Warrant Officer Class One Douglas Keep Wilson

This article is republished with the permission of the Facebook page “Upper Hutt War Stories“. Upper Hutt War Stories is a Facebook page dedicated to commemorating the war service of Upper Hutt’s citizens and those with strong connections to the City. It remembers those who put their lives on the line for the defence of our Nation.

31246 Warrant Officer Class One Douglas Keep Wilson, Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps Buried right next to his longtime friend and fellow serviceman on the gentle slope of Wallaceville Cemetery is a soldier with nearly 40 years’ service with the New Zealand Army. Doug Wilson and Gordon Bremner served in the same unit and played cricket together for the Central Military Districts team. Like his friend, Doug Wilson’s grave gives no clue as to his time in uniform, his participation in World War Two or his extensive Regular Force service.

A local Wellington Boy, Doug was raised in Upper Hutt, attending the Silverstream and Trentham Schools. His father John was serving as a member of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps at Trentham Camp at the time. Unfortunately, the military downsizing which accompanied the great depression saw John Wilson lose his uniformed Army role in 1931. But he was able to stay on as a civilian member of the Civil Service at the camp, until he was reinstated as a soldier again in 1935.

Once Doug finished secondary school at Hutt Valley High, he managed to also get a job at the camp with his father, as a civilian storeman in January 1937. After working for a short period in the Main Ordnance Depot he moved into the clerical section, then volunteered to serve part-time as a soldier in the Territorial Force from mid-1938. A Gunner in the Royal New Zealand Artillery, he underwent training with an Anti-Aircraft battery at Fort Dorset as the clouds of another war in Europe began to gather.

As member of the Defence Department, Doug was not immediately called up for service when war broke out in 1939. Largely because he was already busy helping with the massive expansion of the military which occurred at this time. Starting with equipping and supplying the initial echelons of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force which began departing for Europe from 5 January 1940.

As New Zealand’s contribution to the war increased, Doug was formally drawn into the Army in September 1941 and posted to the New Zealand Temporary Staff. He served there throughout the Second World War, working in the Defence Services Provision Office, part of the Army Headquarters in Wellington. Because his role and expertise were in critical demand in New Zealand, he was never allowed to deploy to an overseas theatre of war.

This decision was lucky for Vera Rasmussen, who Doug met during the War, proposed to in 1944 and married in November 1945. As the Army reduced in size after the conflict, Doug decided to stay on, enlisting into the Regular Force in April 1947, just days before his wife gave birth to the first of their five sons. A storeman clerk in the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps he returned to Army Headquarters, and began slowly progressing up through the ranks.

By 1952 Doug was a Warrant Officer Class Two, and considered a senior and experienced member of the Ordnance Corps. Although not deploying overseas himself, he was involved in the preparation and sustainment of several operational forces, including those sent to Korea, and later Malaya, Borneo and Vietnam.

A keen sportsman he played in several Army and regional teams, including the Army Cricket team. It was here that he played alongside Gordon Bremner, who had served with Doug’s father and Doug had worked alongside during his early days at Trentham. Three years later they found themselves working within the same unit, when Doug was posted back to the Main Ordnance Deport at Trentham Camp in November 1955.

Attaining the Army’s most senior enlisted rank of Warrant Officer Class One in 1958, Doug sadly lost his wife Vera four years later, just six months after the birth of their youngest son. Despite the challenges this loss imposed on the young family, Doug was well supported by his Army colleagues and would continue to serve with the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps until February 1975.

He was awarded the New Zealand Military Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in 1964, which recognised more than 15 years’ unblemished service since gaining the Territorial Efficiency Medal, which he had qualified for at the end of the War. Then in 1969 Doug was singled out for the award of the prestigious and highly regarded Meritorious Service Medal (MSM).

An exceptionally scarce award for those with more than 21 years regular service, the MSM could be held by no more than 20 serving members of the New Zealand Army at any one time. It was generally reserved as special medallic recognition for the longest serving and most prominent Warrant Officers of the Service. With a total of 37 years uniformed service to the nation (38 years with the New Zealand Army if his time as a civilian storeman at Trentham is also included) Doug was certainly considered a worthy recipient.

Remaining in Upper Hutt after retiring from the military, Doug sadly passed away in 2012. His family laid him to rest in Wallaceville Cemetery with his wife Vera, and close to his old colleague and cricket team mate Gordon Bremner. The plain headstones giving no indication of the amazing stories of dedication and extended service to our nation of these two old soldiers. Lest we forget.

For the story of Gordon Bremner see: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=161882235428299&id=108826077400582

References

https://www.aucklandmuseum.com/war-memorial/online-cenotaph/record/C145653

https://rnzaoc.com/2020/04/19/ordnance-cricket-team-1934-35/

https://rnzaoc.com/2018/10/28/gordon-cummin-bremner/

Howard E. Chamberlain, Service lives remembered: the Meritorious Service Medal in New Zealand and its recipients, 1895-1994, H.E Chamberlain: Wellington, NZ, 1995, p. 512.

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/EP19440421.2.106.3 .


RNZAOC 1 April 1952 to 31 March 1953

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

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel F Reid, OBE

Compulsory Military Training

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

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

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

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

Territorial Force

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

Kayforce

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

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

Out of Kayforce

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

Into Kay force

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

Coronation Contingent

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

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

Ordnance Conferences

Ordnance Conference 16 – 18 September 1952

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

Ordnance Conference 21-23 April 1953

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

Items discussed at the conference included;

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

Routine Ordnance Activities

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

Small Arms Ammunition

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

Introduction of New Equipment

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

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

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

New Headdress trial

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

Trentham Camp Commandant

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

Honours List

Long Service and Good Conduct

  • Warrant Officer Class One Bernard Percy Banks, Southern Districts Vehicle Depot, 16 Oct 1952.[13]
  • Warrant Officer Class One William Galloway, Central District Ordnance Depot, Waiouru Sub Depot, 25 Sept 1952

Enlistments into the RNZAOC

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

Transferred into the RNZAOC from other Corps

  • Warrant Officer Class One William Galloway from NZ Regiment to RNZAOC, June 1952
  • Warrant Officer Class One Ronald William Stitt from The Royal New Zeland Artillery to be Lieutenant and Quartermaster, RNZAOC from15 March 1953.[14]

Re-Engagements into the New Zealand Regular Force

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

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

Promotions

To Lieutenant and Quartermaster

  • Warrant Officer Class One Arthur Fraser [15]
  • Warrant Officer Class Two (Temp WO1) Ronald John Crossman [16]
  • Warrant Officer Class One  George William Dudman[17]

To Lieutenant

  • 1952, Lieutenant (on probation) J. H. Doone, with seniority from 25 Oct 1948.[18]

Transferred to Reserve of Officers

The following officer was transferred to the Reserve of Officer with effect 17 Nov 1952;[19]

  • Lieutenant R. K. Treacher

Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[8] Ibid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

[15] Ibid., 569.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid.

