RNZAOC 1 April 1953 to 31 March 1954

This period would see the RNZAOC. Continue to support Regular, Territorial and Compulsory Military Training. Ongoing support to Kayforce would continue.[1]

Key Appointments

  • Lieutenant Colonel F Reid, OBE

Technical Assistant to the Chief Inspection Ordnance Officer

  • Captain N.C Fisher (Until 24 July 1953)
  • Warrant Officer L Smith (From 25 July 1953)

Northern Military District

District Inspecting Ordnance Officer

  • Captain E.D Gerard (until 9 Aug 1953)

IOO NDAD

  • Captain E.D Gerard (from 28 Aug 1953)

OC District Ammunition Repair Depot

  • Captain Pipson (From 28 Aug 1953)

Central Military District

District Inspecting Ordnance Officer

  • Captain N.C Fisher (From 9 Aug 1953)

Compulsory Military Training

During this period three CMT intakes marched in;[2]

  • 9th intake of 2954 recruits on 9 April1953
  • 10th intake of 2610 recruits on 2 July 1953
  • 11th intake of 2610 recruits on 24 September 1953
  • 12th intake of 2200 recruits on 5 January 1954

On completion of CMT recruit training, recruits were posted to Territorial units close to their home location to complete their CMT commitment, with RNZAOC CMT recruits posted to either

  • 1st Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park Platoon, Hopuhopu
  • 2nd Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park Platoon, Mangaroa.
  • 3rd Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park Platoon, Burnham

Presentation of Coronation Trophy

In celebration to the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the Coronation Trophy was presented to the Central Districts Training Depot by All Ranks of the RNZAOC from the Central Military District. The exact criteria for the presentation of the trophy has been long forgotten, however from the 11th CMT intake the Coronation Trophy would be awarded to an outstanding student of each CMT intake.

Acquisition of additional Training areas by NZ Army

To provide suitable training areas in all three military districts, firing and manoeuvre rights were obtained over 30000acres of land adjoining the Mackenzie District near lake Tekapo. The allowed all South Island units the ability to carry out realistic tactical training during their summer camps.

Flood Relief

In July 1953 Serious flooding affected the Waikato with soldiers from Hopuhopu Camp taking a prominent part in the relief operations. Solders from the 1st Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park, utilising vehicles with extended air intakes and exhausts and operating in areas that had been flooded to a depth of 1.4 meters deep assisted in rescuing families and livestock and distributing fodder to marooned animals.

Robert McKie RNZAOC School Collection
NDOD Flood Assist 1953. Robert McKie RNZAOC School Collection

Tangiwai Railway Disaster

The Tangiwai disaster occurred at Christmas eve 1953 when the Whangaehu River Railway bridge collapsed as the Wellington-to-Auckland express passenger train was crossing it with a loss of 151 Lives. With Waiouru in proximity, the army was quick to respond, with rescue teams deploying from Waiouru with the first survivors admitted into the Waiouru Camp Hospital by 4 am. Representing the RNZAOC in the search parties were Warrant officer Class 1 P Best and Corporal Eric Ray.

Royal Tour 23 December 1953 – 31 Jan 1954

Camp Commandants Bodyguard 1954. Robert Mckie RNZAOC School Collection

Emergency Force (Kayforce)

The RNZAOC continued to support Kayforce with the dispatch of regular consignments of Maintenance stores and with all requests for stores by Kayforce met.

This period saw the first RNZAOC men rotated and replaced out of Kayforce;

Out of Kayforce

  • Private Dennis Arthur Astwood, 8 December 1953
  • Lance Corporal Thomas Joseph Fitzsimons, 6 January 1954
  • Lance Corporal Owen Fowell, 2 September 1953
  • Private Gane Cornelius Hibberd, 13 May 1953,
  • Corporal Leonard Ferner Holder, 4 September 1953
  • Corporal Wiremu Matenga, 6 January 1954

Into Kay force

  • Private Richard John Smart, 25 June 1953
  • Private Abraham Barbara, 30 December 1953
  • Sergeant Harold Earnest Strange Fry, 29 January 1954
  • Corporal Edward Tanguru, 25 February 1954
  • Gunner John Neil Campbell, 24 March 1954

Seconded to Fiji Military Forces

  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster Rodger Dillon Wederell remained seconded to the Fiji Military Forces.

Ordnance Conferences

Ordnance Conference 18-19 August 1953

The Director of Ordnance Services hosted a conference of the Districts DADOS and the Officer Commanding Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) at Army Headquarters over the period 21-23 April 1953. No detailed agenda remains.

Headquarters Group, Main Ordnance Depot, 1954. Robert McKie RNZAOC School Collection
Main Ordnance Depot, NZ Royal Womens Army Corps, 1954. Robert McKie RNZAOC School Colection

Routine Ordnance Activities

Over this period the RNZAOC in addition to its regular duties of provision, holding and the issue of multitudinous stores required by the Army including the additional issue of training equipment to the territorial Force allowing all unit’s enough equipment for normal training.

Ammunition Examiner Qualification

The following soldiers qualified as Ammunition Examiners

  • Corporal G.T Dimmock (SMD)
  • Corporal M.M Loveday (CMD)
  • Corporal Roche (MMD)
  • Lance Corporal H.E Luskie (SMD)
  • Lance Corporal Radford (NMD)

Small Arms Ammunition

Production of small-arms ammunition had met the monthly target, with the ammunition, fully proofed and inspected before acceptance.

Support to the French War in Vietnam

During this period the RNZAOC prepared a second consignment of stores and equipment for transfer to the French in Vietnam.  Transferred from surplus and obsolete stocks held in RNZAOC depots, the following items would be dispatched to Vietnam;[3]

  • 500 Revolvers,
  • 3000 Rifles,
  • 750 Machine Guns,
  • 50 Bofors anti-aircraft guns and ammunition,
  • 10000 rounds of 40mm armour piercing shot,[4]
  • Wireless Sets,
  • Field Telephones,
  • Charging Sets,
  • Assorted Uniform Items,
  • 670000 rounds of small arms ammunition.

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, its accessories and spares would be received into an RNZAOC Depot. The equipment would be inspected and kitted out with all its accessories before distribution to units. Depending on the equipment, several examples may have been retained in RNZAOC Depots as War Reserve/Repair and Maintenance Stock. Maintenance stocks of accessories and spares were maintained as operating stock in RNZAOC depots. If the new equipment was or 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;[5]

  • 57 M20 Mk 2 3.5-inch Rocket Launchers
  • Anti-Tank Grenade No 94 Engera
  • 1 120mm BAT L1 Recoilless Rifle
  • 3 Centurion Tanks
  • 150 Series 1 80″ Land-Rovers

Honours List

Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.)

  • Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Reid.[6]

Promotions

  • Private George Thomas Dimmock to Lance Corporal – 1 April 1953
  • Temporary Warrant Officer Class Two Alick Claude Doyle to Substantive WO2, 1 April 1953
  • Lieutenant J. Harvey to Captain. 9 December 1953.[7]
  • Captain (temp. Major) H. McK Reid to Major. 22 January 1954.[8]
  • Lieutenant-Colonel (temp Colonel) A. H. Andrews, OBE, BE, to Colonel. 21 October 1953.[9]
  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster T Rose to be Captain and Quartermaster. 1 May 1953.[10]

Enlistments into the RNZAOC

  • John Gunn, 21 September 1953
  • Leonard T Conlon, 16 June 1953
  • Keith A Parker, 17 July 1953

Appointments into the RNZAOC

  • Edward Francis Lambert Russell, late Captain RAOC, appointed as Lieutenant (on prob.), with seniority from 26 November 1949, posted as Vehicle. Spares Officer, Vehicle Spares Group, Main Ordnance Depot, 26 November 1953.[11]
  • Lieutenant J. B. Glasson, 13 April 1954.[12]

Transferred out of the RNZAOC to other Corps

  • Captain W. G. Dixon transferred to the Royal N.Z. Artillery. 6 July 1953.[13]

Transferred to the Supplementary List, NZ Regular Force

  • Captain and Quartermaster R. P. Kennedy, E.D., having reached the normal age for retirement, 13 April 1953.[14]

Transferred to the Reserve of Officers General List

  • Captain A. Whitehead, 17 December 1953.[15]

Re-Engagements into the New Zealand Regular Force

The following RNZAOC soldiers were re-engaged into the New Zealand Regular Force;

  • Sergeant W.J Smith for one year from April 1953, in the rank of Private
  • Warrant Officer Class One W.S Valentine, on a month to month basis until 31 March 1954
  • Corporal H.H Regnault, on a month to month basis until 31 March 1954

Civic Appointments

On 16 July 1953 Maurice Richard John Keeler, Ordnance Officer, Northern; District Ordnance Depot, RNZAOC Ngaruawahia, was authorized to take and receive statutory declarations under section 301 of the Justices of the Peace Act 1927.[16]

Notes

[1] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1952 to 31 March 1953 “, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1953).

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

[3] Roberto Giorgio Rabel, New Zealand and the Vietnam War : Politics and Diplomacy (Auckland University Press, 2005), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 16.

[4] Possibly surplus 37mm rounds used on New Zealand’s Stuart tanks which would have been compatible with weapon platforms in use with the French

[5] 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, 21.

[6] “Coronation Honours List,” New Zealand Gazette No 33, 11 June 1953, 911.

[7] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 9, 4 February 1954, 180.

[8] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 13, 25 February 1954, 294.

[9] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 15, 11 March 1954, 384.

[10] “Coronation Honours List,”  906.

[11] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 72, 17 December 1953.

[12] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 28, 6 May 1954, 678.

[13] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 48, 20 August 1953, 1354.

[14] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 1, 7 January 1954, 29.

[15] Ibid.

[16] “Officer Authorized to Take and Receive Statutory Declarations “, New Zealand Gazette No 42, 23 July 1953, 1184.


RNZAOC 1 June 1949 to 31 March 1950

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel A.H Andrews, OBE (until 11 November 1949)
  • Lieutenant Colonel F Reid, OBE (From 12 November 1949)

Chief Inspecting Ordnance Officer

  • Major I.S Millar

Senior Inspecting Ordnance Officer

  • Captain J.G.R Morley

IOO Technical Assistant

  • Captain N.C Fisher

Main Ordnance Depot, Officer Commanding

  • Major A.D Leighton

Main Ordnance Depot, Second in Command

  • Captain M.K Keeler

Northern Military District

Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services

District Inspecting Ordnance Officer

  • Captain E.C Green

OC Northern District Ordnance Depot

OC Northern District Ammunition Depot

  • Captain E.C Green

OC Northern District Vehicle Depot

Central Military District

Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services

District Inspecting Ordnance Officer

  • Captain G.H Perry

OC Central District Ordnance Depot

  • Captain Rennision

OC Central District Ammunition Depot

  • Captain Robert Price Kennedy

OC Central District Vehicle Depot

Southern Military District

Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Service

District Inspecting Ordnance Officer

  • Captain E Hancock

OC Southern District Ordnance Depot

OC Southern District Ammunition Depot

  • Captain William Cleaver Ancell

OC Southern District Vehicle Depot

New Zealand Division

Chief of Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (CRNZAOC)

  • Lieutenant Colonel Donald Edward Harper

2nd Infantry Brigade, Ordnance Field Park Platoon

  • Lieutenant G. W. Clark

3rd Infantry Brigade, Ordnance Field Park Platoon

  • Captain K. S. Brown[1]

Regrouping the Army

During this period, the peacetime Army undertook a reorganisation so that in the event of war it would be trained and equipped to rapidly and efficiently conduct operations. Based on this principle, units and formations of the Army were structured as follows:

  • Army Troops; including Army Headquarters, Army Schools, and base units.
  • District Troops; including District and Area Headquarters, Coast and Antiaircraft Artillery.
  • NZ Division

In general, Army Troops contained the machinery for the higher command and administration of the New Zealand Army; District Troops the home defence and elementary training element; and the NZ. Division as the mobile striking force for employment within or outside New Zealand as the situation may demand.

Compulsory Military Training

Required to build and sustain the Army’s new structure, Compulsory Military Training (CMT) was the tool utilised to provide a sustainable military force. Instituted under the provisions of the Military Training Act 1949 and supported by a public referendum, CMT was an ambitious scheme designed to turn individual recruits into capable soldiers. CMT obliged eighteen-year-old males to undertake fourteen weeks of Initial training followed by a three-year commitment to serve in the Territorial Army with a six-year reserve commitment. The CMT experience began with fourteen weeks of recruit training conducted at Papakura, Waiouru, Linton and Burnham after which recruits would spend three years posted to a Territorial unit. Unlike previous peacetime compulsory military training schemes that have been a feature of New Zealand life since 1909, the 1949 system would include Ordnance units sustained by regular intakes of recruits.[2]

Senior Ammunition Officers Conference

Over the period 21-24 June, the Director of Ordnance Services held the first conference of RNZAOC Senior Ammunition Officers.[3]

Attending the Conference were;

  • Lieutenant Colonel A.H Andrews, DOS
  • Major F Reid, DADOS (1)
  • Major I.S Miller, CIOO
  • Captain J.G.R Morley, SIOO
  • Captain N.C Fisher, Tech Assistant
  • Captain E.C Green, DIOO Northern Military District
  • Captain G.H Perry, DIOO Central Military District
  • Captain R. P Kennedy, OC Central District Ammunition Depot
  • Captain E Hancock, DIOO Southern Military District
  • Captain W Ancell, OC Southern District Ammunition Depot
  • Major M.J Leighton, OC Main Ordnance Depot
  • Captain M.J Keeler, Main Ordnance Depot
  • Captain W Langevad RNZA, OC Army Ammunition Stores Depot

Item discussed at the conference included;

  • The Ammunition Organisation in New Zealand, including;
    • Shortages of Staff
    • DIOO Office and Staff
    • Depot IOO’s
    • Accounting
    • Provision of Staff
    • Control of Ammunition personnel
    • Regimental Duties
    • Promotion – Other Ranks
    • Issues between Depots
    • General turnout of Staff at Depots
  • Demonstration of the Cordite Heat Test
  • Responsibilities, including
    • CIOO
    • SIOO
    • Army Ammunition Stores Depot
    • Inspection and Proof Section
    • District IOO’s
    • District Ammunition Repair Depots
    • Depot IOO’s
    • OC Ammunition Depots
  • Reports and Returns
  • General Ammunition Subjects, including
    • Advance information regarding dumping
    • Ammunition courses and refresher training
    • Verbal Instructions
    • Conveyance of Government Explosives by road
    • Explosive Limits NMD
    • Magazine Regulations
    • Ammunition Storage in Fiji
  • Policy, including
    • Increase of new Establishments
    • Trentham and Linton Magazines
    • Training of unit representatives
  • Visit to Army HQ Ammunition Accounts Section

Ordnance Conference

The Director of Ordnance Services hosted a conference of the Districts DADOS and the Officer Commanding Main Ordnance Depot(MOD) at Army Headquarters over the period 8-10 March 1950.[4]

Items discussed at the conference included;

  • Distribution of equipment for CMT between Districts and from the MOD to Districts,
  • Ordnance staff establishments,
  • Issue of Ammunition and explosives for CMY including priority of repair and alternatives,
  • Army estimates in relation to Ordnance
  • Submission of District concerns
  • Ammunition for Defence Rifle Clubs

Ordnance activities over the period

Over the period the RNZAOC conducted the following activities[5]

  • A large quantity of general and technical stores, weapons, ammunition and many Vehicles were overhauled, inspected, repaired where necessary, and distributed from the main depots to camps and smaller depots. Careful organisation and selection of priorities contributed to a substantial overtaking of the arrears of work which had accumulated as a result of the post-war reduction in staff.
  • The RNZAF stores depot at Mangaroa was taken over by the Army, and the extra storage space provided enabled much equipment to be moved out of the Government storage area at Seaview, where 95,000 square feet (8825 square meters) was made available to other Government Departments.
  • The Inspecting Ordnance Officers Group concentrated on the preparation of ammunition and explosives required for Territorial recruit training. In addition, the disposal of unserviceable stores by burning or detonation continued when personnel were available for this task. The service proof of all small-arms ammunition stocks had been under effective action for nine months at the Proof Office, Mount Eden. This revealed a general decline in the condition of stocks. The annual inspection and proof of ammunition were undertaken, being the basis of all operations of the Group.
  • Disposal of surplus assets (general stores) continued. A total of seventy-eight vehicles were disposed of during the period under review.
  • The general maintenance and preservation of ordnance equipment had been curtailed to some extent by staff shortage, but it was anticipated that these arrears would be overtaken soon.

