NZAOC July 1919 to June 1920

Personnel

The strength of the NZAOD/NZAOC on 30 June 1920 was 3391, consisting of;

  • Officers, 14;
  • Other ranks, 377

Despite pressure to reduce manning levels, it had not been possible to reduce the NZAOD/NZAOC to a greater extent owing to the large amount of work still required to be carried out in connection with the war. In addition to the ordinary ordnance work in connection with the Territorial Force, the NZAOD/NZAOC was required to;[1]

  • maintain extra personnel for the handling, storage and accounting of hospital equipment for the hospitals under the Defence Department,
  • maintain extra personnel for the educational and vocational establishments,
  • Handle the large quantity of military equipment arriving from overseas.

Until the hospitals were transferred to civil control, and the Vocational Training Branch took over by the Repatriation Department, and the military equipment for the Military Force distributed in accordance with future requirements, NZAOD/NZAOC personnel reductions were unable to be reduced to any great extent without serious risk of incurring inefficiency and loss of stores.[2]

Key Appointments

Directing and Executive Staff

Director of Equipment and Ordnance Stores

  • Major T McCristell, NZAOD.[3]

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel H. E. Pilkington, CBE, RNZA.[4]

Chief Ordnance Officer, Dominion of New Zealand

  • Lieutenant Colonel T McCristell, NZAOD.[5] 30 January – 30 April 1920
  • Captain T.J King, NZAOD

Assistant Chief Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant A.W Baldwin, NZAOD. [6]

Ordnance Accounting Officer

  • lieutenant James M. Miller, NZAOD.[7]

Northern Military District Ordnance Officer

  • Captain F. E. Ford, NZAOD.
  • Lieutenant M.J Lyons. [8]

Canterbury and Nelson Military District Ordnance Officer

  • Captain A.R.C White, NZAOD

Otago and Southland Military Districts Ordnance Officer

  • Captain O.P McGuigan, NZAOD

Ordnance Officer Trentham Camp

  • Lieutenant H.H Whyte, NZAOD.[9] [10]

Ordnance Officer – Featherston Camp

  • Lieutenant A.W Baldwin, NZAOD.[11]
  • Lieutenant L.A Clement.[12]

Executive Staff Ordnance Officers

  • Lieutenant Eugene Key, NZAOD.[13]
  • Lieutenant Albert Austin, NZAOD.
  • lieutenant Walter N. Bates, NZAOD. [14]

Inspectorial Staff

Inspector of Ordnance Machinery

  • Captain B.G.V Parker, NZAOD.[15]

Inspector of Engineers, Electric Light and Defence Vessels Stores

  • Captain George John Parrell, NZAOD. [16]
  • Captain A.D Neilson.[17]

Proof Officer, Small Arms Ammunition, Auckland

  • Captain A, Duvall, NZAOD. [18]

Chief Armourer

  • Honorary Lieutenant William E. Luckman, NZAOD

Inspectorial Staff Ordnance Officers

  • Honorary Lieutenant Frederick W. Kibblewhite, NZAOD
  • Honorary Lieutenant William H Manning, NZAOD.[19]
  • Honorary Lieutenant William Ramsey, NZAOD.[20]
NZAOC appropriations year ending 31 March 1920

NZAOC appropriations year ending 31 March 1920

Organisation Changes

This period would see the NZAOC undergo a change of command and re-designation of appointments to bringing it into line with the current RAOC naming conventions. The Director of Equipment and Ordnance Stores (DEOS) would be renamed and Director of Ordnance Services (DOS) and the position of Chief Ordnance Officer (COO) created.[21] The Division of duties between the DOS and COO was that the DOS would have executive command of the NZAOD/NZAOD with the COO would be the Commanding Officer of the NZAOC and would manage the day the day Administrative functions.[22] [23]

Major T McCristell who had held the position of DEOS since 1916,[24] would become the COO and the position of DOS filled by Lieutenant Colonel H. E. Pilkington, RNZA. Lt Col Pilkington had spent the war filling a variety of Ordnance Positions in the NZEF and Brutish Army including time as the ADOS of 19 Corps and ADOS of the NZEF. McCristell’s tenure as COO would be brief as he would be seconded to the Audi Department, relinquishing the position of COO to Captain T.J King in April 1920.[25] [26]

Produce

The revenue generated by the NZAOC for the year ending 31st May 1920, was £49,013 17s, 4d., while approximately £90,000 was saved by the renovation of part-worn uniforms.

Review of the NZAOC Establishment

It was announced on the 4th of July 1920 that a board of officers was to assemble at General Headquarters for the purpose of inquiring into the establishment of the NZAOC, with a view to its reduction and the practicability of the substitution of a percentage of civilian staff or permanent staff. The board will be composed as follows:[27]

  • President
    • Lieutenant-Colonel H. E. Pilkington, CBE. (Director of Ordnance Services);
  • Members
    • Lieutenant Colonel C. E. Andrews, OBE
    • Lieutenant Colonel H. E. Avery, G.M.G, DSO

The war revealed the requirement for maintaining an adequate supply of war material to ensure the equipping the Territorial Army on mobilisation. The deficiency of war material in the Dominion in 1914 necessitated the original Expeditionary Force being sent overseas incompletely equipped, while the shortage of military stores in New Zealand during the war became a serious handicap to the training of both the Territorial Force and the drafts for the Expeditionary Force.

The military equipment which was used by the NZEF abroad had been handed back to the Imperial authorities, and a supply of new or serviceable equipment to reequip the New Zealand Army issued in lieu, and gradually shipped to New Zealand as shipping became available. The need for storage accommodation for this equipment was very great, and although temporary arrangements were made to store it in wooden hutments at Trentham and Featherston Camps, these buildings were not suitable for storage of valuable equipment, nor were they conveniently situated for mobilization. Recommendations were made for district mobilization stores to be constructed, in order that this valuable equipment may not deteriorate and that each district may be self-contained.[28]

Fiji Expeditionary Force

Early in 1920 New Zealand dispatched Force of Fifty-Six regular soldiers to Fiji on the NZ Government Steamer Tutanekai. This Small force was sent at the request of the Governor of Fiji to provided support to the limited Police resources at his disposal to manage a strike among Indian indentured labourers and sugar cane farmers. The first peacetime deployment of New Zealand Forces, it was mainly made up of members of the RNZA and served in Fiji between 3 February -28 April 1920 and was known as the Fiji Expeditionary Force. [29]

Included as part of Fiji Expeditionary Force was a small NZAOC Detachment, which included the following personnel;

  • Staff Sergeant Joseph Warren.[30]

Annual Christmas Leave

A definite arrangement was made by the Defence Department regarding the annual leave of members of the NZAOC. Annual leave would be taken by the NZAOC as follows;[31]

  • The first party would take leave on December 4 and return to duty on December 28.
  • The second party would go on leave on December 3O and return to duty on January 22.

 Obituary

On 3 July 1919 Captain A. Duvall, of the NZAOC was found dead in the laboratory room at the Colonial Ammunition Company, the cause being a bullet wound. He was the Proof officer for the Defence Department at Auckland, it being his duty to test ammunition. He was aged fifty and left a widow, but no children. The coroner returned a verdict that death was the result of gunshot wound apparently self-inflicted while in a state of nervous depression.

Lance Corporal Duncan Macgregor of the NZAOC passed away at the comparatively early age of 54 years at Wellington on 25 July 1919. A well-known figure in local military circles, LCpl Macgregor had been a member of the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders, gaining decorations for conspicuous bravery in India and South Africa.[32]

duncan macgregor

Lance Corporal Duncan MacGregor, NZAOC. National Library of New Zealand

Provisional Dress Regulations

Provisional dress regulations for the New Zealand Permanent Forces were issued in early 1920.  The revised regulations detailed that the Director of Ordnance would wear the following dress distinctions; [33]

  • Blue Gorget patches (tabs), and
  • blue cap-bands

Discipline

Courts Martial

529 Private Samuel McShane, of the NZAOC was tried by District Court-martial on 23 September 1919 at Trentham Camp on charges of receiving public goods knowing them to have been stolen and was sentenced to 90 days’ imprisonment. His sentence remitted, Pte McShane was immediately demobilised with no demobilisation pay or privileges.[34]

Serious Charges

Serious charges were laid against 605 Conductor Walter Edward Cook, NZAOC (Temporary) of the Featherston Ordnance Detachment at the Magistrate’s Court on 18 June 1921. In outlining the case and explaining the charge; the theft of £2 11s 9d (approx. 2018 NZ$290), the property of the Government, Detective-Sergeant Lewis said that it had been a part of the accused’s duty to audit certain, accounts regarding the sale of blankets. It was alleged that Cook had altered a number of dockets, pocketed a part of the money, and then forwarded the altered dockets. The total sum involved was about £177 (approx. 2018 NZ$17000).[35]  Cook was later found guilty, reverted in rank to Private and demobilised with no demobilisation pay or privileges and sentenced to six months hard labour.[36]

Personnel Movements -July 1919 to June 1920

Transfers

  • Captain (Temp) Michael Joseph Lyons, from the regiment of Royal New Zealand Artillery with the rank of Lieutenant, 1 March 1920.

Enlistments

  • 197 Artificer Frederick Vaugha Evans
  • 644 Private Thomas William Henry Rowe
  • 663 Artificer Fredrick John Sygrove
  • 666 Lance Corporal Peter Gow Scrimgeour
  • 750 Private Peter McIlroy
  • 795 Private George Troope Dawson
  • 820 Private James Clements
  • 822 Private John James Thomas
  • 831 Private Thomas Heaton
  • 832 Private Richard Teehan
  • 835 Private William Joseph Conroy
  • 838 Private William Robert McMinn
  • 857 Private Isaac Bernard Shields
  • 860 Private Hugh Lawton Owen
  • 867 Private John Rescorl
  • 885 Private C J J Storie
  • 902 Private William Stewart Barr
  • 914 Private John Boyce
  • 920 Private Gordon James Francis Arenas
  • 938 Sergeant John Goutenoire O’Brien
  • 939 Private Harold Gordon Hill
  • 1036 Private Shepherd Hughes

