NZAOC July 1922 to June 1923

The Establishment of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department (Officers) and New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Other ranks) on the 30th of June 1923 was 109, consisting of.[1]

  • 7 Officers, and
  • 102 Other Ranks

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel H. E. Pilkington, CBE, RNZA.[2]

Chief Ordnance Officer

  • Captain T.J King, NZAOD. [3]

Assistant Chief Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant A. W. Baldwin, NZAOD

Ordnance Accounting Officer

  • Lieutenant C.I. Gossage, OBE, NZAOD.[4] [5]
  • Lieutenant T.W Page, NZAOD. [6]

 Northern Command Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant A. W. Baldwin. [7]

 Central Command Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant H.H Whyte, NZAOD

Southern Command Ordnance Officer

  • Captain A.R.C White, NZAOD

 Featherston Camp Ordnance Officer

  • Captain F. E. Ford, NZAOD.

Inspecting Ordnance Officer and Acting Inspector of Ordnance Machinery

  • Captain William Ivory, RNZA.

Proof Officer, Small Arms Ammunition

  • Captain E.H Sawle.

1922 estb

Change of Command

The Director of Ordnance Services assumed command of the NZAOC from the Chief Ordnance Officer on 30 September 1922.[8]

Ordnance Depots

Northern Command

Due to financial constraints, work on the construction of the Ordnance Depot for the Northern Command had not commenced. The plans for the Ngaruawahia Ordnance Depot also provided for magazines which were urgently required to relieve the present congested magazines located at Fort Ballance, and to enable a number of the existing magazines at Auckland to be utilised for naval purposes[9].[10]

Central Command

Work that was proposed to be carried out at the Trentham depot had also been delayed due to financial constraints. [11]

Work that was proposed to be carried out at the Burnham depot had also been delayed due to financial constraints. [12]

These delays had made the provision of proper Ordnance Depots at all three locations an urgent matter. Apart from the strategic and tactical considerations, which would be important in the event of mobilisation. The completion of new depots was essential to avoid the high cost of maintenance of the temporary buildings in which the equipment was stored, and the higher freight charges involved the distribution of stores for peace requirements from unduly distant Ordnance Depots. The lack of substantial weatherproof and fireproof depot storehouses was causing the stocks of clothing and stores to be subject to a higher degree of deterioration that would generally be the case, and also exposes them to the risk of total loss by fire. [13]

Ordnance Workshops

Armament Sergeant Major (WO1) Joseph Warren appointed as Warrant Officer In Charge of the Ordnance Workshop Wellington 0n 8 May 1922.[14] [15]

warren warrant

The overhaul and assembling of the 6-inch 26cwt howitzers were completed satisfactorily at the Ordnance workshop, Alexandra Barracks. Twelve howitzers were overhauled and issued to the Territorial Artillery on completion. [16]

Accounting Systems

The cost accounting system introduced in 1921 by Lieutenant C.I. Gossage had proved very successful, and losses had become comparatively negligible. The inauguration of the new system, combined with the changes of staff consequent upon reorganisation, involved very considerable work, and the disposal of outstanding deficiencies in stores caused mainly through unrecorded issues to the Expeditionary Force or faulty book-keeping by the ever-changing temporary staff was a work of some magnitude.[17]

dying of Khaki clothingThe sale of surplus stores through a central depot in Wellington had been continuous since the establishment of the depot and had proved successful in every way. The sales average approximately £1,000 per week, and the prices obtained are much higher than could be achieved by any other method. To enable a considerable surplus of khaki service uniform jackets to be sold, a dying contract had been arranged, and supplies of those garments, dyed dark blue, were on the market. Khaki trousers were being, similarly stained to provide complete suits. The contract is very advantageous to the NZAOC since faded garments of little sale value were restored to excellent condition and are saleable at very satisfactory prices. On completion of each training-year large quantities of uniform, clothing was withdrawn from Territorials who have completed their service. To enable this clothing to be reissued it was thoroughly cleaned and renovated under a contract dry-cleaning process. The resultant savings were very considerable. For the six months ended 31st March 1923, the figures were as follows[18];

  • Number of garments dry-cleaned, 43,263
  • the number of garments renovated, 16,598
  • The total cost of dry-cleaning and renovation, £3,510
  • Before the present system, clothing was laundered and renovated for £8,423
  • so that the current system resulted in a saving of £4,913 for six months

Ordnance Veteran Petitions Parliament

Mr William Thomas Beck DSO MID, who served with the New Zealanders in Egypt and Gallipoli, and who suffered from shell-shock and defective eyesight, petitioned Parliament for redress on the 20th of June 1920. An Ordnance Corps member who served on Gallipoli as the New Zealand and Australian Division, DADOS at ANZAC. On being invalided back to New Zealand, he was declared medically unfit for service with the Defence Department, and so lost, the benefits and emoluments of his employment, while on the other hand the Superannuation Board declared him fit, and refused to extend to him the benefits of the fund to which for so long he had contributed. It is unknown how successful his Petition was.[19]

Presentation on Ordnance, Otago Officers’ Club 19 July 1922

Very few civilians, and even soldiers, during the war were aware of the work of the Ordnance Corps behind the lines and at the base depots. This subject was dealt with in an interesting lecture at the Otago Officers’ Club last evening by Captain Edward Fletcher Roberts, who was with the Ordnance Corps both in France and Mesopotamia. Captain Roberts gave an instructive and entertaining address on “Ordnance Work During the Great War.” Colonel E. R, Smith presided over a fairly numerous attendance. Captain Roberts dealt with the various phases of ordnance work, and by means of diagrams lucidly explained its many activities. The public generally had no idea of the enormous expense and vast amount of labour which is utilised in repairing artillery, gun limbers, machinery, etc., for an army in the field. Captain Roberts detailed the duties of Inspectors of Ordnance Machinery—more commonly known as I.0.M. These officers received a three months’ “oram” course at Woolwich before going on active service, where they received very full instruction on the mechanism, of gun carriages and the examination of ordnance. The speaker explained the various causes of gun trouble and the methods employed in effecting the necessary repairs. In dealing with ordnance workshops. Captain Roberts said there were several classes of workshops—the ordnance mobile workshops (light), commonly called travelling workshops, and the ordnance mobile workshops (heavy), which were stationed further back on the lines of communication than the light shops, and were a much slower moving unit, being hauled by traction engines. The heavy shop acted as a feeder to several light shops, there being at one time one heavy mobile workshop to each army. There were also base workshops which were capable of doing almost any repair. There were immense base workshops at Havre and Calais. As the speaker’s experience of base workshops was limited to Mesopotamia he dealt fully with their organisation and work in that country. He described the different repair work done and said that a large number of Arabs and Indians were employed by the British authorities. The captain concluded his remarks by giving instances of the various repairs effected to artillery of all types, to wheels for different vehicles, and all that a campaign makes necessary. At the conclusion of his address, Captain Roberts was accorded a hearty vote of thanks by acclamation.[20]

Chanak crisis

During September–October 1922 Turkish nationalist forces who had expelled the Greeks from Smyrna by force in August 1922, threatened to cross into the British occupied Dardanelles. Fearing for the security of the Dardanelles neutral zone, the British reinforced their positions in Chanak, the neutral region on the Asiatic shore of the Dardanelles, thus blocking the Turkish Forces. As the possibility of war grew, the British Government reached out to the Dominions, asking for support if hostilities broke out. New Zealand responded positively and despite it only been 4 years since the 1914-1918 New Zealand’s attitudes to war had not been affected, and the New Zealand Defence establishment embarked into an intense period of planning for the contribution of Expeditionary Force consisting of an Infantry Brigade. The Director of Ordnance Services was asked to provide the following personnel as part of the Infantry Brigade headquarters;[21]

  • One Warrant Officer
  • One Clerk
  • One Storeman
  • Four Armourer Staff Sergeants

Thousands of men volunteered, but luckily the potential conflict was resolved peacefully, and the New Zealand contribution was not required.


Kings Medal Shooting Competition

Corporal F. W. Ching, of the Ordnance Staff at Trentham, finished at 2nd place at the championship at the National Rifle Association meeting held in March 1923, earning an N.Z.A.R.A. Gold Jewel and £8. [22]

Personnel Movements -July 1922 to June 1923


  • 977 Private William Charles Hastings

Transfers from Royal New Zealand Artillery

  • 807 WO1 (Hon Lieutenant) Thomas Webster Page. [23]
  • 954 Company Sergeant Major Joseph Arthur Head, from Wellington Detachment
  • 956 Staff Sergeant Saddler George Alexander Carter, from Auckland Detachment
  • 960 Sergeant Frank William Ching, from Wellington Detachment
  • 961 Corporal Edgar Charles Boult, from Dunedin Detachment
  • 965 Bombardier Philip Alexander MacKay, from Featherston Detachment
  • 967 Bombardier Robert John Gamble, from Dunedin Detachment
  • 968 Bombardier Thomas Alexander Hunter, from Auckland Detachment
  • 974 Gunner Henry William Le Comte, from Wellington Detachment


  • 12 Staff Sergeant James Brown
  • 43 Staff Quartermaster Sergeant William James Frost
  • 51 Private John Edward Hedderwick
  • 58 Staff Quartermaster Sergeant Thomas Reid Inch
  • 71 Staff Sergeant Bernard Terence Leydon
  • 92 Private Hector Finch McKay
  • 110 Corporal Frederick William Savill
  • 121 Private William Thornton
  • 227 Private Daniel Clarke
  • 669 Lance Corporal Thomas William Cooper
  • 750 Private Peter McIlroy
  • 826 Artificer Joseph Graydon Crawford
  • 832 Private Richard Teehan
  • 835 Private William Joseph Conroy
  • 860 Private Hugh Lawton Owen
  • 943 Sergeant Major Artificer James Edward Nesbitt

Copyright © Robert McKie 2019


[1] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces from 1 July 1922 to 30 June 1923,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1923): 2.