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

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


RNZAOC 1 April 1951 to 31 March 1952

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

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel F Reid, OBE

Compulsory Military Training

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

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

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

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

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

Kayforce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Zealand Army Act, 1950

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

Ordnance Conference 11 -13 April 1951

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

Items discussed at the conference included;

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

Pay and Allowances

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

Routine Ordnance Activities

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

The relocation of stores from Waiouru and Seaview to Mangaroa

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

Inspection of Ammunition

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

Small Arms Ammunition

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

Introduction of New Equipment

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

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

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

Support to the French War in Vietnam

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

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

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

Enlistments into the RNZAOC

  • George Thomas Dimmock – 2 August 1951

Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


RNZAOC 1 April 1950 to 31 March 1951

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

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel F Reid, OBE

Compulsory Military Training

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

Emergency Force (Kayforce)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Zealand Army Act, 1950

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

Ordnance Conference 24 -26 May 1950

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

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

Ordnance Conference 26 -28 September 1950

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

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

Industrial Disputes

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

Routine Ordnance Activities

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

The relocation of stores from Waiouru and Seaview to Mangaroa.

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

Inspection of Ammunition

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

Introduction of New Equipment

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

  • 4.2-inch Heavy Mortar.

Enlistments into the RNZAOC

  • Robert J Sontgen – 15 July 1950

Promotions

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

Notes

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

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

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

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

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

[7] Ibid.

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


RNZAOC 1 June 1949 to 31 March 1950

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

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

Chief Inspecting Ordnance Officer

  • Major I.S Millar

Senior Inspecting Ordnance Officer

  • Captain J.G.R Morley

IOO Technical Assistant

  • Captain N.C Fisher

Main Ordnance Depot, Officer Commanding

  • Major A.D Leighton

Main Ordnance Depot. Second in command

  • Captain M.K Keeler

Northern Military District

Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services

District Inspecting Ordnance Office

  • Captain E.C Green

OC Northern District Ordnance Depot

OC Northern District Ammunition Depot

OC Northern District Vehicle Depot

Central Military District

Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services

District Inspecting Ordnance Office

  • Captain G.H Perry

OC Central District Ordnance Depot

  • Captain Rennision

OC Central District Ammunition Depot

  • Captain Robert Price Kennedy

OC Central District Vehicle Depot

Southern Military District

Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services

District Inspecting Ordnance Office

  • Captain E Hancock

OC Southern District Ordnance Depot

OC Southern District Ammunition Depot

  • Captain William Cleaver Ancell

OC Southern District Vehicle Depot

Headquarters RNZAOC, New Zealand Division, Chief of Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (CRNZAOC)

  • Lieutenant Colonel Donald Edward Harper

Regrouping the Army

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

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

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

Compulsory Military Training

Required to build and sustain the Army’s new structure, Compulsory Military Training (CMT) was the tool utilised to provide a sustainable military force. Instituted under the provisions of the Military Training Act 1949 and supported by a public referendum, CMT was an ambitious scheme designed to turn individual recruits into capable soldiers. CMT obliged eighteen-year-old males to undertake fourteen weeks of Initial training followed by a three-year commitment to serve in the Territorial Army with a six-year reserve commitment. The CMT experience began with fourteen weeks of recruit training conducted at Papakura, Waiouru, Linton and Burnham after which recruits would spend three years posted to a Territorial unit. Unlike previous peacetime compulsory military training schemes that have been a feature of New Zealand life since 1909, the 1949 system would include Ordnance units sustained by regular intakes of recruits.[1]

Ordnance Conference

The Director of Ordnance Services hosted a conference of the Districts DADOS and the Officer Commanding Main Ordnance Depot(MOD) at Army Headquarters over the period 8-10 March 1950.[2]

Items discussed at the conference included;

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

Ordnance activities over the period

Over the period the RNZAOC conducted the following activities[3]

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

New Year Honours List

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

  • Military Division: Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE)-
    • Warrant Officer, 1st Class, William Sampson Valentine, RNZAOC, of Christchurch.[4]

WO1 Valentine originally listed in 1915 and saw active service in Egypt, Gallipoli and France. After serving as a POW Repatriation Guard in 1919, Valentine enlisted into the Temporary Branch of the NZAOC at Featherson Camp. Transferring into the Permanent Staff of the NZAOC in 1924 and transferred to Burnham Camp. WO1 Valentine was transferred into the Civil Staff in 1931, remaining employed by the NZAOC at Burnham. Recalled to the colours in 1942, Valentine enlisted in the New Zealand Temporary Staff, remaining with the NZAOC at No 3 Ordnance Sub Depot, Burnham Camp. Transferred into the RNZAOC in 1947, WO1 Valentine was re-engaged into the NZ Regular Force in 1950. Retiring in 1954, WO1 Valentine Passed away in 1959.[5]

Re-Engagements into the New Zealand Regular Force

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

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

Notes

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

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

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

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

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


RNZAOC School Photo Collection

Over a fifteen-year period from 1978 to 1992, the staff of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps School took over 180 photos of the school staff, courses, conferences and other activities, providing a unique record of the activities of the RNZAOC School. This article provides some background on the RNZAOC School, some examples of the RNZAOC photo collection and a link to the catalogue.

RNZAOC School

Upper Hutt City Library (29th Jan 2020). Trentham Camp; Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps School sign.. In Website Upper Hutt City Library. Retrieved 12th Jul 2020 01:51, from https://uhcl.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/1335

Established at Trentham in 1959 the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps School would be the most important unit of the RNZAOC, through which every Ordnance soldier would pass.[1]

The RNZAOC school charter gave the school the responsibility of delivering the following types of courses for Regular and Territorial Force members of the RNZAOC;[2]

  • Star Classification courses for Storeman/Clerks RNZAOC and Ammunition Examiners
  • Recruit Corps training for RNZAOC personnel
  • Advanced trade training for both Officers and Other Ranks in all types of Ordnance activities
  • Technical training in Ordnance subjects
  • Refresher training for qualified personnel

Additionally, as directed by the Director of Ordnance Services, the school would also;

  • Plan and hold conferences and training exercises
  • Draft procedure instructions
  • Test or comment on new procedures, materials or equipments
  • Carry out research into various aspects of Ordnance activities
  • The maintenance of Corps history and heritage

NZ Army Supply training underwent a major transformation in 1993 when the Quartermaster functions of the School of Army Administration became the “Q” Wing of the RNZAOC School.

Further changes occurred in July 1994 when the RNZAOC, RNZEME and RNZCT Schools were disestablished and the Trade Training School stood up in place of the individual Corps schools. As part of the transition into the Trade Training School, the RNZAOC School would be reestablished as the Supply/Quartermaster Wing and the Ammunition Wing.[3]

The RNZAOC School photo collection has recently been received from the Trade Training School. Over the next few months it will be sorted, scanned into an electronic format and the originals placed into albums for future viewing at RNZAOC reunions and other gatherings.

The catalogue of these photos can be viewed here RNZAOC SCHOOL PHOTOS. If copies of individuals photos are required, please order by using the appropriate Reference Number from the catalogue.

1594605692115-124949bc-c71b-467b-9a99-5c5617102070_.jpg

RNZAOC School Staff 9 MAy 1979 Back Row L – R: LCpl Chamberlain, SSgt Blackburn, SSgt Warwood, Sgt Rogers Front Row L – R: WO1 Orr, Capt Bolton, Maj Hansen, Capt Crafts, WO2 Balsillis, WO2 Russell.    Absent:  Cpl Robinson, Cpl Bray. Robert McKie Collection.

