Tragedy at Tikao Bay

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

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

Akaroa Harbour Defences. Peter Cooke Defending New Zealand 2000

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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


Once on Chunuk Bair

One of the New Zealand military’s functions is to assist civilian organisations where no viable civilian resources are available.  One such example of this support was in 1991 when the NZ Army provided expertise and personnel to help produce the movie, Chunuk Bair.  

The high point of the New Zealand effort at Gallipoli was the capture of Chunuk Bair, a key feature on the Gallipoli Peninsula. Captured by the Wellington Battalion under Lieutenant-Colonel William Malone on 8 August 1915, the New Zealanders would hold the position against violent counterattacks by a motivated and well-led opponent until relieved by British Battalions on 9 August. The latter were driven off Chunuk Bair in a counterattack led by Mustafa Kemal on the early morning of 10 August.

‘The Battle of Chunuk Bair, 8 August 1915, by Ion Brown’, URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/media/photo/battle-chunuk-bair-8-august-1915-ion-brown, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 23-May-2014

The anti-Vietnam protest movement of the 1960s and 70s had caused anything related to the ANZAC legend to become unpopular in New Zealand, with ANZAC day commemorations mainly attended by veterans and serving military personnel. The 1981 Australian movie Gallipoli, with its powerful anti-British theme,was released and considered an ‘event of national significance in Australia. This spike of interest across the Tasman was a turning point and provided the springboard for New Zealand playwright Maurice Shadbolt to provide his contribution in enhancing the notion of Gallipoli as the birthplace of New Zealand as a nation with the events at Chunuk Bair as a source of national pride.

Shadbolt’s play Once on Chunuk Bair would open to much praise from the theatre gong public on ANZAC Day 1982 at Auckland’s Mercury Theatre and would reinforce Shadbolt’s view that Chunuk Bair marked the birth of the nation freed from the shackles of British Colonialism. Once on Chunuk Bair gave the battle of Chunuk Bair the same national significance to New Zealand that the Australians place on their magnificent debacle at Lone Pine and the Nek. Despite a short theatrical run, Shadbolt’s play would become popular in schools and universities as it was taught and performed as part of the educational experience in a similar way that the Australians use the movie Gallipoli.

With the 75th anniversary of Gallipoli observed in 1990, a shift in public consciousness toward Gallipoli was revived, and Once on Chunuk Bair was made into a movie during 1991. Produced on a low budget and aimed at a New Zealand audience. The Army Museum provided much technical advice, uniforms and props, with the Army also providing significant assistance to the production, including expertise in explosives and many Men as extras. RNZAOC ammunition technical officer (ATO) Ian Juno would be listed in the credits as providing the special effects, and a sizable quantity of soldiers from 1 Base Supply Battalion would feature in many scenes as extras.

With production compressed within four weeks, many of the Large-scale battle scenes were filmed on Wellington’s south coast, a near facsimile of the terrain of Gallipoli, with the more detailed scenes filmed in a specially constructed set at the Avalon studios.

Chunuk.jpg

Although the final product was disappointing and did not have the same polished attributes as the earlier Australian movie Gallipoli, it complements Christopher Pugsley’s 1984 TVNZ documentary Gallipoli: The New Zealand Story, the Voices of Gallipoli in establishing the Gallipoli Campaign and the Chunuk Bair battle as the cornerstones of the national identity.


New Zealand Army Logistics Corps Stable Belts

Worn by some New Zealand Army units since the mid-1960s, it would not be until 1973 that wearing of stable belts (commonly referred to as Corps or Regimental Belts in the New Zealand Army) was authorised across the New Zealand Army. In adopting a stable belt, A small number of units would adopt belts of a unique design, however most New Zealand corps, regiments, and infantry battalions would choose designs based the regimental colours of parent or allied units of the British Army. The three Logistics Corps of the NZ Army would adopt stable belts of a British design and it would not be until 1996 and the formation of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (RNZALR) that a unique New Zealand Logistic stable belt would be adopted.

Stable belts have their origins in the British Army. Cavalrymen (and ASC and AOC personnel from trades associated with horses) found that by modifying a Cavalry “Surcingle,” they would have a belt that was very useful in providing lower back support when cleaning stables and tending horses. As British military uniforms became more utilitarian, lacking the colour and flair of earlier patterns, the wearing of coloured “stable belts” in regimental colours evolved, adding a splash of colour and individuality to the drab khaki working uniforms of the period.

The use of coloured stable belts in regimental colours spread to all branches of the British Army, becoming established as a uniform item following World War Two. Most commonwealth countries would follow the example of the British Army and adopt the coloured stable belt of the Corps or Regiments to which they had links or alliances. The adoption of stable belts by the NZ Army was far from enthusiastic, and it was not until the mid-1960s that stable belts started to make their appearance. It would not be until 1973 that the Army Dress Committee officially approved the universal wearing of stable belts for all Regiments and Corps of the NZ Army.

Stable Belts have generally been manufactured from a 21/2- to 3-inch-wide belt of a heavily woven material with horizontal stripes in two or more colours. Buckle types would vary with six main types used.