[2] “Pilkington, Herbert Edward,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand  (1896 – 1930).

[3] “King, Thomas Joseph,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914-1946.

[4] Relinquished commission due to retirement 31 December 1922.”Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfer of Officers of the New Zealand Military Forces,” New Zealand Gazette No 2  (1923).

[5] “Personal – Gossage,” New Zealand Herald, Volume LX, Issue 18332,  (1923).

[6] Howard E. Chamberlain, Service Lives Remembered : The Meritorious Service Medal in New Zealand and Its Recipients, 1895-1994 ([Wellington, N.Z.]: H. Chamberlain, 1995), 350-51.

[7] “Lyons, Michael Joseph,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand  (1914-1919).

[8] “Change of Command,” NZAOC Corps Orders No 51  (1922): Part 2, Para 1.

[9] Major General E Chaytor, “Report on the Defence Forces of New Zealand,” AJHR H-19 (1923).

[10] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces from 1 July 1922 to 30 June 1923.”

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] “Warren, Joesph,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand  (1915-1931).

[15] “Change of Command,”  Part 2, Para 2.

[16] “Six-Inch Howitzers,” Evening Post, Volume CIV, Issue 13, 15 July 1922.

[17] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces from 1 July 1922 to 30 June 1923.”

[18] “Report on the Defence Forces of New Zealand.”

[19] “Soldiers Grievance Loss of Employment,” New Zealand Herald, Volume LIX, Issue 18221, 14 October 1922.

[20] “Ordnance Work in the War “, Otago Daily Times, Issue 18611, 20 July 1922.

[21] “Ordnance – Turkish War – Ordnance Personnel – General Instructions, Ad1 1059 /95,” Defence Archives, Archives New Zealand  (1922).

[22] “Shooting at Trentham,” Manawatu Standard, Volume XLIV, Issue 657  (1923).

[23] Appointed Conductor on transfer into NZAOC

NZAOC July 1921 To June 1922


The strength of the NZAOC on 30 of June 1922 was 114, consisting of:[1]

  • 14 Officers, and
  • 100 Other ranks

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel H. E. Pilkington, CBE, RNZA

Chief Ordnance Officer

  • Captain T.J King, NZAOD

Assistant Chief Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant A. W. Baldwin, NZAOD

Ordnance Accounting Officer

  • Lieutenant C.I. Gossage, OBE, NZAOD

Northern Command Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant M.J Lyons, NZAOD. [2]
  • Lieutenant A. W. Baldwin, NZAOD

Central Command Ordnance Officer

  • Captain F. E. Ford, NZAOD.[3] [4]

Southern Command Ordnance Officer

  • Captain A.R.C White, NZAOD,
  • Captain O.P McGuigan, NZAOD [5] [6]

Trentham Camp Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant H.H Whyte, NZAOD

Featherston Camp Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant L.A Clements.
  • Captain F. E. Ford, NZAOD.[7]

Inspecting Ordnance Officer and Acting Inspector of Ordnance Machinery

  • Captain William Ivory, RNZA.

Proof Officer, Small Arms Ammunition

  • Captain E.H Sawle.
NZAOC appropriations year ending 31 March 1922

NZAOC appropriations year ending 31 March 1922

Ordnance Activities July 1921 – June 22

The handing-over of the military hospitals to the Health Department, the closing of the Ordnance Depot at Dunedin, the merging of the Palmerston North Depot with the Main Ordnance Depot at Trentham, and the disposal of large stocks of surplus and obsolete stores made a considerable reduction in the NZAOC, the financial situation necessitated a far larger reduction than was warranted by the above economies. In addition to the routine duties connected with the stores, equipment, and clothing for the Territorial Force and Senior Cadets and the management of mobilization equipment, the NZAOC was also dealing with;

  • the examination of stores received from the United Kingdom,
  • the marking and issuing of new guns, stores, and rifles,
  • the disposal of surplus stores, and
  • the pricing of all issues and receipts in accordance with the implementation of a new system of cost accounting.

It was recognised that once these extra duties had been completed, and when proper accommodation was provided at each command depot, it would be possible to make a further reduction in personnel, but it was considered at the time that any reduction would lead to neglect and a consequent depreciation of stores. Against the possibility of reduction, it was recognised that the present system of stores audit would almost certainly necessitate an increase in the clerical stall.[8]

In 1919, the NZAOC 532, and by March 1922 had been reduced to 100. The civil staff of the NZAOC .which stood at 520 in 1919, had been reduced to 95. [9] On 4 May 1922, a further 25 N.C.O.’s and men of the NZAOC received notice of their dismissal.

Ordnance Depots

With Ordnance Depots established at Burnham for the Southern Command, and at Trentham for the Central Command. The site for the Northern Command Depot at Ngaruawahia had been obtained with the exchange with the Railway Department for land at Frankton Junction. [10]The mobilization stores for the Northern Command were held at Trentham and Featherston so it became a priority to incur some expenditure for the erection of buildings at Ngaruawahia. Plans were also on the table for the provision of suitable fireproof buildings to replace the present temporary accommodation at Trentham and Burnham. At Trentham all available buildings, including the gymnasium used by the School of Instruction, were utilised for storage; many of the older hutments were not suitable for storing the very valuable, equipment on charge, and the risk of fire is a very grave one.

Disposal Depots

The Ordnance Depot in each command was to hold the stores and equipment required by the Territorial units in that command; additionally, Trentham will hold, the general reserve of stores and equipment. All stores surplus to mobilization requirements were in the process of being disposed of. Disposal-depots were continued in the four centres, after which a series of country sales were held in various towns. Owing to reduced staff it was eventually found necessary to restrict activities to a central depot in Wellington, which commenced operation on February 1922. The Wellington Disposal Depot conducted over the counter sales which were restricted to one day weekly, with postal orders being dealt with on other days. The total sales of clothing and miscellaneous stores during the period 1st April 1921 to 31st March 1922, amounted to £177,346.[11]


Civil Court

The Magistrates Court hear a case on 24 November 1921 resulting from the theft of items from Trentham Camp. Civilian labourer Phillip Frederick Deihert pleaded guilty to the theft of Military stores a portion of which included; two tents, an anvil, a forge and eight military overcoats. Deihert was committed to the Supreme Court for sentencing at a later date.[12]

Corporal John Wilson Robertson, Head packer in the Receipt and Issue store, was also charged with the theft of one of the tents, but the case against him was dismissed, as the evidence that he was knowingly involved was not sufficient to warrant prosecution.[13] Despite the dismissal of the case against Robertson, his character and suitability for further employment in the NZAOC was under question and he was demobilised as part of the compulsory reductions that the NZAOC was forced to carry out. [14]


Personnel Movements -July 1921 to June 1922


Private Charles Edward Barry
Private Daniel Clarke
Private Joseph Graydon Crawford
Private Clarke Daniel
Private James Nathaniel Grindrod
Private John Edward Hedderwick
Private Arthur Hollings
Private James King
Private Hector Finch McKay
Private John Miller Miller
Private Hugh Lawton Owen
Private William Perigan Potter
Private Albert George Richardson
Private Alfred Searle
Private Henry Steele
Private Richard Teehan
Private William Thornton
Private Edwin Percy Chappel
Corporal John Wilson Robertson
Staff Sergeant Bernard Terence Leydon
Staff Quartermaster Sergeant William James Frost
Staff Quartermaster Sergeant Thomas Reid Inch
Sergeant Major Artificer James Edward Nesbitt
Staff Quartermaster-Sergeant W.J.F Ross

Copyright © Robert McKie 2019


[1] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces from 1 July 1921 to 30 June 1922,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1922): 2.

[2] 1 April 1922 Relinquished the rank of lieutenant and appointed rank of Conductor, WO Class with the honorary rank of Lieutenant. 1  “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations Amd Transfers,” new Zealand Gazette 29  (1922): 1046.

[3] “Untitled – Ford,” Evening Post, Volume CII, Issue 81 1921.

[4] Captain F. E. Ford, who was in command of the Ordnance section attached to the Central Command in Palmerston North, proceeded to Featherston Military Camp on the 1st of December to take charge of the Featherston Ordnance Depot. “Untitled – Ford,” Manawatu Standard, Volume XLIII, Issue 386, 2 December 1921.

[5] “Personal – Mcguigan,” Manawatu Standard, Volume XLIII, Issue 351,, 20 March 1922.

[6] Posted to the retired list 15 October 1922 “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfer of Officers of the New Zealand Military Forces,” New Zealand Gazette 71  (1922): 2667.

[7] “Untitled – Ford.”

[8] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces from 1 July 1921 to 30 June 1922,”  3.

[9] “Defence Reductions,” Press, Volume LVIII, Issue 17402, 13 March 1922.

[10] “Trentham of the North,” Waikato Times, Volume 94, Issue 14754, 19 September 1921.

[11] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces from 1 July 1921 to 30 June 1922.”

[12] “Missing Ordnance Stores,” Evening Post, Volume CII, Issue 126, 24 November 1921.

[13] Ibid.

[14] “Robertson, John Wilson,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand  (1914-21).

NZAOC July 1920 to June 1921


The strength of the NZAOC on the 30th of July 1921 was 174 consisting of:[1]

  • 9 Officers, and
  • 165 Other ranks

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel H. E. Pilkington, RNZA

Chief Ordnance Officer

  • Captain T.J King, NZAOD

Assistant Chief Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant A. W. Baldwin, NZAOD

Ordnance Accounting Officer

  • lieutenant James M. Miller, NZAOD.[2]
  • Lieutenant C.I. Gossage, OBE, NZAOD[3]

Northern Command Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant M.J Lyons.[4]
  • Captain L.F McNair, NZAOD.[5]
  • Captain E.C Dovey, NZSC. [6]

Central Command Ordnance Officer

  • Captain F. E. Ford, NZAOD

Southern Command Ordnance Officer

  • Captain A.R.C White, NZAOD
  • Captain O.P McGuigan, NZAOD

Trentham Camp Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant H.H Whyte, NZAOD

Featherston CampOrdnance Officer

  • Lieutenant L.A Clements.

