Auckland Defence Store, 1861 – 1903

Throughout the early 1860s, elements from the Militia and Volunteers supported the Imperial troops undertaking the bulk of the military operations in the early years of the New Zealand Wars. In 1861 as George Grey assumed the role of Governor for a second term, Grey undertook a policy of conciliation while also preparing for war.  As General Cameron built up his Imperial forces, Gray reviewed and overhauled the citizen forces of New Zealand. In January 1862, new regulations for the volunteer force were issued, followed on 18 September,  by the Colonial Defence Act of 1862.  This Act saw the formation of the Colonial Defence Force, the first regular Force in New Zealand. Under the Quartermaster General of the Colonial Defence Force, Captain Robert Collins, the Colonial Store Department and the Militia Store Department assumed the store’s responsibility for the Militia, Volunteer and Regular Forces of New Zealand.

In Auckland, the Colonial Store Department and the Militia Store Department initially operated out of offices in Princes Street. However, approval was granted in October 1863 for the erection of a store adjacent to the Imperial Armoury near the Symonds street entrance to the Albert Barracks.[1]  The two Store Departments essentially carried out the same functions, and in 1865 the post of Superintended of Militia Stores held by Mr E.D King was disestablished with the responsibility for colonial defence stores centralised under the Colonial Storekeeper, Captain John Mitchell.

Military Store Albert Barracks 1871

A review of colonial defence with a reliance on local forces taking over from Imperial Forces saw the passing of the Armed Constabulary Act of 10 October 1867. This Act combined police and military functions into the regular Armed Constabulary (AC) Force. The AC Force would be supported by loyal natives, Militia and Volunteer units with Defence Storekeepers in Auckland, Whanganui and Wellington providing the required logistic support.[2]

In April 1869, Lieutenant Colonel Edward Gorton was appointed as the Inspector of Defence Stores, establishing his office at Molesworth Street in Wellington, bringing all New Zealand’s Defence storekeepers under his control.  By January 1869, as the withdrawal of Imperial units became imminent, the dismantling of their central logistic hub at Auckland’s Fort Britomart and Albert Barracks had commenced, with military stores, including guns and ammunition that were not auctioned off to the public or purchased by the New Zealand Government, shipped to the United Kingdom. The departure of the British Military Storekeeper Joseph Osbertus Hamley in July 1870 marked the final withdrawal of Imperial Forces from New Zealand, with the Auckland Defence Store taking over ownership of the Armoury and Magazines located in Albert Barracks.

In May 1869, Captain John Mitchell was suspended as the Auckland Storekeeper due to unauthorised absences. Resigning in July, Mitchell was replaced by Major William St Clair Tisdall as acting Storekeeper. Tisdall was assisted by a small staff, some of whom had served in the stores since 1861, including

  • John Blomfield, Clerk
  • John Price, Clerk
  • D Evitt, Armourer Sergeant
  • Arms Cleaners
    • Mr’s F Gibbons,
    • J Penligan and
    • C.C Rockley

Following the departure of Imperial units, the future of Albert Barracks came under debate. In addition to the Defence Stores, the only other military use of the former barracks was by the local Militia and Volunteers who retained a drill hall and utilised the parade round. The Auckland Improvement (Albert Barrack Reserves) Act 1872 repealed previous Acts relating to the status of Albert Barracks and placed responsibility for the management and disposal of the land under the Auckland Improvement Commissioners.[3] The Auckland Improvement Commissioners would draw up and oversee plans to develop the bulk of the Barracks into a recreational reserve with other areas subdivided into roads and plots of land for further development.

By 1871 the growth of Auckland now placed the ageing powder magazine in the centre of a built-up area, raising concerns about its safety. New powder magazines were constructed at Mount Eden, with the first stocks transferred from Albert Park to Mount Eden in September, following which the Albert Barracks magazines were demolished.[4]  With the Auckland districts supply of ammunition now safety stored at Mount Eden under the care of the Defence Stores magazine keeper, Tisdall and the remaining staff of Storemen and Armourers would remain at Albert Barracks.[5] Initially located in the old Imperial Armoury building at the Symonds Street entrance of Albert Barracks, it was considered an obstruction to the Commissioners projected improvements.[6] To allow the extension of Princes Street and subdivision of the land between Princes and Symonds Street, in July 1873,  the Defence Stores had been moved into the well-constructed stone building that had previously been the Barracks hospital.[7] The new building included ample accommodation for warlike stores, including small workshops and a forge.[8] The only remnant of the site of the old Armoury were two Russian 18-pounder guns taken at the Crimea and presented by the Imperial Government to the colony of New Zealand in the late 1850s.[9]

The Defence Stores building in Albert Park was described by the Auckland Star as the “hideous eyesore in Albert Park’ and considered a blight on the skyline as it obstructed the view from the park that had been established to replace the Barracks.[10]  By 1883 an agreement was reached between the Auckland Council and the Government, with a plot of land in O’Rourke Street provided to allow the relocation of the Defence Stores.[11] 

Queen St with Albert Barracks on the left hillside C1870-1979. Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 898-9969

When the proposal was first mooted to relocate the Defence Store, plans were prepared in the Auckland Public Works office for a three-storied building equal in space to the present location. However, as it was the intention to centralise the operations of the Defence Stores in Wellington, the original design was countermanded with a design for a smaller building substituted. Tenders for the erection of the new Defence Stores building were published on 10 May 1883 for a building meeting the following specifications,

  • to be constructed of brick, two storeys in height, with concrete foundation,
  • to have a frontage of 25 feet with a depth of 36 feet.
  • the ground floor was to have
    • a passage seven feet wide,
    • two 18×18 apartments,
    • a staircase leading from the ground floor to the upper storey
  • upper floor subdivided into
    • An 18×8 office,
    • compartment with lift,
    • a 14×18 room
    • an 11 x 18 room
  • To the rear of the building
    • a 14×25 shed with an asphalted floor for gun carriages
    • a 6×14 coal shed,
    • a 14×20 Armourer’s shop.

Due to the considerable amount of material accumulated in the old Defence Stores over its many years of operation, Captain Sam Anderson, the Chief Defence Storekeeper, assisted in a stocktake of the old store as it was decommissioned, ensuring only essential materials were transferred to the new building.  Surplus stores were disposed of by tender or redistributed, including over 2000 obsolete muzzle-loading muskets relocated to the Defence Store in Wellington.[12] The old Stores building was soon demolished with much of the material used in the construction of the new building, with the only reminder of the military’s residence of Albert Park being a small portion of the Barracks wall and a few old cannons on display in the new ornamental gardens.

The New Defence Store in O’Rourke Street would be one of the earliest purpose-built Storehouses built for New Zealand’s Military. Up to this period, many of the buildings utilised by the Defence Stores were inherited from the Imperial Forces or requisitioned commercial premises.

By 1888, the cost of maintaining a peacetime military had reached the point where cutbacks and savings across the Defence budget had to be made. As part of several reductions across the Defence Department, the Auckland Defence Store would be drastically downsized, resulting in the retirement or redundancy of most of the staff. The closure of the Auckland Defence Stores was met with dismay with the press questioning it as an absurd decision, with the New Zealand Herald noting in an editorial that the closure of the Auckland Defence Store was” solely arising from the Wellington authorities having a want of local knowledge and of the requirements of the place.” This pushback on the closure of the Auckland Defence Store resulted in a short reprieve for  James Bloomfield, the Defence Storekeeper in Auckland, who had served since 1861, was granted a reprieve from redundancy and allowed to extend his tenure, retiring in December 1888 handing over the responsibilities of Defence Storekeeper for Auckland to Major John William Gascoyne of the New Zealand Permanent Militia.[13] Following Gascoyne’s departure in 1891, the responsibilities of Auckland Defence Storekeeper would be assumed by the Adjutant of the Auckland Brigade Office, who would oversee the duties of the Magazine Keeper at Mount Eden, Mr J Hawthorn.[14]

Concurrent with the Adjutant taking over the Defence Storekeepers responsibilities, the Auckland Brigade Office was moved from its offices in the Auckland Supreme Court into the Defence Store O’Rourke Street building, from where the Adjutant would conduct his duties related to the Auckland Volunteers and the Defence Stores.[15] This shared arrangement would remain in place into the early years of the twentieth century and would even see a telephone installed in 1902.

Routine activities conducted by the Auckland Defence Stores in O’Rourke Street included various tender for the provision of uniforms and repair of equipment. Following the bloodless Dog Tax War of 1898, the Defence Store in O’Rourke street took custody of the surrendered arms, including,[16]

  • one Winchester repeating rifle
  • one Winchester carbine
  • two Green’s American patent Snider breech-loading rifles
  • one Snider rifle
  • one muzzle-loading carbine
  • one Lee Bolt shotgun, single barrel
  • three breech-loading single barrel guns.
  • three double-barrel breech-loaders (nearly new)
  • ten double-barrel muzzle-loading guns
  • two single barrel guns
  • four bundles of ammunition (various)

 In 1903 the Police expressed an interest in taking over the building as accommodation for the Auckland Police Commissioner. Following an inspection by the Defence Storekeeper, Mr James O’Sullivan, arrangements were made to transfer the Defence Stores from the O’Rourke Street Property to Mount Eden and hand the building over to the Police.[17] During 1904 the handover of the Defence Stores building the Police was concluded, ending the sixty-year relationship between Auckland’s Albert Park and the Military.

The Police would fully refurbish the former Defence Store Building into a residential villa. The building would survive into the 1960s when it was demolished to allow the construction of  Auckland University.

1905 view of the refurbished Defence Store building(Center of the photo next to Police Station)

Despite the construction of new buildings for the Defence Stores in Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin during the early 1900s, no new permanent buildings would be constructed for the Auckland Defence Stores as the existing powder magazines at Mount Eden constructed in 1871, were deemed sufficient enough to meet current and projected needs. Following the transition of the Defence Stores into the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps in 1917, a new Ordnance Depot was constructed for the Northern Region to replace the infrastructure at Mount Eden in the late 1920s. However, it would not be in Auckland but at Hopuhopu in the Waikato. Ordnance Stores would be established in Auckland during World War Two utilising rented commercial premises.  In the post-war era, ordnance warehouses established at Syliva Park utilised buildings constructed for the United States Forces. Other than Explosive Store Houses at Ardmore, no permanent dedicated storage infrastructure would ever be constructed for the RNZAOC in Auckland. 

The significance of the Defence Store building in O’Rourke Street is that excluding smaller unit storehouses and ammunition storehouses, it remains the only purpose-built military warehouse constructed for the New Zealand Army in Auckland.


Notes

[1] Queen’s Redoubt Assistant Military Secretary, “Correspondence Stating That There Is No Objection to the Erection of a Store for Colonial Purposes Adjoining Armoury Albert Barracks,” Archives New Zealand Item No R24075932  (1863).

[2] M. R. Wicksteed, The New Zealand Army: A History from the 1840s to the 1980s ([Ministry of Defence, 1982), Non-fiction, 2-3.

[3] Under the provisions of the Public Domains Act 1860, the Auckland Military Reserves Act 1871 established the land that Albert Barracks occupied as Crown land.

[4] “New Power Magazine at Mount Eden,” New Zealand Herald, Volume VIII, Issue 2377, 7 September 1871.

[5] The Magazine Keeper was Mr J Broughton, Tindall’s other staff consisted of his Clerk Mr J Blomfield. Armourer Mr D Evitt and Three Arms Cleaners Mr’s F Gibbons, J Penligan and C.C Rockley. “D-13 Nominal Roll of the Civil Establishment of New Zealand on the 1st July 1872,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1872); “Nominal Return of Officer in Defence Department and Armed Constabulary Force on 1 July 1872,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1873 Session I, H-24a  (1872).

