Defence Stores Staff and Quartermasters – November 1911

Of all the photos published on this website, this photo is one of the most significant. First published in the New Zealand Graphic on 29 November 1911, the picture is titled ”. This photo is significant in that it is

  • A photographic record of the first batch of New Zealand regular soldiers to be trained explicitly in Quartermaster duties, providing one of the foundation legs of the modern Supply Technician Trade of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment.
  • It is the only know photo capturing the images of the principal staff of the Defence Stores Department, who in 1917 became the foundation officers of New Zealand’s Army Ordnance Services.

Following the South Africa War, New Zealand’s military forces began to undertake a transformation into a force better trained and equipped to participate in the Imperial Defence Scheme. Uniforms, weapons and equipment were standardised, and following the Defence Act of 1909, the Volunteer forces were replaced with a robust Territorial force maintained by Compulsory Military Training.

In 1910, Field Marshall Lord Kitchener, the British Empire’s foremost soldier, reviewed New Zealand’s military forces and made several recommendations, including establishing the New Zealand Staff Corps (NZSC) and the New Zealand Permanent Staff (NZPS). Established in 1911, the NZSC and NZPS were to provide a professional cadre of officers (NZSC) and men (NZPS) able to provide guidance and administration to the units of the Territorial Force.

Since the 1860s, the Defence Stores Department provided storekeeping and maintenance support to New Zealand’s military forces from its main Depot in Wellington, supported by District Stores in Auckland, Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin. Since the 1880s, duties had been separated between the Defence Stores and the Permanent Militia, with the Artillery maintaining Artificers and Storekeepers to manage guns, stores and ammunition of New Zealand’s Garrison and Field Artillery units. Prior to implementing the Defence Act of 1909 and the transition to the territorial army, volunteer units had maintained Quartermaster Staff to receive and manage stores issued from the Defence Stores. However, in many units, quartermaster positions were elected and varied in the value they added to the maintenance and custody of military stores under their care. As the military transitioned from Volunteer Force to Territorial Army, the existing cadre of quartermaster staff inherited from the volunteer system was identified as not up to the task, and the need for a professional quartermaster cadre was identified.

Establishing a professional quartermaster cadre with the required knowledge became a priority. By late 1911, 29 soldiers with the right qualities from the Territorial Army and Permanent Forces had been selected for training in Quartermaster duties. Reporting to the Defence Stores Department, Buckle Street Depot in Wellington in November 1911, these soldiers undertook three weeks of practical and theoretical instruction in Quartermaster duties under the Director of Stores, Honorary Major James O’Sullivan and the senior staff of the Defence Stores Department.

The course curriculum included instruction on,

  • Weapon storage, inspection, maintenance and accounting, supervised by Chief Armourer of the New Zealand military forces, Armourer Sergeant Major William Luckman.
  • The correct storage methods, inspection and maintenance of leather items such as horse saddlery and harnesses were conducted by the Defence Stores Department Saddler Mr H McComish.
  • The correct storage methods, inspection and maintenance of canvas and fabric items such as tents, other camp canvas, and fabric camp equipment, conducted by the Defence Stores Department Sailmaker.
  • Stores Packing, provided by the Defence Stores Department Foreman, Mr D McIntyre.
  • Keeping accounts and maintaining documentation used throughout all the departments, conducted by the Defence Stores Department Accountant Mr R.H Williams and Defence Stores Department Clerks Mr C.P Hulbert and Mr J Hopkinson

The course was not just an attendance course but one where all students were required to complete examinations on all the subjects covered.

Records indicated that all candidates completed the examinations and, under General Order 112/10, were appointed as Quartermaster Sergeants in the NZPS and posted to each various regiments of the territorial army.

“Staff of the Quarter-master General—men who passed as Quarter-master instructors and are being drafted to the various districts, Colourised by Rairty Colour

The training graduates are the soldiers standing in the three rows behind the QMG and Defence Stores Staff sitting in the front row.

4th Row (Rear) Left to Right

  • Quartermaster Sergeant G.C Black – 5th Mounted Rifles (Otago Hussars)
  • Quartermaster Sergeant J.D Stewart – 11th (North Auckland) Mounted Rifles
  • Quartermaster Sergeant A Collins – 11th Regiment (Taranaki Rifles)
  • Quartermaster Sergeant B.E Adams – 15th (North Auckland) Regiment
  • Quartermaster Sergeant J.F Meade – 12th (Otago) Mounted Rifles
  • Quartermaster Sergeant F.T Bould – 3rd (Auckland) Regiment
  • Quartermaster Sergeant J.H Sharpe 5th Regiment (Wellington Rifles)

3rd Row

  • Quartermaster Sergeant H Robertson – 3rd (Auckland) Mounted Rifles
  • Quartermaster Sergeant W.N Bates – 12th (Nelson) Regiment
  • Quartermaster Sergeant E.M Finlayson – 2nd (South Canterbury) Regiment
  • Quartermaster Sergeant A Austin – 1st Canterbury Regiment
  • Warrant Officer L.F McNair – 9th Regiment (Wellington East Coast) Rifles
  • Warrant Officer F.W Kibblewhite – 10th Regiment (North Otago Rifles)
  • Quartermaster Sergeant W Bates – 13th (North Canterbury) Regiment
  • Quartermaster Sergeant C.G Davis – 2nd (Wellington West Coast) Mounted Rifles,
  • Quartermaster Sergeant T.J Denton – 10th (Nelson) Mounted Rifles
  • Quartermaster Sergeant E.J Butler – 6th (Manawatu) Mounted Rifles

2nd Row

  • Mr J Hopkinson -Clerk Defence Stores Department
  • Quartermaster Sergeant H.D Baddily – 4th (Waikato) Mounted Rifles
  • Quartermaster Sergeant G.D Dean – 6th (Hauraki) Regiment
  • Quartermaster Sergeant R.P Pearce – 16th (Waikato) Regiment
  • Quartermaster Sergeant D.P Pride – 14th Regiment (South Otago Rifles)
  • Quartermaster Sergeant J.S Muschamp – 4th (Otago Rifles) Regiment
  • Quartermaster Sergeant J.T Wilson – 9th (Wellington West Coast) Mounted Rifles
  • Quartermaster Sergeant H.G.V McKenzie – 8th (South Canterbury) Mounted Rifles
  • Quartermaster Sergeant J Spence – 7th Regiment (Wellington West Coast Rifles)
  • Quartermaster Sergeant R.P Robinson – 8th Regiment (Southland Rifles)
  • Quartermaster Sergeant L.S.D Graham – 7th (Southland) Mounted Rifles
  • Quartermaster Sergeant M.J Coffey – Royal New Zealand Artillery
  • Quartermaster Sergeant W.P Heald – 1st Mounted Rifles (Canterbury Mounted Rifles)
  • Mr H McComish – Saddler, Defence Stores Department

1st Row (Front)

  • – Clerk Defence Stores Department
  • Lieutenant A.R.C White – District Storekeeper, Defence Stores Department, Christchurch
  • Lieutenant O.P McGuigan – District Storekeeper, Defence Stores Department, Dunedin
  • Mr E.P Coady – Assistant Director of Stores, Defence Stores Department
  • Major J. O’Sullivan – Director of Stores, Defence Stores Department
  • Colonel H.O Knox, QMG
  • Captain H.H Browne – AQMG and Director of Supply and Transport
  • Lieutenant W.T Beck –    District Storekeeper, Auckland
  • Mr F.E Ford – Assistant Defence Storekeeper, Nelson
  • Mr R.H Williams – Accountant Defence Stores Department

Significant foundation members of New Zealand’s Ordnance Services

Lieutenant Arthur Rumbold Carter White – District Storekeeper, Defence Stores Department, Christchurch

  • Served in the Permanent Militia from 1897 to 1907
  • appointed as the Defence Storekeeper for the Canterbury District in 1906
  • granted the Honorary Rank of Lieutenant September 1911
  • Reclassified as the Assistant Director of Equipment and Ordnance Stores Canterbury Military District as an Honorary Captain in the NZSC in February 1916
  • Commissioned as Captain in the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department (NZAOD) in 1917.
  • 1921 Transferred the Canterbury Ordnance Stores from King Edward Barracks, Christchurch, to Burnham Camp, establishing the Southern Districts Ordnance Depot.
  • First Camp Commandant of Burnham Camp from 20 June 1921 until his retirement on 19 December 1930

Lieutenant Owen Paul McGuigan – District Storekeeper, Defence Stores Department, Dunedin

  • McGuigan was a West Coaster of considerable administrative ability, served in the Permanent Artillery from 1896 to 1908
  • Appointed as the District Storekeeper in Dunedin in 1908
  • Granted the Honorary Rank of Lieutenant in September 1911.
  • Reclassified as the Assistant Director of Equipment and Ordnance Stores Otago Military District as an Honorary Captain in the NZSC in February 1916,
  • Commissioned as Captain in the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department (NZAOD) in 1917.
  • Closed the Dunedin Ordnance Depot in 1921, transferring with its staff and stores to Burnham Camp.
  • Retired 15 October 1922

Major James O’Sullivan – Director of Stores, Defence Stores Department

  • Enlisted into the Armed Constabulary in 1878,
  • Transferred into the Defence Store as a clerk in 1884
  • Appointed as Defence Stores Chief Clerk in March 1886
  • Appointed as Defence Storekeeper in 1900
  • Confirmed as the Director of Stores in New Zealand’s military forces headquarters staff as Quartermaster and an Honorary Captain in the New Zealand Militia in 1906.
  • Promoted to Honorary Major as the Director of Equipment and Stores in September 1911 as a subordinate of the Quartermaster General
  • Appointment in the Quartermasters General department retitled as QMG-3
  • Appointed as Deputy Inspector, Equipment and Ordnance Stores in March 1916
  • Retired in January 1917

Lieutenant William Thomas Beck – District Storekeeper, Auckland

  • Entered the Torpedo Corps on 5 March 1891 and continued to serve in the Permanent Militia until 23 December 1903
  • Placed in charge of the Auckland Defence Stores in 1903
  • Appointed as the District Storekeeper in Auckland in 1908
  • Granted the Honorary Rank of Lieutenant in September 1911
  • Seconded to the NZEF as the Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services in 1914 and sailed with the main body to Egypt
  • Was the first New Zealander of Godley’s force ashore at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915
  • Evacuated from Gallipoli and Repatriated to New Zealand in August 1915
  • Mentioned in Dispatches and awarded the DSO for his services in Gallipoli
  • Reclassified as the Assistant Director of Equipment and Ordnance Stores Auckland Military District as an Honorary Captain in the NZSC in February 1916
  • Commissioned as Captain in the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department (NZAOD) in 1917.
  • Retired from the NZAOC in March 1918.

