RNZAOC 1 April 1953 to 31 March 1954

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

Key Appointments

  • Lieutenant Colonel F Reid, OBE

Technical Assistant to the Chief Inspection Ordnance Officer

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

Northern Military District

District Inspecting Ordnance Officer

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

IOO NDAD

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

OC District Ammunition Repair Depot

  • Captain Pipson (From 28 Aug 1953)

Central Military District

District Inspecting Ordnance Officer

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

Compulsory Military Training

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

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

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

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

Presentation of Coronation Trophy

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

Acquisition of additional Training areas by NZ Army

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

Flood Relief

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

Robert McKie RNZAOC School Collection
NDOD Flood Assist 1953. Robert McKie RNZAOC School Collection

Tangiwai Railway Disaster

The Tangiwai disaster occurred at Christmas eve 1953 when the Whangaehu River Railway bridge collapsed as the Wellington-to-Auckland express passenger train was crossing it with a loss of 151 Lives. With Waiouru in proximity, the army was quick to respond, with rescue teams deploying from Waiouru with the first survivors admitted into the Waiouru Camp Hospital by 4 am. Representing the RNZAOC in the search parties were Warrant officer Class 1 P Best and Corporal Eric Ray.

Royal Tour 23 December 1953 – 31 Jan 1954

Camp Commandants Bodyguard 1954. Robert Mckie RNZAOC School Collection

Emergency Force (Kayforce)

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

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

Out of Kayforce

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

Into Kay force

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

Seconded to Fiji Military Forces

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

Ordnance Conferences

Ordnance Conference 18-19 August 1953

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

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

Routine Ordnance Activities

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

Ammunition Examiner Qualification

The following soldiers qualified as Ammunition Examiners

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

Small Arms Ammunition

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

Support to the French War in Vietnam

During this period the RNZAOC prepared a second consignment of stores and equipment for transfer to the French in Vietnam.  Transferred from surplus and obsolete stocks held in RNZAOC depots, the following items would be dispatched to Vietnam;[3]

  • 500 Revolvers,
  • 3000 Rifles,
  • 750 Machine Guns,
  • 50 Bofors anti-aircraft guns and ammunition,
  • 10000 rounds of 40mm armour piercing shot,[4]
  • Wireless Sets,
  • Field Telephones,
  • Charging Sets,
  • Assorted Uniform Items,
  • 670000 rounds of small arms ammunition.

Introduction of New Equipment

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

During this period, the following equipment was introduced into service;[5]

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

Honours List

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

  • Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Reid.[6]

Promotions

  • Private George Thomas Dimmock to Lance Corporal – 1 April 1953
  • Temporary Warrant Officer Class Two Alick Claude Doyle to Substantive WO2, 1 April 1953
  • Lieutenant J. Harvey to Captain. 9 December 1953.[7]
  • Captain (temp. Major) H. McK Reid to Major. 22 January 1954.[8]
  • Lieutenant-Colonel (temp Colonel) A. H. Andrews, OBE, BE, to Colonel. 21 October 1953.[9]
  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster T Rose to be Captain and Quartermaster. 1 May 1953.[10]

Enlistments into the RNZAOC

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

Appointments into the RNZAOC

  • Edward Francis Lambert Russell, late Captain RAOC, appointed as Lieutenant (on prob.), with seniority from 26 November 1949, posted as Vehicle. Spares Officer, Vehicle Spares Group, Main Ordnance Depot, 26 November 1953.[11]
  • Lieutenant J. B. Glasson, 13 April 1954.[12]

Transferred out of the RNZAOC to other Corps

  • Captain W. G. Dixon transferred to the Royal N.Z. Artillery. 6 July 1953.[13]

Transferred to the Supplementary List, NZ Regular Force

  • Captain and Quartermaster R. P. Kennedy, E.D., having reached the normal age for retirement, 13 April 1953.[14]

Transferred to the Reserve of Officers General List

  • Captain A. Whitehead, 17 December 1953.[15]

Re-Engagements into the New Zealand Regular Force

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

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

Civic Appointments

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

Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[10] “Coronation Honours List,”  906.

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

[12] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 28, 6 May 1954, 678.

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

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

[15] Ibid.

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


A retrospective view of the Main Ordnance Depot, Trentham

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

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

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

1920

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

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

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

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

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

1940

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

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

1941

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

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

1943

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

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

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

1944

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

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

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

1945

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

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

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

1966

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

1974

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

1980

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

1988

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

2020

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

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


RNZAOC 1 April 1952 to 31 March 1953

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

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel F Reid, OBE

Compulsory Military Training

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

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

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

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

Territorial Force

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

Kayforce

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

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

Out of Kayforce

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

Into Kay force

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

Coronation Contingent

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

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

Ordnance Conferences

Ordnance Conference 16 – 18 September 1952

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

Ordnance Conference 21-23 April 1953

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

Items discussed at the conference included;

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

Routine Ordnance Activities

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

Ammunition Examiner Qualification

Private Luskie qualified as an Ammunition Examiner as AE No 75

Small Arms Ammunition

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

Introduction of New Equipment

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

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

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

New Headdress trial

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

Trentham Camp Commandant

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

Hope Gibbons Fire

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

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

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

Honours List

Long Service and Good Conduct

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

Enlistments into the RNZAOC

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

Transferred into the RNZAOC from other Corps

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

Re-Engagements into the New Zealand Regular Force

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

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

Promotions

To Lieutenant and Quartermaster

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

To Lieutenant

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

Transferred to Reserve of Officers

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

  • Lieutenant R. K. Treacher

Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[8] Ibid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[16] Ibid., 569.

[17]Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

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

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


RNZAOC 1 April 1951 to 31 March 1952

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

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel F Reid, OBE

Compulsory Military Training

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

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

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

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

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

Kayforce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Zealand Army Act, 1950

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

Ordnance Conference 11 -13 April 1951

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

Items discussed at the conference included;

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

Pay and Allowances

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

Routine Ordnance Activities

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

The relocation of stores from Waiouru and Seaview to Mangaroa

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

Inspection of Ammunition

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

Small Arms Ammunition

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

Introduction of New Equipment

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

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

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

Support to the French War in Vietnam

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

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

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

Enlistments into the RNZAOC

  • George Thomas Dimmock – 2 August 1951

Discharged 31 March 1952

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

Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


RNZAOC 1 April 1950 to 31 March 1951

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

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel F Reid, OBE

Compulsory Military Training

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

Emergency Force (Kayforce)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Zealand Army Act, 1950

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

Ordnance Conference 24 -26 May 1950

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

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

Ordnance Conference 26 -28 September 1950

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

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

Industrial Disputes

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

Routine Ordnance Activities

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

The relocation of stores from Waiouru and Seaview to Mangaroa.

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

Inspection of Ammunition

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

Introduction of New Equipment

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

  • 4.2-inch Heavy Mortar.

Enlistments into the RNZAOC

  • Robert J Sontgen – 15 July 1950

Promotions

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

Notes

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

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

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

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

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

[7] Ibid.