Releases

  • 47 Private Charles Harbage
  • 69 Lieutenant Eugene Key
  • 86 Lance Corporal Duncan Campbell MacGregor
  • 100 Lieutenant William Ramsay
  • 103 Private Thomas Riordan
  • 105 Private Thomas Rodgers
  • 125 Private Robert Walker
  • 128 Private Ludvig Martin Williamson
  • 136 Private Clifford Seddon
  • 160 Staff Sergeant Frederick William Tavendale
  • 183 Sergeant Robert Walter Baker Gale
  • 200 Private Alfred Healy de Vere
  • 221 cadet Harry William Miller
  • 228 sergeant Thomas Graham Niven
  • 241 Corporal Theodore Norris
  • 254 Private James Gorman
  • 269 Private George Kermode
  • 273 Private Thomas Ellwood Lyle
  • 294 Corporal Richard Brady Simpson
  • 299 Lance Corporal Peter Tulloch
  • 318 Private Frank Joseph Shacklock
  • 329 Private Harold Fraser White
  • 366 Private William Henry Murdoch
  • 368 Private James King
  • 393 Private John Naylor
  • 407 Private James Crone.[37]
  • 418 Private William Henry McCarthy
  • 424 Private Phillip Thomas Labatt
  • 436 Private John Raymond Johnson
  • 441 Private Montagu Spotswood
  • 446 Private Cecil Balcombe Langridge
  • 453 Private Harold Rigby
  • 462 Private William Ernest George
  • 478 Private Andrew Robert Murphy
  • 480 Private James Herbert Turner
  • 515 Private Thomas Edward Mills
  • 518 Private James McEntee
  • 529 Private Samuel McShane
  • 574 Artificer Henry James Day
  • 601 Private James Pritchard
  • 605 Private Walter Edward Cook
  • 617 Private Horace James Richards
  • 634 Private John Morrison
  • 675 Private Benjamin Smith
  • 680 Private Egbert Edwin White
  • 690 Private John Miller
  • 697 Private William Gibbons
  • 718 Private Peter Douglas Adamson
  • 477 Corporal Lawritz Christopher Jansen
  • 493 Corporal William Parry Mortimore
  • 644 Corporal Thomas William Henry Rowe
  • 354 Sergeant William Varian Wilson
  • 431 Sergeant John McVean Walker
  • 795 Sergeant George Troope Dawson
  • Lieutenant Walter Norman Bates.
  • Lieutenant William Manning.
  • Lieutenant William Ramsay.
  • Captain George John Parrell.
  • Lieutenant Colonel T McCristell.[38]

Deaths

  • Lance Corporal Duncan Macgregor.
  • Captain A. Duvall.

Copyright © Robert McKie 2019

Notes:

[1] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1920).

[2] Ibid.

[3] Relinquished position to Director of Ordnance Services on 30 January 1920. “Appointment of Director of Ordnance Services and Chief Ordnance Officer,” New Zealand Gazette No 15, 19 February 1920, 547.

[4] Assumed position from Director of Equipment and Ordnance Stores on 30 January 1920.Ibid.

[5] Assumed position 30 January 1920, relinquished it to Captain T.J King on 30 April 1920 when seconded to Audit Department. “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfer of Officers of the New Zealand Staff and Territorial Force,” New Zealand Gazette no 55, 4 June 1920, 1865.

[6] “Whyte, Herbert Henry,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand  (1914): 116.

[7] Ibid., 117.

[8] Appointed 1 March 1920″Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfer of Officers of the New Zealand Staff and Territorial Force,” New Zealand Gazette No 41, April 22 1920, 1257.

[9] “Whyte, Herbert Henry.”

[10] 13 May 1920 “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfers of Officers of the Nzsc, Nzaod and Territorial Force,” New Zealand Gazette No 46, 12 May 1921.

[11] Relinquished appointment as OO Featherston Camp to become Assistant COO 3 July 1919. Replaced by Lt L.A Clements.

[12] “Whyte, Herbert Henry,”  117.

[13] Relinquished position due to retirement on12 November 1919 “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfer of Officers of the New Zealand Staff Corps, Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery and Territorial Force,” New Zealand Gazette No 145, 11 December 1919.

[14] Relinquished position due to retirement on 20 June 1920. “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations, Transfers and Retirements of Officers from the NZ, NZ Army Ordnance Department and Territorial Force,” new Zealand Gazette No 36, 8 April 1920, 1072.

[15] Relinquished position due to retirement on 30 September 1919. “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfer of Officers of the New Zealand Staff Corps, Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery and Territorial Force.”

[16]  Relinquished position due to retirement on 30 September 1919.”Captain George John Parrell,” New Zealand Gazette No 76, 30 September 1919, 2016.

[17] “Neilson, Albert Ernest,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand  (1902-1921).

[18] “Death of an Officer,” New Zealand Herald, Volume LVI, Issue 17205, 5 July 1919.

[19] Relinquished position due to retirement on 4 April 1920. “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations, Transfers and Retirements of Officers from the NZ, NZ Army Ordnance Department and Territorial Force,”  1071.

[20] Relinquished position due to retirement on 4 April 1920. Ibid.

[21] “Appointment of Director of Ordnance Services and Chief Ordnance Officer.”

[22] Minute from DOS to GO IC Administration Date 5 June 1920″King, Thomas Joseph,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914-1946.

[23] “Ordnance Services,” New Zealand Times, Volume XLVI, Issue 10514,, 16 February 1920.

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

[25] “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfer of Officers of the New Zealand Staff and Territorial Force.”

[26] “King, Thomas Joseph.”

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

[28] Ibid.

[29] 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, 170-71.

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

[31] “Local and General – Nzaoc Annual Leave,” Dominion, Volume 13, Issue 126, 21 February 1920.

[32] “All Sorts of People,” Free Lance, Volume XIX, Issue 996, 6 August 1919.

[33] “Provisional Dress Regulations,” Southland Times, Issue 18756, 3 March 1920.

[34] “Court Martial,” New Zealand Times, Volume XLIV, Issue 10397, 30 September 1919.

[35] “Serious Charges,” Evening Post, Volume XCIX, Issue 144, 18 June 1920.

[36] “Cook, Walter Edward,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand  (1918-1920).

[37] “Untitled -Crone,” Manawatu Standard, Volume XLIII, Issue 1784, 9 April 1920.

[38] “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfer of Officers of the New Zealand Staff and Territorial Force,” New Zealand Gazette No 99, 9 December 1920.


The evolution of NZAOC ammunition responsibilities 1939-1945

With Japan expanding into China and war clouds brewing over Europe, Defence in New Zealand had by 1938 started to pull itself out of the years of forced inactivity and neglect that had been the hallmark of the early 1930s. By mid-1939 re-equipment and rearmament was underway with many new weapons in the process of being introduced into service with more on order. With so many new armaments coming into service alongside the existing inventory, there was also ammunition which required correct storage and accounting. Responsibility for the management of ammunition was divided between the Royal New Zealand Artillery (RNZA) and the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC). To meet the growing needs of the New Zealand Army, both organisations rapidly expanded in manpower and infrastructure from having a minimal ammunition capability in 1939, finally combining to form a single NZAOC organisation charged with responsibility for managing New Zealand Army ammunition depots in 1945.

Pre War Situation

Fort Ballance

On the formation of the NZAOC in 1917, the Royal New Zealand Artillery (RNZA) Ordnance Section at Fort Ballance passed to NZAOC control. Becoming the NZAOC Ammunition Section, it continued with its task of storing, inspection repairing and refurbishing  Ammunition as a uniformed branch of the NZAOC under the control of the RNZA.  Located at Watts Peninsular on the north end of Wellingtons Miramar peninsular, the ammunition infrastructure consisted of 19 magazines, one store and a laboratory situated across the peninsula at Shelly Bay, Kau Point, Mahanaga Bay, Fort Ballance and Fort Gordon. These were not purpose-built ammunition magazines but repurposed submarine mining and coastal artillery fortifications dating as far back as the 1880s. In the case of Kau Point and Forts Ballance and Gordon, the large 6 and 8inch disappearing guns had been removed in the early 1920s and the gun pits roofed over to become ad-hoc magazines. This accommodation was far from ideal as temperature, and moisture control was not able to be adequately controlled, resulting in potential damage t ammunition stocks.[1][2][3]

watts map

Fort Ballance Ammunition Area

HopuHopu Camp

A smaller Ammunition section was also maintained in Auckland during the 1920s, who along with some staff from Fort Ballance Ammunition Section was transferred to the New Magazines at HopuHopu Camp[4] on the competition of their construction in 1929.[5]  Envisaged to be the principal ammunition depot for New Zealand, Eleven magazines and a laboratory were constructed between 1925 and 1927.  Built into a hillside, the magazines were constructed of concrete, with double walls, which formed an inspecting chamber. The intent of the inspection chamber, was for sentries to observe thermometers, and by consulting a chart, adjust the ventilation to maintain the stock at optimal temperatures. Entirely reverted into the hill and faced by an embankment the Hopuhopu magazine s designed in such a way so that if there were an explosion, the blast would be contained.[6]

20180412_164813-190082474.jpg

HopuHopu Camp Ammunition Area 1945. Public Works Department

The NZAOC Ammunition sections were disestablished in 1931 when nearly all of the NZAOC military staff, were transferred to the Public Service as civilian staff at a lower rate of pay or placed on superannuation as the result of government budgetary restraints transferred to the Public Service [7]

When New Zealand entered the war in September 1939, The responsibility for ammunition was shared between the RNZA and the NZAOC;[8]

  • The Director of Artillery was responsible to the General Officer Commanding for;
    • The provision and allocation of gun-ammunition,
    • The receipt, storage, and issue of gun ammunition and explosives other than small-arms ammunition
  • The Director of Ordnance Services, assisted by, the Inspecting Ordnance Officer and the SAA Proof Officer were responsible to the Quartermaster-General for;
    • The inspection and repair of gun ammunition,
    • The provision, receipt, storage and distribution of small arms ammunition.

NZAOC Ammunition  personnel consisted of;[9]

  • The Inspecting Ordnance Officer (IOO), Captian I.R Withell, R.N.Z.A
  • The Proof Officer, Small Arms Ammunition (SAA) Mount Eden Auckland, Honorary Lieutenant J.W Fletcher, N.Z.P.S
  • 2 Civilian Staff at Ngawahawia
  • 5 Civilian Staff at Fort Ballance

Ammunition Facilities shared by the RNZA and NZAOC consisted of ;

  • 19 Magazines, 1 Store, and an Ammunition Laboratory at Fort Ballance managed by an RNZA WO1 seconded to the NZAOC and 5 civilian Staff
  • 11 Magazines and an Ammunition Laboratory at HopuHopu Camp managed by an RNZA WO1 seconded to the NZAOC and 5 civilian Staff
  • Single SAA Magazines at Trentham and Burnham Camps.

1940-41

As the New Zealand Army moved from a peacetime to a wartime footing, Ammunition responsibilities were split between the Assistant Quarter Master General (2) (AQMS(2))  and Assistant Quarter Master General (5) (AQMS (5)).[10]

  • AQMS(2)
  • With Lieutenant Colonel T.J King, Director of Ordnance Services (DOS) transferred to the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF), under the auspices of the AQMS(2) the position of DOS was parked for the duration of the war, and the responsibilities of the DOS divided as follows;
  • The Chief Ordnance Officer assuming responsibility for the Supply functions of DOS, including the management of NZAOC Ammunition Sections whose primary responsibility was SAA.
  • Ordnance Mechanical Engineer (OEM) assumed responsibility for Ordnance Workshops.
  • The Inspecting Ordnance Officer and the Proof Officer SAA came under the responsibility of the Chief Munitions Officer as the Army Inspection Department with the technical responsibility for the management and inspection of ammunition.
  • AQMS(5)
    • The AQMS(5) was responsible for the Army Headquarters Gun Ammunition and Equipment Section.