Mr Frank Edwin Ford – Storekeepers Assistant, Nelson

  • Served in the Permanent Artillery from 1901 to 1908
  • Appointed as the Mobilisation Storekeeper Nelson in 1908
  • Reclassified as the Assistant Defence Storekeeper, Nelson in 1911
  • Appointed as District Storekeeper Wellington Military District, Palmerston North in 1915
  • Attached to the NZSC Corps as an Honorary Lieutenant on 13 February 1916,
  • Commissioned as Captain in the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department (NZAOD) in 1917.
  • Closed the Palmerston North Ordnance Depot and appointed as the Ordnance Officer Featherston Camp in 1921
  • The NZAOD was reconstituted into the NZAOC in 1924
  • Appointed as Ordnance Officer Northern Command at Mount Eden on 12 September 1926
  • Transferred the Norther Command Ordnance Depot from Mount Eden to Hopuhopu camp In the Waikato in1927
  • Remained as the first Commandant of Hopuhopu Camp until his retirement on 30 January 1931

Quartermaster General of New Zealand’s Military Forces, Colonel Henry Owen Knox.

Although an Army Service Corps Officer, Knox through his position as Quartermaster General influenced the development of New Zealand’s Army Ordnance Services. Knox was a British Army Service Corps officer seconded to New Zealand in 1911 to organise the New Zealand Army Service Corps (NZASC). Appointed as the first Director of Supply and Transport (DS&T), over the next three years, Knox laid the foundations of the NZASC so that by 1914 the NZASC was able to field ten companies and be in a position to provide a significant contribution to the NZEF. At New Zealand’s military reorganised in 1912, the position of Adjutant General and Quartermaster General was split with Knox in addition to his DS&T duties and assumed the role of Quartermaster General of New Zealand’s Military Forces.

Knox concluded his New Zealand secondment in April 1914, returning to the United Kingdom and retiring in August 1917. Still on the Reserve list, Knox was recalled for war service and was appointed as the AQMG for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during the Gallipoli Campaign, where he was responsible for the supply arrangement (Rations, Fuel and Forage) of the ANZAC Corps.

Following the Gallipoli Campaign, Knox served in several roles in the British Army ASC for the remainder of the war, attaining the rank of Honorary Brigadier General.

Many thanks to the relatives of Lieutenant Owen Paul McGuigan who provided me with the links to the original photo.


Defence Preparations – New Zealand Defence Stores 1911

The passing of the Defence Act 1909 heralded a transformation of the Defence Forces of New Zealand, establishing a military system that influenced the organisation, training and recruitment of the New Zealand Army into the early 1970s. Coming into effect on 28 February 1910, The Act abolished the existing Volunteer system, in its place creating a citizen-based Territorial Army from the units, regiments and Corps of the Volunteer Army.[1]  The Territorial Army’s personnel needs would be maintained by a system of Compulsory Military Training (CMT), requiring the registration of all boys and men between the ages of fourteen and twenty-one years of age.[2] The challenge for Captain James O’Sullivan and the staff of the Defence Stores, an organisation already markedly transformed since 1900, was to meet the material need needs of the growing citizen army that New Zealand was creating.

At Buckle Street, Wellington, during the 1913 waterfront strike. Smith, Sydney Charles, 1888-1972: Photographs of New Zealand. Ref: 1/2-048786-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22820606

The following article published in the New Zealand Times on 8 December 1911 provides an eyewitness account of the activities of the Defence Stores in support of the growing citizen army.[3]

While politicians are prating about the cost of the defence scheme, and its more direct enemies are peregrinating from street corner to street corner with soap boxes, the scheme itself is being steadily proceeded with. Some people probably fail to realise what it means to inaugurate an entirely new system of military defence. The necessary legislation came first, then the mapping out of the requirements in men and money, then the excitement of enrolling, and now there is proceeding the part, of which the public see little and hear little, but which perhaps is the most troublesome of all, and materially the most important, viz., the arming and the equipment of themen.

This task is being carried out at the Defence Stores in Buckle Street, Wellington. It requires a visit there to realise the thought, the work, the experience, that are necessary to carry out a big work of this description. When you enter the Buckle Street stores and see the busy toilers and the preparations for the distribution of arms and clothing over the Dominion, you realise that a big work is in progress.

For instance, the uniforms for the territorials have for the past week or two been arriving. So far the outfits for about nine thousand men in a more or less state of completion, have come, to hand. These all have to be sorted out and shelved. They are in graded in sizes, an ingenious system of measurement, the product of the brain of Captain O’Sullivan, Director of Defence Stores, has been applied, whereby almost any sized youth be fitted. Measuring has been proceeding in the various centres. A form is filled up by the regimental quartermaster for each recruit, and these forms are now arriving at the depot. Next weak commences the task of sending out the uniforms. Each man also gets an overcoat, a felt hat, and a forage cap. Every branch of the service will wear putties instead of leggings. The uniforms in hand at present fill multitudes of shelves—indeed, the place wears the appearance of a busy warehouse. Every article of clothing is the product of New Zealand mills. There is a absolute uniformity of colour, so that the whole New Zealand defence force, from the North Cape to the Bluff, will on mobilisation, present no spectacle of detached units, but one uniform whole. Distinguishing colour badges and trouser stripes will mark the branches of the service, green denoting the mounted, men, and red the infantry. The senior cadets will have neat blouses and long trousers. So far the uniforms in stock comprise only a small portion of what yet remains to be handled. A new brick building is in the later stages of completion for their safer storage. The felt hats are the product of the National Hat Mills, Wellington, and are really a very excellent article. Many large packing cases are stacked in the yards waiting to be dispatched with these goods to the territorial centres.

But this is only one branch of the industry. In other sheds are stacked camp paraphernalia, tents, marching outfits of the latest pattern, containing, in addition to bayonet, water-bottle, overcoat, etc., a handy trenching tool, bandoliers, field outfits, including telephones and heliographs; much leather goods; service boots, which the department is selling, at option, to the men at a low fee, and many other requisites.  Outside in the yard is a new pontoon bridge, lately come to hand, a rather bulky apparatus that has not yet been used. Elsewhere are stored transit water tanks, a sample transport waggon (from which others will be manufactured in the Dominion). Necessary appliances for the eighteen-pounder guns have also been coming to hand, though the guns themselves have not yet arrived.

In other sheds are many large black cases. These contain the service rifles. It is not permitted that the public should know what stock of these is kept. It is a state secret that not even an Opposition order for a “return” could cause to be divulged. Recently, however, ten thousand were added to the stock. Just at present workmen are spending busy hours cleaning up and inspecting the rifles that have been received from the old volunteer corps. Every Government arm in the Dominion has been called in, and as a result every, man will have issued to him a nice clean rifle. It will be a new start over the whole Dominion. It would grieve the heart of the military enthusiast to see the condition in which some of the rifles have been sent In. There is undoubtedly great need for the new quartermasters in the various regiments, to see that this sort of thing does not recur. Some of the Wellington corps have been rather bad offenders. The comparatively slow process of cleaning these arms has been the cause of the delay in their reissue. Every rifle has 104 parts, and these parts are stocked in large quantities.

Of the Dominion’s ammunition store, also, the outsider can know nothing. This much, however, is for public information, that every Saturday morning the Director of the Defence Stores produces his ammunition balance book, to the Commandant, who then known from glancing over the pages exactly how every packet has been distributed and how each part of the Dominion is served.

The Buckle Street stores do not yet present the aspect of a Woolwich Arsenal, but things are very busy there; the will of the people is being given effect to at as rapid a rate as opportunity will permit; evidences are offered of the effective defence scheme now in active operation; and pleasing, indeed, is the outstanding fact that local industries are benefiting to an enormous degree from a new departure in defence that after all, is an admitted necessity.

Arms and Uniforms,” New Zealand Times, Volume XXXIII, Issue 7978, 8 December 1911

Defence Stores, Bunny Street, Wellington. Goggle Maps/Public Domain
Former Defence Stores Compound, Buckle Street, Wellington The building on the right of the photo is the original 1911 Defence Stores building. The building on the left is the 1916 extension.
Former Defence Stores Compound, Buckle Street, Wellington.
Former Defence Stores Compound, Buckle Street, Wellington The building on the right of photo is the original 1911 Defence Stores building. The building on the left is the 1916 extension.

Notes

[1] Peter Cooke and John Crawford, The Territorials (Wellington: Random House New Zealand Ltd, 2011), 153.

[2] I. C. McGibbon and Paul William Goldstone, The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Military History (Auckland; Melbourne; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, 2000), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 109-10.

[3] “Arms and Uniforms,” New Zealand Times, Volume XXXIII, Issue 7978, 8 December 1911.


New Zealand Arms to Afghanistan

Following the war in South Africa, the British Empire was at the height of its power and prestige. The Royal Navy ruled the oceans, and if British interests were threatened on land, Canada, Australia and New Zealand had proven their commitment to support the empire by contributing men and materiel. As the economic powerhouse of the empire, British India was the most significant jewel in the British Imperial crown. However, British India’s confidence that it had the support of British dominions was put to the test in 1909 when it was discovered that firearms from Australia and New Zealand were being provided to tribes on the North-West Frontier who were actively opposed to the interests of British India. So how did firearms from New Zealand end up in the hands of Pathan Tribesmen on the borders of modern-day Afghanistan and Pakistan?

As the New Zealand military reorganised and reequipped following the war in South Africa, new uniforms and equipment were introduced, and the .303inch cartridge adopted as the standard calibre for rifles, carbines and machine guns, resulting in the Defence Stores holding over 17,000 Snider, Martin-Henry and Remington Lee rifles, carbines and accoutrements and just under a million rounds of obsolete ammunition. The disposal of this stockpile was the most significant disposal of Arms and Ammunition undertaken by the Defence Stores throughout its existence which had the unintended consequence of arming Pathan tribesmen on the borders of British India.

Snider rifles were introduced into New Zealand service starting from 1868.

Top: Snider Long Rifle, Middle: Snider Medium (Hay) Rifle, Bottom: Snider Short (Sword) Rifle Photo J Osborne New Zealand Arms Register. http://www.armsregister.com/

The Sniders served thru to 1890, when they began to be superseded by Martini-Henry rifles and carbines.

Rifle, Martini-Henry, 1896, Enfield, by Royal Small Arms Factory. Gift of the Police Department, date unknown. CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Te Papa (DM000372)

The introduction of cordite or smokeless powder ushered in the introduction of the .303 Martini-Enfield rifle leading to the progressive withdrawal of the Sniders and Martini-Henrys following the introduction of bolt action Lee Metford and Enfield rifles. With sufficient .303 calibre Martini-Enfield’s and an increasing amount of bolt action, magazine-fed Lee Metford and Enfield rifles available to arm the forces and provide a reserve, the Defence Council authorised a Board of Survey to be formed to investigate the disposal of the obsolete Sniders and Martinis in store.[1] In addition to Sniders and Martinis, there was also a quantity of .340 Remington-Lee rifles. In a bold move to provide New Zealand’s forces with the most modern of rifles, these were imported into New Zealand in 1887. However, due to unsatisfactory ammunition, the Remington-Lees were withdrawn from service in 1888.

Sitting in early 1907 and consisting of three officers, the Board of Survey weighed up the options for the disposal of the stockpile of obsolete weapons. Dumping the entire stock at sea was considered, but an anticipated outcry from the New Zealand press, as this means of disposal, would have been seen as another example of needless government waste, and this option was ruled out. A small but guaranteed financial benefit resulted in sale by tender being decided upon as the most practical means of disposal.[2]

The early 20th Century was a turbulent time in world history. The late 19th-century race by the European powers had left them all fighting colonial bush wars to suppress opposition and maintain control in their various colonial possessions. In Eastern Europe, the Balkans were aflame as the former European vassals of the Ottoman empire fought the Turks and each other as they struggled to gain their independence. Closer to New Zealand, as the emerging American and Japanese empires undertook colonial expansion in the Philippines and Korea, conflict and insurrection followed and were only quelled by the most brutal measures.