  • Single tongue leather buckle. In NZ only used by the 4th Otago and Southland Battalion
  • Multi tongue leather buckle. Consisting of two leather buckles
  • Single Locket
  • Triple Locket. In NZ only used on the 5th Wellington West Coast Battalion Other Ranks Stable belt.
  • Rectangular plate (Matt colour or Chromed) and Cap Badge design.
  • Web Belt clasp. Used on Interim RNZALR Stable belt.

RNZASC stable belt

Photographic evidence suggests that the Royal New Zealand Army Service Corps (RNZASC) adopted the British Army Royal Army Service Corps (RASC) stable belt sometime around 1970. However, the exact year is unknown. Until its disestablishment in1965, the RASC had worn a stable belt with a blue base with two central white stripes and two yellow stripes on the borders. A stable belt with a multi tongue leather buckle, the RASC stable belt was worn with two leather buckles worn on the right hip. The same pattern stable belt was worn by the Canadian ASC up to 1968 and continues to be worn by the Malaysian Kor Perkhidmatan Diraja (Royal Logistics Corps).

RASC/RNZASC stable belt. Angus Kirk Collection

In late 1974 early 1975 the RNZASC retired the RASC belt and adopted the Royal Corps of Transport (RCT) stable belt. Adopted by the RCT in 1965 and then by the Royal Australian Corps of Transport (RACT) in 1973.

RCT/RNZCT stable. Robert

RNZCT stable belt

On 12 May 1979, the RNZASC ceased to exist, as its Supply functions were transferred to the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (RNZAOC), while the Transport, Movements and Catering functions were reformed into the Royal New Zealand Corps of Transport (RNZCT). The RCT pattern stable belt would continue to serve as the stable belt of the RNZCT throughout the RNZCTs existence within the NZ Army. The only change to the belt throughout its life would be some subtle changes to the design of the buckle.

Early Pattern RCT/RNZASC/RNZCT stable belt. Robert McKie collection
Late Pattern RCT/RNZCT stable belt. Robert McKie collection

RNZAOC stable belt

There is much photographic evidence of RNZAOC officers and soldiers in Singapore unofficially wearing British (Single locket) and Malaysian (multi tongue leather buckle) Ordnance Corps stable Belts during the 1970-72 period. The RNZAOC would initially discuss introducing stable Belts in 1969, with approval for the RNZAOC stable belt granted in 1972. The RNZAOC Belt would be the same pattern as the RAOC belt but would have a rectangular chrome plate mounted with RNZAOC Badge.

RNZAOC stable belt. Robert McKie collection

RNZEME stable belt

With its distinctive dark blue background with red and yellow stripes, the stable belt of the Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RNZEME)was introduced in 1967 and was based on the Royal and Electrical Mechanical Engineers (REME) stable belt. The upper portion of the right-hand buckle carried the Corps motto (Arte et Marte). The right-hand piece had the RNZEME badge.

RNZEME stable belt. Robert.McKie Collection

RLC stable belt

In 1993, in the most significant reorganisation of its Logistic Support since 1965, the British Army formed the Royal Logistic Regiment (RLC) by combining the RCT, RAOC, Catering and Pioneer Corps into the new Regiment. Eager to retain the values and traditions of its foundation Corps and Regiments, the RLC retained many elements of its founding corps Regimental colours and the history they represented in the design of the RLC stable belt. The REME would remain a separate Corps outside of the RLC.

RLC stable belt

RNZALR stable belt

In a similar initiative to the British Army’s formation of the RLC, the NZ Army would also combine its logistic functions into a single Logistic Regiment. The significant difference between the British and New Zealand logistical changes was that the RNZEME would also be disestablished and included in the NZ Logistic Regiment.

On 9 December 1996, the Officers and Soldiers of the RNZCT, RNZAOC and RNZEME marched onto parade grounds on each camp and base. Corps flags were lowered, headwear and stable belts exchanged, and the Officers and Soldiers marched off as members of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (RNZALR).

With the colourful stable belts of three RNZALR foundation corps and the collective history of service to New Zealand since 1840 that they represented retired, the RNZALR would take a different approach to the RLC in selecting a new stable belt. While the RLC had embraced its foundation Corps’ values and traditions, the RNZALR would divorce itself from the past and adopt a plain navy-blue stable belt

As stock of the new RNZALR stable belt were not available on the formation of the New Regiment, a temporally belt was issued. Consisting of a navy-blue belt with Web Belt clasps, the interim belt would be retired within a year as stocks of the new RNZALR Stable belt became available.

The only distinctive feature of the RNZALRs stable belt is locket style Chrome buckle, which includes the following features

  • The RNZALR Corps badge on the male side of the buckle
  • The RNZALR motto “Ma Nga Hua Tu Tangata”, on the female side of the buckle.


The Cave

As New Zealand’s Army’s central stock holding unit, 1 Base Supply Battalion(1BSB) was responsible for managing and providing depot-level storage of New Zealand’s Military’s stock of land equipment and spares. Despite having this responsibility since 1920, 1BSB and its predecessors had always struggled with providing suitable warehousing infrastructure and made do with the available storage infrastructure.

