary site investigation for a new Ordnance Depot conducted the previous year, a new building covering 125,000 sq. ft be constructed for the Ordnance Depot over the next three years.

Pending decision on the new Ordnance Depot building, the decision was made that the number of prefabricated buildings then been erected for the CDVD be increased from three to Four with the additional structure allocated to the Ordnance Depot as storage accommodation.

Ration Packs

Over the period of the1959 annual camp, the Royal New Zealand Army Service Corps (RNZASC) conducted trials of a four-person, 24-hour rations pack that had been specifically designed to simplify the feeding of Armoured units. Manufactured by items readily available on the commercial market, feedback from 1 and 4 Armoured Regiments was favourable.

Based on the NZ SAS’s and NZ Regiments experience Malaya, operations in the jungle required the individual soldier to carry and cook his rations. To meet this developing requirement, the RNZAOS was also developing a lightweight 24-hour ration pack.[7]

Cricket Tour

In February 1959 the RNZAOC would host a cricket tour to New Zealand by the Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps (RAAOC). Major Derrick Roderick, a leading player for the RNZAOC tour to Australian in 1955, would act as the RNZAOC Liaison Officer for the RAAOC tour.[8]

Over a period of three weeks, the RAAOC Cricket team would tour New Zealand, playing matches at;

  • Devonport Oval vs Ordnance Northern Military District, NZ Lost by 20 Runs
  • Linton Camp vs Ordnance Central Military District, Draw
  • Trentham camp vs RNZAOC XI, NZ lost by 11 Runs
  • Burnham Camp vs Ordnance Southern Military District, NZ Lost
  • Trentham Camp vs Main Ordnance Depot, NZ lost

The tour was finalised on 19 February with a farewell Ball at the Trentham Camp Badminton Hall. The New Zealand Director of Ordnance Services, Lt-Col H. McK. Reid made presentations to all Australian tour members on behalf of the RNZAOC. The Australian team manager, Colonel C. V. Anderson, OBE, on behalf of the RAAOC team thanked the RNZAOC for the hospitality and entertainment provided throughout the tour, presenting magnificent silver salvers to the Trentham Officers and Sergeants messes. The visitors were farewelled the following day, returning to Australian on the MS Wanganella.[9]

Honours and Awards

Long Service and Good Conduct

  • 31259 Warrant Officer Class One Maurice Sidney Phillips, 26 March 1959

Secondment to British Army

On 27 March 1958 Major Francis Anness Bishop RNZAOC began a secondment with the British Army. Attached to the 17th Gurkha Division/Overseas Commonwealth Land Forces (Malaya), Major Bishop would be the Divisions Deputy Assistant Quartermaster-General (DAQMG).[10]

Staff College, Camberley

Captain C.L Sanderson, RNZAOD represented the New Zealand Army on the 1959 Staff College Course at Camberley in the United Kingdom.[11]

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

Regular Force

  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster A.F James to be Captain and Quartermaster, 1 April 1958.[12]
  • [13]
  • Captain Ellis Charles Green MBE., is posted to the Retired List in the rank of Major, 12 May 1958.[14]
  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster J.E Hutchinson to be Captain and Quartermaster, 1 April 1958.[15]
  • Major 0.H Burn to be Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel, 26 July 1958.[16]
  • Captain G.J.H Atkinson, MBE., to be Temporary Major, 21 July 1958.[17]
  • Captain and Quartermaster S.H.E Bryant is transferred to the Supernumerary List on reaching retiring age for rank, 27 October 1958.[18]
  • Major Patrick William Rennison is transferred to the Reserve of Officers, General List, RNZAOC, with the rank of Major, 21 October 1958.[19]
  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster A. Fraser to be Temporary Captain and Quartermaster, 16 September 1958. [20]
  • Major (Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel) H McK Reid to be Lieutenant-Colonel, 30 October 1958.[21]
  • Lieutenant J.B Glasson to be Temporary Captain, 16 September 1958.[22]
  • Lieutenant (Temporary Captain) J.B Glasson to be Captain Dated 9 December 1958. [23]
  • Captain C.C Pipson is transferred to the Supernumerary List on reaching retiring age for rank and is re-engaged for a period of one year, 22 February 1959.[24]
  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster R.J Crossman to be Captain and Quartermaster, l 5 March 1959.[25]
  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster G.W Dudman to be Captain and Quartermaster, 15 March 1959.[26]
  • Lieutenant (Temporary Captain) and Quartermaster A Fraser to be Captain and Quartermaster, I 5 March 1959.[27]
  • Captain (Temporary Major) G.J.H. Atkinson, MBE., to be Major, 6 March 1959.[28]

Regular Force (Supernumerary List)