Ammo responsibility 1941-45

With a significant amount of ammunition being received from overseas, it became a matter of urgency that the establishment of the NZAOC Ammunition section is increased and additional magazine accommodation constructed. Immediate relief was gained by the construction of eight magazines at Burnham Camp and the taking over of 6 Magazines and a Store at the Ohakea Airforce Base in the Manawatu. Both the Burnham and Ohakea magazines had been constructed as part of a pre-war expansion plan. Ten magazines had been built at Ohakea, with their construction completed in 1940 and construction of eight magazines at a location north of Burnham Camp was started in 1940 with building completed by May 1941. [11]

By October 1941 the NZAOC Ammunition Section establishment and Magazine situation was;[12]

NZAOC Staff at Army Headquarters

  • 1 Captain
  • 1 Lieutenant
  • 1 Other Rank

Fort Ballance

  • NZAOC Strength:
    • 4 Military Staff
      • Lieutenant Edkins
      • Staff Sergeant Eastgate
      • Sergeant Anderson
      • Corporal Bagley
    • 10 Civilian Staff
  • Buildings: 19 Magazines, 1 Store, 1 Laboratory
  • Ammunition held: Grenades, Bombs, Pyrotechnics and explosives
  • Work Carried out: Receipt and Issue of Ammunition, preservation of ammunition held, major repair to Gun Ammunition, Manufacture of Blank Gun Ammunition

Fort Balance would continue to be utilised and an Ammunition Depot throughout the war and in October 1942 held the following stocks as part of the Wellington Fortress area;[13]

  • 2″ Mortar – 288
  • 3″ Mortar – 280
  • 2″ Smoke Thrower – 1566
  • Grenades 36M – 312
  • 18 Pdr –  15839
  • 12 Pdr – 1035
  • 6″ – 403
  • 5″ How – 20035
  • 7″ How –  172
  • 7″ AA –  198
  • 40mm AA –  4091
  • 3″ AA –  5775
  • 2 pdr AT –  3459

Hopuhopu (including Mount Eden SAA Magazine)

  • NZAOC Strength:
  • 2 Military Staff
    • Warrant Officer Class One Little
    • Sergeant Waters0
  • 2 Civilian Staff
  • Buildings: 13 Magazines, 1 Laboratory
  • Ammunition held: Gun Ammunition, Grenades, Bombs, Pyrotechnics and explosives
  • Work Carried out: Receipt and Issue of all Ammunition, preservation of ammunition held, minor repair to ammunition,

Burnham

  • NZAOC Strength: 1 Sergeant employed as part of the New Zealand temporary Staff
  • Buildings: 7 Magazines, 1 laboratory (on magazine converted to a lab, the purpose-built laboratory would not be construed until 1945)
  • Ammunition held: Gun Ammunition, Grenades, Bombs, Pyrotechnics and explosives
  • Work Carried out: Receipt and Issue of Ammunition, preservation of ammunition held, major repair to Gun Ammunition,

Ohakea

  • NZAOC Strength: 1 Sergeant employed as part of the New Zealand temporary Staff
  • Buildings: 6 magazines, 1 Store
  • Ammunition held: Gun Ammunition only
  • Work Carried out: Receipt and Issue of Ammunition, preservation of ammunition held, major repair to Gun Ammunition

Further construction of magazines was planned with the War Cabinet granting expenditure in September 1941 for an extensive magazine building programme at the following locations;

  • Papakura (Ardmore)- 8 Magazines
  • Hopuhopu – 11 Magazines, 1 Laboratory, 3 Stores
  • Waiouru – 13 Magazines, 1 laboratory and 1 Store
  • Manawatu – 10 Magazines, 1 laboratory and 1 Store
  • South Island – 8 Magazines, 1 laboratory and 1 Store

1941 Magazine Design

Designed by the PublicWorks Department consultation with Army Headquarters, six designs were utilised, known as type A to F;[14]

  • Type A – 12.19m x 6.70m, Double brick walls with a corrugated asbestos roof, with entrance porch.
  • Type B – 12.19m x 6.70m, Double brick walls with a corrugated asbestos roof, no entrance porch.
  • Type C – 6.70m x 57m,  Brick cavity walls with a corrugated asbestos roof.
  • Type D – 15.24m x 9.75m, Brick cavity walls with a corrugated asbestos roof, with entrance porch
  • Type E – 15.24m x 9.75m, Single timber walls with exterior cement fibre boards with a corrugated asbestos roof.
  • Type F – 15.24m x 9.75m, Double timber walls with exterior cement fibre boards with a corrugated asbestos roof.

Significant establishment changes were also proposed with an increase of the NZAOC establishment to 3 Officers and 62 other ranks including all civilian ammunition staff being placed into uniform retired.

1942

Although New Zealand had been at war for just over two years, up to December 1941, it had been a distant European war not requiring the full mobilisation of New Zealand. The near-simultaneous attacks by Japan against Malaya, the Philippines and speed of the Japanese advance southwards forced New Zealand on to a total war footing with the full mobilisation of the territorial army and the formation of additional Divisions for home defence and service in the Pacific.[15]

To meet immediate requirements for the storage of ammunition at Waiouru, authorisations for the construction of 16 temporary ammunition stores were granted in April 1942. Completed on 18 July 1942 the  9m x 6m temporary wooden ammunition stores were located south of the main camp.[16]

1942 Magazine Design

With the entry of Japan into the war, new magazines were approved. Due to the increased threat posed by Japan, the latest magazines were designed with the intent of providing additional protection and were known as types M, P, R1, R2 and R3;[17]

  • Type M – 7.18m wide of variable length, precast concrete walls and roof supported by interior pillars.
  • Type P – 7m or 14m wide of variable length, precast concrete walls and roof supported by interior pillars.
  • Type R1 – 7.62m wide of variable length. Concrete walls and roof supported by interior pillars.
  • Type R2 – 7.62m wide of variable length, Brick walls with a Concrete roof supported by interior pillars.
  • Type R3 – 7m wide of variable length, Concrete outer wall with an inner brick wall with a concrete roof supported by interior pillars.

In addition to the 295 magazines constructed, numerous non-explosive stores, guard accommodation, garages and cookhouses, external and internal roads were also built. The non-explosive stores were generally 6m x 9m, constructed of unlined timber wall with an asbestos roof. The laboratory was 13m x 6m with cavity walls with an asbestos roof.

With construction started in early 1942, wartime conditions, competition for material and manpower priorities and the challenging and isolated locations of some of the sites meant that the final construction was not completed until late 1944.  The final tally of magazines constructed across eleven locations was;[18]

  • Papakura (Ardmore)- 20 Magazines
  • Hopuhopu and Kelms Road – 55 Magazines
  • Waiouru – 45 Magazines
  • Makomako – 39 Magazines
  • Trentham(Kuku Valley) – 22 Magazines
  • Belmont – 62 Magazines
  • Glen Tunnel – 16
  • Burnham Camp – 8
  • Mount Somers – 10
  • Fairlie – 9
  • Alexandra – 9

During the same period, magazines and other ammunition infrastructure was also constructed for the Navy, Air Force and United States Forces in many locations across the country of which some would also be utilised by the NZAOC

The increase of Ordnance Depot Establishments

As of 22 July 1942, the approved establishment of the NZAOC Depots was 435, consisting of 18 Officers, 47 other ranks and 370 civilians. Approval was granted on 8 August 1942 to increase and fully militarise the establishment of the NZAOC. The increase in the establishment was required to provide adequate staff for the four Ordnance Depots, with an ability to surge personnel into Advanced Ordnance Depots at Whangarei and Blenheim, in support of the Home Defence Divisions. The authorised establishment for NZAOC Depots (including Ammunition Sections), was increased to be a fully militarised establishment of 1049 Officers and Other Ranks.[19]

Officers Other Ranks Total
Main Ordnance Depot 19 556 575
Ordnance Depot Northern District 4 182 186
Ordnance Depot Central District 3 81 84
Ordnance Depot Southern District 4 200 204
Total 30 1019 1049

1943

Waiouru

  • Construction of the following ammunition infrastructure was completed on 5 February;[20]
  • One type B magazine
  • Eleven type D magazines
  • Laboratory
  • Non-Explosive Store

Followed by the completion of the following magazines in October 1943;

  • Two type D magazines
  • Four type E magazines
  • Four type F magazines

20180412_164447808026669.jpg

Waiouru Ammunition Area C1945. Public Works Department

Makomako

Construction of Makomako completed in March 1943.[21]

20180412_164357-1310043622.jpg

Makomako Ammunition Area C1945. Public Works Department

Mount Somers

Development of Mount Somers completed in March 1943.[22]

Glentunnel

Development of Glentunnel completed in August1943.[23]

Fairlie

Development Authorised in Decemberr1942 with development completed during 1943.[24]

Alexandra

Construction of nine 18m longe R2 Type magazines, laboratory and a non-explosive store completed on November 1943.[25]

Kaikorai Valley (Dunedin)

Selected as the site of an ammunition Depot in early 1942. Seventeen temporary Wooden Ammunition Shelters and five temporary wooden explosive stores were constructed along with a quantity of supporting infrastructure including a road aptly named “Ammunition Track” which is the only trace left today. Possibly due to its close proximity to the coast and the threat of Japanese Air raids, the permanent Ammunition depot was built further inland at Alexandra.[26]

Dates for the completion of the construction of the Ardmore, Ngawahiwaia, Kelm’s Road and Kuku Valley magazines is not detailed in the Public Works history but would have been during 1943.[27]

Army Inspection Department adopt NZOC Badge

Due to the close association of the Army Inspection Department to Ammunition, the Chief Munitions Officer made a request to the Chief Ordnance Officer in 1943 that the Army Inspection Department be granted permission to were the Cap Badge and puggaree of the New Zealand Ordnance Corps (NZOC). Records are unclear if this request was granted.[28]

1944

Waiouru

Construction of the following was completed by May 1944;

  • Five type R1 magazines
  • Fourteen type R2 magazines
  • One type R3 magazine

Belmont

Construction of the Belmont Ammunition area began in November 1942 and was completed by November 1944.[29]

Infrastructure at Belmont included;

  • Over 5 Km of roads
  • Cookhouse, Mess rooms, Ablutions, recreation room and sleeping accommodation
  • Laboratory
  • 50 P-Type Magazines 50, 60 and 100ft in length
  • 10 M-Type Magazines
  • 2 Magazines of an unknown type

1945

From mid-1945 discussions start to take place on the post was the shape of the NZAOC. Some thought was given to returning the NZAOC to its pre-war status as a predominantly civilian organisation. Reality prevailed the future of the NZAOC was assured as a feature of the post-war army. It was estimated that there were at least three years of work required in inspecting and refurbishing ammunition returned from units that had been demobilised, that was in addition to maintaining existing stocks of unused ammunition.[30] Proposed establishment for NZAOC Ammunition units would see the first widespread use of the terms IOO (In the context of the modern Ammunition Technical Officer) and Ammunition Examiner (Ammunition Technician). 1945 would see the completion of the ammunition infrastructure works first authorised in 1941.