1594599681361-2fc1c4bb-2d27-4fe1-9548-5dfd009813a6_.jpg

RNZAOC RF OR Clerk/Storeman 5 March – 2 April 1980 Back Row L – R: LCpl Hassan, LCpl Clifton, WO2 Shahar (Malysian Army), SSgt Aziz (Malaysian Army) Front Row L – R: Pte Naicker (Fiji), Pte Naulutegu (Fiji), WO2 Calvey, Pte Russell, LCpl Rolfe, SSgt Reti                                                       Robert McKie Collection.

1594599380698-de346eac-365d-4dd3-81ab-e97ec8340c9e.jpg

RNZAOC School Staff 12 July 1980 Back Row L – R:  SSgt J.M Murray, Cpl W.T Bray, Sgt E.D Lee, Sgt W.D Scobie, SSgt W.R Bensemann, Sgt M.D Hutley, SSgt L.R Warwood Front Row L – R: LCpl W Bush, Capt J.S Bolton, Maj J.R Hicks (C.I), WO1 D.A Orr, WO2 B.W Calvey.                                     Robert McKie Collection.

1594599291598-02ede0fb-0df6-4e5c-b349-7ddbe09835bc_.jpg

RNZAOC RF OR Senior Ammunition Technician Band 5 15 September – 20 October 1981 Back Row L – R: Cpl Boustridge, Cpl Evans, LCpl Thomas Front Row L – R: Cpl Lawrence, Capt Juno, WO2 Murray, Sgt Davidson.      Robert McKie Collection.

1594599596408-7135c347-279c-4e8b-b0b3-192c36fe50fc.jpg

RNZAOC Advanced Field Operations 10,0- 28 June 1991 Back Row L – R:  WO2 D.T Lyes, WO2 J.P Fletcher QGM, WO2 P.J Roche, WO2 M.R Lawrence, WO2 M.T Heemi, WO2 Riesterer, WO2 S.N Sanders, WO2 B.C Kearney, WO2 M.L Smith, WO2 M.G Kiddie, WO2 J.W Thompson WO2 M.J Roberts Front Row L – R: WO2 W.N Vince, Capt W.T Steel, Lt B.T Grant, Capt H.B Cockburn (SI Supply), Maj D.H Watmuff (CI), WO2 W.F Davis, WO2 G.S Rolfe, Lt W.P Boustridge. Robert McKie Collection.

1594599803508-362b819f-6656-44f0-8c6a-8b63affb5139_.jpg

RNZAOC RF Supply Management Course 15 July – 2 August 1991 Back Row L – R: SSgt K.B Sigglekow, SSgt C.M Ballard, SSgt P.J Byrne, SSgt S.A Bruckner, SSgt S.W Corkran, SSgt N.T.A Merriman, SSgt W.D Epiha Front Row L – R: SSgt B.R.J Law, SSgt B.J Madgwick, Major D.H Watmuff (CI & Course Manager) Lt W.P Boustridge, Lt O.M Raureti.                                                      Robert McKie Collection.

1594599478109-c2f2e23f-2374-4b04-93cc-29fd2933f2a4_.jpg

RNZAOC Phase One Corps Training, 10 February -13 March 1992 Back Row L – R: Pte D.C Manson, Pte M.A Mckenzie, Pte A.P.M Newton, Pte K.M Craig, Pte A.J Henry, Pte G.J Cummings, Pte P.D McMillan, Pte M.A Hanson Front Row L – R: Pte N.J Fulcher, Pte O.M.A Moke, Pte A.M Ward, SSgt K.B Sigglekow (Course Manager), Pte P.A Cook, Pte M.M.J Te Ahu, Pte N Pohoiwi.                      Robert McKie Collection.

 

Notes

1] Major J.S Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Trentham: RNZAOC, 1992), 177.

[2] Charter – Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps School, Trentham, Item Id R383324 (Wellington: Archives New Zealand, 1960).

[3] “Pataka Magazine. Rnzaoc, P. 52,,”  (1994).

Copyright © Robert McKie 2020


Sport and NZAOC in the interwar years – an examination of how sport contributed to the military preparedness and community links of the NZAOC

The Military of New Zealand has a proud sporting tradition; a tradition often touted as an example of how sport and the Military have had a complementary partnership credited with the shaping of the unique New Zealand Identify. Accounts of the 1919 “New Zealand Services” tour of the United Kingdom, France and South Africa and “Freybergs All Blacks” in the wake of World War Two have provided much material for articles, books and documentaries, reinforcing the New Zealand Sporting/Military tradition. However, New Zealand’s Military participation in sport in the period between the world wars is one that has remained mostly unrecorded and unknown. Using the example of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC), this essay will examine how the members of the Ordnance Corps participated as administrators and players in sporting competitions during the interwar period of 1918-1939.  This participation, while a general reflection of New Zealand society of the time, was nonetheless significant because it contributed to the Military’s profile in the community and the military preparedness of the NZAOC.

NZ-Army-team-1919-800

Sport has been a constant companion to New Zealand’s Military endeavours. New Zealand service members are well known for taking any opportunity to put their military duties aside and with the full encouragement of the military hierarchy, participate in sporting competition. Sporting participation in the Military is encouraged because it is not only an easy and practical way of encouraging physical fitness but as stated in the New Zealand Army Publication the NZP20 Sport, useful for promoting “the development of unit morale and esprit de corps, the development of leadership, teamwork, skills, dexterity, comradeship, development of personal qualities and character and the enhancement of the image of the Army in the community.”[1] Although the NZ P20 is the latest interpretation of the role of sport, it is an interpretation that has remained constant throughout all of New Zealand Military endeavours.[2] New Zealand’s final campaign of the First World War was not a military campaign, but rather a nineteen match, six-month tour of France, the United Kingdom and South Africa. The N.Z. Services team chosen from the cream of the NZEF were retrospectively considered in 1928 by Percy Day, the manager of the 1919 South African Services side “superior to the best XV the 1928 All Blacks could field. Being ex-soldiers, their teamwork and team spirit were alike admirable, and they blended into a most workmanlike side.”[3] Additional validation of the relationship between sport and military service came in 1920 as France began to rebuild their Military. Based on observations by the French of fighting quality of British Imperial troops, the French War Minister instructed that the development of sport participation throughout the French Army be made compulsory in every regiment. The radical change was made in part by the French wish to emulate the “fine physique and fighting qualities of the Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans and Canadians, who are the greatest exponents of football, cricket and general sport in the world”.[4]

In the wake of the First World War, sport would undergo a popular resurgence in New Zealand. The nation was determined to move forward to put the losses of the war behind them and “people were determined to enjoy themselves and to forget, or pretend to forget” the traumatic events to the previous four years.[5] Sport as a national institution had already been well established in the years leading up to the First World War and considered by some in New Zealand society as “a moral and physical training ground for young men and therefore a vital component of soldier-making”. However, by 1915 participation would begin to decline as the war effort began to take priority. The resurgence of sporting competitions began in 1918 and by 1919 was in full swing with Rugby Union, Football, Cricket, Shooting and Bowls competitions flourishing across the nation. However, despite the post-war resurgence of sport as a national pastime, the participation of the Military and the Ordnance Corps is less clear. The focus of most contemporary histories of the New Zealand Army for the period 1918-39 are less on sport but on how, despite the high esteem of the Army, how it faced many challenges and struggled for resources. In a period of growing anti-war sentiments, faith in the League of Nations, financial austerity and global depression, the Army underwent many reorganisations restructures and reductions so that by 1931 it had been reduced to a strength of around five hundred men.[6] However, despite the financial limitations of the era, the Ordnance Corps under the leadership of Major Thomas Joseph King, would not only conduct its military duties but also was an active participant in the sporting community.