New Year Honours List

His Excellency the Governor-General announced that the King was graciously pleased, on the occasion of the New Year, to confer the following Honours on the following members of the RNZAOC: –

  • Military Division: Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE)-
    • Warrant Officer, 1st Class, William Sampson Valentine, RNZAOC, of Christchurch.[6]

WO1 Valentine originally listed in 1915 and saw active service in Egypt, Gallipoli and France. After serving as a POW Repatriation Guard in 1919, Valentine enlisted into the Temporary Branch of the NZAOC at Featherston Camp. Transferring into the Permanent Staff of the NZAOC in 1924 and transferred to Burnham Camp. WO1 Valentine was transferred into the Civil Staff in 1931, remaining employed by the NZAOC at Burnham. Recalled to the colours in 1942, Valentine enlisted in the New Zealand Temporary Staff, remaining with the NZAOC at No 3 Ordnance Sub Depot, Burnham Camp. Transferred into the RNZAOC in 1947, WO1 Valentine was re-engaged into the NZ Regular Force in 1950. Retiring in 1954, WO1 Valentine Passed away in 1959.[7]

Transfer of IOO personnel

As a result of the raising of a new establishment for the IOO Group and the recommendations of the Senior Ammunition Conference held in June 1949 , the system of having all members of the IOO Group on the strength of Army Headquarters was changes so that were posed to the unite in which they were employed in. Accordingly, with effect 10 October 1949 the following appointments were made;

Northern Military District

  • Captain K.C Green, Struck of Strength of Army HQ to HQ Northern Military District as District IOO located at the District HQ
  • Captain C.C Pipson, Struck of Strength of Army HQ to Northern District Ammunition Depot as Depot IOO
  • Lieutenant C.L Sanderson, Remained on Strength of IOO Group Army HQ as IOO in Charge Inspection and Proof Section, NMD, Located at Hopuhopu
  • Warrant Officer Class One F.W Chambers, struck off strength Army HQ, take on strength of Northern District Ammunition Depot as Ammunition Examiner.
  • Sergeant E.C Sherman, struck off strength Army HQ, take on strength of Northern District Ammunition Depot as Ammunition Examiner.
  • Lance Corporal M.J Corcoran, struck off strength Army HQ, take on strength of Northern District Ammunition Depot as Ammunition Examiner.
  • Staff Sergeant W.H Kerr, struck off strength Army HQ, take on strength of Northern Military District Ammunition Repair Depot.
  • Sergeant E.A Clarke, struck off strength Army HQ, take on strength of Northern Military District Ammunition Repair Depot.
  • Corporal W.E Stevenson, Struck off strength Army HQ, take on strength of Northern Military District Ammunition Repair Depot.
  • Private J.R Roche, Struck off strength Army HQ, take on strength of Northen Milirary District Ammunition Repair Depot.

Central Military District

  • Captain E.D Gerard. Struck of Strength of Army HQ to HQ Central Military District as District IOO located at the District HQ
  • Captian E.T Marriot, Struck of Strength of Army HQ to Central District Ammunition Depot as Depot IOO
  • Staff Sergeant C.S Crichton, , Struck off strength Army HQ, take on strength of Central District Ammunition Depot as Ammuniton Examiner.
  • Sergant J.D Smith, Struck off strength Army HQ, take on strength of Central District Ammunition Depot as Ammuniton Examiner.
  • Sergeant K.W Kibblewhite, Struck off strength Army HQ, take on strength of Central District Ammunition Depot as Ammuniton Examiner.
  • Sergeant W Foster, Struck off strength Army HQ, take on strength of Central District Ammunition Depot as Ammuniton Examiner.
  • Corporal W.E Beasley, Struck off strength Army HQ, take on strength of Central District Ammunition Depot as Ammuniton Examiner.
  • Warrant Officer Class Two E.C.L McvKay, Struck off strength Army HQ, take on strength of Central Military District Ammunition Repair Depot,m Belmont as Laboratory Foreman.
  • Sergeant A.N.J Swain, struck off strength Army HQ, take on strength of Central Military District Ammunition Repair Depot as Ammunition Examiner.
  • Corporal J.J Hawkins, struck off strength Army HQ, take on strength of Central Military District Ammunition Repair Depot as Ammunition Examiner.
  • Corporal W.B DFoughe, struck off strength Army HQ, take on strength of Central Military District Ammunition Repair Depot as Ammunition Examiner.

Southern Military District

  • Captain E, R Hancock, Struck of Strength of Army HQ to HQ Sothern Military District as District IOO located at the District HQ
  • Captain F.J Mitchell, Captain E.T Marriot, Struck of Strength of Army HQ to Southern District Ammunition Depot as Depot IOO
  • Staff Sergeant J Leslie, struck off strength Army HQ, take on strength of Southern District Ammunition Depot as Ammunition Examiner.
  • Warrant Officer Class Two C.W Ludman, Taken in strength of Southern Ammunition Repair Depot as Laboratory Forman.
  • Sergeant G.A Bailey, struck off strength Army HQ, take on strength of Southern Military District Ammunition Repair Depot, Burnham as Ammunition Examiner.
  • Private E.A Burt, struck off strength Army HQ, take on strength of Southern Military District Ammunition Repair Depot, Burnham as Ammunition Handler.
  • Private I.E Maxwell, struck off strength Army HQ, take on strength of Southern Military District Ammunition Repair Depot, Burnham as Ammunition Handler.

Main Ordnance Depot

  • Captain L.C Williams,  Technical Assistant, AID, Remained on Strength IOO Group Army HQ, Local Admin by MOD.
  • Captain W Langevad RNZA, OC Army Ammunition Stores Depot, Remained on Strength IOO Group Army HQ, Local Admin by MOD.
  • Corporal R.C Fisher, Technical Assistant, AID, Remained on Strength IOO Group Army HQ, Local Admin by MOD.
  • Private F.W Harris NZ WAC, Technical Assistant, AID, Remained on Strength IOO Group Army HQ, Local Admin by MOD.

Re-Engagements into the New Zealand Regular Force

With effect 1 April 1950 the undermentioned members of the RNZAOC were re-engaged into the NZ Regular for a period of one year;

  • 31976    Cpl (T Sgt) G.H Bailey
  • 31964    LCpl E.A Burt
  • 31236    WO1 E.C Forgie
  • 31881    Cpl A.J Grimwood
  • 31240    WO2 (T/WO1) C.W Hall
  • 31878    Pte C.W Hindle
  • 31878    SSgt J Leslie
  • SSgt       G.J Martin
  • 31870    Cpl R. O’Keefe
  • 31241    WO2 J.L Peterson
  • 31865    LCpl CE Peach
  • 31864    Sgt S.F Pyne
  • 31247    SSgt I.F Roberts
  • 32470    Cpl E.H Regnault
  • 31233    W.S Valentine
  • 31642    W.M Wilkinson
  • 31859    E.J Wilson

Notes

[1] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army “, New Zealand Gazette No 35, 9 June 1949, 1326.

[2] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 June 1949 to 31 March 1950 “, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1950).

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

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

[5] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 June 1949 to 31 March 1950 “.

[6] “New Year Honours List “, New Zealand Gazette No 2, 12 January 1950.

[7] “William Sampson Valentine,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1915-1954.


Reports on NZ Ordnance Depots in the Pacific, 1943-44

The Second World War would be a period of immense growth for New Zealand’s Ordnance Services. Expanding from a strength of 6 Officers, 28 Permanent Other Ranks and 113 Civilian Staff operating from limited infrastructure in Devonport, Hopuhopu, Trentham and Burnham Camp in May 1939,  New Zealand’s Ordnance Services would have expanded by 1944 into a diverse organisation supporting New Zealand’s Forces at home and abroad.

Armed with the 1939 Ordnance Manual (war), the Ordnance units of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) would be established and adapted for their specific theatres of operation. In the Middle East, New Zealand Ordnance would integrate into the Ordnance Servicers of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. However, with a Brigade Group based in Fiji from late 1940, it would be the Ordnance Services in the Pacific that faced the most significant challenges. As the NZ Brigade Group transitioned and expanded from its garrison duties in Fiji into a Division conducting amphibious combat operations in the Solomon Islands, the supporting Ordnance Services challenges included anticipating the needs of the Division up to six months in advance and relying on fragile lines of communication that stretched back to New Zealand for everyday items and to the United Kingdom for much of the military hardware held by the Division. Additionally, the tropical climate and indigenous fauna encountered in the area of operations would provide additional hurdles to overcome.

After a series of actions in the Solomons, the burden of maintaining two Divisions was unstainable for the limited resources that New Zeland could provide, and by October 1944 the Pacific Divison had been disestablished. Its men were either demobilised to fill critical civilian roles, or retained in the Army, as reinforcements for the Division in Italy or in the case of many of the Ordnance men, absorbed into New Zealand based Ordnance Depots to receive and refurbish the large amount of equipment returned from the Pacific.

20171005_163604C

3 NZ Division Tricks and Tanks parked at Main Ordnance Depot, Mangere Bulk Depot on their Return from the Pacific in 1944 (Colourised). Alexander Turnbull Library

20171005_163654C

3 NZ Division Tricks and Tanks parked at Main Ordnance Depot, Mangere Bulk Depot on their Return from the Pacific in 1944(Colourised). Alexander Turnbull Library

Based on the experienced gained in the operation of the Base Ordnance Depot in New Caledonia and Advanced Ordnance Depot in Guadalcanal, two Ordnance Officers who had served in the Pacific since 1940, Henry Mckenzie Reid and Stanley Arthur Knight produced reports in 1945 summarising Ordnance operations in New Caledonia and Guadacanal. Both Knight and Reid had been civilians in the Ordnance Corps before the war, Reid at Trentham and Knight at Hopuhopu and commissioned as officers during 1940. Both men would serve in the Base Ordnance Depot in Fiji and then with the Base Ordnance Depot in New Caledonia as Chief Ordnance Officer. Knight would also be the final DADOS of the 3rd NZ Divison. Both officers would remain in the NZAOC after the war with Reid becoming the Director of Ordnance Services from April 1957 to November 1960.

Both reports are similar in overall content with various points on Storage, Packing of Stores, Personnel, Ammunition with each Officer providing varying degrees of detail. The combined purpose of the reports is not only to provide a historical record of this aspect of New Zealand’s Ordnance Services in the Pacific but also to provide a resource for the New Zealand Ordnance Services and assist in planning for future operations in the tropics.

OPERATIONS OF ORDNANCE DEPOTS IN PACIFIC
OBSERVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF
LIEUT-COL S.A.KNIGHT N.Z.E.F I.P.

Knight Pic

Lieutenant-Colonel Stanley Arthur Knight

FORWARD

I was appointed Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services immediately prior to the withdrawal of troops from forward areas to base areas in New Caledonia. Shortly after my arrival in Guadalcanal, units commenced preparations prior to evacuation, and my duties as D.A.D.O.S were not onerous since the demand for equipment had dropped to bare essentials. My observations must, therefore, be entirely concerned with an analysis of experiences gained while holding the appointment of Chief Ordnance Officer (COO), Base Ordnance Depot(BOD) New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Pacific(NZEF IP).

ZONE OF OPERATIONS

The Base Ordnance Depor was established in New Caledonia at the beginning of the new year in 1943. Being situated some 30 miles for the port of Nepoui at which the bulk of our stores were unloaded and 100 miles from Noumea, fairly long hauls by road were necessitated.

In August of the same year, an Advanced Ordnance Depot was established in Guadalcanal, staffed by about 50% of the Base Ordnance Dept personnel. A few weeks later a Forward Ordnance Depot staffed by 2 officers and 25 ORs was established a Vella Lavella. The later depot was closed down and personnel withdrawn to Guadalcanal when Divisional Troops move forward to Green Island.

Due account must the taken of the type of operations to be undertaken, but it is my opinion that sub-division must be kept to a minimum. If the Base Depot is situated as close as possible to the fighting troops, then the necessity to establish Advanced Depots can be reduced to a minimum. Each time a Sub-Depot is established, additional personnel are required, and the total quantity of stores must necessarily be increased go provide working margins for each Depot.

STORAGE

It will be generally accepted that few if any permanent buildings will be available for the holding of ordnance store on Pacific Islands unless the Base is established at places such ad Noumea, Suva or Rabaul. Full provision must, therefore, be made for the temporary coverage to provide adequate protection for the initial shipments of stores when a Depot id being established.

Sufficient timber and tarpaulins for the erection of shelters should be forwarded with the first shipment of stores. Well constructed canvas shelters with good ventilation will give satisfactory accommodation for the storage, breaking down and issue of equipment for a period of 3 or 4 months. If the Depot is to remain in one site for a longer period, prefabricated buildings should be provided as early as possible if the loss of stores is to be kept to a minimum. Canvas coverings can only be considered a temporary measure as owing to the high humidity, together with tropical rain and cyclones, deterioration is very rapid.

The effects of a hurricane can be severe, and a poorly constructed Ordnance Depot might easily be completely wrecked with very heavy mortality to stores since hurricanes are usually accompanied by torrential downpours.
I stress the fact that the best type of storage which can be procured, must go forward at the very earliest moment; otherwise, the Depot will be severely hampered, particularly in its infancy.

To meet the requirement of a Base Ordnance Depot serving a Division (including Ammunition) and to provide a small surplus for contingencies 2000 tarpaulins, preferably of the standard 180ft x 13-ft would be required.

In the initial stages of an operation, stores are usually carted to dumps from shops. Every effort should be made to provide dunnage for the stacks and tarpaulins should be arranged, allowing good air circulation.

Stacks of stores covered in this manner require constant attention. For instance, when a stack which has been properly covered allowing good air circulation, is partially broken down, the tarpaulin is allowed to drape on the ground. The air under the tarpaulin arranged in this manner is always saturated in a damp climate and rapid deterioration is the result. The same applies to tentage which should be properly erected, preferably with wooden floors, allowing free air circulation and the maximum benefit of dry sunny days used by removing and drying out damp walls.

Although 1200 Tarpaulins were placed on order for manufacture some weeks prior to the Divisions departure from New Zealand, only about 400 were to hand and available for use when the Ordnance Depot was established in New Caledonia. This number was insufficient to cover all Depot stocks and Ammunition with the result that much damage resulted. On instructions from the A.A. & Q.M.G, 80 tarpaulins had to be removed from ammunition stacks for the issue to A.S.C units. As a result of the Ammunition being exposed to heavy rains, considerable damage was done, and a repair party of 50 men was employed for many weeks at a later date, repairing and cleaning the Ammunition, while some had to be destroyed owing to its unserviceability.

When the Ammunition dump was established at Guadalcanal, every effort was made to provide the best possible storage. Ammunition was stacked on goof platforms with coconut poles for base and Tarpaulins were properly arranged, allowing free ait circulation. As a result, losses were negatable in a striking contrast to the losses in this Ammunition by U.S. Forces, who did not cover Ammunition stacks which were often in damp areas with no dunnage.

As it is not possible, without disastrous results, to open up and expose M.T parts, Signal Equipment and spares, Wireless Equipment and spares, M.G and S.A spares and certain Engineer Stores in other than dry storage, it is recommended that sufficient Stores wagons should be provided to house this equipment until such time s prefabricated buildings can be erected. It is estimated that not less than 24 well-appointed stores wagons would be required and theses should be stocked with spares, most likely to be in early demand.

I may appear to have dwelt on the question of storage, but when the Base Ordnance Depot commenced operations in NECAL, the only stores and office accommodation available in addition to Tarpau1ins, on which I have already documented were 8 I.P.P. Tents, being the balance of 110 shipped and 2 G.S Single Marquees. Although a considerable quantity of dunnage was unloaded from ships and made available to Units for camp construction, very little was made available for dunnage of stores. Timber ordered in NZ by B.O.D. for the dunnage of Ammunition was taken over by the Engineers and very little made available for Ammunition. By the same token, priority was given to the issue of I.P.P. tents for Messes, Orderly Rooms etc., 102 being used for this purpose, leaving a balance of 8 for use in our Depot as Stores and offices.

The construction of storage accommodation for Ordnance Depot should be the responsibility of the Works Construction Coy N.Z.E which in my opinion is an essential unit in any Army formation.

PERSONNEL

Personnel for an Ordnance Depot should be carefully selected to fill the various positions; the following are most suitable: –

Clerks: Men who have been clerks and accountants in civilian life are easily trained to carry out clerical duties in an Ordnance Depot. Qualified accountants are invaluable, and three or four of these in a Depot are worth their weight in gold.

Storeman-General: Men who have worked in retail stores and warehouses and who have good clerical training invariably make good storeman. Farm labourers and navvies are, almost with exception, useless as storemen and cannot be relied on to carry out other than labouring duties. It is agreed that there is a certain amount of labouring work in and Ordnance Depot, but this can be done very efficiently by an intelligent man, while on the other hand, a labourer cannot carry on with the onerous duties of a storeman, should the need arise.

Storeman-M.T: It is essential that M.T. Storeman should have had considerable experience at this trade in civilian life. It is desirable that Senior Storemen should have had at least 8 or 10 years experience in the handling of M.T spares.

Storeman-Wireless: Technical men who have a sound knowledge of wireless equipment appear to be very difficult to procure, but it is highly desirable that at least one very experienced man should be included in the staff of a Depot. It is likely that a Wireless Mechanic who could fill a storeman’s position would be more easily procured.

Storeman-Signals: Signal Storemen from the P&T Dept should prove the most suitable, but again these seem rare.

Storeman-Engineers, Arty & Armd: Key personnel to fill the positions of storemen in these sections should be from Ordnance Depots in NZ and should have some years’ experience. It is extremely unlikely that any suitable personnel could be obtained from other than Ordnance Depots to fill these positions in anything like a satisfactory manner.

The future Defence Policy of this country should include the training of men for Ordnance duties. Even if only an elementary training can be given, men so trained would he much more useful than those who had no training at all. It is also suggested that a good percentage of the men employed during peacetime in Ordnance Depots should be young men fit for Overseas Service should the need arise.

Care should be taken to ensure that the men selected for Ordnance Depots are trustworthy and of good character. It will be found that men who have filled positions of trust in civilian life can be depended upon to carry out their work in a satisfactory manner in the Army.