In this environment, the New Zealand Government was cognisant that there was a ready market for firearms, however as the Arms Act of New Zealand limited the bulk export of weapons from New Zealand, the conditions of the tender were clear that for any arms not purchased for use in New Zealand, the remainder were not to be exported to any country or place other than Great Britain.

The entire stock of firearms was stored at the Defence Stores at Wellington and packed 50 to 90 weapons per case. The tender terms allowed tenderers to quote for not less than 100 of any weapon. The quantities and types of weapons were,

  • .577 Snider rifles, short sword bayonets with scabbards – 6867
  • .577 Snider rifles, long – 978
  • .577 Snider carbines, artillery; sword bayonets with scabbards – 1957
  • .577 Snider carbines, cadet – 849
  • .577 Snider carbines, cavalry – 669
  • .577/450 Martini-Henry rifles, sword bayonets with scabbards – 4686
  • .577/450 Martini-Henry carbines – 520
  • Enfield carbines, Sword bayonets and scabbards – 103
  • .340 Remington Lee Rifles – 840
  • Swords, cavalry, with scabbards – 600

The ammunition was all of the black powder types, which, when fired, created a large amount of smoke exposing the rifleman’s position. An interesting ammunition type included in the tender was 106,000 rounds of Gardner-Gatling ammunition. This ammunition had been imported in the late 1880s as part of a demonstration lot, resulting in the purchase of a single Gardiner Machine Gun by the New Zealand Government. The ammunition was stored in the magazines at Wellington and Auckland, with the tender terms allowing bids of less than 50,000 rounds of any mixture of ammunition. The ammunition types tendered were.

  • .577/450 Martini-Henry, ball, rifle, solid case – 189000 rounds
  • .577/450 Martini-Henry, ball, rifle, rolled case – 170000 rounds
  • .577/450 Martini-Henry, ball, carbine, rolled case – 120000 rounds
  • .577/450 Martini-Henry, blank – 240000 rounds
  • .577 Snider Ball – 150000 rounds
  • .45 Gardner Gatling, ball – 106,000 rounds

Notice of the tender was published by the Director of Military Stores, Captain James O’Sullivan, in the New Zealand press from 4 June 1907, with 14 June set as the final day for bids.[3]

The Tender Board accepted the highest tender in July 1907 with all the arms purchased by a Manchester firm through their New Zealand agents.

Much of the powder within the ammunition had caked and was unsuitable for use, leading to a significant part of the stocks being broken down into salvageable components in New Zealand. Under the supervision of Captain O’Sullivan, a record of each weapon was taken, recording the brands and serial numbers stamped on each weapon. As the weapons were packed into cases, the contents of each case were also recorded. The entire consignment was loaded onto the S.S. Mamari at Wellington, which sailed directly to London via the New Zealand Shipping Company’s usual route.  Included in the mail carried on the same voyage was a notification to the War Office in England providing complete shipment details. Providing these details to the War Office was not obligatory and only made on Captain O’Sullivan initiative. Four months later, the War Office received a reply asking why they had been sent all that information.

Approximately £6000 (2021 NZ$1,095,722) was realised by the entire sale of arms and ammunition.

Captain O’Sullivan’s attention to detail in dispatching the New Zealand firearms to England proved wise when in May 1909, the Calcutta Englishman, the leading daily newspaper in India, published an article stating that Weapons bearing Australian and New Zealand markings had been smuggled across the Pathan border.[4]

Rifle, Martini-Henry, 1896, Enfield, by Royal Small Arms Factory. Gift of the Police Department, date unknown. CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Te Papa (DM000372)

While the Calcutta Englishman was accurate in its report that weapons bearing Australian and New Zeland Military markings had been found in the hands of Pathan tribesmen. The path the New Zealand weapons had taken to India was not the result of poor accounting by New Zealand’s Defence Stores, but rather the shady dealing of British second-hand arms dealers.


Notes

[1] “Defence Forces of New Zealand: Report by the Council of Defence and Extracts from the Report of the Inspector-General of the NZ Defence Forces, for the Year Ended 28th February 1908,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1909 Session II, H-19  (1909).

[2] “The Smuggled Rifles,” Star (Christchurch), Issue 9546, 19 May 1909.

[3] “Obsolete Arms,” New Zealand Times, Volume XXIX, Issue 6231, 10 June 1907.

[4] “Australasian Arms Smuggled into India,” Evening News (Sydney, NSW ) 12 May 1909.



New Zealand Defence Stores, Annual Report, 1914

In the years leading up to 1914, the New Zealand Military Forces underwent a significant transformation. Under the Authority of the Defence Act 1909, the old volunteer system was abolished, and a new military framework supported by universal Military Service by all males between certain ages was established. The evolution of New Zealand’s Military and how General Godley and his Cadre of Imperial and local Military Officers and Non-Commissioned Offices created a modern, well equipped Army is well recorded. However, it is the role of the Defence Stores in which has remained anonymous. A component of the New Zealand Military since the 1860’s the Defence Stores would furnish the equipment for multiple mobilisation and training camps and equip thousands of men with uniforms, arms, and ammunition on the mobilisation of New Zealand in August 1914. The culmination of the Defence Stores effort would unknowingly be validated by Military Historian Glyn Harper who in his 2003 book Johnny Enzed states; [1]

In all aspects of required military equipment, from boots and uniforms to webbing, ammunition and weaponry, in 1914 New Zealand had ample stocks on hand to fully equip the Johnny Enzed’s of the Expeditionary Force.     

Although the Defence Stores was an active participant in the lead up to the First World War, it has been the victim of a pattern of amnesia which had virtual wiped its existence and contribution from the historical narrative.

Under the management of Major James O’Sullivan, the Director of Equipment and Stores, the 1914 Regulations for the New Zealand Military details that the Defence Stores were[2]

responsible for the supply of clothing, equipment, and general stores; supplies of stationery, forms, and books; supply of, all vehicles and technical equipment, excepting Artillery and Engineers; storage and distribution of small-arms, accoutrements, and camp equipment’s, Customs shipping entries, and ammunition.

The following report was produced by Major O’Sullivan and details the activities of the Defence Stores up to 31 March 1914 and provided a useful appreciation of how the Defence Stores were placed prior to the mobilisation in August 1914.




NEW ZEALAND MILITARY FORCES.

REPORT OF THE DIRECTOR OF EQUIPMENT & STORES FOR THE YEAR ENDING 31 MARCH 1914

The Quartermaster-General
Headquarters N.Z. Military Forces
Wellington

Sir,

I have the honour to report as follows on the Stores, Magazines and Equipment in the Dominion for the year ending 31st March 1914.

SMALL ARMS AMMUNITION

The reserve of Small Arms Ammunition .303 Ball has since my last report increased by 138,000 rounds. The quality has maintained its excellence, and no complaints of any moment have been received during the year. the increased supply of cordite ordered has been received, thus removing any danger through delays in shipment. This will build up a reserve of cordite, which will be available to keep the Factory fully employed in the event of short shipments usually caused through Strikes in gland.[3]

The question or an increased reserve of Ammunition is a policy matter, but I wish to point out that the large increase in our Smal1 Arms during the year, consequent upon the importations from Egeland md Canada, has proportionately reduced the number of rounds available per Rifle.

The total issue of .303 Ball Ammunition during the year was 4,I62,000.

SMALL ARMS

During the year, 30,000 Rifles M.LE. Long were imported into the Dominion, 15,000 being from England and 15,000 from Canada. Of the English, 5,000 were perfectly new arms, while the 10,000-part worn were in such good condition that except to an Armourer or one very familiar with Arms, they appeared to be quite new.

The former were purchased at £2 each and the later at were purchased at £1, and as the landed cost of a new M/L.E. Rifle Long has hitherto been £3/12/. it can readily be calculated what an immense saving their purchase meant to the Dominion.[4]

CANADIAN RIFLES

The Canadian Rifles arrived in various shipments, the cost in Canada to the Department being 4/2d.landed cost 5/. Each. These Arms were not, of course, expected to be in the same condition as the English Rifles, having been thoroughly oiled prior to despatch front Canada, On arrival in the Dominion, however, after being overhaled and thoroughly cleaned by the Armourers, it was found that the Ars were in excellent condition, less than 2% requiring rebarrelling, while a fair number were quite new. Sword Bayonets and Scabbards patten “88 were also supplied with these Arms, while the Arms Chests in which they were packed, were in excellent order.

At 4/2d each, these Arms were a wonderful bargain, especially when it is remembered that a Rifle Bolt alone costs in England I6/.  If any more of these rifles are obtainable, I would recommend that another five thousand be purchased, as they will be required if it is intended to train the General Training Section of the Reserve, it would be a waste of money to issue new Rifles to these if they are allowed to keep them in their homes, as they would very soon go astray or become unserviceable, while even if a percentage of the Canadian Rifles were lost, the actual financial loss would no be great.

The whole of the above Arms were received during the months of January, February and March and were immediately issued to the Senior Cadets, who are now fully armed.

No Protectors, Bottle Oil, or Pullthroughs were received with the Canadian Arms, but a supply has been cabled for, which, on arrival, will be issued.

We have in stock about 8,000 new spare barrels for Rifles M.L.H. Long, which means that 13.3% of the Rifles in the Dominion could be rebarrelled at short notice. It is, perhaps, just as well that we have a good reserve, as it is very probable a number of the rifles on issue to Cadets will be neglected.

The total number of Rifles M.L.E Long at present in Store and on issue to the forces is about 46,000.

RIFLES M.L.E. SHORT

The total number of Rifles M.L.E. Short in the Dominion is 13,810. These are on issue to Mounted Rifles, Field and Garrison Artillery, Field Engineers and Coast Defence troops, except about 1,900 of the Mk I pattern on issue to Senior Cadets and which are now being recalled.

Our reserve of Barrels and Spare parts is in about the sane proportions as for the Rifles M.L.E.Long.

RIFLES MARTINI-ENFIELD

There are in all about 1,100 of these in the Dominion. They are on issue to Senior Cadets, but are being recalled, so the question of how they are to be utilised will be for your consideration.

RIFLES .310

There are 1,052 of these, which were taken over from the Education Department, and issued to Senior Cadets in Auckland District. They were, however, condemned by District Headquarters as being useless for Musketry, and are being returned to Store. The question of what is to be done with these and the 928,000 rds of .310 Ball Ammunition will have to be considered later.

CARBINES

There are in the Dominion about I,400 M.L.E and 2,500 M.E Carbines, which are principally on issue to Colleges and High School Senior Cadets. There are, however, complaints of the poor shooting made with these in comparison with that with the Rifles on issue to other Senior Cadet Companies. Demand have therefore been made for Rifles to replace the Carbines, and in some cases this has been done, while the remainder will be replaced during the current year. The question of what to do with the replaced Carbines will therefore require consideration.