[6] “Deputation from the Auckland Improvement Commissioners,” New Zealand Herald, Volume X, Issue 2859, , 28 March 1873.

[7] “Militia Store Move,” Auckland Star, Volume IV, Issue 1087, 17 July 1873.

[8] “Wooden Building in Albert Barracks,” New Zealand Herald, Volume X, Issue 09, 30 September 1873.

[9] “Russian Guns,” New Zealand Herald, Volume XI, Issue 3927, , 13 June 1874.

[10] “Albert Park Armoury,” Auckland Star, Volume XII, Issue 3523, 22 November 1881.

[11] Linking Princes and Symonds Streets, O’Rourke Street is now occupied by Auckland University,  Captain Anderson, “Old Defence Store to Be Sold by Tender, All the Muzzle Loading Rifles to Be Sent by “Hinemoa”,” Archives New Zealand Item No R24280543  (1883).

[12] “Flashes,” Wanganui Herald, Volume XVII, Issue 5047, 27 April 1883.

[13] “Reductions in Civil Service,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1888 Session I, H-30, 11 May 1888.

[14] A. H. McLintock, ” Frederick John William Gascoyne,”  http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/1966/gascoyne-or-gascoigne-frederick-john-william.

[15] “Volunteer Gossip,” Observer, Volume XI, Issue 656, (1891).

[16] “The Maori Trouble,” Auckland Star, Volume XXIX, Issue 114, , 16 May 1898.

[17] Wellington Defence Storekeeper, ” Subject: Report of Inspection of Defence Stores Auckland. Again Urges Removal of Store from O’Rourke [O’rorke] Street to Mount Eden Cost to Be Met by Police Department ” Archives New Zealand Item No R24743403  (1903).



Principle posts of the RNZAOC and its predecessors

The core responsibility of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps and its predecessors was the supply and maintenance of arms, ammunition, accoutrements, clothing, and field equipment to New Zealand’s Military Forces. From 1840 the principal posts of the RNZAOC and its predecessors were.

Colony of New South Wales, Colonial Storekeeper for New Zealand

  • Mr C.H.G Logie                                                15 Jan 1840 – 1 Oct 1840

Colony of New Zealand, Colonial Storekeeper       

  • Mr H Tucker                                                    1 Oct 1840 – 30 Dec 1843

From 1844 the needs of the Militia were facilitated on an ad-hoc basis by the Colonial Secretary based upon requests from provincial magistrates.  

Colonial Secretaries of New Zealand (30 Dec 1843 to 28 May 1858)

  • Willoughby Shortland 3 May 1841 – 31 Dec 1943
  • Andrew Sinclair                                                 6 Jan 1844 – 7 May 1856
  • Henry Sewell                                                      7 May 1856 – 20 May 1856
  • John Hall                                                           20 May 1856 – 2 Jun 1856
  • William Richmond                                           2 Jun 1856 – 4 Nov 1856
  • Edward Stafford                                               4 Nov 1856 – 12 Jul 1861

Supporting the Imperial Forces in New Zealand since 1840, the Board of Ordnance had established offices in Auckland during 1842, ensuring the provision of Imperial military units in New Zealand with munitions, uniforms and necessities. The Board of Ordnance was reorganised on 1 February 1857 into a new organisation called the Military Store Department. Headquartered at Fort Britomart in Auckland, the Military Store Department principal role alongside the commissariat was to support the Imperial Garrison; however, it would support colonial forces on a cost-recovery basis when necessary.  With the departure of the British Military Storekeeper Joseph Osbertus Hamley in July 1870, the withdrawal of Imperial Forces was completed.

Board of Ordnance, Military Storekeeper

  • Deputy Ordnance Storekeeper W Plummer              1842 – 1 February 1857

Military Store Department

  • Deputy Superintendent of Stores W. Plummer          1 February 1857 – 4 March 1879(Deceased in office)
  • Deputy Superintendent of Stores J.O Hamley           4 March 1858 – 30 July 1870

The passing of the Militia Act of 1858 saw the Militia reorganised, and Volunteer units were authorised to be raised. The Deputy Adjutant General of Militia and Volunteers oversaw the administration, including the supply and distribution of arms, ammunition, accoutrements, clothing, and field equipment to the Militia and Volunteers.

Deputy Adjutant General of Militia and Volunteers

  • Capt H.C Balneavis                                                           28 May 1858 – 18 Sep 1862

On 18 September 1862, the Colonial Defence Act was passed, establishing the first regular military units in New Zealand.  Under the Quartermaster General of the Colonial Defence Force, Captain Robert Collins, the Colonial Store Department under the Colonial Storekeeper, and the Militia Store Department under the Superintended of Militia Stores maintained a separation between the Militia/Volunteers and Regulars absorbing the rudimentary stores’ organisation of the Deputy Adjutant General of Militia and Volunteers. The two departments would be amalgamated into the Colonial Store Department in 1865.

Militia Store Department

  • Superintendent of Militia Stores, Capt E.D King              18 September 1862 – 30 October 1865

Colonial Store Department

  • Colonial Storekeeper Capt J Mitchell                    18 September 1862- 1 April 1869

The Armed Constabulary Act was passed in 1867, which combined New Zealand’s police and military functions into a regular Armed Constabulary (AC) Force, supported by loyal natives, Militia and Volunteer units. The Inspector of Defence store appointment was created in 1869 to manage all New Zealand’s Defence Stores as the single New Zealand Defence Stores organisation.

Inspector of Defence Stores (Defence Stores)                                        

  • Lt Col E Gorton                                                                  1 Apr 1869 – 9 Jan 1877
Lieutenant Colonel Edward Gorton

Defence Storekeeper (Defence Stores)

  • Capt S.C Anderson                                                                9 Jan 1877 – 7 Dec 1899 (Deceased in office)
Captain Sam Anderson
  • Mr J O’Sullivan                                                                  7 Dec 1899 – 1 Jan 1907
CAPTAIN O’SULLIVAN (Storekeeper Defence Department, Wellington).,NZ Truth, Issue 304, 22 April 1911

During the 1880s, New Zealand undertook a rearmament and fortification program that was also a technological leap forward in terms of capability. The Defence Stores armourers and Arms Cleaners had maintained the colony’s weapons since 1861. However, the new equipment included machinery that functioned through pneumatics, electricity and steam power, requiring a skilled workforce to repair and maintain, resulting in a division of responsibility between the Defence Stores and Permanent Militia. The Defence Stores would retain its core supply functions with its armourers remaining responsible for repairing Small Arms.  With some civilian capacity available, the bulk of the repairs and maintenance of the new equipment would be carried out by uniformed artificers and tradespeople recruited into the Permanent Militia.

From October 1888, the Staff Officer of Artillery and Inspector of Ordnance, Stores and Equipment would be responsible for all Artillery related equipment, with the Defence Storekeeper responsible for all other Stores. However, during the late 1890s, the Defence Storekeeper would assume responsibility for some of the Artillery related stores and equipment of the Permanent Militia.

Inspector of Stores and Equipment

  • Maj A.P Douglas                                              24 Aug 1887 – 23 Jan 1891

In 1907 a significant command reorganisation of the Defence Forces defined the responsibilities of the Director of Artillery Services (Ordnance) and Director of Stores.

  • Director of Artillery Services (Ordnance): Responsible for:
    • Artillery armament,
    • Fixed coast defences,
    • Artillery ammunition, and
    • Supplies for ordnance.
  • Director of Stores: Responsible for:
    • Clothing and personal equipment,
    • Accoutrements,
    • Saddlery,
    • Harness,
    • Small-Arms,
    • Machine Guns,
    • Small-arms and Machine gun ammunition,
    • Material,
    • Transport,
    • Vehicles,
    • Camp Equipment,
    • All other stores required for the Defence Forces.

Director of Military Stores (Defence Stores)                                                 

  • Capt J O’Sullivan                                                               1 Jan 1907 – 30 Mar 1911

Director of Ordnance and Artillery

  • Maj G.N Johnston                                                            28 Feb 1907 – 31 May 1907
  • Capt G.S Richardson                                                        31 May 1907 – 31 Jul 1908

Director of Artillery

  • Maj J.E Hume                                                                     31Jul 1908 – 31 Mar 1911

In 1911, provisional regulations were promogulated further detailing the division of responsibilities between the Quartermaster Generals Branch (to whom the Defence Stores was subordinate) and the Director of Ordnance and Artillery.  Based on these new regulations, the Director of Artillery (Ordnance) assumed overall responsibility for managing Artillery stores and ammunition on 2 August 1911.

Director of Equipment and Stores (Defence Stores)                        

  • Maj J O’Sullivan                                                 30 Mar 1911 – 10 Apr 1916

Director of Ordnance and Artillery

  • Maj G.N Johnston                                                            11 May 1911- 8 Aug 1914

To maintain and manufacture artillery ammunition, the Royal NZ Artillery established an Ordnance Section in 1915. The section immediately transferred to the NZAOC in 1917, with the RNZA maintaining technical control. By 1929, most artificers and tradespeople had been transferred from the RNZA into the NZAOC. The final RNZA store’s function would be transferred to the NZAOC in 1946 when the RNZA Ammunition and Equipment Section based in Army Headquarters handed over responsibility for artillery ammunition, explosives, coast artillery and specialist equipment and stores, including some staffing to the NZAOC.

The Defence Stores would remain as New Zealand’s military storekeepers until 1 February 1917 when the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department (NZAOD) and the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) were established as part of the Permanent Staff of the Defence Forces of New Zealand, assuming the responsibilities Defence Stores.

The NZAOD would be reconstituted into the NZAOC on 27 June 1924.

Director of Equipment and Ordnance Stores (Defence Stores & NZAOC) 

  • Maj T McCristell                                                                10 Apr 1916 – 30 Jan 1920          
Major Thomas James McCristell, Director of Equipment and Ordnance Stores, 10 April 1916 – 20 January 1920.

Director of Ordnance Stores (NZAOC)

  • Lt Col H.E Pilkington                                                        30 Jan 1920 – 1 Oct 1924
  • Lt Col T.J King                                                                     1 Oct 1920 – 6 Jan 1940
Brigadier T J King, CBE, RNZAOC Regimental Colonel 1 Jan 1949 – 31 Mar 1961. RNZAOC School
  • Lt Col W.R Burge                                                              6 Jan 1940 – 22 June 1940

Chief Ordnance Officer (NZAOC)

  • Maj H.E Erridge                                                                 22 Jun 1940 – 3 Aug 1941
Major H.E Erridge
  • Lt Col E.L.G Bown                                                             5 Aug 1941 – 1 Oct 1947

In the Post-war era, the NZAOC would be granted Royal status on 12 July 1947, becoming the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (RNZAOC). For the next forty-five years, the Director of Ordnance Services (DOS) would be responsible for the personnel, equipment and training of the RNZAOC.

Director of Ordnance Services (RNZAOC)

  • Lt Col A.H Andrews                                                         1 Oct 1947 – 11 Nov 1949
Lt Col A.H Andrews. OBE, RNZAOC Director of Ordnance Services, 1 Oct 1947 – 11 Nov 1949. RNZAOC School
  • Lt Col F Reid                                                                       12 Nov 1949 – 31 Mar 1957
  • Lt Col H Mck Reid                                                             1 Apr 1958 – 11 Nov 1960
  • Lt Col E Whiteacre                                                           12 Nov 1960 – 24 May 1967
  • Lt Col J Harvey                                                                 24 May 1967 – 28 Aug 1968
  • Lt Col G.J.H Atkinson                                                     29 Aug 1968 – 20 Oct 1972
  • Lt Col M.J Ross                                                                 21 Oct 1972 – 6 Dec 1976
  • Lt Col A.J Campbell                                                          7 Dec 1976 – 9 Apr 1979
  • Lt Col P.M Reid                                                                 10 Apr 1979 – 25 Jul 1983
  • Lt Col T.D McBeth                                                            26 Jul 1983 – 31 Jan 1986
  • Lt Col G.M Corkin                                                             1 Feb 1986 – 1 Dec 1986
  • Lt Col J.F Hyde                                                                   2 Dec 1986 – 31 Oct 1987
  • Lt Col E.W.G Thomson                                                  31 Oct 1987 – 11 Jan 1990
  • Lt Col W.B Squires                                                          12 Jan 1990 – 15 Dec 1992

During the early 1990s, the New Zealand Army underwent several “rebalancing” activities, which saw the formation of regional Logistic Battalions and included the demise of the individual Corps Directorates.  