N.C.O.’s

Almost without exception, N. C. 0′ s are promoted on their technical ability, which naturally is of prime importance in an Ordnance Depot. Quite frequently, these N.C.O’s prove poor disciplinarians and have insufficient training in drill. It is highly desirable that all N.C.O’s should have a short course on discipline and drill, otherwise discipline within the Unit tends to become rather lax.

The importance is stressed, of making provision in the future for sufficient key personnel to be trained particularly in technical sections. In our Base Ordnance Depot with an establishment of 220 NCO’s and 0R’s, we did not have one storeman with any knowledge of Technical stores and had only two men with pre-war Ordnance training.

My experience has convinced me that No Ordnance Depot will function to its fullest capacity unless a D & E platoon is included in the establishment. This Section which should consist of 25 to 30 men including 2 carpenters, would be able to perform the following duties, Guards, Picquets, Camp Maintenance, Maintenance of Stores areas, General Fatigues, and providing working parties to relive pressure at rush periods. This would obviate the necessity of having to detail clerks and storemen, who are often key men, for such duties.

PACKING

The standard packing case used by Ordnance in New Zealand has proved quite satisfactory. A suggested improvement is that all cases should be constructed of tongue and groove timber.

Many of the cases, and in particular those constructed by Army contractors, proved unsatisfactory. Three-ply cases are poor for tropical conditions and should not be used. Cases carrying “every-ready” were not constructed stoutly enough to carry the weight packed in them, with the result that a high percentage arrived broken, with a resultant loss of the contents through pillage etc., which in some cases was very heavy. Old used cases should not be used for stores which may require many handlings. Timber used should not be less the ¾ inch, and in many cases, it is advisable to use 1-inch boards or heavier, if high weight – size ration is involved.

Waterproof lining for cases should be used wherever possible. In packing stores, it should be always born in mind that cases may have to withstand severe conditions during transit. Quite frequently during unloading of ships on beaches or in transit camps where no coverage is available, stores are subjected to torrential downpours of rain. The resultant damage is not always apparent from outside appearances when packages reach their final destinations. If not required for immediate use the total contents may be rendered unserviceable before being unpacked, perhaps some weeks later.

The use of packing such as wood-wool or straw, which retains moisture, causes rapid corrosion of metal articles, particularly if they have not been toughly treated with a rust preventive before packing. Stores packed out from Ordnance Depots in New Zealand, without any rust preventative have been received in an unserviceable condition owing to the ingress of water or moisture during transit. On occasions, the stores received unserviceable have been urgently required for maintenance. These remarks apply in the main to Artillery Stores, Small Arms parts, and tools.

The packing of Bubbles Spirt Glass, Thermometers and Artillery Packings, etc without protection from heavy articles in the same case, must be avoided at all costs. Fragile articles should be packed in a small wooden box before being included with heavy articles in a case. The use of straw or wool-wood as cushioning when packing instruments such as Binoculars, Telescopes, Periscopes, Rangefinders, etc., should be avoided. Any damage retained by such packing induces rapid mould growth.

STORES PROVISIONING

Having due regard to lines of communication, minimum require rents only should be carried forward and held until adequate storage can be arranged. This is of course entirely governed by lines of communication. During operations of 3 Div. the paucity of shipping, particularly
during the first 9 months, made it essential that we should carry at least 6 months stock for all items. On some occasions, stores awaited shipment from N.Z. for 6 or 7 months owing principally to the higher priority placed on U.S. equipment.

It is recommended that in future operations where a full Division has to be maintained, consideration should be given to the chartering of a cargo ship solely for supplying such a force. A ship similar to the ‘Matua’ would do the job admirably. When making this recommendation, I am fully aware that there was a shortage of shipping during the period, but the position may not obtain on another occasion.

TENTS & TARPAULINS

Conditions in the Tropics made the lite of Tentage very short. I.P.P· and I.P. Tents were in general use and proved very suitable. However, due to the high humidity and heavy rainfall, the average life for the Outer Roof was only about 9 months and Inner Roof – 12 months. According to the location and care taken, there were variations. Tents pitched under trees were seldom, if ever, properly dried out and would be unserviceable in 6 months or less, while others pitched in dry exposed areas where the full benefit of drying breezes was obtained, would be serviceable for 12 months or even longer. In combat areas, subject to air attacks, full use has to be made of natural camouflage, and Tents have of necessity to be pitched under trees, where they are available.

Some G.S. Single Marquees which have only a single skin, were used for storage and these were not at all suitable. Besides being unbearably hot, they are not rainproof and should not be used in the Pacific.

The Pyramidal Tent, commonly used for housing troops, by the U.S. Forces is also unsuitable for the tropics, being unbearably hot.

The life of Tarpaulins is also considerably lessened, principally by the tropical heat. Waterproof dressing, which is normally wax bases, melts and runs out of the fabric with the result that frequent dressing is required.·

BOOTS

The Black R. & F. Boot used by the N.Z. Forces gave good service. Due to the conditions, wear on boots was very heavy and the average boot required re-soling every 3 or 4 weeks. Very little trouble was experienced with mould growth, except where boots had become damp during transit or through poor storage.

CLOTHING

Uniforms – Wear and tear on clothing was very heavy. In my opinion, the standard Khaki Drill shirt which can be worn with either shorts or long trousers is the most suitable. The Bush Shirt is not suitable for wear with the shorts and cannot be considered a utility garment such as the K.D. shirt is. The average soldier has to do his own laundering while on Active Service end Bush Shirts look very untidy unless they are well laundered.

Socks – Socks proved quite suitable and gave good service.

Hose, Footless – Footless Hose Proved most unsuitable being much too short and tight-fitting. Soldiers avoided wearing them whenever possible. If it is decided to continue the use of this article, liberal allowance should be made for shrinking.

Underclothing – Vests and Shorts Cotton Under gave good service, but it is suggested that for tropical use, these should be made lighter. The lighter weight garments as used by U.S. Forces are considered to be much more suitable.

Belts – A belt similar to that used by U.S. Forces for general purposes should be issued to each soldier.

Hats S.D – Due to the perspiration and rough conditions, the mortality was very high. However, this hat gave good service. The issue of a Tropical Sun Hat would be a more welcome addition to the kit of soldiers.

SMALL ARMS

I do not propose to report fully on the behaviour of S.A armament or other technical stores since a publication prepared by a Scientific Mission from Australia, who visited New Guinea, covers in detail all the difficulties which confront those who use Army Equipment in the tropics much more fully and scientifically than I could hope to do. I will refer to this publication at the conclusion of my report, but I desire to stress the heavy mortality inflicted on rifles, by the Mason Bee.

This small insect was responsible for the destruction of some hundreds of rifle barrels in the Division. The Mason. Bee will build a nest in a rifle overnight, and corrosion caused by acid immediately sets in and cannot be arrested.

To prevent the Bee entering the nuzzle of a rifle, a covering, preferably of mosquito netting or some such open texture material, should be used as this will allow breathing and thus not induce sweating of the barrel which will occur if it is completely sealed.

Mosquito netting was made available to Units in the Division, but in view of the heavy mortality, it is doubtful that the fullest use was made of this or the repeated warnings issued in Divisional Orders, rigidly enforced by all C.O’s.

LIFTING GEAR

The Depot was considerably handicapped by the total lack of lifting gear, until 3 months before the Depot closed, when a very useful Mobile Crane arrived from N.Z. This was in striking contrast to the U.S.Forces who always had an abundance of lifting gear of all types and sizes. The Depot staff had to manhandle such items as Speedway Stores weighing 1-ton and MT cases of assemblies weighing 1,100 lbs.

Every Ordnance Depot should have on its War Equipment Table three Finger Lifts and two Mobile Cranes. One of the latter should be capable of lifting 2-tons at least.

AMMUNITION

The use of other than steel boxes for the packing of Ammunition should be reduced to an absolute minimum. Wooden boxes, particularly those packed with 3.7 How. Shell and 25-pdr. Shell failed to stand up to the handling and transporting. This was mainly due of course to the deterioration caused to the woodwork by the damp, humid climate and accelerated in some instances by exposure to the weather when coverage was not available, but in any case, the life of wooden boxes is much less than that of steel boxes, which will withstand a good deal of rough handling.

AUTOMATIC MAINTENANCE

The principle of the supply of Automatic maintenance items is considered to be an excellent one. For conditions in the Pacific, there is no doubt that the scales would require a certain amount of revision but owing to the fact that supplies did not come to hand until some 6 months before the Division returned to N.Z, insufficient data was obtained, and time did not permit revision of the schedules. Had Automatic Maintenance been in operation during the whole period, some very valuable
information would have been available.

LIASION WITH N.Z

It is considered that constant Liaison with N.Z. should be maintained. It is considered that an Ordnance Officer should visit the N.N Base from which supplies are drawn, every 3 or 4 months and that an Ordnance Officer from N.Z. should pay frequent visits to Depots overseas when they are so readily accessible by air transport.

GENERAL ADMINISTRATION

It is desired to place on record the valuable assistance rendered to the Base Ordnance Depot by the Officer I/C Administration, (Brig. W. W. Dove) and his staff at his H.Q. ·what was a very difficult job was made considerably lighter by the friendly co-operation and help and advice given at all times. No reasonable request was ever refused, and everything possible was done to promote efficiency in. the Depot.

The Main Depot was divided into Sections as follows:

H.Q.
General Stores and Clothing.
Armament, Engrs and Signals.
M.T.
Ammunition.
Returned Stores.

HQ was controlled by the C.O.O, assisted by an Adjutant and each Section was controlled by an Ordnance Officer.

This arrangement proved quite satisfactory and could well be adopted in future for an Ordnance Depot set up under similar circumstances with the addition of a Provision and Statistical Section, controlled by an Officer.

CONCLUSION

Following a survey carried out in New Guinea by a Scientific Mission from Australia, a pamphlet entitled “Condition of Service Material under Tropical Conditions in New Guinea” was published.

This publication deals exhaustively with the effects of tropical. Conditions or equipment in all its phases and is, in my opinion, applicable to all Pacific Islands to a greater or lesser degree.

It is recommended that the fullest possible use should be made of this publication and no Ordnance Officer proceeding to the Pacific should fail to read this valuable Pamphlet.

(sgd) S.A. KNIGHT

OPERATIONAL REPORT
BASE ORDNANCE DEPOT
MAJOR H.McK. REID  N .Z.E.F I.P.

Reid Pic

Major Henry Mckenzie Reid

The problems of the receipt, custody and issue of Ordnance Stores in the Pacific Area, is much greater than is imagined by the layman, and it is hoped that the following remarks may prove helpful should the occasion ever arise when an Ordnance Depot is again established in the Pacific.

One of the greatest problems which has to be overcome is the time lag which occurs between the placing of an order and the receipt of the stores. It was soon found that estimates had to be prepared covering supplies sufficient for six months, as this was the period which we could expect would elapse before stores would arrive. This occasionally brought about very large shipments which were more difficult to handle than would have been the case had stores arrived, say, at monthly intervals. The problem of shipping is one which would greatly improve, and I would suggest, that with a full Division to be serviced, there would be sufficient cargo to warrant the chartering of a small ship which would be at the sole disposal of NEW ZEALAND Forces. I mention this, as on numerous occasions, stores which were urgently required by us, were short shipped owing to priorities being placed on US Equipment. I would again point out, that any Ordnance Depot operating in the Island areas, should carry not less than six months supplies. For the information of any Ordnance Officers concerned, I will attach to this report, a schedule giving some idea of the quantities of popular items used by this Force. This may prove of some value both in the initial provisioning of a Depot and also in the preparation of maintenance demands.

STORAGE

Early coverage of stores after receipt is one of the greatest importance. I fully appreciate the difficulty in providing permanent or pre-fabricated buildings, but I would emphasise the fact that this type of storage is essential if the Depot is to function for any length of time. The provision of a permanent building for the handling of M.T spares and other technical stores should be an urgent priority, as, in a humid climate such as rules in the Islands, it is essential to have some areas in which these stores can be opened and handled. Loss of M.T stores through decoration was relatively light in NECAL, but this could only be attributed to the acquiring of storage space at the Gendarmerie. However, until this building became available, we found it impossible to open and supply spare parts which were urgently required for the repair of trucks which were suffering heavy damage due to the atrocious condition of the road. I would recommend the use of stores wagons both for M.T. parts and Artillery, Engineer and Signal parts. These wagons could be parked in NEW ZEALAND with a selection of parts which it could be assumed would be required soon after landing. These stores would be available for immediate issue, and when permanent storage space was available, they could be used for the distribution of small stores to Divisional units. Temporary coverage should be available immediately stores are landed, and I would suggest the 2000, 18’x13’ tarpaulins, together with a supply of timber, should be made available for the erection of temporary shelters and for the coverage of ammunition. Prior to leaving NEW ZEALAND, 1200 tarpaulins were ordered, 400 of these were received with an early consignment of stores, but the balance took many months to arrive, due either to the difficulty in obtaining these in NEW ZEALAND and the lack of shipping at that stage. Owing to this short delivery of tarpaulins, quite a quantity of precious stores suffered untold damage. This position was further aggravated by an order from a very responsible officer for the issue of a number of tarpaulins to A.S.C. It was pointed out that the only tarpaulins available were covering ammunition, with the result the considerable damage was done. Heavy repairs were necessary, and a certain amount of unserviceable ammunition had to be dumped.

Dependent on the availability of timber at the site where ammunition is to be stored, I would suggest that a large quantity of heavy dunnage should be provided from NEW ZEALAND for the purpose of correctly storing ammunition clear of ground contact. This dunnage could easily be used for the securing of M.T Trucks during the shipment.

When the Ordnance Depot arrived in NECAL, it was expected to establish itself and commence functioning with as little loss of time as possible, with the result that the Ordnance Depot was not well constructed as possible and that the men had insufficient opportunity to make themselves reasonably comfortable. Owing to the shortage of manpower, it took many months to have the same amenities as other units had in a few days. I would consequently suggest that the site for an Ordnance Depot should be levelled and roads prepared by the engineers so that the ordnance personnel could get on with the establishment their Depot. Assistance should be given by the Engineers in the erection of temporary shelters such as I have previously mentioned.

PACKING OF STORES

The packing and marking of stores received from NEW ZEALAND caused much concern to B.O.D whilst in NECAL. Some cases were much too light for the type of stores which they contained. These were mainly packages received directly from Contractors. As an example, Ever-ready Batteries invariably arrived in a damaged condition owing to the fact that they were packed in light cases. The ideal type of case is that used by the NZAOC for the packing of clothing. This is a standard case in three sizes which proved very satisfactory. The use of this principle should be extended to all types of stores being shipped overseas. It may appear costly to have to provide this type of case, but the amount of stores lost and damaged would be reduced, and would compensate for the outlay. Much damage was done to valuable stores due to faulty packing. For instance, where metal stores are being packed, care should be taken to see that bright surfaces are greased. Quite a number of shipments arrived from NEW ZEALAND in which Small Arms parts, Arty parts and other small items had been just put in a box, with the result that they arrived resembling a heap of rusty metal. Small part such as these, should be greased and packed in greased paper. Glass items such as Spirt Bubbles, should be carefully packed and not be permitted to roll in cases. The use of straw or wood-wool should not be permitted where metal items are being packed, as both of these substances attract moisture, with the result that they become damp and stores begin to sweat.

The marking of stores caused a lot of heartaches to B.O.D, the codesign “P” in a circle, was parked on each side of cases but the scheduled marking was, in many in instances only placed on the top of the case. From an identification point, the local method of marking is for the scheduled mark to be put on both ends of the case. If possible, this could also go on the top. In order to minimise the chance of pillage, I would suggest that the practice of indicating the contents on the outside of the case should cease.

Code signs were used, but were much too obvious to be misunderstood.

Good Paint should be used in marking, as cheap paint or stencil inks fade under tropical conditions. The position was complained of to D.M.T WELLINGTON and was rectified after the visit of D.M.T’s Representatives. Things such as this may appear trivial, but really important to an Ordnance man for the easy identification of stores.

SUB-DIVISION OF B.O.D

Taking into account the type of operations to expected in the Pacific where forces are liable to land on different islands, I am of the opinion that B.O.D. should not establish more than one forward base. In order to provide an Ordnance Detachment with both the 8th and 14th Brigades and to have maintained an Advanced Ordnance Depot at GUADALCANAL, it would have been necessary if these establishments were to function efficiently, to have provided approximately twice the amount of stores and 80% more men. I am of the opinion that prior to leaving NEW ZEALAND, all units should be allowed to carry a reserve stock of, say, 10 to 20% of items such as Boots, Clothing, Camp Equipment and any items considered necessary. The ideal method of supply with an Amphibious Force would be to establish an Advanced Depot such as A.O.D GUADALCANAL. From then on, all units would work on their reserve stocks. This would allow units to requisition stores and still be able to provide the immediate needs of the man. This principle was tried by the Force in GREEN ISLAND and proved very successful. Units were permitted to carry forward this reserve and from then on submitted demands back to A.O.D GUADALCANAL, which was able to forward the stores required. Any time factor due to shipping was cared for by the reserve stores held by the unit. Regarding a move from NEW ZEALAND of a Force, no unit should move without being completely equipped. If for any reason units have to move without full equipment, then it is imperative that Ordnance stores and the Ordnance unit should be one of the first to move. During the move into NECAL, Ordnance received a huge quantity of stores which were landed prior to the arrival of the main body of B.O.D. This entailed many difficulties for the two officers and 30 O.R’s of B.O.D. who had preceded the Main Body. Their worries were increased by units arriving incompletely equipped and requesting the delivery of stores direct from the Dump in the NEPOUI VALLEY. Some units arrived with men short of even clothing, and this alone should back my suggestion that, either unit’s proceed fully equipped, or that the complete Ordnance unit be one of the earliest to move.