REVOLVERS

We have about 900 Revolvers in stock. These are of an obsolete pattern known as Dean and Adams, which were imported about thirty years ago. In fact, it is impossible to obtain ammunition for them, as the Webley Pistol Cordite Ammunition will not fit. There is a quantity of about 9,000 rounds of powder-filled ball for these Revolvers imported in 1880, but it ss not reliable. There are also about 14,000 rds Cordite filled ball, but this does not properly fit the Revolvers.

RIFLES SOLD TO DEFENCE RIFLE CLUBS.

The aforegoing Arms do not include the 3,423 Rifles M.L.E.Long and the 2,719 Rifles M.E. sold to members of Defence Rifle C1ubs. These are the property of the members, but no doubt practically the whole of these would be available in an emergency.

ACCOUTREMENTS

As mentioned in my last annual Report, an additional supply of Mills Web equipment was required, and in September 1913 demand was made for 4,000 sets and 20,000 Tools entrenching with Carriers, but approval for the expenditure was not obtained until the end of March this year. When these arrive from England, the equipment of the Infantry Regiments will be completed.

During the year all Brown Leather Accoutrements were called in from Field Engineers and Garrison Artillery, and replaced with Mills Web Modified pattern equipment consisting of Belt, waist: 2 Pouches and Frog This was considered to be a more suitable equipment for these units, besides which a considerable saving in expenditure was effected.

The Railway and Post and Telegraph Battalions and the Army Service Corps Companies have since been similarly equipped.

So far, no improved equipment for Mounted Rifles has been devised, our own Bandolier equipment, which has given satisfaction, is still being used.

As the whole of our Bottles Water Mk.IV are unfit for further service an additional supply of Bottle Water MK.VI with sling, carriers, has been ordered to complete equipment of Mounted Regiments and Ordnance Units. A further supply of Slings, Web, is also under order.

The Belts, Waist, Web, devised for Senior Cadets, which are made in the Dominion as a cost of 6d each, are giving general satisfaction.

SWORDS, OFFICERS & SAM BROWNE BELTS.

Owing to all Officers now being given an issue of a Sword and Sam Browne Belt on First Appointment, a large number of these are annually required.  Of course, the number issued this year is greater than wi1l be that of subsequent issues. Taking free issues and sales during the year, there were issued 372 Swords 800 Sam Browne Belts.

MAXIM MACHINE GUNS.

As Mentioned in my last Annual Report, one each Maxim Machine Gun mounted on Tripod with Pack saddlery complete, was issued to Mounted and Infantry Regiments, and a supply of Tripods ordered to convert the Maxim Guns mounted on Field Carriages to Pack saddlery. The Maxims on Field Carriages were called into Store, but it was ascertained before these Guns could be properly fitted to Packsaddles, a number of suitable stores were required from England. These are now under order from England and on arrival. The conversion proceeded with. The addition of one Regiment of Infantry to the original establishments leaves us deficient of two Machine Guns, as no provision j=had been made for creases, and no spare Guns had been ordered. It will therefore be necessary to consider if two more Guns with Pack saddlery complete should be ordered.

If it is intended to equip Coast Defence Infantry in Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin, or other Units, with machine Guns, a further order will be necessary.

During the year, three of the service locks which were broken were sent to England to be repaired and reported on. The locks have been returned and re-issued, and the report from England states that the breakages due to over tempering of the steel part in construction. As no further breakages were reported, it is presumed that only these three locks were faulty.

UNIFORM EQUIPMENT 1913/14.

TERRITORAL & SENIOR CADET

During the year the clothing of territorials and Senior Cadets has been continued steadily and at the end of March, with the exception of Caps, Forage, all clothing demands were completed.

The supply of Greatcoats and Putties, which I mentioned in my last Report as being in a backward condition, has now been brought up to date, and all branches of the service have been fully suppled as demands came forward.

A considerable saving was effected through the importation from England of some 10,000pairs Imperial Service Putties at a cost of about 3/. per pair, as against the price required for a local made article – which being all wool did not give satisfaction – and which cost about 4/9d per pair.

With the exception of Greatcoats, of which some 5,500 were received from Southern Firms, a Wellington Firm secured the contract for suppliers of Territorial Clothing, and they have made deliveries without delay thus enabling the Department to issue immediately on receipt of Requestions from Regiments.

The quality of material and make of garments has been fully maintained, and no complaints whatever have been received in this respect.

The delay in delivery of Caps, Forage, has been owing to there been no Factory in the Dominion which make the waterproof material as laid down in specifications of new Contract, and the supplies of this material had therefore to be obtained from England. Owing to Strikes and other causes the Contractors experienced great difficulty in obtaining supplies in time to meet our requirements.

Every effort has been made to keep down expenditure in connection with Uniform Clothing  – no order has been placed with Contractors in excess of actual requirements – and though in some items the minimum number we were required to take under the Contract has been exceeded, this was owing to short deliveries under Contracts for 1911/13, and the formation of the Army Service Corps and Railway Battalions, which necessitated distinctive Uniforms being made.

The position of Uniform Clothing for year ending 31st March 1914 is:-

TERRITORIAL UNIFORMS.

 JacketsTrousersPantaloonsHatsCapsGreatcoats Putties
      MountedDismtd 
Receipts545842981840Nil18841342767810000
Issues428226229419468224579347705748
In Stock6583672033284966320164929254258

When it is remembered that there are Uniforms stocked for the six branches of the service, each of which are again divided in 31 different sizes, the total number in store is not large, and unless maintained, it would be impossible to issue the particular sizes asked for on requestions received, nor would we be able on a sudden emergency to meet demands.

SENIOR CADET UNIFORMS.

The issue of Clothing to senior Cadets has been steadily maintained during the year, and on 3Int March 1914, all Requisitions for Clothing received had been supplied on that date. The quality of material and the make of the uniform reflects credit on the Contractors.

As with the Territorial Uniform, only the particular sizes of garments of which our stocks were nearly exhausted, were ordered, and the minimum quantity under contract was not taken during the year. As far as possible, all Trousers returned to Store, also old pattern Shorts, were washed, relined in bands and fork and converted at a small cost in to new pattern shorts, and are being issued ad required.

The position Senior cadet Uniforms is:-

 BlousesShortsHatsPuttie HoseWeb Belts
Total Receipts to 31/3/19144446343227431504647832011
Total issues3493739000348453551331993
Leaving in Store 31/3/1914932662279105796518

As we had a good stock of Cadet Clothing in Store on 1/4/193, only small orders were placed with Contractors last year. As under our Contract we are bound to place order for 5,000 each item per year, we will have to place larger orders this year. The Issues last year were about 8000 suits.

OFFICERS UNIFORMS

Under Circular Q.M.G 85/36 of 16/10/1912, the cash payment of £15. and £9 to Territorial and Senior Cadet Officers respectively was abolished, and a Free Issue of Jacket, Riding Pantaloons or Knicker Breeches, Putties and Cap Forage was made in lieu thereof to Officers on First Appointment on Probation, and Hat, Greatcoat &Trousers on Final Appointment after passing Examination. The cost of these uniforms being:-

 Mounted Service Dismounted Service
Without Badges of rank£6:16:3 £6:8:9

As there were some 375 Officers clothed in this manner during the year it will be seen that a considerable saving was effected. The Contractors supplied a first-rate uniform made to special measurements of individual Officers, and no complaints were made by Officers in this respect.

A Sam Browne Belt and Officers Sword for use of Officers newly appointed are issued to the Regiment of Company to which he may be attached. These items remain the property of the Government , and are handed in when the Officer retires or is transferred.

As with Territorial Uniform, only the particular sizes of garments of which our stocks were nearly exhausted were ordered, and the minimum quantity under Contract was not taken during the year. As far as possible all Trousers returned to Store also old pattern Shorts were washed, relined in bands and forks and converted at a small cost, into new pattern shorts and are being issued as required.

The position of Senior Cadet Uniforms is:-

 BlousesShortsHatsPuttie HoseBelts Waist
Receipts5954408252032011
Issues865999847570714731993
In Stock852662979705796618

It will be seen that the issues last year were almost equal to our present stock, so that during the current year we shall have to provide somewhat above the minimum of Contractor, viz. 5000 each item.

UNIFORMS

It has come to my knowledge from conversations with officers and Regimental Q.M. Sergeants that there are a considerable number of part worn Uniforms in Regimental Stores, which have been returned principally by men who have been exempted from further training and by others who have 1eft the Dominion, and I understand that instructions have been issued to Regimental Q.M. Sergeants not to re-issue these part worn uniforms.

In this respect, I consider that if I could visit the Regimental Stores during the year for the purpose of examining this clothing and return to Store as ay be fir to be washed and pressed and relined where necessary, they would be as good and could be issued as new Uniforms, as is done in the case of trousers as used by Senior cadets. In this manner, instead of paying about 30/. for new Tunic and Trousers, they could be made equal to new for about four to five shillings

SERVICE BOOTS

The sale to the Defence Forces of the service Pattern Boot was well maintained. During the year some 5100 pairs were received from Contractors, of which the greater proportion were sold for cash. Owing to the increased cost to te Department (in consequence of high price of leather etc) we were forces to raise the price from 11/6 per pair to 14/. Per pair. General satisfaction has been given to all wearing these for Military duty, as the sales in Training Camps denote

In all 1arge Training Camps, an Officer is sent from Defence Stores with a good stock of Boots for sale in Camp, and in order that the men may use the boots while in Camp and to make payment easy, the amount is deducted from pay at the end of Camp.

SHEETS, GROUND, WATERPROOF.

An additional Supply of 10,000 Sheets ground was obtained during the year, bringing our equipment up to 20,282. There are always considerable losses in these as they are useful for so many purposes in private life. They disappear both in large and weekend Camps, in fact after a large camp, one can never be certain what are the losses until final check in store is made. They have been known to disappear in transit from Camps. Of course, shortages are charged against Units, but this does not entirely prevent loss/

BAGS, NOSE, HORSES.

6,000 Nose bags for feeding Horses in camps were obtained during the year. This was a very necessary item of equipment as there was considerable waste of horse feed hitherto. The saving in horse feed that will be effected in a short time will compensate for the cost of the Nose Bags. The bags are all branded ‘DEFENCE↑1914” and numbered consecutively, so that los or shortage can be traced to the

FIELD COOKERS.

In my last Report I mentioned that a supply of “Roberts” Cookers was being obtained. 24 of these, each estimated to cook for 500 men, were issued in Camps during 1913, and gave great satisfaction when occupied with the method of cooking hitherto in use. 11 additional 500 men Cookers and 16 – 250 men Cookers were obtained since January 1914, and the whole are now in use as under:-

Auckland9500 men4250 men
Wellington104
Canterbury84
Otago84

There was also obtained from England a “Sykes” Travelling Cooker, while the 9th Regiment Mounted Rifles imported 2 Lune Valley Travelling Cookers.

Trials are now being made in Takapau Camp as to the merits of each. The landed cost of the “Sykes” Cooker was £130, whereas the local article -500men Cooker – costs £64, and the 250 men Cooker £46. I am unable to give the cost of the Lune Valley Cooker as it was imported Privately,

If the “Roberts” Cooker is to be adopted, 1 an of opinion that no more of the 500 men cookers should be obtained as they are too heavy to handle and are liable to breakage in transport. The 250-man Cooker in an ideal weight and can be easily handled by 4 men, 1ifting in or out of any conveyance, besides which double 1n or out of any conveyance, besides which, double companies under the new organization are 250 each.