Filling the void left by the demise of the Corps Directorates, the post of Regimental Colonel was approved on 12 December 1992. The role of the Regimental Colonel of the RNZAOC was to.

  • Provide specialist advice when called for
  • Maintain an overview of Corps personnel matters, and
  • Provide a link between the Colonel Commandant of the RNZAOC and the Corps and support the Colonel Commandant.

Regimental Colonel (NZAOC)

  • Col T.D McBeth                                                                 15 Dec 1992 – 19 Sept 1994
  • Col L Gardiner                                                                   19 Sept 1994 – 9 Dec 1996

On 9 December 1996, the RNZAOC was amalgamated into the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (RNZALR).

New Zealand Ordnance Corps during wartime

During the Frist World War, a New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps was established as a unit of the 1st New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF)  

Officer Commanding NZEF NZAOC

  • Capt W.T Beck,                                                                  3 Dec 1914 – 31 Jan 1916
William Thomas Beck Circa 1921
  • Lt Col A.H Herbert,                                                          1 Feb 1916 – 31 Mar 1918
Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Henry Herbert, NZAOC. aucklandmuseum/Public Domain
  • Lt Col H.E Pilkington, RNZA                                           30 Jun 1918- 22 Jan 20
  • Temp Capt W.H Simmons,                                             20 Feb 20 – 13 Oct 1920

The Second World War would see all the Ordnance functions of the 2nd NZEF organised as the New Zealand Ordnance Corps (NZOC).

Officer Commanding 2nd NZEF NZOC in the Middle East and Europe

  • Lt Col T.J King                                                                     5 Jan 1940 – 10 Jul 1942
  • Maj A.H Andrews                                                             10 Jul 1942 – 1 Dec 1942
  • Lt Col J.O Kelsey                                                              1 Dec 1942 – 1 Feb 1946

Officer Commanding 2nd NZEF in the Pacific NZOC

  • Lt P.N Erridge                                                                   22 Nov 1940 – 9 May 1941
  • Lt S.A Knight                                                                       9 May 1941 – 8 Jan 1942
Lieutenant-Colonel Stanley Arthur Knight
  • Lt Col M.S Myers                                                              8 Jan 1942 – 24 Apr 1944
  • Lt Col S.A Knight                                                             24 Apr 1944 – 30 Oct 1944                                           

NZ Defence Stores July 1869 – June 1870

Military Storekeeping has been a feature of New Zealand’s military experience since 1840, and it is well known within the military storekeeping fraternity how Governor Hobson appointed Henry Tucker as the Colonial Storekeeper.  From 1840 to 1845 Tucker as Colonial Storekeeper would manage the Ammunition, Arms and accoutrements for the Militias hastily organised in the early days of colonial New Zealand. However, it is not until 1917, and the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps formation that New Zealand Military Storekeeping’s history begins with the period from 1845 to 1917 remaining as an empty void in the histography of New Zealand’s Military Storekeeping.  In this article, the period from July 1869 to June 1870 is examined. In this specific period, as New Zealand’s military “Self-Reliance” policy reached its culmination with the final Imperial Forces withdrawing from New Zealand and conflict that had raged since 1860 in its last throes. The conflict had placed an enormous financial burden on the young nation as it formed and equipped Regular, Militia and Volunteer units and as the country looked forward, the Defence Stores Department was formalised as a component of the New Zealand Forces to manage the large amount of war material that had been acquired.

Initially, Militia units in New Zealand were raised and equipped under the auspice of the Colonial Secretary. As Militia units could only be used for local defence, the Militia Act of 1858 allowed Volunteer Units to be formed for service anywhere in the colony. Like Militia units, Volunteer units were administered and equipped by the Colonial Secretary.  As conflict increased in the early 1860s with Imperial troops undertaking the bulk of the military burden, a call for the colony to take on more responsibility was advocated by Francis Weld, a member of the House of Representatives. Weld’s position became known as the “self-reliant” policy.

As Weld’s “self-reliant” policy gained traction, New Zealand’s Military Forces’ shape and how they were administered and equipped undertook a transformation with the reliance on Imperial Forces gradually decreasing until they were fully withdrawn in 1870.  A regular New Zealand Military Force was initiated with the passing of the Colonial Defence Force Act 1862 by the Government in 1863. This Act created a small Regular Force and formalised the Defence Minister’s role and created a Defence Department to administer the colony’s Defence Forces. The Colonial Store Department and Militia Store Department’s role and responsibilities were formalised, maintaining the separation between the Regulars and the Militia and Volunteers.  

In 1865 with local units taking on more of the defence burden with the scaling down and withdrawal of Imperial units well underway, a review of colonial defence proposed that the shape of New Zealand’s Military be changed to an Armed Constabulary Force supported by friendly natives with Militia and Volunteer units providing additional support when required. In October 1867 the Colonial Defence Force was disbanded by the Armed Constabulary Act 1867 with the regular members of the Colonial Defence Force transferred to the Armed Constabulary.[1]  Concurrent to implementing the Armed Constabulary Act 1867, the New Zealand Government also passed the Public Stores Act of 1867. The Act provided for the first time a comprehensive policy on the responsibility for the management of Government Stores, which as Government entities the Armed Constabulary, Militia and Volunteers were required to adhere too.[2]

With the Imperial withdrawal almost completed and military operations ongoing across the North Island, the first significant changes in stores’ management did not occur until 1869 when the entire Defence Stores Structure undertook substantial changes. One of the significant changes was recognising the Defence Stores as a permanent component of the Military.  Allocated a budget as part of the Militia, Volunteer and Armed Constabulary vote in the 1870 Government Estimates passed by Parliament in 1869, the Defence Stores were budgeted to function as follows;[3]

  • Head Office, Wellington
    • Inspector of Stores @ £500 PA
    • Inspector of Stores, Clerk @ £150 PA
  • Auckland
    • Storekeeper @ £250 PA
    • 2 x Clerks @ £160 PA ea.
    • Armourer @ £182 PA
    • 4 x Arms Cleaner @ £109 PA ea.
  • Wellington
    • Storekeeper, Militia and Volunteers @ £100 PA[4]
    • Clerk @ £150 PA
    • Armourer@ £182 PA
    • 4 x Arms Cleaner@ £109 PA
  • Wanganui
    • Storekeeper@ £100 PA[5]
    • Clerk @ £130 PA
  • Patea
    • Sub-Storekeeper @150 PA (from Jan 1870)[6]

With only a skeleton staff in the Auckland, Wellington and Wanganui, the Defence Stores had no presence in many parts of the nation and faced many challenges supporting its nationwide dependency.

Armed Constabulary

As of 15 June 1870, the Armed Constabulary was organised into six districts supported by a depot in Wellington;[7]

Sam Cosgrave Anderson, a clerk in the Defence Stores, would be appointed as the Armed Constabulary Storekeeper late in 1869, a position equal in grade and pay to the Defence Storekeepers in Auckland, Whanganui and Wellington.

  • Waikato with 108 men, dispersed across seven stations at;
    • Hamilton
    • Cambridge
    • Ngāruawāhia
    • Kihikihi
    • Alexandra
    • Raglan
    • Auckland
  • Taranaki with 170 men, dispersed across eleven stations at;
    • Wai-iti
    • Mimu
    • Urenui
    • Tupari
    • Takapu
    • Taipikiri
    • New Plymouth
    • Tikorangi
    • Okato
    • Te Arei
    • Waitara
  • Hawke’s Bay with 273 men dispersed across six stations and a Transport Corps at;
    • Opepe
    • Napier
    • Runanga
    • Tapuarharuru
    • Tarawera
    • Te Haroto
  • Turanganui (Poverty Bay) with 95 men dispersed across four stations
    • Turanganui (Gisborne)
    • Ormond
    • Te Wairoa
    • Te Kepa
  • Wanganui-Patea with 199 men dispersed across seven stations
    • Patea
    • Manutahi
    • Waihi
    • Hawera
    • Werorou
    • Wanganui
    • Wairoa (Waverley)
    • Wanganui
  • Bay of Plenty with 157 dispersed across seven stations
    • Tauranga
    • Maketu
    • Whakatane
    • Kaiteriria
    • Opitiki
  • Wellington Depot with 82 men.
New Zealand Armed Constabulary garrison at Ōpepe, near Taupō, early 1870s. Alexander Turnbull Library, Reference: 1/2-003116-F Artist: Samuel Carnell.

Militia and Volunteers

The Militia and Volunteers force was organised into districts and allocated a small permanent military staff to administer both the militia and volunteer units. Depending on the District’s size and the Militia and Volunteer units within the District, the permanent Military Staff would consist of an Officer Commanding or Adjutant, a Sergeant Major or Sergeant and a Bugler. Responsibility for stores issued to the Militia and Volunteers was assumed by an officer in the District appointed as Quartermaster in addition to their existing duties. In Some districts, the District Quartermaster would be responsible for the Armed Constabulary, Militia and Volunteer Stores.

Militia

The Militia Act of 1870 obliged all males inhabitants of New Zealand between the ages of seventeen and fifty-five liable for service in the Militia.[8] However, due to the many exemptions allowed under the Act, the actual number available for call up would be limited with few undertaking the necessary short periods of training required.  As of June 1870, approximately 4000 militiamen had been called up and participated in actual service or training. Militia Districts were;

  • Mongonui District
  • Bay of Islands District
  • Holcianga District
  • Kaipara District
  • Mangawhai District
  • Whangarei District
  • Auckland District
  • Wairoa District
  • Waiuku District
  • Wkangape District
  • Rangiriri District
  • Hamilton District
  • Raglan District
  • Alexandra District
  • Cambridge District
  • Thames District
  • Coromandel District
  • North Shore District
  • Tauranga District
  • Matala District
  • Opotiki District
  • White Cliffs District
  • New Plymouth District
  • Cape Egmont District
  • Patea District.
  • Whanganui District
  • Rangitikei District
  • Otaki District
  • Wellington District
  • Grey town District
  • Masterton District
  • East Coast (Native) District
  • Wairoa (Hawke’s Bay) District
  • North Napier District
  • South Napier District
  • South and Stewart Island District
Private of the New Zealand Militia in campaign dress. Harding, William James, 1826-1899 :Negatives of Wanganui district. Ref: 1/4-006785-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22807152

Volunteer Corps

Volunteer Corps were more established and would drill and meet regularly and at times, be deployed on operations. As of 31 May 1870, Volunteer Corps were organised into Calvary, Artillery, Engineer, Rifle, Naval and Cadet Corps.