Ordnance Officers

  • Lieutenant Albert Austin, NZAOD.[7]

Inspecting Ordnance Officer and Acting Inspector of Ordnance Machinery

  • Captain William Ivory, RNZA. [8]

Inspector of Engineers, Electric Light and Defence Vessels Stores

  • Captain A.D Neilson.[9]

IOO and IOM Staff Ordnance Officers

  • Honorary Lieutenant Frederick W. Kibblewhite, NZAOD.[10]
  • Honorary Lieutenant William E. Luckman, NZAOD.[11]
NZAOC appropriations year ending 31 March 1921

NZAOC appropriations year ending 31 March 1921

Ordnance Activities July 20 – June 21

During this period the NZAOC had been considerably reduced but was still considered in excess of the strength required for its normal peace duties which consisted of the accounting, storage, issue, receipt, and care of all Ordnance stores for the N.Z. Military Forces. The following are some of the principal activities in excess of ordinary routine duties which the NZAOC had been engaged in during the 1920/21 period which had mitigated against further retrenchment being carried out;[12]

  • Receipt, accounting, and storage of large supplies of military equipment from the United Kingdom,
  • Ordnance issues and accounting in connection with military hospitals and sanatoria,
  • Sale of surplus stores
  • Marking of new rifles and equipment and reissuing to Territorial Force and Cadets. Nearly all of the new military equipment had arrived, and distributed as under;
    • Training equipment to units,
    • Mobilization equipment to depots in each command,
    • Reserve equipment at the main Ordnance depot.

The retention of military hospitals and sanatoria under the Defence Department entailed a considerable amount of work for the NZAOC, and until these institutions were handed over to the Department which was ultimately to be entirely responsible for the after-care of disabled soldiers the NZAOC could not be further reduced in number without impairing its efficiency.[13]

From the 20th of November 1920 NZAOC personnel employed in the maintenance sections at Trentham and Featherston Camps, were reorganised by transferring those that were required to the works section, New Zealand Engineers, The surplus personnel were demobilised.


The Auditor-General reported on the 4th of September that the NZAOC had been unable to allocate responsibility for losses of certain stores, clothing and equipment in military districts, and the following sums have been written off:[22]

  • Wellington Military District, £14,787
  • Auckland Military District, £9006
  • Canterbury Military District, £2532
  • The loss of stores and clothing to the value of £274 at the Trentham and Featherston military camps is attributed to the disorganisation brought about by the influenza epidemic.

Stores Credits

The NZAOC credits for the year ended 30th June 1921, for the sale of stores amounted to approximately £70,000.[23]

Inspecting Ordnance Officer and Acting Inspector of Ordnance Machinery

On 1 May 1921 Captain William Ivory, RNZA was appointed Inspection Ordnance Officer(IOO) and Acting Inspector of Ordnance Machinery(IOM). A 1916 Graduate of the Royal Military College, Duntroon, Ivory would spend a short time with the 2nd NZEF before been sent to the Woolwich Arsenal to undergo Ordnance training. Passing the Inspecting Ordnance Officers course, Ivory was then placed onto the 36th Advanced Ordnance course. On the successful completion of the Advanced Ordnance course, Ivory was granted a six-month attachment to the Woolwich Arsenal to gain practical experience in guns, carriages and explosives and to oversee the purchase of modern equipment for New Zealand’s Ordnance Workshops. Ivory would return to New Zealand in February 1921.[14]

The IOO was initially envisaged as part of the Ordnance Staff but unwilling to break with the military organisational conventions of the time the IOO would be attached to the Branch of the Director of Artillery, with the understanding that Ivory would also be responsible to the DOS for Ordnance matters as the acting IOM. Ivory’s duties would be;[15]

  • Technical inspection of Artillery material, Ammunition and Magazines, whether held on charge by RNZA or Ordnance.
  • Member of the SAA Committee.
  • The Inspection of Small Arms and Machine Guns as required by DOS
  • Questions re List of Changes in War Material and questions generally as to Artillery Material.
  • Questions re Calibration, Sound Ranging and Metrology as required by D of A.
  • Instructional Duties as may be arranged by D of A.
  • Regimental duty as a relieving Officer when available
  • Inspection of Telephones, Electrical Light Stores, Signalling Stores, Dynamos and Electrical Instruments as required by DOS

New personnel regulations

From 3 July 1920, all temporary appointments to the NZAOC would be made by the temporary employment board at General Headquarters on the recommendation of unit Officers Commanding. General Headquarters instruction laid down that should a unit OC be required to engage additional personnel for temporary employment, an application to the Temporary Employment Board (TEB) would have to be made. The TEB would then arrange the selection of suitable individuals from applicants on the waiting list, giving preference to returned soldiers. At the time the rank of NCO’s in the NZAOC was only temporary and would be relinquished as soon as the permanent establishments had been authorised. Permanent appointments of NCO’s would be filled only by men who qualified by examination and are in all respects the most suitable for the position, irrespective of whether they were serving in a temporary capacity as private or NCO. Where qualifications were equal, preference would be given to returned soldiers.[16]

Ordnance Depots

Northern Command

The current facilities at the Mount Eden Depot were and not fit for purpose with suitable storage accommodation was urgently needed. Until suitable storage accommodation was provided, mobilization stores for Auckland command were to be housed at Featherston Camp.

Central Command

Suitable requirements for mobilisation stores were also required for the Central Command. The NZAOC Palmerston North Detachment had closed during this period and had transferred its stores to Featherston and Trentham Camp.[17]

The NZAOC Stores located in Buckle Street in Wellington had been relocated to Trentham.[18]

The complete demolition of Featherston Camp was therefore delayed pending suitable accommodation being made available in the Auckland District.

Southern Command

Agreement between the Education and Defence Departments had been reached on 11 September 1920 for the handover of the Burnham Industrial School to the Defence Department for use as a Military training camp and Ordnance Depot. On 15 November 1920, the Defence Department formally took over the buildings for use as an Ordnance Depot. During November 1920 an expenditure of £500 was approved for the purchase and erection of shelving in various buildings as preparation for the new Ordnance Depot.[19]

As the necessary alterations and certain additions were gradually made and buildings became available, Ordnance stores located at King Edward Barracks and the Dunedin Ordnance Depot located in St Andrews Street Dunedin were relocated to Burnham Camp as the Southern Command Ordnance Depot began to take shape.[20] Burnham Camp would ultimately provide sufficient accommodation for all the necessary military stores for the South Island.[21]

Due to a reorganisation in 1921 both the Canterbury and Nelson Military District and the Otago and Southland Military Districts were combined into the Southern Military Command

Ordnance Corps Picnic

The annual picnic of the NZAOC was held at Day s Bay on 4 February 1921 in ideal weather. A most enjoyable time was spent. A large programme o£ children’s events were also put through. [24]

Corps Alliance

Approved by His Majesty the King at the end of 1920, General Order No 95 of 1 March 1921 granted formal approval of an alliance between the RAOC and the Ordnance Corps of;[25] [26]

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa


The RAOC motto ” SUA TELA TONANTI” formally adopted as the motto of the NZAOC.


The Ordnance Officer, Northern Command Captain Ernest Charles Dovey, NZSC passed away at his residence on 11 July 1921. Captain Dovey was a popular staff officer and was well known throughout New Zealand military circles. An old Imperial Army man, he came to New Zealand in the early days of the defence movement and held positions as an instructor in the mounted service. He took a leading part in organising the Dominion military tournaments before the war, and on the reorganisation of the force in “Sir Alexander Godley’s, time entered the Staff Corps as a lieutenant. In the early days of the European war, he was engaged in preparing troops for the front and in 1916 was adjutant at Trentham Camp. He went to the front as captain of the Staff Corps, and for some, time was commandant at Etaples. On his return, he was appointed to the Ordnance staff, first as an Ordnance Officer in Palmerston North on a Probationary period then as the Ordnance Officer for the Auckland district.

Personnel Movements -July 1920 to June 1921


Articifer G Bridge
Articifer E.V Evans
Articifer F Howe
Articifer W Philips
Articifer M Scollard
Articifer F.J Sygrove
Private William Ernest Aston
Private W.S Barr
Private D Cameron
Private Phillip Frederick Deibert
Private Frederick Vaugha Evans
Private George Henry Gedson
Private Gray Gray
Private McKenzie Denis Horneman
Private Petersen Julius
Private Robert James Kennedy
Private Benjamin Edward Lambert
Private H Lander
Private William Alexander Larkin
Private W.H Launder
Private p McIlroy
Private Wilfred John Mitchinson
Private David Morgan
Private Charles Joseph Phillips
Private Arthur Pidduck
Private D.A Russell
Private John James Thomas
Private Henry Samuel Wilkie
Lance Corporal Edward Beardmore
Lance Corporal Joseph Fitzgerald
Lance Corporal Leonard Hancox
Lance Corporal Henry Edward Augustus Jones
Lance Corporal Edwin Mitchell
Lance Corporal John Wingate Nicholson
Lance Corporal William Kingston O’Connell
Lance Corporal G.E.D Robertson
Lance Corporal A.E Robinson
Lance Corporal Arthur Herbert Ross
Lance Corporal E Sharpe
Lance Corporal Robert George Smith
Corporal Theodore Anderson
Corporal Robert Brown
Corporal Arthur Thomas Burnette
Corporal Walter Bentham Clark
Corporal J Duffy
Corporal Frederick William Green
Corporal F.L McKenzie
corporal Edward McManus
Corporal H.A Rodgers
Corporal William Watt
Corporal Henry James Willis
Sergeant John Murray
Sergeant Francis Renshaw
Staff Sergeant J.R Hopkinson
Staff Sergeant J.W Kirby
Staff Sergeant J Nolan
Staff Sergeant G Quayle
Staff Quartermaster Sergeant John Leslie Jackson
Sergeant Major Artificer William Edward Moore
Armanmet Sergeant Major (WO) Thomas Edward Bryce
lieutenant Frederick W. Kibblcwhite
Captain Livingston Forsythe McNair
Honorary Lieutenant (NZAOD) Armourer Quartermaster Sergeant W.E Luckman, RAOC.[27]

Copyright © Robert McKie 2019


[1] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1921).

