MT Stores – 1939-1963

The Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (RNZAOC) and its predecessor’s primary storekeeping responsibility was providing Clothing, Camp Equipment, Ammunition, Arms and Accessories to New Zealand’s Military Forces. From the Second World War, the technical nature of military Storekeeping evolved to include a host of military equipment such as vehicles, communications equipment and mechanical plant. These new types of equipment were utilised in large quantities, and all required accessories and a complex range of repair parts to keep them operational. To provided a comprehensive and optimal measure of control from 1963, RNZAOC Stores Sections were raised as part of Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineer (RNZEME) workshops. The Stores Sections were complimented by the standing up of the Auto Parts trade in 1965. This article provides a broad and introductory overview of how the Motor Transport Branch (MT Branch) and the RNZAOC managed Motor Transport Stores (MT Stores) from 1939 to 1963.

As in the First World War, the New Zealand Army mobilised in 1939 would be equipped and organised to allow near-seamless integration into a larger British army. The British army of 1939 was one whose doctrine had embraced modern technology so that. ‘By the time of the invasion of Poland, the British Army in Europe was rather more motorised than the German Army.’[1] Aspects of the advanced British doctrine had filtered through to New Zealand in the later 1930s, with modern equipment such as Bren Guns and Universal carriers arriving in New Zealand and some rudimentary experiments in motorising the Army had taken place. However, as a legacy of interwar defence policies and financial constraints, the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC), unlike the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) in the United Kingdom, was not organised effectively and, as a result, unprepared to function effectively when the war began. It could be said that during the Second World War, New Zealand maintained two separate armies. First, the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force (2nd NZEF), with its combat units, supporting arms and logistic units, organised against modified War Office Establishment tables with G1098 stores directly drawn from British Stocks.[2] Secondly, there was the NZ Army at home. Although also organised against War Office Establishment tables, its equipment needs, and G1098 Stores would be provided from a New Zealand Logistical base.

The NZAOC of 1939 was a Corps that had suffered under the defence restraints of the interwar years and was primarily concerned with the supply and maintenance of clothing, equipment, ammunition, and weapons. Although the army had 56 vehicles, the NZAOC had little experience supporting Motor Transport (MT) on a scale required by a growing army.  A significant factor limiting the growth of the NZAOC in the critical early wartime years was that nearly all its senior leadership had been seconded to the 2nd NZEF. Given the need to rapidly expand and manage the capacity of the Army’s MT fleet, the Quartermaster General (QMG) decided in a significant break from the doctrine that to allow the NZAOC to focus on its key responsibilities, a separate MT Branch would be established.[3]

New Zealand Temporary Staff. Robert McKie Collection

The MT Branch was established in late 1939 to manage and maintain the thousands of purchased or impressed vehicles required by the military. Taking a similar approach to the RAOC in the United Kingdom, the MT Branch would leverage off the experience of the New Zealand Motor industry.[4]  Many of the MT Branch’s staff would be directly recruited from the motor industry into the New Zealand Temporary Staff (NZTS). By December 1942, the MT Branch consisted of,[5]

  • MT Workshops
    • 1 MT Workshops, Trentham
    • 2 MT Workshop, Waiouru
    • 3 MT Workshops, Papakura
    • 4 MT Workshops, Whangarei
    • 5 MT Workshops, Palmerston North
    • 6 MT Workshops, Wellington
    • 7 MT Workshops, Blenheim
    • 8 MT Workshops, Burnham
    • 9 MT Workshop, Dunedin
  • MT Depots providing pools of vehicles
    • 1 MT Depot, Auckland
    • 2 MT Depot, Hamilton
    • 3 MT Depot, Napier
    • 4 MT Depot, Wanganui
    • 5 MT Deport, Christchurch
  • MT Stores Depots providing MT spares, tools and equipment for MT Workshops and Depots
    • 1 Base MT Stores Depot, Wellington
    • 2 MT Stores Depot, Auckland
    • 3 MT Stores Depot, Wellington
    • 4 MT Stores Depot, Christchurch
    • 7 MT Stores Depot, Blenheim

As most vehicles utilised by the NZ Military in the early years of the war were impressed from civilian service, initial scaling of MT spares were achieved by simply purchasing the existing stock held by New Zealand motor manufacturers and dealerships. As the war progressed, new vehicles, equipment and spares arrived from the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and the United States, requiring further expansion of the MT Branch.

Freed from the burden of managing MT, the Chief Ordnance Officer (COO) with NZAOC, Territorial units of the New Zealand Ordnance Corps (NZOC) and personnel from the NZTS would provide.

  •  All natures of stores and equipment other than rations, forage, and fuel.
  • The repair and maintenance of armaments and equipment, including
    • Light Aid Detachments and mobile workshops providing 1st and 2nd line support across Field Force Units
    • Armament and General Engineering Workshops.
      • Main Ordnance Workshop, Trentham
      • 11 Ordnance Workshop, Whangarei
      • 12 Ordnance Workshop, Devonport
      • 13 Ordnance Workshop, Blenheim
      • 14 Ordnance Workshop, Burnham
      • 15 Ordnance Workshop, Dunedin

Post War Developments

Before the war, the NZAOC had not been organised to carry out its functions effectively. The conclusion of the war provided the opportunity for the NZAOC to be reorganised to bring it into line with RAOC organisational structures and procedures, including the management of vehicles and MT Spares. The MT Branch, which had only been intended as a temporary wartime organisation, would, as a result, have its wartime responsibilities absorbed into a reorganised NZAOC and newly established NZEME. [6] When the MT Branch was established in 1939, it had 62 vehicles at its disposal. By the end of the war the Branch had handled over 30000 vehicles, with 21000 disposed of by March 1946.