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


RNZAOC 1 June 1949 to 31 March 1950

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

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

Chief Inspecting Ordnance Officer

  • Major I.S Millar

Senior Inspecting Ordnance Officer

  • Captain J.G.R Morley

IOO Technical Assistant

  • Captain N.C Fisher

Main Ordnance Depot, Officer Commanding

  • Major A.D Leighton

Main Ordnance Depot, Second in Command

  • Captain M.K Keeler

Northern Military District

Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services

District Inspecting Ordnance Officer

  • Captain E.C Green

OC Northern District Ordnance Depot

OC Northern District Ammunition Depot

  • Captain E.C Green

OC Northern District Vehicle Depot

Central Military District

Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services

District Inspecting Ordnance Officer

  • Captain G.H Perry

OC Central District Ordnance Depot

  • Captain Rennision

OC Central District Ammunition Depot

  • Captain Robert Price Kennedy

OC Central District Vehicle Depot

Southern Military District

Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Service

District Inspecting Ordnance Officer

  • Captain E Hancock

OC Southern District Ordnance Depot

OC Southern District Ammunition Depot

  • Captain William Cleaver Ancell

OC Southern District Vehicle Depot

New Zealand Division

Chief of Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (CRNZAOC)

  • Lieutenant Colonel Donald Edward Harper

2nd Infantry Brigade, Ordnance Field Park Platoon

  • Lieutenant G. W. Clark

3rd Infantry Brigade, Ordnance Field Park Platoon

  • Captain K. S. Brown[1]

Regrouping the Army

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

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

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

Compulsory Military Training

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

Senior Ammunition Officers Conference

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

Attending the Conference were;

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

Item discussed at the conference included;

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

Ordnance Conference

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

Items discussed at the conference included;

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

Ordnance activities over the period

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

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

New Year Honours List

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

  • Military Division: Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE)-
    • Warrant Officer, 1st Class, William Sampson Valentine, RNZAOC, of Christchurch.[6]

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

Transfer of IOO personnel

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

Northern Military District

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

Central Military District

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

Southern Military District

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

Main Ordnance Depot

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

Re-Engagements into the New Zealand Regular Force

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

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

Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NZOC Light Aid Detachments, 1939-44

In the period between the world wars Britain analysed the lessons of the Great War and looking forward realised that the next war would not be one of attrition-based warfare, but a war of speed, mobility and surprise utilising modern technologies such as armoured vehicles, motorised transport and communications. By 1939 the British Army had transformed from the horse-drawn army of the previous war into a modern motorised force fielding more vehicles than their potential opponents, the Germans. Britain’s modernisation was comprehensive with not only new weapons and equipment but also robust and up to date doctrine, providing the foundation for the employment of the army.

The modernisation of the British Army included the Logistical services, with both the Army Service Corps and the Army Ordnance Corps on the path to becoming doctrinally prepared, equipped and organised for the upcoming conflict.  New Zealand would take Britain’s lead and from the mid-1930s begin to reorganise and reequip New Zealand’s Military in tune with emerging British doctrine. New Zealand’s entry into the war in September 1939, would initiate a massive transformation of New Zealand’s Ordnance Services with new units raised, and personnel recruited to support New Zealand’s forces at home and overseas. In addition to Ordnance Deports and Workshops, the most numerous Ordnance unit would be the Light Aid Detachments (LAD). Providing the first-line repair to formations and Units, LAD’s would provide the backbone of New Zealand repair and maintenance services keeping the critical material of war operational in often extreme conditions. This article provides background on the role and function of the LAD in overseas and home defence roles between 1939 and 1945.

Throughout the interwar years, the British Military establishment had been hard at work at analysing lessons of the previous war and interpreting contemporary developments. Updating doctrine throughout the 1930s the British Military would progressively transform into a mechanised force armed and equipped with some of the most advance weapons and equipment of the era. The tactical bible of British Commonwealth armies, the Field Service Regulations (FSR) was updated with at least four editions issued proving that the British Army was willing to learn from the mistakes learned in the previous war.[1] Concurrent to the tactical doctrine of the FSR Anticipating the Royal Army Ordnance Corps  (RAOC) spent the 1930s creating the infrastructure and doctrine to support the mechanisation of the British Army by creating essential relationships with the British motor industry that would smooth the path to mobilisation.[2] In addition to the doctrine published in the FSR’s the wartime doctrine for the operation of British and Commonwealth Ordnance Services was detailed in the Ordnance Manual (War) 1939.

20200721_133810.jpg

Authorised for use from 13 September 1939 the Ordnance Manual (War) 1939 was intended to “Guide all concerned and particularly to assist, at the beginning of a campaign, those who have no previous war experience of the duties that they are called upon to undertake.”[3] The Ordnance Manual (War) 1939 detailed all the responsibilities that were expected of the British and Commonwealth Ordnance Services, with the repair and maintenance responsibilities as follows;[4]

 

8.   The organisation for carrying out, in the field, repairs (including replacement of component and complete assemblies) to units’ equipment (other than ammunition) consists of:-

(a) Light aid detachments, which are attached to certain units and formations to advise and assist them with their “first line” repair and recovery duties.

(b) Mobile workshop units, equipped with machinery, breakdown and store lorries, which are allotted to certain formations for carrying out “second line” repairs and recovery.

(c) Stationary base ordnance workshops, which are established on a semi-permanent basis at, or adjacent to, the base ordnance depot or depots.

(d) Ordnance field parks from which replacement of components and complete assemblies can be effected. These ordnance field parks also hold a proportion of replacement vehicles.

The Ordnance Manual (War) 1939 then details the role of the Light Aid Detachment:

2.   In order to assist units with their first line repair and recovery work, and to provide- expert diagnosis and technical experience, light aid detachments are permanently attached to certain formations and units, for example:

        • Artillery regiments.
        • Cavalry regiments and Tank battalions, Royal Armoured Corps.
        • Infantry brigades.
        • Machine-gun battalions.
        • Tank battalions.
        • Royal Engineer field parks.
        • Divisional Signals.

The LADs. attached to RE field parks and to divisional signals (whose establishments of vehicles are comparatively small) are required to look after other small mechanised units not provided with LADs.

3.   The personnel of a LAD consists of an Ordnance Mechanical Officer (OME), an armament artificer (fitter), an electrician, and a few fitters, and the necessary storemen, driver mechanics, drivers, etc., for their vehicles. Its transport usually consists of two lorries (one store and one breakdown), a car and a motorcycle.

4.   Its functions are: –

(a) To advise units how best to keep their equipment and vehicles in a state of mechanical efficiency; to help them to detect the causes of any failures or breakdowns, and to assist them in carrying out first line repairs up to their full capacity.

(b) To assist units with first-line recovery of breakdowns.

(c) To maintain a close liaison between the unit and formation workshop.

During rest periods LADs may be able to carry out more extensive repairs. If the time is available, the necessary parts and material can be brought up from the ordnance field park to enable them to carry out jobs which would normally be beyond their capacity when on the move.

In such circumstances, repair detachments of recovery sections may be brought up to assist them).

5.   LADs do not form part of the workshops in any sense. They are definitely an integral part of “B” echelon of the unit to which they are attached, and the OME. is directly under the orders of OC unit, in the same way as the regimental medical officer. The OC unit is the accounting officer for the vehicles and stores of the LAD. When an LAD serves more than one unit, as in the case of an infantry brigade, the OME. is the accounting officer for all purposes.

10 LAD

Members of 10 Light Aid Detachment, New Zealand Ordnance Corps, attached to 5 NZ Fd Park Coy, changing truck engine, probably at Burbeita.  Taken circa 1941 by an official photographer. Ref: DA-01035-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22485028

 

The New Zealand Light Aid Detachments

When New Zealand committed forces to the war effort in 1939, the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, despite having the doctrinal foundations provided by the Ordnance Manual (War) did not have the Regular or Territorial Force personnel available to provide LADs immediately. Therefore, like the United Kingdom, New Zealand would rely on its civilian motor industry to provide the bulk of the tradesmen for the LADs. However, despite the challenges in forming specialised units from scratch, the New Zealand Army would raise fifty-six, Light Aid Detachments, in three distinct tranches between 1940 and 1943 consisting of

  • 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force – Eighteen LAD’s
  • 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Pacific – Seven LAD’s
  • Home Defence – Thirty-One LAD’s.

