Tragedy at Tikao Bay

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

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

Akaroa Harbour Defences. Peter Cooke Defending New Zealand 2000

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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


Belmonts Chemical Weapon Stockpile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Northern Advocate, 18 September 1946

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


Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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


RNZAOC 1 April 1959 to 31 March 1960

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

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Temporary Lieutenant Colonel H. McK. Reid

Chief Inspecting Ordnance Officer

  • Major JW Marriot

Officer Commanding Main Ordnance Depot

  • Major Harry White, from 1 May 1959

RNZAOC School

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

2nd Battalion, the New Zealand Regiment

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

Establishment of RNZOAC School

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

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

The initial school organisation would be.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Officer Shortfall

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

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

To rectify the situation, the following recommendations were made.

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

Conferences

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

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

Small Arms Ammunition

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

Introduction of New Equipment

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

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

Uniforms

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

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

Disposals

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

Ammunition Disposal

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

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

Ration Packs

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

Shooting Competition

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

Award of Army Sports Colours

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

Honours and Awards

British Empire Medal

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

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

Regular Force

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

Regular Force (Supernumerary List)

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

Territorial Force

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

Reserve of Officers

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

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

Regular Force

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

Notes

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

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

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

[4] Ibid.

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

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

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

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

[9] Ibid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

[16] Ibid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


RNZAOC 1 April 1958 to 31 March 1959

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

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel H. McK. Reid.

Commanding Officer Main Ordnance Depot

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

Compulsory Military Training

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

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

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

Conferences

DOS Conference 27-29 May 1958

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

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

Uniforms

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

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

Disposals

Vehicles

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

Ammunition

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

Move of Central Districts Vehicle Depot to Linton

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

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

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

Linton Camp Ordnance Depot Issues

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

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

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

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

Ration Packs

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

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

Cricket Tour

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

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

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

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

Honours and Awards

Long Service and Good Conduct

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

Secondment to British Army

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

Staff College, Camberley

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

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

Regular Force

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

Regular Force (Supernumerary List)

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

RESERVE OF OFFICERS

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

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

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

Territorial Force

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

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

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

Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[14] Ibid.

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

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

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

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

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

[20] Ibid.

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

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

[23] Ibid.

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

[25] Ibid.

[26] Ibid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[36] Ibid.

[37] Ibid.

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

[39] Ibid.

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

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid.

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

[44] Ibid.

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

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

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

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

[49] Ibid., 289.

[50] Ibid., 367-68.

[51] Ibid., 512.


RNZAOC 1 April 1957 to 31 March 1958

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

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

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

Commanding Officer Main Ordnance Depot

  • Major O.H Burn

Inspecting Ordnance Officer, Northern Military District

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

Inspecting Ordnance Officer, Southern Military District

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

Compulsory Military Training

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

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

1st Battalion, the New Zealand Regiment

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

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

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

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

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

  • Brian Crafts
  • David Orr

Fiji Military Forces

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

Uniforms

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

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

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

Other Ranks Service Dress

Ammunition

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

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

Move of Central Districts Vehicle Depot to Linton

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

Construction Of New Ordnance Depot for Linton Camp

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

Honours and Awards

Meritorious Service Medal

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

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

Regular Force

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

Regular Force (Supernumerary List)

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

Reserve of Officers

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

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

Regular Force

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

Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[8] Ibid.

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

[10] Ibid.

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

[12] Ibid., 283.

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

[14] Ibid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

[21] Ibid.

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

[23] Ibid.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[34] Ibid.

[35] Ibid.

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

[37] Ibid.

[38] Ibid., 410-11.


RNZAOC 1 April 1956 to 31 March 1957

This period would see the RNZAOC. Continue to support Regular, Territorial and Compulsory Military Training. This period would see the winding down and cessation of direct RNZAOC support to Kay Force.[1]

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel F Reid, OBE, relinquished the appointment on 31 march 1957.

Commanding Officer Main Ordnance Depot

  • Major O.H Burn.

Compulsory Military Training

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

  • 20th intake of 2475av recruits on 5 April 1956
  • 21st intake of 2475av recruits on 28 June 1956
  • 22nd intake of 1775av recruits on 20 September 1956
  • 23rd intake of 1775av recruits on 3 January 1957
4th New Zealand Division ordnance Field park on parade Trentham, Camp 17 October 1956. WO In charge Gavin Lake Right-hand rank from the from Peter Barret, Bill Smith, mauri Philips, Jim Bremner, Brian Jennings, Peter Rennie, Murray Burt, Dave Laidlaw, Jim Brown. Middle-Rank Leading is Kevin Anderson. Left-Rank Leading; Bert Roil followed by Tex Rickard. Robert Mckie RNZAOC Collection

Emergency Force (Kayforce)

The RNZAOC concluded its commitment to Kayforce with the final Ordnance men’s return in the latter half of 1956.

Out of Kayforce

  • 204459  Temporary Sergeant Gordon Winstone East, 31 August 1956
  • 204702 Temporary Sergeant Ernest Radnell, 31 August 1956
  • 30419 Captain John Barrie Glasson, 3-Sep-56
  • 206870  Staff Sergeant James Russell Don, 29 December 1956

Ordnance Conferences

DOS Conference August 1956

The Director of Ordnance Services hosted a conference of the District Ammunition and Ordnance Depots’ Officer Commanding and the District DADOS at Trentham Camp over 11 – 14 August 1956.[3]  

The agenda for the conference included.

  • Modified accounting procedure,
  • Depot Commanders to visit MOPD for local discussions,
  • Corps Matters,
  • District Problems.

DOS Conference March 1957

The Director of Ordnance Services hosted a conference of the Officer Commanding of the District Ammunition and Ordnance Depots and the District DADOS at Trentham Camp over 26 to 28 March 1957.  