TRANSPORT & LIFTING GEAR

Only in the later months of B.O.D’s existence was ample transport available. This in itself is inclined to hamper the activities of a Depot, and I would recommend that transport should be allowed on a very liberal scale. I would also stress the necessity of having some heavy lifting equipment such as the Mobile Crane which arrived at B.O.D about three months prior to its return to NEW ZEALAND. Such items as Speedway Stoves, M.T Engines and other heavy equipment ranging from 3 or 4 cwt, had to be manhandled and this was much more apparent under the conditions in the islands. A mobile Crane should be one of the first items on any Ordnance Depots War Equipment Table.

INSPECTING ORDNANCE OFFICER

I would strongly recommend the appointment of an Inspecting Ordnance Officer whose duties would take him to every unit, where he should be given the right to inspect equipment and report on it. A check could thus be kept on the state in which a unit kept its equipment and also on the fact that they had no more or less entitled to them.

I would also recommend that the return of unserviceable items to B.O.D should discontinue and that a travelling Board of Survey should visit units at pre-arranged times. The I.O.O could function on this board as a permanent member. Items od no Salvage value could be destroyed on the spot whilst items for repair or salvage could be returned to Ordnance. This would obviate the necessity of carting over many miles, large quantities of material whose only fate could be to end in fire. This would minimise the work of the Salvage Section of B.O.D. They would then be in a position to do more repair work than was ever accomplished.

LIASION WITH NEW ZEALAND

Liaison with NEW ZEALAND or source of supply is an extremely desirable thing, but it is suggested that from an Ordnance point of view this can most successfully be carried out by someone conversant with Ordnance. Quite apart from the Divisional Liaison Officer who made several trips to NEW ZEALAND, I am of the opinion that Ordnance should have had closer contact with NEW ZEALAND. I would suggest that an Ordnance Officer should visit NEW ZEALAND or source of supply, at least every three months. I stipulate an Ordnance Officer, as he would be conversant with the general needs of the Depot. For our dealings with U.S. Forces both in NECAL and GUADALCANAL, use was made of two excellent Warrant Officers, and their appointment was more than warranted. Being in close contact with the U.S Forces, they were many times able to procure stores which were urgently required by our Forces.

D&E SECTION

Much working time is lost in an Ordnance Depot due to the necessity of guards and fatigues. I would recommend that a D & E Section should be incorporated in the establishment. This Section need not be officered, but could be administered by Headquarters Section. under the Adjutant. The ideal section would be about 25 to 30 men strong and should include a carpenter and general maintenance man. This would allow Storemen and Clerks to continue with their duties, but I would suggest that any relief for the D & E Section should come from the general personnel during off duty periods.

AMMUNITION

The type of boxes used for the packing of ammunition could be revised. It is common knowledge now, that timber suffers more than anything in the damp, humid conditions found in the islands. I would recommend that all types of ammunition should be packed in metal containers. Not only do wooden boxes deteriorate, but in the number of times they are handled, they cannot stand up to the hard conditions. This is amply demonstrated by the condition in which small arms ammunition in particular, and 3.7 How Shell and some 25 pr Shell arrived back into NEW ZEALAND. Hardly any of the small arms ammunition is in fit condition to travel again.

SELECTION OF PERSONNEL

The selection of personnel for an Ordnance Depot should be given the greatest thought, and every endeavour should be made to ensure that the right type of personnel should be available prior to the Depot’s departure from NEW ZEALAND. The provision of a number of men to make up the full establishment is of no use if personnel with a knowledge of the duties they are expected to carry out are not available. This is stressed particularly in the Technical Sections of a Depot – namely, M. T, Arty, Sigs; Engs and Ammunition. The necessary knowledge to successfully carry out these jobs cannot be gained quickly enough whilst overseas, and an endeavour should be made to see that the bulk of each of these sections should be trained Ordnance personnel. In addition, care should be taken to ensure that men posted to an Ordnance Depot should be of good character and behaviour, as much trust has to be, of necessity, placed in them.

TRAINING OF NCO’S

Of necessity, N.C.O’s in an Ordnance unit are promoted for their ability to carry out the work which they are doing. This will sometimes result in an N.C.O. being extremely efficient at his work, but being a very poor disciplinarian. I would consequently recommend that N. C. 0’s in Ordnance be
given a short course solely on drill and discipline.

AUTOMATIC MAINTENANCE

The supply of spare parts under the system of Automatic Maintenance, is, in itself, an excellent idea. The scales, however, require a certain amount of modification, in that some items are provided for in either too large or too small quantities. Unfortunately, we did not operate the scales for a long enough period to be able to correct them, but in a new Force, this could quite easily be done after, say, six months’ service. In the main, the principle is right, and only minor alterations are necessary.

CONCLUSION

I have read carefully the pamphlet prepared by the Australian Army on the “Condition of Service Material under Tropical Conditions in New Guinea”. Everything contained in this pamphlet is applicable in a greater or lesser degree to conditions as found in NEW CALEDONIA and GUADALCANAL, and I would suggest that this pamphlet should be consulted and acted upon prior to any further Force leaving NEW ZEALAND for service in the tropics. This pamphlet was prepared by a Scientific Mission for the Scientific Liaison Bureau, Melbourne, Australia.

(sgd) H.McK. REID Major,
Chief Ordnance Officer, B.O.D.


The Pātaka of Ngāti Tumatauenga: NZ Ordnance Corps Locations 1840 to 1996

The New Zealand Army evolved out of the British troops deployed during the 19th century New Zealand Wars into a unique iwi known as Ngāti Tumatauenga – ‘Tribe of the God of War’. While Ngāti Tumatauenga has an extensive and well-known Whakapapa,[1] less well known is the whakapapa of the New Zealand Army’s supply and warehousing services.

Leading up to 1996, the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (RNZAOC) was the New Zealand Army organisation with the responsibility in peace and war for the provision, storage and distribution of Arms, Ammunition, Rations and Military stores. As the army’s warehousing organisation, the RNZAOC adopted the Pātaka (The New Zealand Māori name for a storehouse) as an integral piece of its traditions and symbology. On 9 December 1996, the warehousing functions of the RNZAOC were assumed by the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (RNZALR).

Unpacked on this page and on the attached Web Application “the Pātaka of Ngati Tumatauenga” the evolution of New Zealand’s Army’s Ordnance services is examined. From a single storekeeper in1840, the organisation would grow through the New Zealand Wars, the World Wars and Cold War into an organisation with global reach providing support to New Zealand Forces in New Zealand and across the globe.

Description of Ordnance Units

In general terms, Ordnance units can be described as:

  • Main/Base Depots– A battalion-sized group, commanded by a lieutenant colonel. Usually a significant stock holding unit, responsible for the distribution of stock to other ordnance installations.
  • Central Ordnance Depots/Supply Company– Company-sized units, commanded by a major. Depending on the role of the unit, the following subunits could be included in the organisation:
    • Provision, Control & Accounts
    • Stores sub-depot/platoon
      • Traffic Centre
      • Camp Equipment
      • Technical Stores
      • Expendables
      • Clothing
      • Returned Stores & Disposals
        • Textile Repair
        • Tailors
        • Boot Repair
      • Ammunition Sub-Depot/Platoon
      • Vehicles Sub-Depot/Platoon
      • Services Sub-Depot/Platoon
        • Bath and Shower
        • Laundry
      • Rations Sub-Depot/Platoon (after 1979)
      • Fresh Rations
      • Combat Rations
      • Butchers
      • Petroleum Platoon (after 1979)
      • Vehicle Depots
    • Workshops Stores Sections – In 1962, RNZAOC Stores Sections carrying specialised spares, assemblies and workshops materials to suit the particular requirement of its parent RNZEME workshops were approved and RNZEME Technical Stores personnel employed in these were transferred to the RNZAOC.[2] [3]
    • Workshops. Before 1947, Equipment repair workshops were part of the Ordnance organisation, types of Workshop included:
      • Main Workshop
      • Field/Mobile Workshop
      • Light Aid Detachments

Unit naming conventions

The naming of Ordnance units within New Zealand was generally based upon the unit locations or function or unit.

Supply Depots were initially named based on the district they belonged to:

  • Upper North Island – Northern District Ordnance Depot
  • Lower North Island – Central Districts Ordnance Depot
  • South Island – Southern Districts Ordnance Depot

In 1968 a regionally based numbering system was adopted

  • 1 for Ngaruawahia
  • 2 for Linton
  • 3 for Burnham
  • 4 for Waiouru

Some exceptions were:

  • 1 Base Depot and 1st Base Supply Battalion, single battalion-sized unit, the name were based on role, not location.
  • 1 Composite Ordnance Company, a unique company-sized group, the name was based on function, not location

When the Royal New Zealand Army Service Corps (RNZASC) became the Royal New Zealand Corps of Transport (RNZCT) in 1979, the supply functions were transferred to the RNZAOC with the 1st number signifying the location with the 2nd number been 4 for all Supply Platoons:

  • 14 Supply Platoon, Papakura
  • 24 Supply Platoon, Linton
  • 34 Supply Platoon, Burnham
  • 44 Supply Platoon, Waiouru
  • 54 Supply Platoon, Trentham

Exceptions were:

  • 21 Supply Company – Retained its name as a historical link to the unit’s long history in the RNZASC.
  • 47 Petroleum Platoon, originally 7 Petroleum Platoon RNZASC, when Transferred to the RNZAOC, as it was based in Waiouru it added the Waiouru unit designation ‘4’ and became 47 Petroleum Platoon RNZAOC

Unit locations New Zealand, 1907–1996

Alexandra

9 Magazines Operational from 1943, closed1962.

Ardmore

20 Magazines operational from 1943

Auckland

There has been an Ordnance presence in Auckland since the 1840s with the Colonial Storekeeper and Imperial forces. The Northern Districts Ordnance Depot was situated in Mount Eden in the early 1900s. In the 1940s the centre for Ordnance Support for the Northern Districts moved to Ngaruawahia, with a Sub depot remaining at Narrow Neck to provided immediate support.

RNZAOC units that have been accommodated at Auckland have been:

Stores Depot

  • Northern District Ordnance Depot, Goal Reserve, Mount Eden 1907 to 1929.[4]
  • Northern District Ordnance Depot, Narrow Neck, 1929 to? [5]
  • 1 Supply Company, from 1989, Papakura
  • 12 Supply Company
  • 12 Field Supply Company
  • 15 Combat Supplies Platoon, 1 Logistic Regiment
  • 52 Supply Platoon, 5 Force Support Company

Vehicle Depot

  • Northern Districts Vehicle Depot, Sylvia Park, 1948-1961
  • Northern Districts Ordnance Depot, Vehicle Sub Depot, Sylvia Park, 1961 – 1968
  • 1 Central Ordnance Depot (1 COD), Vehicle Sub Depot, Sylvia Park, 1968 to 1979
  • 1 Supply Company, Vehicle Sub Depot, Sylvia Park, 1979 to 1989

Ammunition Depot

  • Northern Districts Ammunition Depot, Ardmore

Other Units

  • Bulk Stores Mangere, the 1940s (Part of MOD Trentham)
  • DSS Fort Cautley.

Workshops

Located at the Torpedo Yard, North Head

  • Ordnance Workshop Devonport, 1925-1941
  • No 12 Ordnance Workshop, Devonport, 1941–1946

Workshop Stores Section

  • 1 Infantry Workshop, Stores Section, Papakura 1962–1986
  • 1 Field Workshop Store Section, Papakura
  • 1 Transport Company Workshop, Stores Section, Fort Cautley

Belmont

Operational from 1943

  • MOD Trentham, Ammunition Group, Ammunition Section

Burnham

Stores Depot

1921 saw the establishment of a single Command Ordnance Depot to service all military units in the newly organised Southern Military Command. Before this, Ordnance stores had operated from Christchurch and Dunedin. The new Depot (later renamed the Third Central Ordnance Depot) was established in the buildings of the former Industrial School at Burnham. Re-structuring in 1979 brought a change of name to 3 Supply Company.[6] [7] [8]

  • Stores Depot titles 1921–1996
    • Area Ordnance Department Burnham, 1920 to 1939,
    • Southern Districts Ordnance Depot, 1939 to 1942,
    • No 3 Sub Depot, 1942 – 1948,
    • Southern Districts Ordnance Depot, 1948 – 1968,
    • 3 Central Ordnance Depot (3 COD), 1968 to 1979, [9]
    • 3 Supply Company, 1979 to 1993,
    • Burnham Supply Center,1993 to 1994,
    • 3 Field Supply Company, 1994 to 1996.

Vehicle Depot

  • Southern Districts Vehicle Depot, 1948-1961.

Ammunition Depot

  • Southern Districts Vehicle Ammunition 1954-1961.

Other Ordnance Units

  • Combat Supplies Platoon. 1979 to 19??,
  • Ready Reaction Force Ordnance Support Group (RRF OSG), 19?? To 1992, moved to Linton,
  • 32 Field Supply Company (Territorial Force Unit).

Ordnance Field Parks

  • 3 Infantry Brigade Group OFP Platoon, 21 October 1948 – 28 June 1955.
  • 1 (NZ) Division OFP, Tech Stores Platoon, 28 June 1955 -,

Workshops

  • No 14 Ordnance Workshop, until 1946.

Workshop Stores Section

  • Southern Districts Workshop, Stores Section,
  • 3 Field Workshop, Store Section.

Christchurch

Stores Depot

  • Canterbury and Nelson Military District Stores Depot, King Edwards Barracks, Christchurch, 1907 to 1921.

Workshop Stores Section

  • Southern Districts Workshop, Stores Section, Addington,
  • 3 Infantry Brigade Workshop, Stores Section, Addington,
  • 3 Transport Company Workshop, Stores Section, Addington.

Dunedin

Stores Depot

  • Otago and Southland Military Districts Stores Depot, 1907 to 1921

Fairlie

Nine magazines Operational 1943.

Featherston

Featherston Camp was New Zealand’s largest training camp during the First World War, where around 60,000 young men trained for overseas service between 1916 – 1918. An Ordnance Detachment was maintained in Featherston until 1927 when it functions were transferred to Northern Districts Ordnance Depot, Ngaruawahia.[10]

Glen Tunnel

16 magazines Operational from 1943

Hamilton

Proof Office, Small Arms Ammunition Factory, 1943-1946

Kelms Road

55 Magazines Operational from 1943 to 1976

Linton Camp

RNZAOC units that have been accommodated at Linton have been;

Stores Depot

  • No 2 Ordnance Depot, 1 October 1946  to 1948,
  • Central Districts Ordnance Depot,  1948 to 1968,
  • 2 Central Ordnance Depot (2 COD), 1968 to 16 Oct 1978,[11]
  • 2 Supply Company,  16 October 1978 to 1985,
    • Static Depot
      • Tech Stores Section
    • Field Force
      • 22 Ordnance Field Park
        • General Stores
        • Bath Section
  • 5 Composite Supply Company, 1985 to 1990.
  • 21 Field Supply Company 1990 to 1996

Vehicle Depot

  • Central Districts Vehicle Depot, 1957-1961

Ammunition Depot

Ordnance Field Parks

  • 2nd Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park Platoon 1948-48
  • 22 Ordnance Field Park

Workshop Stores Section

  • 1 General Troops Workshop, Stores Section
  • Linton Area Workshop, Stores Section
  • 5 Engineer Workshop, Store Section

Other Ordnance Units

  • 24 Supply Platoon
  • 23 Combat Supplies Platoon
  • 47 Petroleum Platoon 1984 to 1996
  • Ready Reaction Force Ordnance Support Group (RRF OSG), from Burnham in 1992 absorbed into 21 Field Supply Company. [12]

Lower Hutt

Ordnance Field Parks

  • 1 (NZ) Division OFP, Tech Stores Platoon, 28 June 1955 –

Mangaroa

First used as a tented camp during the First World War and in the Second World War Mangaroa was the site of an RNZAF Stores Depot from 1943. The depot with a storage capacity of 25,000 sq ft in 8 ‘Adams type’ Buildings was Handed over to the NZ Army by 1949.[13] The units that have been accommodated at Mangaroa have been:

Supply Depot

  • Main Ordnance Depot,1949–1968,
  • 1 Base Ordnance Depot, 1968–1979,
  • 1st Base Supply Battalion, 1979–1985,
    • ACE(Artillery and Camp Equipment) Group

Ordnance Field Parks

  • 2nd Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park Platoon, 1950–1963,
  • 1 Infantry Brigade Group, OFP, 1963–1968,
  • 1st Composite Ordnance Company (1 Comp Ord Coy), 1964–1977,
    1 Comp Ord Coy was the Ordnance Bulk Holding unit for the field force units supporting the Combat Brigade Group and the Logistic Support Group and held 60–90 days war reserve stock. 1 Comp Ord Coy was made up of the following subunits: [14]

    • Coy HQ
    • 1 Platoon, General Stores
    • 2 Platoon, Technical Stores
    • 3 Platoon, Vehicles
    • 4 Platoon, Ammo (located at Moko Moko)
    • 5 Platoon, Laundry
    • 6 Platoon, Bath

Mako Mako

39 magazines operational from 1943

  • MOD Trentham, Ammunition Group, Ammunition Section
  • 2 COD Ammunition Section

Mount Somers

10 Magazines operational from 1943, closed 1969

Ngaruawahia

Ngaruawahia also was known as Hopu Hopu was established in 1927, [15] and allowed the closure of Featherston Ordnance Depot and the Auckland Ordnance Depot and was intended to service the northern regions. During construction, Ngaruawahia was described by the Auckland Star as “Probably the greatest Ordnance Depot”[16] Ngaruawahia closed down in 1989, and its Ordnance functions moved to Papakura and Mount Wellington.
RNZAOC units that have been accommodated at Ngaruawahia have been:

Stores Depot

  • Area Ngaruwahia Ordnance Department 1927 to 1940,
  • Northern District Ordnance Depot, 1940 to 1968,
  • 1 Central Ordnance Depot (1 COD), 1968 to 1979,
  • 1 Supply Company, 1979 to 1989,
  • 1 Field Supply Company, 1984, from 1989, Papakura.  [17]

Ordnance Field Parks

  • 1st Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park Platoon, 1948 to 1955
  • 1 Infantry Brigade Group, Ordnance Field Park(OFP), 1968 to 1979, support to Combat Brigade Group

Workshop Stores Section

  • 1 Infantry Brigade Group LAD, Stores Section

Other Ordnance Units

  • Northern Districts Ammunition Depot, Kelms Road

 Palmerston North

  • Palmerston North Detachment, NZAOC, Awapuni Racecourse, 1914 to 1921.[18] [19] [20]
  • Depot Closed and stocks moved to Trentham.
  • Ordnance Store, 327 Main Street Circa 1917-1921.[21]
  • No 2 Ordnance Sub Depot, Palmerston North showgrounds, 1942 to 1946 when depot moved to Linton.