2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force LAD’s

Created as part of the newly constituted 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force (2NZEF) in 1939, the 2NZEF New Zealand Ordnance Corps (NZOC) was described in the Evening Post newspaper as consisting of “11 Light Aid Detachments of the New Zealand Ordnance Corps. These are numbered 9 to 19, and their part is to render assistance and effect repairs to mechanic transport and the anti-tank units”[5].

The was initially some confusion between the use of the designation NZAOC and NZOC in the context of the NZEF. This was clarified in NZEF Order 221 of March 1941 which set NZOC as the title of Ordnance in the NZEF.

NZOC

1942 saw the separation of maintenance and repair functions from the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) with the formation of the Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (EME) in the Brutish Army.[6] The New Zealand Division followed suit and formed the New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (NZEME) on 1 December 1942 separating the repair, maintenance and ordnance stores functions of the NZOC.[7]

Unit Formation Date
9 LAD 4 Field Regiment 11 Jan 1940[8]
10 LAD 5 Field Park 11 Jan 1940[9]
11 LAD HQ 4 Infantry Brigade 11 Jan 1940[10]
12 LAD 27 NZ (MG) Battalion, Disbanded 15 October 1942 11 Jan 1940[11]
13 LAD 2 NZ Divisional Cavalry 11 Jan 1940[12]
14 LAD Divisional Signals 11 Jan 1940[13]
15 LAD 7 Anti-Tank Regiment 29 Feb 1940[14]
16 LAD 5 Field Regiment
17 LAD HQ 5 NZ Infantry Brigade 29 Feb 1940[15]
18 LAD 6 Field Regiment 7 Mar 1940[16]
19 LAD HQ 6 NZ Infantry Brigade 12 Sept 1940[17]
35 LAD 22 Motorised Battalion
38 LAD 18 Armoured Regiment 16 Feb 1942
39 LAD 19 Armoured Regiment 16 Feb 1942
40 LAD 20 Armoured Regiment 16 Feb 1942

38 LAD

GMC CCKW Truck modelled with the Regimental Markings of 38 LAD, 18th Armoured Regiment. Craig Paddon

NZEF NZ Tank Brigade

20171003_200341-65594957.jpg

Formation Sign 1 NZ Tank Brigade

The New Zealand Tank Brigade was an NZEF unit formed at Waiouru in October 1941 with the intent of being deployed to the Middle East after Training in New Zealand for six months. The entry of Japan into the war in December 1941 necessitated the rerolling of the NZ Tank Brigade into a home defence role.  After a period of reorganisations, the Brigade was ordered to be redeployed in April 1942, with its Headquarters and Battalions dispersed to the South Island, Northland, Manawatu and Pukekohe.

November 1942 saw further changes which would start the gradual disestablishment of the NZ Tank Brigade.[18]

    • No 1 Tank Battalion and 32 LAD remained in the Home defence roll in the Auckland/Northland area.
    • No 2 Tank Battalion, the Army Tank Ordnance Workshop and Ordnance Field Park were dissolved and became part of 3 NZ Division Independent Tank Battalion Group for service in the Pacific.
    • No 3 Tank Battalion and 33 LAD were deployed to the Middle East for service with the 2ndNZ Division, where it was dissolved, forming the nucleus of the 4th NZ Armoured brigade and 38, 39 and 40 LADs.
    • 34 LAD was stationed with the Independent Tank Squadron at Harewood in the South Island.

By June 1943, the final units of the 1st NZ Army Tank Brigade including 32 LAD and 34 LAD were disbanded.

32 LAD NZ Army Tank Brigade 1 Tank Battalion Oct 1941[19] Waiouru, Pukekohe
33 LAD NZ Army Tank Brigade 2 Tank Battalion Oct 1941[20] Waiouru, Manawatu
34 LAD NZ Army Tank Brigade 3 Tank Battalion Oct 1941[21] Waiouru, Harewood

1 NZ Army Tk Bde Battalion Ordnance unit

Army Tank Ordnance Workshops, OFP and LAD identifying patch. Malcolm Thomas Collection

NZEF in the Pacific

WH2IP-TankTit-2(h280)

As with the NZEF in the Middle East, NZOC units were formed for service with the NZEF in the Pacific (NZEFIP). Initially, 20 LAD was formed to support 8 Infantry Brigade Group in Fiji from November 1940. As the war progressed, the NZOC grew into a Divisional sized organisation of 23 units and detachments supported by an additional six LAD’s serving in on operations in Fiji, New Caledonia, The Solomon Islands and Tonga.[22] The formation of the Electrical and Mechanical Engineers 1942 was not followed through in New Zealand and the Pacific, with repair and Maintenance functions remaining part of the Ordnance Corps for the duration of the war.

On conclusion of successful campaigns in the Solomon Islands in 1944, 3 NZ Division and its equipment was returned to New Zealand and formally disbanded on 20 October 1944. On return to New Zealand, many NZOC members were graded unfit due to rigours of the tropical campaign and returned to their civilian occupations. Those fit enough were redeployed as reinforcements to 2NZEF in Italy with the men of the LAD’s joining NZEME units.

Unit Formation Date Locations
20 LAD B Force, 17 Field Regiment 23 Oct 1940[23] Fiji/New Caledonia
36 LAD HQ 8 Brigade Group Jan 1942[24] Fiji
37 LAD HQ 14 Brigade Group Jan 1942[25] Fiji/New Caledonia
42 LAD 38 Field Regiment Jan 1942[26] New Caledonia
64 LAD HQ 8 Infantry Brigade Jan 1943[27] New Caledonia
65 LAD HQ 15 Brigade Group, HQ 3 NZ Division Engineers Jan 1943 New Caledonia
67 LAD HQ 3 NZ Divisional Signals Jan 1943[28] New Caledonia

Territorial Army Home Service  LAD’s

20190803_134423-631067360.jpg

Badge of NZOC, 1940-46. Robert McKie Collection

With the NZAOC and the New Zealand Permanent Army Service Corps (NZPASC) existing as part of the Permanent Army, only the NZPASC had a Territorial Army component, known as the New Zealand Army Service Corps (NZASC). From the 1930s workshop sections had been included on the establishments of ASC unit for activation on mobilisation. With the onset of war in 1939 and the mobilisation of the Territorial Army in 1940 the Quartermaster General, Col H.E Avery made the decision that LADs were an Ordnance responsibility and the NZOC was established as the Ordnance Component of Territorial Army in December 1940.[29]

By late 1943 the mobilisation of the Territorial Forces had ceased to be necessary, and most units had been stood down and placed on care and maintenance status with a small RF Cadre. By 1 April 1944, all wartime home defence units had been disbanded.[30]  Although not part of the pre-war Territorial Army the NZOC remained on establishments. In 1946 a Reorganisation of New Zealand Military Forces removed the distinction between Regular and non-Regular soldiers, and the NZOC ceased to be a separate Corps with the supply functions amalgamated into the NZAOC and the Workshops functions including the LADs (21, 23, 25, 28, 30 and 53) amalgamated into the NZEME.[31]

 

