Reports on NZ Ordnance Depots in the Pacific, 1943-44

The Second World War would be a period of immense growth for New Zealand’s Ordnance Services. Expanding from a strength of 6 Officers, 28 Permanent Other Ranks and 113 Civilian Staff operating from limited infrastructure in Devonport, Hopuhopu, Trentham and Burnham Camp in May 1939,  New Zealand’s Ordnance Services would have expanded by 1944 into a diverse organisation supporting New Zealand’s Forces at home and abroad.

Armed with the 1939 Ordnance Manual (war), the Ordnance units of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) would be established and adapted for their specific theatres of operation. In the Middle East, New Zealand Ordnance would integrate into the Ordnance Servicers of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. However, with a Brigade Group based in Fiji from late 1940, it would be the Ordnance Services in the Pacific that faced the most significant challenges. As the NZ Brigade Group transitioned and expanded from its garrison duties in Fiji into a Division conducting amphibious combat operations in the Solomon Islands, the supporting Ordnance Services challenges included anticipating the needs of the Division up to six months in advance and relying on fragile lines of communication that stretched back to New Zealand for everyday items and to the United Kingdom for much of the military hardware held by the Division. Additionally, the tropical climate and indigenous fauna encountered in the area of operations would provide additional hurdles to overcome.

After a series of actions in the Solomons, the burden of maintaining two Divisions was unstainable for the limited resources that New Zeland could provide, and by October 1944 the Pacific Divison had been disestablished. Its men were either demobilised to fill critical civilian roles, or retained in the Army, as reinforcements for the Division in Italy or in the case of many of the Ordnance men, absorbed into New Zealand based Ordnance Depots to receive and refurbish the large amount of equipment returned from the Pacific.


3 NZ Division Tricks and Tanks parked at Main Ordnance Depot, Mangere Sub Bulk Depot on their Return from the Pacific in 1944. Alexander Turnbull Library


3 NZ Division Tricks and Tanks parked at Main Ordnance Depot, Mangere Sub Bulk Depot on their Return from the Pacific in 1944. Alexander Turnbull Library

Based on the experienced gained in the operation of the Base Ordnance Depot in New Caledonia and Advanced Ordnance Depot in Guadalcanal, two Ordnance Officers who had served in the Pacific since 1940, Henry Mckenzie Reid and Stanley Arthur Knight produced reports in 1945 summarising Ordnance operations in New Caledonia and Guadacanal. Both Knight and Reid had been civilians in the Ordnance Corps before the war, Reid at Trentham and Knight at Hopuhopu and commissioned as officers during 1940. Both men would serve in the Base Ordnance Depot in Fiji and then with the Base Ordnance Depot in New Caledonia as Chief Ordnance Officer. Knight would also be the final DADOS of the 3rd NZ Divison. Both officers would remain in the NZAOC after the war with Reid becoming the Director of Ordnance Services from April 1957 to November 1960.

Both reports are similar in overall content with various points on Storage, Packing of Stores, Personnel, Ammunition with each Officer providing varying degrees of detail. The combined purpose of the reports is not only to provide a historical record of this aspect of New Zealand’s Ordnance Services in the Pacific but also to provide a resource for the New Zealand Ordnance Services and assist in planning for future operations in the tropics.




Knight Pic

Lieutenant-Colonel Stanley Arthur Knight


I was appointed Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services immediately prior to the withdrawal of troops from forward areas to base areas in New Caledonia. Shortly after my arrival in Guadalcanal, units commenced preparations prior to evacuation, and my duties as D.A.D.O.S were not onerous since the demand for equipment had dropped to bare essentials. My observations must, therefore, be entirely concerned with an analysis of experiences gained while holding the appointment of Chief Ordnance Officer (COO), Base Ordnance Depot(BOD) New Zealand Expeditionary Force in the Pacific(NZEF IP).


The Base Ordnance Depor was established in New Caledonia at the beginning of the new year in 1943. Being situated some 30 miles for the port of Nepoui at which the bulk of our stores were unloaded and 100 miles from Noumea, fairly long hauls by road were necessitated.

In August of the same year, an Advanced Ordnance Depot was established in Guadalcanal, staffed by about 50% of the Base Ordnance Dept personnel. A few weeks later a Forward Ordnance Depot staffed by 2 officers and 25 ORs was established a Vella Lavella. The later depot was closed down and personnel withdrawn to Guadalcanal when Divisional Troops move forward to Green Island.