With no purpose-built storage accommodation, from 1920 to 1940, the NZAOC Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) would utilise up to one hundred camp administrative and accommodation structures as its primary means of warehousing. Relief was provided in 1938 when contracts were issued to construct a modern warehouse utilising the most modern of methods and materials.[1] The New warehouse, later known as Building 73, would be constructed using reinforced concrete and designed with nine bays that allowed the loading and unloading of Trains on one side and Motor Transport on the other. The design and layout of building 73 would be utilised as the model for new warehouses that would later be constructed at Burnham and Waiouru.

Building 73

Although Building 73 provided a considerable increase in storage capability, wartime demands soon necessitated further increases in storage infrastructure, resulting in the construction of Building 74. Building 74 and the warehouses constructed in Burnham and Waiouru were close facsimiles of building 73, with the main exception that it was constructed out of wood instead of reinforced concrete due to wartime constraints.[2]

The wartime expansion of the New Zealand military would see the MOD exponentially expand to cope with the influx of military material with additional buildings constructed in Trentham and sub-depots also established a Mangere, Wanganui, Linton Camp, Gracefield and Wellington.

Peace in 1945 would bring little respite as stocks were centralised at the MOD, requiring further expansion of the MOD warehousing infrastructure. To meet this need, five warehouses that were built for the United States Forces at Lower Hutt, were disassembled and re-erected at Trentham by September 1945.[3] Additionally, the RNZAF Stores Depot constructed at Mangaroa in 1943 was handed over to the MOD in 1949.

Over the next forty years, the warehousing infrastructure at Trentham would change little, with a 1985 NZDF report identifying many deficiencies leading to significant upgrading of Trentham’s warehousing infrastructure.[4]

Main Ordnance Depot 1966

In one of the most significant warehousing infrastructure investments since 1939 and the first modern warehouse built for the RNZAOC since 1972, Building 75, a high stud warehouse capable of holding 3700 pallets,  opened in 1988. Although a significant advancement in warehousing capability, the new warehouse had limited space for outsized items. Additionally many other warehousing functions such as packing and traffic remained in Building 73, so further work was required to enhance the functionality of 1BSBs entire warehousing capability.

Building 73 (left), Building 74 (Right)

With trains no longer utilised for the delivery and dispatching of stores, the rail lines between Building 73 and 74 had long been redundant. By removing the rail line and raising the ground level between the two buildings, additional storage spect of almost two square kilometres, protected from the elements by a 200 x 13-meter roof, was created. At the southern end, a loading ramp was constructed to allow the loading and unloading of trucks, with angled ramps at either end allowing the movement of vehicles along the length of the new storage area.  Opened on 2 November 1989, the new warehouse was christened as “the Cave.” The Cave allowed the more efficient transfer of stores to and from the storage areas in  Buildings 73, 74 and 75 to the receipt, selecting, packing and issue bays in Building 73.

Lieutenant Colonel P.P Martyn, Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps. Commanding Officer 1 Base Supply Battalion January 1988 – December 1990, Officially opening “The Cave”

The additional storage space allowed the storage of outsized items which had previously been stored at the Mangaroa Depot, which was subsequently decommissioned and handed over to NZDF Property Services.

The optimisation of storage space between the two buildings was so successful a similar modification would be constructed between two of 21 Supply Company’s 1950s era Warehouses at Linton, creating much-needed storage and office space.


Notes

[1] “New Army Ordnance Block Now under Construction at One of the Military Camps,” Evening Post, Volume CXXVIII, Issue 65, 14 Sept 1939.

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

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

[4] “Assessment and Audit – Audit Files – [1995] – Nzdf Bulk Warehousing,” Archives New Zealand Item No R24596003  (1985).


NZ Military 1st Generation Vehicles

The recent announcement that the New Zealand Defence Force is purchasing the Australian Bushmaster 5.5 protected mobility vehicle provides the right opportunity to look back at the first generation of specialist military vehicles utilised by the New Zealand Military.

NZ Bushmaster 5.5

For many years New Zealand’s military relied upon a small number of civilian horse-drawn carts and wagons to move personnel and equipment, with the Commandant of the Forces noting in 1905 that “Supply and transport equipment was wanting.”[1]

During 1906/1907, New Zealand’s Military undertook a significant reorganisation, and for the first time a defined equipment policy was adopted. It was recommended in the Commandant’s report to Parliament that a minimum number of vehicles, including saddles and harnesses, be provided for the force, including;[2]

  • telegraph-carts
  • ambulance wagons
  • medical water-carts
  • carts for small-arms ammunition supply
  • General Service (GS) field service wagons

The experience gained in the recent South Africa war impressed on the military the importance of equipment standardisation. So along with the weapons, uniforms and equipment used by New Zealand, these Carts and Wagons were as much as possible to be of a standard Imperial pattern.