Burnham

Construction of Non-explosive store and laboratory completed

Transfer of Ammunition and Equipment Section to NZAOC

Since before the Defence Act of 1909, which created the framework of the modern New Zealand Army, there had long between a division of responsibilities for the Management of Ammunition. Traditionally the provision, allocation, receipt, storage and issue of Gun (Artillery) Ammunition had been an Artillery responsibility, with the Management of Small Arms Ammunition the responsibility of the Defence Stores/Ordnance Corps. 1 June 1945 the NZAOC assumed responsibility for the management of all Army ammunition. The Artillery element responsible for the management of Gun Ammunition,  the Ammunition and Equipment Section was transferred from the control of Army Headquarters to the Chief Ordnance Officer. As a result of the transfer, 11 Officers and 175 Other Ranks of the Royal New Zealand Artillery were absorbed into the NZAOC establishment.[31]

Ordnance Takes Full Control

On the 15ht of November 1945, the Chief Ordnance Officer took up responsibility for the care, maintenance, accounting and storage of all ammunition and explosives.

Control of ammunition would be undertaken by;

  • The IOO Section, and
  • The Ammunition Section

IOO Section

The IOO Section, administered by the CIOO was responsible for;[32]

  • The control of all work on ammunition for all purposes other than accounting and storage,
  • Maintenance of ammunition and explosives in stock in a serviceable condition ready for use,
  • Provision of personnel for inspection and repair and for working parties to carry out repairs,
  • Provision of all equipment and stores required for the inspection and repair of ammunition,
  • Provision and accounting for Motor Transport necessary for the transport of stock for inspection and repair,
  • Administration and control f Repair Depot Trentham,
  • Maintenance of buildings at Repair Depot Trentham.

Ammunition Section

The Ammunition Section was responsible for;[33]

  • The accounting, storage and care of ammunition and explosives
  • Maintenance or magazines areas and of buildings and services connected with the storage of ammunition and explosives,
  • Administration of personnel of the IOO Section, while attached to ammunition depots concerning pay, rations, quarters, clothing and discipline
  • Transport arrangements for the movement of ammunition not connected with the inspection and repair of ammunition at depots.

Notes

[1] Russell Glackin, In Defence of Our Land: A Tour of New Zealand’s Historic Harbour Forts (Auckland, N.Z.: Penguin Group (NZ), 2009, 2009), Bibliographies

Non-fiction, 48-53.

[2] Kiri Petersen Cathryn Barr, “New Zealand Defence Force Heritage Management Plan Forts Ballance and Gordon” (Hamilton: Opus International Consultants Limited 2009), 2-5.

[3] Tony Walton, “Wellingtons Defences: A Reconnaissance Survey of the Fortifications or 1884-1945,” Archaeology in New Zealand 33 (1990): 87-99.

[4] At different times referred to as Waikato or Ngawahawia Camp

[5] “Modern Military Camp,” New Zealand Herald, Volume LXVI, Issue 20324, 3 August 1929.

[6] “Dominions Ammunition Depot,” Auckland Star, Volume LVI, Issue 83, 8 April 1925.

[7] Joseph S. Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Wellington: RNZAOC, 1992), 84.

[8] “Regulations for the Military Forces of the Dominion of New Zealand.,” New Zealand Gazette no. 32, (1927).

[9] “Establishments – Ordnance Corps Ad1 493 / 228/2/6,” Defence Archives, Archives New Zealand  (1937).

[10] Ibid.

[11] F Grattan, Offical War History of the Public Works Department (PWD, 1948), 529.

[12] “Establishments – Ordnance Corps Ad1 493 / 228/2/6.”

[13] Howard Weddell, Trentham Camp and Upper Hutt’s Untold Military History (Howard Weddell, 2018), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 160.

[14] Grattan, Offical War History of the Public Works Department, 517.

[15] 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.

[16] Grattan, Offical War History of the Public Works Department, 521.

[17] Ibid., 518.

[18] Ibid., 517.

[19] “Establishments – Ordnance Corps Ad1 493 / 228/2/6.”

[20] Grattan, Offical War History of the Public Works Department, 521.

[21] Ibid., 523-24.

[22] Ibid., 528.

[23] Ibid., 527.

[24] Ibid., 530.

[25] Ibid., 532.

[26] Ibid., 519.

[27] Ibid., 520.

[28] “Badges and Buttons – Regimental, Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps 1936-1967, 92 /   213/12/19,” Defence Archives, Archives New Zealand  (1936).

[29] Grattan, Offical War History of the Public Works Department, 524-26.

[30] “Establishments – Ordnance Corps Ad1 493 / 228/2/6.”

[31] Ibid.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Ibid.


The Hunter Brothers

nz-army-ordnance-corps-badge-2

NZ Army Ordnance Corps Badge 1917-1937. nzhistory.govt.nz/Public Domain

The Hunter Brothers service was unassuming and when looked at as part of the broader history of the New Zealand Ordnance Corps their service was uneventful. The only significant event of their service is that they are one of the few sets of brothers to be awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. What their service does provide is a snapshot of the activities of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps in the 1920’s

The children of Irish Immigrants who were farming a small property near the Marlborough town of Tuamarina, John was born on the 13th of August 1880 and Thomas on the 20th of December 1881.

John and Thomas both joined what was then the New Zealand Permeant Militia, spending considerable time as Gunners in the Artillery before transferring to the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps soon after its formation in 1917. Johns time in Ordnance was spent in the Ammunition Section based out of Fort Balance on the Northern Miramar peninsular in Wellington. Thomas ordnance Service was at the Ordnance Store at Mount Eden and the then brand-new Waikato Camp (Hopuhopu/Ngawahawia Camp).

Both brothers served for more than 30 years and under normal circumstances would have retired at the age of 55 with a comfortable pension, but this was not to be. 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 service, 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.

 

Hunter retirement letter

Notice of Retirement sent to Serving soldiers December 1930

 

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. The 31st of March 1931 was the blackest day in the History of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps

John Francis Hunter

John Hunter attended the local school until Standard 5 and then spent a year at St Patricks College at Silverstream at Wellington. On leaving school, John Hunter took up a farming job in Bulls.  At Eighteen years of age, John enlisted at Alexandra Barrack in Wellington into the New Zealand Permanent Force (NZPF) and was attested as a 3rd Class Gunner into No 1 Company in Wellington on the 23 of November 1898. John Hunter Passed the Small Arms Drill Course on the 6th of January 1899, followed by the Recruits Drill Course on the 1st of May and was promoted to 2nd Class Gunner on the 1st of September 1899.

alexandra-barracksC

Alexandra Barracks, Mount Cook Wellington (Colourised). Credit: Alexander Turnbull Library.

With the reorganisation of the NZPF in 1902, the small permanent artillery force was designated the Royal New Zealand Artillery (RNZA) with John Hunter remaining with the Wellington Detachment. While serving as the “Servant to the General Officer Commanding” John Hunter unsuccessfully applied for a transfer to the New Zealand Police in 1902. John Hunter was to spend a short period detached to Lyttleton on Police duty during the New Zealand International Exhibition held in Christchurch during 1906/07. John Hunter was promoted to 1st Class Gunner on the 1st of September 1907. With the reorganisations of 1907 and 1911, John Hunter remained in the Gunnery Section of the RNZA Wellington Detachment working in the various Wellington Coast Defence Forts.

Marrying Edith Taylor in Fielding on the 28th of January 1911, John Hunter was still based in Wellington when the Great War was declared in 1914, but at 34 years old was then considered too old for war service.

Since 1911 there had been concerns in Army Headquarters about the supply of Artillery ammunition, and the associated costs with importation all of the required stocks to maintain training and operational needs. Studies had found that by refurbishing by cleaning, inspecting and refilling cartridge casings, and inspecting and refurbishing in service propellant bags, manufacturing new ones as required, considerable savings could be made instead of importing new items. Recommendations were made that as part of the RNZA, a specialist Ordnance Stores Corps be established for the manufacture and modification of Ammunition. Ordnance Stores Corps would be under the supervision of the Master Gunner and would be entitled to the same pay and allowances as other members of the RNZA as they would just be another section of the RNZA.

Although envisaged in 1911, the formation of this Ordnance Stores Corps would have an extended gestation period, and it would not be until mid-1914 that General Godley, the Commander of the New Zealand Forces approved the proposal and work could begin in establishing the Artillery Ordnance Stores Corps. Orders were placed on Great Britain for the supply of the required machinery, components and most importantly cordite, with the some of the machinery received in good time, the delivery of the remainder was promised to be delivered as soon as possible by the British suppliers. Given that war had broken out the importance of setting up this capability and securing New Zealand’s immediate supply of Artillery was of the utmost importance.

As the new Corps was to be another uniformed section of the RNZA such as the Field Artillery or Electric Light Company. It was to be under the administration and control of the OC RNZA and not the Quartermaster General, and on 1 March 1915 authority was granted under New Zealand Defence Forces General Order 90 to raise the New Zealand Army Ordnance Section with effect 1 April 1915.  Located Fort Ballance at Mahanga Bay on Wellington’s Miramar Peninsula, the section’s primary duties was the assembling of ammunition components for the artillery, with care and upkeep of the magazines becoming part of their responsibilities. John Hunter Transferred into the RNZA Army Ordnance Section on the 1st of July 1915.

fort-ballanceC

Fort Ballance (including associated positions at Fort Gordon) (Colourised). Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand,

With the Formation of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) on the 1st of February 1917, the RNZA retained operational day to day control of the Ammunition Section, with the NZAOC taking up administrative control of its personnel. The personnel of the Ammunition Section, including Gunner John Hunter, transferred into the NZAOC on the 15th of March 1917. On the 8th of February 1917, John Hunter was awarded the New Zealand Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.

RMS Niagara

RMS Niagara

December 1917 saw John Hunters experience as a gunner called upon when he was seconded to the NZEF as an Acting Corporal. Embarking on the RMS Niagara on the 13th of February 1918 as Corporal Gunner of the Gun Crew. Returning to New Zealand in September 1918 and replaced by Naval gunners, John Hunter spent a short time with the RNZA in Featherston Camp before re-joining the NZAOC in February 1919. Interestingly the RMS Niagara on which John Hunter served and disembarked from in September 1918 is the vessel that is attributed by some sources as the source of the 1918 influenza pandemic that had a devastating effect on New Zealand.

Returning to his duties at the Ammunition Section at Fort Ballance John Hunter was the newest member of the Ammunition Section and was identified as the only suitable understudy for the then NCO In-Charge Sergeant J Murray and was promoted to Lance Corporal on 1 November 1919. 1921 saw John Hunter awarded the New Zealand Efficient Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal and was also issued with his war service medals the British War Service 1914-1918 medal and the Victory 1914-1919 Medal.

Promoted to Temporary Corporal on the 1st of January 1921, John Hunter was made the NCO I/C the Ammunition Laboratory at Shelly Bay. By August 1921 on the retirement of Sergeant Murray, Hunter was promoted to Corporal and appointed as IC of the Ammunition Section.