Due account must the taken of the type of operations to be undertaken, but it is my opinion that sub-division must be kept to a minimum. If the Base Depot is situated as close as possible to the fighting troops, then the necessity to establish Advanced Depots can be reduced to a minimum. Each time a Sub-Depot is established, additional personnel are required, and the total quantity of stores must necessarily be increased go provide working margins for each Depot.


It will be generally accepted that few if any permanent buildings will be available for the holding of ordnance store on Pacific Islands unless the Base is established at places such ad Noumea, Suva or Rabaul. Full provision must, therefore, be made for the temporary coverage to provide adequate protection for the initial shipments of stores when a Depot id being established.

Sufficient timber and tarpaulins for the erection of shelters should be forwarded with the first shipment of stores. Well constructed canvas shelters with good ventilation will give satisfactory accommodation for the storage, breaking down and issue of equipment for a period of 3 or 4 months. If the Depot is to remain in one site for a longer period, prefabricated buildings should be provided as early as possible if the loss of stores is to be kept to a minimum. Canvas coverings can only be considered a temporary measure as owing to the high humidity, together with tropical rain and cyclones, deterioration is very rapid.

The effects of a hurricane can be severe, and a poorly constructed Ordnance Depot might easily be completely wrecked with very heavy mortality to stores since hurricanes are usually accompanied by torrential downpours.
I stress the fact that the best type of storage which can be procured, must go forward at the very earliest moment; otherwise, the Depot will be severely hampered, particularly in its infancy.

To meet the requirement of a Base Ordnance Depot serving a Division (including Ammunition) and to provide a small surplus for contingencies 2000 tarpaulins, preferably of the standard 180ft x 13-ft would be required.

In the initial stages of an operation, stores are usually carted to dumps from shops. Every effort should be made to provide dunnage for the stacks and tarpaulins should be arranged, allowing good air circulation.

Stacks of stores covered in this manner require constant attention. For instance, when a stack which has been properly covered allowing good air circulation, is partially broken down, the tarpaulin is allowed to drape on the ground. The air under the tarpaulin arranged in this manner is always saturated in a damp climate and rapid deterioration is the result. The same applies to tentage which should be properly erected, preferably with wooden floors, allowing free air circulation and the maximum benefit of dry sunny days used by removing and drying out damp walls.

Although 1200 Tarpaulins were placed on order for manufacture some weeks prior to the Divisions departure from New Zealand, only about 400 were to hand and available for use when the Ordnance Depot was established in New Caledonia. This number was insufficient to cover all Depot stocks and Ammunition with the result that much damage resulted. On instructions from the A.A. & Q.M.G, 80 tarpaulins had to be removed from ammunition stacks for the issue to A.S.C units. As a result of the Ammunition being exposed to heavy rains, considerable damage was done, and a repair party of 50 men was employed for many weeks at a later date, repairing and cleaning the Ammunition, while some had to be destroyed owing to its unserviceability.

When the Ammunition dump was established at Guadalcanal, every effort was made to provide the best possible storage. Ammunition was stacked on goof platforms with coconut poles for base and Tarpaulins were properly arranged, allowing free ait circulation. As a result, losses were negatable in a striking contrast to the losses in this Ammunition by U.S. Forces, who did not cover Ammunition stacks which were often in damp areas with no dunnage.

As it is not possible, without disastrous results, to open up and expose M.T parts, Signal Equipment and spares, Wireless Equipment and spares, M.G and S.A spares and certain Engineer Stores in other than dry storage, it is recommended that sufficient Stores wagons should be provided to house this equipment until such time s prefabricated buildings can be erected. It is estimated that not less than 24 well-appointed stores wagons would be required and theses should be stocked with spares, most likely to be in early demand.

I may appear to have dwelt on the question of storage, but when the Base Ordnance Depot commenced operations in NECAL, the only stores and office accommodation available in addition to Tarpau1ins, on which I have already documented were 8 I.P.P. Tents, being the balance of 110 shipped and 2 G.S Single Marquees. Although a considerable quantity of dunnage was unloaded from ships and made available to Units for camp construction, very little was made available for dunnage of stores. Timber ordered in NZ by B.O.D. for the dunnage of Ammunition was taken over by the Engineers and very little made available for Ammunition. By the same token, priority was given to the issue of I.P.P. tents for Messes, Orderly Rooms etc., 102 being used for this purpose, leaving a balance of 8 for use in our Depot as Stores and offices.

The construction of storage accommodation for Ordnance Depot should be the responsibility of the Works Construction Coy N.Z.E which in my opinion is an essential unit in any Army formation.