To initiate the purchase of Carts and Wagons £1000 (2021 NZD 177,225.38) was provided in the 1907-08 Defence estimates for the 1908 appropriations. It was anticipated that some could be made in New Zealand with the balance purchased overseas.[3]  Ongoing appropriations up to 1913 would be,

  • 1908-09 – £1500 (2021 NZD 267-986.26)
  • 1909-10 – £1500 (2021 NZD 268-891.62)
  • 1910-11 – £2500 (2021 NZD$451,816.08)
  • 1911-12 – £2500 (2021 NZD$447,246.12)
  • 1912-13 – £1841 (2021 NZD$330,242.79)
  • 1913-14 – £2350 (2021 NZD$408,030.13)

To provide some context to these amounts, the cost of a Mark X G.S Wagon in 1905 was £61(2021 NZD$11,421.09) with a Wagon Ambulance Mark V costing £136 (NZD$25,517.45) in 1903.

The outcome of this spending was that in time for the 1908 Easter camps; the following equipment was issued to the Military Districts, complete with harnesses from the Defence Stores.[4]

  • Five locally made Colonial Pattern Ambulance-wagons. These were assessed to be superior to the three Mark V Imperial pattern carts already on issue, which were considered too heavy for colonial requirements.[5] 
  • Five Colonial Pattern GS wagons
  • Five Small Arms Ammunition Carts
  • Five water-carts

In 1909 a Maltese cart and a Mark V General Service Wagon were ordered from the United Kingdom. On arrival in New Zealand, these pieces of equipment were to be utilised as samples to manufacture this type in New Zealand. Arrangements for the supply of four additional local pattern water carts were also put into place.[6]

The roster of transport Vehicles available to the NZ Miltary in 1912 was;[7]

  • Five Colonial Pattern Ambulance Wagons
  • Three Mark V Imperial Ambulance Wagons
  • Five Colonial Pattern GS wagons
  • Five Small Arms Ammunition Carts
  • Nine Water Carts
  • One Mark V GS wagon as a sample for manufacture
  • One Cable Cart, with four on order

By 1913 the inventory of Transport vehicles had mildly increased with some specialist carts for the Field Engineers.[8]

  • Five Colonial Pattern Ambulance Wagons
  • Three Mark V Imperial Ambulance Wagons
  • Five Colonial Pattern GS Wagons
  • Five Small Arms Ammunition Carts
  • Nine Water Carts
  • One Mark V GS Wagon as a sample for manufacture
  • Four Cable Carts
  • Six Carts (Royal Engineer), double
  • Four Pontoon Wagons (Complete with pontoons)
  • One Maltese cart as a sample for manufacture

With the standing up of the Army Service Corps(ASC) Companys, the lack of Field Transport was highlighted in the 1913 camps. It was recognised that maintaining all of the ASC Companys with their war or even peace requirements was impossible in the current fiscal environment. To reduce the ASC reliance on hiring civilian wagons and carts, It was recommended that each ASC company have at least two wagons and carts to allow training and camp use.[9] In the Director of Stores Annual Report for 1913/14, it was noted that provision for Thirty Two Colonial Pattern GS Wagons had been made in the estimates for 1913/1914, but tenders for their purchase had not yet been issued.[10]

Following the mobilisation of the NZEF in 1914, much of the available transport was dispatched overseas. Requirements for Carts and Wagons for the NZEF and Territorial Camps were met by hiring or impressing equipment into service. By late 1916/1917, hiring and impressing of field transport had ceased with the latest pattern Horse Ambulance, Water Cart and General Service wagons in use with medical and ASC units.[11]

Examples of three types of the latest pattern Military Wagons of the New Zealand Military pictured at Trentham Camp C1917.

  • Mk X GS wagon
  • Wagons, Limbered, GS
  • Mark II Horse Ambulance

Mk X GS Wagon

The British military had developed the General Service wagon over many years of research and development based on operational experience with ten “marks” of General Service wagons designed between 1862 and 1905. The Mark 1 GS Wagon was a versatile platform that could easily transport 1.5 tons on fair roads with a team of two horses. If the terrain demanded it, additional horses could easily be added to assist. The final iteration before the introduction of motor transport was the Mark X GS wagon introduced in 1905. [12] The first standardised military transport vehicle, the Mark X, would be manufactured in England, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Wagon GS

Wagons, Limbered, GS

Wagons, Limbered GS were two-wheeled carts (limbers) linked by a short pole or perch and drawn by horses. Their articulated design created an agile vehicle that, although unable to carry the same load as a GS Wagon, was the preferred cart for mobile units.[13]

Wagon Limbered GS

Mark II Horse Ambulance

Any injured horse needing care could be evacuated by this Horse Ambulance. The Mk II Horse Ambulance is a reversible vehicle, allowing loading from either end. The arch over the body is part of the axle and, when necessary, could provide sturdy support to an injured horse.[14]

Mark II Horse Ambulance

 


Notes

[1] “Defence Forces of New Zealand (Report by the)  by Major-General J.M Babington, Commandant of the Forces,” Appendix to the Journal of the House of Representatives  ( 1 August 1905), https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/parliamentary/AJHR1905-I.2.4.2.31.

[2] “Defence Forces of New Zealand report by the Council of Defence and by the Inspector-General of the New Zealand Defence Forces for the year 1907.,” Appendix to the Journal of the House of Representatives  ( 1 January  1907), https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/parliamentary/AJHR1907-I.2.4.2.28.