The immediate post-war years into the mid-1920’s were a busy time for the NZAOC Ammunition Section. The Kaiwharawhara Magazine close to the city was closed, and the Mahanga Bay facilities expanded from the original magazine and laboratory building on the foreshore to include as their guns were decommissioned Fort Balance, Fort Gordon and the Kau Point Battery. With armaments removed, gun pits covered over with roofs and turned into additional magazines the once impressive forts went from been Wellingtons premier defensive location to quite possibly the 1st large scale ammunition depot of the NZAOC, a role it would fill until 1929 when purpose-built facilities were constructed at Hopuhopu Camp in the Waikato.

Promoted to Sergeant on the 1st of July 1922, further promotions followed on the 1st of June 1926 when he was promoted to Staff Sergeant and then again on the 1st of June 1929 when promotion to Staff Quarter Master Sergeant (Warrant officer Class 2) was gained.

After spending the majority of his 32-year career on the Miramar Peninsular of Wellington. Warrant Officer Class Two John Hunter was discharged from the Army on the 31st of March 1931 at the age of 52 under the provisions section 39 of the Finance Act, 1930 (No. 2) where members of military were forced to retire under superannuation at a much lower rate than they would have usually been entitled too. WO2 John Hunter also lost;

·         21 days approved annual leave

·         22 days accrued leave

John Hunters forced retirement in 1931 might not have been his final Military service. Census and voter lists from 1935 to 1954 list his occupation as Solder, with the Census and voter from 1957 as retired. Further examination of service records is required, but an assumption would be that given his ammunition experience, he was re-engaged in a lesser rank and continued in the military during the war years into the mid-1950’s.

Records show that John and his wife Edith had no children and remained at the same address at 57 Kauri Street Miramar until his death on the 23rd of March 1967 at the age of 87 and is buried at Karori Cemetery, Wellington

 Thomas Alexander Hunter

Completing school at Standard 4, Thomas entered the workforce and was working as a Grocers Assistant at Foxton before enlisting into the NZPF. At the age of 18, Thomas attested into the NZPF on the 2nd of August 1900. Thomas completed the Recruit Drill and Arms Cours at Alexandra Barrack in Wellington and was posted to the Artillery as a Pre-Gunner for the duration of his probation period. On completion of probation on the 1st of February 1901, Thomas was posted to No 1 Company in Wellington.

With the reorganisation of the NZPF in 1902, the small permanent artillery force was designated the Royal New Zealand Artillery (RNZA) with Thomas Hunter remaining with the Wellington Detachment. With the reorganisation of 1907, Thomas continued in the Gunnery Section of the RNZA Wellington Detachment working in the various Wellington Coast Defence Forts.

On the 10th of May 1908, Thomas married Maude Taylor at Newmarket in Auckland and was posted to the RNZA Auckland detachment on the 16th of November 1908. Thomas first child Edward was born on the 15th of February 1909. Further Children followed with the Birth of Bernard on 20 February 1910, Bambara on 28 March 1911 and Veronica on 21 November 13

Transferred into the Field Artillery Section on the 1st of August 1911, Thomas was transferred back into the Gunnery Section on the 1st of May 1912. When the war was declared in 1914, Thomas was 33 years old and at the time considered too old for war service. Thomas was stuck with tragedy in September 1915 when his daughter Bambara passed away due to illness.

Like his bother, Thomas was seconded to the NZEF in February 1918 as an Acting Corporal. Embarking on the SS Makura as gun crew. Returning to regular duty in June 1918 when the Army gunners were replaced by Naval gunners.

 

New Zealand Long and Efficient Service Medal

New Zealand Long and Efficient Service Medal, 1887-1917, New Zealand, by George White. Gift of Mr Dollimore, 1956. CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Te Papa (NU006152)

Awarded the Permanent Forces of the Empire Beyond the Seas Medal in December 1918, with the formal presentation on the 1st of February 1919. Thomas was promoted to temporary Bombardier on the 1st of February 1920, attaining Full Bombardier rank on the 1st of February 1921. Further recognition of his service followed with the award of the Meritorious Service Medal on the 21st of November 1921 and the New Zealand Long and Efficient Service Medal on the 6th of February 1922. Thomas was also presented with British War Service 1914-1918 medal and the Victory 1914-1919 Medal.

With many of the Coastal Defenses nearing the end of their usefulness, (Fort Victoria where Thomas had a one stage been attached to, had only ever fired one proofing round and was promptly taken out of action because of complaints from its neighbors who had suffered many broken windows) resulted in the decommissioning of many of the older batteries. As Thomas was then the senior Bombardier in the Auckland region, instead of being forcibly made redundant he was transferred to the NZAOC and posted to the Ordnance Store then located at Mount Eden on the 31st of July 1922. Living at Devonport at the time the move to the new position at Mount Eden was worrying for Thomas. As Mount Eden was then a Suburb on the far side of Auckland the travel costs were a concern to Thomas. The strain on his family was also a concern, his children were beset with ill health with one child passing away due to illness in 1915 and another with infantile paralysis. To make matters worse Thomas was forced to reduce rank to Lance Corporal on the 1st of August 1922.

Auckland Gun

Dissapearing Gun, North Head Auckland. Robert McKie Collection

The early 1920’s were a busy time for the Mount Eden Ordnance Store. After the First World War, the New Zealand Territorial Army undertook a major re-equipment project with two Infantry Divisions and one Mounted Brigades worth of equipment arriving from the United Kingdom. Initially stored at Trentham and Featherston Camp, with a purpose-built Ordnance Store to service the Northern region under construction at Ngawahawia, storage space was at a premium. With Featherston Camp closing down the Mount Eden Ordnance Store had to receive, sort and distribute much of the equipment for the Northern Region units well in excess of its storage capacity, as well as providing support to the territorial Army Annual Camps.

By 1928 The development of Ngaruawahia Camp was now in its final stages with the large Ordnance Store building completed, and the stores from the Ordnance Depot at Mount Eden progressively been transferred to it. Two high-explosive magazines were completed with an additional three high-explosive magazines and laboratory, and the provision of mains and equipment for fire-prevention nearing completion. With the removal of stores to Ngaruawahia Camp, the buildings at Mount Eden were no longer required, so they were disassembled and re-erected at Narrow Neck Camp.

Thomas was promoted to Temporary Corporal on the 1st of February 1926, followed by promotion to Sergeant on the 1st of March 1928. Up to June 1929, Thomas was the NOC IC Camp Equipment, but with the Ordnance Depot now at Ngawahawia, Thomas was transferred onto the staff of the Small Arms Proof Office allowing him to remain at Mount Eden.

After spending the majority of his 30-year 141-day career in Auckland, Sergeant Thomas Hunter was discharged from the Army on the 31st of March 1931 at the age of 49 under the provisions section 39 of the Finance Act, 1930 (No. 2) where serving members of the military were forced to retire under superannuation at a much lower rate than they would have normally been entitled too. Sergeant Thomas Hunter was fortunate that prior to the notification of the redundancy on the 17th of December 1930 he had already applied for and had approved the use of his annual and accrued leave.

Moving on from a life in the military, Thomas settled at 88 Sandringham Road and took up the trade of confectioner. Thomas passed away at 84 years of age on the 5th of October 1965.

 

Copyright © Robert McKie 2018


NZAOC Between the wars: 1918 to 1939

During its 79 year existence as a Corps, the NZAOC/RNZAOC was mainly a peacetime organisation and only actively engaged in supporting the army on warlike operations for approximately half its life. 1919 to 1939 and 1972 to 1992 were two long periods where the country was at peace, and the NZAOC/RNZAOC focus was on supporting training and managing stocks for potential mobilisations while struggling to remain relevant in climates of financial restraint.

This article will provide an overview of the NZAOC during the period 1919 to 1938

On the cessation of hostilities in 1918,  the New Zealand Army Ordnance organisation consisted of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department (Officers) and the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Other Ranks) collectively referred to as the NZAOC.

Personnel

During the interwar period, the strength of r the NZAOC fluctuated from a high of 493 in 1919  to a low of  20 in 1932 ending the period with a force of 34 in 1939

NZAOC INTERWAR MANNING

Directors of Ordnance Services

  • Major T McCristell – 10 Apr 1916 to 30 Jan 1920 (Director of Equipment and Ordnance Stores)
  • Lt Col H.E Pilkington – 30 Jan to 1 Oct 1925 (Director of Ordnance Stores)
  • Major T.J King – 1 Oct 1924 to 22 June 1940

NZAOC JULY 1918 TO JUNE 1919

Having only being Gazetted by regulations published in 1917, the NZAOC had only been established as part of the permanent staff of the Defence Forces of New Zealand for just over a year on the cessation of Hostilities.

Under the control of the Director of Army Ordnance and Supplies, Major T McCristell. The NZAOC was Organised with Ordnance Stores under four District Ordnance Officers located at;

  • Mount Eden in Auckland
  • Alexandra Barracks, Mount Cook, Wellington, with detachments at
    • Palmerston North, and
    • Featherston
  • King Edward Barracks, Christchurch
  • St Andrews St, Dunedin

With the cessation of Hostilities operations swiftly switched from supporting the NZEF and training replacements to the demobilisation of the NZEF, the closing of camps and the downsizing of the army to peacetime levels

NZAOC JULY 1919 TO JUNE 1920

The NZAOC was under pressure to reduce manning levels. This was not possible owing to the significant amount, of work, still required to be carried out in connection with the war. In addition to the ordinary ordnance work in support of the Territorial Force, the NZAOC was required to;

  • maintain extra personnel for the handling, storage and accounting of hospital equipment for the hospitals under the Defence Department,
  • retain additional staff for the educational and vocational establishments,
  • Handle the large quantity of military material arriving from overseas.

NZAOC JULY 1920 TO JULY 1921

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

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa

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

During this period the NZAOC had been considerably reduced but was still considered more than the strength required for its regular peace duties which consisted of the accounting, storage, issue, receipt, and care of all Ordnance stores for the N.Z. Military Forces, including the following in addition to ordinary routine duties;;

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

As a result of the Army reorganisation, Military districts were reduced from 4 to 3 and renamed as Commands. This resulted in the Education Department Industrial School at Burnham been taken over for use as an NZAOC depot for the Southern Military Command. This led to the Ordnance Store located at King Edward Barracks and the Dunedin Ordnance Store situated in St Andrews Street, Dunedin closing and relocating to Burnham Camp as the Southern Command Ordnance Depot.

The current Ordnance Store at Mount Eden was unsuitable, and until suitable storage accommodation was provided, mobilisation stores for Auckland command were to be housed at Featherston Camp which resulted in the delayed demolition of this camp.

The NZAOC Palmerston North Detachment had closed during this period and had transferred its stores to Featherston and Trentham Camps.

The Ordnance Stores located in Buckle Street in Wellington had been relocated to Trentham.

NZAOC JULY 1921 TO JUNE 1922

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

Based on the lessons learned during the war, a new The cost accounting system was introduced in 1921.