[2] Relinquished appointment on retirement on 12 July 1920. “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfer of Officers of the New Zealand Staff Corps, Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery and Territorial Force,” New Zealand Gazette 55  (1920): 1866.

[3] Previously DADOS NZEF, after demobilisation Gossage joined the NZAOD as a Lieutenant on 16 August 1920. “Gossage, Charles Ingram  “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

[4]Ordnance Officer Auckland Mar 1920 to Sept 1920. “Lyons, Michael Joseph “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand  (1914-1931).

[5] “Mcnair, Livingston Forsyth,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand  (1914-1921).

[6] Ordnance Officer Auckland October 1920 to 11 July 1921. Passed away at his residence on 11 July 1921 “Personel Matter Dovey,” Evening Post, Volume CII, Issue 11, 13 July 1921.

[7] Relinquished position due to retirement on1 14 July 1921 “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfers of Officers of the Nzsc, Nzaod and Territorial Force,” New Zealand Gazette No 72  (1921): 2046.

[8] “Ivory, William “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand  (1916-1933).

[9] Held appointment from1 July 1919 to 14 June 1921 “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfer of Officers of the NZ Staff Corps, Nzaod and Territorial Force,” New Zealand Gazette No 16  (1922): 588.

[10] 19 October 1920, Relinquished position on retirement. “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfer of Officers of the New Zealand Staff Corps, Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery and Territorial Force,” New Zealand Gazette No 95  (1920).

[11] 13 September 1920, Relinquished position on retirement. “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfer of Officers of the New Zealand Staff Corps, Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery and Territorial Force,” New Zealand Gazette No 83  (1920).

[12] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces.”

[13] Ibid.

[14] “Ivory, William “.

[15] Ibid.

[16] “The Defence Force,”

[17] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces.”

[18] “Ordnance Srores,” Evening Post, Volume C, Issue 95, 19 October 1920.

[19] “Camp at Burnham,” Star, Issue 16298, 13 December 1920.

[20] “Territorials,” Evening Star, Issue 17600, 3 March 1921.

[21] “Military Training,” New Zealand Herald, Volume LVIII, Issue 17679, 14 January 1921.

[22] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces.”

[23] Ibid.

[24] “Ordnance Corps Picnic,” Evening Post, Volume CI, Issue 32, 7 February 1921.

[25] Major J.S Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Trentham: RNZAOC, 1992), 37.

[26] “Territorials,” Evening Star, Issue 17619, 26 March 1921.

[27] After having served as the Chief Armourer for the New Zealand Forces from 3 July 1903 to 9 September 1920 returned to the United Kingdom “Personal Luckman,” Dominion, Volume 13, Issue 292, 3 September 1920.

NZAOC July 1918 to June 1919

Gazetted by regulations published on 1 February 1917, the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps was established as part of the permanent staff of the Defence Forces of New Zealand. Organised with Ordnance Stores under four District Ordnance Officers in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin and detachments at Palmerston North and Featherston.[1]

For this article as the activities of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department and Corps were intertwined during the period 1918-1923 they will be referred to as the NZAOC.

The routine the work of the four District Ordnance Officers was considerably increased with the cessation of hostilities in November 1918. The return of troops necessitated the opening and equipping of hospitals, vocational and educational training schemes. This opened up new and important work to be handled by the Ordnance Corps.


During the 1918-1919 period, the strength of the NZAOC has increased markedly. This was due to the taking over of the camps and the rush of work because of demobilization.  In recruiting for the NZAOC preference was given to returned soldiers. The total strength of the NZAOC on 1st June 1919 was 486, consisting of;[2]

  • 18 Officers, and
  • 475 Other ranks.

Key Appointments

Directing Staff and Executive Staff

Director of Equipment and Ordnance Stores

  • Major T. McCristell, NZAOD.

Assistant Director of Equipment and Ordnance Stores

  • Temporary Captain T. J. King, NZAOD.

Ordnance Accounting Officer

  • lieutenant James M. Miller, NZAOD.

Ordnance Officer Auckland

  • Captain L.F McNair, NZAOD.

Ordnance Officer Christchurch

  • Honorary Captain A.R.C White, NZAOD.

Ordnance Officer Dunedin

  • Honorary Captain O.F. McGuigan, NZAOD.

Ordnance Officer Wellington

  • Honorary Lieutenant F.E Ford, NZAOD.

Ordnance Officer Featherston Camp

Executive Staff Ordnance Officers

Inspectorial Staff

Inspector of Ordnance Machinery

  • Captain B.G.V Parker, NZAOD.

Inspector of Engineers, Electric Light and Defence Vessels Stores

  • Captain George John Parrell, NZAOD

Proof Officer, Small Arms Ammunition, Auckland

  • Captain A. Duvall, NZAOD.

Chief Armourer

  • Honorary Lieutenant William E. Luckman, NZAOD.

Inspectorial Staff Ordnance Officers

  • Honorary Lieutenant Frederick W. Kibblewhite, NZAOD.
  • Honorary Lieutenant William H Manning, NZAOD.
  • Honorary Lieutenant William Ramsey, NZAOD.
NZAOC appropriations year ending 31 March 1919

Alexandra Barracks, Buckle Street, Wellington

The home of the NZAOC, the Defence complex of Alexandra Barracks included the Central Districts Ordnance Depot, located on the corner of Taranaki and Buckle Street and the Armament Workshop, which was located on the site where the current museum is.

The New Zealand Ordnance Corps 1918, Buckle Street Wellington. RNZAOC School

Central Districts Ordnance Depot

The Ordnance Depot for the Central Districts, it maintained a number of sections including Clerical, Store and Maintenance, with specialist subsections such as Boot (new and repair), Sailmaker (Textile repair) and clothing.[3]

Boot Section

The total quantity of boots received from manufacturers during the 1918/19 period was;

  • 51,693 pairs shoes (deck),
  • 6,552 pairs.

When drawing up specifications for the supply of boots for 1918 it was recognized that several alterations were necessary to render the boots more comfortable, and durable than those of the 1917 pattern. Special fittings were placed on the toes of all military lasts used by manufacturers to render that portion of the boots roomier, and also short stout puffs were introduced, with the result that no complaints whatever were received regarding undue pressure on the toes of the wearer. A special tannage of sole leather suitable for military work was also obtained, and by a test of wear gave every satisfaction. The total number of boots rejected during this period was 95 pairs. The majority of boots rejected were discarded for minor faults only, no case being observed where manufacturers had deliberately attempted to depart from specifications, the deliveries as a whole being, both in workmanship and material, well up to the standard required.[4]

On account of the shortage of military footwear in England, during the 1918/19 period shipments to England for the purpose of equipping returning members of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force before leaving for New Zealand was;

  • boots (ankle) 42,900 pairs,
  • shoes (deck), 14,000 pairs,

To satisfy demands made in New Zealand, the following issues were made

  • Boots (ankle, regulation), 29,886 pairs,
  • boots (light and special), 68 pairs;
  • shoes (deck), 9,845 pairs.

The stock of in store as of June 1919 comprised;

  • boots (ankle, regulation) 5,092 pairs,
  • shoes (deck) 7,684 pairs,

The Central Districts Ordnance Depot also maintained a Boot-repair Factory. During the 1918/19 period, the output of the boot-repair factory had been equal to all demands made on it, with all repairs required for Trentham and Featherston Camps and districts being satisfied. The total quantity of boots repaired from the 1st June 1918 to the 31st May 1919, was

  • 12,709 pairs, at an average cost of 5s. Id. per pair.
  • 13 pairs of shoes (deck) at an average cost of Is. 7d. per pair.

All material used in repairing boots and shoes was of the highest quality obtainable, and the results given in wear proved to be highly satisfactory. The repair process was as follows;

  • Before repairing, all boots are thoroughly disinfected by immersion in a solution of kerol (disinfectant) and water.
  • They were then pulled onto perfect-fitting lasts,
  • necessary repairs are carried out,
  • and the sizes stamped on the soles.
  • The next process is cleaning and blocking. This is done in the following manner
    • The boots are pulled on perfect-fitting followers,
    • the uppers thoroughly washed in a mixture of soap and lukewarm water.
    • While the leather is in a mellow state all creases and wrinkles in the uppers are rubbed out,
    • the boots are then put aside for twenty-four hours’ drying.
    • After this period the uppers are thoroughly treated with dubbin, which not only penetrates the pores of the leather (thus rendering them watertight) but also has a mellowing effect upon the uppers, making them equal in pliability to those of new boots.
    • The boots are then taken off the followers and placed in storage-bins ready for use.

After this treatment, the boots were in excellent condition, both from a serviceable and sanitary point of view. As of 30 June 1919, 4,600 pairs of boots had been treated in this manner, and these figures were added to (approximately) at the rate of forty pairs daily until the present stock of boots in store for repairs (estimated, after allowing for rejections, at 4,000 pairs) was exhausted. From 1918 two disabled returned soldiers were trained in boot-repairing and successfully transitioned into civil life. Three more disabled returned soldiers were sent up by the Repatriation Department for similar training.