As the Army adjusted and found its place in post-war New Zealand Society, the Ordnance Corps undertook a similar journey. In 1919 the Ordnance Corps was a relatively young military organisation, having only been formed as a component of the New Zealand Permanent Forces in 1917.[7] With its headquarters and main depot at Wellington’s Mount Cook, the Ordnance Corps was a nationwide organisation with sub-depots in Auckland, Palmerston North, Featherston, Trentham, Christchurch and Dunedin and was the defence agency vested with the responsibility for the provision, storage, maintenance and repair of all of the Defence Forces stores and equipment.[8] Reorganising to meet the need of the post-war Army, the Ordnance Corps would reduce its presence at Mount Cook when it transferred its warehousing functions to Trentham in 1920, followed by the Ordnance Workshops in 1930. Not immune from the effects of the depression, the Ordnance Corps faced its most significant challenge in January 1931 when massive workforce reductions across the NZ Army saw the Ordnance Corps reduced to a strength of 21 Officers and Soldiers with seventy-four men transferred to the Civil Staff, and the remainder retired. Few records of the sporting participation of the Ordnance Corps during the interwar period remain with one of the few pieces of evidence a photo in Joe Bolton’s 1992 History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps. [9] Bolton dedicates eight pages to the interwar period, but in tune with other publications covering New Zealand Military history during the same era, makes no mention of the NZAOC’s sporting participation, except for a single photograph of the 1934-35 Ordnance Cricket team at Upper Hutt’s Maidstone Park.[10]  The general theme of published military history works covering the period set the narrative of the interwar period of one of the struggles of the Military with much of the focus on the Territorial Army with little written about the small Permanent Forces, leading to the assumption that the Ordnance Corps as a military entity did not participate in any sporting activities. However, newspaper archives and records held by Archives New Zealand provide ample evidence that the Ordnance Corps was the most prominent component of the Permanent Forces that participated in community-based sporting competitions, with members of the Ordnance Corps acting as either administrator’s or players.[11] A search of the Papers Past Database using a combination of search criteria show that the Ordnance Corps was an active participant in many sporting activities in two distinct periods during the interwar years. The first recorded period of sporting activity was from 1918 to 1920, with the second period from 1933 to 1939. The absence in the newspaper record between 1920 and 1932 of any Ordnance Corps participation sporting competitions is unexplained. It could have been that resources and the tempo of work precluded participation, or it could be due to a quirk of editorial choice and sports were just not covered in detail during that period.

From 1918 to 1920 the Ordnance Corps was active in a range of team and individual sports including Rugby Union, Shooting, Cricket and Bowls. The Evening Post of October 14 1918, provides an account of a Rugby match between Ordnance and Base Records resulting in an 11 to 3 win for Ordnance. The article describes how the winning tries were scored by Captain King and Private Batchelor with Quartermaster-Sergeant McIntyre converted one try.[12] During 1919, prominent Wellington Newspapers such as the Evening Post and Dominion provided extensive coverage of most sporting competitions in the Wellington region which the Ordnance Corps provided teams to including the Wellington Miniature Rifle Association Osmond Challenge Cup.[13] The Osmond Challenge Cup was an intense competition between several Military and civilian teams from across the Wellington region. An exciting feature of this tournament was that the competition was mixed gender with a team of ladies competing, several of whom were the wives of some of the senior Ordnance Staff.[14] Cricket was also anther popular sport with the Ordnance Corps contributing a team into the Wellington Cricket Association Junior Men’s competition.[15] Lawn Bowls was also popular with the Ordnance Corps maintaining a bowling club up to 1918 participating in competitions and one-off matches. The Ordnance Bowling Club merged into the long-established Johnsonville Club in 1918, raising that club’s membership from Twenty-Four to Forty-Two.[16]  Based on the newspaper records Ordnance Corps participation in Wellingtons sporting competitions fell off after 1920. The likely reason for this sudden disengagement could be attributed to the move of the bulk of the Ordnance Corps to Trentham in 1920, and the reduction of Army staffing levels.

Cricket 1919

The second and most crucial period of Ordnance Corps sporting participation began in 1932 when after twelve years at Trentham the Ordnance Corps Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) entered a team into the Upper Hutt Cricket League competition.[17] The Ordnance Corps would provide a single Ordnance team from the 1933/34 season until the end of the 1938/39 season. During the duration of each season, the Evening Post Newspaper would provide a summary of each game detailing the results of the matches and the high scoring players.[18] By following the Newspaper articles, a roster of the teams participating in the competition is identified, with the Ordnance team along with Upper Hutt and Trentham teams identified as one of the anchor teams of the competition. The Newspaper articles also identify twenty of the men who played for the Ordnance team from 1934 to 1939. Having the names allows cross-referencing against other articles and military personnel files, providing further evidence that the Ordnance Cricket team was not only a sports team but an incubator for the future leaders of the Ordnance Corps. A high number of the players would serve in some capacity in all the different theatres that NZ Ordnance units served in during the war.[19] For example two of the players’ Alan Andrews and Henry McKenzie Reid, then both junior officers would rise to senior Ordnance command positions during the war. Andrews in the 2nd NZEF in the Middle East and Reid in the Pacific. After the war, both would be Director of Ordnance Services (DOS) and then Colonel Commandants.[20] Other players such as Leighton, Stroud and Keegan would all be commissioned during the war and end up commanding Ordnance Subunits in Trentham, Palmerston North and Linton into the early 1950s. The war would bring an end to the Upper Hutt cricket competition with the 1938/39 season the final season of the decade. Sports would flourish in Trentham during the war years, as the camp became a major training camp and logistics centre.[21] However, the Ordnance Corps would not place any terms into the local competition until 1950 when Rugby and Cricket teams representing the MOD once again represented the Ordnance Corps in regional sporting competitions.[22]

ord-cricket-team

One of the most interesting aspects of the Ordnance Cricket team is the use of symbology in the team strip. The existing photograph of the 1934/35 team, picture the team dressed in a simple team strip of whites, with each member wearing a blue cheese cutter type hat with a stylised NZAOC Badge.[23] The use of the Ordnance badge is significant as symbols such as a coloured cap, and a badge can represent the values of the organisation and distinguish the wearer from others.[24] The 1930s were a period of economic austerity, and the provision of a cap badge stylised badge could have been seen as a frivolous and necessary expense. However that these items existed demonstrates a level of commitment by the individual team members to represent their organisation, in this case, the Trentham Main Ordnance Depot in the best possible light.