Auckland Province

2600 men organised into 40 Adult and 13 Cadet Corps located at;

  • Auckland
    • 4 Cavalry Corps
    • 1 Artillery Corps
    • 1 Engineer Corps
    • 9 Rifle Corps
    • 2 Naval Corps
    • 11 Cadet Corps
  • Wairoa
    • 1 Cavalry Corps
    • 2 Rifle Corps
  • Waiuku
    • 1 Cavalry Corps
    • 6 Rifle Corps
  • Waikato
    • 1 Cavalry Corps
  • Thames
    • 1 Engineer Corps
    • 5 Rifle Corps
    • 1 Naval Corps
    • 2 Cadet Corps
  • Bay of Plenty
    • 2 Cavalry Corps
    • 1 Rifle Corps
  • Poverty Bay
    • 1 Cavalry Corps
    • 1 Rifle Corps

Taranaki Province

166 men organised into 4 Adult Corps located at

  • New Plymouth
    • 1 Cavalry Corps
    • 1 Rifle Corps
  • Patea
    • 1 Cavalry Corps
    • 1 Rifle Corps

Wellington Province

1821 men organised into 39 Adult and 8 Cadet Corps located at

  • Wanganui
    • 4 Cavalry Corps
    • 3 Rifle Corps
  • Rangitikei
    • 4 Cavalry Corps
    • 6 Rifle Corps
    • 2 Cadet Corps
  • Wellington
    • 1 Artillery Corps
    • 13 Rifle Corps
    • 5 Cadet Corps
  • Greytown
    • 1 Cavalry Corps
    • 2 Rifle Corps
    • 1 Cadet Corps
  • Masterton
    • 1 Cavalry Corps
    • 2 Rifle Corps

Hawkes Bay Province

304 men organised into 4 Adult and 1 Cadet Corps located at

  • Napier
    • 1 Cavalry Corps
    • 1 Artillery Corps
    • 1 Rifle Corps
    • 1 Cadet Corps
  • Wairoa
    • 1 Rifle Corps

Nelson Province

295 men organised into 3 Adult and 3 Cadet Corps

  • Nelson
    • 1 Artillery Corps
    • 2 Rifle Corps
    • 3 Cadet Corps

Marlborough Province

235 men organised into 5 Adult and 2 Cadet Corps

  • Marlborough
    • 5 Rifle Corps
    • 2 Cadet Corps

Canterbury Province

710 men organised into 13 Adult and 5 Cadet Corps

  • Canterbury
    • 1 Cavalry Corps
    • 3 Artillery Corps
    • 2 Engineer Corps
    • 7 Rifle Corps
    • 5 Cadet Corps

Otago and Southland Province

1303 men organised into 18 Adult and 3 Cadet Corps

  • Otago
    • 1 Artillery Corps
    • 13 Rifle Corps
    • 2 Naval
    • 2 Cadet Corps
  • Invercargill
    • 1 Rifle Corps
    • 1 Cadet Corps
  • Riverton
    • 1 Rifle Corps

Westland Province

207 men organised into 3 Adult Corps

  • Hokitika
    • 1 Rifle Corps
  • Ross
    • 1 Rifle Corps
  • Greymouth
    • 1 Rifle Corps

Defence Store Department

The Defence Stores was not a new organisation, but rather an amalgamation of the Militia Stores Department and the Colonial Stores Department, which had both been created in the early 1860s. The significant change was the appointment in April 1869 of Lieutenant Colonel, Edward Gorton as Inspector of Stores. [9] Appointed as Inspector of Stores at the age of Thirty-One, Gorton had come to New Zealand with the 57th Regiment where he had spent time as Cameron’s aide-de-camp. Taking his release from Imperial service in 1863, Gorton was appointed as Major in the Militia assuming command of the Wellington Militia District. Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, Gorton was placed in command of the Whanganui and Rangitikei Militia Districts and would serve as Quartermaster to General Whitmore during the Tītokowaru War of 1868/69.[10]

Lieutenant Colonel Edward Gorton

Establishing his office in Wellington, Gorton was assisted by a Clerk, Mr C.S Lockie. Shortly after his appointment, Gorton drafted new rules and regulations for keeping store accounts and the proposed forms to the Defence Minister for approval.[11]

Auckland Defence Stores

Located at Albert Barracks, the Auckland Defence Store was the most extensive and principle Defence Store in New Zealand.  Although the Storekeeper in Auckland was Capitan John Mitchell, he had been suspended as Colonial Storekeeper in May 1869 due to a dispute about some absences.[12] Mitchell tendered his resignation on 5 July 1869, with and Major William St Clair Tisdall was appointed as acting Sub-Storekeeper of the Auckland Defence Stores.[13]

Major Tisdall was assisted by a small long-serving and experienced staff consisting of;[14]

  • John Blomfield, Clerk
  • John Price, Clerk
  • D Evitt, Armourer Sergeant
  • 4 x Arms Cleaners
  • J Broughton, Magazine keeper Appointed Jan 1870

Wellington Defence Stores

The Wellington Defence Store located at Mount Cook was divided into two functions;

  • The Armed Constabulary Stores
  • The Defence Store

Storekeeper Sam Anderson controlled the Armed Constabulary Stores. Anderson position was paid from within the Armed Constabulary budget and as part of the Armed Constabulary Depot was technically not part of the Defence Store organisation. However, records indicate that the two organisations were closely associated.

The Wellington Defence Store was under Lieutenant Colonels HE Reader’s supervision who as the Commander of the Wellington District Militia was also the Wellington Defence Storekeeper. In his Defence Store duties Reader was assisted by;[15]

  • Sergeant Alexander Crowe, Clerk
  • Armourer Sergeant E. H Bradford, Armourer
  • 4 x Arms Cleaners, including
    • Mr John Shaw
    • Mr James Smith
    • Mr Walther Cristie
  • Magazine Keeper, Appointed in January 1870

Whanganui Defence Stores

Due to the Tītokowaru War, Whanganui had been a significant military hub with the Defence Store post graded as one requiring a Storekeeper assisted by a Clerk. The Storekeeper position was filled by the Officer Commanding and Adjutant of the Wanganui Militia and Volunteers, Major Chas Chalkin. In January 1870, the military situation had changed, and the Storekeeper position in Whanganui was downgrade to that of Sub-Storekeeper.

Patea Defence Stores

With the cessation of hostilities after the Tītokowaru War, Patea would prosper and become a significant regional hub. A Sub-Storekeeper was appointed to manage Defence Stores affairs in the area in January 1870

Tours of Inspection

Gorton had a tremendous job ahead in organising and transforming the Defence Stores into an effective organisation. Since 1860 the New Zealand Government had purchased thousands of weapons such as Enfield, Terry and Snider rifles and carbines, and the associated sets of accoutrements from Australia and the United Kingdom to equip the various New Zealand Forces. All this war material needed to be accounted for and redistributed to the Armed Constabulary and Volunteer units or placed into Militia storage.

Gorton was a hands-on leader and during his first year would conduct several tours of inspection to inspect the stockpiles of military material distributed across New Zealand. On one such outing, Gorton left Auckland on the Friday 13 November 1869 on the NZ Government Paddle Steamer Sturt to inspect the military depots and garrisons on the East Coast of the North Island.  Landing at Port Charles, Tauranga, Opotiki, Hicks Bay, Port Awanui, Tūpāroa, Tologa Bay, Poverty Bay Gorton found many stores that had been stockpiled as part of the recent East Coast campaign but not utilised. Gorton took the opportunity to revise the holdings at each location and redistribute as necessary, handing over the balance to Captain Bower, the District Quartermaster at Napier.[16]

The Imperial Withdraw

Since 1842, an Imperial Storekeeping organisation was based in New Zealand with the Ordnance Department establishing Store’s offices in Auckland and Wellington. The Ordnance Department was then reorganised into a new organisation called the Military Store Department on 1 February 1857. With its primary location at Fort Britomart in Auckland, the Military Store Department principal role was to support the Imperial Garrison, with support provided to colonial forces when necessary.  By 1866 the conflict in New Zealand had reached a stage where with the “Self-reliance” policy the colonial forces had reached a level of independence allowing them to conduct the bulk of military operations, resulting in a drawdown and withdrawal of Imperial units. As the Imperial commitment decreased with the departure of five Imperial Regiments in 1866, the Military Store Department also had to reduce and optimise its operations.

Further reductions of Imperial troops necessitated the closing of its regional Depots such as the Depot in Whanganui in March of 1867.[17] With the departure of four more regiments in 1867, the Tauranga Depot closure soon followed.[18]  The final Imperial Regiment would depart New Zealand in February 1869.[19]

Fort Britomart’s dismantling had commenced in January 1869, with all the military content of Fort Britomart and Albert Barracks belonging to the Imperial Government, such as guns, ammunition and stores shipped to the United Kingdom on the SS Himalaya.[20]  With the withdrawal of Imperial Forces completed by July 1870.[21] Although the Military Store Department had provided valuable support and advice to the Colonial Defence Force over the years and had provided a useful logistic backstop, the New Zealand Defence Stores under Gorton were now required to stand alone.

Burglary from Wellington Militia Store

A testament to the importance and accuracy of Gorton’s stocktaking endeavours was demonstrated in August 1869. Gorton had finalised a stocktake and reorganisation of the Wellington Militia Store on 29 July 1869. Two days later the Militia Store was broken into and several items of clothing stolen. On discovery of the break-in, a quick inventory by Sergeant Crowe was able to identify the nature and quantity if the stolen items and an accurate report provided to the Wellington Police. Within a short time, the thief and his accomplices were apprehended while wearing some of the stolen items.[22]

Gorton faced many challenges in establishing the Defence Stores as an organisation. Active Military Operations were still being undertaken along with a sizeable force of Militia, Volunteers and Armed Constabulary positioned in redoubts and blockhouses in the frontier regions, with each of these presenting unique logistical challenges. Concurrently the Defence Stores were required to manage Militia and Volunteers units’ stores and equipment in all parts of the country to allow them to maintain their efficiency status. However, Gorton had come into the job with the Defence Stores’ foundations already established with staff who had learned military storekeeping skills through the busy conflict years of the 1860s. To complement his team’s existing experience and strengthen to the Defence Stores’ effectiveness, early in his tenure, Gorton set new rules, regulations, and forms for keeping store accounts that would begin the journey to professionalise New Zealand’s Military Storekeeping.


Notes

[1] General Assembly of New  Zealand, “Armed Constabulary Act 1867,”  (1867).

[2] “The Public Stores Act 1967,”  (1867).Notes

[3] “Estimates for General Government Services for the Year Ending  30th June, 1870, as Voted by the Gemeral Assembly,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1869, Session I, B-01d  (1869).

[4] The Storekeeper in Wellington was also the Officer Commanding and Adjutant of the Wellington Militia and Volunteers with salaries for these duties covered under another allocation of the Defence vote

[5] The Storekeeper in Wanganui was also the Officer Commanding and Adjutant of the Wanganui Militia and Volunteers with salaries for these duties covered under another allocation of the Defence vote

[6] Nominal Roll of Officers in the Store Department – August 1870 – for Printing, Item Id R24174657, Record No Cd1870/2744 (Wellington: New Zealand Archives, 1870).

[7] “Papers and Reports Relating to the Armed Constabulary,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1870 Session I, D-07  (1870).

[8] General Assembly of New  Zealand, “The Militia Act 1870,”  (1870).

[9] “Estimates for General Government Services for the Year Ending  30th June, 1870, as Voted by the Gemeral Assembly.”

[10] “Colonel Gorton,” Feilding Star, Volume IV, Issue 1072, Page 2, 31 December 1909.

[11] Edward Gorton, Forwarding Rules and Regulations for Keeping Store Accounts, Also Proposed Forms for Approval of Defence Minister, Item Id R24142601 Record No Cd1869/2900               (Wellington: New Zealand Archives, 1869 ).

[12] Suspension of Captain Mitchell Colonial Storekeeper for Absence from Duty. Major Tisdall Is Placed in Temporary Charge of Stores, Item Id R24175550 Record No Cd1869/2824 (Wellington: New Zealand Archives, 1869).

[13] Gorton, Forwarding Rules and Regulations for Keeping Store Accounts, Also Proposed Forms for Approval of Defence Minister.