Ammunition Examiners Course

From April to September 1956, Warrant Officer Class Two David Gwynne Thomas attended and passed with excellent results the Ammunition Examiners Course at the RAAOC Corps School at Broadmeadows in Victoria, Australia.[4]

Metal from Condemned Ammunition

Valuable metal was to be recovered from condemned non-high explosive ammunition drawn from Army ordnance depots in the North and South Islands over the next two or three years. The Colonial Ammunition Company was awarded a contract with the Government for the breaking down of the ammunition, which was to be done in New Plymouth. Work will start in the next three months, and the brass and copper extracted will be sent to a large brass extrusion mill to be prepared for further use in industry. Any steel that is recovered and not wanted in New Zealand will be sent overseas.

Corps History

During 1956 the Royal Army Ordnance Corps in the United Kingdom established the RAOC Museum at the RAOC Training centre at Blackdown. The museum’s concept was to establish a Commonwealth Section to illustrate the links between the various commonwealth Ordnance Corps and the RAOC.  In August 1956 the Director of Ordnance (UK) put out a call to the DOS’s or Australia, Canada, Ceylon, India, Pakistan and New Zealand to contribute material for the planned exhibit.

New Zealand replied on 24 January 1957 that as the RNZAOC had only been in existence for a short period, items of historical interest were not available and the RNZAOC would be unable to contribute to this project.[5]

Honours and Awards

Long Service and Good Conduct

  • 31234 Warrant Officer Class One Athol Gilroy McCurdy, 12 April 1956.[6]

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

Regular Force

  • Captain F.A Bishop to be temp. Major. Dated 16 April 1956.[7]
  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster FG Cross is transferred to the Reserve of Officers, General List, The RNZAOC, with Lieutenant and Quartermaster’s rank. Dated 27 April 1956.[8]
  • Captain W.G Dixon is transferred From the Royal New Zealand Artillery to the RNZAOC· in his present rank and seniority. Dated 14 May 1956.[9]
  • Captain M.R.J Keeler to be Major 16 May 1956.[10]
  • Captain W.G Dixon, M.B.E., to be Major. Dated 15 May 1956.[11]
  • The under-mentioned are appointed to regular commissions in the rank of Lieutenant and Quartermaster (on probation):[12]
    • 31002 Warrant Officer Class One, Louis Eric Autridge, from The Royal NZ Artillery.
    • 36643 Staff Sergeant Oliver Cedric Prouse, from the New Zealand Regiment.
    • 33842 Staff Sergeant David Halsel Rollo, M.B.E., from The Royal NZ Artillery.
    • 31028 Warrant Officer Class Two, William Neil Stephenson, from The Royal NZ  Artillery.
  • Captain D Sharpe is posted to the retired list with the Rank of Major. Dated 25 July 1956.[13] [14]
  • Captain R.T Marriott to be Major. Dated 29 August 1956.[15]
  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster Frederick George Cross, Reserve of Officers, General List, RNZAOC is appointed to a short-service Regular commission for a term of three years, in the rank of Lieutenant, with seniority from 13 August 1951. Dated 13 August 1956.[16]
  • The appointment of Lieutenant and Quartermaster (on probation) W. N. Stephenson lapsed Dated 21 September 1956.[17]
  • Captain N.L Wallburton is transferred to the Reserve of Officers, General List, RNZAOC, in the rank of Captain. Dated 7 September 1956.[18]
  • Captain E.F.L Russell is re-engaged for a period of five years as from 26 November 1956.[19]
  • Lieutenant L.C King is re-engaged in the NZ Regular Force for the period 16 November 1956 to 3 October 1958 and promoted to Captain from 16 November 1956.[20]
  • Major K.G Scott, from the Reserve of Officers, Supplementary List, to be Major. Dated 1 November 1956.[21]
  • Temp. Captain D.R. Alexander, from the Reserve of Officers, Supplementary List, to be Captain. Dated 1 November 1956.
  • Captain Donald MacKenzie Robson, M.B.E., from the Regular Army Reserve of Officers, Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps, to be Captain. Dated 7 December 1956.[22]
  • Temp. Lieutenant A.A Burrows, from the Reserve of Officers, Supplementary List, to be Lieutenant. Dated 1 November 1956.[23]
  • Temp. Lieutenant M.J Goodson, from the Reserve of Officers, Supplementary List, to be Lieutenant. Dated 1 November 1956.[24]

Regular Force (Supernumerary List)

  • Captain and Quartermaster R.P Kennedy, E.D, is granted a further extension of his engagement for one year from 13 April 1956.[25]
  • Captain and Quartermaster G.A Perry, E.D., is given an extension of his engagement for a further period of one year from 1 April 1956.[26]

Territorial Force

  • Captain A.W Wilkin, RNZAOC, relinquished the appointment of Brigade Ordnance Officer, Headquarters, 3rd Infantry Brigade and was posted to the Retired List on 4 November 1954.[27]

Graduates, Royal Military College, Duntroon

  • Lieutenant Malcolm John Ross, 12 December 1956.[28]