NZAOC JULY 1922 TO JUNE 1923

Due to financial constraints work on the construction of the Ordnance Stores for the Northern Command had not yet been commenced, and work that was proposed to be carried out at Trentham and Burnham depots had been delayed. This had made the provision of proper Ordnance Depots at all three locations an urgent matter.

NZAOC JUNE 1923 TO MAY 1924

On 3 July 1923, the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department was amalgamated with the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps resulting in one Ordnance organisation for the New Zealand Army.

NZAOC JUNE 1924 TO MAY 1925

At Ngaruawahia Camp, a railway-siding had been completed, and a branch line into the camp is under construction. The provision of buildings for Ordnance stores was receiving consideration.

NZAOC JUNE 1925 TO MAY 1926

At Ngaruawahia work commenced on the large Ordnance Store building, which when completed would absorb the stores located at Mount Eden and at Featherston Camp and enable the temporary structures in those camps to be dismantled. Five magazines for gun-ammunition and high explosives and the earthwork for five others were also completed at Ngaruawahia Camp. Five additional magazines for gun-ammunition and one for small-arms ammunition were planned to be constructed in 1927. Further building forecasted for the next year included;

  • four married quarters,
  • Ordnance Office, and
  • workshops.

NZAOC JUNE 1926 TO MAY 1927

The development of Ngaruawahia Camp was continuing satisfactorily. The large Ordnance Store, a large building 322 ft by 100 ft divided into seven bay’s four 25ft by 100 ft, three 74ft by 100 ft, was nearing completion with the building walls up and two of the smaller bays roofed in. Other buildings projected to be constructed were an Ordnance workshop, 61ft by 50ft, and a vehicle shed, S2oft by 25ft.

The railway-siding serving the Ordnance buildings has been completed. The construction of the Ordnance Office and small-arms ammunition magazine has been commenced, and two high-explosive magazines and three married quarters will be put in hand immediately.

The entire inventory previously held at Featherston Camp had been removed. Several buildings were transferred to Fort Dorset to provide accommodation there, and, except for six retained for possible similar transfer elsewhere, and two brick buildings kept on the site, the whole of the buildings had been sold to the general public for removal. The land was retained and was leased for grazing purposes.

NZAOC JUNE 1927 TO MAY 1928

To make good wastage due to retirements, Six Other Ranks were enlisted into the NZAOC during this year.

The development of Ngaruawahia Camp was now in its final stages.

NZAOC JUNE 1928 TO MAY 1929

A concrete strong-room and Ordnance Workshops had been erected at Burnham Camp.

With the removal of stores to Ngaruawahia Camp, the buildings at Mount Eden were no longer required, so they were disassembled and re-erected Narrow Neck Camp.

NZAOC JUNE 1929 TO MAY 1930 

All construction work at Ngaruawahia Camp was completed, and the buildings have been handed over to the Army

NZAOC JUNE 1930 to MAY 1931

On account of the disastrous earthquake that struck Napier and Hastings on the 3rd February 1931, the NZAOC was called upon at short notice to supply tents, blankets, bedding, cooking and eating utensils, for use in the stricken areas. The total value of the stores issued from the Ordnance Stores at Trentham was £35,000. The Ordnance staff did particularly good work in dispatching these stores and equipment.

The Ordnance workshop located at Mount Cook was relocated to Trentham Camp.

With the Depression affecting the New Zealand economy, the NZAOC was forced to retrench many of its staff including;

  • Seventy-six officers and other ranks of the NZAOC were retired on superannuation as from the 31st March 1931.
  • Seventy-four NZAOC staff (excluding officers and artificers) who were not eligible for retirement were transferred to the civil service to work in the same positions but at a lower rate of pay.

NZAOC JUNE 1931 TO MAY 1932

A low period in NZAOC history, the retrenchments of 1931 had hit hard, and operations in the army were at an all-time low during this period

NZAOC JUNE 1932 TO MAY 1933

NZAOC JUNE 1933 TO MAY 1934

NZAOC JUNE 1934 TO MAY 1935

Equipment and stores required for the Territorial Force had been maintained during the year in serviceable condition. Meticulous attention had been paid to the inspection and testing of small-arms ammunition.

NZAOC JUNE 1935 TO MAY 1936

The NZAOC continued to be was responsible for;

  • the provision, distribution, repair, examination, and maintenance of small arms machine guns, vehicles, clothing, equipment, and general stores
  • the inspection and repair of armament and inspection of gun ammunition
  • the receipt, testing, storage, and issue of small-arms ammunition
  • the organisation and control of ordnance workshops

NZAOC JUNE 1936 TO MAY 1937

NZAOC personnel has been engaged throughout the year in the following activities :

  •  Care, preservation, turnover, and accounting for all stores, arms, equipment, and clothing held in Ordnance Depots.
  • Receipt and classification of clothing returned from Territorials and Cadets. Allocation of apparel for dry-cleaning and renovation, and examination on return from dry-cleaning contractors.
  • Examination of new clothing supplied by contractors.
  • The annual inspection of rifles and light machine guns on the charge to Territorial Units and Cadets, and half-yearly examination of Vickers guns.
  • The issue of camp equipment and training stores for camps, bivouacs, and courses of instruction throughout the Dominion, also hire of stores to various organisations.
  • Sales of rifles and barrels to gunsmiths, to rifle clubs, and to the general public, and sales of S.A.A. to rifle clubs.
  • The everyday issues of clothing, arms, equipment, S.A.A. and expendable stores. No progress has been made during the year with the stripping, cleaning, and preservation of the balance of the rifles, S.M.L.E. Mark III, held in store, and which have not been examined since receipt from the United Kingdom in 1920. Authority had been obtained, however, for the engagement of four arms-cleaners, and the work has now started.

As the guest of the Commonwealth Government of Australia, The Director of Ordnance Services paid a six-week visit to Australia at the end of 1936

NZAOC JUNE 1937 TO MAY 1938

The constant changes in the organisation of units and in equipment generally, as adopted in England, had very much complicated and increased the Ordnance work in New Zealand. Much remained to be done in the repair, maintenance, and the modernisation of arms and equipment, in the receipt, storage, and issue of stores and equipment from abroad, and in preparation for mobilisation.

A contract for the first section of the large Ordnance Store required at Trentham was let, and it was proposed to accelerate the construction of the remainder of the buildings. Plans were prepared for the structures needed for the Ordnance Depots at Ngaruawahia and Burnham, and for the rebuilding of the Ordnance Workshop, Devonport.

NZAOC JUNE 1938 TO MAY 1939

There had been a considerable increase in Ordnance work during the last eight months. Equipment tables for all Territorial units except Artillery had been prepared, and the issue of equipment was proceeding. Camp-equipment stocks have been thoroughly revised in the light of the altered establishments, and essential purchases have been affected.

The first section of the large Ordnance store building at Trentham was nearing completion, and a contract had been let for the second section. The construction of this store would alleviate the severe shortage of storage space at Trentham, and will at the same time make available additional barrack-rooms for the accommodation of troops attending the Schools of Instruction. A contract had also been let for the first section of a similar Ordnance store at Burnham with clearing operations on the site commenced.

The Southern Ordnance Depot assisted the Southern Military School at Burnham. The school conducted a unique course for quartermasters, drawn from the various Territorial units of the Southern Military District. The Southern Ordnance Depot provided instruction on the are and preservation of clothing and ordnance equipment.

Copyright © Robert McKie 2017

 


NZAOC June 1938 to May 1939

Personnel

The strength of the NZAOC on the 31st May 1939 was 151 consisting of:

  • 6 Officers
  • 28 Permanent Other Ranks
  • 113 Civilian Staff

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Joseph King, NZAOC

Assistant Chief Ordnance Officer

  • Captain W. R. Burge, M.C., NZSC

Ordnance Officer

  • Captain E. L. G. Bown, NZSC
  • Captain H. E. Erridge

Ordnance Officer (Provision)

  • Lieutenant A. H. Andrews, BE

Northern Command Ordnance Officer

  • Captain D. L. Lewis

Central Command Ordnance Officer

  • Captain W. R. Burge, M.C., NZSC

Southern Command Ordnance Depot

  • Lieutenant D. Nicol

Inspecting Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant I. R. Withell, RNZA

Ordnance Mechanical Engineer, Trentham

  • Captain S. B. Wallace, B.E. NZAOC

Proof Officer, Small Arms Ammunition, Auckland

  • Honorary Lieutenant J.W Fletcher, NZPS

 

NZAOC appropriations year ending 31 March 1939

NZAOC appropriations year ending 31 March 1939

Consequent upon the increase in the establishment of the Territorial Force and the continuous work that would have to be done in the future in connection with preparations for mobilization, a considerable increase in staff was identified as necessary.

Ordnance Services

The NZAOC was responsible for;

  • the provision, distribution, repair, examination, and maintenance of small arms, machine guns, vehicles, clothing, equipment, and general stores;
  • the inspection and repair of armament and inspection of gun ammunition ;
  • the receipt, testing, storage, and issue of small-arms ammunition;
  • the organization and control of ordnance workshops.

There had been a considerable increase in Ordnance work during the last eight months. Equipment tables for all Territorial units except Artillery had been prepared, and the issue of equipment was proceeding. Camp-equipment stocks have been completely revised in the light of the altered establishments, and considerable purchases have been effected.

Ordnance Store Buildings and Workshops

The new carpenters’ workshop at Trentham, Main Ordnance Depot was under construction. The first section of the large Ordnance store building at Trentham was nearing completion, and a contract had been let for the second section. The completion of this store will alleviate the serious shortage of storage space at Trentham, and will at the same time make available additional barrack-rooms for the accommodation of troops attending the Schools of Instruction. A contract had also been let for the first section of a similar Ordnance store at Burnham and clearing operations on the site commenced.

Credits

The sum of £41,705 19s. 10d. has been received for the sale of rifles, ammunition, cordite, cloth, trimmings, waste products, etc

Arms

A supply of short M.L.E. Mark 111 heavy Lithgow barrels and of M.L.E. converted Lithgow barrels was received from the Australian Government for sale to members of Defence rifle clubs. The first consignment of Bren guns was received from England with an armourers’ course on this particular type of gun was held in February 1939.

Clothing and Equipment

Much difficulty had been experienced in purchasing certain items necessary for mobilization, and if the NZAOC was to be in a position to function efficiently immediately on mobilization it was identified to Government that ordering of additional stocks would have to procured and held in peace. This was recognized in principle, and the clothing and equipment situation for mobilization improved, but much remained to be done. Considerable progress had been made with the manufacture of blue uniforms, and to date over 3,400 had been issued. The uniform had received the most favourable reception.

Quartermasters’ Course

The Southern Ordnance Depot assisted the Southern Military School at Burnham. The school conducted a  special course for quartermasters, drawn from the various Territorial units of the Southern Military District. The Southern Ordnance Depot provided instruction on the are and preservation of clothing and ordnance equipment.