[3] “Appropriations chargeable on the consolidated fund and other accounts for the year ending 31st March 1908,” Appendix to the Journal of the House of Representatives, 1907 Session 1, B-07  ( 1 August 1907), https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/parliamentary/AJHR1907-I.2.1.3.7/3.

[4] “Defence Forces of New Zealand: Report by the Council of Defence and extracts from the report of the Inspector-General of the NZ Defence Forces, for the year ended 28th February 1908,” Appendix to the Journal of the House of Representatives, 1909 Session II, H-19  (28 February 1909), https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/parliamentary/AJHR1909-II.2.4.2.28.

[5] James O’Sullivan, “Correspondence from Surgeon General, New Zealand Forces,” Archives New Zealand Item No R24752338  (8 May 1902-1908).

[6] “Defence Forces of New Zealand: Report by the Council of Defence, for the year ended 28th February 1910,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1910 Session I, H-19  (28 February 1910), https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/parliamentary/AJHR1910-I.2.3.2.29.

[7] “Defence Forces of New Zealand: Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces for the period 28 July 1911 to 27th June 1912,” Appendix to the Journal of the House of Representatives, 1912 Session II, H-19  (27 June 1912), https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/parliamentary/AJHR1912-II.2.4.2.37.

[8] “H-19 Report on the  Defence Forces of New Zealand for the period 28 June 1912 to 20 June 1913,” Appendix to the Journal of the House of Representatives  (1 January 1913), https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/parliamentary/AJHR1913-I.2.5.2.34.

[9] “H-19 Report on the  Defence Forces of New Zealand for the period 20 June 1913 to 25 June 1914,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1 January 1914), https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/parliamentary/AJHR1914-I.2.3.2.29.

[10] James O’Sullivan, “Report of the Director of Equipment & Stores for the year ending 31 March 1914,” Archives New Zealand Item No R22432126  (8 May 1914).

[11] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Report of  the General Officer Commanding the Forces, From 1st June 1916, to 31st May 1917,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1 January 1917).

[12] Ernest Ryan, “Army horse transport: General Service, Ambulance and other vehicles from the Crimean war to Mechanization,” Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research 42, no. 171 (1964), http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.massey.ac.nz/stable/44223504.

[13] Ryan, “Army horse transport: General Service, Ambulance and other vehicles from the Crimean war to Mechanization.”

[14] “Mark II Horse Ambulance,” RLC Horse-Drawn Heritage, 2019, accessed 18 August 2021, https://www.rlcheritage.co.uk/page7.html.



MT Stores – 1939-1963

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

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

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

New Zealand Temporary Staff. Robert McKie Collection

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

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

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

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

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

Post War Developments

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

MT Workshops

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

MT Vehicle Depots

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

MT Spares Depots

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

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

Workshop Stores Sections

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

•             Northern Districts Workshops,

•             Central Districts Workshops,

•             Central Districts Armament and General Workshops

•             Central Districts MT Workshops

•             Southern District Workshops

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

Ordnance Deport MT Stores Groups

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

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


Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


New Zealand Defence Stores, Annual Report, 1914

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

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

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

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

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

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




NEW ZEALAND MILITARY FORCES.

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

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

Sir,

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

SMALL ARMS AMMUNITION

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

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

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

SMALL ARMS

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

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

CANADIAN RIFLES

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIFLES M.L.E. SHORT

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

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

RIFLES MARTINI-ENFIELD

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

RIFLES .310

There are 1,052 of these, which were taken over from the Education Department, and issued to Senior Cadets in Auckland District. They were, however, condemned by District Headquarters as being useless for Musketry, and are being returned to Store. The question of what is to be done with these and the 928,000 rds of .310 Bal1 Ammunition will have to be considered later.

CARBINES

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

REVOLVERS

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

RIFLES SOLD TO DEFENCE RIFLE CLUBS.

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

ACCOUTREMENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

SWORDS, OFFICERS & SAM BROWNE BELTS.

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

MAXIM MACHINE GUNS.

As Mentioned in my last Annual Report, one each Maxim Machine Gun mounted on Tripod with Packsaddlery complete, was issued to Mounted and Infantry Regiments, and a supply of Tripods ordered to convert the Maxim Guns mounted on Field Carriages to Packsaddlery. The Maxims on Field Carriages were called into Store, but it was ascertained before these Guns could be properly fitted to Packsaddles, a number of suitable stores were requir4d from England. These are now under order from England and on arrival. The conversion proceeded with. The addition of one Regiment of Infantry to the original establishments leaves us deficient of two Machine Guns, as no provision j=had been made for creases, and no spare Guns had been ordered. It will therefore be necessary to consider if two more Guns with Packsaddlery complete should be ordered.

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

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

UNIFORM EQUIPMENT 1913/14.

TERRITORAL & SENIOR CADET

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TERRITORIAL UNIFORMS.

 JacketsTrousersPantaloonsHatsCapsGreatcoats Putties
      MountedDismtd 
Receipts545842981840Nil18841342767810000
Issues428226229419468224579347705748
In Stock6583672033284966320164929254258

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

SENIOR CADET UNIFORMS.