Northern Military District

Unit Formation Date Locations
21 LAD 1 NZ Division, 1 Field Regiment 19 Dec 1940[32] Whangarei
22 LAD HQ 1 Brigade 19 Dec 1940[33] Papakura
28 LAD 1 NZ Division, 3 LAFV (AECMR)[34] 9 Jan 1942[35] Pukekohe/Warkworth
51 LAD HQ 12 Brigade 9 Jan 1942[36] Kaikohe
55 LAD 1 NZ Division, 15 LAFV (NAMR)[37] 9 Jan 1942[38] North Waimate
56 LAD District Troops, NMD District Signals 9 Jan 1942[39] Ngaruawahia
63 LAD 1 NZ Division, 20 Field Regiment Waimata North
68 LAD District Troops, 4 LAFV (WMR)[40] Ngaruawahia
70 LAD 1 NZ Division, 1 Divisional Signals Avondale

 

Central Military District

Unit Formation Date Locations
23 LAD 4 NZ Division, 2 Field Regiment 19 Dec 1940[41] Linton Camp
24 LAD 2 Infantry Brigade, HQ 2 Brigade 19 Dec 1940[42] Palmerston North
27 LAD 7 Brigade Group, 12 Field Regiment 9 Jan 1942[43] Greytown
29 LAD 7 Brigade Group, HQ 7 Brigade Group 9 Jan 1942[44] Carterton
30 LAD 4 NZ Division, 2 LAFV (QAMR)[45] 19 Dec 1940[46] Wanganui
58 LAD 7 Brigade Group, 9 LAFV (WECMR)[47] 9 Jan 1942[48] Hastings
60 LAD 4 NZ Division, 6 LAFV (MMR)[49] 9 Jan 1942[50] Fielding
71 LAD District Troops, Buckle Street Buckle Street Wellington
72 LAD Fortress Troops, HQ Wellington Fortress Wellington
73 LAD 4 NZ Division, HQ 4 Division Palmerston North

 

Southern Military District

Unit Formation Date Locations
25 LAD 5 NZ Division, 3 Field Regiment 19 Dec 1940[51] Hororata
26 LAD 3 Infantry Brigade, HQ 3 Brigade 19 Dec 1940[52] Burnham
52 LAD 11 Brigade Group, HQ 11 Infantry Brigade 9 Jan 1942[53] Blenheim
53 LAD 5 NZ Division, 1 LAFV (CYC)[54] 9 Jan 1942[55] Blenheim
54 LAD District Troops, 5 LAFV (OMR)[56] 9 Jan 1942[57] Wingatui
57 LAD 10 Infantry Brigade, HQ 10 Brigade 9 Jan 1942[58] Ashburton
59 LAD 11 Infantry Brigade, 10 LAFV (NMMR)[59] 9 Jan 1942[60] Blenheim
61 LAD 5 NZ Division, 18 Field Regiment Unknown
62 LAD 11 Infantry Brigade, 19 Field Regiment Blenheim
74 LAD Fortress Troops, HQ Lyttleton Fortress Lyttleton
75 LAD Fortress Troops, HQ Dunedin Fortress then HQ Area IX Dunedin/Nelson
77 LAD 5 NZ Division,5 Division Signals Riccarton

 

Copyright © Robert McKie 2020

 

 

 

Bibliography

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

“Calling out Parts of the Defence Forces for Military Service.” New Zealand Gazette, No 3, 9 January 1942.

Cooke, Peter. Warrior Craftsmen, Rnzeme 1942-1996. Wellington: Defense of New Zealand Study Group, 2017.

Cooke, Peter, and John Crawford. The Territorials. Wellington: Random House New Zealand Ltd, 2011.

Fennell, Jonathan. 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.

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

“Formation of New Units and Disbandment of Units of the Territorial Force and National, Military Reserve. .” New Zealand Gazette, No 8, 22 January 1942.

“Formation of New Units, Changes in Designation, and Reorganisation of Units of the Territorial Force. .” New Zealand Gazette, No 127, 19 December 1940.

Gillespie, Oliver A. The Tanks: An Unofficial History of the Activities of the Third New Zealand Division Tank Squadron in the Pacific. A.H. and A.W. Reed for the Third Division Histories Committee, 1947. Non-fiction.

“H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding “. Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1 January 1947).

“Hq Army Tank Brigade Ordnance Units, June 1942 to January 1943.” Archives New Zealand Item No R20112168  (1943).

“New Zealand Ordnance Corps “. New Zealand Gazette, No 1, June 11 1940.

“New Zealand Ordnance Corps “. New Zealand Gazette, No 16, February 29 1940.

“New Zealand Ordnance Corps “. New Zealand Gazette, No 18, 7 March 1940.

“New Zealand Ordnance Corps “. New Zealand Gazette, No 98, 12 September 1940.

Ordnance Manual (War). Edited by The War Office. London: His Majestys Stationery Office, 1939.

“Parts of the Defence Forces Called out for Military Service.” New Zealand Gazette, No 128, 19 December 1940.

Plowman, Jeffrey, and Malcolm Thomas. New Zealand Armour in the Pacific 1939-45. Kiwi Armour: 2. J. Plowman, 2001. Non-fiction.

“Pwd Tenders.” Evening Post, Volume CXXVIII, Issue 6, 7 July 1939.

“Reorganisation of the Territorial Force.” New Zealand Gazette No 55, 21 October 1948, 1605.

Williams, P.H. War on Wheels: The Mechanisation of the British Army in the Second World War. History Press Limited, 2016.

Notes

[1] This compared with the two editions of German and French doctrine produced during the same period. 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] P.H. Williams, War on Wheels: The Mechanisation of the British Army in the Second World War (History Press Limited, 2016).

[3] Ordnance Manual (War), ed. The War Office (London: His Majestys Stationery Office, 1939), 9.

[4] Ibid., 17.

[5] “Pwd Tenders,” Evening Post, Volume CXXVIII, Issue 6,, 7 July 1939.

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

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

[8] “New Zealand Ordnance Corps “, New Zealand Gazette, No 1, June 11 1940, 19.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] “New Zealand Ordnance Corps “, New Zealand Gazette, No 16, February 29 1940, 324.

[15] Ibid.

[16] “New Zealand Ordnance Corps “, New Zealand Gazette, No 18, 7 March 1940, 360.

[17] “New Zealand Ordnance Corps “, New Zealand Gazette, No 98, 12 September 1940, 2319.

[18] Jeffrey Plowman and Malcolm Thomas, New Zealand Armour in the Pacific 1939-45, Kiwi Armour: 2 (J. Plowman, 2001), Non-fiction.

[19] “Hq Army Tank Brigade Ordnance Units, June 1942 to January 1943,” Archives New Zealand Item No R20112168  (1943).

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Oliver A. Gillespie, The Tanks : An Unofficial History of the Activities of the Third New Zealand Division Tank Squadron in the Pacific (A.H. and A.W. Reed for the Third Division Histories Committee, 1947), Non-fiction, 137-227.

[23] Peter Cooke, Warrior Craftsmen, Rnzeme 1942-1996 (Wellington: Defense of New Zealand Study Group, 2017), 55.

[24] Ibid., 57.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Ibid., 63.

[27] Ibid., 62.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Peter Cooke and John Crawford, The Territorials (Wellington: Random House New Zealand Ltd, 2011), 258.

[30] Ibid.

[31] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding “, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1947).;”Reorganisation of the Territorial Force,” New Zealand Gazette No 55, 21 October 1948.

[32] “Formation of New Units, Changes in Designation, and Reorganization of Units of the Territorial Force. ,” New Zealand Gazette, No 127, 19 December 1940, 3738-39.

[33] Ibid.

[34] 3 Light Armoured Fighting Vehicle Regiment (Auckland East Coast Mounted Rifles) Plowman and Thomas, New Zealand Armour in the Pacific 1939-45, 5-7.