Trentham

Stores Depot

  • Main Ordnance Depot (MOD), 1920 to 1968
  • Base Ordnance Depot (BOD), 1968 to 1979
  • 1st Base Supply Battachedalion (1BSB), 1979 to 1993
  • 5 Logistic Regiment (5LR), 1993 to 8 December 1996 when Transferred to the RNZALR.

Ordnance School

  • RNZAOC School, 1958 to 1994
  • Supply/Quartermaster Wing and Ammunition Wing, Trade Training School 1994 to 1996. [21]

Workshops

  • Main Ordnance Workshop, 1917 to 1946.[22]

Workshop Stores Section

  • 1 Base Workshop, Stores Section

Ordnance Field Parks

  • 4(NZ) Division Ordnance Field Park(OFP), 1950–1963

Vehicle Depot

  • Central Districts Vehicle Depot, 1948 – 1957

Ammunition Units

  • HQ Ammunition Group, sections at Belmont, Moko Moko, Kuku Valley, Waiouru
  • Ammunition Proof and Experimental Centre, Kuku Valley
  • Central Military District Ammunition Repair Depot, Kuku Valley

Waiouru

Ordnance Sub Depots were established at Waiouru in 1940, which eventually grew into a stand-alone Supply Company.[23]

RNZAOC units that have supported Waiouru have been;

Stores Depot

  • Main Ordnance Depot, Waiouru Sub-Depot, 1940–1946, Initially managed as a Sub-Depot of the Main Ordnance Depot in Trentham, Ordnance units in Waiouru consisted of:
    • Artillery Sub Depot
    • Bulk Stores Depot
    • Ammunition Section
  • Central Districts Ordnance Depot, Waiouru Sub Depot (1946–1976).[24] In 1946 Waiouru became a Sub-Depot of the Central Districts Ordnance Depot in Linton, consisting of:
    • Ammo Group
    • Vehicle Group
    • Camp Equipment Group.
  • 4 Central Ordnance Deport, (1976–1979) On 1 April 1976 became a stand-alone Depot in its own right. [25]
  • 4 Supply Company, (1979–1989)
    when the RNZASC was disbanded in 1979 and its supply functions transferred to the RNZAOC, 4 Supply gained the following RNZASC units:[26]

    • HQ 21 Supply Company,(TF element)(1979–1984)
      21 Supply Company was retained as a Territorial unit for training and exercise purposes and was capable of providing a Supply Company Headquarter capable of commanding up to five subunits.
    • 47 Petroleum Platoon (1979–1984)
    • 44 Supply Platoon
  • Central Q, (1989–1993)
  • 4 Field Supply Company, (1993–1994)
  • Distribution Company, 4 Logistic Regiment, (1994–1996)

Workshop Stores Section

  • Waiouru Workshop, Stores Section
  • 4 ATG Workshop, Stores Section
  • 1 Armoured Workshop, Store Section
  • QAMR Workshop, Store Section

Wellington

The Board of Ordnance originally had a warehouse in Manners Street, but after the 1850 earthquake severely damaged this building, 13 acres of Mount Cook was granted to the Board of Ordnance, starting a long Ordnance association with the Wellington area.

Stores Depot

  • Central Districts Ordnance Depot, Alexandra Military Depot, Mount Cook, 1907 to 1920.[27]
  • New Zealand Ordnance Section, Fort Ballance, Wellington, 1915 to 1917.[28]

 Workshops

  • Armament Workshop, Alexandra Military Depot.[29]

Unit locations overseas, 1914–1920

Few records trace with any accuracy New Zealand Ordnance units that served overseas in the First World War. Although the NZAOC was not officially created until 1917.[30] The New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps was constituted as part of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) in 1914 for overseas service only and in 1919 its members demobilised, returned to their parent units or mustered into the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department (Officers) or New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (other Ranks) on their return to New Zealand.

Egypt

  • Ordnance Depot, Zeitoun Camp, 1914-16
  • Ordnance Depot Alexandra, 1915-16
    • 12 Rue de la, Porte Rosette, Alexandria. [31]
    • New Zealand Ordnance Store, Shed 43, Alexandria Docks.[32]
  • NZ Ordnance Section, NZEF Headquarters in Egypt
    • Qasr El Nil Barracks, Cairo.[33]

Fiji

  • NZAOC Detachment, Fiji Expeditionary Force, Suva – February- April 1920

Germany

  • Ordnance Depot, Mulheim, Cologne

 Greece

  • Ordnance Depot, Sapri Camp, Lemnos Island, October – December 1915

Samoa

  • 1 Base Depot

 Turkey

  • Ordnance Depot, ANZAC Cove, Gallipoli, April – Dec 1915

 United Kingdom

  • New Zealand Ordnance Base Depot Farringdon Street, London
  • Ordnance Depot, Cosford Camp

Unit locations overseas, 1939–1946

Egypt

Headquarters

  • Office of the DDOS 2NZEF, 22 Aig 1941 to Sept 1942
  • Office of the ADOS 2NZEF, Sept 1942 to 1 Sept 1945

Base Units

Supply

  • New Zealand Base Ordnance Depot, Maadi, 1940 to 19 Feb 1944
  • No 1 New Zealand Base Ordnance Depot,  16 Feb 1944 to 1946

Workshops (until Sept 1942 when transferred to NZEME)

  • NZ Base Ordnance Workshop

Laundry

  • NZ Base Laundry, 30 Sept 1942 – 30 Sept 1943

Training

  • Engineer and Ordnance Training Depot, Maadi Camp

Field Units

Supply

  • 2 NZ Divisional Ordnance Field Park, 28 Jul 1941 – 29 Dec 1945
  • NZ Divisional Mobile Bath Unit, 6 Sept 1941  –  30 Sept 1942
  • NZ Divisional Mobile Laundry & Decontamination Unit, 22 Sept 1941 – 27 Mar 1942
  • NZ Divisional Mobile Laundry, 27 Mar 1942 – 30 Sept 1942
  • NZ Salvage Unit, 16 Aug 1941 – 20 Oct 1942

Workshops (until Sept 1942 when transferred to NZEME)

  • 2 NZ Divisional Ordnance Workshops
  • 1 NZ Field Workshop
  • 2 NZ Field Workshop
  • 3 NZ Field Workshop
  • 14 NZ Anti-Aircraft Workshop Section
  • 9 NZ Light Aid Detachment (attached 4 Fd Regt)
  • 10 NZ LAD (attached 5 Fd Pk Coy)
  • 11 NZ LAD (attached HQ 4 NZ Inf Bde)
  • 12 NZ LAD (attached 27 NZ (MG) Bn) Disbanded 15 Oct 1942
  • 13 NZ LAD (attached 2 NZ Div Cav)
  • 14 NZ LAD (attached 2 NZ Div Sigs)
  • 15 NZ LAD (attached 7 NZ A Tk Regt)
  • 16 NZ LAD (attached HQ 5 Fd Regt)
  • 17 NZ LAD (attached HQ 5 NZ Inf Bde)
  • 18 NZ LAD (attached 6 NZ Fd Regt)
  • 19 NZ LAD (attached HQ 6 NZ Inf Bde)

Greece

  • 2 Independent (NZ) Brigade Group Workshop.[34]
  • 5 Independent (NZ) Brigade Group Workshop. [35]
  • Light Aid Detachments x 11
  • 1 Ordnance Field Park (British OFP attached to NZ Division).[36]

Italy

Headquarters

  • Office of the ADOS 2NZEF, 6 Jun 1945 to 1 Sept 1945

Base units

  • No 2 New Zealand Base Ordnance Depot, Bari, 16 Feb 1944 – 2 Feb 1946.[37]
    •  Advanced Section of Base Depot, Senegallia, Sept 44 – Feb 46.
  • NZ Advanced Ordnance Depot,   1943- 14 Feb 1944 (Absorbed into OFP)

Field units

  • NZ Division Ordnance Field Park OFP, – 29 Dec 1945
  • NZ Advanced Ordnance Depot, 27 Oct 1945- 1 Feb 1946
  • NZ Mobile Laundry Unit, 1 Oct 1943 – 16 Feb 1944
  • NZ Mobile Bath Unit, 18 Oct 1943 – 16 Feb 1944
  • MZ Mobile Laundry and Bath Unit, 16 Feb 1944 – 8 Dec 1945
  • NZ Vehicle and Stores Reception Depot, 27 Oct 1944 – 1 Feb 1946
    • Vehicle Depot, Assisi, 27 Oct 1945 – Jan 1946.[38]
    • Stores Depot, Perugia, 27 Oct 1945 – Feb 1946.[39]

Fiji

  • Divisional Ordnance Headquarters
  • Base Ordnance Depot
  • Division Ordnance Workshop
  • ‘A’ Workshop Section
  • ‘B Workshop Section
  • 20th Light Aid Detachment
  • 36th Light Aid Detachment
  • 37th Light Aid Detachment

New Caledonia

  • Base Ordnance Depot
  • Division Ordnance Workshop
  • 20th Light Aid Detachment
  • 36th Light Aid Detachment
  • 37th Light Aid Detachment
  • 42 Light Aid Detachment
  • 64 Light Aid Detachment
  • 65 Light Aid Detachment
  • 67 Light Aid Detachment

Solomon Islands

  • Advanced Ordnance Depot, Guadalcanal. Officer Commanding and Chief Ordnance Officer, Captain Noel McCarthy.

Tonga

  • 16 Brigade Group Ordnance Field Park
  • 16 Brigade Group Workshop

Unit locations overseas, 1945–1996

Japan

  • Base Ordnance Depot, Kure (RAOC unit, NZAOC personnel attached)
  • 4 New Zealand Base Ordnance Depot, November 1945.
  • 4 New Zealand Advanced Ordnance Depot, November 1946.
  • 4 New Zealand Ordnance Field Park – August 1947 to July 1948 when closed.

ADO Gate

Korea

No Standalone units but individual RNZAOC personnel served in 4 Ordnance Composite Depot (4 OCD) RAOC.

Malaya

No standalone RNZAOC units, but individual RNZAOC personnel may have served in the following British and Commonwealth Ordnance units:

  • 3 Base Ordnance Depot, RAOC, Singapore
  • 28 Commonwealth Brigade Ordnance Field Park, Terendak, Malaysia.

Singapore

Stores Depot

  • 5 Advanced Ordnance Depot, 1970–1971
    5 Advanced Ordnance Depot (5 AOD) was a short-lived Bi-National Ordnance Depot operated by the RAAOC and RNZAOC in Singapore, 1970 to 1971.
  • ANZUK Ordnance Depot, 1971–1974
    ANZUK Ordnance Depot was the Tri-National Ordnance Depot supporting the short-lived ANZUK Force. Staffed by service personnel from the RAOC, RAAOC and RNZAOC with locally Employed Civilians (LEC) performing the basic clerical, warehousing and driving tasks. It was part of the ANZUK Support Group supporting ANZUK Force in Singapore between 1971 to 1974. ANZUK Ordnance Depot was formed from the Australian/NZ 5 AOD and UK 3BOD and consisted of:

    • Stores Sub Depot
    • Vehicle Sub Depot
    • Ammunition Sub Depot
    • Barrack Services Unit
    • Forward Ordnance Depot(FOD)
  • New Zealand Advanced Ordnance Depot, 1974–1989
    From 1974 to 1989 the RNZAOC maintained the New Zealand Advanced Ordnance Depot(NZAOD) in Singapore as part of New Zealand Force South East Asia (NZFORSEA).

Workshops Stores Section

  • New Zealand Workshops, RNZAOC Stores Section
  • 1RNZIR, Light Aid Detachment Stores Section

Somalia

The RNZAOC (with RNZCT, RNZEME, RNZSig, RNZMC specialist attachments) contributed to the New Zealand Governments commitment to the International and United Nations Operation in Somalia(UNOSOM) efforts in Somalia with:

  • Supply Detachment, Dec 1992 to June 1993
  • Supply Platoon x 2 rotations, July 1993 to July 1994 (reinforced with RNZIR Infantry Section)
  • RNZAOC officers to UNOSOM headquarters, 1992 to 1995.[40]

South Vietnam

During New Zealand’s commitment to the war in South Vietnam (29 June 1964 – 21 December 1972). The Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps did not contribute a standalone unit but provided individuals to serve in New Zealand Headquarters units, Composite Logistic units or as part of Australian Ordnance Units including:

  • Headquarters Vietnam Force (HQ V Force)
  • 1st Australian Task Force (1 ATF)
  • 1st Australian Logistic Support Group (1 ALSG)
  • 161 Battery Attachments (161 Bty Attached)
  • New Zealand Rifle Companies
  • 161st (Independent) Reconnaissance Flight

Copyright © Robert McKie 2018

Notes

[1] Whakapapa is a taxonomic framework that links all animate and inanimate, known and unknown phenomena in the terrestrial and spiritual worlds. Whakapapa, therefore, binds all things. It maps relationships so that mythology, legend, history, knowledge, Tikanga (custom), philosophies and spiritualities are organised, preserved and transmitted from one generation to the next. “Rāwiri Taonui, ‘Whakapapa – Genealogy – What Is Whakapapa?’, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, Http://Www.Teara.Govt.Nz/En/Whakapapa-Genealogy/Page-1 (Accessed 3 June 2019).”

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

[3] A.J. Polaschek and Medals Research Christchurch, The Complete New Zealand Distinguished Conduct Medal: Being an Account of the New Zealand Recipients of the Distinguished Conduct Medal from the Earliest Times of the South African War to the Present Time, Together with Brief Biographical Notes and Details of Their Entitlement to Other Medals, Orders and Decorations (Medals Research Christchurch, 1983).

[4] “Dismantling of Buildings at Mt Eden and Reassembling at Narrow Neck,” New Zealand Herald, vol. LXVI, p. 5, 2 February 1929.

[5] “The Narrow Neck Camp,” New Zealand Herald, vol. LVIII, no. 17815, p. 6, 23 June 1921.

[6] John J. Storey and J. Halket Millar, March Past: A Review of the First Fifty Years of Burnham Camp (Christchurch, N.Z.: Pegasus Press, 1973, 1974 printing, 1973), Non-fiction.

[7] “Camp at Burnham,” Star, no. 16298, p. 8, 13 December 1920.

[8] “RNZAOC Triennial Conference,” in Handbook – RNZAOC Triennial Conference, Wellington,”  (1981).

[9][9] “NZ P106 Dos Procedure Instructions, Part 1 Static Support Force. Annex F to Chapter 1, Rnzaoc Director of Ordnance Services,”  (1978).

[10] ” Featherston Military Training Camp and the First World War, 1915–27,”  https://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/featherston-camp.

[11] “NZ P106 Dos Procedure Instructions, Part 1 Static Support Force. Annex F to Chapter 1, Rnzaoc Director of Ordnance Services.”

[12] “Stockholding for Operationally Deployable Stockholding Units,” NZ Army General Staff, Wellington  (1993.).

[13] L Clifton, Aerodrome Services, ed. Aerodrome Services Branch of the Public Works Department War History (Wellington1947).

[14] “1 Comp Ord Coy,” Pataka Magazine, February 1979.

[15] “D-01 Public Works Statement by the Hon. J. G. Coates, Minister of Public Works,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1 January,”  (1925).