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

Regular Force

  • Corporal J.T Skeddan from SMD was selected to attend the year long course at Portsea Officer Training establishment in Australia starting in January 1957.
  • 31257 Temporary Warrant Officer Class Two Murray Alexander Burt promoted to substantive Warrant Officer Class Two, 10 October 1956.[29]
  • W920917 Corporal George Thomas Dimmock promoted to Sergeant, 1 June 1956.[30]
  • 31004 Warrant Officer Class One William Galloway, retired 1 January 1957[31]
  • 1185 Staff Sergeant Albert Edward “Abbie” Shadbolt retired on 25 October 1956. SSgt Shadbolt retired at the age of 69 after 49 years and ten months of service to the military in uniformed and civilian roles.
    • Enlisted into RNZA 26 November 1907.
    • Transferred to NZAOC in 1922
    • Transferred to civilian Staff 1931, remaining employed at the Main Ordnance Depot as a Clerk.
    • 8 January 1942 commissioned as a Lieutenant into the NZ Temporary Staff as Ordnance Officer Main Ordnance Depot, Placed on to the retired list on 21 October 1948
    • Re-engaged as a Warrant Officer Class Two in 1948, Shadbolt would latter attain Warrant Officer Class One rank as the 2 I/C of the Central Districts Vehicle Depot at Trentham.
    • Due to his age was reverted to the Rank of Staff Sergeant on 1 April 1956 and placed on less onerous duties for his last year of service, retiring 0n 10 October 1956.
  • Besides his military responsibilities, Shadbolt was an outstanding Rugby Union and Rugby league player with the following credentials.
    • He represented Canterbury XV in 1909 and 1910
    • Switched to Rugby League in 1912 and would play for the St Albans and Federal Clubs
    • Played for the Canterbury Rugby League side from 1912 to 1920
    • Represented New Zealand in the Rugby League tours to Australia in 1913 and 1921

Notes

[1] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1954 to 31 March 1955 “, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1955).

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

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

[4] Howard E. Chamberlain, Service Lives Remembered : The Meritorious Service Medal in New Zealand and Its Recipients, 1895-1994 ([Wellington, NZ.]: H. Chamberlain, 1995), 466.

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

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

[7] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 29, 17 May 1956.

[8] Ibid.

[9] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 34, 14 June 1956.

[10] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 36, 28 June 1956.

[11] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 41, 26 July 1956.

[12] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 45, 16 August 1956.

[13] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 48, 30 August 1956.

[14] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 68, 6 December 1956.

[15] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 51, 13 September 1956.

[16] Ibid.

[17] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 55, 11 October 1956.

[18] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 58, 1 November 1956.

[19] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 1, 10 January 1957.

[20] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 8, 31 January 1957.

[21] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 14, 27 February 1957.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Ibid.

[25] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 35, 21 June 1956.

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

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

[28] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 20, 7 March 1957.

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

[30] Ibid.

[31] Ibid., 175.


RNZAOC 1 April 1955 to 31 March 1956

This period would see the RNZAOC undertake a range of routine activities whilst continuing to support Regular, Territorial and Compulsory Military Training. [1]

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel F Reid, OBE

Compulsory Military Training

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

  • 17th intake of 2800av recruits on 23 June 1955
  • 18th intake of 2475av recruits on 15 September 1955
  • 19th intake of 2475av recruits on 5 January 1955

Territorial Force Annual Camps

Technical Stores Sectionsd of the Divisional Ordnance Park would exerces on the following dates;

  • 11 – 30 January 1956
  • 25 January – 13 February 1956

Reorganisation of Territorial Force Units

With effect, the ORBAT Amendment of 28 June 1955, the RNZAOC Ordnance Field Park Platoons were reorganised into the 1(NZ) Division Ordnance Field Park, Organised as;[3]

  • Headquarters (Not Raised in Peace)
  • MT Stores Platoon, Lower Hutt, plus MT Stores Platoon of Independent Brigade OFP
  • Tech Stores Platoon, Christchurch, Plus Tech Stores Platoon of Independent Brigade OFP.
  • General Stores Platoon, Hopuhopu, Plus General Stores Platoon of Independent Brigade OFP.

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.

Out of Kayforce

  • Corporal Abraham Barbara, 2 May 1955
  • Gunner John Neil Campbell, 21 June 1955
  • Sergeant Joseph James Enright Cates, 9 December 1955
  • Temporary Warrant Officer Class Two Philip Hayhurst Kirkman, 2 June 1955
  • Warrant Officer Class Two Barry Stewart, 13 May 1955
  • Corporal Edward Tanguru, 21 June 1955

Small Arms Ammunition

The Manufacture of Small-Arms Ammunition by the Colonial Ammunitions Company at their Mount Eden Factory continued with delivered of first-class ammunitions being well maintained. [4]

Introduction of New Equipment

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

During this period, the following equipment was introduced into service;[5]

  • Six 5.5in Guns
  • Three Scout Cars
  • Fifty-five Field Wireless sets
  • Fourteen cars
  • Thirty-seven commercial type trucks

Equipment Disposal

The following items were disposed of through the Government Stores Board.

  • 534 Trucks
  • 268 Motorcycles

Ammunition Disposal

With large stocks of ammunition left over for the Second World War, disposal of Unserviceable and surplus stock was authorised in 1955. Small quantities would be routinely disposed of at individual depots with a significant effort put into place to dispose of 3.7-inch Anti-Aircraft ammunition and Various types of Anti-Tank Rounds.

3.7-inch Anti-Aircraft Ammunition

Since the end of the war 17000 rounds of 3.7-inch anti-aircraft ammunition had been stored in unsuitable conditions at Kuku Valley becoming unstable and dangerous with the decision made in 1955 to destroy these stocks.

After many years of poor storage, many storage containers had deteriorated to a stage that increased the risk of explosion during transport. To facilitate the transportation of the unstable ammunition from Kuku Valley to the Demolition Range, a modified armoured truck and trailer was constructed the EME Workshops at Trentham to move the condemned shells for destruction.