CAMP KETTLES.

There is a very good supply in Ordnance Stores, but sone are getting the worse for wear. An order for 1000 has been placed in England.

MEAT DISHES, BOILERS, LANTERNS, WASH BASINS etc are all Locally made, and supply can always be ordered as required to replace

KIT BAGS.

A sum of money was placed on the estimates last year to provide Kit bags, but the late Quartermaster-General, for financial reason, deemed it advisable to let the procuring of a supply stand over for the present.

B0OKs, FORMS, STATIONARY, PAPER TARGETS ETC.

A large supply of Drill Books etc were obtained during the year and distributed to the various centres as instructed. There are now 225 NZ Military Forms and Books in use. The printing of these Forms and Books is carried out at the Government Printing Office but owing to pressure of work for the other Departments, delays in printing our demands often occur. I am of opinion that better paper in many of these forms should be used in many of these Forms, especially those which are records. There is no comparison in the quality of paper used in our Forms and that used in the Imperial Service Forms

I am certain there must be considerable waste of Forms in the Area Group Officers and also in the Regimental Offices, as the demands sometimes made are out of all proportion to the requirements. These demands haves to be cut down here and I think Staff Officers should be impressed that Forms cost money and should be used only for the purpose for which they were printed  

ARMOURERS.

During the year the four senior District Armourers were brought to Wellington and put through a three weeks course of instruction in Maxim Machine Guns under Staff Sgt, Major Luckman, who, at the end of the period, examined the on the theory and practice of examination and repairs to Maxim Guns

The men took a keen interest in the work, and at the final examination passed to the satisfaction of the examiner, who reported that certificates should be given. This was approved and the certificates issued. The fact of these men holding certificat4rs will enable them to instruct their assistants in Districts, and these when they qualify, can also be issued certificates

The CADET ARMOURERS are getting on very well, and in order to give them experience in the Field, one Cadet has been temporally attached to each district.

Reports from District Armourers as to the condition of Arms on issue to Units have been, generally speaking, good, but owing to the outbreak of Smallpox in Auckland District, the inspection had to be discontinued, so that all the arms were not examined. The general strike also affected the examination especially in the North Island.

Owing to the increased number of small arms now issued to Cadets, the personnel of this branch of the service will require increasing , and the districts subdividing, as it would be impossible for an Armourer to make inspection of all the Small Arms in any one District during the year. I will later submit a proposal to meet this question.

DISTRICT STOREKEEPERS.

A conference of the three District Storekeepers was held in my Office in August 1913to discuss many matters in providing for stores not provided for in the regulations. This is far preferable to correspondence on minor matters of detail, as it was found that letters of instruction and Headquarters circulars were sometimes differently interpreted. When the occasion is deemed necessary, I will again ask for authority for a conference.

The Storekeepers are all Officers with a keen sense of their responsibility regarding Government property, and take a personal interest in their work, without which as Storekeeper or Quartermaster-Sergeant is useless.[5]

TRANSPORT WAGONS.

No additions were made to this service during the year. The late Quartermaster-General made provision in the Estimates for 32 Field Service Wagons similar in type to the colonial pattern in Store, being satisfied that with slight modification, this wagon would be very suitable for the Dominion. For financial reasons the inviting of tenders for these was held over.

No addition was made to the equipment of Water Carts during the year. The new type received with the Field Guns is far and away more expensive than that hitherto in use, and consideration will have to be given this subject for the equipment laid down is to be provided.

I am of opinion that it would pay the Department well if one Motor Wagon is provided for each of the four centres. The cost of cartage is becoming a heavy item, especially in Wellington, and if the Department had its own wagons this item would be considerably reduced. The fact that under the terms of the Public Works Contracts for Cartage the transport of one case from the Railway or Wharf is charges by time or ton weight or measurement will indicate that cartage is an expensive item, whereas if our own wagons were available, collection of parcels and cases could be made at stated time, all with greater efficiency, Other Departments of the State find it to their advantage to run their own transport Motor Wagon, and I am od opinion it would be ad advantage if we could do likewise.

MEDICAL EQUIPMENT.

During the year the Director of Medical Services laid down a list of Medical Equipment to be issued to Mounted and Field Ambulances and Regimental Medical Officers. Included in this were a new pattern Surgical Haversack and new pattern Medical Chest: these being entirely different to the pattern hitherto in use. Tenders for supply were invited. The Chests and Haversacks were made in the Dominion, but arrangements had to be made with the successful tenderers to import the supply of instruments and drugs which arrives in the Dominion at the end of March 1914. The Chests and Haversacks were then filled and issued to Districts for distribution. As the new equipment provides for one wagon only, one each was taken from the Field Ambulances and issued to the Mounted Field Ambulances. Each Regimental Medical Officer is provided with a surgical haversack, and in addition to the equipment of Stretchers of Field Ambulances, each Regiment is provided with two. These to remain as permanent equipment.  I may mention that all our Field Stretchers are now made in the Dominion, and Mr Reid – the maker of same – informs me that the Department having its Stretchers made locally has been the means of St John ‘s Ambulance and others also getting their supplies locally, instead of importing as hitherto. The Stretchers are made at about the same cost as the imported ones, and the Director of Medical Services has stated that he is very satisfied with them.

VETERINARY STORES.

Hitherto no provision was made for Veterinary Chests, medicine for use in the Feld, the practice being for Veterinary Officers to obtain supplies from the nearest Chemist. This method while being expensive, was not satisfactory. During the year, the Director of Veterinary Services and the Principle Veterinary Officer, of Wellington, paid visits to the Stores, and under their supervision, a Field Veterinary Chest was devised. The necessary instruments and drugs were obtained, and the Chests filled and distributed in time for the Divisional Camps.

Twenty Chests in all were made, and it is proposed that each be retained at the Headquarters of the Field Artillery in each District, the balance to be kept in District Store for use in the Field.

STORE BUILDINGS.

The Store buildings are in good order, the only additions during the year being those to the Christchurch Store, which were very necessary. Owing to increase of Equipment and Clothing, all buildings were taxed to their utmost capacity during the year.

Arrangements have now been made for District Stores to keep a stock of Forms etc for issue, instead of having to send individual requisitions to Wellington for Supply.

If Transport Wagons and Harness are to be provided for the Army Service Corps, provision will require to be made for housing same. I am of opinion that the time has now arrived for the establishment of a District Store at Palmerston North, as it is more central for distribution, and cost or railage would be considerably reduced.  The Wellington City Units could still be suppled from the Store in Wellington

MAGAZINES FOR SMALL ARMS AMMUNUITION.

Our magazines for storage of Small Arms Ammunition were taxed to their utmost capacity during the year, and indeed sone were overtaxed, as the Ammunition could not be stored in strict accordance with Magazine Regulations, If our reserve of Ammunition is increased, it will be absolutely necessary to increase the accommodation, especially in Otago. I have previously drawn attention to the inadequate Magazine accommodation in Otago, in which only 3 million rounds of Ammunition can be stored, whereas there should be accommodation for at least 5 Million rounds. At present the maximin supply that can be stored in the South Island is only 8 million rounds, which to my mind is inadequate. Provision should therefore be made in this year’s estimates for

AEROPLANE

The Bleriot Monoplane “Britannia” presented to the NZ Government by the British Aerial League was duly received during the year, and a suitable shed was erected in Defence Stores yard at a cost of about £130 for housing the same. The Machine was subsequently sent to Auckland Exhibition, but has now been received back art Wellington

According to instructions contained in a Cable from the High Commissioner, the machine requires constant attention and care and has been place under the supervision of the Armourer, who details a Mechanic to attend to the cleaning and oiling of same.

STOCKTAKING.

To comply with the provisions of the Public Service Regulations an annual Stocktaking has to be made, and this had been almost completed when the general strike took place. This necessitated the whole of the Staff being employed and the Stores and building being used for nearly three months in the housing and accommodation of the Special Mounted Constables. Immediately on their departure, the large shipments of Arms from England and Canada arrived. As preparations had then to be made for supplies and equipment for Camp for the inspection by the Inspector-General, Overseas Forces, I have been compelled to postpone the stocktaking till this year.

STAFF.

In conclusion of the Report, I have to mention that owing to increased work in the Store and yard, temporary extra labourers had to be employed. This pressure was overcome about the end of April and the men were discharged. There are other men on the temporary staff, such as Storeman, Clothier, Hatter, Packers who are experienced at his class of work, are industrious, and take special interest in the work. These men are an absolute necessity to carry on the Clothing and other ranches of the Department in which they are employed.

Finally, I wish to especially mention the permanent Staff, workmen and the office staff. To the letter, I owe the success and efficiency of this branch, as they are officer who take a special and personnel interest in their duties, and who, in addition to their own work, were called upon at the time of the Industrial troubles in Wellington, to feed, clothes and equip the Mounted Special Constables who were brought to Wellington to maintain law and order.  

The controlling officers on several occasions complimented me on the efficiency of the staff.

This extra work necessitated the Office Staff returning to duty at night after the Special Constables had been disbanded in order that their work could be brought up to date. Some even had to sacrifice their Annual Leave

As I have previously stated, owing to the steady increase of work in the Office, the permanent appointment of one extra Clerk is badly needed.

Defence Stores,
Wellington.
8th May, 1914.

________________________________

Note: You have been supplied confidentially with Returns of all Arms, Ammunition and Equipment in the Dominion, consequently figures are not given in this return

________________________________


Notes

[1] Glyn Harper, Johnny Enzed: the New Zealand soldier in the First World War 1914-1918, First World War centenary history, (Auckland, New Zealand: Exisle Publishing Limited, 2015, 2015), 29.

[2] “Regulations for the Military Forces of New Zeland,” New Zeland Gazette, Issue 6, 26 January 1914, 237, https://rnzaoc.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/Regulations-for-the-Military-Forces-of-New-Zealand.-1914-1.pdf.

[3] The majority of Small Arms Ammunition for the New Zealand Military was manufactured in New Zealand by the Colonial Ammunition Company at their Mount Eden Factory in Auckland.

[4] £1 in 1914 equals NZD$167.55 in 2021

[5] The authorisation for permanent District Storekeepers was for one each at Auckland, Christchurch, and Dunedin, with the following appointments made:

  • Mr William Thomas Beck – District Storekeeper, Auckland
  • Mr Arthur Rumbold Carter White – District Storekeeper, Christchurch
  • Mr Owen Paul McGuigan – District Storekeeper, Dunedin


General Godley and New Zealand’s Defence Stores Department

16 October 1914 was a significant day for New Zealand as the main body of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) sailed out of Wellington Harbour, marking the departure of the largest, best-trained and equipped Military Force ever to leave New Zealand shores. Departing in ten troopships, the 8500 men and 5000 horses of the NZEF was the second significant departure of troops from New Zealand as the 1400 strong Samoa Expeditionary Force had departed several weeks earlier on 14 August 1914, only ten days after the declaration of war on 5 August 1914.

The fleet of troopships which transported the Main Body of the NZEF and their escort in Wellington Harbour, 15 October 1914. Image courtesy of Matt Pomeroy.