[14] Nominal Roll of Officers in the Store Department – August 1870 – for Printing.

[15] Ibid.

[16] “Arrival of the P.S. Sturt.,” Hawke’s Bay Herald, Volume 13, Issue 1103, 23 November 1869.

[17] “Wanganui,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXIII, Issue 3003, 11 March 1867.

[18] “Page 2 Advertisements Column 5,” New Zealand Herald, Volume IV, Issue 1079, 30 April 1867.

[19] A. H. McLintock, “British Troops in New Zealand,”  http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/1966/british-troops-in-new-zealand ; “The Troops and the Home Government,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXV, Issue 3643, 23 March 1869.

[20] “Dismantling of Fort Britomart,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXV, Issue 3616, 19 February 1869.

[21] “Projected Departure of Mr Hamley,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXVI, Issue 4007, 25 June 1870.

[22] “Supreme Court, Ciminal Sittings,” Wellington Independent, Volume XXIV, Issue 2885, Page 6, 4 September 1869.


Military Store Department in New Zealand 1857-1870

During the New Zealand Wars that fell between 1840 and 1870, responsibility for the provision of Logistical support to the Imperial Forces in New Zealand fell to two organisations; The Commissariat whose duty was to keep the soldier well fed and the Military Store Department whose function was to keep the soldier well and comfortably clad and amply supplied with the munitions of war. The smaller of the two organisations the activities of the Military Store Department have been overshadowed by the much larger and more well-known Commissariat. With its origins with the Board of Ordnance, who sent representatives from their office in New South Wales to the colony of New Zealand in 1840. The Military Store Department would provide what is now known as Ordnance support to the Imperial Forces until their departure in 1869, and on the completion of the final administrative clean-up, the last representative of the Military Store Department departed New Zealand in 1870. This article is not intended to be a detailed history of the Military Store Department, but an introduction of the organisation and its personnel and a point of reference for further research.

Board of Ordnance
The Arms of the Board of Ordnance. UK national archives

The origins of the Military Store Department lie with the Board of Ordnance, which under the Master General of the Ordnance existed between 1597 and 1855. The Master General of the Ordnance had a dual civilian and military role; the military function as commander of the Artillery and the Engineers, and a civil role, as head of the Ordnance Department, with responsibility for stores, lands, geographical and geological survey, defensive works, barracks, military hospitals, factories, and contracts. During 1792 the Board of Ordnance established two distinct departments to support the Army; the “Storekeepers” and the “Ordnance Field Train, the officers of the latter were called Commissaries of Ordnance, and as such was employed during the period of the Crimean war.[1] The Board of Ordnance had due to the logistical failures of the Crimean war, was abolished in 1855 and its functions were placed under the supervision of the War Office while reformation of the British Army’s administrative system took place. In 1857 the two services were amalgamated to form the Military Store Department.[2]

The story of the Military Store Department in New Zealand begins in the Colony of New South Wales when in 1836 the Board of Ordnance established a presence in the Australian Colony. At the time, the commissariat (part of the civil administration) was responsible for general supplies and storekeeping with the Brigade Major (Military) accountable for the guns and gunpowder. On 1 January 1836, these functions were transferred from the Commissariat to the Board of Ordnance (Ordnance Storekeeper) and the Office of the Colonial Storekeeper. Although there was a separation of duties between the Board of Ordnance and the Colonial Storekeeper both had responsibility for guns and gunpowder and shared premises and personnel.[3] Located in George Street North, The Ordnance Storekeeper’s Department under the leadership of storekeeper Richard Rogers; included as his staff his assistant, Percival Wilkinson; and five clerks; John MacDonald, Richard Rogers, William Plummer, Joseph Osbertus Hamley, and Thomas Lawry.[4]

With the establishment of New Zealand as a dependency of New South Wales, the New Zealand colonial administration came from within the ranks of the New South Wales administration, including the Colonial Storekeeper. The Colonial Storekeepers office was included in the First wave of administrators to arrive with Governor William Hobson in January 1840.[5] Mr Charles Hook Gordon Logie of the Sydney based Colonial Storekeepers was appointed on 15 January 1840 to hold the appointment of Colonial Storekeeper in Hobsons administration.[6] The Colonial Storekeeper reported to the Colonial Secretary and was responsible for providing the local colonial militia with arms and accoutrements but had no responsibility for Imperial troops. Imperial troops in New Zealand were the responsibility of the Board of Ordnance. Stores and services provided to the Colonial Storekeeper from Board of Ordnance stocks were on a “repayment” basis, an arrangement that would remain in place until the withdrawal of Imperial troops in 1870.

In April 1840 a detachment of 30 rank and file of the 80th Regiment of the British Army arrived from Sydney for service in New Zealand onboard HMS Buffalo.[7] Accompanying them was a representative of the Board of Ordnance to cater for their logistical needs, establishing an Imperial Ordnance presence that would remain in New Zealand until 1870.[8] Detachments of the 80th Regiment were later deployed to Auckland where under the direction of George Graham of the Ordnance Department they undertook the construction of Fort Britomart.[9]

As the strength of Imperial Forces increased and became more of a permanent feature of the early New Zealand colonial landscape, the Board of Ordnance extended its reach into New Zealand from 1842. First establishing an office in Auckland and later Wellington with the responsibility for the construction and maintenance of barracks and ensuring the provision of Imperial military units in New Zealand with munitions and that they remained comfortably furnished with uniforms and necessities.[10]

The Auckland Office of Ordnance located in Princes Street, was under the management of Mr William Plummer,[11] with storage facilities divided between a bombproof magazine at the Albert Barracks and an ordnance store at Fort Britomart.[12]

The Wellington Office of Ordnance, with Mr Joseph Osbertus Hamley as the Acting Ordnance Storekeeper had a magazine at Mount Cook and stone warehouse on Lambton Quay and later a warehouse in Farish Street.[13]

Farish Street
[Park, Robert] 1812-1870. Attributed works: [Sketches showing the damage to buildings sustained in the 1848 Wellington earthquake] 1848. Reference number: PUBL-0050-01. Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand, must be obtained before any re-use of this image. The impact of the 1848 earthquake on rigid constructions of stone and brick may be seen from these sketches of that time.

The great earthquake of 1848 which changed the landscape of Wellington also severely damaged the ordnance stores located in the Manners/Farish Street area leading to the granting of 13 acres of land to the Board of Ordnance in what would become the military reserve of Mount Cook.[14]  After the earthquake, Hamley set up an office in Willis Street and continued to use the Farish Street warehouse until 1855 when advertised as the “largest and most capacious in Wellington, and being in the centre of the business part of the town” advertised the Farish Street premises for sale.[15]

Plan of Mount Cook Barracks, as planned c.1845 and largely as built by 1852.

In December 1852 it was announced that the Master General of Ordnance had made the following promotions and appointments in the Ordnance Department, In New Zealand; [16]

  • William Plummer, Esq, to be Deputy Ordnance Storekeeper and Barrack Master at Auckland; and
  • Joseph Osbertus Hamley, Esq, to be Deputy Ordnance Storekeeper and Barrack Master at Wellington.[17]

On 4 March 1859, at the age of 39 years, Plummer passed away, resulting in Hamley moving from Wellington and assuming charge of all Ordnance operations in New Zealand.[18]

Following the panic of the Crimean War, and the abolishment of the Board of Ordnance, the Board’s civil officers, were reorganised into a new organisation called the Military Store Department on 1 February 1857. [19], under the title of Military Store Officers, the gradings being:

  • Principal Military Storekeeper and Military Storekeeper, both ranking as Lieutenant Colonel,
  • Deputy Military Storekeeper ranked as a Major, and
  • Assistant ranked as Captain.

The formation of the Military Store Department was one of many organisational reforms were undertaken to modernise and make the administration of the army more effective.[20] [21] The changes soon filtered through to the colonies and the existing Ordnance organisations adapted to the new structures accordingly. Further changes occurred during 1861 with the issuing of Royal Warrants reorganising the Military Store Department and improving the position of the officers.[22] [23] The Royal Warrants granted commissions to the officers of the Military Store Department, [24] organised into five grades:[25]

  • Principal Superintendent of Stores, ranked as Colonel,
  • Superintendent of Stores; ranked as Lieutenant Colonel,
  • Deputy Superintendent of Stores; ranked as Major,
  • Assistant Superintendent of Stores; ranked as Captain,
  • Deputy Assistant Superintendent of Stores; ranked as Lieutenant.

After some initial conflict in the mid-1840’s New Zealand settled into a period of relative peace, with underlying tensions between Māori and the settlers remaining, resulting in conflict erupting in the Taranaki in 1860. The dispute led to an escalation of Imperial troop levels so that by Mach 1864 the strength of Colonial and Imperial forces in New Zealand had grown from a few hundred in the 1840s, to at its peak a force of about 18000, including [26][27]

  • Royal Navy with Royal Marines
  • Ten Infantry Battalions,
  • Two Batteries of the Royal Artillery,
  • Royal Engineers,
  • Military Train,
  • Commissariat Staff Corps,
  • Commissariat Transport Corps,
  • Army Medical Department,
  • Purveyors Department,
  • Military Store Department,
  • Colonial Defence Force
    • Cavalry
    • Forest Rangers
  • Various Colonial Militia, Volunteer and Military Settler units, Including the.
    • Auckland Militia
    • Waikato Militia
  • Pro-British Māori iwi (Kupapa)

Expanding to meet the demands of the growing Imperial Forces the New Zealand branch of the Military Store Department included the following staff;[28] [29]

Assistant Military Storekeeper/ Assistant Superintendent of Stores/ Deputy Superintendent of Stores

  • William Plummer, 1857 – 1859.[30]
  • Joseph Osbertus Hamley,1857 – 1870.[31]
  • C. Macduff, February 1861 – May 1866. [32]
Joseph Osbertus Hamley
Joseph Osbertus Hamley, circa 1860s. Photographer unidentified. Alexander Turnbull Library Reference Number: PA1-q-250-25-1 http://mp.natlib.govt.nz/detail/?id=27060

Acting Deputy Assistant Superintendent of Stores

  • Edward Foster Holden, from 1864.[33]

Deputy Assistant Superintendent of Stores

  • J Ingram, March1861-1862. [34] [35] [36]
  • Joseph Michael Rainsford, 1862-1864.[37]
  • A.R Tribe, 1861 -1866[38]
  • William Marvin, 1862 – 1867.[39]
  • William Sidney Haldane, 1 March1864 – 1 December 1868.[40] [41]
  • T Timbrell, March1864 – 1866.[42]
  • James White, March1864 -1866.[43]
  • W. B Le Gyet,1863-1866.
  • Henry Potter, 1863 -1867.[44]
  • Wilmot Holworthy, 1867-1867.
  • Dominick O’Loghlan MacDermott, 1867-1867.
  • T.G Stack, 1867-1867.
  • John Fullarton Beatson, 1867 – 1868,[45]

Other staff that were known to have worked as part of the MSD were.