  • Captain and· Quartermaster G.A Perry, E.D., re-engaged for a period of one year, as from 1 April 1958.[29]
  • Captain and Quartermaster S.H.E Bryant re-engaged for a period of one year, 27 October 1958. [30]
  • Captain and Quartermaster Alfred Golian posted to the Retired List, 17 January l 959.[31]

RESERVE OF OFFICERS

  • Lieutenant J.H Mead relinquishes his commission, 1 July 1958.[32]
  • Major William Patrick Chester-Dixon, from the British Regular Army Reserve of Officers, to be Lieutenant-Colonel, 16 May 1958.[33]
  • Captain F.H Pike relinquishes his commission, 5 November 1958.[34]

The under-mentioned were posted from the General List to the Retired List:

  • 2nd Lieutenant Francis Edwin Clark. [35]
  • 2nd Lieutenant Ernest Ivan Meggett. [36]
  • 2nd Lieutenant Henry Charles Foster. 
  • Lieutenant Morris James Goodson.[37]
  • Lieutenant John· Clyde Graham.[38]
  • Lieutenant Frank Whittington Jull. [39]
  • Lieutenant Graham Wootton Clark.[40]
  • Lieutenant John Ivor Martin. [41]
  • Lieutenant Francis Thomas Thorpy. [42]
  • Lieutenant Albert William Buckley.[43]
  • Lieutenant Albert Arthur Burrows. [44]
  • Lieutenant James Stewart Jamieson. [45]
  • Captain William Arthur Pascoe.
  • Captain Austin Whitehead. 
  • Captain William Mervyn Rowell. 
  • Captain Stanley Copley Bracken.[46]

Territorial Force

  • Alan Ernest Osborne to be 2nd Lieutenant and is posted to the Technical Stores Platoon, 1st Divisional Ordnance Field Park, RNZAOC, 1 August 1958.[47]

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

  • A30054 Sergeant Bryan Nelson Jennings promoted to Staff Sergeant, 13 October 1958.[48]
  • 31383 Staff Sergeant Hector Searle McLachlan promoted to Warrant Officer Class Two, 1 April 1958.[49]
  • 31259 Warrant Officer Class Two Maurice Sidney Phillips promoted to Warrant Officer Class One, 14 October 1958.[50]
  • 31246 Warrant Officer Class Two Douglas Keep Wilson promoted to Warrant Officer Class One, 13 October 1958.[51]

Notes

[1] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1958 to 31 March 1959,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1959).

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

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

[4] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1958 to 31 March 1959.”

[5] “Organisation – Policy and General – Rnzaoc “, Archives New Zealand No R17311537  (1946 – 1984).

[6] Buildings, Linton Camp, Central Ordnance Depot, Item Id R9428308 (Wellington: New Zealand Archives, 1955 – 1968 ).

[7] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1958 to 31 March 1959.”

[8] Major J.S Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Trentham: RNZAOC, 1992), 177-78.

[9] “Australian Ordnance Farwelled,” Upper Hutt Leader, Volume XVI, Number 7 26 February 1959 1959.

[10] “Recommendations for Honours or Awards,” The National Archives (UK) Ref WO 373/135/420 1960.

[11] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1958 to 31 March 1959.”

[12] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 28, 8 April 1958.

[13] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 34, 5 june 1958.

[14] Ibid.

[15] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 36, 12 june 1958.

[16] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 52, 21 August 1958.;”Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 56, 11 September 1958.

[17] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.”

[18] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 58, 25 September 1958.

[19] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 68, 6 November 1958.

[20] Ibid.

[21] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 76, 11 December 1958.

[22] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 8, 19 February 1959.

[23] Ibid.

[24] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 19, 25 March 1959.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Ibid.

[27] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 22, 16 April 1959.

[28] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 25, 30 April 1959.

[29] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 21, 2 April 1958.

[30] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.”

[31] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 17, 19 March 1959.

[32] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 48, 7 August 1958.

[33] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 41, 3 July 1958.

[34] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 2, 15 January 1959.

[35] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 38, 26 June 1958.

[36] Ibid.

[37] Ibid.

[38] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 43, 10 July 1958.

[39] Ibid.

[40] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.”

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid.

[43] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 64, 3 October 1958.

[44] Ibid.

[45] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.”

[46] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 71, 20 November 1958.

[47] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 7, 12 February 1959.

[48] Howard E. Chamberlain, Service Lives Remembered : The Meritorious Service Medal in New Zealand and Its Recipients, 1895-1994 ([Wellington, N.Z.]: H. Chamberlain, 1995), 242.

[49] Ibid., 289.

[50] Ibid., 367-68.

[51] Ibid., 512.