The mounting of such a force within such timeframes was the culmination of years of planning, implementation and training to provide a structured, equipped and supportable force able to easily integrate into an Imperial army alongside the UK, Australia, Canada and India. While credit for the development of the New Zealand Military in the years leading up to 1914 can be accredited to Major General Godley and his staff of British Army officers seconded to the New Zealand Military Forces. Little study has been dedicated to the logistic organisation responsible for supporting the Force, the Defence Stores Department.  Under the leadership of Major James O’Sullivan, the Defence Stores Department was the organisation working behind the scenes with responsibility for the supply and maintenance of clothing and personal equipment, accoutrements, saddlery, harness, small-arms and small-arms ammunition, machine guns, material, transport, vehicles, camp equipment, and all stores required by New Zealand’s Military Forces.

Major James O’Sullivan,
Director of Equipment and Stores 1900 -1916

However, despite the success in providing the stores and maintenance support required for the 1914 mobilisation, the establishment of reinforcement training camps, and maintenance of the Territorial Army, the Defence Stores Department has remained an anonymous participant in New Zealand’s Military Historical narrative. So why is this so? The historical record does not record any shameful failures necessitating its historical absence. However, correspondence of the era indicates that there might have been a clash of personalities between General Godley and Major O’Sullivan, which has hidden the Defence Stores from view for over a hundred years.

General Sir Alexander Godley. S P Andrew Ltd :Portrait negatives. Ref: 1/1-013997-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22715773

As the NZEF finalised its final preparations before boarding its transport ships, General Godley visited the Defence Stores on 24 September and thanked the Defence Stores Staff for their contribution to mounting the NZEF.[1]

Departing on 16 October, Godley was at sea for ten days before preparing a handwritten note to Colonel James Allen, the New Zealand Minister of Defence. Reacting to what can only be described as gossip, Godley’s note set in motion a series of events that tested the Defence Stores and lead to O’Sullivan’s resignation.[2]

Dear Colonel Allen

Just before I left Wellington and since sailing, I have heard a good deal of talk about the conduct of the Stores at Wellington and criticism of J O’Sullivan. I believe the Mayor and the ladies Committee who provided articles for the men were very disappointed with his method of costing and accounting for what they sent him for the troops.

Campbell (Coast Defence Commander) also spoke to me of irregularities which had come to his notice. I have little doubt in my own mind that O’Sullivan and probably some of his subordinates are, like all Quartermasters and Storekeepers feathering their nests to a certain extent. But against this one has to put the fact that, broadly speaking, the equipping of this Force and of the South African contingents, by O’Sullivan was extremely well done and considering the opportunities he has had, one can only be astonished at his moderation in feathering his nest.

My object in writing now, though is to suggest that it might be worth while to have some sort of special audit of the Stores accounts for the Expeditionary Force, perhaps by the Public Service Commission or somebody of the kind. I mean by this an inspection and stocktaking of the Stores in kind more than cash transactions, as the later are always taken for granted and audited by the Treasury as regards vouchers not the Audit Department. Esson tells me that whenever the question of an Army Audit has been raised, the Audit Department have made difficulties and have suggested that it clashed with their functions, but this is probably a misconception and in any case the Army system has grown so big that some more checks is I am sure required, and the departure of this Force would be a good reason for starting it now.

But, whatever happens, the good work done by O’Sullivan and his Department should not be overlooked, though it is too close a borough, and would now be all the better for shaking up and overhauling with fresh blood.

Yours Sincerely

Alex Godley

In response to Godley’s note, the Public Service Commission convened the Defence Stores Commission, which throughout 1915, examined the Defence Stores in detail, producing a comprehensive report to the Minister of Defence on 31 August 1915.

Forwarded to the Commander of NZ Forces Brigadier General A.W Robin, a reply was furnished on 9 September 1915. Admitting fault where required, Robins reply, however, counted many of the commission’s points and highlighted the success of the Defence Stores and highlighted that the Defence Stores were operating adequately under existing Military Stores and Treasury Regulations. However, O’Sullivan’s reputation had been tarnished.

A letter from Allen to Godley sent on 4 January 1916 summarises the situation [3]

The Stores Department, about which there was an enquiry have come fairly well out of it, but I gather there is a pretty strong feeling that 0’Sullivan, who is on sick leave now should not go back.

Although acquitted of any misconduct, O’Sullivan position had become untenable, and to maintain the smooth functioning of the Defence Stores, Allen outlined changes that had been made to the Defence Stores in a letter to Godley on 13 April 1916,[4]

So far as Defence is concerned, Captain McCristell has been brought in from Featherston and placed in 0’Sullivan’ s position, the latter being made Inspector of 0rdnance Stores.

I should think 0’Sullivan has been more enquired into than any other officer in the Department, but nothing very detrimental has come out about him; however, it seemed to me to be wise, especially in view of the fact that the Supplies Board -which is under the control of the Hon. Mr Myers – was so determined about it, that he should give up his position as head of the Stores Department. I have every confidence that McCristell will do well there.

Replying to Allen on 24 March, Godley was less than supportive of O’Sullivan and made clear his personal feelings. [5]

I am sorry, but not altogether surprised, to hear about 0’Sullivan. I think you know my feeling about him, which is that, considering the class of man he is, and the opportunities he has had, one can only be astonished at his moderation. Ninety nine out of a hundred in his position would have made a large fortune.

A component of the New Zealand Military establishment since the 1860s, the Defence Stores Departments’ tenure as a civilian branch of the Military was numbered. Although nothing detrimental came out of the Public Service Commission’s report, the time was deemed suitable to follow the lead of the Australian and the Canadians and militarise the Defence Stores into an Army Ordnance Corps. Gazetted on 1 February 1917, the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps assumed the responsibilities of the Defence Stores Department, with McCristell assuming the role as the head of the Ordnance Corps. [6]

O’Sullivan retired from his Inspector of Ordnance Stores position in January 1917 to take up farming in Huntley.

The enquiry of the Defence Stores Department fell flat and found nothing detrimental, and further study will be required to determine why the Defence Stores Department became an anonymous participant in New Zealand’s Military Historical narrative. Is it linked to Goldey’s dislike of O’Sullivan and his belief that Quartermasters and Storekeepers were only interested in “feathering their own nests”, or is it part of the Kiwi Tall Poppy Syndrome where success is looked down on? The mounting of the NZEF was a monumental task, and the Defence Stores Department is well overdue for some recognition for the part that they played.


Notes

[1] “Defence Stores Staff,” Dominion, Volume 7, Issue 2264, , 25 September 1914, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/DOM19140925.2.47.

[2] “Correspondence Major General Godley to James Allen 26 October “, R22319698 – Ministerial Files – Correspondence with General Godley  (1914).

[3] “Correspondence James Allen to Major General Godley 4 January,” R22319698 – Ministerial Files – Correspondence with General Godley  (1916).

[4] “Correspondence James Allen to Major General Godley 13 April “, R22319698 – Ministerial Files – Correspondence with General Godley  (1916).

[5] “Correspondence Major General Godley to James Allen 24 March,” R22319699 – Ministerial Files – Correspondence with General Godley  (1916).

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


John Henry Jerred

Located in Wellington’s Karori cemetery is the long-forgotten grave of John Henry Jerred, Assistant Defence Storekeeper, who died on 20 December 1902.  John Henry Jerred had served in Government service for twenty-two years from 1880 as a Police Constable, Engineer on Torpedo Boats, and as a storekeeper in the Defence Stores. However, losing a leg while in the Police had adversely affected his ability to gain life insurance, join a Friendly Society, or earn a fair wage leaving his family financially unprepared for his early death. Such was the standing and high esteem of John Jerred that his friends erected a fitting memorial to John’s life. Sadly, now in disrepair, John Jerred’s graveside and the life he had lived has long been forgotten. Thanks to the keen eyes of members of the NZ Remembrance Army, John Jerred’s resting place has been rediscovered and is on the path to refurbishment.

Born in London in 1860, John was an engineer by profession and arrived in New Zealand around 1879 and commenced his career in Wellington.

Joining the Armed Constabulary on 1 February 1880, John undertook the required initial training and settled into the Depot Routine at the Armed Constabulary’s Mount Cook Depot in Wellington. In September 1880, John was one of many Armed Constabulary men sent to Ripapa Island in Lyttelton Harbour as guards for 160 Māori from Parihaka.

Ripapa Island was briefly utilised as a quarantine station with purpose-built accommodation for over 300 immigrants. However, with the more spacious Quail Island designated a quarantine station in 1875, Ripapa’s barracks were devoid of purpose until the government found a use for it as a prison for Māori Ploughmen that had been imprisoned without trial due to the Parihaka Māori settlement’s passive resistance campaign against the surveying and selling off its land by the government, which led to the 1881 Parihaka invasion.

[Medley, Mary Catherine] 1835-1922 :[Quarantine Island Port Lyttelton. 1880s or 1890s], Alexander Turnbull Library. the new Ripapa (known as Ripa) Island quarantine station included barracks, a hospital, service buildings, a barrack master’s cottage and a jetty.

Each guard was issued with a Snyder repeating rifle with 40 rounds of ball ammunition and an Adams revolver with 18 Rounds. A typical guard shift was for 24 hours, starting at 9 am. Daily routine allowed the prisoners out of their barracks for recreation from 9 am to 1 pm, and following lunch, from 2 pm to 6 pm, after dinner, they secured their prisoners in their barracks for the night. The guards were on shifts throughout the night to ensure that two were always awake. Following relief at 9 am, the old guard unloaded the streamer from Lyttleton of provisions and coal before cleaning their weapons and standing down for the rest of the day.

He was completing such a shift on 10 December 1880 when before standing down, John cleaned his revolver. On completion of cleaning his revolver, he reloaded it. However, he noticed a spot on the chamber that he had missed in his exhausted state, which he then cleaned and distracted with tiredness, accidentally discharged the revolver into his leg, shattering the thigh bone.

Admitted to Christchurch hospital, the leg was set. It was expected that after a period of recovery, Jonh might keep his leg with only a limp to remind him of the accident. Unable to return to full duty, John remained on light duties and, in July 1881, was posted to Wellington, where he took up duties as a librarian. However, John’s recovery was not going well, and in November 1881, he was admitted to Wellington hospital, with the only option being the amputation of his leg on 13 November. Now permanently disabled, John returned to his role as a librarian.

From the late 1870s, New Zealand had been under the spectre of incursion by Russia into the Southern Seas prompting what has become known as the Russia Scare. Cognisant of the potential threat, the New Zealand Government decided to construct fortifications and purchase torpedo boats to protect the harbours at Auckland, Wellington, Lyttleton and Port Chalmers. With Torpedo boats ordered and due for delivery in 1884, John’s skills as an Engineer became useful. On 17 May 1883, he was attested as an Artificer in the Permanent militia, taking charge of the machinery of the torpedo boats allocated to Wellington.

 

Example of a spar torpedo boat, http://navymuseum.co.nz/spar-torpedo-boats/

With the torpedo boats used on alternative weekends by the Wellington and Petone Naval volunteers, John could not remain on the torpedo boats when they took to the sea for their weekend exercises due to not holding the correct certification. To rectify this and increase his utility, John sat and passed the examination on 8 October 1883, gaining the required certification.