Miscellaneous stores

With the cessation of hostilities supplies of miscellaneous stores had been reduced to a minimum consistent with estimated requirements. Due to the Influenza, all tentage was placed at the disposal of the Public Health Department.


The deliveries of all clothing into the Central Districts Ordnance Depot during the period had been most satisfactory, with practically nil complaints on the various manufacturers for the good work that was delivered. The condition of stock in the Department was good, with no sign of moth damage visible. Hospital clothing and linen issued to the various hospitals was of a very good quality. The practice of obtaining supplies of linen, shirting, pillow-cotton, and Turkey twill towels from New Zealand manufacturers the NZAOC to supply a good hard-wearing article and saved a great deal in cost as against local purchase. The installation of the power plant in the Sail-makers’ Section was beneficial and allowed a vast quantity of goods, such as sheets, slips (pillow), neckerchiefs, cloths (table) to be made up.

The NZAOC stock of cholera belts on the cessation of hostilities totalled 19,850, this was essentially dead stock which was re manufactures into shirts (flannel, hospital) and drawers (flannel). The cost of this work is 2s. 6d. per garment. This innovation has proved a success and has enabled the NZAOC to put to good use articles which were considered as useless. Three belts are required to make each flannel shirt, and two belts are required to make each pair flannel drawers. New flannel shirts cost 10s. 6d. each, and drawers 8s. 6d. each.

It was considered advisable to take steps to protect the kapok mattresses from damage owing to the wires on beds rusting from perspiration, and to this end, some 1,500 blankets made from cotton, and which were, not considered suitable for issue, were converted into mattress-protectors by the Sailmakers’ Section.

The renovation of Hats (felt) has also been undertaken been put to good use, the cost of renovation being 3s., which included new leather chin-straps, restocking and cleaning of the hood, with work been most satisfactorily performed with some 1,500 hats subjected to renovation, enabling the NZAOC to reissue hats which in the past were not considered suitable.

The work on the renovation of garments was a complete success during the year. This scheme put to good use articles which formerly would not have been used again. All garments were thoroughly disinfected when being laundered, and all fear of contagion is done away with.

During this period the New Zealand Expeditionary Force was in in the United Kingdom were supplied from NZAOC stocks with;

  • Jackets, 25,000
  • trousers, 15,040
  • shirts work, 42,952
  • shirts, under, 18,056
  • drawers, pairs, 18,015
  • jerseys, 24,760;
  • socks, pairs, 39,068
  • putties, pairs, 15,096
  • boots, pairs, 42,900
  • shoes, pairs, 14,000.

The Forces in Egypt were supplied with:

  • Jackets, 2,000.

The total value of these articles was £153,600.

Armament Workshop

During the war years, components for the repairs of small arms had been hampered by difficulties in obtaining spares from England. As a wartime expedient, obsolete MLE rifles once converted by the Armament Workshops to charger loading and sighted for modern ammunition were issued to the Trentham and Featherston camps. On the cessation of hostilities, these rifles were refurbished and redistributed to the four districts in accordance with the requirements of the Training Branch as follows:[5]

  • Auckland, 753
  • Wellington, 2,163
  • Canterbury, 2,126
  • Otago, 958.


  • The NZAOC earned good revenue from the sale of waste products. During the 1918/19 period, the sum of £3,520 was paid into the Public Account in respect of sales of produce.[6]

Featherston Camp

On the cessation of hostilities control of the greater part of the administrative work of Featherston Camp came under the jurisdiction of the NZAOC, the satellite camps were closed, and many of the buildings of the Canvas Camp were dismantled and removed to Trentham. Stores on issue to the various schools at Featherston were either transferred to the Schools of Instruction at Trentham, with the balance distributed among the four districts, Outstanding accounts to local vendors were settled and matters placed on a sound commercial basis. Rented areas were cleared and rendered fit for return to the lessors.[7]

Trentham Camp

As with Featherston administrative control of parts of this camp were placed under the jurisdiction of the NZAOC with general cleaning up on similar lines as that carried out at Featherston carried out. A large staff of artisans was employed on the construction of hospital buildings and general alterations to existing buildings.

In both camps, the demobilization of troops and the subsequent cleaning up, stocktaking, and balancing of ledgers were carried out.

Trentham Ordnance Workshops

During 1918 the Trentham workshops had been working at full capacity with 16,000 articles such as coffins and tables manufactured or repaired. This work was carried out in addition to that relating to new hospitals and entailed the use of 344,207 square feet of timber and 25,278 square feet of three-ply. A large quantity of musketry equipment and office furniture was also manufactured in the Trentham workshop, saving the need to purchase from the commercial market at inflated prices. Machinery for a second-class Ordnance workshop has been ordered through the High Commissioner, London.

Hospital and Vocational training infrastructure

On the 9th January 1919, the NZAOC took the Railways and Works Department responsibilities for Trentham Camp. This responsibility included the maintenance of Trentham. Camp and alterations to several hutments into hospital accommodation. The hospital alterations were as follows;[8]

  • Ten hutments, 22 ft. by 140 ft lined and converted into hospital wards, with necessary kitchen, Duty Sister’s room, and lavatory accommodation
  • Four and a half hutments into cubicle accommodation for Sisters, Nurses, and V.A.D.s dining and sitting rooms for Sisters and V.A.D.s also a self-contained kitchen for the female staff employed in Trentham Military Hospital.

In addition to the above, provision was made for X-ray plant and a plaster-room. Alterations were also affected in the operating-theatre. A new septic tank capable of dealing with the sewerage of 1,000 persons was constructed. Owing to the difficulty of obtaining skilled carpenters and plumbers the progress of the work was somewhat slow. Further works have been carried out for educational and vocational training.

As part of the vocational training scheme for returning servicemen, Huts were fitted out for training in:

  • carpentry,
  • tailoring,
  • boot making,
  • commercial training,
  • book-keeping,
  • basket making,
  • leather-work,
  • surgical boots and splint making, and
  • acetone welding.

The provision was also made to install a hot-water system for the new hospital quarters.

Ordnance Ammunition Section at Fort Ballance

The Ammunition Section at Fort Balance destroyed a large number of B.L. cordite cartridges owing to deterioration but were replaced from stocks of material held by the Ammunition Section. About 3,000 rounds of Q.F. ammunition was made up during the year, and 1,000 rounds altered to conform with later specifications. The annual proof of percussion fuzes, friction tubes, etc was also successfully carried out.[9]

NZAOC as Quartermasters

The accounting, care, and custody of stores by units had in the main, been unsatisfactory with units not carrying out their responsibilities as detailed by the Regulations of New Zealand Military Forces. To address the situation Eleven NZAOC Staff Sergeants were seconded for duty as Quartermaster-Sergeants with units. They were appointed to units to make the necessary adjustments and get the units stores accounts onto a working basis. This was a successful arrangement with further audits disclosing few if any deficiencies. It was however evident that the storage accommodation for units was inadequate, with many units having no accommodation where stores could be secured, resulting in the backloading of many items to the regional Stores Depots.[10] [11]

Due to the success of the emergency measures of NZAOC Staff Sergeants into units as Quartermaster-Sergeants, an amendment to Army regulations was published on 3 October 1918 to make the management of Quartermaster Sergeants a NZAOC responsibility. The amendments were as follows;[12]

83. Group and Unit Quartermaster-Sergeants will belong to and be trained by the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, and when posted for duty in districts will be borne as supernumeraries on the establishment of that corps. They will be included in the effective strength of the group or unit in which they are actually serving and will be so accounted for in periodical returns for those groups or units. In so far as the questions of efficiency, leave, and duty are concerned, Quartermaster-Sergeants will be under the direct supervision of the A.Q.M.G. of the district, and will be directly responsible to the Group or Unit Commander, as the case may be, for the performance of their respective duties as Group or Unit Accountants. They will devote the whole of their time to the accounting, care, and custody of public property on issue

Influenza Epidemic

Under the management of the Director of Equipment and Ordnance Stores, Major Thomas McCristell, the 123 men of the Ordnance Corps equipped the various emergency hospitals with over 300 beds, supplied the stores and supervised the hospital arrangements and general machinery of each establishment  in and about Wellington, so that by 20 November the following hospitals and convalescent hospitals had been established:[13]


  • Normal School, 91 women,
  • Sydney street Schoolroom, 41 men.
  • Missions to Seamen, 65 men.
  • St. John’s Schoolroom, 67 men and women.
  • Alexandra Hall, 20 men.
  • Wellington College, 105 men and women.
  • St. Patrick’s College, 48 men.
  • Brooklyn Hall, 32 men and women.
  • Johnsonville, 23 men and women.
  • Seatoun, 10 men and women.

Convalescent Hospitals

  • St. Thomas’s Hall, 35 men.
  • Wellington Convalescent Home, 24 women.
  • Salvation Army Training College, 16 women.
  • St. Anne’s Hall, 30 men.

Untended Children’s Home

  • Miramar Golf Club, 56 children

The 1916 census listed the population of Wellington as 95235, deaths in Wellington attributed to the influenza were 795 which gave Wellington a death rate of 7.9 per 1000. This rate was slightly higher than Auckland but well below the death rate found in other North Island Locations which was as high as 43 per 1000.[14] It would be optimistic to believe that the work carried out by the Ordnance Corps in establishing emergency hospitals contributed to Wellingtons low death rate.

The Ordnance men were not immune to the effects of the Influenza, and at one stage 7O men were laid up with influenza, placing extraordinary demands onto the very much reduced staff.[15] Private F.W  Maynard, a 35-year-old Ordnance Soldier, died as a result of the complications caused by Influenza on the 28 November.[16]

By December 1918 the influenza epidemic was under control, and the crisis has passed with the emergency hospitals progressively shut down. Much of the credit to the success of the setting up and management of the emergency hospitals were placed directly on Major McCristell and his team from the Ordnance Corps.