Personnel Movements -June 1938 to May 1939

Promotions

  • Major King to Lieutenant Colonel, 1 June 1938

Releases

  • Armourer Staff Sergeant Andrew Archibald Young, MSM
  • Lieutenant Alfred William Baldwin

 

Copyright © Robert McKie 2018

 

 

 

 


NZAOC June 1937 to May 1938

Personnel

The strength of the NZAOC on the 31st May 1938 was 34 consisting of:

  • 6 Officers
  • 28 Permanent Other Ranks

Establishment Review

It was identified due to the recent and pending increases in armament, instruments, and equipment generally, and in the proposed further distribution of mobilization equipment to districts. then an increase in the NZAOC establishment would be required in the following areas;

  • armament and armourer sections,
  • clerical division,
  • General division with store-men and tradesmen.

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Major Thomas Joseph King, NZAOC

Assistant Chief Ordnance Officer Trentham Camp

  • Captain W. R. Burge, M.C., NZSC

Ordnance Officers

  • Captain E.L.G Bown, NZSC

Ordnance Officer (Provision)

  • Captain  H. E. Erridge

Northern Command Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant D. L. Lewis

Central Command Ordnance Officer

  • Captain W. R. Burge, M.C, NZSC

Southern Command Ordnance Depot

  • Lieutenant D. Nicol

Inspecting Ordnance Officer and Ordnance Mechanical Engineer

  • Lieutenant I. R. Withell, RNZA

Assistant Inspecting Ordnance Officer and Assistant Ordnance Mechanical Engineer

  • Lieutenant S. B. Wallace

Officer In Charge, Ordnance Workshop, Trentham

  • Lieutenant A.H Andrews, BE

Proof Officer, Small Arms Ammunition, Auckland

  • Honorary Lieutenant J.W Fletcher, NZPS

NZAOC appropriations year ending 31 March 1938

NZAOC appropriations year ending 31 March 1938

New Ordnance Badges

By 1936, stocks of the 1917 pattern Cap badge had been exhausted, with only collar badges remaining in stock. The Director of Ordnance Services of the time proposed to the Quartermaster General that existing stocks of the NZEF NZAOC badge (180 Cap Badges, 319 Pairs of Collar Badges) be used as a replacement, and the current badge be made obsolete.  The Quartermaster General did not authorise the replacement of the 1917 Badge but did allow the use of the NZEF NZAOC Badge until the provision of new badges could be arranged from the UK.

The Director of Ordnance Services counted with a proposal in February 1937 with a design for a new NZAOC badge, which was a similar pattern to the current RAOC Badge which had been introduced in 1918. The New Zealand Badge differed from the RAOC version by having the Inscription “New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps” in the Annulus field, and the inscription “Sua Tela Tonanti” in the Riband. The new design was approved on the 31st of May 1937.

RNZAOC hat and collar 1937-1947

RNZAOC hat and collar 1937-1947. Robert McKie collection

Ordnance Services

The NZAOC was responsible for;

  • the provision, distribution, repair, examination, and maintenance of small arms, machine guns, vehicles, clothing, equipment, and general stores;
  • the inspection and repair of armament and inspection of gun ammunition ;
  • the receipt, testing, storage, and issue of small-arms ammunition;
  • the organization and control of ordnance workshops.

The constant changes in the organisation of units and in equipment generally,  as adopted in England, had very much complicated and increased the Ordnance work in New Zealand. Much remained to be done in the repair, maintenance, and modernization of arms and equipment, in the receipt, storage, and issue of stores and equipment from abroad, and in preparation for mobilisation.

Credits

The sum of £24,776 had been received as credits for the sale of rifles, ammunition, and cordite, cloth and trimmings to contractors, obsolete and unserviceable stores, waste products, etc.

Arms

Good progress had been made with the stripping, cleaning, and preservation of rifles S.M.L.E., Mark III. The stock of barrels brought in 1920 for sale to rifle clubs had now become exhausted. The question of the provision of a suitable barrel was referred to the National Rifle Association, and, as a result of the recommendation received, inquiries are being made from Australia regarding the provision of such a barrel.

Small-arms Ammunition

Proof of ammunition held in magazines throughout the Dominion manufactured between the years 1929-33 was carried out, all ammunition tested was passed as fit for rifle use.

Clothing

The provision of a blue uniform for the Territorial Force had been approved. Four thousand uniforms were manufactured for issue this year.

Store Buildings and Workshops

The extension to the fitters’ shops at the Ordnance Workshops, Trentham, was completed, and the erection of the new carpenters’ shop planned for construction. A contract for the first section of the large Ordnance Store required at Trentham was let and it was proposed to accelerate the construction of the remainder of the buildings. Plans were prepared for the buildings required at the Ordnance Depots at Ngaruawahia and Burnham, and for the rebuilding of the Ordnance Workshop, Devonport.

 

Copyright © Robert McKie 2018


NZAOC June 1936 to May 1937

Personnel

The strength of the NZAOC on the 31st May 1937 was 34 consisting of:

  • 6 Officers, and
  • 28 Other ranks.

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Major Thomas Joseph King, NZAOC

Assistant Chief Ordnance Officer

  • Captain W. R. Burge, M.C., NZSC

Ordnance Officers

  • Captain E.L.G Bown, NZSC

Ordnance Officer (provision)

  • Captain H. E. Erridge

Northern Command Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant D. L. Lewis

Central Command Ordnance Officer

  • Captain W. R. Burge, M.C, NZSC

Southern Command Ordnance Depot

  • Lieutenant D. Nicol

Inspecting Ordnance Officer and Ordnance Mechanical Engineer

  • Captain I. R. Withell, RNZA

Assistant Inspecting Ordnance Officer and Assistant Ordnance Mechanical Engineer

  • Vacant

Officer In Charge, Ordnance Workshop, Trentham

  • Lieutenant A.H Andrews, BE[1]

Proof Officer, Small Arms Ammunition, Auckland

  • Honorary Lieutenant J.W Fletcher, NZPS

Four Armourer recruits were enlisted during the year, they had undergone training and made good progress. In addition, two Armourer recruits for the RNZAF had also made satisfactory progress. In November 1936 a course of instruction for all Armourers was held. This course was very successful and helped to coordinate the work of inspection of arms throughout the Dominion.

NZAOC appropriations year ending 31 March 1937

NZAOC appropriations year ending 31 March 1937

 

NZAOC Activities

NZAOC personnel has been engaged throughout the year in the following activities :

  • Care, preservation, turnover, and accounting for all stores, arms, equipment, and clothing held in Ordnance Depots.
  • Receipt and classification of clothing returned from Territorials and Cadets. Allocation of clothing for dry-cleaning and renovation, and examination on return from dry cleaning contractors.
  • Examination of new clothing supplied by contractors.
  • Annual inspection of rifles and light machine guns on charge to Territorial Units and Cadets, and half-yearly inspection of Vickers guns.
  • The issue of camp equipment and training stores for camps, bivouacs, and courses of instruction throughout the Dominion, also hire of stores to various organizations.
  • Sales of rifles and barrels to gunsmiths, to rifle clubs, and to the general public, and sales of S.A.A. to rifle clubs.

Routine issues of clothing, arms, equipment, S.A.A. and expendable stores. No progress has been made during the year with the stripping, cleaning, and preservation of the balance of the rifles, S.M.L.E. Mark III, held in store, and which have not been examined since receipt from the United Kingdom in 1920. Authority had been obtained, however, for the engagement of four arms-cleaners, and the work has now started.

Credits

Received as credits for the sale of rifles, ammunition, and cordite – £16,573 Is. 10d.

Provision of cloth and trimmings to contractors; waste products, etc. £4,751 5s. 11d. (This represents the proceeds of sales of cloth and trimmings to contractors for use in the manufacture of Territorial clothing.)

Accommodation

The accommodation for mobilization stores at Trentham remained very unsatisfactory.

Arms Sales

The sales of small arms to rifle clubs and the general public continued during the year. The total value of rifles, barrels, and components sold during the year, ending 31st March 1937 was £3,166 75, which was about £1,000 more than any previous total during recent years. These sales involve a considerable amount of work for the NZAOC Armourers, but this was counterbalanced by the returns.

Director of Ordnance Services visit to Australia

As the guest of the Commonwealth Government of Australia, The Director of Ordnance Services paid a six-week visit to Australia at the end of 1936. During this visit, he inspected the munition establishments of the Commonwealth and visited the Ordnance establishments at Melbourne and Sydney. He also carried out an investigation into the accounting system of the Royal Australian Air Force. Much of the information obtained will be of value in the future.

Workshops

The new instrument workshop at Trentham was occupied in August 1936 and provides greatly increased facilities for repairs. There was a large amount of Armourers’ work in arrears, but owing to the shortage of staff, it was not been possible to undertake it.

Cap Badges

By 1936, stocks of the 1917 pattern Cap badge had been exhausted, with only collar badges remaining in stock. The Director of Ordnance Services of the time proposed to the Quartermaster General that existing stock of the NZEF NZAOC badge (180 Cap Badges, 319 Pairs of Collar Badges) be used as a replacement, and the current badge be made obsolete.  The Quartermaster General did not authorise the replacement of the 1917 Badge but did allow the use of the NZEF NZAOC Badge until the provision of new badges could be arranged from the UK.

20180605_195417-190082474.jpg

New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps Badge, 1916-1919 (Robert McKie Collection 2017)

The Director of Ordnance Services counted with a proposal in February 1937 with a design for a new NZAOC badge, which was a similar pattern to the current RAOC Badge which had been introduced in 1918. The New Zealand Badge differed from the RAOC version by having the Inscription “New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps” in the Annulus field, and the inscription “Sua Tela Tonanti” in the Riband. The new design was approved on the 31st of May 1937.

20190719_142632

New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, Officer Gilt, Silver and Enamel Badge. 1937-1947, Robert McKie Collection.

RNZAOC hat and collar 1937-1947

RNZAOC hat and collar 1937-1947. Robert McKie collection

Copyright © Robert McKie 2018

Notes:

[1] Alan Huia Andrews, BE to be Lieutenant, 17 June 1936. “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfers of Officers of the NZ Military Forces,” New Zealand Gazette No 44  (1936).


NZAOC June 1935 to May 1936

Personnel

The strength of the NZAOC on 31 May 1936 was 30, consisting of;

  • 5 Officers,
  • 25 Permanent Other Ranks

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Major Thomas Joseph King,

Assistant Chief Ordnance Officer

  • Captain W. R. Burge, M.C., NZSC

Ordnance Officers

  • Captain E.L.G Bown, NZSC

Ordnance Officer (Provision)

  • Captain H. E. Erridge

Northern Command Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant D. L. Lewis

Central Command Ordnance Officer

  • Captain W. R. Burge, M.C., NZSC

Southern Command Ordnance Depot

  • Lieutenant D. Nicol

Inspecting Ordnance Officer and Ordnance Mechanical Engineer

  • Captain I. R. Withell, RNZA

Assistant Inspecting Ordnance Officer and Assistant Ordnance Mechanical Engineer

  • Lieutenant S. B. Wallace.[1]

Proof Officer, Small Arms Ammunition, Auckland

  • Honorary Lieutenant J.W Fletcher, NZPS

Officers

Some improvement had been effected in the position that existed last year. One junior officer was sent to England to attend the Ordnance Mechanical Engineers’ Course, another with a B.E. degree had been identified for appointment after experience in a civilian workshop to be  posted to the Main Ordnance Depot at Trentham. An additional officer should be appointed this year for administrative work at the Main Ordnance Depot.