To service the construction of fortifications on the then remote Miramar peninsula, the Defence Department purchased the motor launch the SS Ellen Balance in 1885, with Jarred placed in charge of its engines in November 1885. However, with the ongoing maintenance of the Torpedo boats proving troublesome, John was put back in charge of them in January 1886.

Star Boating Club Submarine Mining Volunteer Corps, Shelly Bay, Wellington. Andrews, C J, fl 1979 :Photographs of the Star Boating Club Submarine Mining Volunteer Corps. Ref: 1/2-091774-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23233117

The Torpedo Boat SS Waitemata had been transferred to Auckland in 1885 and required an experienced engineer to keep it operational, so Jarred was transferred to Auckland on 20 April 1886 to take charge of the SS Waitemata. On 4 August 1886, John was attested for three more years’ service in the Permanent Militia.

Auckland’s climate was favourable for Jarred, but his time in Auckland was short, and in May 1887, he was recalled to Wellington to take charge of the Defence vessel SS Isabel as the Engineer & Stoker.

In 1887, John married Mary Ann Bell, and they had two children, Ida Isabel, born in 1888 and Harold Vincent, born 1 December 1894.

Despite John’s experience as an engineer, he was considered because of his disability, a liability. In a cost reduction exercise typical of the Defence Department, John was dismissed from the service under a scheme of only keeping physically able men employed on 22 February 1888. This dismissal did not sit well with John. He appealed the decision highlighting that the savings made in dismissing him were negated because it cost more to employ civilian engineers to fill the void left by his dismissal. John’s appeals, although supported by many, were unsuccessful in reversing his dismissal. However, he has offered the caretaker position for the Ministerial Residence on Tinakori Road in Wellington in compensation.

Returning to the employ of the Defence Department on 9 December 1889, John was appointed as Arms Cleaner in the Defence Stores. Under the Defence Storekeeper, Captain Sam Anderson, John was not utilised as an Arms Cleaner but was employed in Clerical and General Store Work. On the death of William Warren, one of the Defence Stores Storeman on 28 January 1894, John was appointed as Acting Storeman.

On 28 September 1899, the New Zealand Premier’ King Dick’ Seddon offered to the Imperial Government in London, in the event of war with the Boer Republics, the services of a contingent of Mounted Infantry for service in South Africa. The offer was accepted, and when war broke out on 11 October 1899, New Zealand was swept up in a wave of patriotic fervour. This mobilisation pushed the Defence Stores Department to its limits as it equipped the New Zealand Contingents to the war in South Africa. From 6 to 21 October 1899, under the direct supervision of the Under-Secretary for Defence, Sir Arthur Percy Douglas, the Defence Storekeeper Captain Anderson and his small staff spent up to 16 hours daily receiving, recording, branding and then dispatching all manner of essential items to the assembled Contingent at Karori Camp.

The Defence Stores were located at the Military reserve in Wellingtons Mount Cook, then known as Alexandra Barracks. The Stores buildings were old and not fit for purpose as they leaked and were cold and draughty. The hours worked by the Defence Stores Staff and the poor infrastructure took it’s toll on the Staff of the Defence Stores.

Scene in Mount Cook, Wellington, taken between 1882 and 1931 from Tasman Street, showing Mount Cook Prison/Alexandra Barracks (top, to left). Photographer unidentified.Ref: 1/2-066816-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22855721

On 7 December 1899, the Defence Storekeeper, Captain Sam Anderson, suddenly died. This was at a critical time as the Defence Stores Department, which after years of neglect, was at breaking point due to the mobilisation. Captain James O’Sullivan, a long-time and experienced member of the Defence Stores, succeeded Anderson as acting Defence Storekeeper.

Anderson’s Death was followed by the death of the Assistant Defence Storekeeper, Mr Thomas Henry Sewell, in June 1900. John replaced Sewell.

With further contingents sent to South Africa, the pace of work at the Defence Stores did not lessen. Despite his disability, John had a robust constitution. Still, the strain of long hours and a poor working environment took a toll on his system, leading to an attack of acute pneumonia, and after four days of illness, John died on 20 December 1902 at the age of forty-six.

John’s death was unfortunate for his family and placed them in a dire financial position. Having lost one of his legs, John was ineligible for life insurance and could not join a Friendly Society. His salary was so small that it prevented him from making adequate provisions for his family’s future. To make ends meet, Mary attempted to find work but illness and hospitalisation requiring surgery incapacitated her further. Some relief was found when she partitioned the Premier and the House of Representatives for assistance on two occasions. Her petitions were supported by John’s long service and supporting statements from prominent Defence Department and Government members. The Under Secretary of Defence stated to the House that John “was highly valued as a most efficient Clerk and thoroughly zealous and painstaking officer by his immediate superiors.” Also assisting Mary in her petitions were several articles in the press that highlighted the poor working conditions in the Defence Stores and how those poor conditions had contributed to the poor health of many of the Defence Stores staff. Mary’s petitions were successful, and she was granted two grants, each of €50 (2021 NZ$9,319.35).

Considering John’s service, when Mary decided to relocate her family to Woolston in Christchurch in 1903, the Minister of Railways covered the expenses for her household removal from Wellington to Christchurch.

A wide circle of friends deeply regretted John’s death. As a tribute to their departed friend, they covered the costs of erecting a memorial stone at John’s grave in the Karori Cemetery.

Copyright © Robert McKie 2021


Rickshaw Military Research

Rickshaw Military Research specialises in the research and transcription of New Zealand Military Service Records to allow families to learn of their families military experience in peace and war. Services offered by Rickshaw Military Research include;

  • Interpretation of military records,
  • Assistance with military research,
  • Identification of medals, badges and insignia, and sourcing of replacements.
  • Regiment and unit identification.

Often, descendants of New Zealand Servicemen have some inkling that their ancestors served in the military. Knowledge of a relative’s service will often be a source of pride with some evidence such as photos of the relative in uniform, medals, unit badges, diaries, and other souvenirs existing. However, for many, any connection to their relative’s military service is long-forgotten and a mystery. For some, the only link to a relative is an inscription on one of New Zealand’s many War Memorials.

For all those interested in discovering more about their ancestors military service, accessing the individual’s service record and understanding what is written in it can be a daunting exercise,first in gaining the service record and then interpreting the peculiar language used by the military and making sense of the many abbreviations used, reading a service record often leads to more questions than answers.

Rickshaw Military Research provides a service where we work with the family and after some preliminary questions, access the relevant military service record from the archives and produce a transcript of the relative’s service record into an easy to read format, including;

  • Personal details of the individual.
  • Brief description of activities prior and after service.
  • Record of service, from enlistment to demobilisation, including;
    • Formations/Units served in.
    • Campaigns and battles that were participated in.
    • Locations visited.
  • Record of Promotions.
  • Record of Illness and Injuries.
  • Records of medals and awards, including citations.
  • Brief description of post-service activities.
  • Illustrations will be provided where possible and could include;
    • Photos of the serviceman.
    • Medals.
    • Badges and patches worn.
    • Maps.
    • Equipment used, i.e. if a serviceman was a tank driver, an illustration of the type of tank driven.

Services offered

Pre 1921 Records

Service records prior to 1921 including the South Africa and First World War.

  • Basic one-page summary of service: $100*
    • Basic service information from attestation to discharge edited to fit on a single A4 sheet.
  • Full transcript of service : $250*
    • Transcript of service relating to target serviceman with additional information on units served in and campaigns participated in presented as a booklet or interactive Web App.

Post 1921 Records

Service records from 1921 including the Second World War, Korea, Malaya, Borneo, South Vietnam, CMT & National Service, Peacekeeping and Territorial and Regular service in New Zealand)

  • Basic one-page summary of service: $150*
    • Basic service information from attestation to discharge edited to fit on a single A4 sheet.
  • Full transcript of service : $300*
    • Transcript of service relating to target serviceman with additional information on units served in and campaigns participated in presented as a booklet or interactive Web App.

Other Research

Other research outside the scope of researching Personnel Records is charged at a rate of NZD$30 per hour.

*All prices are GST inclusive.

Interested in knowing more? Feel free to contact Rickshaw Military Research and let us know how we can assist.


A retrospective view of the Main Ordnance Depot, Trentham

From 1920 to 1996, Trentham Camp in Wellington’s Hutt Valley was home to New Zealand’s Army’s principal Ordnance Depot. During its 76-year tenure as an Ordnance Depot, also every New Zealand Army Ordnance Officer and Soldier, at some stage of their career work at, passed through or had some interaction with the Trentham Ordnance Depot.

Using a 1983 Depot plan as a reference point, this article takes a look back at how the Trentham Ordnance Depot developed from 1920 to 1996.

Depot Plan, 1 Base Supply Battalion. Robert McKie Collection
Entrance to the Ordnance Depot 1998, Upper Hutt City Library (19th Mar 2020). Trentham Camp buildings, unidentified; barrier in fence. In Website Upper Hutt City Library. Retrieved 11th Oct 2020 08:03, from https://uhcl.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/29474
Building 73. Upper Hutt City Library (19th Mar 2020). Trentham Camp building; multi-bay warehouse. In Website Upper Hutt City Library. Retrieved 11th Oct 2020 08:05, from https://uhcl.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/29475

1920

In 1920 the NZAOC had its Headquarters and main depot located at Alexandra Barracks at Mount Cook, Wellington. In the regions, Ordnance Stores were maintained at Mount Eden, Palmerston North, Trentham Camp, Featherston Camp, Mount Cook, Christchurch and Dunedin.

As part of the post-war reduction of the Army and the rationalization of the Ordnance Services, the early interwar years were a transition period. In the South Island, the Dunedin and Christchurch Ordnance Stores closed and relocated to Burnham Camp. In the North Island, the Palmerston North Depot closed, and the main depot at Mount Cook relocated to Trentham Camp to establish the Main Ordnance Depot.

The Featherson Camp and Mount Eden Ordnance Stores remained in operation until 1928 when construction of a new Purpose-built Ordnance Depot at Hopuhopu in the Waikato was completed.

With no purpose-built storage accommodation, the NZAOC Main Ordnance Depot at Trentham Camp in the years leading up to the Second World War utilise up to one hundred different existing camp administrative and accommodation structures as its primary means of warehousing.

Upper Hutt City Library (31st Mar 2018). Trentham Camp 1920; aerial view looking east.. In Website Upper Hutt City Library. Retrieved 10th Oct 2020 15:04, from https://uhcl.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/464

1940

Seen here shortly after its construction in late 1940/early 1941, this warehouse (Building 73) was constructed as part of a wider nationwide program of defence works. With the construction contracts let in 1938 and construction beginning in 1939, Building 73 was constructed using reinforced concrete and designed with nine bays that allowed the loading and unloading of Trains on one side and Motor transport on the other. The design and layout of building 73 were utilised as the model for new warehouses that were later constructed at Burnham and Waiouru.