MT Workshops

The MT Branch Workshops along the Ordnance Workshops would, from 1 September 1946, be absorbed into a new organisation, the NZEME.[7]

MT Vehicle Depots

With many of the vehicles impressed earlier in the war returned to their original owners or disposed of during the war, the MT Vehicle Deports still held thousands of military vehicles. From 1 September 1947, responsibility for the MT Vehicle Depots was transferred to the RNZAOC, establishing the RNZAOC Vehicle Depots at Sylvia Park, Trentham, and Burnham.[8]

MT Spares Depots

Following several audits and stocktakes, spare parts, tools, and accessory s were handed over from MT Stores to the RNZAOC on 1 April 1948. To continue the management of MT Stores, the RNZAOC established MT Spares Groups at the Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) at Trentham and at the Northern and Southern District Ordnance Depots. The system of supply for MT Stores was that the RNZEME workshops held a small stock managed by RNZEME Stores Staff. Replenishment was by either Local Purchase or through the supporting District Ordnance Depot, MT Group. The exception was that the Central Districts Workshops at Waiouru and Linton demanded off the MOD MT Stores Group at Trentham. This anomaly was rectified in 1954 when the Central Districts Ordnance Depot at Linton was authorised to establish an MT Stores Depot.

By 1961 the NZ Army vehicle fleet was in transition as the older World War Two era fleet of vehicles, including Chevrolets, Fords and GMCs, where been replaced with a fleet of modern Bedford’s and Land Rovers. As the vehicle fleet transitioned, the management MT Stores were also reviewed, and several changes would be implemented during 1961and 1962.

Workshop Stores Sections

RNZAOC Workshop Stores Sections were to be raised at the following RNZEME Workshops,

•             Northern Districts Workshops,

•             Central Districts Workshops,

•             Central Districts Armament and General Workshops

•             Central Districts MT Workshops

•             Southern District Workshops

50% of the staff for the new Stores Sections would be RNZEME personnel transferred into the RNZAOC.[9]

Ordnance Deport MT Stores Groups

With raising the RNZAOC Stores Sections, the District Ordnance Depot MT Stores Groups were rerolled as Technical Stores Groups and ceased to hold MT Stores. Stock of MT Stores was redistributed to the new Stores Sections whose initial scaling for 1962 was to have six months of inventory; this was reduced to three months after January 1963. The balance of the District Ordnance Depots stock not required by the Stores Sections was to be transferred to the MOD.

By the end of 1963, RNZAOC Stores Sections had been firmly established as part of the RNZEME Workshops, providing not only MT Spares but the full range of repair parts and spares required by the workshops. Developing their own unique culture within the RNZAOC, the stage was set to introduce an RNZAOC Auto Parts and Accessories trade in 1965.


Notes

[1] Jonathan Fennell, Fighting the people’s war : the British and Commonwealth armies and the Second World War, Armies of the Second World War, (Cambridge University Press, 2019), Non-fiction, 32.

[2]  Army Form G1098, the Unit Equipment Table giving the entitlement to stores and equipment.

[3] The Ordnance Manual (War) 1939 and mobilisation regulations stated that all A and B Vehicles less those driven by the RASC were to be maintained by the RAOC, RASC vehicles were to be maintained by the RASC. Ordnance Manual (War), ed. The War Office (London: His Majestys Stationery Office, 1939), 12.

[4] P.H. Williams, War on Wheels: The Mechanisation of the British Army in the Second World War (History Press Limited, 2016), 42-54.

[5] “Staff – Motor transport branch,” Archives New Zealand Item No R22438851  (1942).

[6] “Organisation – Policy and General – Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps 1946-1984,” Archives New Zealand Item No R17311537  (1946).

[7] The NZEME would gain royal status in 1947 as the Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RNZEME).

[8] Peter Cooke, Warrior Craftsmen, RNZEME 1942-1996 (Wellington: Defense of New Zealand Study Group, 2017), 189.

[9] “Organisation – Policy and General – Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps 1946-1984.”


One Hundred Years at Burnham

June 2021 is a significant month for the New Zealand Army, the RNZAOC, and its successor, the RNZALR. June 2021 commemorates the One-Hundredth anniversary of the establishment of Burnham Camp. It also celebrates that one unit has had a continuous footprint in Burnham since 1921, the NZAOC Ordnance Depot, now the RNZALR 3 Catering and Supply Company.  

The site on which Burnham Camp now sits had since 1875 been the Burnham Industrial School for neglected and delinquent children. Utilised by the Territorials as a training site from 1914, it was recommended in 1918 that the school and grounds continue to be used as a site for future Territorial Force Annual Camps.

Burnham Industrial School | Burnham Industrial School was op… | Flickr
Burnham Industrial School. Archives New Zealand Reference: photographs CH438/1

The Industrial School closed in 1918, and with wartime training ceasing, the need for a permanent army camp to act as a mobilisation centre in the South Island was recognised. With the facilities at Burnham serving the Army well during the war, negotiations for transferring the Industrial School buildings and land from the Education Department to the Defence Department began in earnest.

On 11 September 1920, the Education and Defence Departments had reached an agreement on the handover of the Burnham Industrial School to the Defence Department for use as a Military training camp and Ordnance Depot.