Personnel for an Ordnance Depot should be carefully selected to fill the various positions; the following are most suitable: –

Clerks: Men who have been clerks and accountants in civilian life are easily trained to carry out clerical duties in an Ordnance Depot. Qualified accountants are invaluable, and three or four of these in a Depot are worth their weight in gold.

Storeman-General: Men who have worked in retail stores and warehouses and who have good clerical training invariably make good storeman. Farm labourers and navvies are, almost with exception, useless as storemen and cannot be relied on to carry out other than labouring duties. It is agreed that there is a certain amount of labouring work in and Ordnance Depot, but this can be done very efficiently by an intelligent man, while on the other hand, a labourer cannot carry on with the onerous duties of a storeman, should the need arise.

Storeman-M.T: It is essential that M.T. Storeman should have had considerable experience at this trade in civilian life. It is desirable that Senior Storemen should have had at least 8 or 10 years experience in the handling of M.T spares.

Storeman-Wireless: Technical men who have a sound knowledge of wireless equipment appear to be very difficult to procure, but it is highly desirable that at least one very experienced man should be included in the staff of a Depot. It is likely that a Wireless Mechanic who could fill a storeman’s position would be more easily procured.

Storeman-Signals: Signal Storemen from the P&T Dept should prove the most suitable, but again these seem rare.

Storeman-Engineers, Arty & Armd: Key personnel to fill the positions of storemen in these sections should be from Ordnance Depots in NZ and should have some years’ experience. It is extremely unlikely that any suitable personnel could be obtained from other than Ordnance Depots to fill these positions in anything like a satisfactory manner.

The future Defence Policy of this country should include the training of men for Ordnance duties. Even if only an elementary training can be given, men so trained would he much more useful than those who had no training at all. It is also suggested that a good percentage of the men employed during peacetime in Ordnance Depots should be young men fit for Overseas Service should the need arise.

Care should be taken to ensure that the men selected for Ordnance Depots are trustworthy and of good character. It will be found that men who have filled positions of trust in civilian life can be depended upon to carry out their work in a satisfactory manner in the Army.


Almost without exception, N. C. 0′ s are promoted on their technical ability, which naturally is of prime importance in an Ordnance Depot. Quite frequently, these N.C.O’s prove poor disciplinarians and have insufficient training in drill. It is highly desirable that all N.C.O’s should have a short course on discipline and drill, otherwise discipline within the Unit tends to become rather lax.

The importance is stressed, of making provision in the future for sufficient key personnel to be trained particularly in technical sections. In our Base Ordnance Depot with an establishment of 220 NCO’s and 0R’s, we did not have one storeman with any knowledge of Technical stores and had only two men with pre-war Ordnance training.

My experience has convinced me that No Ordnance Depot will function to its fullest capacity unless a D & E platoon is included in the establishment. This Section which should consist of 25 to 30 men including 2 carpenters, would be able to perform the following duties, Guards, Picquets, Camp Maintenance, Maintenance of Stores areas, General Fatigues, and providing working parties to relive pressure at rush periods. This would obviate the necessity of having to detail clerks and storemen, who are often key men, for such duties.


The standard packing case used by Ordnance in New Zealand has proved quite satisfactory. A suggested improvement is that all cases should be constructed of tongue and groove timber.

Many of the cases, and in particular those constructed by Army contractors, proved unsatisfactory. Three-ply cases are poor for tropical conditions and should not be used. Cases carrying “every-ready” were not constructed stoutly enough to carry the weight packed in them, with the result that a high percentage arrived broken, with a resultant loss of the contents through pillage etc., which in some cases was very heavy. Old used cases should not be used for stores which may require many handlings. Timber used should not be less the ¾ inch, and in many cases, it is advisable to use 1-inch boards or heavier, if high weight – size ration is involved.

Waterproof lining for cases should be used wherever possible. In packing stores, it should be always born in mind that cases may have to withstand severe conditions during transit. Quite frequently during unloading of ships on beaches or in transit camps where no coverage is available, stores are subjected to torrential downpours of rain. The resultant damage is not always apparent from outside appearances when packages reach their final destinations. If not required for immediate use the total contents may be rendered unserviceable before being unpacked, perhaps some weeks later.

The use of packing such as wood-wool or straw, which retains moisture, causes rapid corrosion of metal articles, particularly if they have not been toughly treated with a rust preventive before packing. Stores packed out from Ordnance Depots in New Zealand, without any rust preventative have been received in an unserviceable condition owing to the ingress of water or moisture during transit. On occasions, the stores received unserviceable have been urgently required for maintenance. These remarks apply in the main to Artillery Stores, Small Arms parts, and tools.