On the 23rd September 1918 a Rugby team from the NZAOC met and defeated a team from Base Records by 12 to 5. In the evening the teams and other members of the staffs combined to hold a smoke concert. Major T. M’Cristell, Director of Army Ordnance and Supplies, presided, and a very pleasant evening was spent with musical items and speeches.

A football match was played on Saturday 12 October between the NZAOC and Base Records. Resulting in an 11 to 3 win for the NZAOC. For the winners, tries were scored by Captain King and Private Batchelor. Quartermaster-Sergeant Maclntyre converted one try. Both teams showed good form, but the NZAOC forwards proved too good for Records. Lieutenant Valentine kicked a penalty goal for the losers. Mr R Fordyce was the referee.

Ordnance Branch Picnic

The annual picnic of the Ordnance Branch was held at Day’s Bay on 12 February 1919 under altogether favourable conditions. There was an attendance of between three and four hundred, and the presence of so many children prompted General Sir Alfred Robin to remark during the presentation of the sports prizes that such a happy gathering of young folks augured very well for the Ordnance Branch of the future. The picnickers left town by the Duchess at 1015 a.m., picking up the Rarotongan contingent from Somes Island on the way, and engaged in a day’s sport and pleasure. Lieutenants Austin and Miller, with Corporals Flynn and Barnett as judges, supervised the sports arrangements, and Corporal J. Brown was an efficient secretary. A cold luncheon was provided in the pavilion, and later afternoon tea was served on the grass.[17]


One of the largest gatherings of members of the Ordnance Staff took place on 19 May 1919, at the Buckle-street depot to bid farewell to Staff Sergeant Major Donald McIntyre, who, after 17 years’ service is severing his connection with the Defence Department to take up duties with the firm of E Morris. Sergeant Major McIntyre joined the service after his return from the Boer War. Major McCristell in making the presentation on behalf of the staff, regretted the loss. of such a loyal and well-respected member. The presentation took the form of a substantial cheque, a silver tea service, a silver rail oak tray, and a silver cake stand. Sergeant-Major McIntyre led last season in the- batting and bowling averages of the cricket, team, and Captain King, on behalf of the members of the team presented him with a bat for his batting record, and a silver hot water jug for his bowling average. He also expressed regret at losing the services of such an excellent member of the team and trusted that Sergeant-Major McIntyre would always keep in touch with them, and become, an honuary member of the sports committee.[18]

Personnel Movements -July 1918 to June 1919


  • Lance Corporal Edward McManus Sharpe from Trentham to be Range Warden at Redcliff’s Range, Christchurch.[19] [20]
  • Quartermaster Sergeant Major Quayle to Hawera Defence Office as Group Quartermaster. [21]
  • Lieutenant Albert Austin from the N.Z. Permanent Staff, July 3, 1918.[22]
  • Lieutenant Walter N. Bates, from the N.Z. Permanent Staff, July 3 1918[23]


  • Conductor James M. Miller, NZAOC to lieutenant NZAOD 3 July 1918.[24]
  • Conductor William H Manning, NZAOC to be honorary lieutenant. 4 July 1918.[25]
  • Conductor William Ramsey, NZAOC to be honorary lieutenant 4 July 1918.[26]
  • Staff Sergeant-Major William E. Luckman, NZAOC to be honorary lieutenant 4 July 1918.[27]
  • Lieutenant Alfred W. Baldwin, NZAOD appointed camp quartermaster, Featherston Military Camp and is granted the temporary rank of-captain whilst so employed (November 18 1918).[28]


  • 198 Private Daniel Brett
  • 200 Private Alfred Healy de Vere
  • 201 Private Christopher Greeshaw
  • 203 Private Richard Rowe
  • 204 Private Benjamin Studley
  • 206 Private John Sheehan
  • 207 Private Orecchio Natale
  • 209 Private A.K Simpson
  • 211 Cadet John Lines
  • 213 Private William Saul Keegan
  • 215 Private Samuel Victor Forsythe
  • 220 Cadet Frederick Stephen Forster Shell
  • 221 Cadet Harry William Miller
  • 228 Private Thomas Graham Niven
  • 239 Private Edward John Treweek
  • 241 Private Theodore Norris
  • 246 Private Thomas Bowman
  • 253 Private Charles James Gardiner
  • 254 Private James Gorman
  • 263 Private McKenzie Denis Horneman
  • 268 Private James Alexander Kenning
  • 269 Private George Kermode
  • 273 Private Thomas Ellwood Lyle
  • 293 Artificer Michael Scollard
  • 294 Private Richard Brady Simpson
  • 297 Private George Steventon Thompson
  • 299 Private Peter Tulloch
  • 318 Private Frank Joseph Shacklock
  • 329 Private Harold Fraser White
  • 332 Private Hugh Patrick Duffin
  • 343 Private Tom John McGrath
  • 348 Private Leonard Robertshaw
  • 354 Private William Varian Wilson
  • 361 Private Josiah Phethean
  • 366 Private William Henry Murdoch
  • 368 Private James King
  • 381 Private Henry Steele
  • 382 Private George Priestley Smith
  • 392 Private Robert O’Brien
  • 393 Private John Naylor
  • 395 Private Orlando Max Adams
  • 407 Private James Crone
  • 409 Private John de Rungs
  • 414 Private Allen Gibbs
  • 418 Private William Henry McCarthy
  • 424 Private Phillip Thomas Labatt
  • 431 Private John McVean Walker
  • 432 Private Reginald Andrew Ross
  • 436 Private John Raymond Johnson
  • 438 Private Leonard Alexander Tall
  • 441 Private Montagu Spotswood
  • 446 Private Cecil Balcombe Langridge
  • 453 Private Harold Rigby
  • 462 Private William Ernest George
  • 477 Private Lawritz Christopher Jansen
  • 478 Private Andrew Robert Murphy
  • 480 Private James Herbert Turner
  • 493 Private William Parry Mortimore
  • 515 Private Thomas Edward Mills
  • 518 James McEntee
  • 553 Private Martin Joseph Power
  • 555 Private Gray
  • 562 Private Herbert Edward Rogers
  • 563 Artificer Gerald Bridge
  • 574 Artificer Henry James Day
  • 580 Private Robert James Kennedy
  • 589 Private James O’Malley
  • 590 Private Petersen Julius
  • 594 Private James Gordon Sievwright
  • 595 Private Albert Sydney Smith
  • 601 Private James Pritchard
  • 605 Private Walter Edward Cook
  • 617 Private Horace James Richards
  • 634 Private John Morrison
  • 654 Private Lewis Freeman Keys
  • 669 Lance Corporal Thomas William Cooper
  • 675 Private Benjamin Smith
  • 680 Private Egbert Edwin White
  • 687 Private George Quayle
  • 690 Private John Miller
  • 695 Private William Cyril McGill
  • 697 Private William Gibbons
  • 714 Private Kennith Hoare
  • 718 Private Peter Douglas Adamson
  • 948 Lieutenant Michael Joseph Lyons
  • 1001 Private Arthur James Kelly


  • 211 Cadet John Lines
  • 220 Cadet Frederick Stephen Forster Shell
  • 28 Private Robert James Kennedy
  • 66 Private Harry Stephens Jupp
  • 70 Private Walter Ernest Hamilton Knowles
  • 101 Private Michael Joseph Rees
  • 115 Private Alfred William Sparkes
  • 131 Private George Yates
  • 161 Private Herbert Clarence Martin
  • 170 Private Benjamin Disraeli Wigton
  • 179 Private Paul Ernest Morris
  • 184 Private Frederick Charles Valentine Martinson
  • 188 Private Robert Park
  • 189 Private Percy Deaker Owen
  • 190 Private John Joseph Lynch
  • 191 Private James Laurence Lord
  • 198 Private Daniel Brett
  • 201 Private Christopher Greeshaw
  • 203 Private Richard Rowe
  • 204 Private Benjamin Studley
  • 206 Private John Sheehan
  • 207 Private Orecchio Natale
  • 215 Private Samuel Victor Forsythe
  • 239 Private Edward John Treweek
  • 297 Private George Steventon Thompson
  • 332 Private Hugh Patrick Duffin
  • 361 Private Josiah Phethean
  • 381 Private Henry Steele
  • 382 Private George Priestley Smith
  • 395 Private Orlando Max Adams
  • 414 Private Allen Gibbs
  • 432 Private Reginald Andrew Ross
  • 438 Private Leonard Alexander Tall
  • 562 Private Herbert Edward Rogers
  • 589 Private James O’Malley
  • 594 Private James Gordon Sievwright
  • 595 Private Albert Sydney Smith
  • 654 Private Lewis Freeman Keys
  • 695 Private William Cyril McGill
  • 811 Private Henry Edward Franklin
  • 64728 Private Frederick Maynard
  • 34 Lance Corporal Cecil Martin Ellison
  • 149 Lance Corporal Lionel Bust Foster
  • 37 Corporal James Flynn
  • 67 Corporal Martin Henri Kearney
  • 48 Conductor Mark Leonard Hathaway
  • 137 Sergeant Horace Eugene Waller
  • Captain Robert Vinning Parker
  • Lt. (Hon Capt Temp.) W. T. Beck, DSO posted to the Retired List, with the hon. rank of Capt., and permission to retain his rank and wear the prescribed uniform.[29]


  • Frederick William Maynard, Influenza 28 November 1918[30]

Copyright © Robert McKie 2019


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

[2] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1919).

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] “Defence Stores,” Dominion, Volume 12, Issue 10, 7 October 1918.

[11] “H-19d Conference of Defence Department Officers (Notes by) on Criticisms, Suggestions and Recommendations as Contained in the Report of the Defence Expenditure Commission,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1918).