The NZAOC had since 1906 maintained two Mobilisation and Ordnance Stores in the South Island to support the Southern Military districts.  Located at King Edward Barracks in Christchurch was the store responsible for the Canterbury and Nelson Military District. The Otago and Southland Military Districts store was in St Andrew Street Dunedin. However, as part of a post-war reorganisation of the New Zealand Military Forces and the receipt of new military equipment delivered from the United Kingdom , the decision was made to establish a South Island Ordnance Depot at Burnham. This led to the NZAOC on 15 November 1920, taking over the existing Education Department buildings at Burnham for an Ordnance Depot. Concurrently, approval for a new North Island Ordnance Depot at Hopuhopu to serve the Northern Military District was approved.

With the closure of the Dunedin Store and the transfer of Stores from the North island imminent, the establishment of the new Ordnance Depot took on a sense of urgency. Accordingly, £500 (2021 NZD 48,639.23) was approved in November 1920 for the purchase and erection of shelving, with a further £600 (2021 NZD 58,367.07) approved for the erection of new buildings, including twenty-five from Featherston Camp and the removal and reassembly of Buckley Barracks from Lyttelton for use by the Ordnance Depot.

As the Canterbury and Nelson Military District and the Otago and Southland Military Districts were combined into the Southern Military Command, Captain Arthur Rumbold Carter White was appointed as Ordnance Officer Southern Command on 27 May 1921. White had been appointed as the Defence Storekeeper for the canterbury District in 1906. Reclassified as the Assistant Director of Equipment and Ordnance Stores and granted honorary rank in February 1916 and then commissioned as Captain in the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department (NZAOD) in 1917.

With the formalities of the transfer between the Education Department and Defence Department finalised on 31 May 1921, Major E Puttick, NZ Staff “Q” Duties formally received the property and buildings of Burnham Camp from the Education Department. Confirming the status of Burnham as a New Zealand Military Camp, General Order 255 of 20 June 1921 appointed Captain A.R.C White NZAOD as the first Commandant of Burnham Camp, a position he would hold until 1930.

Captain A.R.C White NZAOC. M.Dart/Public Domain

The Ordnance Depot would remain in the Industrial School buildings until 1941, when construction of a purpose-built warehouse and ammunition area was completed. Since 1921, Burnham Camp has undergone many transformations and remains one hundred years on as the South Island home of the NZ Army.

Despite many units coming and going from Burnham Camp, the only unit to retain a constant footprint in Burnham Camp has been the Ordnance Depot. As the nature of logistic support and how it is delivered has developed and changed over the last one hundred years, the original Ordnance Depot had undergone many re-organisations to keep pace, and since 1921 has been known as

  • 1921-1942, Southern Districts Ordnance Depot
  • 1942-1948, No 3 Ordnance Sub Depot.
  • 1948 renamed and split into.
    • Southern Districts Ordnance Depot (SDOD).
    • Southern Districts Ammunition Depot (SDAD) and
    • Southern Districts Vehicle Depot (SDVD)
  • 1961 SDOD reorganised to include the SDVD and SDAD
  • 1968 Renamed 3 Central Ordnance Depot (2 COD)
  • 16 October 1978 Renamed to 3 Supply Company
  • 1990 Renamed to 3 Field Supply Company
  • 9 December 1996 becomes 3 Supply Company, Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (RNZALR)., and later renamed as 3 Catering and Supply Company, RNZALR

Although other Corps and Regiments have been tenants at Burnham Camp, it is the Ordnance Store which from 1921, first as an NZAOC and then RNZAOC unit and now as an RNZALR unit has been a constant and unbroken tenant of Burnham Camp. A record of service in one location unmatched by any other unit of the New Zealand Army.


Burnham Ordnance Depot 1942

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.


High hopes for Hopuhopu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GREAT MILITARY CAMP

WORK AT HOPUHOPU

DOMINIONS’ AMMUNITION DEPOT

A SPLENDID TRAINING GROUND

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

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

 

A Varied Terrain

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

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

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

The Magazine Section

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hopuhopu 2020. Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development

Notes

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

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

[3] Furze is another term for gorse.


RNZAOC 1 April 1953 to 31 March 1954

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

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel F Reid, OBE

Technical Assistant to the Chief Inspection Ordnance Officer

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

Northern Military District

District Inspecting Ordnance Officer

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

IOO NDAD

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

Officer Commanding Northern District Ammunition Repair Depot

  • Captain Pipson (From 28 Aug 1953)

Central Military District

District Inspecting Ordnance Officer

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

Compulsory Military Training

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

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

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

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

Ordnance in the New Zealand Division

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

HQ CRAOC

Duties included.

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

Divisional Ordnance Field Park

The functions of the OFP were.

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

Mobile Laundry and Bath Company

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

RNZAOC Stores Sections

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

Brigade Warrant Officers

RNZAOC representative at Brigade Headquarters

Presentation of Coronation Trophy

In celebration to the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the Coronation Trophy was presented to the Central Districts Training Depot by All Ranks of the RNZAOC from the Central Military District. The exact criteria for the presentation of the trophy has been long forgotten, however from the 11th CMT intake the Coronation Trophy would be awarded to an outstanding student of each CMT intake.  76

Acquisition of additional Training areas by NZ Army

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

Flood Relief

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

Tangiwai Railway Disaster

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

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

Royal Tour 23 December 1953 – 31 Jan 1954

Camp Commandants Bodyguard 1954. Robert Mckie RNZAOC School Collection

Emergency Force (Kayforce)