Twenty 20 shells would be transported unloaded at the demolition range and in batches of four destroyed by explosion. Destruction of the stockpile began in June 1955 and completed in December 1957.[6]

Examination of deteriorated shell at Trentham, Upper Hutt. National Library of New Zealand Ref: EP/1955/1792-F
Army vehicles at Trentham, Upper Hutt. Ref: EP/1955/1793-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23078184
Valentine Tank at Trentham, stacks of Ammunition can be seen in the background. NZ National Library Ref EP/1955/1794-F

Anti-Tank Ammunition

In addition to Ammunition disposal at Trentham, The Army still held more than One and a Half Million rounds of various Anti-Tank Ammunition types. As this ammunition was surplus to requirement and belonging to obsolete weapon types, a profit-sharing contract was arranged with the Colonial Ammunition Company (CAC) to dispose of these rounds. Under the terms of the agreement, the CAC would break down and salvage recyclable materials form the wartime stocks of Anti-Tank ammunition, with the army receiving a share of the funds raised by the sale of the salvageable material.

Ammunition Examiners

During this period the following Ammunition Examiners were authorised to carry out routine inspections of ammunition and allocated Ammunition Examiner Serial Numbers.

  • Central Military District,
    • Lance Corporal G.C Gilbert, Ammunition Examiner Serial No 92.

Honours and Awards

Meritorious Service Medal

  • 31004 Warrant Officer Class One William Galloway, 10 November 1955

Long Service and Good Conduct

  • 31234 Warrant Officer Class One Athol Gilroy McCurdy, 12 April 1956

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

Regular Force

  • Captain and Quartermaster K. A. Bailey, MM, to be Major and Quartermaster. Dated 2 May 1955.[7]
  • Captain (temp. Major) K. G. K. Cropp, E.D., to be Major. Dated 26 May 1955.[8]
  • Lieutenant G. W. Peters is transferred to the Reserve of Officers, General List, The Royal N.Z. Army Ordnance Corps, with the rank of Lieutenant. Dated 18 June 1955.[9]
  • Captain (temp. Major) D. E. A. Roderick to be Major. Dated 27 May 1955. [10]
  • Captain E. W. Whitacre to be Major. Dated 30 May 1955. [11]
  • Captain 0, H. Burn to be Major. Dated 1 June 1955. [12]
  • Captain (temp. Major) C. A. Penny to be Major. Dated 30 May 1955.[13]
  • Captain H. S. Sandford to be Major. Dated 17 June 1955.[14]
  • Captain (temp. Major) H. J. Mockridge is posted to the Retired List with the rank of Major. Dated 22 September 1955.[15]
  • Lieutenant H. G. Rees is posted to the Retired· List with the ·rank of Captain. Dated 9 October 1955.[16]
  • Captain and Quartermaster G. G. W. Blandford is posted to the Retired List. ·Dated 1 November 1955.[17]
  • 31617 W.O. I Ray Henry Colwill to be Lieutenant and Quartermaster. Dated 9 January 1956.[18]
  • 31253 WO II William John McCluggage to be Lieutenant and Quartermaster. Dated 9 January 1956.[19]
  • 32171 Staff Sergeant George Witherman McCullough to be Lieutenant and Quartermaster. Dated 9 January 1956.[20]
  • 31244 WO I William John Stanley Tavendale to be Lieutenant and Quartermaster. Dated 9 January 1956.[21]

Regular Force (Supernumerary List)

  • Captain (Temp. Major) · S. A. Knight is posted ‘to the· Retired List, with Lieutenant Colonel’s rank. Dated 16 February 1956.[22]  [23]
  • Captain and Quartermaster N. C. Fisher is posted to the Retired List, with Major and Quartermaster’s rank, dated 14 March 1956.[24]

Territorial Force

  • Captain T.H. Beauchamp, from the Reserve of Officers, General List, The Royal N.Z. Army Ordnance Corps, to be Captain with seniority from 23 August 1954, and is appointed Officer Commanding, 1st Armoured Regiment, Light Aid Detachment, RNZEME Dated 1 July 1955.[25]

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

  • 31383 Sergeant Hector Searle McLachlan, promoted to Staff Sergeant, 1 April 1955.

Notes

[1] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1954 to 31 March 1955 “, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1955).

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

[3] “Organisation and Administration: Units – Territorial: Formation and Organisation – 1 Divisional Officer[?] Rnzaoc [Royal New Zealand Army Ordinance Corps] M/T {Motor Transport] Stores Platoon (Lower Hutt),” Archives New Zealand Item No R22496443  (1950-55).

[4] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1955 to 31 March 1956,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1956).

[5] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1954 to 31 March 1955 “.

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

[7] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 41, 23 June 1955.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 43, 7 July 1955.

[14] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 45, 14 July 1955.

[15] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 60, 22 September 1955.

[16] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 69, 10 November 1955.

[17] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 3, 19 January 1955.

[18] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 10, 23 February 1956.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.

[22] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 13, 8 March 1956.

[23] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 34, 14 June 1956.

[24] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 23, 12 April 1956; “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 29, 17 May 1956.

[25] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 48, 28 July 1955.


RNZAOC 1 April 1954 to 31 March 1955

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

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel F Reid, OBE

Compulsory Military Training

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

  • 13th intake of 2200av recruits on 22 April 1954
  • 14th intake of 2200av recruits on 16 September 1954
  • 15th intake of 2200av recruits on 6 January 1955
  • 16th intake of 2966 recruits on 31 March 1955

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

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.

Out of Kayforce

  • Lance Corporal Alexander George Dobbins, 28 September 1954
  • Private James Adam (Snowy) Donaldson, 5 November 1954
  • Captain Patrick William Rennison, 10 May 1954
  • Private Richard John Smart, 5 November 1954

Into Kay force

  • Joseph James Enright Cates, 2 June 1954
  • Lieutenant John Barrie Glasson, 20 April 1954

As part of his tour of K Force units, Brigadier Weir, Quartermaster General of the NZ Army met and spoke to the men of the NZ Base Ordnance Section of the British Commonwealth Base Ordnance Depot at Kure, Japan.