[35] “Formation of New Units and Disbandment of Uuits of the Territorial Force and National, Military Reserve. ,” New Zealand Gazette, No 8, 22 January 1942, 351.

[36] Ibid.

[37] 15 Light Armoured Fighting Vehicle Regiment (North Auckland Mounted Rifles) Plowman

[38] “Formation of New Units and Disbandment of Uuits of the Territorial Force and National, Military Reserve. ,”  351.

[39] Ibid.

[40] 4 Light Armoured Fighting Vehicle Regiment (Waikato Mounted Rifles) Plowman and Thomas, New Zealand Armour in the Pacific 1939-45, 5-7.

[41] “Formation of New Units, Changes in Designation, and Reorganization of Units of the Territorial Force. ,”  3738-39.

[42] Ibid.

[43] “Calling out Parts of the Defence Forces for Military Service,” New Zealand Gazette, No 3, 9 January 1942, 43.

[44] Ibid.

[45] 2 Light Armoured Fighting Vehicle Regiment (Queen Alexandra’s Mounted Rifles)Plowman and Thomas, New Zealand Armour in the Pacific 1939-45, 5-7.

[46] “Parts of the Defence Forces Called out for Military Service,” New Zealand Gazette, No 128, 19 December 1940, 3777.

[47] 9 Light Armoured Fighting Vehicle Regiment (Wellington East Coast Mounted Rifles)Plowman and Thomas, New Zealand Armour in the Pacific 1939-45, 5-7.

[48] “Formation of New Units and Disbandment of Uuits of the Territorial Force and National, Military Reserve. ,”  351.

[49] 6 Light Armoured Fighting Vehicle Regiment ( Manawatu Mounted Rifles)Plowman and Thomas, New Zealand Armour in the Pacific 1939-45, 5-7.

[50] “Formation of New Units and Disbandment of Uuits of the Territorial Force and National, Military Reserve. ,”  351.

[51] “Formation of New Units, Changes in Designation, and Reorganization of Units of the Territorial Force. ,”  3738-39.

[52] Ibid.

[53] “Formation of New Units and Disbandment of Uuits of the Territorial Force and National, Military Reserve. ,”  351.

[54] 1 Light Armoured Fighting Vehicle Regiment (Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry)Plowman and Thomas, New Zealand Armour in the Pacific 1939-45, 5-7.

[55] “Formation of New Units and Disbandment of Uuits of the Territorial Force and National, Military Reserve. ,”  351.

[56] 5 Light Armoured Fighting Vehicle Regiment (Otago Mounted Rifles)Plowman and Thomas, New Zealand Armour in the Pacific 1939-45, 5-7.

[57] “Formation of New Units and Disbandment of Uuits of the Territorial Force and National, Military Reserve. ,”  351.

[58] Ibid.

[59] 10 Light Armoured Fighting Vehicle Regiment ( Nelson Marlbough Mounted Rifles) Plowman and Thomas, New Zealand Armour in the Pacific 1939-45, 5-7.

[60] “Formation of New Units and Disbandment of Uuits of the Territorial Force and National, Military Reserve. ,”  351.

 

 


Central Districts Vehicle Depot

The RNZAOC established Vehicle Depots in 1948 when the RNZAOC absorbed the stockholding responsibilities of the wartime Mechanical Transport Branch(MT Branch). Three Vehicle Depots were established as standalone Ordnance units, separate of the regional Ammunition and Ordnance depots;

  • Northern Districts Vehicle Depot (NDVD), at Sylvia Park, Auckland,
  • Central Districts Vehicle Depot (CDVD), Trentham Camp,
  • Southern Vehicle Depot (SDVD), Burnham Camp.

The role of the Vehicle Depot was to manage;

  • a fleet of a “CL” and “GS” vehicles for use during training periods and Annual Camps,
  • a pool of “CL” vehicles for admin use, new vehicles pending distribution,
  • and BER/BLR vehicles pending repair of disposal.

A typical RNZAOC Vehicle Depot consisted of:

  • A Vehicle Park,
  • A Kit Kit Store, and at times
  • an RNZEME Maintenance Section.

Having the CDVD Located at Trentham was not the ideal location as Linton and Waiouru housed the bulk of its customer units. The movement of vehicles and personal between these locations to uplift and return vehicles from the CDVD pool was time-consuming and a significant administrative effort. Therefore in 1957, the decision was made to relocate the CDVD to Linton by the end of 1958.

The move to Linton would see the CDVD relocated to the Battalion Block between the ASC Supply and Transport unit by the Linton railhead and the Central Districts Ordnance Depot (CDOD) in the North West of Linton Camp. Occupying purpose-built facilities ad Dante Road at Trentham, the move of the CDVD would see the construction of storage sheds, complete with servicing pits and a headquarters building at Linton to complement the existing WW2 Era buildings.

Not all the CDVD functions would be relocated to Linton. The Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) would establish a Vehicle Sub Depot with responsibility for;

  • The receipt, processing and issue of all new vehicles,
  • Custody of vehicles considered part of the Army reserve
  • Custody and disposal of surplus vehicles held by CDVD that were declared or about to be declared for disposal.

The CDVD remained a standalone Ordnance unit until 1961 when it became a sub-unit of the Central DIstricts Ordnance Depot.

Selection of Vehicles held by CDVD Linton1957-61

The following photos illustrate a variety of WW2 Era vehicles held by the CDVD at around 1957-61. These could be pool vehicles for the Central Districts, or as the NZ Army was introducing into service the RL Bedford and Series 2 Landrover, these could be vehicles for disposal.

GMC CCKW 2½-ton 6×6 truck

DoF5515a

GMC CCKW 2½-ton 6×6 truck. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

D0F5515b

GMC CCKW 2½-ton 6×6 truck. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

DoF5515c

GMC CCKW 2½-ton 6×6 truck. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

 

GMC CCKW 2½-ton 6×6 truck (Binned Stores)

DoF5589a

GMC CCKW 2½-ton 6×6 truck. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

DoF5589c

GMC CCKW 2½-ton 6×6 truck. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

DoF5589b

GMC CCKW 2½-ton 6×6 truck. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

 

CMP Ford GS 4 X4

 

DoF5633A

3/4 front view of NZ Army Ford truck. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

DoF5633b

Side view of CMP Ford GS 4 X4. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

DoF5633c

Rearview  CMP Ford GS 4 X4. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

CMP Chevrolet GS 4×4

DoF5514a

3/4 front view CMP Chevrolet GS 4×4. Air Force Museum of New Zealand.

DoF5514b

Rearview CMP Chevrolet GS 4×4. Air Force Museum of New Zealand.

DoF5514c

Side view of CMP Chevrolet GS 4×4. Air Force Museum of New Zealand.

CMP Chevrolet 4×4

DoF5588a

3/4 front view of CMP Chevrolet 4×4. Air Force Museum of New Zealand.

DoF5588b

Side view of CMP Chevrolet 4×4. Air Force Museum of New Zealand.

DoF5588c

Rearview of CMP Chevrolet 4×4. Air Force Museum of New Zealand.