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

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

Out of Kayforce

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

Into Kay force

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

Seconded to Fiji Military Forces

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

Ordnance Conferences

Ordnance Conference 18-19 August 1953

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

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

Routine Ordnance Activities

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

Ammunition Examiner Qualification

The following soldiers qualified as Ammunition Examiners

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

Small Arms Ammunition

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

Support to the French War in Vietnam

During this period the RNZAOC prepared a second consignment of stores and equipment for transfer to the French in Vietnam.  Transferred from surplus and obsolete stocks held in RNZAOC depots, the following items would be dispatched to Vietnam;[4]

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

Introduction of New Equipment

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

During this period, the following equipment was introduced into service;[6]

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

Honours List

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

  • Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Reid.[7]

Promotions

  • Private George Thomas Dimmock to Lance Corporal – 1 April 1953
  • Temporary Warrant Officer Class Two Alick Claude Doyle to Substantive WO2, 1 April 1953
  • Lieutenant J. Harvey to Captain. 9 December 1953.[8]
  • Captain (temp. Major) H. McK Reid to Major. 22 January 1954.[9]
  • Lieutenant-Colonel (temp Colonel) A. H. Andrews, OBE, BE, to Colonel. 21 October 1953.[10]
  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster T Rose to be Captain and Quartermaster. 1 May 1953.[11]

Enlistments into the RNZAOC

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

Appointments into the RNZAOC

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

Transferred out of the RNZAOC to other Corps

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

Transferred to the Supplementary List, NZ Regular Force

  • Captain and Quartermaster R. P. Kennedy, E.D., having reached the normal age for retirement, 13 April 1953.[15]

Transferred to the Reserve of Officers General List

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

Re-Engagements into the New Zealand Regular Force

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

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

Civic Appointments

On 16 July 1953 Maurice Richard John Keeler, Ordnance Officer, Northern; District Ordnance Depot, RNZAOC Ngaruawahia, was authorized to take and receive statutory declarations under section 301 of the Justices of the Peace Act 1927.[17]

Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

[3] Damien Fenton, A False Sense of Security : The Force Structure of the New Zealand Army 1946-1978, Occasional Paper / Centre for Strategic Studies: New Zealand: No. 1 (Centre for Strategic Studies: New Zealand, Victoria University of Wellington, 1998), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 8-9.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[11] “Coronation Honours List,”  906.

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

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

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

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

[16] Ibid.

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


A retrospective view of the Main Ordnance Depot, Trentham

From 1920 to 1996, Trentham Camp in Wellington’s Hutt Valley was home to the New Zealand’s Army’s principle Ordnance Depot. During its 76 year tenure as a Ordnance Depot, also every New Zealand Army Ordnance Officer and Soldier would at some stage of their career work at, pass through or have 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 the Ordnance Services, the early interwar years would be a period of transition. In the South Island, the Dunedin and Christchurch Ordnance Stores would close and relocate to Burnham Camp. In the North Island the Palmerston North Depot would close and the main depot at Mount Cook would relocate to Trentham Camp to establish the Main Ordnance Depot.

The Featherson Camp and Mount Eden Ordnance Stores would remain in operation until 1928 when a new Purpose built Ordnance Depot at Hopuhopu in the Waikato was constructed.

With no purpose built storage accommodation, the NZAOC Main Ordnance Depot at Trentham Camp would in the years leading up to the Second World War would 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 is construction in late 1940/early 1941, this warehouse (Building 73) was constructed as part of a wider nationwide program of defence works. With the contracts for construction 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 would be utilised as the model for new warehouses that would later be 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 in during the inter war years. Under construction is Building 68, which in later years would become 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 would later become the Textile Repair Shop.

Buildings 64, 65 and 66 have been completed with Building’s 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 amount of items held in Sub Depots at Māngere, Linton Camp, Whanganui, Waiouru, Lower Hutt and Wellington.

Twelve addition 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 has 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 1950’s 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 as 1 Base Supply Battalion, RNZOAC. There has been little 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 at a cost of $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 would be installed at a later date.

2020

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

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


RNZAOC 1 April 1952 to 31 March 1953

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

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel F Reid, OBE

Compulsory Military Training

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

  • 6th intake of 2850 recruits on 19 Jun 1952
  • 7th intake of 2645 recruits on 11 Sept 1952
  • 8th intake of 2831 recruits on 8 Jan 1953

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

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

Territorial Force

The Ordnance Headquarters of the New Zealand Division, was on 19 Apr 1952 re-designated as Headquarters CRNZAOC New Zealand Division (HQ CRNZAOC NZ Div).[3]

Kayforce

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

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

Out of Kayforce

  • Staff Sergeant Neville Wallace Beard, 3 Jun 1952
  • Lance Corporal James Ivo Miller, 21 Jun 1952
  • Lieutenant Colonel Geoferry John Hayes Atkinson, 15 Jan 1953
  • Corporal Desmond Mervyn Kerslake, 18 Mar 1953

Into Kay force

  • TEAL Flight from Auckland,15 May 1952
    • Private Dennis Arthur Astwood
  • TEAL Flight from Wellington, 7 Jun 1952
    • Corporal Wiremu Matenga
  • TEAL Flight from Wellington, 14 Jun 1952
    • Sergeant Barry Stewart
  • TEAL Flight from Auckland, 30 Jun 1952
    • Lance Corporal Thomas Joseph Fitzsimons
    • Private Gane Cornelius Hibberd
  • TEAL Flight from Wellington, 30 Aug 1952
    • Staff Sergeant James Russell Don
  • 1 Sept 1952
    • Corporal Gordon Winstone East
  • TEAL Flight from Auckland, 23 Dec 1952
    • Captain Patrick William Rennison
  • TEAL Flight from Auckland, 3 Mar 1953
    • Lance Corporal Alexander George Dobbins