Seconded to Fiji Military Forces

Lieutenant and Quartermaster R. D. Wederell ceased to be seconded to the Fiji Military Forces as of 14 June 1954.[3]

Ordnance Conferences

District Vehicle Depot Conference

The Director of Ordnance Services hosted a conference of the Officer Commanding of the District Vehicle Depots and the Officer Commanding Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) at Trentham Camp over 3 – 4 August 1954.[4]  

Items discussed at the conference included;

  • Vehicle accounting,
  • Tools etc., method of Recei0pt and Issue,
  • Storage,
  • Vehicle Loans – Issue and Receipt from Units,
  • District Problems.

DADOS Conference

The Director of Ordnance Services hosted a conference of the District DADOS’s and the Officer Commanding Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) at Trentham Camp over the period 10 – 12 August 1954.[5] 

Items discussed at the conference included;

  • Corps Policy
  • Corps Establishments
  • Estimation of expenditure
  • District Vehicle Depots
    • Functions
    • Staff/Establishments
  • Audit Reports
  • Ammunition

New Cap Badge

1954 would see approval granted to update the RNZOAC Cap Badge by replacing the “Tudor” Crown with the “St Edwards Crown. The NZ Army Liaison Staff in London had provided a sample of the new badges from  J.R Gaunt of London, and on the approval of this sample in May 1954 the liaison Staff was instructed to obtain examples of Collar badges in the new design.

Routine Ordnance Activities

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

Establishment of MT Stores Group at the Central Districts Ordnance Depot

Based on a series of ongoing discussions between the DOS and CDOD since 1951, in July 1953, the recommendation was made to transfer responsibility for the provision of MT Stores to CMD units (except those located at Trentham Camp) from the Main Ordnance Depot in Trentham to the CDOD at Linton Camp. Approval for establishing an MT Group at CDOD was granted in September 1953 with the transfer of stocks to begin once suitable storage in Linton Camp had been prepared to receive stocks.  

To facilitate the initial in-scaling of MT Group, 1500 Square feet of the W type Building 81 was fitted with six wooden shelves to provides storage capacity for up to 18000 lines of Stock-based on VAOS Catalogue LV6 Groups 1 to 10. LV6 Groups 1 to 10 items were small and fast-moving repair parts for Motor Transport’s current range. It was planned that once the MT Group had been established for several months’ responsibility for LV7, Larger repair parts and principle end items would also be transferred from MOD to the CDOD.

A Staff of five soldiers for the CDOD MT Group was already authorised in the CDOD Peacetime Establishment issued in 1952. However, at the time of the MT Groups establishment, The Staff of the Group consisted of one NCO assisted by the Tyre Group Storeman.

By 15 September 1954 the transfer of stock form the MOD has been sufficiently completed to allow CMD units to begin demanding MT Spares from the CDOD.[6]

Army Ammunition Stores Depot

Up to 1954, the RNZAOC maintained the Army Ammunition Stores Depot (AASD) at the Kuku Valley Ammunition Area at Trentham. The role of the AASD was to be the main bulk holding and distribution unit for Non-Explosive and Explosive stores for the regional Ammunition Repair Depots (ARD).

A review of the role and functions of AASD was conducted during a DADOS conference in 1954 with the decision made to disband the AASD and hand over its operations to the MOD and regional Ordnance and Ammunition Depots.

As part of the disbanding instructions, the regional ARDs were instructed to maintain six months working stock of non-explosive items, and sufficient explosive items to complete the current repair programme. All excess items were to be returned to the nearest Ordnance or Ammunition Depot, with all future demand for items to be forwarded to those Depots.[7]

Small Arms Ammunition

The Manufacture of Small-Arms Ammunition by the Colonial Ammunitions Company at their Mount Eden Factory continued with delivered of first-class ammunitions being well maintained. [8]

Ammunition Examiners

During this period the following Ammunition Examiners were authorised to carry out routine inspections of ammunition and allocated Ammunition Examiner Serial Numbers.

Northern Military District,

  • Corporal Radford, Ammunition Examiner Serial No 72, 29 July 1954
  • Lance Corporal T Sweet, Ammunition Examiner Serial No 83, 13 August 1954.
  • Private Thomasson, Ammunition Examiner Serial No 82, 13 August 1954.

Introduction of New Equipment

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

During this period, the following equipment was introduced into service;[9]

  • One L2 BAT (Battalion, Anti-Tank) was a 120 mm calibre recoilless anti-tank rifle, with Eighteen more on order
  • Twenty-Two FN FAL Rifles for troop trials
  • An extra-wide Bailey Bridge
  • Fifty Field Wireless sets

Battledress Cap

During 1954 the Cap Battledress (Cap BD) but commonly referred to as the Ski Cap was introduced into service. This type of hat was extremely unpopular, especially with the troops, especially those serving in the tropics, but would endure until 1964 when it was withdrawn from service.

Equipment Disposal

The following items were disposed of through the Government Stores Board.

  • 193 Bren Carriers
  • 25 Motor vehicles of various types

Cricket Tour to Australia

In the first tour of its kind the Main Ordnance Depot in Trentham, representing the RNZAOC undertook a Cricket tour of Australia. Departing Wellington on 1 February 1955 returning on 7 March the MOD played matched in Sydney and Melbourne against teams drawn from the Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps.[10]

With the NZ Ordnance team winning the series successfully, the RNZAOC would host a RAAOC team on a reciprocal tour in 1959.[11]

The officials and players who participated in the 1955 tour were;[12]

  • Lieutenant Colonel L.F Reid, 0BE (Manager),
  • Major Derrick Roderick,
  • Warrant Officer Class One A Wesseldine,
  • Warrant Officer Class Two M.A Burt (Treasure and Player),
  • Warrant Officer Class Two Harry Le Comte,
  • Warrant Officer Class Two RS Perks (Assistant Manager and Player),
  • Warrant Officer Class Two Douglas Wilson,
  • Sergeant Douglas Bucknell (Official. Umpire and Player),
  • Sergeant G. McCullough,
  • Sergeant E.J Prout,
  • Corporal G Cormack,
  • Corporal J Morgan, (Official Scorer and Player),
  • Private W Bacon,
  • Private Brian Clarke,
  • Private Keith Danby,
  • Private A.N McAinch,
  • Private L Norton.