  • Mr Michael Field,[46] [47]
  • Mr Maurice Norman Bower, 1857-1862 [48] [49]
  • Mr Gorrie,[50]
  • Mr Kerr, [51]
  • Edward Smith.[52]
  • David Evitt, [53]
  • Sergeant Alexander Stewart, 1861- 1864 [54]
  • Armourer Sergeant John Smith. [55]
  • John Fahy, [56]

Store conductors

Store Conductors were Non-Commissioned Officers selected from the Royal Artillery and units of the line based on their superior intelligence and exemplary conduct. [57] Reinforcing their knowledge of stores duties and procedures by attending a six-week course at the Tower and Woolwich Arsenal prepared and confirmed their appointment as Stores Conductors.[58] Known Stores Conductors in New Zealand were;[59]

  • 3242 Sergeant -Master Gunner John Bates, Royal Artillery, 5 Mar 1861 – 20 Jun 1866,
    • Served: Waitara, Te Arei Pa and Auckland,
  • 3153 Sergeant 3rd Class Benjamin Evans, Royal Artillery, 1861 – 1866,
    • Transferred to MSSC 29 Jun 68
  • 687 Sergeant Caleb Bell, Royal Artillery, 1861 – 1866,
  • 2787 Sergeant John Brown, Royal Artillery,1 Aug 1861 – 14-Nov-66,
  • 1439 Sergeant William Brunkard, Royal Artillery, 1861 – 1866,[60]
  • 3074 Sergeant Hugh Carlin, Royal Artillery, 5 Mar 1864 – 1866,
    • Served Waikato and Wanganui,
  • 1080 Sergeant Archie Hood, Royal Artillery, 1861 – 1866,
    • Served Taranaki,
  • 1313 Sergeant Master Gunner Walter Kelsall, Royal Artillery, 1861 – 1866,
    • Served Auckland and Shepard Bush,18th Regt
  • Sergeant Alexander Stewart, Royal Artillery,[61]
    • In charge of the powder magazine at Albert Barracks from 1961 to 1964

From 1857 the military establishment of the Military Store Department was only officers, with civilians and soldiers seconded from other Corps or Regiments as required. The formation of a Military Store Staff Corps as an unformed branch of the British military had been under discussion for some time, with Major Hamley strongly recommending the creation of such as Corps in 1864.[62] Established by royal warrant in 1865 the Military Store Staff Corps created an establishment of soldiers to complement the officers of the Military Store Department.[63] Given that by the time of the granting of the royal warrant, and the establishment of the Military Store Staff Corps in 1866,[64] the Imperial forces in New Zealand were starting to wind down operations and depart New Zealand; it is currently unknown if Major Hamley was able to have his staff transferred to the Military Store Staff Corps.

ourheritagemediaoriginalfc5f46c2afbfb5e53b76cef5c40974d2
Williams, E. A. (Edward Arthur), 1824-1898, “Fort Britomart. Auckland.,” ourheritage.ac.nz | OUR Heritage, accessed July 28, 2018, http://www.otago.ourheritage.ac.nz/items/show/4884.

Uniforms of the Military Store Department

The Army Dress Regulations of 1864 details the specifications for the uniforms of the Military Store Department.[65]

Coat—Tunic, blue, single-breasted, with scarlet collar, cuffs and slash on sleeve. The collar rounded off in front; cuff round, two and three-quarter inches deep, and ten and a half round; slashed flap- on sleeve six inches long and two and a quarter inches wide, with three loops of halfinch lace, staff pattern, and uniform buttons; eight buttons in front at equal distances. The skirt ten and a half inches deep for an officer 5 feet 9 inches in height, with a variation of half an inch, longer or shorter”, for every inch of difference in the height of the wearer; blue flap on the skirt behind, ten inches deep, two buttons on flap, and one on waist, with three loops of halfinch lace. The coat, collar, cuffs, and flaps edged with scarlet cloth, quarter-inch, and the skirts lined with scarlet.

Distinctions of Rank according to the relative ranks in the army. Principal Superintendent of Stores, and Superintendent of Stores, the latter, after five years’ standing as such, as Colonel; the collar laced round the top and bottom, with a crown and star at each end of collar.

Superintendent of Stores, under five years’ standing, as Lieutenant-Colonel, same lace as Principal Superintendent, with a crown at each end of collar.

Deputy-Superintendent of Stores, as Major; the same lace, with a star at each end of collar.

Assistant- Superintendent of Stores, as Captain; the lace round top only of collar, a crown and star at each end.

Deputy-Assistant Superintendent of Stores, as Lieutenant; the same lace as Assistants, with a crown at each end of collar.

Officers ranking with Field Officers to have two rows of half-inch lace round the top of the cuff, and an edging of the same on the sleeve and skirt flaps, and down the edge of the skirts behind.

Officers under that rank to have one row of lace round the cuff, none on the skirts, and loops only on the skirt and sleeve flaps.

Lace gold, staff pattern, half an inch in width.

Buttons—gilt, with the crown and “Military Store Staff ” raised thereon.

Hat—cocked, the fan on back part nine inches, the front seven inches and a half, each corner five inches, uniform buttons gold lace loop, and tassels of gold crape fringe, with crimson underneath. Feather—black and white, cock-tail; top white, and bottom black, five and a half inches long, mushroom shaped.

Stock—black silk.

Trousers—blue cloth, with gold lace one and three-quarter inches broad, staff pattern, down outward seam.

Boots—Wellington.

Spurs—screw, yellow metal, crane neck, two inches long for Officers ranking with Field Officers; steel for Officers under that rank drawing forage.

Sword—as for Officers of Infantry.

Scabbard—brass, for Officers ranking with Field Officers, steel for all other ranks.

Sword-Knot—crimson and gold, with acorn tassel.

Sword-Belt—for Officers ranking with Field Officers, black morocco leather, one inch and a half wide, with two rows of gold embroidery in a scroll. Slings, embroidered on one side; plain gilt buckles to slings. For Officers under that rank, plain black morocco, without embroidery.

Plate —round gilt clasp, with V.R., surmounted in silver upon the centre-piece, and ” Military Store Staff” with a laurel, also in silver, on outer circle.

Frock-Coat—blue, double-breasted, with stand-up collar, rounded off in front ; cuffs and lapels all blue, cuff, ten and a half inches round, and two and three-quarter inches deep ; slashed flap on sleeve five and a quarter inches long, and one and a half inch wide, with three small uniform buttons, two rows of uniform buttons down the front, eight buttons in each row at equal distances. Flaps on skirt behind ten inches deep, with two buttons on flap and one on waist; the skirt lined with black, and seventeen inches deep for an Officer five feet nine inches in height, with a variation of half an inch, longer or shorter, for each inch of difference in the height of the wearer. The Officers ranking with Field Officers to have the badge of their rank (as crown or star) embroidered in gold at each end of the collar. The collars of all other Officers to be plain.

Waistcoat—blue, single-breasted, with uniform buttons, plain gold braid round collar, seams and pockets, finished with a crow’s foot at each end of pocket.

Undress Trousers—blue cloth, with scarlet stripe, one and three-quarter inches in width down outer seam, for Principal Superintendents of Stores and Superintendents after five years’ service.

For other ranks—blue, with two scarlet welts down each outward seam.

Forage-Cap—for Principal Superintendents of Stores and Superintendents after five years’ standing, blue cloth, with embroidered peak and gold lace band, staff’ lace, one and three-quarters inches in width, gold netted button on top.

For other ranks —blue cloth, with plain leather peak and chin-strap, with two rows of gold lace five-eighths of an inch wide, staff pattern, for band, showing scarlet between the lines, gold netted button on top.

Shell-Jacket— blue, with scarlet facings and uniform buttons.

Cloak—blue pattern, as for Officers of Infantry, with uniform buttons.

Horse Furniture—as for Medical Officers.

Infrastructure

Commensurate with the growth of the Imperial Forces, The Military Store Department, alongside the much larger Commissariat [66][67] had kept pace and by 1864 Fort Britomart and Albert Barracks in Auckland had become the central storage and distribution depot (Logistic Hub in modern terms) for all the Imperial troops stationed throughout New Zealand.[68] The Military Store Department infrastructure in Fort Britomart consisted of the following; [69]

A Scene at Fort Britomart, Auckland, the 1860s. Shows soldiers from the Imperial Garrison,(Colourised). the Sir George Grey Special Collections in the Auckland City Library
  • No 1 Store – A generous 65ft x 60ft building with an estimated storage capacity of 1000 Utilised at the “Receiving Store,” it is the store that all inwards goods are received, sorted and classified before distribution to customer units or placed into storage into other stores for later use.
  • No 2 Store – A bulk store for all manner of goods from scythes to swords, including in-numerable bales of grey blankets
  • No 3 Store – Clothing and necessities store for regimental for the 13 different corps in the colony. At the time uniforms were provided to men at one-third of the cost for which they were available from civilian vendors.
  • No 4 Store – Hospital stores and manner of necessaries, comforts or luxuries for sick soldiers.
  • No 5 Store – The delivery store where goods as pocked and addressed for the delivery to customers. Also serving as a store for trophy weapons captured during the war. Captured weapons were all carefully labelled, waiting to be claimed by the men who secured them when the war was over.
  • No 6 Store – Armoury for artillery stores and small arms such as rifles.
  • No 7 Store – Used for artillery fittings for 6Lb and 12Lb Armstrong batteries of the Imperial forces.
  • No 8 Store – The packing store, where tradesmen such as carpenters and painters prepare and pack goods for delivery.
  • No 9 Store – Reception store for camp equipage returned from regiments, and for its inspection and refurbishment to make it ready for reissue. This store also included an armourers workshop responsible for the repair and cleaning of rifles, swords, and other warlike implements. This building also included quarters for the twenty-five men of the Military Store Department
  • Magazines – Located in Albert Barracks and consisting of several buildings surrounded by a stone wall, the magazines held the entire supply of ammunition for the army in New Zealand. Stocks were held as either prepared cartridges (four and a half million rounds in March 1864) or as components such as shot and powder. Constructed of arched brick the magazines resembled strong rooms with the ammunition packed in cases and barrels on racks on each side with a narrow passage between the stock. Designed to be intrinsically safe within the walls of the magazine, with all nails and tools were made from copper so that every precaution was taken to prevent sparks and explosions. Magazine keepers were hand-picked, and the slightest sign of unsteadiness or neglect of duty resulted in instant dismissal.
Fort Britomart Map

Military Store Department operations were not only restricted to Auckland but across the country wherever Imperial troops were serving. Embedded in Regiments, Stores Conductors provided the link between Regimental Quartermasters and the Store Department.  Hamley and his deputy Macduff would spend considerable time in the field supervising stores distribution. An example is in March 1864 when McDuff personally oversaw the distribution of blankets, clothing and necessities to troops and Te Awamutu during the Waikato campaign.[70] During the Taranaki Campaign, the strength of the Military Store Department in New Plymouth in June 1863 was 1 Staff and 3 Sergeants.[71]

By 1866 the conflict in New Zealand had reached a stage where colonial forces were conducting the bulk of military operations, resulting in a drawdown and withdrawal of Imperial units. As the Imperial commitment decreased with the departure of five Imperial Regiments in 1866, the Military Store Department also had to reduce and optimise its operations. The reduction of troops necessitated the closing of its provincial Depots such as the Depot in Whanganui in March of 1867, and its stores returned to Auckland.[72] [73] With the departure of four more regiments in 1867, the closure of the Tauranga Depot soon followed.[74] The final Imperial Regiment would depart New Zealand in February 1869.[75] [76]

The dismantling of Fort Britomart had commenced in January 1869, with all the military content of Fort Britomart and Albert Barracks belonging to the Imperial Government, such as guns, ammunition and stores shipped to the United Kingdom on the SS Himalaya. [77] With the withdrawal of Imperial Forces completed by July 1870,[78] and the full responsibility for defence matters was handed over to the New Zealand Colonial Defence Force.[79] Defence store-keeping responsibility was handed over to the Colony’s Defence Stores under the control of the Colonial Storekeeper, Captain John Mitchell.[80] [81]  Transfers of equipment on a cost-recovery basis to the New Zealand Forces was facilitated, with the surplus was either disposed of by tender or redistributed around the empire. [82] [83]

After 32 years of colonial service, Hamley apart from the Imperial officer remaining to pay pensioners was the last remaining Imperial Officer in New Zealand to return to England.[84] Hamley would continue to be employed in Ordnance related services, serving in Ireland, Chatham. The War Office, Dover, and Aldershot retiring with the honorary rank of Major General.