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

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

The position Senior cadet Uniforms is:-

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

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

OFFICERS UNIFORMS

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

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

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

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

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

The position of Senior Cadet Uniforms is:-

 BlousesShortsHatsPuttie HoseBelts Waist
Receipts5954408252032011
Issues865999847570714731993
In Stock852662979705796618

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

UNIFORMS

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

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

SERVICE BOOTS

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

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

SHEETS, GROUND, WATERPROOF.

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

BAGS, NOSE, HORSES.

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

FIELD COOKERS.

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

Auckland9500 men4250 men
Wellington104
Canterbury84
Otago84

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

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

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

CAMP KETTLES.

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

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

KIT BAGS.

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

B0OKs, FORMS, STATIONARY, PAPER TARGETS ETC.

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

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

ARMOURERS.

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

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

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

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

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

DISTRICT STOREKEEPERS.

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

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

TRANSPORT WAGONS.

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

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

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

MEDICAL EQUIPMENT.

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

VETERINARY STORES.

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

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

STORE BUILDINGS.

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

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

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

MAGAZINES FOR SMALL ARMS AMMUNUITION.

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

AEROPLANE

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

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

STOCKTAKING.

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

STAFF.

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

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

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

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

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

Defence Stores,
Wellington.
8th May, 1914.

________________________________

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

________________________________


Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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


General Godley and New Zealand’s Defence Stores Department

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Colonel Allen

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

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

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

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

Yours Sincerely

Alex Godley

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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


John Henry Jerred

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Defence Stores were located at the Military reserve in Wellingtons Mount Cook, then known as Alexandra Barracks. The Actual Stores building were old and not fit for purpose as they leaked and were cold and draughty. The hours worked by the Defence Stores Staff and the poor infrastructure would take its toll on the Staff of the Defence Stores.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © Robert McKie 2021


NZ Divisional Laundry and Baths, 1916 – 1918

A significant function of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps as part of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force during the First World War was managing the New Zealand Divisional Laundries and Baths. The Laundry and Bath functions would help maintain the New Zealand Division’s hygiene by providing the opportunity for regular bathing, the exchanging of underclothing and socks and the delousing of uniforms. Although the NZ Division s Laundry and Bath functions were interconnected with its neighbouring Divisions and supporting Corps, this article’s focus is on providing a snapshot of the NZ Divisions Laundry and Bath operations from October 1916 to June 1918.

At the onset of the First World War in part due to the lessons learnt in the South African War and the more recent Balkan Wars, the British Army had a reasonable understanding of the importance of hygiene in the field and published The Manual of Elementary Military Hygiene in 1912.[1]  However, as with any military doctrine, the practical application of the field hygiene lessons learnt would take time to become effective in the early years of the War. However, by the time the New Zealand Division arrived at the Western Front in mid-1916, the British Army had a rudimentary Laundry and Bath system at the Corps and Divisional level in which the New Zealand Division would be integrated into.

Command and Control

Initially, as the New Zealand Division took over the existing Laundry and Baths from British units, these functions were initially vested as a responsibility of the New Zealand Medical Corps, who provided officers and men to supplement he existing civilian staff.[2]  In line with British practice both the Divisional Laundry and Baths came under the control of the Division Headquarters “Q” Branch, and from 21 December 1916, the New Zealand Division, Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services (DADOS) was the officer responsible for the running of the Divisional Laundry and Baths.[3]

Baths

The Bathing concept was that four Bathhouses were to be established in a Divisional area: usually one Bathhouse for each Infantry brigade and on Bathhouse for the rest of the Division.  The concept was that Soldiers would rotate through Bathhouse on a schedule to allow the entire Division to be bathed once every ten days. In the early years of the war Bathing facilities were rudimentary with Baths ranging from breweries or fabric processing plants to Beer barrels cut in half.[4]   

British soldiers washing in makeshift baths possibly near Armentieres, 1915. Copyright: © IWM.

Although initially built on an ad-hoc basis using whatever resources were available, by 1917 most Bathhouses in the New Zealand Division were built and operated on a uniform pattern: [5]

A typical Bathhouse would be operated as follows.

  • The men enter at 1, Undress and hand their Service Dress and valuables in at 2(Obtaining receipt) and dirty underclothes at 3.
  • They then have a hot shower in D
  • While the men are having their showers, the seams of their Service Dress Tunics and Trousers were ironed to kill lice, and small repairs were undertaken.
  • Upon completing the shower, the men enter F, collect a towel, clean underclothes at 4 and their Service Dress and valuables at 5. Dress and leave by 6.
  • All Towels and dirty underclothes are sent from the baths to the Divisional Laundry daily, and a supply of clean or new items received in exchange.

In June 1918 the system of delousing the soldier’s Service Dress clothing was improved using the Thresh Disinfector Delousing Chamber. As soldier passed into the Bathhouse, the soldier’s Service Dress would be turned inside out and handed over to the Thresh operators. The Garments would be hung up inside the Thresh’s airtight chamber and sealed. Coke braziers then heated the airtight chamber, and after the garments had been treated by this method for 15 minutes, they were found to be entirely free form lice and eggs.[6]

Personnel employed in the Divisional usually consisted of

  • A Non-Commissioned Officer (NZAOC).[7]
  • Locally employed civilian women for ironing and mending.