[12] “Amending the Regulations for the Military Forces of New New Zealand,” New Zealand Gazette No 135  (1918): 3429.

[13] “Revelations,” New Zealand Times, Volume XLIII, Issue 10133, 22 November 1918.

[14] Manatū Taonga – Ministry for Culture and Heritage, “North Island Influenza Death Rates, 11 January 2018,”

[15] “Under Control,” New Zealand Times, Volume XLIII, Issue 10131, 20 November 1918.

[16] “Soldiers Deaths,” Evening Post, Volume XCVI, Issue 131, 29 November 1918.

[17] “Ordnance Branch Picnic,” Evening Post, Volume XCVII, Issue 36, 13 February 1919.

[18] “Untitled – Mcintyre,” Evening Post, Volume XCVII, Issue 117, 20 May 1919.

[19] “Personal _ Sharpe,” Dunstan Times, Issue 2962, 7 April 1919.

[20] “Edward Mcmanus          Sharpe,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand  (1914-1918).

[21] “Personal Items,” Hawera & Normanby Star, Volume LXXVII, Issue LXXVII, 9 May 1919.

[22] “Ordnance Branch,” Dominion, Volume 11, Issue 269, 2 August 1918.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Ibid.

[28] “New Zealand Army,” Dominion, Volume 12, Issue 90, 10 January 1919.

[29] “Territorial Army,” Evening Post, Volume XCVI, Issue 73 1918.

[30] “Soldiers Deaths.”

Forgotten Ordnance

Ordnance Depots in the New Zealand Army had a reasonably well-recorded history from the late 1920s when they were maintained in Trentham (The central depot), Ngaruawahia, Linton and later Waiouru in the North Island and Burnham in the South Island. These depots served the Army through the fiscally challenged 1930s, the war years through to the 1990s.  Falling victim to progress including the introduction of computerised systems, which allowed many supplies to be sourced by units directly from commercial suppliers, and the converting of military posts as a result of the international Tail to Teeth doctrinal trend. Depots were stripped of military manpower and traditional functions leading to the full commercialisation of some and the shrinking of the regional Depots to mere shadows of what they were in their heyday.

The forgotten early days of New Zealand Ordnance

Before the formation of the Ordnance Corps in 1917, responsibility for the provision of Ordnance stores was shared between the Staff of the Permanent Forces and the Civil Service run Defence Stores Department, with the Defence Stores Department having Mobilisation Stores at:

  • Mount Eden in Auckland
  • Alexandra Barracks, Mount Cook, Wellington
  • King Edward Barracks, Christchurch
  • St Andrews St, Dunedin

Although discussed as early as 1902, New Zealand would not make substantial moves to creating an Ordnance Corps until 1912 when a small cadre of officers and men were trained in providing Ordnance services for the 1913 and 1914 annual camps. (2 Clerks and 4 Issuers in 1913, 6 Clerks and 12 issuers in 1914)

There is some evidence suggesting that as a result of the lessons learnt during the 1913 and 14 annual camps, a nascent Ordnance Corps was established. This hypothesis is supported by the New Zealand Defence Forces Annual Report for the Period 1 July 1922 to 30 June 1923, which shows that as at 30 June 1914 there was in fact 14 Other Ranks in the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps.

ord corp 1923

Comparative strength of NZ Permanent Forces. New Zealand Defence Forces Annual Report for the Period 1 July 1922 to 30 June 1923

With war declared in August 1914 and mobilisation and equipping of the force the priority, the formation of an Ordnance Corps was most likely put on hold until the timing was right. Although no Ordnance Corps was formed, Ordnance Depots were still created to manage the stores required for the mobilisation, these were operated by a combination of staff from the civil service run Defence Stores Department, and individual soldiers seconded from military units (most likely the individuals trained in Ordnance duties for the annual camps).  

An example of this is Norman Levien, who in Oct 1914 enlisted into the Auckland Regiment and was then transferred into Ordnance as a temporary Sergeant as the IC of Stores and Equipment. Embarking with the main body and serving with the NZEF for the duration of the war, Levien would become a Major and the Chief Ordnance Officer in the NZAOC in the UK.

1914 ord dept

Initially, the original Ordnance Depots were operating in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin with  Featherson and Palmerston North added as the tempo of the training increased. Their existence mostly is forgotten, with few, if any records remaining. Fortunately, an article in the January 1972 issue of the RNZAOC Pataka Magazine May 1972 describes in some detail the discovery in the 3 Supply Company strong room an old ledger book from 1917, and the article describes some of the items and locations that items were issued to.

The following has been copied from the original 1972 Pataka magazine article.

Annals from a forgotten Ordnance Depot
(Author unknown)

An old and battered ledger

An old and battered ledger, lying obscurely in a dim corner of the Depot strong room, catches the eye. Accustomed the drab and shoddy stationary of the present day, as we are, the magnificence of the old book stands out. The thick, leather covered binding in brown, blue and rich maroon with gilt linings, covers vast pages of smooth lined paper.old ledger

Battered and subjected to decades of dust, it is still impressive. Made in the age of the Czars and gas lit trains it has survived, redundant, like a pensioner, into the time of computers and commissars.

Sadly but inevitably many of its pages have been thoughtlessly ripped out to serve some temporary purposes. Thus its record of clothing transactions in a forgotten Ordnance Depot is like an old man’s memory – not like it use to be.


1917 – and all that

The volume opens onto the glorious first of June, 1917. World War 1 then was only but 18 months to run, though nobody could have realised it. In fact at that time the tide seemed to be running in favour of Germany and the decrepit powers bobbing about in her turbulent wake – Austria-Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria.
The USA came into the war in 1917, but, being unprepared tool little toll of Germany until the following year. In 1917 the U-Boats came close to knocking Britain out of the war by reducing stocks of food and war materials to some 2 weeks reserve.  In one week of that year the writers grandmother was reduced to feeding her family on turnips boiled with sugar. Old Russia was about to collapse that year from the combined effects of hunger and the terrible casualties sustained in three years of war along a vast front. Organised for the 18th century, her structure could not sustain a 20th-century war. This collapse gave Germany relief of fighting on one front and bringing her eastern armies across to join the western ones.  The combatant on the western front were by this time like punch-drunk boxers, trading senseless blows each day, each blow represented by hundreds even thousands of lives. Such losses were born to gain a few yards of territory either way, maybe up to a quarter mile of shell-pocked mud and soggy trenches. The most expensive winding strip running from the North Sea across France to Switzerland.

Away from all this fury, from the blood and the mud, this forgotten Ordnance Depot faithfully carried out its tasks as only one tiny cog in the lurching juggernaut of the war effort. No generals memoirs illuminate its role, gloss over its weaknesses, embellish its success or cast blame on the next man up or down on the promotional ladder. no famous war movies have brought the Depot to public fame or public scandal. 

Only the fading ink of a fraction of its past transactions is left to show that the place ever existed at all! The humble ledger book has proved more enduring than the Depot it once was part of, more enduring than the those who wrote in it and those who so thoughtlessly ripped out some of its pages for their own forgotten reasons.

Badges, Buttons and Balaclavas

In the remaining pages, a great many lines of stock are recorded. Most have their equivalent today, others have passed into disuse as the nature of warfare has changed.

On 1 Jun 1917 the following stocks are shown as being brought forward among many items:

  • Jacket SD  1605
  • Trouser SD 1144
  • Jackets Denim 1076
  • Trousers Denim 985
  • Pantaloons 307
  • Bags Kit  732
  • Greatcoats Dismounted  2303
  • Greatcoats Mounted 659
  • Balaclavas  294
  • Puggarees:
    • NZ Staff Corps 244
    • NZ Engineers  Nil
    • NZASC  122
    • Veterinary Corps  19
    • Medical Corps  48
    • NZRB 102
  • Titles Brass;
    • NZ Rifles  299
    • NZ Mtd rifles  100
    • NZMP  Nil
    • NZAOC  Nil
    • NZ P&T  Nil
    • NZ Pay Corps  Nil

Other items recorded in the ledger include:

  • Buttons Brass RNZA Vest
  • Buttons Bone
  • Buttons Brass NZ Staff Corps
  • Buttons Imperial
  • Badges Cap (also collar), for
    • 4 Regt
    • 5 Regt
    • 7 Regt
    • 8 Regt
    • 10 Regt
    • 12 Regt
    • Veterinary Corps
  • Badges Armlet
    • Provost Marshal
    • Umpire
    • Stretcher Bearer
    • Blue – Hospital
    • Geneva Cross
  • Breeches Riding
  • Links Split button
  • Gloves, Mechanical transport
  • Hose
  • Puttees
  • Covers Mess tin, Infantry
  • Badges Arm Brass
    • Armourer
    • Driver
    • Saddler
    • Farrier

What went where?

On 27 June 1917 the QM of troopship No 75 was vouchered the following items. (IV 248)

  • Jackets SD – 248
  • Trouser SD – 207
  • Jacket Denim –  47
  • Pantaloons –  47
  • Bags Kit – 9
  • Caps SD – 20
  • Greatcoats DS patt – 238
  • Hats Felt – 32


Troopships departing from Lyttelton. Alexander Turnbull Library

The QMs of Troopships Nos 74 and 77 were vouchered similar items and qtys on July 7 and 14 of that year. The troopship “MARUA” returned qty 7 Jackets SD on 28 July though being issued with another 80 plus 50 denim jackets etc., etc.
Issues to troopships appear quite often, on 6 Nov 1917 various items were issued under IV 252 to the transport “Devon” then lying at Port Chalmers. On 18 Jan 1918, qty 820 Kit Bags went on board HMS MARAMA.