Upper Hutt City Library (5th Mar 2018). Trentham Camp 1938-1943 (approximate). In Website Upper Hutt City Library. Retrieved 10th Oct 2020 15:28, from https://uhcl.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/25874

1941

From this November 1941 photo, the full size of Building 73 can be appreciated in comparison to the World War One era buildings in which many of the Main Ordnance Depots Stores had been held during the inter-war years. Under construction is Building 68, which in later years became the Direct Support Section (DSS), Building 87 (Dental Stores) and Building 88 (Detention Block)

Trentham Camp, November 1941. National Archives, AAOD,W3273, Box 19, Record WDO 9811, R18059582

1943

Although Building 73 provided a huge increase in storage capability, wartime demands soon necessitated further increases in storage infrastructure; immediately obvious is Building 74. Building 74 was a near duplicate of building 73, with the main exception that due to wartime constraints, it was constructed out of wood instead of reinforced concrete.

Building 86 has been completed, and connected to it is Building 70, which later become the Textile Repair Shop.

Buildings 64, 65 and 66 have been completed, with Buildings 60 and 61 under construction.

1944

By 1944, despite the wartime expansion of the Main Ordnance Depot, storage requirements still exceeded available storage at the Main Ordnance Depot, with a large number of items held in Sub Depots at Māngere, Linton Camp, Whanganui, Waiouru, Lower Hutt and Wellington.

Twelve additional warehouses can be seen to the East of Buildings 73 and 74, and Building 26 is under construction.

Upper Hutt City Library (14th Feb 2018). Aerial view; Trentham Military Camp 1944.. In Website Upper Hutt City Library. Retrieved 10th Oct 2020 14:56, from https://uhcl.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/625

1945

These two photos from late 1945 show the extent of the wartime expansion of the Main Ordnance Depot.

The latest additions are Buildings 27,28,29. 30 and 31. These buildings had originally been built for the United States Forces at Waterloo in Lower Hutt by the Public Works Department. Surplus to the United States requirements due to their downsizing in New Zealand, the buildings had been transferred to the NZ Army. The first building was disassembled and re-erected at Trentham by the end of September 1945, with the follow-on buildings re-erected at a rate of one per month, with all construction completed by February 1946

Upper Hutt City Library (27th Feb 2018). Trentham Camp overall view 1945; Carman block, 1945. Panoramic view.. In Website Upper Hutt City Library. Retrieved 10th Oct 2020 14:57, from https://uhcl.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/565

1966

Twenty Years later, much of the wartime infrastructure constructed for the Main Ordnance Depot and much of the First World War camp accommodation remains in use. During the 1950s, the compound at Dante Road had been developed for the Central Districts Vehicle Depot. When that unit relocated to Linton in 1958, the compound became the Main Ordnance Depot Vehicle Sub-Depot. On the right side of the photo, the large building, the Ordnance Depot, is the General Motors Plant.

1974

By 1974, much of the central infrastructure remains, however, the eleven sheds constructed in 1943/44 have been demolished.

1980

1n 1979 the Main Ordnance Depot was renamed as 1 Base Supply Battalion, RNZOAC. There has been a slight change to the WW2 Infrastructure.

1988

In one of the largest infrastructure investments since 1939 and the first modern warehouse built for the RNZAOC since 1972, a new warehouse was opened in 1988. Designed to accommodate 3700 pallets and replace the existing WW2 Era Storage, the new award-winning warehouse was constructed for $1.6 million. In addition to the high-rise pallet racking for bulk stores, a vertical storage carousel capable of holding 12,000 detail items was installed later.

2020

On 8 December 1996, the RNZAOC was amalgamated into the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment, ending the Ordnance Corps association with Trentham Camp that had existed since 1920.

Further developments occured in January 1998 when the entire military warehousing and maintenance functions in Trentham camp were commercialised and placed under the control of civilian contractors.


Equipping the 1st NZ Contingent to South Africa

On 28 September 1899, the New Zealand Premier ‘King Dick’ Seddon offered to the Imperial Government in London, in the event of war with the Boer Republics, the services of a contingent of Mounted Infantry for service in South Africa. The offer was accepted, and when war broke out on 11 October 1899, New Zealand was swept up in a wave of patriotic fervour. This short article will examine the forgotten contribution by the predecessor to the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, the Defence Stores Department, in equipping the first New Zealand Contingent to the war in South Africa.

With a small Permanent Militia and few reserve stores to mount an Expeditionary Force, the New Zealand Military establishment, including the Defence Stores Department, was unprepared for the rapid mobilisation that was about to be undertaken.[1]

Although most members of the First Contingent were drawn from the Permanent Militia or Volunteer Forces, it was expected that they would supply their own equipment from their unit stocks, and shortfalls were expected. These were to be satisfied from Defence Stores Department Stocks.[2]

The Defence Stores Department had insufficient uniforms and equipment available for the assembling Contingent, requiring the recall and donation of items from volunteer units as well as the placing of orders for the urgent manufacture or purchase of over 20,000 items of equipment, uniforms, underclothing, horse equipment, saddlery on the local market.

Clothing for a New Zealand Contingent being distributed at the Defence Stores, Wellington. Auckland Libraries Heritage Images Collection
Fitting out a New Zealand Contingent at the Wellington Defence Stores. Auckland Libraries Heritage Images Collection

The first task of the Defence Stores was to prepare the camp stores for the mobilisation camp that was to be established at Karori, just outside of Wellington. On 6 October 1899, three waggon-loads of camp equipment had been prepared and dispatched to Karori in the care of a work party from the Permanent Militia; the stores included[3]

  • 31 tents for the men
  • 6 Officers tents
  • Kitchen tent
  • Stores Tent
  • Mess Marquee
  • picket fences for tethering the horses

From the 6th to 21 October 1899, under the direct supervision of the Under-Secretary for Defence, Sir Arthur Percy Douglas, the Defence Storekeeper Captain Sam Anderson and his small staff spent up to 16 hours daily, receiving, recording, branding and then dispatching all manner of essential items to the assembled Contingent at Karori Camp.

Receiving the Stores at Karori Camp from the Defence Stores Department was the Camp Storekeeper Corporal Butler and two assistant gunners of the Permanent Artillery. [4] Corporal Butler and his two assistants ably carried out their duties ensuring that as equipment received from the Defence Stores Department, each member of the Contingent was issued with a set scale of kit, including blankets, several changes of underwear, three sets of uniform, overcoat, several pairs of boots and shoes, numerous other articles, rifle and accoutrements. In addition to these articles, saddlery and other equipment for each trooper’s horse were also issued. Total equipment issued to the Contingent was as follows;[5]  

Officers Equipment

  • Khaki tunics, 22 
  • khaki trousers, 22
  • cord breeches, 44
  • slouch-hats, 11
  • field-service caps, 11
  • Sam Brown belts (sets), 11
  • waterproof sheets, 11
  • spurs, 11
  • cloaks, 11
  • boots (pairs), 22
  • shoes (pairs), 22
  • haversacks, 11
  • water-bottles, 11
  • also, complete underwear

Men’s Personal Equipment

  • Khaki tunics, 400
  • slouch-hats, 200
  • forage-caps, 200
  • gaiters, 200
  • riding-breeches, 400
  • boots (pairs), 400
  • shoes (pairs), 400 
  • socks (pairs), 600
  • undershirts, 600 
  • flannel shirts, 600 
  • drawers, 600
  • cholera-belts, 600
  • braces, 200
  • spurs, 200
  • greatcoats, 200
  • holdalls complete, with brush and comb, knife, fork, spoon, and housewife, 200
  • clasp-knives and lanyards, 200
  • blankets, 400
  • waterproof sheets, 200
  • towels, 600
  • blue jerseys, 200
  • serge trousers, 200
  • kitbags, 200
  • button-brushes, 200
  • button-sticks, 200
  • shoe brushes (sets), 200
  • blacking-tins, 200
  • woollen caps, 200
  • dubbing (tins), 200
  • horses, 250, with stable equipment complete.

Horse Equipment

  • Saddles complete with wallets, leather numnahs, shoe-pockets, breastplates, girths, surcingle’s, stirrup-leathers, stirrup-irons, bridles complete, 211
  • surcingle’s, with pads, 250
  • headstalls (for ship use), 250
  • head-ropes, 250
  • heel-ropes, 250
  • picketing ropes, 250
  • picketing pegs, 250 
  • mallets, 62 
  • forage-nets, 250
  • nosebags, 250
  • forage-cords, 211
  • horse blankets, 250
  • hoof-pickers, 211
  • currycombs, 211
  • horse-brushes, 211
  • stable-sponges, 211
  • horse-rubbers, 400

Camp Equipment

  • Tents, 30
  • camp-kettles, 24 
  • axes, 4 
  • pickaxes, 8 
  • crowbars, 2
  • spades, 8
  • field-forge, complete, 1
  • farriers’ tools (sets), 4
  • horseshoes (cases), 3
  • horseshoe-nails (case), 1
  • saddlers’ tools, complete (case), 1
  • saddlers’ leather (roll), 1

Arms, Accoutrements

  • Carbines, Martini-Enfield, 200
  • sword-bayonets, 200
  • waist belts fitted for service, 200
  • oil-bottles, 200
  • haversacks, 200
  • water-bottles, 200
  • rifle-buckets, 200
  • mess-tins, 200
  • whistles for officers and /ion-commissioned officers, 17
  • revolvers, 17
New Zealand Contingent in marching order at Karori, 10 minutes before leaving to board their troopship.NZ Archives reference: AEGA 18982 PC4 Box 16 1899/37

With the SS Waiwera due to sail on 21 October, most deadlines were achieved, and the first New Zealand Contingent to South Africa sailed from Wellington on schedule. Many personal belongings were left behind at the Karori Camp by the members of the Contingent for return to the owner’s home locations. The Defence Stores Department had received lists and directions from the troopers and undertook to see that the things were sent to their homes.

In recognition of the outstanding effort exerted by the Defence Stores Department and the stress of equipping the Contingent, Sir Arthur Douglas the Under-Secretary for Defence, feeling that a letter of thanks was an inadequate acknowledgement of the special services rendered, personally thanked the staff of the Defence Store Department at their Buckle-street Store Office on the 24 October 1899. In a hearty speech, Sir Arthur acknowledged the untiring energy and zeal displayed by the staff. He informed them that he had recommended the Minister of Defence show recognition of the work done in some substantial manner.[6]

‘Defence Department and Alexandra Barracks, Wellington’, URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/media/photo/buckle-street-wellington, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 21-Apr-2016

With the first Contingent departing New Zealand in October 1899, The Defence Stores Department with only a modest increase in its workforce continued to provide ongoing mobilisation support to the further nine contingents that were dispatched to South Africa. The lessons of the initial mobilisation were not be forgotten. In the years leading up to the 1914 mobilisation, sporadic improvements were be made to the Defence Stores Department allowing it to equip a much larger and technically diverse Force to Samoa and Egypt in a limited timeframe.

Notes

[1] “New Zealands Contingent,” Evening Post, Volume LVIII, Issue LVIII, , 28 October 1899.
[2] “New Zealand’s Response,”  https://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/south-african-boer-war/new-zealands-response,
[3] “The Camp at Karori,” Evening Post, Volume LVIII, Issue 85, , 7 October 1899.
[4] “New Zealand Contingent: Letters from Commander of the Forces and Undersecertary for Defence “, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1899 Session I, H-06  (1899).
[5] Ibid.
[6] “Contingent Notes,” Evening Post, Volume LVIII, Issue 100, 25 October 1899.