Depending on the ebb and flow of the battle and the New Zealand Division’s movement, between October 1916 and June 1918 the DADOS War Diary records that Bathhouses to support the NZ Division were established in over thirty-four different locations.[8] On most occasions, existing bathhouses were taken over from other Divisions. If there were no existing Bathhouse or the ones taken over were not suitable, NZ Engineers would be employed to construct new bathhouses.[9]

Plan for the NZ Divisional Baths as Vauchelles. Archives New Zealand

By June 1918, the New Zealand Divisional Bathhouse system was operating effectively and bathing on average between 700 – 800 troops daily, with 46411 men passing through the Divisional Bathhouses in total.[10]

New Zealand soldiers recently in the trenches outside the Divisional Baths, France. Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association :New Zealand official negatives, World War 1914-1918. Ref: 1/2-013160-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23139145
Soldiers after leaving the line wait their turn for a bath. Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association :New Zealand official negatives, World War 1914-1918. Ref: 1/2-012817-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23097155

Laundry

On most occasions, the Division would be relieving an existing Division in the area and would take over the existing Divisional Laundry as a going concern. However, there were occasions when a Laundry would have to be established from the ground up, such as when the Division Laundry and Baths at Pont de Nieppe were destroyed by enemy shell fire in April 1917.[11]

The Divisional Laundry would receive dirty garments from the Baths, (underclothes, socks, and towels) where they would be disinfected, washed, and mended and placed into a reissue pool.[12] 

Usually, the Divisional Laundry would place indents on the supply chain for new items to replace items beyond repair, however, in January 1918 authority was granted for the Divisional Baths to hold a pool of new clothing to me maintained consisting of: [13]

  • 5000 shirts
  • 13100 vests woollen
  • 12450 Drawers Woollen
  • 12700 Towels
  • 19000 pairs of socks

By 1918 the average output from the New Zealand Divisional Laundry was 35,000 – 40,000 garments per week.

Personnel employed in the Divisional Laundry usually consisted of.

  • 1 Officer (NZAOC)
  • 20 Other Ranks.[14]
  • 142 Civilians
    • 1 Forewoman @ 60 Centines per hour
    • 1 Assistant @ 50 Centines per hour
    • 50 Seamstresses @ 40 Centines per hour
    •  70 Laundresses @ 40 Centines per hour
    • 10 Helpers @ 30 Centines per hour
    • 10 Drying Room Hands @ 40 Centines per hour
French women employed in an Army laundry, hanging out soldiers’ shirts to dry at Poperinghe, 30 September 1917. Copyright: © IWM.

Between October 1916 and June 1918, as the NZ Division moved, the NZ Divisional Laundry would also be relocated and established in new locations, some of the known sites were

  • October 1916 Located at Estaires.
  • Pont de Nieppe, Laundry destroyed by enemy shellfire, 12 April 1917
  • 18 to 25 April 1917 Established at Steenwerck, Handed over to the 8th Division.
  • Before and during the German 1918 Spring Offensive, the Divisional Laundry would be located at.
    • Renninghelst
    • Outtersteene      
    • Westoutre
    • Abbeville  

Socks

Socks were an unlikely enabler; in the extreme conditions found in the mud-filled trenches clean, dry socks were often the difference between life and death. When feet are constantly wet, as they often were in the trenches, they begin to rot. Gangrene sets in, and often the only remedy is amputation. In the First World War, 75,000 British troops would die due to complications caused by trench foot.[15]

Acutely aware of the need for clean socks, the New Zealand Division maintained a system where socks were exchanged daily. To facilitate the daily exchange, a dry sock store was run in conjunction with the Bathhouses. Here dry socks were drawn daily by units in the line in exchange for dirty socks. The dirty sock would then be backloaded to the Divisional Laundry and exchanged for clean socks.

Once received by the Divisional Laundry, the dirty socks would if damaged, be mended, washed and once dried treated with camphor (as prevention against trench foot) before been placed into the exchange pool.

By May 1918 the disruption caused by the 1918 German Kaiserschlacht offensive had affected the supply routes with the railway service from the Laundry at Abbeville becoming irregular, and it was taking 6-7 days for trucks to travel the short distance to replenish Bathhouses with clean underclothing and socks. However, given the hygiene and morale benefits that clean socks brought, the need to maintain the sock exchange system to the forward troops was a priority. Therefore, close to the front, under the supervision of the NZAOC, a small sock washing depot was established with Sixteen men from the Divisional Employment Company in May 1918. Socks were sorted with torn or holey socks returned to the Laundry for mending, with the remainder of the socks washed by hand. In fine weather, the drying was done outside, if it was wet, the socks were hung on wires from the ceiling of a room and dried employing coke braziers. The men did excellent work, and output was 4 to 5 thousand pairs daily and kept up an adequate supply.[16]   