Turning to the more usual area of army clothing issues, the rate of issues to individuals appears very high. In those days it is likely that clothing issues were made by Ordnance in Camps and thus the wheel has nearly turned full circle to what it was fifty years ago.

An officer known as the DofE&OS or DEOS appears most frequently of all among the recorded issues. DEOS was located in Wellington. What did these initials mean? Director of Equipment and Ordnance Services seems most likely, but then again the same page refers to issues made to the Director of Ordnance Services at Trentham.

Other issues, large and small, went to Home Service Store ST KILDA (IV 295 of 21 Nov 17) and OC Guards, QUARANTINE ISLAND (IV 520 of 12 Mar 18). Captain Von Luckner of the Reichmarine was a famous prisoner on this island in Lyttelton Harbour. Citizens of Germany and Austria-Hungary and their merchant seamen lucky enough to be in New Zealand at the outbreak of war were interned and many were kept on this island.

The list of “customers” is quite lengthy, but is worth recording as it shows the types of units which existed then. Some of the same type exist now; others have vanished.

  • OC RNZA Home Service
  • NZAOC Dunedin
  • 8 Medical Board
  • 7 Medical Board (In’gill)
  • 8th Regt (In’gill)
  • 10 Regt (Oamaru)
  • 5th Mtd Rifles (Dunedin)
  • 4th Regt (Kensington)
  • HQ Otago Military District
  • OC Railway Engr Unit (Oamaru)
  • OC Post & Telegraph Coy (Dun)
  • ADMS Dunedin
  • Vocational Officer (Dunedin)
  • OC Sth Island Railways Bn (Christchurch)
  • DOS Trentham
  • Ordnance Officer (Palm Nth)
  • C Bty Invercargill
  • Director Base Records (Wn)
  • 2 Fd Amb
  • 7 Fd Amb
  • OC Group 12 (In’gill)
  • 2 Coy NZE
  • 7th Mtd Rifles
  • OC Group 16 (Milton)
  • EL Sect (?) RNZA (Dunedin)
  • 2 Coy NZGA
  • OC Coast Defence
  • 6 Coy NZASC (In’gill)
  • 2 Dist Sigs Coy
  • Ordnance Officer Featherston
  • Ordnance officer Trentham
  • Chief OO Wellington 
  • OC Army Pay Corps (Dunedin)
  • Ordnance Officer Burnham
  • OC Sick & Wounded (Dunedin)
  • Ordnance Officer (Auckland)
  • Camp QM Awapuni
  • OC Sales Depot (Dunedin)

and the most intriguing unit of them all ….

  • OC Jaw Hospital, Dunedin where qty 14 Veterinary Corps Puggarees went under IV 319 of 25 July 1919!

As the present building occupied by 3 COD and formerly SDOD at Burnham were not built until shortly before and during World War II, and as the unit supplied include an Ordnance officer Burnham, it is likely that the Ordnance Depot or Store was located in Christchurch, the most probable place being King Edward Barracks. 

So, once again, the old ledger is closed and is returned to the dark corner of the strong room. Outside pass the files and the teleprints whilst in a nearby room the transactions whirr and clatter on electronic machines. Nearly 55 years have passed since the ledger was bright and new and in 55 years time it will be 2017. The younger soldiers of the Corps now will be drawing their superannuation and the older ones will have marched off to join those of 1917. It is unlikely that the MD310s of 1972 will be around to tell their story in 2027, but the old ledger of 1917 may last. Who can tell?

Some Analysis of the 1972 Article

Where was the Depot?

The author believes that the Ledger was from the Ordnance Stores for the Canterbury and Nelson District, which before 1921 was located in King Edward Barracks in Christchurch, which was commanded by Captain A.R.C White and the known military staff included:

  • NZAOC 92 Private Hector Finch McKay
  • NZAOC 103 Private Thomas Riordan
  • NZAOC 183 Sergeant Robert Walter Baker Gale

On reading the article, it is clear the ledger described is actually from the Dunedin Ordnance Depot which was located in St Andrews Street, Dunedin and was commanded by Captain O.P McGuigan and the known military staff included:

  • NZAOC  23 Armt Sgt Maj (WO) William Carroll, MSM
  • NZAOC 90 Staff Sergeant D McIntyre
  • NZAOC 130 Private Joseph Woods
  • NZAOC 151 Private Arthur Pidduck
  • NZAOC 181 Private Peter James Innes
  • NZAOC 203 Private Richard Rowe

mob store Dunedin

Dunedin Mobilisation Stores, St Andrews Street, Dunedin. Google Maps/ Public Domain

Due to a reorganisation in 1921 both the Canterbury and Nelson Military District and the Otago and Southland Military Districts were combined into the Southern Military Command. As a result, the Ordnance Depots located at King Edward Barracks and the Dunedin Ordnance Depot situated in St Andrews Street, Dunedin were relocated to Burnham Camp as the Southern Command Ordnance Depot.

Captain McGuigan and 5 staff were also relocated from Dunedin to Burnham, along with the Dunedin stock and records, including the ledger book described in the article.

The Southern Command Ordnance Depot was commanded by Captain White from 20 June 1921 until 19 Dec 1930, during which time he also doubled as the Burnham Camp Commandant.


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

Badges, Buttons and Balaclavas

Many of the items on the list are easy to identify, but most people will immediately ask “what the hell are Pantaloons?”   Pantaloons were a type of trouser issued during WW1 to Mounted soldiers. They seem to be similar in appearance to riding breeches ( also mentioned in the ledger), the only difference I can see is that Pantaloons only go to the knee whereas the Riding knockers go to the ankles.


Pantaloons. Imperial War Museum

Issues to ships

One of the interesting aspects of the article are the issues to the troopships, they have all been entered into the ledger at least 4 months after the troopships actual sailing date;

  • Troopship No 75 was the “Waitemata” sailed on the 19th of Jan 1917 carrying the 21st Reinforcements, 13th Maori Contingent.  IV 248 entered into the Ledger on 27 June 1917.
  • Troopship No 74 was the ” Ulimaroa” sailed on the 21st of Jan 1917 carrying the 21st Reinforcements, 13th Maori Contingent.  IV entered into the Ledger on 7 July 1917.
  • Troopship No 77 was the “Mokoia” sailed on the 13th of Feb 1917 carrying the 22nd Reinforcements – E.F.G. Companies. IV entered into the Ledger on 14 July 1917
  • No record of a troopship “Marau”
  • Troopship No 81 was the “Devon” Sailed on 5 April 1917 carrying the 24th Reinforcements. IV entered into the Ledger on 6 Nov 1917.
  • Hospital Ship “Marama” was in Port Chalmers 30 Dec – 31 Jan 1918, IV entered into Ledger on 18 Jan 1918.



As the entry dates into the ledger roughly match up with the ships return to New Zealand several months later, the time lag from the issue being carried out and the Ledger update could be the result of some quirk in the accounting system for troopships in place at the time. The Issues for the Hospital Ship “Marama” seem to have been carried out before the ship’s departure.


The Author is unsure as to the meaning of the abbreviation DofE&OS or DEOS, but is partly right in his assumption that the initials mean ”Director of Equipment and Ordnance Services” the correct designation was “Director of Equipment and Ordnance Stores”. At the time was Major Thomas McCristell, who had previously been the head of the Defence Stores Department from April 1916 becoming the head of the NZAOC & NZAOD in March 1917. Remaining in the role until January 1920, when the position was renamed to “Director of Ordnance Services” and Lt Col H.E Pilkington became the incumbent.


Major Thomas James McCristell, Director of Equipment and Ordnance Stores, 10 April 1916 – 20 January 1920.


Quarantine Island

The Author assuming that the Depot was in Christchurch, has confused Quarantine Island/Kamau Taurua with Ripa Island (Fort Jervois) in Lyttelton Harbour. During the period 1915-1919, the Otago Quarantine Station was converted into a specialised military hospital treating both soldiers recruited in NZ, and some NZ soldiers returned from overseas, for VD, mainly gonorrhoea.


Quarantine Island, Port Chalmers. Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa

List of Customers

The list of customers provides a real insight into the range of units supported by the Dunedin depot and also identify s the other Ordnance units around the country at the time, these were:

  • DOS Trentham, Possibly after 1920 when the DOS appointment came into use.
  • Ordnance Officer (Palm Nth).
  • Ordnance Officer Featherston.
  • Ordnance Officer Trentham.
  • Chief Ordnance Officer Wellington.
  • Ordnance Officer Burnham would be from the time when the Depot in King Edward Barracks moved to Burnham, but before the Dunedin, depot relocating to Burnham.
  • Ordnance Officer (Auckland).
  • Camp QM Awapuni, indicates that there was no Ordnance Depot at Awapuni and the Camp QM was issuing and receiving goods directly from the Dunedin Depot especially as Awapuni was the main training camp for the medial Corps during WW1 and Otago was the location of several Medial facilities.

The Author highlights an issue to the OC Jaw Hospital in 1919, not sure the story behind this issue,  but the Jaw Hospital itself is an interesting topic.  Henry Pickerill who along with fellow New Zealander, Harold Gillies was a pioneer and world leader in reconstructive plastic surgery, together they developed groundbreaking techniques for treating some of the horrific injuries inflicted on soldiers during WW1 and many of their methods are still the standard 100 years on.  The connection to the Jaw Hospital is that Pickerill, his team and 59 patients returned to New Zealand in 1919, where treatment continued at the facial and jaw department of Dunedin Hospital.  Harold Gillies would go on to develop Gender reassignment surgery.

What happened to the Ledger?

The Pataka article is the only mention of the ledger I have been able to find, although the building in question is still occupied by the Army I very much doubt that it remains there, wouldn’t it be great if it still was?

3 Supply warehouse

3 Supply Company Main Warehouse C1972

3 Supply HQ

3 Supply Company Headquarters C1972

Copyright © Robert McKie 2017