Coronation Contingent

On 2 Jun 1953, Queen Elizabeth II was crowned as monarch of the United Kingdom and British Commonwealth of nations. To commemorate the coronation, New Zealand provided a contingent of 75 Officers and men. RNZAOC soldier Temporary Staff Sergeant Earnest Maurice Alexander Bull was appointed as the Contingent Quartermaster Sergeant.[4] T/SSgt Bull would travel with the contingent on the long and uncomfortable return trip to the United Kingdom on the Australian aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney. Despite some controversy on the inadequate accommodation provided on the HMAS Sydney and quality of the New Zealand uniforms compared to the Australians, it was still considered a privilege to be part of the contingent.[5] A highlight for Bull was when he held the appointment of Sergeant of the Guard at St James Palace.

At Sea. 1953. Army members of the Australian and New Zealand Coronation Contingent engaged in rifle drill aboard the aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney, while en route to England for the coronation of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Copyright expired – public domain

Ordnance Conferences

Ordnance Conference 16 – 18 September 1952

The Director of Ordnance Services hosted a conference of the Districts DADOS and the Officer Commanding Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) at Army Headquarters over the period 16-18 September 1952.[6]  

Ordnance Conference 21-23 April 1953

The Director of Ordnance Services hosted a conference of the Districts DADOS and the Officer Commanding Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) at Army Headquarters over the period 21-23 April 1953. 

Items discussed at the conference included;

  • Corps Policy
  • Corps Establishments
  • Estimation of expenditure
  • Provision
  • Vehicles and Spares
  • LAD tools
  • Standard packages
  • District problems

Routine Ordnance Activities

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

Ammunition Examiner Qualification

Private Luskie qualified as an Ammunition Examiner as AE No 75

Small Arms Ammunition

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

Introduction of New Equipment

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

During this period, the following equipment was introduced into service;[7]

  • 384 Series 1 80″ Land-Rovers
  • 11 Daimler Mk 2 Armoured Cars[8]

New Headdress trial

It was announced in December 1952 that a trial to replace the famous “Lemon Squeezer” hat was to be undertaken.[9] Reintroduced in 1949 as the official peacetime headdress, the Lemon Squeezer was found to be unsuitable because it could not be rolled up or placed into a pocket without losing its shape.[10]  One it the items to be trialled was a Canadian style peaked ski caps made of brown serge wool used in the Battle Dress uniform.

Trentham Camp Commandant

For the first time since 1931, the appointment of Trentham Camp Commandant would be filled by an Ordnance Officer. In December 1952, Major D Roderick the incumbent Officer Commanding of the Main Ordnance Depot would take up the additional appointment of Trentham Camp Commandant.[11] Assisting Major Roderick as the Regimental Sergeant Major of bothTrentham Camp and the Main Ordnance Depot was Warrant Office Class One Alfred Wesseldine.[12]

Hope Gibbons Fire

On 29 July 1952, fire broke out in the Hope Gibbons building in Wellington. Located in Dixon Street, the eight story Hope Gibbons office block became a towering inferno after a vat of industrial thinners caught alight in an adjacent building to the rear. One of the unsatisfactory and dispersed locations of the government archives, the building held numerous public records from the Public Works, Lands and Survey, Labour and Employment, Agriculture, Marine and Defence Departments.  Many of the paper records dating back to 1840 were destroyed or damaged. Some records were salvaged and are still undergoing conservation work.

Included in the Defence Department files were many of the records of the Colonial Storekeeper, Defence Stores Department and the early Ordnance Corps, including records from the 1st and 2nd World Wars. The destruction and damage of these records created a significant gap in the historiography of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps.

The tremendous loss of public records in this fire prompted the establishment of the National Archives in 1957.[13]

Honours List

Long Service and Good Conduct

  • Warrant Officer Class One Bernard Percy Banks, Southern Districts Vehicle Depot, 16 Oct 1952.[14]
  • Warrant Officer Class One William Galloway, Central District Ordnance Depot, Waiouru Sub Depot, 25 Sept 1952

Enlistments into the RNZAOC

  • Brian Gush –16 May 1952
  • Robert J Plummer – 16 Sept 1952
  • John B Glasson – 9 Dec 1952
  • Thomas Woon – 17 Jun 1952

Transferred into the RNZAOC from other Corps

  • Warrant Officer Class One William Galloway from NZ Regiment to RNZAOC, June 1952
  • Warrant Officer Class One Ronald William Stitt from The Royal New Zeland Artillery to be Lieutenant and Quartermaster, RNZAOC from15 March 1953.[15]

Re-Engagements into the New Zealand Regular Force

With effect 1 Apr 1952, the undermentioned members of the RNZAOC were re-engaged into the NZ Regular Force;

  • Staff Sergeant M.J Ayers (NZWAC), 2 years
  • Sergeant B.N Evans, three years
  • Sergeant A, Grigg. Three years
  • Sergeant S.F Pyne, one year
  • Private (Temp LCpl) M.J Somerville (NZWAC).

Promotions

To Lieutenant and Quartermaster

  • Warrant Officer Class One Arthur Fraser [16]
  • Warrant Officer Class Two (Temp WO1) Ronald John Crossman [17]
  • Warrant Officer Class One  George William Dudman[18]

To Lieutenant

  • 1952, Lieutenant (on probation) J. H. Doone, with seniority from 25 Oct 1948.[19]

Transferred to Reserve of Officers

The following officer was transferred to the Reserve of Officer with effect 17 Nov 1952;[20]

  • Lieutenant R. K. Treacher

Notes

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

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

[3] Chief of Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps “Units Resignated,” New Zealand Gazette No 32, 19 April 1953, 554.