[16] “Great Military Camp,” The Auckland Star, vol. LVI, no. 83, p. 5, 8 April 1925.

[17] “1st Field Supply Company Standing Operating Procedures, 1st Supply Company Training Wing, Dec “,  (1984).

[18] W.H. Cunningham and C.A.L. Treadwell, Wellington Regiment: N. Z. E. F 1914-1918 (Naval & Military Press, 2003).

[19] “Defence Re-Organisation,” Manawatu Times, vol. XLII, no. 1808, p. 5, 5 May  1921.

[20] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces from 25th June 1914 to 26th June, 1915.,” “, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1915).

[21] “NZ Army Ordnance Stores, ,”  https://manawatuheritage.pncc.govt.nz/item/c7681d2d-c440-4d58-81ad-227fc31efebf.

[22] “Pataka Magazine. RNZAOC, P. 52,,”  (1994).

[23] “Waiouru Camp  “, Ellesmere Guardian, vol. LXI, no. 90, p. 2, 12 November 1940

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

[25] Ibid.

[26] Ibid.

[27] “Ordnance Stores,” Evening Post, vol. c, no. 95, p. 8, 19 October 1920.

[28] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces from 25th June 1914 to 26th June 1915.”

“, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1915).

[29] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces, from 1st June 1916 to 31st May 1917,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1917).

[30] “Colonel Rhodes,” Dominion, vol. 9, no. 2718, p. 9, 13 March 1916. .

[31] Ibid.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Glyn Harper, Johnny Enzed: The New Zealand Soldier in the First World War 1914-1918, First World War Centenary History (Titirangi, Auckland, New Zealand: Exisle Publishing, 2015

[Limited Leather Bound Edition], 2015), Bibliographies, Non-fiction.

[34] A.H. Fernyhough, History of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps 1920-1945 (Royal Army Ordnance Corps, 1958).

[35] Ibid.

[36] Ibid.

[37] New Zealand War Histories – Italy Volume Ii : From Cassino to Trieste,  (Victoria University of Wellington, 1967).

[38] Ibid.

[39] Ibid.

[40] “Somalia: 1992 – 1995,” NZ Army,” http://www.army.mil.nz/about-us/what-we-do/deployments/previous-deployments/somalia/default.htm.



The evolution of NZAOC ammunition responsibilities 1939-1945

With Japan expanding into China and war clouds brewing over Europe, Defence in New Zealand had by 1938 started to pull itself out of the years of forced inactivity and neglect that had been the hallmark of the early 1930s. By mid-1939 re-equipment and rearmament was underway with many new weapons in the process of being introduced into service with more on order. With so many new armaments coming into service alongside the existing inventory, there was also ammunition which required correct storage and accounting. Responsibility for the management of ammunition was divided between the Royal New Zealand Artillery (RNZA) and the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC). To meet the growing needs of the New Zealand Army, both organisations rapidly expanded in manpower and infrastructure from having a minimal ammunition capability in 1939, finally combining to form a single NZAOC organisation charged with responsibility for managing New Zealand Army ammunition depots in 1945.

Pre War Situation

Fort Ballance

On the formation of the NZAOC in 1917, the Royal New Zealand Artillery (RNZA) Ordnance Section at Fort Ballance passed to NZAOC control. Becoming the NZAOC Ammunition Section, it continued with its task of storing, inspection repairing and refurbishing  Ammunition as a uniformed branch of the NZAOC under the control of the RNZA.  Located at Watts Peninsular on the north end of Wellingtons Miramar peninsular, the ammunition infrastructure consisted of 19 magazines, one store and a laboratory situated 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 as far back as the 1880s. In the case of Kau Point and Forts Ballance and Gordon, the large 6 and 8inch disappearing guns had been removed in the early 1920s and the gun pits roofed over to become ad-hoc magazines. This accommodation was far from ideal as temperature, and moisture control was not able to be adequately controlled, resulting in potential damage t ammunition stocks.[1][2][3]

watts map

Fort Ballance Ammunition Area

HopuHopu Camp

A smaller Ammunition section was also maintained in Auckland during the 1920s, who along with some staff from Fort Ballance Ammunition Section was transferred to the New Magazines at HopuHopu Camp[4] on the competition of their construction in 1929.[5]  Envisaged to be the principal ammunition depot for New Zealand, Eleven magazines and a laboratory were constructed between 1925 and 1927.  Built into a hillside, the magazines were constructed of concrete, with double walls, which formed an inspecting chamber. The intent of the inspection chamber, was for sentries to observe thermometers, and by consulting a chart, adjust the ventilation to maintain the stock at optimal temperatures. Entirely reverted into the hill and faced by an embankment the Hopuhopu magazine s designed in such a way so that if there were an explosion, the blast would be contained.[6]

20180412_164813-190082474.jpg

HopuHopu Camp Ammunition Area 1945. Public Works Department

 

The NZAOC Ammunition sections were disestablished 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 transferred to the Public Service [7]

When New Zealand entered the war in September 1939, The responsibility for ammunition was shared between the RNZA and the NZAOC;[8]

  • 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 Inspecting Ordnance Officer 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  personnel consisted of;[9]

  • The Inspecting Ordnance Officer (IOO), Captian I.R Withell, R.N.Z.A
  • The Proof Officer, Small Arms Ammunition (SAA) Mount Eden Auckland, Honorary Lieutenant J.W Fletcher, N.Z.P.S
  • 2 Civilian Staff at Ngawahawia
  • 5 Civilian Staff at Fort Ballance

Ammunition Facilities shared by the RNZA and NZAOC consisted of ;

  • 19 Magazines, 1 Store, and an Ammunition Laboratory at Fort Ballance managed by an RNZA WO1 seconded to the NZAOC and 5 civilian Staff
  • 11 Magazines and an Ammunition Laboratory at HopuHopu Camp managed by an RNZA WO1 seconded to the NZAOC and 5 civilian Staff
  • Single SAA Magazines at Trentham and Burnham Camps.

1940-41

As the New Zealand Army moved from a peacetime to a wartime footing, Ammunition responsibilities were split between the Assistant Quarter Master General (2) (AQMS(2))  and Assistant Quarter Master General (5) (AQMS (5)).[10]

  • AQMS(2)
  • With Lieutenant Colonel T.J King, Director of Ordnance Services (DOS) transferred to the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF), under the auspices of the AQMS(2) the position of DOS was parked for the duration of the war, and the responsibilities of the DOS divided as follows;
  • The Chief Ordnance Officer assuming responsibility for the Supply functions of DOS, including the management of NZAOC Ammunition Sections whose primary responsibility was SAA.
  • Ordnance Mechanical Engineer (OEM) assumed responsibility for Ordnance Workshops.
  • The Inspecting Ordnance Officer and the Proof Officer SAA came under the responsibility of the Chief Munitions Officer as the Army Inspection Department with the technical responsibility for the management and inspection of ammunition.
  • AQMS(5)
    • The AQMS(5) was responsible for the Army Headquarters Gun Ammunition and Equipment Section.

Ammo responsibility 1941-45

With a significant amount of ammunition being received from overseas, it became a matter of urgency that the establishment of the NZAOC Ammunition section is increased and additional magazine accommodation constructed. Immediate relief was gained by the construction of eight magazines at Burnham Camp and the taking over of 6 Magazines and a Store at the Ohakea Airforce Base in the Manawatu. Both the Burnham and Ohakea magazines had been constructed as part of a pre-war expansion plan. Ten magazines had been built at Ohakea, with their construction completed in 1940 and construction of eight magazines at a location north of Burnham Camp was started in 1940 with building completed by May 1941. [11]

By October 1941 the NZAOC Ammunition Section establishment and Magazine situation was;[12]

NZAOC Staff at Army Headquarters

  • 1 Captain
  • 1 Lieutenant
  • 1 Other Rank

Fort Ballance

  • NZAOC Strength:
    • 4 Military Staff
      • Lieutenant Edkins
      • Staff Sergeant Eastgate
      • Sergeant Anderson
      • Corporal Bagley
    • 10 Civilian Staff
  • Buildings: 19 Magazines, 1 Store, 1 Laboratory
  • Ammunition held: Grenades, Bombs, Pyrotechnics and explosives
  • Work Carried out: Receipt and Issue of Ammunition, preservation of ammunition held, major repair to Gun Ammunition, Manufacture of Blank Gun Ammunition

Fort Balance would continue to be utilised and an Ammunition Depot throughout the war and in October 1942 held the following stocks as part of the Wellington Fortress area;[13]

  • 2″ Mortar – 288
  • 3″ Mortar – 280
  • 2″ Smoke Thrower – 1566
  • Grenades 36M – 312
  • 18 Pdr –  15839
  • 12 Pdr – 1035
  • 6″ – 403
  • 5″ How – 20035
  • 7″ How –  172
  • 7″ AA –  198
  • 40mm AA –  4091
  • 3″ AA –  5775
  • 2 pdr AT –  3459

Hopuhopu (including Mount Eden SAA Magazine)

  • NZAOC Strength:
  • 2 Military Staff
    • Warrant Officer Class One Little
    • Sergeant Waters0
  • 2 Civilian Staff
  • Buildings: 13 Magazines, 1 Laboratory
  • Ammunition held: Gun Ammunition, Grenades, Bombs, Pyrotechnics and explosives
  • Work Carried out: Receipt and Issue of all Ammunition, preservation of ammunition held, minor repair to ammunition,

Burnham

  • NZAOC Strength: 1 Sergeant employed as part of the New Zealand temporary Staff
  • Buildings: 7 Magazines, 1 laboratory (on magazine converted to a lab, the purpose-built laboratory would not be construed until 1945)
  • Ammunition held: Gun Ammunition, Grenades, Bombs, Pyrotechnics and explosives
  • Work Carried out: Receipt and Issue of Ammunition, preservation of ammunition held, major repair to Gun Ammunition,

Ohakea

  • NZAOC Strength: 1 Sergeant employed as part of the New Zealand temporary Staff
  • Buildings: 6 magazines, 1 Store
  • Ammunition held: Gun Ammunition only
  • Work Carried out: Receipt and Issue of Ammunition, preservation of ammunition held, major repair to Gun Ammunition

Further construction of magazines was planned with the War Cabinet granting expenditure in September 1941 for an extensive magazine building programme at the following locations;

  • Papakura (Ardmore)- 8 Magazines
  • Hopuhopu – 11 Magazines, 1 Laboratory, 3 Stores
  • Waiouru – 13 Magazines, 1 laboratory and 1 Store
  • Manawatu – 10 Magazines, 1 laboratory and 1 Store
  • South Island – 8 Magazines, 1 laboratory and 1 Store

1941 Magazine Design

Designed by the PublicWorks Department consultation with Army Headquarters, six designs were utilised, known as type A to F;[14]

  • Type A – 12.19m x 6.70m, Double brick walls with a corrugated asbestos roof, with entrance porch.
  • Type B – 12.19m x 6.70m, Double brick walls with a corrugated asbestos roof, no entrance porch.
  • Type C – 6.70m x 57m,  Brick cavity walls with a corrugated asbestos roof.
  • Type D – 15.24m x 9.75m, Brick cavity walls with a corrugated asbestos roof, with entrance porch
  • Type E – 15.24m x 9.75m, Single timber walls with exterior cement fibre boards with a corrugated asbestos roof.
  • Type F – 15.24m x 9.75m, Double timber walls with exterior cement fibre boards with a corrugated asbestos roof.

Significant establishment changes were also proposed with an increase of the NZAOC establishment to 3 Officers and 62 other ranks including all civilian ammunition staff being placed into uniform retired.

1942

Although New Zealand had been at war for just over two years, up to December 1941, it had been a distant European war not requiring the full mobilisation of New Zealand. The near-simultaneous attacks by Japan against Malaya, the Philippines and speed of the Japanese advance southwards forced New Zealand on to a total war footing with the full mobilisation of the territorial army and the formation of additional Divisions for home defence and service in the Pacific.[15]

To meet immediate requirements for the storage of ammunition at Waiouru, authorisations for the construction of 16 temporary ammunition stores were granted in April 1942. Completed on 18 July 1942 the  9m x 6m temporary wooden ammunition stores were located south of the main camp.[16]

1942 Magazine Design

With the entry of Japan into the war, new magazines were approved. Due to the increased threat posed by Japan, the latest magazines were designed with the intent of providing additional protection and were known as types M, P, R1, R2 and R3;[17]

  • Type M – 7.18m wide of variable length, precast concrete walls and roof supported by interior pillars.
  • Type P – 7m or 14m wide of variable length, precast concrete walls and roof supported by interior pillars.
  • Type R1 – 7.62m wide of variable length. Concrete walls and roof supported by interior pillars.
  • Type R2 – 7.62m wide of variable length, Brick walls with a Concrete roof supported by interior pillars.
  • Type R3 – 7m wide of variable length, Concrete outer wall with an inner brick wall with a concrete roof supported by interior pillars.

In addition to the 295 magazines constructed, numerous non-explosive stores, guard accommodation, garages and cookhouses, external and internal roads were also built. The non-explosive stores were generally 6m x 9m, constructed of unlined timber wall with an asbestos roof. The laboratory was 13m x 6m with cavity walls with an asbestos roof.

With construction started in early 1942, wartime conditions, competition for material and manpower priorities and the challenging and isolated locations of some of the sites meant that the final construction was not completed until late 1944.  The final tally of magazines constructed across eleven locations was;[18]

  • Papakura (Ardmore)- 20 Magazines
  • Hopuhopu and Kelms Road – 55 Magazines
  • Waiouru – 45 Magazines
  • Makomako – 39 Magazines
  • Trentham(Kuku Valley) – 22 Magazines
  • Belmont – 62 Magazines
  • Glen Tunnel – 16
  • Burnham Camp – 8
  • Mount Somers – 10
  • Fairlie – 9
  • Alexandra – 9

During the same period, magazines and other ammunition infrastructure was also constructed for the Navy, Air Force and United States Forces in many locations across the country of which some would also be utilised by the NZAOC

The increase of Ordnance Depot Establishments

As of 22 July 1942, the approved establishment of the NZAOC Depots was 435, consisting of 18 Officers, 47 other ranks and 370 civilians. Approval was granted on 8 August 1942 to increase and fully militarise the establishment of the NZAOC. The increase in the establishment was required to provide adequate staff for the four Ordnance Depots, with an ability to surge personnel into Advanced Ordnance Depots at Whangarei and Blenheim, in support of the Home Defence Divisions. The authorised establishment for NZAOC Depots (including Ammunition Sections), was increased to be a fully militarised establishment of 1049 Officers and Other Ranks.[19]

  Officers Other Ranks Total
Main Ordnance Depot 19 556 575
Ordnance Depot Northern District 4 182 186
Ordnance Depot Central District 3 81 84
Ordnance Depot Southern District 4 200 204
Total 30 1019 1049

1943

Waiouru

  • Construction of the following ammunition infrastructure was completed on 5 February;[20]
  • One type B magazine
  • Eleven type D magazines
  • Laboratory
  • Non-Explosive Store

Followed by the completion of the following magazines in October 1943;

  • Two type D magazines
  • Four type E magazines
  • Four type F magazines

20180412_164447808026669.jpg

Waiouru Ammunition Area C1945. Public Works Department

 

Mokomoko

Construction of Mokomoko completed in March 1943.[21]

20180412_164357-1310043622.jpg

Mokomoko Ammunition Area C1945. Public Works Department

Mount Somers

Development of Mount Somers completed in March 1943.[22]

Glentunnel

Development of Glentunnel completed in August1943.[23]

Fairlie

Development Authorised in Decemberr1942 with development completed during 1943.[24]

Alexandra

Construction of nine 18m longe R2 Type magazines, laboratory and a non-explosive store completed on November 1943.[25]

Kaikorai Valley (Dunedin)

Selected as the site of an ammunition Depot in early 1942. Seventeen temporary Wooden Ammunition Shelters and five temporary wooden explosive stores were constructed along with a quantity of supporting infrastructure including a road aptly named “Ammunition Track” which is the only trace left today. Possibly due to its close proximity to the coast and the threat of Japanese Air raids, the permanent Ammunition depot was built further inland at Alexandra.[26]

Dates for the completion of the construction of the Ardmore, Ngawahiwaia, Kelm’s Road and Kuku Valley magazines is not detailed in the Public Works history but would have been during 1943.[27]

Army Inspection Department adopt NZOC Badge

Due to the close asocial of the to Army Inspection Department to Ammunition the Chief Munitions Officer made a request to the Ch.ief Ordnance Officer that the Army Inspection Department be granted permission to were the Cap Badge and puggaree of the New Zealand Ordnance Corps (NZOC). Records are unclear if this request was granted.[28]

1944

Waiouru

Construction of the following was completed by May 1944;

  • Five type R1 magazines
  • Fourteen type R2 magazines
  • One type R3 magazine

Belmont

Construction of the Belmont Ammunition area began in November 1942 and was completed by November 1944.[29]

Infrastructure at Belmont included;

  • Over 5 Km of roads
  • Cookhouse, Mess rooms, Ablutions, recreation room and sleeping accommodation
  • Laboratory
  • 50 P-Type Magazines 50, 60 and 100ft in length
  • 10 M-Type Magazines
  • 2 Magazines of an unknown type

1945

From mid-1945 discussions start to take place on the post was the shape of the NZAOC. Some thought was given to returning the NZAOC to its pre-war status as a predominantly civilian organisation. Reality prevailed the future of the NZAOC was assured as a feature of the post-war army. It was estimated that there were at least three years of work required in inspecting and refurbishing ammunition returned from units that had been demobilised, that was in addition to maintaining existing stocks of unused ammunition.[30] Proposed establishment for NZAOC Ammunition units would see the first widespread use of the terms IOO (In the context of the modern Ammunition Technical Officer) and Ammunition Examiner (Ammunition Technician). 1945 would see the completion of the ammunition infrastructure works first authorised in 1941.