RNZAOC 1 April 1957 to 31 March 1958

This period would see the RNZAOC continue to support Regular, Territorial and Compulsory Military Training. This period would also see the formation and deployment to the 1st Battalion, the New Zealand Regiment to Malaya

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Temporary Lieutenant Colonel H. McK. Reid from 1 April 1957.[1]

Commanding Officer Main Ordnance Depot

  • Major O.H Burn

Inspecting Ordnance Officer, Northern Military District

  • Captain J.H Doone, from 19 July 1957.

Inspecting Ordnance Officer, Southern Military District

  • Captain E.D Gerrard, from 19 July 1957.

Compulsory Military Training

During this period three CMT intakes marched in with the RNZAOC recruits posted to 1 (NZ) Division Ordnance Field Park on completion of initial training;[2]

  • 24th intake of 1775av recruits on 2 May 1957
  • 25th intake of 1300av recruits on 22 August 1957
  • 26th intake of 1300av recruits on 3 January 1958

1st Battalion, the New Zealand Regiment

Reformed at Waiouru in July 1957, the 1st Battalion of the New Zealand Regiment would undertake workup and training that would see the Battalion deploy on operations in Malaya on 28 November 1957.[3]

The RNZAOC would equip the Battalion from the ground up with its necessary entitlement of equipment provided from existing holdings, including Eighty-Nine vehicles and trailers. However €59000 (2020 NZD $ $2,999,351.94) was expended to procure additional theatre specific items not held in the New Zealand inventory from the United Kingdom authorities in Malaya.[4]

In addition to providing the stores and equipment for the Battalion, RNZAOC Officer Major Jack Harvey was seconded to the 1st Battalion NZ Regiment for the duration of its Malaya tour as the Officer Commanding of C Company. [5]

Major Jack Harvey, RNZAOC Officer Commanding C Company, 1st Battalion, New Zealand Regiment, 1957-59

Members of the 1st Battalion who would later serve with the RNZAOC included;

  • Brian Crafts
  • David Orr

Fiji Military Forces

Warrant Officer Class One Murray Alexander Burt was posted on 15 July 1957, on an accompanied posting with his family to the New Zealand Cadre at Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Suva. WO1 Burt and Family would depart Auckland on the Union Steam Ship Company vessel the MV Tofus on 31 August 1957. WO1 Burt would return to New Zealand on 15 December 1959 and be posted to Hopuhopu camp.[6]

Uniforms

A new Service Dress uniform similar to the Officer pattern Service Dress was approved for Other Ranks by the Army Board in 1954  had is design finalised and placed into production during this period. This uniform’s approval satisfied a long-standing requirement for a ceremonial and walking out order of dress to replace the existing Battle Dress.[7]

Manufacture of the new uniforms was well advanced by closing this period with the District Ordnance Depots in a position to issue the new uniforms by the end of 1958.

With this new Service Dress uniform, Battle Dress would become winter working dress with Khaki Drill the summer working dress.

Other Ranks Service Dress

Ammunition

The demolition of the 17000 rounds of unsafe 3.7inch Anti Aircraft Ammunition that had been initiated in June 1955 was concluded in December 1957. The destruction had proceeded without incident with the local residences thanked for their considerable forbearance in putting up with the noise of explosions nearly every day.

During this period, demolitions were also successfully conducted at the Makomako Ammunition area to dispose of a large quantity obsolete and unsafe ammunition and explosives.[8]

Move of Central Districts Vehicle Depot to Linton

The move of the Central Districts Vehicle Depot (CDVD) was planned to occur during 1958. Before the move could happen, adequate storage had to be constructed at Linton Camp, and this was to be achieved by re-locating war surplus buildings from other locations. By June 1957 the second “W” Type prefabricated building for the CDVD was re-located from Fort Dorset to Linton Camp.[9]

Construction Of New Ordnance Depot for Linton Camp

Since its establishment in 1946, the Central Districts Ordnance Depots had occupied accommodation buildings in the North West corner of Linton Camp in what had initially been the wartime RNZAF Base Linton. Two additional warehouses had been assembled in 1949; however, storage space remained at a premium. In June 1957 Army HQ authorised the expenditure of £100 (2020 NZ$5,059.84) to conduct a preliminary site investigation for a new Ordnance Depot for Linton Camp. Given the deficiencies of adequate Storage accommodation and the erection of buildings for the CDVD, the Linton Camp Command issued instructions that the CDOD were not to utilise the new buildings, even temporarily as this would become permanent and prejudice the business case for constructing a new Ordnance Depot.[10]

Honours and Awards

Meritorious Service Medal

  • Warrant Officer Class One Bernard Percy Banks, 13 June 1957. [11]
  • Warrant Officer Class One Athol Gilroy McCurdy, 10 October 1957. [12]