In 1870 the Military Store Department, the Commissariat and the Military Train were amalgamated into one organisation called the Control Department. From the perspective of the Military Store Department, it was a disastrous and ill-thought-out experiment in combined logistics, leading to the amalgamation being reversed in 1876 with the Military Store Department renamed the Ordnance Store Department, which in turn would after several name changes became the Royal Army Ordnance Corps in 1918.[85]

In conclusion, the Military Store Department served with distinction during the New Zealand Wars.

In assessing the performance of the Military Stores Department Cameron would report that,

no department in New Zealand was more efficient or came less into collision with other departments than the Military Store Department.[1]

Arthur Forbes, A History of the Army Ordnance Services (London: The Medici society, ltd., 1929), 167

The story of the Military Store Department is the story of Major Joseph Osbertus Hamley. Hamley progressed through the ranks from being an 18-year-old in the Ordnance Department in Sydney to Deputy Ordnance Storekeeper in Wellington in 1847 and then the head of the Military Store Department during the crucial war years of the 1860s. Newspaper articles of the period are full of praise for Hamley and the skilful leadership of his department and few if any find any fault with him. This article provides an introduction into Hamleys Military Store Department, which as an organisation unfairly overshadowed by the much larger and more well-known Commissariat is deserving of having its story told and further research is required to understand the full story of this exceptional man and the organisation he managed.

Notes:

[1] Robert Curran, “Ordnance Stores and the Ordnance Storekeeper in the Colony of New South Wales,”  http://users.tpg.com.au/borclaud/ranad/ordnance_storekeeper.html#imp.

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

[3] Curran, “Ordnance Stores and the Ordnance Storekeeper in the Colony of New South Wales”.

[4] ” Old Sydney,” Truth (Sydney, NSW: 1894 – 1954), 4 August 1912.

[5] “Government Notice,” Sydney Herald, 3 July 1840.

[6] “Letter from Charles Logie Colonial Storekeeper, Bay of Islands to Willoughby Shortland, Esquire, Acting Colonial Secretary Item Id R23629593, Record No 1840/76 (Wellington: Archives New Zealand),”  (1840).

[7] MNZM  Gerald J Elliott, “British Regiments in New Zealand 1840-1847,”  http://ellott-postalhistorian.com/articles/80th-96th-99th-Regiments.pdf.

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

[9] Una Platts, The Lively Capital, Auckland 1840-1865 (Christchurch: Avon Fine Prints, 1971), Non-fiction, 24.

[10] 158Adam Davis, “The Imperial Garrison in New Zealand, 1840-1870 with Particular Reference to Auckland” (University of Bedfordshire, 2004).

[11] “Tender for Supply of Straw,” New Zealander,  Volume 1, Issue 41, 14 March 1846.

[12] “Communication with the Interior “, New Zealander, Volume 2, Issue 69, 26 September 1846.

[13] “Sealed Tenders,” Wellington Independent, Volume II, Issue 149 1847.

[14] “Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, Law and Order and the Military,”  https://mch.govt.nz/pukeahu/park/pukeahu-history-7.

[15] “Freehold Allotment of Land,” Lyttelton Times, Volume V, Issue 259,, 25 April 1855.

[16] “Promotions and Appointments,” New Zealand Spectator and Cooks Strait Guardian, Volume VIII, Issue 772, 25 December 1852

[17] Hamley has first arrived in New Zealand in 1847 as the ordnance Clerk in Wellington.

[18] “Projected Departure of Mr Hamley,” Wellington Independent, Volume XXV, Issue 3017, 9 July 1870.

[19] War Officer Circular 139 Dated 15 September 1857. J.M. War office Bannatyne, Royal Warrants, Circular, General Orders and Memoranda, Issued by the War Office and Horse Guards, Aug. 1856- July 1864 (1864), 302.

[20] Brigadier A H Fernyhough, A Short History of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (First Edition) (RAOC Trust 1965), 14.

[21] Arthur Forbes, A History of the Army Ordnance Services (London: The Medici society, ltd., 1929), 149.

[22] “Commissions Granted to Officers Serving in the Military Store Department,” London Gazette No 22567, 19 November 1861, 4642-45.

[23] “Military Store Detachment – Promotions,” London Gazette No 22545, 18 July 1862, 3584.

[24] Fernyhough, History of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps 1920-1945, ix.

[25] Forbes, A History of the Army Ordnance Services, 41.

[26] James Belich, The New Zealand Wars and the Victorian Interpretation of Racial Conflict (Auckland, New Zealand: Auckland University Press, 2015 This edition 2015, 2015), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 125-26.

[27] Davis, “The Imperial Garrison in New Zealand, 1840-1870 with Particular Reference to Auckland,” 79.

[28] Colonel H.G Hart, “Hart’s Army Lists – 1839-1915,” National Library of Scotland,, https://digital.nls.uk/british-military-lists/archive/100739612.

[29] “Matters Military “, New Zealand Herald, Volume I, Issue 247, 27 August 1864.

[30] Plummer had arrived in New Zealand in 1842 as an Ordnance Clerk in Auckland from the New South Wales Ordnance Office.  Passed away 4 March 1859, at the age of 39 years

[31] Served in New Zealand from 1847 until 1870. Remained in Government service after returning to the United Kingdom and retired after more than forty-two years of service as Commissary General with the honorary rank of Major General.Una Platts, Nineteenth Century New Zealand Artists: A Guide & Handbook (Christchurch, N.Z.: Avon Fine Prints, 1980, 1980), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, Collective biography.

[32] Second in command of the department who volunteered his services for New Zealand at the beginning of the war. Promoted to Assistant Superintendent of Stores on 2 August 1862

[33] Never appointed D.A.S.S, was only appointed acting D.A.S.S locally after the death of Rainsford.

[34] Departed England on the Norwood January 1861. “Continuation of Journal of Events to Jan 19,” Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, Volume XX, Issue 9, 26 January 1861.

[35] Arrived 6 March 1861 on the Norwood “Shipping Intelligence, Poort of Auckland,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XVII, Issue 1380, 5 March 1861.

[36] Joined the MSD at Hong Kong November 1862  “Martime Record,” New Zealander, Volume XVIII, Issue 1741, 12 November 1862.

[37] Passed away 15 April 1864 “Military Funeral,” New Zealander, Volume XX, Issue 2104, 30 April 1864.

[38] Departed United Kingdom in the Ship African to take charge of the military stores on the outward voyage to New Zealand April 1861 “English Shipping,” Wellington Independent Volume XVI, Issue 1518, 30 April 1861.

[39]  In 1864 Marvin was employed in the demands office, responsible for maintaining the proper proportion of stores to meet the requirements of the army, either by obtaining the stores from England or purchasing them in the local market. Left the department in 1866 and returned to the UK “Military Items,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXII, Issue 3101, 25 June 1867.

[40] Arrived on Ship Golden City with Timbrell and White March 1864 “Naval and Military Extracts,” Colonist, Volume VII, Issue 665, 11 March 1864.

[41] “Military Items,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXIV, Issue 3390, 28 May 1968.

[42] “Naval and Military Extracts.”

[43] Ibid.

[44] In charge of Issues, joined the department from Tasmania at the beginning of the war, completed service with the department in 1867″Military Items.”

[45] completed service with the department in 1868 “Military Intelligence,” Taranaki Herald, Volume XVI, Issue 816, 14 March 1868.

[46] Clerk in the Military Store Department. 1860 – Chapman’s New Zealand Almanac – New Zealand Official Directory,  (The University of Auckland Library, 1860), 164.

[47] In control of the finance department. “Matters Military “, New Zealand Herald, Vol 1 Issue247, 27 August 1864.

[48] Clerk in the Military Store Department. 1860 – Chapman’s New Zealand Almanac – New Zealand Official Directory, 164.

[49] Bower arrived in Auckland in 1857, joined the Military Store Department, in which he remained until the outbreak of the Waikato War. The Cyclopedia of New Zealand. Vol. 6. Taranaki, Hawkes Bay, Wellington Provincial Districts: Industrial, Descriptive, Historical, Biographical Facts, Figures, Illustrations,  (Cyclopedia Company, 1908), 308.

[50] Department ledger keeper. “Matters Military “.

[51] Performed the general duties of a clerk. Ibid.

[52] Armourer attached to the MSD at Britomart Barracks 1863 “Police Court,” New Zealander, Volume XIX, Issue 1897, 18 June 1863.

[53] Gunsmith working as a contractor to the MSD, at Britomart Barracks 1863. Ibid.

[54]  In Charge of the Powder Magazine Mount Albert for three and a half years “Coroners Inquest,” New Zealander, Volume XXI, Issue 2215, 5 September 1864.

[55] Engaged as Armourer Sergeant MSD Britomart Barracks.  ibid.

[56] Found drowned, near the Queen-street Wharf, on the 3rd July 1862, formerly of the Royal Artillery, and latterly employed in the Military Store Department. “Died,” New Zealander, Volume XVIII, Issue 1701,, 5 July 1862.

[57] “Matters Military “.

[58] Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, 38.

[59] Terry Shattock, “Unpublished Work on New Zealand War Medals,” (2018).

[60] “Deaths,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXXII, Issue 5288, 23 September 1876.

[61] “Military Funeral,” New Zealand Herald, Volume I, Issue 254, 5 September 1864; ibid.

[62] “Matters Military “.

[63] Fernyhough, History of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps 1920-1945, ix.

[64] “The New Military Store Staff Corps,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXII, Issue 2713, 28 March 1866.

[65] Horse Guards Adjutant-General, Dress Regulations for the Army (London: Printed under the Superintendence of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office,, 1864), 116-18.

[66] Julia Millen, Salute to Service: A History of the Royal New Zealand Corps of Transport and Its Predecessors, 1860-1996 (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 1997, 1997), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 24-25.

[67] “The Role of the Commissariat During the Waikato Campaign, 1863 – 1864,” http://www.soldiersofempire.nz/the-role-of-the-commissariat-during-the-waikato-campaign-1863—1864.html.

[68] Davis, “The Imperial Garrison in New Zealand, 1840-1870 with Particular Reference to Auckland,” 131.

[69] “Fort Britomart,” New Zealand Spectator and Cook’s Strait Guardian, Volum XIX, Issue 1942, 12 March 1864.

[70] “Te Awamutu,” New Zealand Herald, Volume I, Issue 124, 6 April 1864

[71] “Taranaki. The Kaitake Pa Shelled, Abandonment of Tataraimaka, Withdrawal of the Troops (from Our Special Correspondent) New Plymouth June 29,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XIX, Issue 1885, 1 August 1863.

[72] “Wanganui,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXIII, Issue 3003, 11 March 1867.

[73]  The Whanganui Depot had been established by Assistant Superintendent of Stores A.C. Macduff in 1864.   “Tenders for Supply of Straw,” New Zealand Herald, Volume II, Issue 344, 19 December 1864.

[74] “Page 2 Advertisements Column 5,” New Zealand Herald, Volume IV, Issue 1079, 30 April 1867.

[75] A. H. McLintock, “British Troops in New Zealand,”  http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/1966/british-troops-in-new-zealand

[76] “The Troops and the Home Government,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXV, Issue 3643, 23 March 1869.

[77] “Dismantling of Fort Britomart,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXV, Issue 3616, 19 February 1869.

[78] “Projected Departure of Mr Hamley,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXVI, Issue 4007, 25 June 1870.

[79] Garry Clayton, The New Zealand Army: A History from the 1840’s to the 1990s ([Wellington, N.Z.]: New Zealand Army, 1990, 1990), Non-fiction, 26.

[80] “Militia and Volunteer Appointments,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume 2075, Issue XX, 14 March 1864 1864.

[81] Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, 49.

[82] “Page 1 Advertisements Column 5,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXV, Issue 3596, 27 January 1869.