King

Brigadier T J King, CBE, RNZAOC Regimental Colonel 1 Jan 1949 – 31 Mar 1961. RNZAOC School

In addition to the Ordnance Corps personnel participating in sports throughout these two periods, two individuals are prominent in the field of sports administration, Major Thomas Joseph King and William Saul Keegan. As the DOS from 1924, King was the head of the Ordnance Corps until 1939. In addition to his military duties managing the Ordnance Corps, King was also a significant member of the Wellington Rugby Union (WRU) administration. In the lead-up to the Great War, King served in the Territorials while working as a public servant. King had a lifelong passion for sports and was an accomplished swimmer and capable rugby player. Serving in the NZEF King was one of the first two officers promoted into the newly created NZEF Ordnance Corps. King would serve at Gallipoli where he was injured and repatriated back to New Zealand early in 1916. King continued to serve in the Defence Stores in Wellington and commissioned into the NZAOC on its formation as part of the permanent forces in 1917. He was serving as the second in command of the Ordnance Corps until 1924, King then assumed the appointment of DOS.  As a member of the Oriental Rugby Club in Wellington, the club elections of 1923 saw King appointed as a Vice President.[25] King would then be elected to the WRU management committee from 1926 until 1939. King would not only be involved in the day to day operation of Wellington Rugby; he would also be one of the WRU delegates to the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU). [26] On one occasion King’s WRU duties intersected with his military responsibilities when he recruited Alan Andrews into the NZAOC. Studying at Christchurch University, Andrews played rugby for Canterbury and had made the grade for selection as an All Black in 1934. However, as he was at university, Andrews made the difficult decision to forgo rugby and complete his studies. This decision would be a lifelong regret. Andrews moved to Wellington to complete the practical work for his degree, and King had organised a placement for Andrews through the WRU on the proviso that Andrews played rugby for the Hutt. On completion of his degree, King recruited Andrews into the Ordnance Corps and an Ordnance Officer in 1936.[27] Kings decision was a wise choice, Andrews would have an eventful career attaining the rank of Brigadier. Andrews rugby career high would be when he was selected by General Freyberg early in the war to manage the 2nd NZEF Rugby Team on the cessation of hostilities, a task he completed with much success, with the Khaki Blacks becoming one of the most famous and successful Rugby teams produced by New Zealand.[28] Wartime service would see King resign from the management committee of the WRU, however, in recognition of his long and dedicated services to Wellington Rugby; King received the honour of life membership of the union in 1939.[29] King’s passion for rugby continued during his service in the 2nd NZEF, where in addition to his duties as the Deputy Director of Ordnance Services (DDOS) King would put his skills as a rugby administrator and selector to good use organising fixtures for the various 2nd NZEF teams.[30]

Administering at the club level was William Saul Keegan. Keegan had been a regular Ordnance soldier who was transferred to the civil service in 1931 as part of cost reductions across the Army, continuing to work at the MOD as a civilian throughout the 1930s. In addition to playing cricket for the Ordnance team in the Upper Hutt competition, Keegan was also the President of the Upper Hutt Rugby Club. A legacy of Keegan’s time as club President was the institution of the Wylie-Keegan cup, which remained an annual fixture with Otaki for several years.[31]  A highlight of Keegan’s tenure was that he brought he club out of the financial difficulties into a more stable position.[32] Keegan volunteered for war service and was commissioned as an officer in 1940 and would serve in Ordnance Command appointments until 1950.[33]

In conclusion, the participation of the Ordnance Corps in sporting competitions during the interwar years has remained anonymous in the historical narrative of the period. However, the Ordnance Corps participation was far from anonymous with the newspapers of the day, providing a record of the Ordnance Corps sporting participation with teams and individuals as players and administrators throughout the interwar period from 1918 to 1939. The single reaming team photograph offers a view of the team strip, demonstrating a level of commitment and pride in the Ordnance Corps and a desire to promote it to the local community. Given the nature of the sports, it is evident that sporting participation was useful in maintaining morale and esprit de corps during some difficult times while enhancing the image of the Ordnance Corps and the Army within the community. Finally, the leadership and teamwork that sport encourages were to provide inherent benefits to the Ordnance Corps in the World War of 1939-45. Many of the men who participated in sport as either administrators or players would go on to occupy critical leadership positions within the expanded wartime Ordnance organisation.

Bibliography

Primary Sources

“Army Team Enters H.V.C.A.” Upper Hutt Leader, Volume XII, Number 40, 5 October 1950.

“Compulsory Sport.” Wairarapa Daily Times, Volume 46, Issue 14081, 23 March 1920.

“Dinner and Presentation.” Upper Hutt Weekly Review, Volume III, Issue 39, 16 September 1938.

“Hutt Valley Cricket.” Evening Post, Volume CXVIII, Issue 140, , 11 December 1934.

“Johnsonville Club.” Evening Post, Volume XCVI, Issue 9, Page 5, 10 July 1918.

“Junior Competition.” Evening Post, Volume XCVII, Issue 33, 10 February 1919.

“Minature Rifleshooting.” Evening Post, Volume XCVI, Issue 14, 16 July 1918.

New Zealand Army. “Role of Army Sport.” NZ P20 Sport Chapter 1, Section 2 (2000).

“New Zealand Army Ordnance Department and New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps Regulations.” New Zealand Gazette, No 95, June 7 1917, 2292.

“Regulations for the Equipment of the New Zealand Military Forces.” New Zealand Gazette, June 14 1917, 2369-498.

“Regulations for the Military Forces of the Dominion of New Zealand.”. New Zealand Gazette, 25 May 1927, 1555-600.

“Rifle Shooting.” New Zealand Times, Volume XLIV, Issue 10310, Page 8, 19 June 1919.

“Rugby Football.” Evening Post, Volume XCVI, Issue 91, 14 October 1918.

“Rugby, the Oriental Club.” Evening Post, Volume CV, Issue 57, Page 4, 8 March 1923.

“Upper Hutt Club.” Evening Post, Volume CXXIII, Issue 63, Page 5, 16 March 1937.

“War Diary, 2nzef – Ddos [Deputy Director of Ordnance Services], June 1940 to November 1942.” Archives New Zealand Item No R20111233  (1940).

“William Saul Keegan.” Personal File, New Zealand Defence Force Archives, 1918.

Secondary Sources

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

Cape, Peter. Craftsmen in Uniform: The Corps of Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers: An Account. Corps of Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, 1976. Non-fiction.

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

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

Elliott, Matt. War Blacks. HarperCollins Publishers, 2016. Bibliographies, Non-fiction, Collective biography.

Kelleher, J. A. Upper Hutt: The History. Cape Catley, 1991. Bibliographies, Non-fiction, Government documents.

McGibbon, I. C., and Paul William Goldstone. The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Military History. Auckland; Melbourne; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, 2000. Bibliographies, Non-fiction.

McKie, Robert. “Ordnance Cricket Team 1934/35.”  https://rnzaoc.com/2020/04/19/ordnance-cricket-team-1934-35/.

Ryan, Greg, and Geoff Watson. Sport and the New Zealanders: A History. Auckland University Press, 2018. Bibliographies, Non-fiction.

Swan, Arthur C., and Gordon F. W. Jackson. Wellington’s Rugby History, 1870-1950. Reed, 1952. Non-fiction.

Van Maanen, John Eastin, and Edgar Henry Schein. “Toward a Theory of Organizational Socialization.”  (1977).