[4] Howard E. Chamberlain, Service Lives Remembered : The Meritorious Service Medal in New Zealand and Its Recipients, 1895-1994 ([Wellington, N.Z.]: H. Chamberlain, 1995), 67-68.

[5] ” N.Z. Contingent Protests on Coronation Voyage,” Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1907 – 1954)  7 May 1953

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

[7] Damien Fenton, A False Sense of Security : The Force Structure of the New Zealand Army 1946-1978, Occasional Paper / Centre for Strategic Studies: New Zealand: No. 1 (Centre for Strategic Studies: New Zealand, Victoria University of Wellington, 1998), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 21.

[8] Ibid.

[9] “NZ Army May Get Ski Cap,” Burra Record (SA : 1878 – 1954) 16 Dec 1952.

[10] “Lemon Squeezer Back as Official Army Hat,” Northern Advocate, 16 February 1949.

[11] Howard Weddell, Trentham Camp and Upper Hutt’s Untold Military History (Howard Weddell, 2018), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 226.

[12] Major J.S Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Trentham: RNZAOC, 1992), 266.

[13] Stuart Strachan, “Hope Gibbons Fire, Archives – Government Archives,” Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand  (2014).

[1 4]Chamberlain, Service Lives Remembered : The Meritorious Service Medal in New Zealand and Its Recipients, 1895-1994, 32-33.

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

[16] Ibid., 569.

[17]Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

[19] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army “, New Zealand Gazette No 75, 27 November 1953, 1959.

[20] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army “,  569.


RNZAOC 1 April 1951 to 31 March 1952

This period would see the RNZAOC continue to support Regular, Territorial and Compulsory Military Training, while also providing ongoing support to Kayforce.[1]

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel F Reid, OBE

Compulsory Military Training

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

  • 3rd intake of 3011 recruits on 2 August 1951
  • 4th intake of 2981 recruits on 3 January 1952
  • 5th intake of 2694 recruits on 27 March 1952

Unlike the previous intakes of 18-year-olds, the 4th intake consisted of a large number of 20-year-olds.

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

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

Kayforce

During July 1951 the New Zealand Government decided to increase its commitment to Kayforce with an expansion draft. Between July and 2 August 1951, the RNZAOC would outfit and equip the expansion draft with the necessary clothing and personal and equipment along with many additional stores and equipment for Kayforce including,

  • 12 Twenty-Five pounders[3]
  • A Battery truck
  • Tentage and camp equipment
  • Gun Ammunition

The expansion draft of 579 officers and men departed Wellington on 2 August 1951. However, on 15 August 1951, a day after departing Darwin, the Wahine ran aground in the Arafura Sea. All the crew and soldiers safely evacuated, continuing their journey to Korea by air, in what would be the first mass airlift of troops conducted by New Zealand. In an attempted salvage attempt a small number of personal kitbags and thirty cases of rifles were saved, with the 25 Pounder Guns disabled by the removal of their breech blocks, the remainder of stores and equipment remaining in the hold of the Wahine to this day.[4]

The loss of stores shipped on the Wahine threw an unplanned and additional task onto the RNZAOC. Within fourteen days, RNZAOC units would assemble and pack the required replacement stores to ensure that no hardship would be occasioned to the Force in Korea.[5] The replacement stores were dispatched by sea from Auckland on 4 September 1951.[6]

“Wahine” aground on the Masela Island Reef off Cape Palsu in the Arafura Sea

During this period the RNZAIOC provide the following reinforcements to Kayforce;

  • 3rd Reinforcements, SS Wanganellella, 21 January 1952
    • Lance Corporal Owen Fowell
    • Corporal Leonard Farmer Holder
    • Private Desmond Mervyn Kerslake

New Zealand Army Act, 1950

The New Zealand Army Act 1950, together with the Army regulations 1951 and the Army Rules of Procedure 1951 issued under the authority of the Act, came into force on 1 December 1951, Placing the administration of the New Zealand Army entirely under the legislative control of the New Zealand Government and independent of the United Kingdom

Ordnance Conference 11 -13 April 1951

The Director of Ordnance Services hosted a conference of the Districts DADOS and the Officer Commanding Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) at Army Headquarters over the period 11 -13 April 1951.[7]

Items discussed at the conference included;

  • Corps Policy
  • Kayforce
  • TF Recruit intakes
  • Estimation of expenditure
  • Payment of Accounts
  • Provision
  • Vehicles and MT Spares
  • Personnel
  • Ammunition

Pay and Allowances

During this period, new scales of pay and allowances for the Armed Forces were authorised. The new pay code provided an opportunity for the introduction of an improved system of “star” classification for all Other Ranks. The “Star” Classification system would by utilising trade tests allow pay to be related to trade ability.

Routine Ordnance Activities

Over this period the RNZAOC in addition to its regular duties of provision, holding and the issue of multitudinous stores required by the Army and the issue and dispatch of equipment and personnel for Kayforce had undertaken several other significant tasks;

The relocation of stores from Waiouru and Seaview to Mangaroa

The transfer of stores from Waiouru to Mangaroa was completed during this period. The transfer of stores from Seaview to Mangaroa and Trentham continued, with a further 10000 square feet (930 square meters) of storage at Seaview made available to other Government departments.