CMP Chevrolet 15-cwt

D0F5604b

CMP Chevrolet 15-cwt. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

DoF5604a

CMP Chevrolet 15-cwt. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

CMP Chevrolet 3 -ton 4 x 4 Wrecker

DoF5582c

CMP Chevrolet 3 -ton 4 x 4 Wrecker. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

DoF5582b

CMP Chevrolet 3 -ton 4 x 4 Wrecker. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

DoF5582a

CMP Chevrolet 3 -ton 4 x 4 Wrecker. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

AEC MATADOR

DoF5580b

Side view of NZ Army AEC Matador. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

DoF5580a

Side view of NZ Army AEC Matador. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

Ambulances

DoF5584b

Side view of Ford V8 ambulance. Air Force Museum of New Zealand

DoF5537c

Air Force Museum of New Zealand

DoF5537b

Air Force Museum of New Zealand

DoF5537a

Air Force Museum of New Zealand

 

Linton-0001-OhG304062

Linton Camp, March 1962

CDVD Legacy

As the NZ Army vehicle fleets changed the need for dedicated Vehicle Sections decreased, with the vehicle sections within the RNZAOC Supply Companys shadows of the Vehicle Depots of the 50’ and ’60s.

In the modern New Zeland Army, the concept of managing vehicles in pools was reinvented in 2011 with the creation of the Managed Fleet Utilisation (MFU) programme. The MFU programme was several equipment fleets managed as a loan pool on behalf of the New Zealand Defence  Force by a civilian contractor.

In 2020 the same WW2 Era buildings alongside the building erected in 1958  thas served the CDVD in 1958 are still utilised by the MFU and the legacy RNZALR Supply Company.

60876664_647855689009500_5696042287163768832_o

Storage sheds built for the CDVD in 1958, the middle shed is an extension added in the late 1990s. Robert Mckie Collection

60574056_647855835676152_7414645769593946112_o

WW2 Era buildings on the edge of what was the CDVD Vehicle Block. Robert McKie Collection

 

 

 


Frank Edwin Ford, Ordnance Officer 1917-31

Frank Edwin Ford served in both military and civilian roles for thirty years from 1901 to 1931. As Mobilisation Storekeeper in Nelson, Ford would be at the forefront of the earliest efforts to manage Ordnance support to New Zealand’s Forces. As an Ordnance Officer from 1917, Ford would be the first Officer Commanding of two significant New Zealand Ordnance units; the Palmerston North Ordnance Detachment, which would lay the foundations for the Linton based Supply Company which remains an active unit of the modern New Zealand Army, and the Hopuhopu Supply Company which would provide significant support during the mobilisation of the Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the early years of the Second World War and to the northern region into the years leading up to the closure of Hopuhopu Camp in 1989.

Little evidence remains of Ford’s early life with records stating that he was born around 1878. Ford enlisted into the permanent Militia as an artilleryman on 1 April 1901,[1] and by 1903 had been promoted to the rank of Bombardier, attached to “H” Battery of the New Zealand Field Artillery Volunteers at Nelson.[2]

Ford would marry Sophia Mary Barlow at Wellington on 26 January 1904. This union resulted in one daughter, Phyllis, who was born on 4 July 1907.

Early in December 1904 while breaking the H Battery camp at the Nelson Botanical gardens, Ford was seriously injured in an accident with a piano. While moving a piano, Ford slipped resulting on the instrument falling on him breaking both his collarbones. There were initially serious concerns about internal injuries, but it seems that Ford made a full recovery. [3]

March 1908 saw Ford transferred from service with “H” Battery to the position of Mobilisation Storekeeper for the Nelson Military District.[4]

In 1911 the Nelson Military District was absorbed into the Canterbury Military District.[5] With his position now subordinate to the Defence Storekeeper for the Canterbury Military District, Ford would remain at Nelson as Assistant Defence Storekeeper until 1915.

Early in 1915, Ford took up the appointment of District Storekeeper for the Wellington Military District, commencing duty and taking charge of the Defence Stores, Palmerston North, on 21 June 1915.[6] In addition to his duties as district Ordnance Officer, Ford was also the Officer Commanding of the Palmerston North Ordnance Detachment. The Palmerston North Ordnance Detachment operated from several sites in Palmerston North, including an ordnance Store at locates at 327 Main Street. The Detachment had the responsibility of supplying the units based in Palmerston North and districts with uniforms, equipment, arms and general stores. On 13 February 1916 Ford was attached to the New Zealand Staff Corps as an Honourary Lieutenant.[7] On the formation of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department (NZAOD) on 1 April 1917, Ford was transferred into the NZAOD as an Ordnance Officer, 3rd class, with the rank of Captain.[8]

Ford would remain at Palmerston North until 1 Dec 1921 when with the closing down of the Palmerston North Ordnance Detachment, Ford handed duties of Central Districts Ordnance Officer to Captain H. H. Whyte, M.C.and took up the position of Ordnance Officer, Featherston Camp.[9]

Featherston Camp was New Zealand’s largest training camp during the First World War, where around 60,000 young men trained for overseas service between 1916 – 1918. In addition to a large amount of Military equipment accumulated during the war, enough new material to equip an Infantry Division and a Mounted Rifle Brigade had been purchased from the United Kingdom and delivered to New Zealand from 1919 to 1921. With insufficient storage infrastructure available at Mount Eden, Trentham and the new Ordnance Depot at Burnham, Featherson would remain in use as an Ordnance Depot until the completion of a purpose-built Ordnance Depot at Hopuhopu. Ford would command the Ordnance Detachment from December 1921 until September 1926. In 1924 the Ordnance Detachment at Featherson consisted of the following personnel;[10]

  • 1 Captain (Ford)
  • 2 Staff Sergeants
  • 1 Sergeant
  • 2 Corporals

The New Zealand Gazette of 3 July 1924 published regulations that revoked the 1917 regulations that established the NZAOD and NZAOC, reconstituting the Ford and the other officers of the NZAOD and the men of the NZAOC into a single NZAOC as part of the New Zealand Permanent Forces.[11]

Assuming the role of Ordnance Officer for the Northern Military Command from 1 Sept 1926.[12] In addition to his duties as Command Ordnance Officer, Ford would also have the role of Officer Commanding of the Northern Ordnance Detachment operating from Mount Eden with the responsibility of supplying the Northern Command with uniforms, equipment, arms and general stores.

Following several years of construction, occupation of the new camp at Hopuhopu began 1927, Ford and the Ordnance Staff of the Northern Command vacated Mount Eden and made Hopuhopu heir permanent headquarters from April 1928.[13] The work of shifting the stores from Mount Eden to Hopuhopu took close to two months and necessitated the transportation of hundreds of tons of military stores by a combination of rail and over fifty truck-loads.[14]

With the Depression affecting the New Zealand economy, the New Zealand Defence establishment, including the NZAOC took measures to reduce expenditures by the forced retrenchment of many of its staff. By using the provisions of section 39 of the Finance Act, 1930 (No. 2) staff who would have retired within five years were placed on superannuation, others who did not meet the criteria of the act were transferred to the Civil Service.[15] At fifty-three years of age, Ford met the retirement criteria and, along with another five officers and thirty-eight other ranks of the NZAOC, on 30 Jan 1931 were retired on superannuation.[16] By 31 March 1931, the NZAOC had been reduced to a uniformed strength of Two Officers and Eighteen Other Ranks.

After his retirement, Ford would spend the remainder of his life living in the Auckland suburb of Devonport. Passing away on 10 April 1946, Ford now rests at O’Neill’s Point Cemetery, Belmont, Auckland.

Ford

F.E Ford headstone, O’Neill’s Point Cemetery (photo J. Halpin 2011) – No known copyright restrictions

Copyright © Robert McKie 2020

Notes

[1] “Fitzgerald, Denis,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

[2] “H Battery Ball,” Nelson Evening Mail, Volume XXXVII, Issue 113, Page 2, 28 May 1903.

[3] “Page 6 Advertisements Column 2,” Colonist, Volume XLVII, Issue 11206, 12 December 1904.