Burnham

Construction of Non-explosive store and laboratory completed

Transfer of Ammunition and Equipment Section to NZAOC

Since before the Defence Act of 1909, which created the framework of the modern New Zealand Army, there had long between a division of responsibilities for the Management of Ammunition. Traditionally the provision, allocation, receipt, storage and issue of Gun (Artillery) Ammunition had been an Artillery responsibility, with the Management of Small Arms Ammunition the responsibility of the Defence Stores/Ordnance Corps. 1 June 1945 the NZAOC assumed responsibility for the management of all Army ammunition. The Artillery element responsible for the management of Gun Ammunition,  the Ammunition and Equipment Section was transferred from the control of Army Headquarters to the Chief Ordnance Officer. As a result of the transfer, 11 Officers and 175 Other Ranks of the Royal New Zealand Artillery were absorbed into the NZAOC establishment.[31]

Ordnance Takes Full Control

On the 15ht of November 1945, the Chief Ordnance Officer took up responsibility for the care, maintenance, accounting and storage of all ammunition and explosives.

Control of ammunition would be undertaken by;

  • The IOO Section, and
  • The Ammunition Section

IOO Section

The IOO Section, administered by the CIOO was responsible for;[32]

  • 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 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 f Repair Depot Trentham,
  • Maintenance of buildings at Repair Depot Trentham.

Ammunition Section

The Ammunition Section was responsible for;[33]

  • 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.

 

Notes

[1] Russell Glackin, In Defence of Our Land: A Tour of New Zealand’s Historic Harbour Forts (Auckland, N.Z.: Penguin Group (NZ), 2009, 2009), Bibliographies

Non-fiction, 48-53.

[2] Kiri Petersen Cathryn Barr, “New Zealand Defence Force Heritage Management Plan Forts Ballance and Gordon” (Hamilton: Opus International Consultants Limited 2009), 2-5.

[3] Tony Walton, “Wellingtons Defences: A Reconnaissance Survey of the Fortifications or 1884-1945,” Archaeology in New Zealand 33 (1990): 87-99.

[4] At different times referred to as Waikato or Ngawahawia Camp

[5] “Modern Military Camp,” New Zealand Herald, Volume LXVI, Issue 20324, 3 August 1929.

[6] “Dominions Ammunition Depot,” Auckland Star, Volume LVI, Issue 83, 8 April 1925.

[7] Joseph S. Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Wellington: RNZAOC, 1992), 84.

[8] “Regulations for the Military Forces of the Dominion of New Zealand.,” New Zealand Gazette no. 32, (1927).

[9] “Establishments – Ordnance Corps Ad1 493 / 228/2/6,” Defence Archives, Archives New Zealand  (1937).

[10] Ibid.

[11] F Grattan, Offical War History of the Public Works Department (PWD, 1948), 529.

[12] “Establishments – Ordnance Corps Ad1 493 / 228/2/6.”

[13] Howard Weddell, Trentham Camp and Upper Hutt’s Untold Military History (Howard Weddell, 2018), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 160.

[14] Grattan, Offical War History of the Public Works Department, 517.

[15] Peter D. F. Cooke, Defending New Zealand: Ramparts on the Sea 1840-1950s (Wellington, N.Z.: Defence of New Zealand Study Group, 2000, 2000), Bibliographies

Dictionaries

Non-fiction.

[16] Grattan, Offical War History of the Public Works Department, 521.

[17] Ibid., 518.

[18] Ibid., 517.

[19] “Establishments – Ordnance Corps Ad1 493 / 228/2/6.”

[20] Grattan, Offical War History of the Public Works Department, 521.

[21] Ibid., 523-24.

[22] Ibid., 528.

[23] Ibid., 527.

[24] Ibid., 530.

[25] Ibid., 532.

[26] Ibid., 519.

[27] Ibid., 520.

[28] “Badges and Buttons – Regimental, Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps 1936-1967, 92 /   213/12/19,” Defence Archives, Archives New Zealand  (1936).

[29] Grattan, Offical War History of the Public Works Department, 524-26.

[30] “Establishments – Ordnance Corps Ad1 493 / 228/2/6.”

[31] Ibid.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Ibid.


Eric Dudley Gerard

Transfering into the RNZAOC from the Artillery in 1946, Eric (Gumboots) Gerard would become a well-known officer throughout the RNZAOC. In the time up to his retirement in 1972, Gerard would serve in all three of the ‘Districts’; Northern, Central and Southern.  During his service, he would have been witness to the construction of the various Ammunition Areas during the War years; the creation of the standalone Ammunition Depots in the late 1940’s; and then their absorption into the Ordnance Depots as Ammunition Sub-Depots during the 1960’s. Gerard Acquired the nickname “Gumboots” because of the many hours he spent in the wet and mud blowing up ammunition.

Gerard was born in Wellington on the 26th of April 1917. In 1938 when working as a Hardware assistant at Palmerston North[1], Gerard joined the Territorial Force New Zealand Artillery (NZA). Due to the worsening war situation and the growing threat from Japan, Gerard was called up by ballot for full-time service with the Territorial Force in 1940[2].  Gerard was serving with 10th Heavy (Coast) Regiment when he was selected for Officer Training in 1941. Graduating from 11 Officer Cadet Training Unit (11 OCTU) as a 2nd Lieutenant on the 1st of July 1942[3]. On Graduation, Gerard was posted to the New Zealand Temporary Staff and promoted to Lieutenant on the 9th of October 1945[4]  in 1946 Gerard was based at Wellington[5] serving with the RNZA Ammunition and Equipment Section.

Up to 1946, the RNZA managed ammunition, explosives, Coast Artillery and specialist equipment and stores with the Ammunition and Equipment Section based in Army Headquarters, during 1946 this responsibility including some manpower, including Gerard were transferred to the NZAOC[6].

From 1946 Gerard was based out of Trentham spent time working at the Belmont and Waiouru Ammunition Areas, when in 1949 he became the District Inspecting Ordnance Officer (DIOO) at Headquarters Central Military District.

Posted to Ngaruawahia in 1953, Gerard would remain there as the Northen Districts DIOO until 1957 when he was posted to the Southern Military District(SMD) as DIOO.

It is during his tenure as SMD DIOO that Gerard became regarded as the most “Confederate” of Ordnance Officers, proudly displaying the confederate ‘Stars and Bars’ flag in his office.

WO in Office

In 1961 the modern Ammunition Technician trade speciality was created when new titles were adopted and[7];

  • ‘Ammunition Technical Officer’ (ATO) replaced that of ‘Inspecting Ordnance Officer’ (IOO) and
  • ‘Ammunition Technician’ (AT) that of ‘Ammunition Examiner’ (AE).
  • ‘District Ammunition Techincal Officer’ (DATO) replaced that of ‘District Inspecting Ordnance Officer’

Remaining as DATO SMD until the reorganisation of 1968[8], Gerard was then posted to 3 Central Ordnance Depot (3COD) as the Second in Command (2IC). During his last year of’ service, he was the Officer Commanding 3 COD.

On Friday 24 March 19721 the RNZAOC farewelled Major E.D Gerard on his retirement from the New Zealand Army after 30 years service as an Officer plus two more years in the ranks. Gerard remained in Christchurch and passed away on the 21st of July 2003.

Copyright © Robert McKie 2018

Notes

[1] “Palmerston North General Roll,” New Zealand Electoral Roll, Palmerston North, Page 84  (1938).

[2] Peter D. F. Cooke and John Crawford, The Territorials: The History of the Territorial and Volunteer Forces of New Zealand (Auckland, N.Z.: Random House, 2011, 2011).

[3] World War II Appointments New Zealand, Promotions, Transfers and Resignations, 1939–1945. [Extracted from the New Zealand Gazette.] CD-ROM. Ravensbourne, Dunedin, New Zealand: Colonial CD Books, n.d.

[4] Ibid.

[5] “Karori General Roll,” New Zealand Electoral Roll, Wellington, Page 88  (1946).

[6] N.W.Mcd Weir, “Report on the Defence Forces of New Zealand,” AJHR H-19 (1946).

[7] “Redesignation of Titles of Inspecting Ordnance Officers and Other Ammunition Personnel Army 209/5/3/Sd,” Defence Archives, Archives New Zealand  (1961).

[8] Joseph S. Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Wellington: RNZAOC, 1992).


The Hunter Brothers

nz-army-ordnance-corps-badge-2

NZ Army Ordnance Corps Badge 1917-1937. nzhistory.govt.nz/Public Domain

The Hunter Brothers service was unassuming and when looked at as part of the broader history of the New Zealand Ordnance Corps their service was uneventful. The only significant event of their service is that they are one of the few sets of brothers to be awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. What their service does provide is a snapshot of the activities of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps in the 1920’s

The children of Irish Immigrants who were farming a small property near the Marlborough town of Tuamarina, John was born on the 13th of August 1880 and Thomas on the 20th of December 1881.

John and Thomas both joined what was then the New Zealand Permeant Militia, spending considerable time as Gunners in the Artillery before transferring to the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps soon after its formation in 1917. Johns time in Ordnance was spent in the Ammunition Section based out of Fort Balance on the Northern Miramar peninsular in Wellington. Thomas ordnance Service was at the Ordnance Store at Mount Eden and the then brand-new Waikato Camp (Hopuhopu/Ngawahawia Camp).

Both brothers served for more than 30 years and under normal circumstances would have retired at the age of 55 with a comfortable pension, but this was not to be. Due to the world-wide depression and economic recession the Government was forced to savagely reduce the strength of the Army by using the provisions of section 39 of the Finance Act, 1930 (No. 2) where military staff could be either;

  • Transferred to the Civil service, or
  • Retire on superannuation any member of the Permanent Force or the Permanent Staff under the Defence Act, 1909, or of the clerical staff of the Defence Department whose age or length of service was such that if five years was added thereto they would have been enabled as of right or with the consent of the Minister of Defence to have given notice to retire voluntarily.

Using this act, on the 31st of March 1931 the NZAOC lost;

  • Six officers and Thirty-Eight Other Ranks who were retired on superannuation
  • Seventy-four NZAOC staff (excluding officers and artificers) who were not eligible for retirement were transferred to the civilian staff to work in the same positions but at a lower rate of pay.

 

Hunter retirement letter

Notice of Retirement sent to Serving soldiers December 1930

 

For the soldiers who were placed on superannuation, the transition was brutal with pensions recalculated at much lower rates and in some cases the loss of outstanding annual and accumulated leave. The 31st of March 1931 was the blackest day in the History of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps

John Francis Hunter

John Hunter attended the local school until Standard 5 and then spent a year at St Patricks College at Silverstream at Wellington. On leaving school, John Hunter took up a farming job in Bulls.  At Eighteen years of age, John enlisted at Alexandra Barrack in Wellington into the New Zealand Permanent Force (NZPF) and was attested as a 3rd Class Gunner into No 1 Company in Wellington on the 23 of November 1898. John Hunter Passed the Small Arms Drill Course on the 6th of January 1899, followed by the Recruits Drill Course on the 1st of May and was promoted to 2nd Class Gunner on the 1st of September 1899.

alexandra-barracksC

Alexandra Barracks, Mount Cook Wellington (Colourised). Credit: Alexander Turnbull Library.

With the reorganisation of the NZPF in 1902, the small permanent artillery force was designated the Royal New Zealand Artillery (RNZA) with John Hunter remaining with the Wellington Detachment. While serving as the “Servant to the General Officer Commanding” John Hunter unsuccessfully applied for a transfer to the New Zealand Police in 1902. John Hunter was to spend a short period detached to Lyttleton on Police duty during the New Zealand International Exhibition held in Christchurch during 1906/07. John Hunter was promoted to 1st Class Gunner on the 1st of September 1907. With the reorganisations of 1907 and 1911, John Hunter remained in the Gunnery Section of the RNZA Wellington Detachment working in the various Wellington Coast Defence Forts.

Marrying Edith Taylor in Fielding on the 28th of January 1911, John Hunter was still based in Wellington when the Great War was declared in 1914, but at 34 years old was then considered too old for war service.

Since 1911 there had been concerns in Army Headquarters about the supply of Artillery ammunition, and the associated costs with importation all of the required stocks to maintain training and operational needs. Studies had found that by refurbishing by cleaning, inspecting and refilling cartridge casings, and inspecting and refurbishing in service propellant bags, manufacturing new ones as required, considerable savings could be made instead of importing new items. Recommendations were made that as part of the RNZA, a specialist Ordnance Stores Corps be established for the manufacture and modification of Ammunition. Ordnance Stores Corps would be under the supervision of the Master Gunner and would be entitled to the same pay and allowances as other members of the RNZA as they would just be another section of the RNZA.

Although envisaged in 1911, the formation of this Ordnance Stores Corps would have an extended gestation period, and it would not be until mid-1914 that General Godley, the Commander of the New Zealand Forces approved the proposal and work could begin in establishing the Artillery Ordnance Stores Corps. Orders were placed on Great Britain for the supply of the required machinery, components and most importantly cordite, with the some of the machinery received in good time, the delivery of the remainder was promised to be delivered as soon as possible by the British suppliers. Given that war had broken out the importance of setting up this capability and securing New Zealand’s immediate supply of Artillery was of the utmost importance.

As the new Corps was to be another uniformed section of the RNZA such as the Field Artillery or Electric Light Company. It was to be under the administration and control of the OC RNZA and not the Quartermaster General, 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 1 April 1915.  Located Fort Ballance at Mahanga Bay on Wellington’s Miramar Peninsula, the section’s primary duties was the assembling of ammunition components for the artillery, with care and upkeep of the magazines becoming part of their responsibilities. John Hunter Transferred into the RNZA Army Ordnance Section on the 1st of July 1915.

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Fort Ballance (including associated positions at Fort Gordon) (Colourised). Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand,

With the Formation of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) on the 1st of February 1917, the RNZA retained operational day to day control of the Ammunition Section, with the NZAOC taking up administrative control of its personnel. The personnel of the Ammunition Section, including Gunner John Hunter, transferred into the NZAOC on the 15th of March 1917. On the 8th of February 1917, John Hunter was awarded the New Zealand Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.

RMS Niagara

RMS Niagara

December 1917 saw John Hunters experience as a gunner called upon when he was seconded to the NZEF as an Acting Corporal. Embarking on the RMS Niagara on the 13th of February 1918 as Corporal Gunner of the Gun Crew. Returning to New Zealand in September 1918 and replaced by Naval gunners, John Hunter spent a short time with the RNZA in Featherston Camp before re-joining the NZAOC in February 1919. Interestingly the RMS Niagara on which John Hunter served and disembarked from in September 1918 is the vessel that is attributed by some sources as the source of the 1918 influenza pandemic that had a devastating effect on New Zealand.

Returning to his duties at the Ammunition Section at Fort Ballance John Hunter was the newest member of the Ammunition Section and was identified as the only suitable understudy for the then NCO In-Charge Sergeant J Murray and was promoted to Lance Corporal on 1 November 1919. 1921 saw John Hunter awarded the New Zealand Efficient Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal and was also issued with his war service medals the British War Service 1914-1918 medal and the Victory 1914-1919 Medal.

Promoted to Temporary Corporal on the 1st of January 1921, John Hunter was made the NCO I/C the Ammunition Laboratory at Shelly Bay. By August 1921 on the retirement of Sergeant Murray, Hunter was promoted to Corporal and appointed as IC of the Ammunition Section.

The immediate post-war years into the mid-1920’s were a busy time for the NZAOC Ammunition Section. The Kaiwharawhara Magazine close to the city was closed, and the Mahanga Bay facilities expanded from the original magazine and laboratory building on the foreshore to include as their guns were decommissioned Fort Balance, Fort Gordon and the Kau Point Battery. With armaments removed, gun pits covered over with roofs and turned into additional magazines the once impressive forts went from been Wellingtons premier defensive location to quite possibly the 1st large scale ammunition depot of the NZAOC, a role it would fill until 1929 when purpose-built facilities were constructed at Hopuhopu Camp in the Waikato.

Promoted to Sergeant on the 1st of July 1922, further promotions followed on the 1st of June 1926 when he was promoted to Staff Sergeant and then again on the 1st of June 1929 when promotion to Staff Quarter Master Sergeant (Warrant officer Class 2) was gained.

After spending the majority of his 32-year career on the Miramar Peninsular of Wellington. Warrant Officer Class Two John Hunter was discharged from the Army on the 31st of March 1931 at the age of 52 under the provisions section 39 of the Finance Act, 1930 (No. 2) where members of military were forced to retire under superannuation at a much lower rate than they would have usually been entitled too. WO2 John Hunter also lost;

·         21 days approved annual leave

·         22 days accrued leave

John Hunters forced retirement in 1931 might not have been his final Military service. Census and voter lists from 1935 to 1954 list his occupation as Solder, with the Census and voter from 1957 as retired. Further examination of service records is required, but an assumption would be that given his ammunition experience, he was re-engaged in a lesser rank and continued in the military during the war years into the mid-1950’s.