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

Regular Force

  • Lieutenant C. L. Sanderson promoted to Temporary Captain. Dated 9 December 1953. [13]
  • Captain E. C. Green granted a further extension of his short-service commission for one year from 1 April 1954.[14]
  • Lieutenant T. B. Glasson promoted to Temporary Captain whilst employed as Officer Commanding, NZ Base Ordnance Depot. Dated 8 August 1954.[15]
  • Captain N. L. Wallburton re-engaged for a period of two years as from 23 August 1954.[16]
  • Lieutenant (temp Captain) J. B. Glasson to be Captain. Dated 8 November 1954.[17]
  • Lieutenant (Temp Captain) C. L. Sanderson to be Captain. Dated 9 December 1953.[18]
  • 31264 Warrant Officer Class One Leslie Smith promoted to Lieutenant and Quartermaster. Dated 15 December 1954.[19]
  • Lieutenant L. C. King transferred from the New Zealand Regiment to the RNZAOC with his present rank and seniority. Dated 14 February 1955.[20]
  • Captain E. C. Green granted a further extension of his short-service commission to 31 March 1956.[21]
  • Lieutenant J. H. Doone to be Captain Dated 25 October 1954.[22]
  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster R. D. Wederell to be Captain and Quartermaster. Dated 31 March 1955.[23]

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

Regular Force

  • W920917 Lance Corporal George Thomas Dimmock Promoted to Corporal, 1 April 1954. [24]
  • 31884Temporary Warrant Officer Class Two Alick Claude Doyle granted substantive Rank on 1 April 1954. [25]
  • B31695 Corporal Ian McDonald Russell promoted to Sergeant, 21 April 1954. [26]
  • 31259 Staff Sergeant Maurice Sidney Philips promoted to Warrant Officer Class Two, 12 July 1954. [27]
  • 31167 Staff Sergeant John Bernard Crawford promoted to Warrant Officer Class Two, 15 July 1954. [28]
  • 31261 Sergeant Earnest Maurice Alexander Bull promoted to Staff Sergeant, 22 October 1954.[29]

Notes

[1] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1954 to 31 March 1955 “, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1955).

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

[3] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 41, 1 July 1954.

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

[5] Ibid.

[6] “Establishments – Ordnance Corps “, Archives New Zealand No R22441746  (1944 – 1947).

[7] Ibid.

[8] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1954 to 31 March 1955 “.

[9] Ibid.

[10] “Trentham Army Cricket Team Australian Tour,” Upper Hutt Leader, Volume XII, Number 8, 10 March 1955.

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

[12] “Trentham Army Cricket Team Australian Tour.”; “Army Cricket,” Broadcaster (Fairfield, NSW : 1935 – 1978), 16 February 1955 1955.

[13] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 35, 3 June 1954.

[14] Ibid.

[15] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 55, 16 September 1954.

[16] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 52, 26 August 1954.

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

[18] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 4, 27 January 1955.

[19] Ibid.

[20] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 20, 17 March 1955.

[21] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 6, 3 February 1955.

[22] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 15, 3 March 1955.

[23] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 37, 2 June 1955.

[24] Howard E. Chamberlain, Service Lives Remembered : The Meritorious Service Medal in New Zealand and Its Recipients, 1895-1994 ([Wellington, N.Z.]: H. Chamberlain, 1995), 128-29.

[25] Ibid., 134-35.

[26] Ibid., 410-11.

[27] Ibid., 367-68.

[28] Ibid., 109-10.

[29] Ibid., 67.


High hopes for Hopuhopu

Situated just north of the small Waikato town of Ngaruawahia, the Military Camp at Hopuhopu would for Sixty-Two years, be the home of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps in the Upper North Island.

Located on the banks of the Waikato River and adjacent to the Main Trunk Railway line, at a glance Hopuhopu, in its remote rural location south of Auckland seems a strange place to locate an Ordnance Depot. However, despite its location, the Ordnance Depot at Hopuhopu was significant in the histography of the RNZAOC.

The significance of Hopuhopu was that it would be the first purpose-built Ordnance Depot for the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, with at the time of its construction the most modern Warehousing and Ammunition Storage infrastructure in use by the New Zealand Military.

Purpose-built Military storage infrastructure had been constructed early in the 20th Century at Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin; however, this infrastructure had been built on a small scale to service the pre-war military districts. The Post-Bellum New Zealand Army was in a good position; it had an experienced cadre of men to draw upon to train the building blocks of any future force. Additionally, the Army was flush with enough new and modern equipment to form and sustain an Expeditionary Force of at least one Infantry Division, a mounted Rifle Brigades, Artillery Regiment and Line of Communications troops.[1]

The bulk of the equipment was held by Ordnance at Trentham and Featherston Camps, utilising wartime infrastructure designed to accommodate soldiers and not large quantiles of military material. Smaller amounts to support training and initial mobilisation were distributed to the new mobilisation camp at Burnham in the South Island and the Mount Eden depot in Auckland. Whilst both Trentham and Burnham had room for expansion, the existing infrastructure at those camps was deemed with a few additions, adequate for the time being with no purpose-built infrastructure constructed until 1939/40. However, in Auckland, the depot at Mount Eden was inadequate and unable to support the Northern districts and more robust mobilisation, and storage infrastructure was required.