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

Regular Force

  • Regular Force Major H. McK. Reid to be temp. Lieutenant-Colonel, and is appointed Director of Ordnance Services, dated 1 April 1957.[13]
  • Captain E.C Green, MBE, is re-engaged for one year, as from 1 April 1957.[14]
  • Lieutenant-Colonel F. Reid, OBE, relinquished Director of Ordnance Services’ appointment, pending retirement, 31 March 1957.[15]
  • Captain P.N Erridge, MBE., transferred to the Reserve of Officers, General List, The Royal N.Z. Army Ordnance Corps, in the rank of Major, 2 May 1957.[16]
  • Captain A.B West to be Major, 1 July 1957,[17]
  • Lieutenant F.G Cross to be Captain,  13 August 1957.[18]
  • Lieutenant Colonel F Reid, O.B.E., posted to the Retired List, 16 August 1957.[19]
  • Captain H.P White to be Major. Dated 18 October 1957.[20]
  • Captain and Quartermaster R.P Kennedy, E.D., granted an extension of his engagement for a period of one year as from 13 April 1958.[21]
  • Captain (Temporary Major) F.A Bishop to be Major. Dated 12 December 1957.[22]
  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster (on probation) L.E Autridge is confirmed in his present rank and seniority.[23]
  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster (on probation) 0.C Prouse is confirmed in his present rank and seniority.[24]
  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster (on probation) D.H Rollo, MBE., is confirmed in his present rank and seniority.[25]

Regular Force (Supernumerary List)

  • Captain and Quartermaster R.P Kennedy, E.D, re-engaged in the Regular Force for one year from 13 April 1957.[26]
  • Captain and Quartermaster E.R. Hancock posted to the Retired List, 30 March 1957.[27]
  • Major and Quartermaster I.S. Miller, E.D., is posted to the Retired List, 20 April 1957.[28]
  • Captain and Quartermaster G.A Perry, E.D.,  re-engaged for one year from 1 April 1957.[29]
  • Captain and Quartermaster A.A Barwick posted to the Retired List, 3 August 1957.[30]
  • Captain and Quartermaster A Gollan granted an extension of his engagement for one year, as from 19 December 1957.[31]

Reserve of Officers

  • Lieutenant-Colonel Maurice Salam Myers. posted to the Retired List, 1 January 1958.[32]

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

Regular Force

  • 31266 Warrant Officer Class One, Cyril Austin Baigent to be Lieutenant and Quartermaster, 15 July 1957.[33]
  • 33297 Warrant Officer Class Two, Henry Williamson to be Lieutenant and Quartermaster, 15 July 1957.[34]
  • 33635 Warrant Officer Class Two, William Edwin Smith to be Lieutenant and Quartermaster, 15 July 1957.[35]
  • 31261 Staff Sergeant Ernest Maurice Alexander Bull, Promoted to Warrant Officer Class Two, 30 October 1957.[36]
  • 31257 Warrant Officer Class Two  Murray Alexander Burt, Promoted to Warrant Officer Class One, 15 July 1957.[37]
  • B31695 Sergeant Ian McDonald Russell promoted to Staff Sergeant, 23 April 1957.[38]

Notes

[1] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 35, 2 May 1957.

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

[3] Brian Clamp and Doreen Clamp, 1st Battalion the New Zealand Regiment (1957-59) Association 50th Anniversary. The First of the First (B. Clamp, 2007), Non-fiction.

[4] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1957 to 31 March 1958,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1958).

[5] Clamp and Clamp, 1st Battalion the New Zealand Regiment (1957-59) Association 50th Anniversary. The First of the First.

[6] Howard E. Chamberlain, Service Lives Remembered : The Meritorious Service Medal in New Zealand and Its Recipients, 1895-1994 ([Wellington, N.Z.]: H. Chamberlain, 1995), 69-70.

[7] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1957 to 31 March 1958.”

[8] Ibid.

[9] John Mitchell, Buildings, Linton Camp, Central Ordnance Depot, Item Id R9428308 (Wellington: New Zealand Archives, 1955 – 1968 ).

[10] Ibid.

[11] Chamberlain, Service Lives Remembered : The Meritorious Service Medal in New Zealand and Its Recipients, 1895-1994.

[12] Ibid., 283.

[13] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.”

[14] Ibid.

[15] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 38, 16 May 1957.

[16] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 42, 30 May 1957.

[17] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 45, 1 August 1957.

[18] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 62, 29 August 1957.

[19] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 66, 12 September 1957.

[20] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 3, 16 January 1958.

[21] Ibid.

[22] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 13, 20 February 1958.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.

[26] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 27, 4 April 1957.

[27] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.”

[28] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.”

[29] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 46, 20 June 1957.

[30] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.”

[31] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 86, 14 November 1957.

[32] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.”

[33] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette, No 60, 15 August 1957.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Chamberlain, Service Lives Remembered : The Meritorious Service Medal in New Zealand and Its Recipients, 1895-1994.

[37] Ibid.

[38] Ibid., 410-11.