[4] Established in 1908 under the provisions of the Defence Act Amendment Act 1900, New Zealand was divided into five Military Districts, Auckland, Wellington, Nelson, Canterbury and Otago.”General Order Constituting Military Districts and Sub Districts,” New Zealand Gazette No 24 1908.; “H Battery Nzfav,” Nelson Evening Mail, Volume XLII, Issue XLII, Page 3, 16 March 1908

[5] Peter D. F. Cooke, Defending New Zealand: Ramparts on the Sea 1840-1950s (Wellington, N.Z.: Defence of New Zealand Study Group, 2000, 2000), Bibliographies, Dictionaries, Non-fiction.

[6] “Personal Matters,” Evening Post, Volume XC, Issue 66, Page 6, 15 September 1915.

[7] “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfer of Officers of the New Zealand Staff and Territorial Force,” New Zealand Gazette No 47, 20 April 1916.

[8] “New Zealand Army,” Evening Post, July 28 1917.

[9] “Untitled – Ford,” Manawatu Standard, Volume XLIII, Issue 386, 2 December 1921.

[10] “Appropriations Chargeable on the Consolidated Fund and Other Accounts for the Year Ending 31 March 19241923 Session I-Ii, B-07,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1923 Session I-II, B-07  (1924): 134.

[11] “NZAOD and NZAOC,” New Zealand Gazette July 3 1924.

[12] New Zealand Military districts were reduced to three and renamed Northern, Central and Southern Military Commands shortly after the First World War.I. C. McGibbon and Paul William Goldstone, The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Military History (Auckland; Melbourne; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, 2000), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 319.

[13] “The Hopu Hopu Camp,” Waikato Times, Volume 103, Issue 17298,  Page 7, 10 January 1928.

[14] “Large Military Camp,” Poverty Bay Herald, Volume LIV, Issue 16796, Page 12  (1928).

[15] “Attitude of Members “, New Zealand Herald, Volume LXVII, Issue 20644, 16 August 1930.

[16] “Defence Cut,” Evening Star, Issue 20766, 13 April 1931; “Appointment, Promotions, Transfers and Retirements of Officers from the NZ Forces,” New Zealand Gazette No 27, 9 April 1931.


William Saul Keegan

Like many of his age group who were keen to serve, William Saul Keegan was too young to see service in the First World War but would volunteer for service in the Second World War. Serving in the Permanent Forces in the early interwar era, Keegan would be transferred into the civil service in 1931 as part of the force reductions brought on by the great depression. Keegan would continue to serve as a civilian in the Main Ordnance Depot at Trentham in the years leading up to the Second World War. Volunteering for service the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force, Keegan was found to have a medical condition which precluded overseas service but allowed him to serve at home. Commissioned into the New Zealand Temporary Staff and attached to the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, Keegan would continue to serve until 1947. Keegan’s service is significant in the history of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps as he was the wartime Officer Commanding of No 2 Ordnance Depot at Palmerston North and the First Officer Commanding of the Linton Camp Ordnance Depot that would remain a vital unit of the Corps until 1996.

William Saul Keegan was born in Wellington on 23 February 1900 to William and Susan Keegan. Keegan had one sibling Francis Martin Keegan who was born on 10 September 1903. Spending his early years in Wellington, Keegan would move with his parents to Otaki sometime after 1906 where he would attend the Otaki State School. In 1913 Keegan came sixth in the Wellington Education Board examinations, gaining him a scholarship to Wellington College.[1] During his time at Wellington College, Keegan would complete three years in the senior school cadets. In January 1917, Keegan passed the university matriculation examination with a pass in Matriculation, Solicitor’s general knowledge and Medical Preliminary.[2]  Despite passing the university entrance exams, Keegan did not attend university but was mobilised into the Temporary Section of the New Zealand Garrison Artillery (NZGA) where he would spend a year working in the Wellington forts.[3]

Keegan would begin his career in the Ordnance Corps on 30 August 1918, when he enlisted as a private into the Temporary Section of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) at Wellington and allocated the NZAOC Regimental Number 213. With the Armistice on 11 November 1918 ending the war, Keegan would miss out on seeing active service, but with the demobilisation of men, the closing down of training camps and the arrival of New Equipment from the United Kingdom to equip the peacetime army, Keegan’s position in the NZAOC was assured for the foreseeable future. Stuck down with influenza during the 1918 outbreak, Keegan would seem to make a full recovery but later in life developed health problems which might have developed as a result of influenza.

Ordnance 1918

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

Promoted to Lance Corporal on 1 July 1919, Keegan would remain at Wellington until 1 April 1921 when as a consequence of the NZAOC shifting the bulk of its services to Trentham Camp, Keegan was relocated to Trentham Camp. It was during this time that Lieutenant C.I. Gossage returned from service as the DADOS of the NZ Division and introduced a modern cost accounting system based upon the best practices learnt during the war, and it is highly likely that in Keegan’s role in the clerical section he was involved in the introduction and upkeep of the new accounting system.

From 1919 in addition to his military duties, Keegan would also be an active participant in the community by serving on the committees of the Wellington College Old Boy Cricket Club, The Wellington College Old Boys Rugby Club and the Hutt Valley Lawn Tennis Association as a member, Treasurer or Auditor.[4] [5] [6] In the late 1930s, Keegan would also be a coach and president of the Upper Hutt Rugby Club [7] and Auditor of the Upper Hutt Cricket Association.[8]

Promote to Corporal on 1 July 1922, Keegan remained posted to the NZAOC Temporary Section until 1 August 1924 when he was enlisted into the Permanent Section of the NZAOC.  Sitting the two papers for promotion to NZAOC Sergeant (Clerical Section) Keegan attained a score of 82 and 83, leading to accelerated promotion to Sergeant on 1 October 1925. Keegan would sit the four examinations for promotion to Staff Sergeant in June 1926 with a score of 78,90,89 and 68, but would not be promoted to Staff Sergeant until 1 September 1929. The delay in promotion could be attributed to Keegan’s appearance in the Upper Hutt court on 18 April 1927 when he was fined £1 and costs of £10  after being found on the premises of the Provincial Hotel after opening hours by the Police.[9] Passing the four examinations for promotion to Staff Quartermaster Sergeant(SQMS) with a score of 98,76,98 and 80 in June 1930. Keegan would not attain the rank of SQMS as on 6 June 1930 he was convicted in the Wellington Magistrates court after been found in a state of intoxication while in charge of a motor-car receiving a fine of £20, costs £10 and mileage £2.  After a period, Keegan probably would have been promoted to SQMS, but the world-wide depression and economic recession led to the implementation of the Finance Act, 1930 would bring a sudden end to his time in uniform

Due to the world-wide depression and economic recession the Government was forced to savagely reduce the strength of the Army by using the provisions of section 39 of the Finance Act, 1930 (No. 2) where military staff could be either;

  • Transferred to the Civil staff, or
  • Retire on superannuation any member of the Permanent Force or the Permanent Staff under the Defence Act, 1909, or of the clerical staff of the Defence Department whose age or length of service was such that if five years was added thereto they would have been enabled as of right or with the consent of the Minister of Defence to have given notice to retire voluntarily.

Using this act, on the 31st of March 1931 the NZAOC lost;

  • Six officers and Thirty-Eight Other Ranks who were retired on superannuation
  • Seventy-four NZAOC staff (excluding officers and artificers) who were not eligible for retirement were transferred to the civilian staff to work in the same positions but at a lower rate of pay.