Storage of ammunition was another concern. Existing ammunition storage across New Zealand consisted of many 19th-century era powder magazines and converted coastal defence batteries, with the bulk of New Zealand’s ammunition supply stored at Wellingtons Fort Balance. These existing ammunition storage arrangements were unsatisfactory and a more permanent solution was needed in the form of a purpose built facility.

By 1921 the site of a new Mobilisation and Ordnance Depot to support the Northern Districts had been decided upon, and in one of the largest defence infrastructure projects undertaken in New Zealand, construction of the new camp at Hopuhopu would continue throughout the 1920s with the Ordnance Depot opening in 1927. A significant project at the time the progress of construction at Hopuhopu was widely reported on with this Auckland Star article from 1925 describing the plans for the camp;[2]

GREAT MILITARY CAMP

WORK AT HOPUHOPU

DOMINIONS’ AMMUNITION DEPOT

A SPLENDID TRAINING GROUND

Midway between Ngaruawahia and Taupiri, bounded by the railway and the Waikato River, is a long strip of land, some 500 acres in area, level excepting for an extensive hill that rises to an elevation of some ninety feet. This is Hopuhopu, site of the old mission station of the name. Once the home of peace, it is now being transformed by the engineers and men of the Public Works Department into a camp of training for war. Acquired by the Defence Department about three years ago, the Hopuhopu mission site has already been used as a camp for trainees, but it is in the rough, and the plans on which the engineers are now working aim at its conversion into a thoroughly equipped permanent military depot, to be officially known as the Ngaruawahia Mobilisation Base. When the plans are completed, it will be the chief military magazine, for the Dominion, and probably the greatest ordnance depot.

Through the courtesy of the Defence authorities and Mr E. K. James, the engineer in charge of the work, a “Star” representative was permitted to inspect the camp in the making yesterday. The site at once suggests itself as an ideal one for the purpose intended, and this idea is backed by expert engineering and military opinion. There has been some criticism of the area on the ground that it is damp, but this has proved to be a matter that can and will be easily overcome. After heavy rain, there is a degree of surface damp, caused by the matting of thick vegetable growth, but the sinking of a number of test holes has revealed a porous, sandy soil beneath, which, when the “matting” is removed, will readily allow all moisture to percolate and leave a dry surface. In fact, the site lends itself readily to perfect draining. About one hundred men are engaged in the work of clearing and building, and they have been greatly hampered in their preliminary operations by the amount of furze and blackberry that ‘successive owners of the land (including the Government) have allowed to grow on it.[3] The furze is not so hard to clear, but an instance of the pertinacity of the blackberry was shown in a patch that was again springing to vigorous growth two months after it had been cut. Over one hundred acres have been cleared, and there remains another 150 acres to be dealt with by hook and fire.

 

A Varied Terrain

The great value of the Hopuhopu site is that it is adaptable to every branch of military training. A detraining platform a quarter of a mile long will be constructed on the main railway line for the embarkation and disembarkation of troops; there are large level areas for parade grounds; there are hills for reconnoitre and signalling; there is the river for bridge-train and pontoon drill, and in fact, the contour of the country will enable training in every department of military tactics. When the camp is completed, its huge stores, magazines and hutments will spread over an area of 200 acres. It is proposed to provide sanitary drainage from the latrines by a large pipe running along the railway into septic tanks, and thence into the river. The first part of the plan provides for the accommodation of a full battalion, and this will gradually be extended to mobilise and house a brigade of about 5000 men. Next year trainees of the Northern Command will sleep beneath the roofs of solid huts, instead of in tents.

In arriving at the decision to construct this great camp at Hopuhopu, the authorities were doubtless influenced by other considerations additional to the natural suitability of the site for training purposes. It is a reasonable distance from the city; yet not too near. It is not advisable that men in training should have the temptations of a city that is in too close proximity, and it is essential really that a camp containing immense stores of ammunition should be out of range of shelling by a possible hostile fleet operating, for instance, in the Hauraki Gulf. Besides, Hopuhopu is a very handy site for the mobilisation of the thousands of trainees who reside in the closely settled districts of the Waikato.

Some acres of the campsite, between the Old South Road and the river, have been reserved for residences for officers of the permanent staff, the building of which has already been commenced in the corner adjacent to the railway, line. These houses are being constructed of concrete. The whole of the ordnance department is to be transferred to the camp, which will take over a great deal of the stores now housed at Featherston. The extent of the future ordnance department at the new base may be gauged from the fact that the plans provide for five sheds measuring 40 x 500 ft, 40 x 300 ft, 40 x 200 ft, 40 x 100 ft, and 40 x 350 ft. These will lie alongside the camp railway, which runs into the camp for a distance of half a mile from, the mainline, so that stores may be received and dispatched with a minimum of labour and a maximum of speed. From the terminus of this extension, a wooden tramway is to be constructed to the foot of the hill along the base of which the magazines are being built.

The Magazine Section

No fewer than ten magazines for the storage of explosives and ammunition are provided for, and several of these are nearing completion while excavating and banking is being carried out on the site of the great laboratory to be attached to this department. The magazines are built into the hillside. They are constructed of concrete, with double walls, in between which are formed the inspecting chambers. From these chambers’ sentries may see through observation windows the thermometers which register the temperature inside and by this guide check or increase ventilation, as needed, for the explosives must be kept at a certain degree Fahrenheit. Also, the double-wall is a protection against fire. Between each magazine, a pyramid is erected from the spoil taken from the excavation. These are eave high with the roofs of the magazines and are designed to break the force of any possible explosion of one magazine, so that others may not be exploded also. The magazines are also faced by a long embankment, and are, of course, backed by the hill, so that an explosion would be confined as far as possible to the magazine area.