Records show that John and his wife Edith had no children and remained at the same address at 57 Kauri Street Miramar until his death on the 23rd of March 1967 at the age of 87 and is buried at Karori Cemetery, Wellington

 Thomas Alexander Hunter

Completing school at Standard 4, Thomas entered the workforce and was working as a Grocers Assistant at Foxton before enlisting into the NZPF. At the age of 18, Thomas attested into the NZPF on the 2nd of August 1900. Thomas completed the Recruit Drill and Arms Cours at Alexandra Barrack in Wellington and was posted to the Artillery as a Pre-Gunner for the duration of his probation period. On completion of probation on the 1st of February 1901, Thomas was posted to No 1 Company in Wellington.

With the reorganisation of the NZPF in 1902, the small permanent artillery force was designated the Royal New Zealand Artillery (RNZA) with Thomas Hunter remaining with the Wellington Detachment. With the reorganisation of 1907, Thomas continued in the Gunnery Section of the RNZA Wellington Detachment working in the various Wellington Coast Defence Forts.

On the 10th of May 1908, Thomas married Maude Taylor at Newmarket in Auckland and was posted to the RNZA Auckland detachment on the 16th of November 1908. Thomas first child Edward was born on the 15th of February 1909. Further Children followed with the Birth of Bernard on 20 February 1910, Bambara on 28 March 1911 and Veronica on 21 November 13

Transferred into the Field Artillery Section on the 1st of August 1911, Thomas was transferred back into the Gunnery Section on the 1st of May 1912. When the war was declared in 1914, Thomas was 33 years old and at the time considered too old for war service. Thomas was stuck with tragedy in September 1915 when his daughter Bambara passed away due to illness.

Like his bother, Thomas was seconded to the NZEF in February 1918 as an Acting Corporal. Embarking on the SS Makura as gun crew. Returning to regular duty in June 1918 when the Army gunners were replaced by Naval gunners.

 

New Zealand Long and Efficient Service Medal

New Zealand Long and Efficient Service Medal, 1887-1917, New Zealand, by George White. Gift of Mr Dollimore, 1956. CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Te Papa (NU006152)

Awarded the Permanent Forces of the Empire Beyond the Seas Medal in December 1918, with the formal presentation on the 1st of February 1919. Thomas was promoted to temporary Bombardier on the 1st of February 1920, attaining Full Bombardier rank on the 1st of February 1921. Further recognition of his service followed with the award of the Meritorious Service Medal on the 21st of November 1921 and the New Zealand Long and Efficient Service Medal on the 6th of February 1922. Thomas was also presented with British War Service 1914-1918 medal and the Victory 1914-1919 Medal.

With many of the Coastal Defenses nearing the end of their usefulness, (Fort Victoria where Thomas had a one stage been attached to, had only ever fired one proofing round and was promptly taken out of action because of complaints from its neighbors who had suffered many broken windows) resulted in the decommissioning of many of the older batteries. As Thomas was then the senior Bombardier in the Auckland region, instead of being forcibly made redundant he was transferred to the NZAOC and posted to the Ordnance Store then located at Mount Eden on the 31st of July 1922. Living at Devonport at the time the move to the new position at Mount Eden was worrying for Thomas. As Mount Eden was then a Suburb on the far side of Auckland the travel costs were a concern to Thomas. The strain on his family was also a concern, his children were beset with ill health with one child passing away due to illness in 1915 and another with infantile paralysis. To make matters worse Thomas was forced to reduce rank to Lance Corporal on the 1st of August 1922.

Auckland Gun

Dissapearing Gun, North Head Auckland. Robert McKie Collection

The early 1920’s were a busy time for the Mount Eden Ordnance Store. After the First World War, the New Zealand Territorial Army undertook a major re-equipment project with two Infantry Divisions and one Mounted Brigades worth of equipment arriving from the United Kingdom. Initially stored at Trentham and Featherston Camp, with a purpose-built Ordnance Store to service the Northern region under construction at Ngawahawia, storage space was at a premium. With Featherston Camp closing down the Mount Eden Ordnance Store had to receive, sort and distribute much of the equipment for the Northern Region units well in excess of its storage capacity, as well as providing support to the territorial Army Annual Camps.

By 1928 The development of Ngaruawahia Camp was now in its final stages with the large Ordnance Store building completed, and the stores from the Ordnance Depot at Mount Eden progressively been transferred to it. Two high-explosive magazines were completed with an additional three high-explosive magazines and laboratory, and the provision of mains and equipment for fire-prevention nearing completion. With the removal of stores to Ngaruawahia Camp, the buildings at Mount Eden were no longer required, so they were disassembled and re-erected at Narrow Neck Camp.

Thomas was promoted to Temporary Corporal on the 1st of February 1926, followed by promotion to Sergeant on the 1st of March 1928. Up to June 1929, Thomas was the NOC IC Camp Equipment, but with the Ordnance Depot now at Ngawahawia, Thomas was transferred onto the staff of the Small Arms Proof Office allowing him to remain at Mount Eden.

After spending the majority of his 30-year 141-day career in Auckland, Sergeant Thomas Hunter was discharged from the Army on the 31st of March 1931 at the age of 49 under the provisions section 39 of the Finance Act, 1930 (No. 2) where serving members of the military were forced to retire under superannuation at a much lower rate than they would have normally been entitled too. Sergeant Thomas Hunter was fortunate that prior to the notification of the redundancy on the 17th of December 1930 he had already applied for and had approved the use of his annual and accrued leave.

Moving on from a life in the military, Thomas settled at 88 Sandringham Road and took up the trade of confectioner. Thomas passed away at 84 years of age on the 5th of October 1965.

 

Copyright © Robert McKie 2018


Ammunition Technician Origins

From the formation of the New Zealand Ordnance Corps in the early years of the First World War, the Corps has been the primary agency for the supply and maintenance of weapons, munitions and other military equipment. An essential commodity requiring specialised skills, munitions were the responsibility of the Ammunition Technician Trade group.  The requirement for the safe storage, inspection and distribution of munitions had existed in New Zealand from the earliest years of the nation. It was not until the 1890s with the manufacture of more advanced ammunition types in New Zealand that a specialist was employed to conduct the proof testing and oversee the production of small arms ammunition. This article will examine the initial manufacture of small arms ammunition in New Zealand and the specialist who laid the foundations for the modern Ammunition Technician Trade.

For many years in early Colonial New Zealand, ammunition and explosives were imported in from the United Kingdom and Australia. Powder magazines were established in the main centres, and Magazine keepers appointed. Any specialist expertise required for the handling and storage for these stocks would have been provided by qualified and experienced individuals from the British Military Stores Department (Until 1870) and Royal Artillery and Engineer officers attached to the New Zealand Forces, who would provide expertise on an as required basis.

In 1885 the Russians repositioned elements of their naval fleet into the North Pacific establishing a naval base at Vladivostok, creating for British Imperial possessions The “Russian Scare” of 1885. It was thought that Tsar Alexander had ambitions to expand his empire. Feeling vulnerable at the edge of the British Empire, the New Zealand Government embarked on a programme of fortification construction and urgently sought independent sources of supply for ammunition to become independent of the supplies from Britain. With the encouragement of the government, 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, not only the first ammunition manufacture in New Zealand but the first in Australasia. Entering into a contract with the New Zealand Government for the production of small arms ammunition, the deal was that government would provide the powder with the CAC providing the components for the manufacture of complete cartridges. The Governments retained the right to inspect and conduct quality control inspection 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 results of the test were based on the performance of this percentage that the ammunition is accepted or rejected.

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Colonial Ammunition Company works on the lower slopes of Mount Eden in Normanby Road, Mount Eden, 1902.
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 1-W1057.

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 has immigrated to New Zealand, becoming the Auckland District Musketry Instructor in 1881. Conducting inspections of manufactured ammunition until July 1891. From July 1891 responsibility ammunition inspection was then passed to the Officer Commanding of the Auckland District, which at the time was a Major Goring. In 1893 responsibility for the examination of ammunition passed to Lieutenant J E Hume of the Permanent Militia. Hume would continue to hold this responsibility in addition to his other duties until 1898.

By 1896 the New Zealand colony was mostly equipped with the .450 calibre Martini-Henry series of rifles and carbines. Ammunition was still provided under contract with the Colonial Ammunition Company but with additional stocks produced by the Kynoch ammunition company in the United Kingdom. The conditions of the original contract with CAC remained extant with the Government responsible for providing the powder and the CAC the components. As this system had been in place for some time, it was recognised that this division of responsibility was flawed. There had been many incidents of ammunition failure, but due to this procurement division, it was often difficult to attribute fault to any specific party. It was recommended by the Defence Department to Parliament that the CAC should be responsible for the entire end to end process for the manufacture of complete cartridges The Government would retain the right to examine and test all components (powder, caps and cases) and complete cartridge cases. Testing would be conducted by an official with the required training and experience for such work, given that no such individual existed in the colony at the time, one would have to be recruited.

 

Ballistic Chronograph

Ballistic Chronograph

During 1896/97 units from all over New Zealand continued to complain about the quality of the ammunition supplied to the Defence Force by CAC. Although CAC was contracted to be the sole source of supply of small arms ammunition, the powder was still provided by the Government from the United Kingdom. With the powder passing the same tests as powder supplied for the manufacture of UK manufactured ammunition. CAC continued to argue that the powder was not good, and attributed the failures of the ammunition chiefly to that cause.  Lacking the expertise to test the powder in New Zealand, five hundred rounds from each batch manufactured in 1896 was sent to the United Kingdom for proof and examination by Government experts. The proofing process attributed that the failure of the ammunition was not due to the powder but to irregularities in manufacture. With few facilities then available in New Zealand for the correct proofing of the specification of finished ammunition, testing equipment including velocity instruments such as Ballistic chronographs were ordered from the United Kingdom. As there was no individual in the Colonial Forces who possessed sufficient knowledge to set up and operated these instruments it fell onto the Chief of the Defence Force to as far as possible, personally supervise and set up the testing apparatus providing the necessary instruction until a suitably qualified individual could be recruited from the United Kingdom.

The CAC refused to accept the return of suspect stocks as they argued that as per the current contract it had passed the required tests and been approved by the Government ending their responsibility. The ammunition that was in store was to be used up and replaced by a competent and serviceable supply. It was accepted that the testing officers had done their testing conscientiously and that the percentage of rounds tested had been in accordance with the terms of the specification. But as the very existence of the colony might one day be at stake, it was imperative that every possible step should be taken to ensure a supply of reliable ammunition.  As the Government was bound by contract to obtain their supply of small-arms ammunition from CAC, the following recommendations were made;

  • CAC should supply their own powder and all component parts,
  • Production of the current “rolled case” pattern of ammunition be ceased as it was inherently “Rolled Cases” had ceased to be used by other Imperial forces and by switching production to the more reliable ” solid drawn” would bring the New Zealand Forces into line with the rest of the Imperial Forces.

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Plate showing the construction of the Rifle Ball Mark III from “Treatise on Ammunition 1887”.

On the 67th of February 1898, a formal request was forwarded to the United Kingdom for the recruitment if a suitable Warrant Officer from the Royal Artillery to “ Take charge of the testing operations of Small Arms Ammunition and the supervision of the manufacture of the same”.

On the 6th of April 1898, Quartermaster Sergeant Instructor Arthur Duvall, Royal Garrison Artillery of the Artillery College was selected and took up the offer to be the Small ArmsTesting 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.

Under the administrative command of the Officer Commanding No 1 Company Permanent Militia, Auckland Duvall was immediately put to work. With the introduction of the .303 Martini Enfield rifles in 1898, CAC had started production in 1898 of the Mark II C  and Mark IV .303 rounds. Providing a level of expertise never available before Duvall was holding the CAC to account and providing the Defence Force with a reliable product.

Coming under the command of Headquarters of the New Zealand Permanent militia in 1903, Duvall had his engagement with the New Zealand Forces extended by an additional three years in 1903 and then another three years in 1907. Duvall oversaw the introduction of the .303 Mark IV round in 1904.

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Machinery for the production of Military ammunition, CAC Factory Auckland 1903

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Bullet making machinery at the Colonial Ammunition Company’s works, Mt Eden. Auckland War Memorial Museum, DU436.1243 C718.

Completing Twenty years service with the British Army in 1911, Duvall took his discharge and was immediately attested into the New Permanent Staff as an Honorary Lieutenant on the 26th of April 1912 and then promoted to Honorary Capitan on 1 April 1914.

With Honorary Captain Duvall overseeing the manufacture and testing of Small Arms Ammunition in Auckland, ensuring New Zealand was self-sufficient in the supply of Small Arms Ammunition. Moves were underway at Fort Ballance in Wellington to provide New Zealand with some self-reliance with artillery ammunition with the formation of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Section of the Royal New Zealand Artillery in 1915. The RNZA Ordnance Section was responsible for the refurbishment by cleaning, inspecting and refilling QF Casings, and inspecting and refurbishing in service propellant bags, and manufacturing new ones as required, resulting in considerable savings made instead of importing new items.

On the 10th of January 1918, Duvall was transferred from the Permanent Staff to the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department, graded as an Ordnance Officer Class 3 with the rank of Captain. His appointment as Testing Officer Small Arms Ammunition was renamed as Proof Officer, Small Arms Ammunition and it would be part of the Ordnance Corps Technical branch

On the 4th of July 1919 Duvall arrived at the premises of the CAC at about 930 am, after speaking to a member of his staff Mr B.E Lambert, Duvall then retired to the laboratory. At approximately 1040am Duval was found in the laboratory, deceased lying on his face with a service rifle across his body. In the Coroners report published on the 16th of July 1919, the coroner found that the cause of death was a gunshot wound, apparently self-inflicted, while in a state of nervous depression]. Duvall was interred with military honours at Purewa cemetery on 5 July 1919.

Despite the sudden death of Duvall, The Small Arms and Proof Office would remain as an essential component of the New Zealand Army ammunition supply chain until 1968 when the Colonial Ammunition Company shifted its operations to Austalia, and the Army ended its long relationship with the Colonial Ammunition Company.

Administrative control of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Section of the Royal New Zealand Artillery was passed to the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps on its formation if 1917. Technical control of Artillery ammunition remained with the RNZA until 1946 when responsibility for all ammunition was handed over to the Inspection Ordnance Officers Branch of the NZAOC. The Inspecting Ordnance Officers Branch which had only consisted of a few staff officers during the interwar period rapidly expanded during the Second World War with Ammunition Depots established at Ngaruawahia, Waiouru, Makomako, Kuku Valley, Belmont, Mount Sommers, Alexandra, Glen Tunnel (Hororata) and Fairlie. The ordnance Ammunition trades consisted of;

  • Inspecting Ordnance Officers (Officers) and
  • Ammunition Examiners (Other ranks).

These roles remained extant until 1961 when following UK practice the following changes were made;

  • 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

Over the next thirty years, the ammunition trades would mature into a highly specialised trade that on the amalgamation of the RNZAOC into the 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.

By 1996 the Ammunition trades had progressed from rudimentary black powder magazines in the 19th century to the management of many modern ammunition natures. Although many individuals had been involved in the handling and storage of ammunition up to the appointment of Arther Duvall in 1898, Duvall stands out as the first individual specially trained and employed  solely in the field of ammunition management and as such deserves recognition as the founding member of what would in later years become the Ammunition Technician Trade.

 

Copyright © Robert McKie 2017

 

Bibliography

Primary Sources

Archives New Zealand/Te Rua Mahara o Te Kawanatanga Wellington Office
Military Personnel Files D.1/420/1 Arthur Duvall – Captain, New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps

NewZealand Gazette
Testing-Officer for Small-arms Ammunition appointed. New Zealand Gazette No 17 Page 412 28 February 1895

Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives (AJHR)
1896 H-19 Report on the Defence Forces of New Zealand
1897 H-19 Report on the Defence Forces of New Zealand
1898 H-19 Report on the Defence Forces of New Zealand

Auckland Star
“THE LABORATORY FATALITY,” Auckland Star, p. 4, 5 July 1919.
“CORONER’S INQUEST,” Auckland Star, vol. L, no. 168, 16 July 1919.

Secondary Sources

IPENZ, “Engineering Heritage of New Zealand,” IPENZ Engineers New Zealand, 11 December 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www.ipenz.org.nz/heritage/itemdetail.cfm?itemid=2228. [Accessed 12 December 2017].
J. Osborne and P. Cregeen, “Martini Enfield Rifle MK I, I,” New Zealand Arms Register, 21 October 2010. [Online]. Available: http://www.armsregister.com/arms_register/arms_register_documents/nzar_63_martini_enfield_mki.pdf. [Accessed 13 December 2017].
J. Osborne and P. Cregeen, “Martini Enfield Rifle MK I, I,” New Zealand Arms Register, 21 October 2010. [Online]. Available: http://www.armsregister.com/arms_register/arms_register_documents/nzar_63_martini_enfield_mki.pdf. [Accessed 13 December 2017].
Osborne, “Chronology of the British & New Zealand Military .303” Cartridge,” 7 March 2012. [Online]. Available: http://www.armsregister.com/arms_register/arms_register_documents/nzar_250_british_nz_303_cartridge.pdf. [Accessed 13 December 2017].