Inspection of Ammunition

The Inspection Ordnance Officers Group (IOO Gp), which remained considerably understaffed, was fully extended in the inspection of ammunition required for ongoing training requirements.

Small Arms Ammunition

Production of small-arms ammunition commenced in December 1951 at the Colonial Ammunition Company factory at Mount Eden in Auckland. The Proof Officer reported that ammunition so far received was of high quality.

Introduction of New Equipment

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

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

  • Four 5.5-inch Mark III Medium Guns.[8]

Support to the French War in Vietnam

In a move to calculated to enhance New Zealand’s national security by been seen abetting our allies in their efforts to contain Communism in South-East Asia, The New Zealand government in 1952 provided tangible support to the French in Vietnam by authorising the transfer of surplus and obsolete lend-Lease weapons and ammunition to the French Forces. Transferred from stocks held in RNZAOC depots, the following items would be dispatched to Vietnam;[9]

  • 13000 rifles, and
  • 670000 rounds of small arms ammunition.

The rifles, machine guns (and ammunition) were lend-lease weapons that had urgently been provided to New Zealand in 1942 when the threat of Japanese invasion was very real. Chambered in the American 30-06 calibre the weapons served with the Home Guard and New Zealand units in the pacific, notably with RNZAF units co-located with American Forces.

Enlistments into the RNZAOC

  • George Thomas Dimmock – 2 August 1951

Discharged 31 March 1952

  • Corporal R.C Fisher (Ammunition Examiner IOO Branch)

Notes

[1] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1951 to 31 March 1952 “, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1952).

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

[3] Howard Weddell, Trentham Camp and Upper Hutt’s Untold Military History (Howard Weddell, 2018), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 184-5.

[4] I. C. McGibbon, New Zealand and the Korean War (Oxford University Press in association with the Historical Branch, Dept. of Internal Affairs, 1992), Non-fiction, Government documents, 199.

[5] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1951 to 31 March 1952 “.

[6] McGibbon, New Zealand and the Korean War, 200.

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

[8] A total of 16 guns, delivered in groups of Four on a mixture of MkI and MkII carriages would be supplied to the NZ Army between 1951 and . Damien Fenton, A False Sense of Security : The Force Structure of the New Zealand Army 1946-1978, Occasional Paper / Center for Strategic Studies: New Zealand: No. 1 (Center for Strategic Studies: New Zealand, Victoria University of Wellington, 1998), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 21.

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


RNZAOC 1 April 1950 to 31 March 1951

This period was the culmination of four years of planning and preparation for the post-war Army and RNZAOC. On 1 April 1951, the first two intakes of recruits trained under the Compulsory Military Training (CMT) scheme began to fill the Field Units of the RNZAOC as those units began to take shape. In addition to the challenge presented in supporting CMT, the RNZAOC would also contribute to the raising and equipping a force for Service in Korea and assist the civilian powers in mitigating the effects of industrial action at the ports.[1]

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel F Reid, OBE

Compulsory Military Training

The first intake of CMT consisted of 1846 recruits marched into the three district training camps on 3 May, followed by the second intake of 4053 recruits on the 4th of January 1951.[2]

Emergency Force (Kayforce)

Following the North Korean invasion of South Korea in June 1950, the New Zealand Government announced on 26 July 1950 the commitment to raise a force for Service in Korea. With a brief recruiting period closing on 5 August 1950, 5982 men volunteered their service, with those selected marching into the District Training Camps on 29 August 1950. On the completion of the four-week basic training, the majority of the Force concentrated at Waiour to continue training, with the specialists of Signals, EME and Ordnance competing their trade specific training at Trentham.[3]

The Ordnance Section of the Force would be small and consist of one Officer and five Other Ranks. Commanded by Captain Geoffrey John Hayes Atkinson, an officer with recent operational Ordnance experience gained in J-Force during the post-war occupation of Japan, the five OR’s would all be serving RNZAOC Soldiers;

  • Lance Corporal Neville Wallace Beard
  • Lance Corporal Bruce Jerome Berney
  • Private Keith Robert Meynell Gamble
  • Lance Corporal James Ivo Miller
  • Private Thomas Allan (Tom) Hill

The Ordnance effort required to equip the forces was considerable as two sets of equipment for Kayforce had to be concentrated and issued from existing stocks or withdrawn from regular units.[4]

  • One set of approximately 1000 tons for loading on the freighter SS Ganges, including;
    • 35 Twenty Five Pounder guns,
    • 345 Vehicles
    • 62 Gun trailers
    • 10 Tones of tentage
    • 170 Tones of Ammunition
    • Various other stores to support initial operations
  • The second set of equipment in equal proportions also had to be prepared and issued to the contingent to facilitate its training.

Lance Corporal Berney represented the RNZAOC as part of Advance Party No 2 that accompanied the stores on the SS Ganges which departed Wellington on 25 November 1950.

Captian Atkinson and Lance Corporal Miller departed for Korea by RNZAF Dakota as part of Advance Party No 1 on 7 December 1950.

The main body, Including Lance Corporal Beard and Privates Gamble and Hill, departed from Wellington on 10 December 1950 on the SS Ormonde.

The main body arrived at Pusan, Korea on 31 December 1950, the Ganges had arrived some days earlier and already discharged much of Kay Forces equipment onto the Pusan docks. HQ K Force and the advance party had wasted little time and acquired accommodation for the Headquarters in downtown Pusan, and had shelter for the main body prepared at an abandoned school on the outskirts of the city.