Weddell, Howard. Trentham Camp and Upper Hutt’s Untold Military History. Howard Weddell, 2018. Bibliographies, Non-fiction.

Whatman, Mike. Khaki All Blacks: A Tribute to the ‘Kiwis’: The 2nd Nzef Army Rugby Team. Hodder Moa Beckett, 2005. Bibliographies, Non-fiction.

Notes

[1] New Zealand Army, “Role of Army Sport,” NZ P20 Sport Chapter 1, Section 2 (2000).

[2] 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, 506.

[3] Matt Elliott, War Blacks (HarperCollins Publishers, 2016), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, Collective biography, 274.

[4] “Compulsory Sport,” Wairarapa Daily Times, Volume 46, Issue 14081, 23 March 1920.

[5] Greg Ryan and Geoff Watson, Sport and the New Zealanders: A History (Auckland University Press, 2018), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 151.

[6] Garry Clayton, The New Zealand Army: A History from the 1840’s to the 1990’s ([Wellington, N.Z.]: New Zealand Army, 1990, 1990), Non-fiction, 105-10.

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

[8] Less rations and Fuel “Regulations for the Equipment of the New Zealand Military Forces,” New Zealand Gazette, June 14 1917.

[9] Major J.S Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Trentham: RNZAOC, 1992), 80-88.

[10]  Peter Capes, 1976 Craftsmen in Uniform and Peter Cooke’s 2017 Warrior Craftsmen both, cover the NZAOC during the interwar period, but similarly to the contemporary military histories any mention of the Sporting contribution of the NZAOC is absent  Peter Cape, Craftsmen in Uniform: The Corps of Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers: An Account (Corps of Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, 1976), Non-fiction, 16-34.; Peter Cooke, Warrior Craftsmen, Rnzeme 1942-1996 (Wellington: Defense of New Zealand Study Group, 2017), 14-17.

[11] The 1927 Regulation for NZ Military Forces details that the Permanent Forces consisted of the following elements:

  • NZ Staff Corps.
  • NZ Permanent Staff.
  • Royal NZ Artillery.
  • NZ Permanent Air Force.
  • NZ Permanent Army Service Corps.
  • NZ Army Medical Corps.
  • NZ Army Ordnance Corps.
  • NZ Army Pay Corps.
  • General Duty Section of the Permanent Forces.
  • NZ Air Force.
  • NZ Veterinary Corps.
  • NZ Dental Corps.

“Regulations for the Military Forces of the Dominion of New Zealand.,” New Zealand Gazette, 25 May 1927.

[12] “Rugby Football,” Evening Post, Volume XCVI, Issue 91, 14 October 1918.

[13] “Minature Rifleshooting,” Evening Post, Volume XCVI, Issue 14, 16 July 1918.

[14] “Rifle Shooting,” New Zealand Times, Volume XLIV, Issue 10310, Page 8, 19 June 1919.

[15] “Junior Competition,” Evening Post, Volume XCVII, Issue 33, 10 February 1919.

[16] “Johnsonville Club,” Evening Post, Volume XCVI, Issue 9, Page 5, 10 July 1918.

[17] J. A. Kelleher, Upper Hutt : The History (Cape Catley, 1991), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, Government documents, 312-13.

[18] “Hutt Valley Cricket,” Evening Post, Volume CXVIII, Issue 140, , 11 December 1934.

[19] Robert McKie, “Ordnance Cricket Team 1934/35,”  https://rnzaoc.com/2020/04/19/ordnance-cricket-team-1934-35/.

[20] Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, 35-35.

[21] Howard Weddell, Trentham Camp and Upper Hutt’s Untold Military History (Howard Weddell, 2018), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 129-67.

[22] “Army Team Enters H.V.C.A,” Upper Hutt Leader, Volume XII, Number 40, 5 October 1950.

[23] The colour of the type is badge is confirmed as an example remains on display in the NZ Army’s Trade Training School at Trentham.

[24] John Eastin Van Maanen and Edgar Henry Schein, “Toward a Theory of Organizational Socialization,”  (1977): 44.

[25] “Rugby, the Oriential Club,” Evening Post, Volume CV, Issue 57, Page 4, 8 March 1923.

[26]. Arthur C. Swan and Gordon F. W. Jackson, Wellington’s Rugby History, 1870-1950 (Reed, 1952), Non-fiction, 187-88.

[27] Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, 257.

[28] Mike Whatman, Khaki All Blacks : A Tribute to the ‘Kiwis’ : The 2nd Nzef Army Rugby Team (Hodder Moa Beckett, 2005), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 18-26.

[29] Swan and Jackson, Wellington’s Rugby History, 1870-1950, 126.

[30] “War Diary, 2nzef – Ddos [Deputy Director of Ordnance Services], June 1940 to November 1942,” Archives New Zealand Item No R20111233  (1940).

[31] “Dinner and Presentation,” Upper Hutt Weekly Review, Volume III, Issue 39, 16 September 1938.

[32] “Upper Hutt Club,” Evening Post, Volume CXXIII, Issue 63, Page 5, 16 March 1937.

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

 

Copyright © Robert McKie 2020


The Gruber Ration Pack

Emperor Haile Selassie in 1935 before the Ethiopian Mobilisation order against Mussolini’s Invading Italian forces.

“Everyone will be mobilised and all boys old enough to carry a spear will be sent to Addis Ababa . Married men will take their wives to carry food and cook. Those without wives will take any woman without a husband.”

The supply of rations is not a traditional Ordnance responsibility, however with the rationalisation of New Zealand Army Logistics in 1979, the RNZAOC assumed responsibility from the RNZASC for the Supply of Rations and Fuel. Part of these responsibility’s was the manufacture of Ration Packs, which was carried out by the Ration Pack Production Section (RPPS) in Trentham. In addition to the ration packs produced by the RPPS, the New Zealand Advanced Ordnance Depot (NZAOD) in Singapore assumed  responsibility in 1979 for the production of the “Gruber Pack” a unique ration pack designed to supplement the standard ration packs in the tropical conditions of South East Asia. Never told before, this article provides the background on the “Gruber Pack”.

It it a necessity for rations to be provided to soldiers on the move or when situated away from their normal home base with the necessary to supply rations on the basis of :

  • the individual,
  • the small group (squad, section, platoon), and
  • the large group (company size or larger).

Dramatic improvements have occurred over the last two hundred years that have seen the improvement of military field rations. led by the the invention of the can and then preservation techniques including drying and freeze-drying to the modern retort pouches that now the staple of modern Military Ration packs.

New Zealand traditionally followed the British lead when it came to military field rations with the British army issue ration biscuit the ‘Huntley & Palmers Army No 4’ and tinned bully beef the staple during the First World War. The Second World War would provide a boost in the technology of military field rations with the United Kingdom developing military field rations for use across the world and the United States in parallel developing 23 different military field rations and ration supplements.

New Zealand would take its first steps in developing a military field ration in 1958 when trials were conducted to develop;

  • 24 hour, four man ration pack for armored units, and
  • a 24 hour, one man for infantry units.