[83] “The Daily Southern Cross,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume XXV, Issue 3595, 26 January 1869.

[84] “Projected Departure of Mr Hamley.”

[85] Fernyhough, A Short History of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (First Edition) 16-17.



Colonial Storekeeper 1840-1871

The Office of the Colonial Storekeeper was the government apparatus responsible for the provision of logistic services to the early Colonial Government of New Zealand. Established in 1840, the appointment of Colonial Storekeeper was discontinued in 1844 only to be reestablished in the early 1860’s until falling into disuse in 1871. Having Military and civilian responsibilities the Colonial Storekeeper and can be considered as the foundation of New Zealand’s Military Stores services. Providing an overview and background this article provides a brief history of the Colonial Storekeepers of New Zealand.

The establishment of New Zealand as a British Colony in 1840 saw the adoption of the British system of colonial government which was already in use across the 40 colonies of the British Empire. The system consisted of a Governor and a range of administrative departments; such as Survey, Surgeon, Customs, Police/Militia, Stores etc. As New Zealand was initially annexed as part of the Colony of New South Wales the laws and institutions of New South Wales were duplicated in New Zealand utilising individuals seconded from New South Wales institutions until November 1840 when New Zealand became a separate colony[1].

The Office of the Colonial Storekeeper has its origins with the Colonial administration of New South Wales, which from 1836 had two distinct supply organisations;

  • The Ordnance Board which was responsible for British Government (Imperial) Stores, and
  • The Colonial Storekeeper, which was responsible for “Colonial stores”.

Although having separate roles, the two organisations overlapped as they shared the same magazines and storehouses and between 1836 and 1844 the position of Ordnance Storekeeper and Colonial Storekeeper was held by the same individual[2].

The Colonial Storekeepers office was included in the First wave of administrators to arrive with Governor William Hobson in January 1840[3]. Mr Charles Hook Gordon Logie of the Sydney based Colonial Storekeepers was appointed on the 15th of January 1840 to hold the appointment of Colonial Storekeeper in Hobsons administration[4].

Charles Logie(1810-1866) was a 29-year-old English immigrant then working for the Colonial Storekeeper in Sydney. Establishing the Office of the Colonial Storekeeper at Old Russell[5] with stocks dispatched from Sydney on HMS Herald[6], Logie would hold the position of Colonial Storekeeper until October 1840. The Colonial Storekeeper was only responsible for the provision of stores and supplies to Colonial entities and not for the Imperial troops stationed in New Zealand. Imperial forces such as the 8oth Regiment who arrived in early in 1840, had their immediate logistic requirements met by a Staff Sergeant from the Ordnance Board[7]. Following echelons of Imperial troops would have the logistic needs met by the Commissariat Transport Corps and the Ordnance Board[8] (Military Store Department from 1855).

In October 1840 it was time for Logie to move on and approval was given on the 30th of October 1840 by the Colonial Secretary of New South Wales for Henry Tucker to replace Logie as Colonial Storekeeper, with Tucker taking up the appointment in November. Tucker was a Royal Navy Officer and purser aboard HMS Buffalo who had been stranded in New Zealand as a result of that ship coming to grief and sinking in the Coromandel on the 28th of July 1840[9]. During Tucker’s tenure, the capital was transferred from Russell to Auckland from March 1840[10], and in July 1841 New Zealand was granted the status as a full colony separating it from New South Wales[11].

Old Russell

Russell, Bay of Islands in 1858. [Moresby, Matthew Fortescue]. Attributed photographer: Reference Number: E-309-q-1-017 Alexander Turnbull Libary

The role of the colonial storekeeper in early colonial New Zealand was a critical position attempting as much as possible to meet the store’s needs of the expanding colonial administration. Stocks were either provided from the Colonial Storekeepers office in Sydney, purchased on the local market or obtained from the Board of Ordnance representatives in New Zealand. The Colonial Storekeeper was responsible for providing the local militia with arms and accoutrements but had no responsibility for Imperial troops. Imperial troops in New Zealand were the responsibility of the Board of Ordnance. Stores and services provided to the Colonial Storekeeper from Board of Ordnance stocks were on a “repayment” basis, an arrangement that would remain in place until the withdrawal of Imperial troops in 1870.

65th Regiment

Soldiers of the Light Infantry Company, 65th Regiment Ref: 1/2-025608-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand

In late 1843 the Colonial Secretary of New Zealand under pressure to reduce expenditure from the Colonial Office in London deemed the positions of Colonial Surgeon, Harbourmaster and Colonial Storekeeper as unnecessary and had them cancelled[12]. By February 1844 the duties of the Colonial Storekeeper had been divided between the Colonial Secretary and the Superintendent of Public Works[13][14]

From 1844 there is little evidence of the existence of a Colonial Storekeeper for New Zealand.  The passing of The Militia Act of 1845[15] established the Militia that was administered by the Colonial Secretary and equipped directly by stocks provided by the Imperial Military Store Department or purchased from the Colonial Storekeepers in Sydney, New South Wales.colonial storekeeper

The outbreak of hostilities in the Taranaki in the early 1860’s saw the calling out of the Militia across the country and the large-scale use of Imperial troops. The conflict in the Taranaki led to the passing of the Colonial Defence Act of 1862[16] on the 15th of September 1862 and the formation of the Colonial Defence Force (the first Regular Force in New Zealand) with detachments throughout the country.

Superintendent Militia Stores,Under the Quartermaster General Office of the Colonial Defence Force, the Superintendent of Militia Stores was responsible for supplying the Colonial Forces from 1863 to 1865. During 1865 the responsibilities of the Superintendent of Militia Stores was transferred to the new Colonial Storekeeper, Captian John Mitchell. The exact date that the Office of Colonial Storekeeper had been reinstated is unclear, but correspondence originating from the Colonial Storekeeper shows that the position was existing from March 1862[17].Colonial Defence Force

Lieutenant Colonel Edward Gorton

Lieutenant Colonel Edward Gorton

Capitan John Mitchell had been a long-serving member of the 58th (Rutlandshire) Regiment of Foot which had arrived in New Zealand in 1854. A Corporal in the Bay of Islands in 1846[18], Mitchell, then a Sergeant took his discharge on the 31st of August 1853[19]. Entering government service in October 1856[20], Mitchell joined the Auckland Rifle Volunteers and had advanced to the rank of Captain in 1864 when he was placed on the unattached list of officers[21]. Mitchell was suspended as Colonial Storekeeper in May 1869 due to a dispute about some absences. Resigning on the 5th of July 1869[22] Mitchell was replaced by Major William St Clair Tisdall, who assumed the position as acting Colonial Storekeeper[23]. Tisdall would only remain as acting Colonial Storekeeper for a short time as Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Gorton, Acting Quartermaster-General was appointed as the Inspector of Defence Stores and Colonial Storekeeper in 1869[24]. With the passing of the Public Stores Act 1871[25], all Colonial Government stores were brought under his audit and inspection. The Public Stores Act 1871 defined the responsibilities of Storekeepers and Sub-Storekeepers, and the term “Colonial Storekeeper” fell into disuse.

 

Although existing for only just over ten years between 1840 and 1971 the Office of the Colonial Storekeeper is important for a number of reasons. The first iteration under Logie and Tucker established the first Civil/Military stores organisation in New Zealand, and given that Logie was under the employ of the Government of New South Wales it can be said with some certainty that Henry Tucker was the first New Zealand Colonial Storekeeper. The second iteration under Mitchell and then Gorton is just as notably important because the Colonial Storekeeper was the head of the first full-time Defence Stores organisation in New Zealand. The Defence Stores organisation of 1865 would remain a constant fixture of the New Zealand Defence Forces for the next 51 years before becoming the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps in 1917.

Copyright © Robert McKie 2018

Notes

[1] Malcolm McKinnon, “Colonial and Provincial Government – the Crown Colony, 1840 to 1852,”  https://teara.govt.nz/en/colonial-and-provincial-government/page-1.

[2] “Ordnance Stores and the Ordnance Storekeeper in the Colony of New South Wales,”  http://users.tpg.com.au/borclaud/ranad/ordnance_storekeeper.html.

[3] “Government Notice,” Sydney Herald (NSW: 1831 – 1842), 03 July 1840 1840.

[4] Letter From Charles Logie Colonial Storekeeper, Bay of Islands To Willoughby Shortland, Esquire, Acting Colonial Secretary Item Id R23629593, Record No 1840/76 (Wellington: Archives New Zealand, 1840).

[5] Jack Lee, Old Russell : New Zealand’s First Capital: A History of the Opanui and Kahikatearoa Blocks at Okiato, Bay of Islands, on Which, in 1840, Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson Established the Town of Russell, His First Seat of Government in New Zealand (Russell, N.Z.: The Society, 1998, 1998), Bibliographies

Non-fiction.

[6] Way Bill of Stores to Be Conveyed to New Zealand Item Id R23629569 Record No 1840/30 (Wellington: Archives New Zealand, 1840).

[7] Joseph S. Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Wellington: RNZAOC, 1992), 43.

[8] Due to the Ordnance Boards poor performance during the Crimean War, the British Army administration system was reformed in 1855, and the Military Store Department was formed as a result. Brigadier A.H Fernyhough C.B.E. M.C., A Short History of the Raoc (London: RAOC, 1965).

[9] P. Owen Wheatley Chas Ingram, Shipwrecks New Zealand Disasters 1795 to 1950. , 2 ed. (Wellington: AH & AW Reed., 1936).

[10] Stephen Levine, “Capital City,”  http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/capital-city.

[11] “Crown Colony Era,” Ministry for Culture and Heritage, https://nzhistory.govt.nz/politics/history-of-the-governor-general/crown-colony-era.

[12] “Symptoms of Reform,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume I, Issue 29, 1 November 1843.

[13] “Parliamentary Papers for 1843. Encolsure to No 11 Copy of Treasury Minute, Dated March 10, 1843,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume 1, Issue 41, 27 January 1844.

[14] Bolton.

[15] “Militia Act 1845,”  (1845).

[16] “Colonial Defence Force Act 1862,” ed. General Assembly of New Zealand (Wellington1862).

[17] Reporting That the Whole of the Ammunition Has Been Removed from the “Glance” to the Magazine at the Albert Barracks, Item Id R24477365, Record No Dag1862/133 (Wellington: Archives New Zealand, 1862); Rain Coming in through Roof of Armoury, Item Id R24477407, Record No Dag1862/186 (Wellington: Archives New Zealand, 1862).

[18] Pandora Research http://www.nzpictures.co.nz/pandoraresearchANZ-AJCP3828-58thRegt-1846JunQt-WO12-6747.pdf.

[19] “John Mitchell,” Victoria University of New Zealand, http://heurist.sydney.edu.au/h4-alpha/?recID=17838&fmt=html&db=SoE_NZmedals.

[20] “Nominal Roll of the Civil Establishment of New Zealand on the 1st July 1868,” AJHR D-13 (1868).

[21] “Militia and Volunteer Appointments,” Daily Southern Cross, Volume 2075, Issue XX, 14 March 1864.

[22] John Mitchell, Captain Mitchell, Auckland Resigning His Appointment as Colonial Storekeeper, Item Id R24175549 Record No R24175549 (Wellington: New Zealand Archives, 1869 ).

[23] Suspension of Captain Mitchell Colonial Storekeeper for Absence from Duty. Major Tisdall Is Placed in Temporary Charge of Stores, Item Id R24175550 Record No Cd1869/2824 (Wellington: New Zealand Archives, 1869).

[24] “Arrival of Colonel Gorton in Wellington,” Wanganui Herald, Volume III, Issue 589, 23 April 1869.

[25] “The Public Stores Act 1871,” ed. General Assembly of New Zealand (Wellington1871).