New Zealand Army Act, 1950

The New Zealand Army Act received Royal assent on 1 November 1950. This Act replaced the out of date Defence Act 1909, the Army Board Act 1937, the Army Act (Imperial) and the King’s Regulations. The NZ Army Act established the New Zealand Army as a Military Force independent of United Kindom legislation and under the legislative control of the New Zealand Government in both peace and war, serving within and beyond New Zealand.[5]

Ordnance Conference 24 -26 May 1950

The Director of Ordnance Services hosted a conference of the Districts DADOS and the Officer Commanding Main Ordnance Depot(MOD) at Army Headquarters over the period 24-26 May 1950. Items discussed at the conference included;[6]

  • Ordnance staff establishments
  • CMT intakes 1,2 and 3 anticipated Ordnance problems in supporting and improvements
  • Payment of Accounts
  • Combined Indent and Voucher forms
  • Clothing
  • Provision Supply
  • Sizing for CMT
  • Vehicles A & B
  • MT Provision
  • Army estimates in relation to Ordnance
  • Progress returns
  • Ammunition
  • Equipment for TF Units
  • Distribution of Artillery Stores

Ordnance Conference 26 -28 September 1950

The Director of Ordnance Services hosted a conference of the Districts DADOS and the Officer Commanding Main Ordnance Depot(MOD) at Army Headquarters over the period 26-28 September 1950. Items discussed at the conference included;[7]

  • General Ordnance Policy
  • K Force
  • Personnel
  • A Vehicles and spares
  • B Vehicles and spares
  • Clothing
  • Camp Equipment
  • Technical Stores
  • Ammunition
  • Provision
  • Estimates
  • Authorisation of expenditure

Industrial Disputes

Early in March, the Army,  Navy and the Air Force were called upon to assist in the maintenance of essential services as a consequence of the waterside industrial dispute. Ordnance Soldiers played their pared and assisted in the continual operation of the wharves.[8]

Routine Ordnance Activities

Over this period the RNZAOC in addition to its regular duties of provision, holding and the issue of multitudinous stores required by the Army and the issues and dispatch of equipment and personnel for Kayforce had undertaken several other significant tasks.

The relocation of stores from Waiouru and Seaview to Mangaroa.

As Waiouru was to be used more extensively for training, the large quantities of stores held in troop accommodation were rationalised and relocated to the newly established depot at Mangaroa. This depot also received large quantities of stores from the wartime warehouses at Seaview, resulting in 48000 Square feet (4460 Square meters) of space at Seaview released to other Government Departments.

Inspection of Ammunition

The inspection and repair of Small Arms and Gun ammunition conducted by the Inspection Ordnance Officers Group (IOO Gp) had continued as staffing levels permitted. However, due to staff restrictions, much repair work on Gun Ammunition and the disposal of unserviceable rounds led to the deferral of this work.

Introduction of New Equipment

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

  • 4.2-inch Heavy Mortar.

Enlistments into the RNZAOC

  • Robert J Sontgen – 15 July 1950

Promotions

  • Sergeant Alick Dick Doyle to Staff Sergeant – 1 April 1950
  • Sergeant Maurice Sidney Phillips to Staff Sergeant – 23 May 1950
  • Sergeant Murry Alexander Burt to Staff Sergeant – 8 January 1951

Notes

[1] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1950 to 31 March 1951 “, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1951).

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

[3] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1950 to 31 March 1951 “.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

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

[7] Ibid.

[8] Major J.S Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Trentham: RNZAOC, 1992), 176.


RNZAOC 1 June 1949 to 31 March 1950

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

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

Chief Inspecting Ordnance Officer

  • Major I.S Millar

Senior Inspecting Ordnance Officer

  • Captain J.G.R Morley

IOO Technical Assistant

  • Captain N.C Fisher

Main Ordnance Depot, Officer Commanding

  • Major A.D Leighton

Main Ordnance Depot, Second in Command

  • Captain M.K Keeler

Northern Military District

Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services

District Inspecting Ordnance Officer

  • Captain E.C Green

OC Northern District Ordnance Depot

OC Northern District Ammunition Depot

  • Captain E.C Green

OC Northern District Vehicle Depot

Central Military District

Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services

District Inspecting Ordnance Officer

  • Captain G.H Perry

OC Central District Ordnance Depot

  • Captain Rennision

OC Central District Ammunition Depot

  • Captain Robert Price Kennedy

OC Central District Vehicle Depot

Southern Military District

Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Service

District Inspecting Ordnance Officer

  • Captain E Hancock

OC Southern District Ordnance Depot

OC Southern District Ammunition Depot

  • Captain William Cleaver Ancell

OC Southern District Vehicle Depot

New Zealand Division

Chief of Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (CRNZAOC)

  • Lieutenant Colonel Donald Edward Harper

2nd Infantry Brigade, Ordnance Field Park Platoon

  • Lieutenant G. W. Clark

3rd Infantry Brigade, Ordnance Field Park Platoon

  • Captain K. S. Brown[1]

Regrouping the Army

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

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

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

Compulsory Military Training

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

Senior Ammunition Officers Conference

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

Attending the Conference were;

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

Item discussed at the conference included;

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

Ordnance Conference

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

Items discussed at the conference included;

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

Ordnance activities over the period

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

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

New Years and Birthday Honours List

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

Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE)

  • Warrant Officer Class One William Sampson Valentine, RNZAOC, of Christchurch.[6]

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

  • Warrant Officer Class I Edward Coleman, RNZAOC.

Transfer of IOO personnel

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

Northern Military District

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

Central Military District

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

Southern Military District

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

Main Ordnance Depot

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

Re-Engagements into the New Zealand Regular Force

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

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

Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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