The results of these trial were the development of the following Ration packs

  • One-Man 24 Hour Ration Pack (Canned) – (one man/one day) for use when individual feeding is necessary , e . g . patrols. Suitable for continuous use up to seven days . A combination of tinned and dry items designed for reheating although tinned food can be eaten hot or cold . There were are three different menus related to this ration pack
  • One-Man 24 Hour Ration Pack (Lightweight) – An individual ration (one man/one day) for use when individual feeding is necessary , e . g . patrols. Suitable for continuous use up to seven days . As the items in this pack are dehydrated, it should not be used in areas where water is not available. Designed to provide three meals per ration pack .
  • Ten Man Ration Pack – A composite ration of tinned foods. Designed for reheating in communal feeding in multiples of 10 .
Canned Ration Pack
1986 Individual Contents of the One Man, 24 Hour Ration Pack (Canned)

By 1976 these ration packs had been in service for a number of years with little work carried out in developing them further.  To supplement these rations packs, a habit had evolved where soldiers when deploying into the the field would take additional “Bits and Pieces” such as potatoes, onions, curry etc to supplement the meagre “ration pack”.

During 1976,  Warrant Officer Class Two J.A Gruber, the Catering Warrant Officer, 1 RNZIR in Singapore took note and decided to design a New Zealand supplementary pack based on tropical needs to enhance the 24 Hour Ration Pack used by soldiers living in the field for weeks on end and the “Gruber Pack” was developed.

The origins of the Gruber Pack date back to the Vietnam era where the idea of a supplementary ration pack originated. In those days the United States Army provided a Combat Composite Pack monthly to each company. The Combat Composite Pack contained extra “goodies” such as cigarettes, gum, fruit juice, tins of fruit, etc today termed jack rats.  The supplementary pack that WO2 Gruber designed was intended to supplement the existing 24-hour ration pack and was to be consumed on the ration of one Gruber to five 24-hour packs.

The actual components of the Gruber Pack would vary from time to time, but were a combination tinned and dry items and based on the daily nation allowance for Singapore which in 1986 was SDG $6.11.

Designed to be eaten by an individual over 24 hours, Gruber Packs needed half a litre of water to reconstitute the beverages, and had a nutritional value of 2433Kcals. Given the climate and components used, a Gruber Pack had a shelf life to two years.

Gruber Packs were assembled on an as required basis from locally purchased components by work parties from 1RNZIR, initially under the control of the NZ Supply Platoon, RNZASC until 1979 and then by the NZAOD until 1989.

The components would be carefully packed into plastic bags to keep them dry and safe, with individual packs packed, ten to a fiberboard carton.

Technical Data for the Gruber pack was;

  • Gross weight 10.2 Kg per carton of ten.
  • Individual pack measurement 40.6mm x 21.4mm x 33mm.
  • Volume .028m3 or 1.14 cu ft.

MENU

  • Chicken Curry/Beef curry/Mutton Curry 170gm. Tin: 1
  • Pea/Mixed Vege 184gm Tin: 1
  • Fruit Cocktail 248gm Tin: 1
  • Cornflakes 60gm Pkt: 1
  • Instant Noodles 85gm Pkt: 1
  • Herring in Tomato sauce/Pork in Tin/Luncheon Meat 98gm Tin: 1
  • Tea Bags Bags: 2
  • Instant Coffee Sachet: 3
  • Milo Sachet: 2
  • Raisins 42gm Pkt: 1
  • Chewing Gum Packet: 2
  • Non-Dairy Creamer 3gm Pkt: 6
  • Toilet Paper Sheets: 5
  • Salt Sachet: 2
  • Pepper Sachet: 2
  • Sugar Sachet: 6
  • Fruit Drink Container: 1
  • Tomato Sauce Sachet: 2
  • Chilli Sauce Sachet: 2
  • Matches Packet: 1
  • Kleenex Tissues Packet: 1

The Gruber Pack was unique to the New Zealand Forces in Singapore. Following the withdrawal of New Zealand Forces from Singapore in 1989, the Gruber Pack disappeared from the New Zealand Military ration menu. However, trials to upgrade the in service ration packs had been underway since 1986, and many of the lessons learnt from the Gruber pack were absorbed into the new ration packs that began to be manufactured by the RNZAOC from 1990.

Copyright © Robert McKie 2020


Central Districts Vehicle Depot

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

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

The role of the Vehicle Depot was to manage;

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

A typical RNZAOC Vehicle Depot consisted of:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Selection of Vehicles held by CDVD Linton1957-61

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

GMC CCKW 2½-ton 6×6 truck

DoF5515a

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

D0F5515b

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

DoF5515c

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

 

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

DoF5589a

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

DoF5589c

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

DoF5589b

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

 

CMP Ford GS 4 X4

 

DoF5633A

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

DoF5633b

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

DoF5633c

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

CMP Chevrolet GS 4×4

DoF5514a

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

DoF5514b

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

DoF5514c

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

CMP Chevrolet 4×4

DoF5588a

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

DoF5588b

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

DoF5588c

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

CMP Chevrolet 15-cwt

D0F5604b

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

DoF5604a

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

CMP Chevrolet 3 -ton 4 x 4 Wrecker

DoF5582c

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

DoF5582b

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

DoF5582a

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

AEC MATADOR

DoF5580b

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

DoF5580a

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

Ambulances

DoF5584b

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

DoF5537c

Air Force Museum of New Zealand

DoF5537b

Air Force Museum of New Zealand

DoF5537a

Air Force Museum of New Zealand

 

Linton-0001-OhG304062

Linton Camp, March 1962

CDVD Legacy

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

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

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

60876664_647855689009500_5696042287163768832_o

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

60574056_647855835676152_7414645769593946112_o

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

 

 

 


Ordnance Cricket Team 1934/35

Sport within the military is promoted as a method of sustaining morale, encouraging fitness and keeping troops occupied and out of trouble. During the 1930s, when the world was in the depths of the great depression, sport became a useful distraction for the staff of the NZAOC Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) at Trentham Camp. Sport also became a useful tool for developing leadership and teamwork and as a way of contributing to the local communities that the  MOD belonged too. Using the team photo of the 1934/35 Ordnance Cricket team, this article will examine the NZAOC participation in sport as a member of the community and look at the stories of the men in the photo.

As the anchor unit at Trentham Camp, the staff of the MOD would be active participants in the sporting life of Upper Hutt and the wider Wellington Region. The Director of Ordnance Services (DOS) Major T.J King, a keen sportsman was very active in sports administration as a member of the Wellington Rugby Union and New Zealand Rugby Union. Most sporting codes in Upper Hutt would have their membership boosted by the staff of the MOD, who in an individual capacity contributed as players, coaches and administrators.

An example of the MODs participation in Upper Hutt sport is with the participation of the Ordnance Cricket Team in the Upper Hutt Cricket Association competition from 1933 to 1939. With the cricket season running from October to April, the Upper Hutt Cricket Association competition consisted of average participation of six teams per season, playing at Maidstone Park on Saturdays and Sundays. The anchor teams that would participate throughout the competition were Upper Hutt, Trentham and Ordnance.

Upper Hutt Teams

The onset of war in 1939, would lead to the end of the Upper Hutt Cricket Association, with many of the participating clubs absorbed into the Hutt Cricket Association and participation in local sports competitions by the MOD went into abeyance for the duration of the war. The MOD would not provide teams and re-join the local competitions until 1950.