On top of the hill, there has been constructed an 80,000-gallon reservoir for the camp water supply. The water is pumped by a 30 hp motor from a settling tank alongside the river and ten feet below the level of its bed. The water is well filtered and regarded as pure after it has percolated into its tank, but as an additional safeguard, a chlorinating plant is to be installed.

Negotiations are proceeding with landowners on the other side of the river for the acquirement of land for a rifle range.

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

The Ordnance Depot would open in 1927. The original plan called for five warehouses measuring 40 x 500 ft, 40 x 300 ft, 40 x 200 ft, 40 x 100 ft, and 40 x 350 ft; what was eventually construed was a single large warehouse measuring 100 x 322 ft.

1938 Military Camp, Hopuhopu, Waikato. Whites Aviation Ltd: Photographs. Ref: WA-55972-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23181165

An additional Ordnance warehouse would be constructed adjacent to the original building during the Second World War. The wartime era would also see as part of a nationwide expansion of the NZ Army’s Ammunition infrastructure with additional magazines added to the existing ten magazine at the Hopuhopu Storage area and a new Ammunition Depot established outside of Hopuhopu Camp at the nearby Kelm Road.

1961 Hopuhopu Military Camp from the air. Whites Aviation Ltd: Photographs. Ref: WA-55339-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22480584
Aerial oblique view of Ngaruawahia Army Camp, March 1962. Image ref OhG3046-62, RNZAF Official.

Hopuhopu and its Ordnance Depot would survive until 1989 when as part of many rationalisations taking place across the New Zeland Defence Forces, Hopuhopu camp would be closed, and its functions passed on to other locations.

Hopuhopu 2020. Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development

Notes

[1] Mark McGuire, “Equipping the Post-Bellum Army,” Forts and Works 2016.

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

[3] Furze is another term for gorse.


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

Director of Ordnance Services

  • 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)

Officer Commanding Northern 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

Ordnance in the New Zealand Division

The RNZAOC elements of the Territorial Force had been reorganised in 1948, this had been a reorganisation that had taken place over three stages with Officers and then NCOs recruited, followed by the soldiers recruited through the CMT scheme to fill the ranks.[3]  By September 1953 the RNZOAC units within the Division had rapidly grown and the CRAOC of the NZ Division provided clarification in the organisation and duties of the RNZAOC units in the NZ Division.

HQ CRAOC

Duties included.

  • RNZAOC representative at Division Headquarters.
  • Exercised Regimental command and Technical control of RNZAOC unit in the Division.

Divisional Ordnance Field Park

The functions of the OFP were.

  • Park HQ – Technical Control of the OFP
  • Regimental Section – Regimental Control of the OFP
  • Delivery Section – Collects and delivers operationally urgent stores
  • MT Stores Platoon – Carried two months of frequently required spare and minor assemblies for vehicles held by the Division
  • Tech Stores Platoon – Carried two months of frequently required spares for all guns, small arms, wireless and Signals equipment of the Division.
  • Gen Stores Platoon – Carried a small range of frequently required items of clothing, general stores, and the Divisional Reserve of Industrial gases.

Mobile Laundry and Bath Company

The functions of the Mobile Laundry and Bath Company was to provide bathing facilities and to wash troops under clothing.

RNZAOC Stores Sections

One RNZAOC Store Sections was attached to each Infantry Brigade Workshop, maintaining a stock of spares required for the repair of the Divisions equipment. The Stores sections would demand direct from the Base or Advance Base Ordnance Depot not the OFP.

Brigade Warrant Officers

RNZAOC representative at Brigade Headquarters

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.  76

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.

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 One P Best and Corporal Eric Ray.

Railway disaster at Tangiwai. Dominion Post (Newspaper): Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post and Dominion newspapers. Ref: EP-Accidents-Rail-Tangiwai rail disaster-01. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23201427

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
  • Private Ernest Radnell, 29 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;[4]

  • 500 Revolvers,
  • 3000 Rifles,
  • 750 Machine Guns,
  • 50 Bofors anti-aircraft guns and ammunition,
  • 10000 round of 40mm armour piercing shot,[5]
  • Wireless Sets
  • Field Telephones,
  • Charging Sets
  • Assorted Uniform Items
  • 670000 rounds of small arms ammunition.
Bofors Guns Trentham, 1 March 1954. Evening Post illustrations file and prints. 1950-2000. (PA-Group-00685). [Series]

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;[6]

  • 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.[7]

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.[8]
  • Captain (temp. Major) H. McK Reid to Major. 22 January 1954.[9]
  • Lieutenant-Colonel (temp Colonel) A. H. Andrews, OBE, BE, to Colonel. 21 October 1953.[10]
  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster T Rose to be Captain and Quartermaster. 1 May 1953.[11]

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.[12]
  • Lieutenant J. B. Glasson, 13 April 1954.[13]

Transferred out of the RNZAOC to other Corps

  • Captain W. G. Dixon transferred to the Royal N.Z. Artillery. 6 July 1953.[14]

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.[15]

Transferred to the Reserve of Officers General List

  • Captain A. Whitehead, 17 December 1953.[16]

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.[17]

Notes

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

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

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

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

“Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.” New Zealand Gazette No 35, 3 June 1954.

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

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

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

“Coronation Honours List.” New Zealand Gazette No 33, 11 June 1953.

Fenton, Damien. 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.

“H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1954 to 31 March 1955 “. Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (3 July 1955 1955).

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

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


[1] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1954 to 31 March 1955 “, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1955).

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

[3] 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, 8-9.

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

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

[6] Fenton, A False Sense of Security : The Force Structure of the New Zealand Army 1946-1978, 21.

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

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

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

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

[11] “Coronation Honours List,”  906.

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

[13] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 35, 3 June 1954, 678.

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

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

[16] Ibid.

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