Soldiers washing socks during World War I, Bus-les-artois, France. Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association :New Zealand official negatives, World War 1914-1918. Ref: 1/2-013179-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23052031
New Zealand soldiers washing socks in wooden tubs near the New Zealand Divisional Headquarters at Bus-les-artois, 7 May 1918. Photograph taken by Henry Armitage Sanders Nº H-563 Photo source – Alexander Turnbull collection at the National Library of New Zealand. (Colorized by Marina Amaral from Brazil) https://www.facebook.com/marinamaralarts/?fref=nf See less

Gumboots

As the western front settled down into the routine of trench warfare in the winter of 1915, the time spent in the saturated trenches by British troops was limited to thirty-six hours during which the wearing of gumboots became widespread in the water-soaked areas.[17]  The use of gumboots helped minimise the effects of mud and water on exposed feet, thus limiting Trench foot occurrences. Based on the early success of gumboots, contracts were placed with the North British Rubber Company (now Hunter Boot Ltd) to manufacture over 1,185,000 pairs of Gumboots for the British army during WW1.[18]

Boots were classed as Trench Stores and usually only issued to a Division when it was on the line. The NZ Division was typically provided with around 6000 pairs, pooled, and issued from a Gumboot Store. The Gumboot store was designed with drying racks and heaters to allow the wet gumboots to be dried and prepared for reissue.

Plan for Drying Apparatus for Rubber Boots. Australian Imperial Force Unit War Diaries, 1914-1919 – Australian Corps Baths and Laundries, 2 – June 1916 – April 1918.” Australian War Memorial Archives Collection No AWM4 18/1/1 PART 2 (1918)

This article provides a small snapshot of how the Laundry and Bath functions contributed to maintaining the New Zealand Division’s hygiene by providing the opportunity for regular bathing, the exchanging of underclothing and socks and the delousing of uniforms. Although the playing a small but significant role in maintaining the combat effectiveness of the New Zealand Division, the efforts of the NZ Division DADOS Staff, the men of the Divisional Employment Companies and the locally employed civilian staff in maintaining the Laundry and Bath operations are worthy of further study to expand the historiography of New Zealand’s First World War combat enablers.

Notes


[1] Martin C. M. Bricknell and Colonel David A. Ross, “Fit to Fight – from Military Hygiene to Wellbeing in the British Army,” Military Medical Research 7, no. 1 (2020).

[2] Major J.S Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Trentham: RNZAOC, 1992), 71-72.

[3] “2nd Australia & New Zealand Army Corps [2anzac], Assistant Director of Ordnance Services (Ados) – War Diary, 1 December – 31 December 1916,” Archives New Zealand Item No  R23487340  (1916).

[4] Janet Macdonald, Supplying the British Army in the First World War, vol. , (Pen and Sword military, 2019), , 143.

[5] “An Account of the Working of the Baths Established in the Divisional Areas in France,” Archives New Zealand Item No R24428508  (1918).

[6] “Headquarters New Zealand and Australian Division – New Zealand Division – Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services (Dados) – War Diary, 1 June – 30 June 1918,” Archives New Zealand Item No R23487667  (1918).

[7] From May 1917 drawn from No 1 NZ (Divisional) Employment Company.

[8] Based on the DADOS War Diaries Bathhouses were established at, Neuve-Eglise, Selles, Balinghem,Merck-Saint-Liévin, Watou Area, Vlamertinge, Poperinghe, Canal Bank, Bayenghem, Potijze, Hondichen, Staple, Halifax Camp, Caistre, Béthencourt, Louvencourt, Pas, Nauchelles, Pont de Nieppe, Blendecques, Café Belge

Bissezeele Cross Roads, Potijze, Ottawa, Hooge Baths Ypres, Estaires, Vauchelles

[9] Peter D. F. Cooke, Won by the Spade: How the Royal New Zealand Engineers Built a Nation (Exisle Publishing Ltd, 2019), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 199.

[10] “Headquarters New Zealand and Australian Division – New Zealand Division – Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services (Dados) – War Diary, 1 June – 30 June 1918”

[11] “Headquarters New Zealand and Australian Division – New Zealand Division – Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services (Dados) – War Diary, 1 April – 30 April 1917,” Archives New Zealand Item No R23487653  (1917).

[12] “An Account of the Working of the Baths Established in the Divisional Areas in France.”

[13] “Headquarters New Zealand and Australian Division – New Zealand Division – Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services (Dados) – War Diary, 1 January – 31 January 1918,” Archives New Zealand Item No R23487662  (1918).

[14] From May 1917 drawn from No 1 NZ (Divisional) Employment Company.

[15] Allison Korleski, “Next up in Fiber Nation: The Hand-Knit Socks That Marched to War,” Interweave, https://www.interweave.com/fiber-nation/episode-9-world-war-socks/.

[16] “Headquarters New Zealand and Australian Division – New Zealand Division – Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services (Dados) – War Diary, 1 June – 30 June 1918.”

[17] Susan Cohen, Medical Services in the First World War (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014).

[18] James Smith, “History of Wellington Boots: From Battlefields to Potato Fields,” Heddels, https://www.heddels.com/2019/02/history-wellington-boots-battlefields-potato-fields/.