The photo of the 1934/35 Ordnance Cricket team is one of the few remaining relics of that period and provided a snapshot to the Ordnance Team of 1934/35. They are posing before or after a match at Maidstone Park the eleven members of the team are in their Cricket Whites with blue caps emblazoned with an Ordnance Badge.

ord-cricket-team

Based on available information, the team from left to right are:

Back Row

George Leslie

Date of Birth: 29 April 1891 – George Leslie has served for two years as an Infantryman during the First World War. Wounded in action in 1917, Leslie was repatriated to New Zealand to recover from his wounds. On 1 November 1919 Leslie enrolled into the Dental Detachment of the Temporary Employment Section (TES). On 1 January 1920 was appointed as a temporary member of the New Zealand Army Medical Corps (NZAMC) at the Army Medical Stores at Wellington. On 9 June 1924, Leslie was sent to Trentham Camp to unpack the Divisional Medical Equipment received from England at the end of the war. With the closure of the Medical Stores in Wellington, the stocks at Trentham would become the medical stocks for New Zealand’s Military Forces, with Leslie appointed the NCO In Charge (NCOIC).

Appointed to the NZAMC (Permanent) on 19 April 1925, Leslie would remain with the MOD as the NCOIC Medical Stores until 1940 when responsibility for Army Medical Stores was Transferred from the NZAOC in November 1940 to the New Zealand Medical Corps(NZMC), and the Medical Stores at Trentham relocated to 42 Victoria Street in Wellington. Responsibility for Medical Stores would return to the Chief Ordnance Officer on 1 April 1947.

April 1942 saw Leslie promoted to Warrant Officer Class Two and transferred to the Advanced Depot Medical Stores at Palmerston North as the SNCO in charge. The Advanced Depot Medical Stores closed in 1944 and Leslie was placed under the strength of No 2 Ordnance Sub Depot at the Palmerston North Showground’s, supernumerary to that unit’s establishment. Promoted to Warrant Officer Class One in April 1945, Leslie transferred back to the MOD in Trentham in July 1947, taking his discharge in February 1948.

David Brown

No information other than he was employed as a civilian in the MOD.

E Hughes

Hughes was a soldier at the MOD until 1931 when his position was civilianised, and he was transferred into the Civil Service.

Lionel Herbert Stroud

Date of Birth: July 1902 – Lionel Herbert Stroud enlisted into the NZAOC as a Soldier at the MOD on 21 October 1928. Like most NZAOC Solders his position was civilianised in January 1931, and he was transferred into the Civil Service doing the same job but at much a much-reduced rate of pay. By 1935 Stroud had been reinstated as a soldier at continued to serve at the MOD.

 In 1939 Stroud was transferred into the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) as a Warrant Officer Class One. During his time in the 2nd NZEF Stroud would serve in Egypt and England helping to establish the Ordnance systems required to support the NZEF, and for his efforts, commissioned as an officer. Returned to New Zealand and posted out of the 2nd NZEF in February 1943, Stroud was commissioned into the New Zealand Temporary Staff (NZTS) as a captain and would serve in a variety of Ordnance roles for the remainder of the war. In 1947 Stroud was transferred from the NZTS into the NZAOC as a Captain and Quartermaster (Temporary Major and Quartermaster). For the remainder of his military career, Stroud would serve at the MOD and as the Officer Commanding of No2 Ordnance Depot at Linton. By 1954 Stroud had retired from the Army and took a new career as a wine merchant.

James Danby

Date of Birth: 17 Feb 1909 – James Danby joined the NZAOC in the early 1930s as an instrument repairer. A keen sportsman who in addition to playing Cricket for the Ordnance Team was also a coach/player for the Upper Hutt Rugby Team. During World War Two Danby was commissioned as an Officer in January 1943. Serving with the Divisional Workshops with the NZEF in the Pacific (NZEFIP) Danby would also run the sports committee.

After the war, Danby would remain in the Army as an officer in the Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RNZEME) at Trentham.

Front Row

Edward Gavin Lake

Date of Birth: September 1907 – Edward Gavin Lake worked as a fruiter/storeman and would serve as an Infantryman during the war.

John Keep Wilson

Date of Birth: Jan 1888 – John Keep Wilson had been a long-term employee of the Defence Department and serving as a soldier in the NZAOC until 1931 when he was transferred into the Civil Service. Reinstated as a soldier by 1935, Wilson would remain at the MOD until his retirement in 1947.

Kevin Graham Keith Cropp

Date of Birth: 1916 – Kevin Graham Keith Cropp was a clerk in the MOD. He was appointed as a Warrant Officer Class One into the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) in 1939 where he embarked with the 1st Echelon. 1941 saw Cropp Commissioned as an officer into the Artillery.

Allen Dudley Leighton

Date of Birth: 20 September 1898 – Allen Dudley Leighton had served with the New Zealand Rifle Brigade in the First World War. Joining the NZAOC Permanent Staff on 17 March 1925 and would be a Lance Corporal at the MOD when he was transferred to the Civil Staff on 31 January 1931. Remaining at the MOD as a civilian clerk, Leighton was appointed as the Ordnance Officer (Provision) and commissioned into the NZTS as a Lieutenant on 2 December 1939. He was promoted to Captain on 14 October 1940 and Temporary Major on 1 February 1942. Leighton assumed the appointment of Ordnance Officer Commanding and Accounting Officer of the MOD on 30 September 1946 with the rank of Major and Quartermaster. Leighton would remain the Ordnance Officer Commanding MOD until 31 March 1951 when he proceeded onto retiring leave. Recalled from his retiring leave 55 days later Leighton would eventually retire on 20 September 1954.

Charles Fred Ecob

Date of Birth: 1908 – Charles Fred Ecob had emigrated to New Zealand as an Eighteen-year-old in 1926. Ecob was a civilian clerk at the MOD during the 1930s and would later be a soldier at the MOD until his retirement in the early 1950s.

Henry McKenzie Reid

Date of Birth: December 1910 – Henry McKenzie Reid was a civilian clerk at the MOD. Commissioned in 1940, Reid would serve as an Ordnance Officer with the 8 Brigade in Fiji. Reid would see further operational ordnance service with the NZEFIP in New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands. Reid would remain in the NZAOC after the war with Reid becoming the Director of Ordnance Services from April 1957 to November 1960.

Most of these men would play for the Ordnance team all the way through to 1939, other men who appear in the records of the team at different times throughout this period are;

    • Ivan Douglas Allardyce
    • William Saul Keegan
    • James Dalton
    • Alan Hui Andrews
    • Hunter
    • Dudding
    • Abbot
    • Harrington

During the 1930s the MOD at Trentham was a significant contributor to the sporting community of Upper Hutt. At the individual level, men of the MOD were players, coaches and administrators for many of the sporting codes in Upper Hutt.  The MOD cricket team was an anchor team in the Upper Hutt Cricket association Cricket competition, providing a level of stability in uncertain times which contributed to the success of the competition. What is significant is that despite having no opportunity to exercise together as a unit in the inter-war years, when war came, the NZAOC had a cadre of potential leaders who had honed their skills on playing fields to help guide the NZAOC in its wartime expansion.