For the soldiers who were placed on superannuation, the transition was brutal with pensions recalculated at much lower rates and in some cases the loss of outstanding annual and accumulated leave. For the Soldiers such as Keegan who were transferred to the civilian staff, the transition was just as harsh with reduced rates of pay. The 31st of March 1931 was the blackest day in the History of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps.

Keegan would continue to serve at the NZAOC Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) at Trentham in the role of Accountant throughout the 1930s. Keegan would marry Grace Helen Dalton on 27 March 1937 at St. John’s Church, Trentham. The wedding was a double wedding with Graces older sister Margaret.[10]

With the declaration of war in September 1939, Keegan immediate offered up his services, enlisting into the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force(2NZEF) with the rank of Lieutenant t in the New Zealand Ordnance Corps (NZOC) on 5 October 1940. Selected to be the Ordnance Officer for the Base Ordnance Depot (BOD) for “B” Force (8th Brigade Group) of the NZEF which was destined to provide the garrison in Fiji, Keegan assembled with seven other ranks at Hopuhopu Camp.  A final medical board immediately before departure found evidence of a partially healed tubercular lesion in Keegan’s lungs which made him unfit for active service and he was classified as Grade 2, fit or home service.  Keegan’s appointment of Ordnance Office BOD 8 Brigade group was filled by a co-worker from the MOD, Mr Percival Nowell Erridge who was immediately commissioned as a Lieutenant in the NZEF.

Placed into a holding pattern and still on the strength of the NZEF, Keegan was sent to Waiouru, where he was employed as an advisor on accounting matters to the newly established Motor Transport Branch (MT Branch). Unfit for active Service but with skills that were desirable to the service, Keegan ceased to be seconded to the NZEF on 28 May 1941 and transferred into the New Zealand Temporary Staff (NZTS) and attached to the branch of the Quartermaster General, Army Headquarters Wellington. By April 1942 Keegan had been appointed as the Brigade Ordnance Officer for the 7th Infantry Brigade which had its headquarters at the Carterton showgrounds.

With Japans entry into the war on 7 December 1941, New Zealand mobilised as the threat of invasion loomed. To support the mobilised forces in the lower North Island the Central Districts Ordnance Depot was established at the Palmerston North showgrounds, and as of 1 March 1942 Keegan was appointed Ordnance Officer, Central Military District and Officer Commanding, Central Districts Ordnance Depot. On 1 May 1942 Keegan was promoted to Captain (Temporary) and 20 August 1942 the Central District Ordnance Depot was renamed No 2 Ordnance Depot with an establishment of three officers and eighty-one Other Ranks.

pnorth showgrounds 2

Palmerston North Showgrounds, Cuba Street, 1939. Palmerston North Libraries and Community Services

Keegan would attend along with one other Ordnance Officer, Two Artillery Officers and Thirteen Infantry Officers the General Knowledge Course7/17 in December 1942. The ten-day course run by the Amy School of Instruction covered the following subjects;

  • Weapon Training – Characteristics of all Infantry Weapons
  • Anti-Gas – War gas, equipment, decontamination
  • Map reading – All lessons, night marches
  • Minor Tactics – Patrols, Day and Night
  • Fieldworks – Field Defences, Obstacles
  • P & RT – Bayonet Fighting
  • Drill – Individual, Mutual
  • Engineering – Bridging, Landmines, Traps, Demolition, Camouflage
  • Camp Sanitation – Field Hygiene
  • Demonstrations – Field Cooking, Live fore of all Infantry Weapons
  • Signals – Organisation and intercommunication in the field
  • Movement by MT – lectures and Practical work
  • Security
  • Discipline and Military Law
  • Patrols
  • Movement by road

Unknown Military Unit 2

No 2 Ordnance Sub Depot. Group of soldiers – Elmar Studios, 459 Main Street, Palmerston North circa 1942 to circa 1945, No Known Restrictions

By the end of 1944, the threat to New Zealand had passed, and the Territorial Army had been stood down, and their equipment returned to Ordnance.  Much of the Central Districts equipment was stored at No 2 Sub Depots premises in Palmerston North when disaster struck on 31 December 1944. Just after midnight, a fire destroyed a large portion of the Palmerston North Showgrounds display halls which housed much of the Ordnance Depot causing stock losses valued at £225700 ($18,639,824.86 2017 value). Keegan provided evidence to the court of enquiry in March 1945 with the court finding that with no evidence found of sabotage, incendiaries, or any interference the cause was judged to be accidental.

pnorth showgrounds

The aftermath of the December 1944 Showground fire. Evening Post

With the MOD in Trentham establishing a satellite Bulk Store at the new Linton Camp a few kilometres from South of Palmerston North, No 2 Sub Depot was seen to have served its wartime purpose and no longer necessary and the depot was closed down on 14 December 1945, and its functions assumed by MOD Trentham,  with some residual responsibility for finalising the accounts of No 2 Sub Depot, Keegan returned to Trentham as an Ordnance Officer at MOD.

From 31 July 1946 Keegan was placed in charge of a four Warrant Officers from MOD, and an SNCO from No 3 Depot, Burnham to stocktake No 10 MT Stores in Wellington before that units’ hand over to the Rehabilitation Department on 1 September 1946. Concurrent to Keegan carrying out this work in Wellington, recommendations that the MOD Bulk Stores located in Linton and Waiouru Camps were to be combined as a standalone Ordnance Depot were made. This proposal was agreed to by Army Headquarters, and No 2 Ordnance Depot was to be reconstituted on 1 October 1946 with the responsibility to provide Ordnance Support to Linton and Waiouru. Keegan was to return to No 2 Ordnance Depot as its first Officer Commanding on 16 September 1946 while also carrying out the duties of the Ordnance Officer of Headquarters Central Military District.

Keegan’s time in Linton would be short; the pressures of service since 1940 were become to have a toll on Keegan’s personal life and health. His wife had filed for legal separation during June 1946, and Keegan’s health was beginning to fail. Keegan’s health issues saw him medically downgraded and he was required to spend an increasing amount of time at Wellington hospital receiving treatment. On 26 April 1947 Keegan handed over command of No 2 Ordnance Depot to Captain Quartermaster L.H Stroud. Keegan would then assume a position with the War Asset Board on 30 April 1947 and was posted to the supernumerary List on 6 December 1947 and to the retired list with the rank of Captain on 11 November 1956.

Keegan would remain in the Wellington area as a public servant and at the time of his death was employed as a clerk for the Ministry of Works. Keegan passed away on 24 December 1963 and was cremated at the Karori Crematorium.

Copyright © Robert McKie 2019

 Notes

[1] “District News,” Dominion, Volume 7, Issue 1961, 19 January 1914.

[2] “NZ University,” Evening Post, Volume XCIII, Issue 15, 17 January 1917.

[3] “William Saul Keegan,” Personal File, New Zealnd Defence Force Archives 1918.

[4] “Cricket,” New Zealand Times, Volume XLIV, Issue 10396, 29 September 1919.

[5] “Old Boys Football Club,” Evening Post, Volume CI, Issue 59, 10 March 1921.

[6] “Lawn Tennis,” Evening Post, Volume CX, Issue 68, 17 September 1930.

[7] “Annual Meeting Upper Hutt Rugby Club,” Upper Hutt Weekly Review, Volume III, Issue 14, 25 March 1938.

[8] “Upper Hutt Cricket Association Annual Meeting,” Upper Hutt Weekly Review, Volume II, Issue 43, 8 October 1937.

[9] “Upper Hutt Sitting,” Evening Post, Volume CXIII, Issue 90, 18 April 1927.

[10] “Weddings,” Evening Post, Volume CXXIII, Issue 127, 31 May 1937.