Other Ranks (Including Civilians)

Four men were selected for appointment as armourers and will be trained under a Warrant Officer (Armourer Sergeant-Major) from the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, England, who had recently been appointed. An additional instrument-repairer (ex-Warrant Officer, R.A.0.C.) had also been appointed. Two armourers for the Royal N.Z. Air Force will receive their initial training at the same time. A laboratory foreman, whose duties comprise the testing of gun ammunition, had received training in Australia during the year.

NZAOC appropriations year ending 31 March 1936

NZAOC appropriations year ending 31 March 1936

Ordnance Services

The NZAOC was responsible for;

  • the provision, distribution, repair, examination, and maintenance of small arms, machine guns, vehicles, clothing, equipment, and general stores;
  • the inspection and repair of armament and inspection of gun ammunition ;
  • the receipt, testing, storage, and issue of small-arms ammunition;
  • the organization and control of ordnance workshops.

Equipment and stores required for the Territorial Force had been maintained during the year in serviceable condition. Very careful attention had been paid to the inspection and testing of small-arms ammunition, some of the older stocks of which showed signs of serious deterioration. All ammunition issued for use in rifles was carefully tested before issue, and ammunition found unfit for rifles were either issued for use in machine guns or broken up, according to its condition.

Equipment and Stores

It had not been possible to effect any improvement in the very unsatisfactory position regarding reserves of equipment and stores, as reported in the previous year.

Stores Buildings and Workshops

Sketch plans of additional storage and workshop accommodation at Trentham had been prepared for inclusion in the latest estimates. The buildings required comprise two large storehouses, to be served by an extension of the existing railway siding, and various additions and alterations to the workshops. A substantial economy in staff and administrative expenses would result from the carrying out of this work.

At Burnham Camp, a small building to accommodate single civilian personnel of the Ordnance Depot had been erected, but additions were required to meet an increase in the number of men employed at this camp.

Copyright © Robert McKie 2018

 

Notes:

[1] Relinquished the appointment of Assistant IOO and OEM to attend a course in England 15 February 1936. “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfers of Officers of the NZ Military Forces,” New Zealand Gazette No 19 (1936).


NZAOC June 1934 to May 1935

Personnel

The strength of the NZAOC on the 31st May 1935 was 29 consisting of:[1]

  • 5 Officers, and
  • 24 Other ranks.

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Major Thomas Joseph King, NZAOC

Assistant Chief Ordnance Officer Trentham Camp

  • Captain W. R. Burge, M.C., NZSC

Ordnance Officer

  • Captain E.L.G Bown, NZSC

Ordnance Officer (Provision)

  • Captain H. E. Erridge. [2] [3]

Northern Command Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant D. L. Lewis

Central Command Ordnance Officer

  • Captain W. R. Burge, M.C., NZSC

Southern Command Ordnance Depot

  • Lieutenant D. Nicol

Inspecting Ordnance Officer and Ordnance Mechanical Engineer

  • Captain R. Withell, RNZA

Assistant Inspecting Ordnance Officer and Assistant Ordnance Mechanical Engineer

  • Lieutenant S. B. Wallace.

Proof Officer, Small Arms Ammunition, Auckland

  • Honorary Lieutenant J.W Fletcher, NZPS. 

NZAOC appropriations year ending 31 March 1935

NZAOC appropriations year ending 31 March 1935

It had not been possible, for financial reasons, to follow any progressive policy during the past few years in the appointment of officers to the NZAOC. The officers of the corps are of two classes;

  • Administrative, and
  • Technical.

The small numbers involved made it essential that appointments be made with careful regard to age and the necessity for technical training abroad. It was planned that two junior officers —one for administrative work and one for technical work—would be appointed as soon as funds permit, with one officer to attend the Ordnance Mechanical Engineers’ Course in England in 1936.  Special attention was being paid to the provision of armourers and instrument artificers. The position as regards armament-artificers was satisfactory, but appointments of young men for training as armourers and for instrument-repair work needed to be made as soon as practicable.[4]

 Ordnance Services

The NZAOC was responsible for;

  • the provision, distribution, repair, examination, and maintenance of small arms, machine guns, vehicles, clothing, equipment, and general stores;
  • the inspection and repair of armament and inspection of gun ammunition;
  • the receipt, testing, storage, and issue of small-arms ammunition;
  • the organization and control of ordnance workshops.

Equipment and stores required for the Territorial Force had been maintained during the year in serviceable condition. Very careful attention had been paid to the inspection and testing of small-arms ammunition, some of the older stocks of which showed signs of serious deterioration. All ammunition issued for use in rifles was carefully tested before issue, and ammunition found unfit for rifles was either issued for use in machine guns or broken up, according to its condition.

Equipment and Stores

The situation regarding equipment and stores was far from satisfactory. Financial limitations had made it impossible to build up an adequate reserve of equipment and stores or to maintain those reserves that existed. These stores could not be obtained in New Zealand, nor would they be available until at least six months after the outbreak of war. Apart from the provision of stores, a considerable amount of leeway had to be made up in carrying out alterations and additions to existing equipment. Shortage of skilled personnel and small stores, and inadequate workshops and machinery, together with the increased demands made upon them, were responsible for the present situation. Unfortunately, financial limitations permitted no progress made in remedying this position. An issue of boots has been made to all ranks of the Territorial Force during the past year which proved satisfactory in every way.

Stores Buildings and Workshops

The Ordnance Depots were situated at Ngaruawahia, Trentham, and Burnham. The storage accommodation at Ngaruawahia and Burnham was reasonably satisfactory. At Trentham, where the greater quantity of reserve stores was held, the store buildings consist of the wooden hutments erected to accommodate troops during the war. Most of these buildings still have a considerable ” life,” but the layout is uneconomical in staff and administration and insufficient to accommodate any considerable increase in the quantity of stock held. The stores required on mobilization cannot, under present conditions, be segregated and laid out as they should be. It was proposed that when finance became available, to erect a modern store building at Trentham which will increase the storage available and anticipate the deterioration of the present wooden buildings.

The principal workshop is at Trentham. Small workshops exist at North Head, Auckland, and Burnham, Canterbury. These workshops carry out repair and maintenance work on guns, howitzers, vehicles, machine guns, rifles, optical and other instruments, and miscellaneous small items. A marked increase in this work was expected with the advent of the new armament for coast defences and other equipment. A considerable extension of the workshop at Trentham is overdue,  but could not be undertaken with the finances available in the vote.

Cricket

The Trentham Ordnance Depot contributed a team to the Upper Hutt League of the Wellington Cricket Association competition playing the known games

  • 17 November 1934 – Ordnance Vs Methodist
  • 24 November 1934 – Ordnance Vs Upper Hutt
  • 31 November 1934 – Ordnance Vs Trentham A
  • 8 December 1934 – Ordnance Vs St Josephs
  • 14 December 1934 – Ordnance Vs Upper Hutt B
  • 11 January 1935 – Ordnance Vs Training Depot
  • 14 February 1935 – Ordnance Vs Upper Hutt A
  • 22 February 1935 – Ordnance Vs St. Josephs
  • 29 February 1935 – Ordnance Vs Upper Hutt A
  • 2 March 1935 – Ordnance Vs Upper Hutt B
  • 9 March 1935 – Ordnance vs Training Depot
  • 16 March 1935 – Ordnance Vs Trentham B

The position of the teams at the end of the first round in the 1934/Upper Hutt Cricket League competition was :

  • Ordnance – 45 points
  • Training Depot – 44
  • Trentham – B 40
  • Upper Hutt A – 26
  • St. Joseph’s – 25
  • Methodist – 7
  • Trentham A – 16
  • Upper Hutt B – 11

Ord Cricket Team

Ordnance Cricket Team – 1934-35 Maidstone Park Upper Hutt. RNZAOC School

Personnel Movements -July 1934 to June 1936

Releases

  • Armourer Staff Sergeant Frederick Henry Dew

Copyright © Robert McKie 2018

Notes:

[1] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces from 1 June 1934 to 31 May 1935,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1935).

[2] Promoted to Captain 1 December 1934 “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers and Retirements of Officers of the NZ Forces “, New Zealand Gazette No 87, 29 November 1934.

[3] Appointed Ordnance Office (Provision) Main Ordnance Depot July 1934.”Personal Items Nicol, Erridge,” New Zealand Herald, Volume LXXI, Issue 21862, 26 July 1934.

[4] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces from 1 June 1934 to 31 May 1935.”

 

 

 


NZAOC June 1931 to May 1932

Personnel

The strength of the NZAOC between June 1931 and May 1932 was;[1]

  • 2 Officers
  • 18 Permanent Other Ranks

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Major Thomas Joseph King, NZAOC

Assistant Chief Ordnance Officer Trentham Camp

  • Captain W. R. Burge, M.C., NZSC

Main Ordnance Depot

  • Captain E.L.G Bown, NZSC.

Northern Command Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant J. W. Barry, N.Z. Staff Corps

 Central Command Ordnance Officer

  • Captain W.R Burge, MC, NZSC

Southern Command Ordnance Depot

  • Lieutenant H. E. Erridge, NZAOC.[2]
  • Lieutenant D. Nicol, NZAOC.[3]

Inspecting Officer Ordnance and Ordnance Mechanical Engineer

  • Major W Ivory, RNZA

Assistant Inspecting Ordnance Officer and Ordnance Mechanical Engineer

  • Captain I. R. Withell, RNZA

Proof Officer, Small Arms Ammunition, Auckland

  • Captain I. R. Withell, RNZA
  • Honorary Lieutenant J.W Fletcher, NZPS.[4]

NZAOC appropriations year ending March 1932

Obituary

Mr W Ramsy a former member of the NZAOC passed away at New Plymouth after a brief illness on 15 May 1932. The late Mr Ramsay was a native of Glasgow, and before coming to New Zealand had seen service with the British Army in various parts of the world. He attained the rank of sergeant-major in the 18th. Hussars and later was stationed with the Army- Service Corps in Malta. Shortly after’ his arrival’ in Wellington, the war broke out, and almost immediately he joined up with the Defence Department staff. Transferring into the NZAOC on it formation as a Conductor, Ramsey was soon promoted to Lieutenant, taking his release when reaching the retiring age for his rank in 1920.[5]

Copyright © Robert McKie 2019

Notes:

[1] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces June 1931 to May 1932,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1932).

[2] John J. Storey and J. Halket Millar, March Past: A Review of the First Fifty Years of Burnham Camp (Christchurch, N.Z.: Pegasus Press, 1973, 1974 printing, 1973), Non-fiction, 118.

[3] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces June 1933 to May 1934,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1934): 1.

[4] Appointed 1 Sept 1931 NZ General Order 353/1931

[5] “Obituary Ramsey,” Evening Post, Volume CXIII, Issue 114, 16 May 1932.