The packing of Bubbles Spirt Glass, Thermometers and Artillery Packings, etc without protection from heavy articles in the same case, must be avoided at all costs. Fragile articles should be packed in a small wooden box before being included with heavy articles in a case. The use of straw or wool-wood as cushioning when packing instruments such as Binoculars, Telescopes, Periscopes, Rangefinders, etc., should be avoided. Any damage retained by such packing induces rapid mould growth.


Having due regard to lines of communication, minimum require rents only should be carried forward and held until adequate storage can be arranged. This is of course entirely governed by lines of communication. During operations of 3 Div. the paucity of shipping, particularly
during the first 9 months, made it essential that we should carry at least 6 months stock for all items. On some occasions, stores awaited shipment from N.Z. for 6 or 7 months owing principally to the higher priority placed on U.S. equipment.

It is recommended that in future operations where a full Division has to be maintained, consideration should be given to the chartering of a cargo ship solely for supplying such a force. A ship similar to the ‘Matua’ would do the job admirably. When making this recommendation, I am fully aware that there was a shortage of shipping during the period, but the position may not obtain on another occasion.


Conditions in the Tropics made the lite of Tentage very short. I.P.P· and I.P. Tents were in general use and proved very suitable. However, due to the high humidity and heavy rainfall, the average life for the Outer Roof was only about 9 months and Inner Roof – 12 months. According to the location and care taken, there were variations. Tents pitched under trees were seldom, if ever, properly dried out and would be unserviceable in 6 months or less, while others pitched in dry exposed areas where the full benefit of drying breezes was obtained, would be serviceable for 12 months or even longer. In combat areas, subject to air attacks, full use has to be made of natural camouflage, and Tents have of necessity to be pitched under trees, where they are available.

Some G.S. Single Marquees which have only a single skin, were used for storage and these were not at all suitable. Besides being unbearably hot, they are not rainproof and should not be used in the Pacific.

The Pyramidal Tent, commonly used for housing troops, by the U.S. Forces is also unsuitable for the tropics, being unbearably hot.

The life of Tarpaulins is also considerably lessened, principally by the tropical heat. Waterproof dressing, which is normally wax bases, melts and runs out of the fabric with the result that frequent dressing is required.·


The Black R. & F. Boot used by the N.Z. Forces gave good service. Due to the conditions, wear on boots was very heavy and the average boot required re-soling every 3 or 4 weeks. Very little trouble was experienced with mould growth, except where boots had become damp during transit or through poor storage.


Uniforms – Wear and tear on clothing was very heavy. In my opinion, the standard Khaki Drill shirt which can be worn with either shorts or long trousers is the most suitable. The Bush Shirt is not suitable for wear with the shorts and cannot be considered a utility garment such as the K.D. shirt is. The average soldier has to do his own laundering while on Active Service end Bush Shirts look very untidy unless they are well laundered.

Socks – Socks proved quite suitable and gave good service.

Hose, Footless – Footless Hose Proved most unsuitable being much too short and tight-fitting. Soldiers avoided wearing them whenever possible. If it is decided to continue the use of this article, liberal allowance should be made for shrinking.

Underclothing – Vests and Shorts Cotton Under gave good service, but it is suggested that for tropical use, these should be made lighter. The lighter weight garments as used by U.S. Forces are considered to be much more suitable.

Belts – A belt similar to that used by U.S. Forces for general purposes should be issued to each soldier.

Hats S.D – Due to the perspiration and rough conditions, the mortality was very high. However, this hat gave good service. The issue of a Tropical Sun Hat would be a more welcome addition to the kit of soldiers.


I do not propose to report fully on the behaviour of S.A armament or other technical stores since a publication prepared by a Scientific Mission from Australia, who visited New Guinea, covers in detail all the difficulties which confront those who use Army Equipment in the tropics much more fully and scientifically than I could hope to do. I will refer to this publication at the conclusion of my report, but I desire to stress the heavy mortality inflicted on rifles, by the Mason Bee.

This small insect was responsible for the destruction of some hundreds of rifle barrels in the Division. The Mason. Bee will build a nest in a rifle overnight, and corrosion caused by acid immediately sets in and cannot be arrested.

To prevent the Bee entering the nuzzle of a rifle, a covering, preferably of mosquito netting or some such open texture material, should be used as this will allow breathing and thus not induce sweating of the barrel which will occur if it is completely sealed.

Mosquito netting was made available to Units in the Division, but in view of the heavy mortality, it is doubtful that the fullest use was made of this or the repeated warnings issued in Divisional Orders, rigidly enforced by all C.O’s.


The Depot was considerably handicapped by the total lack of lifting gear, until 3 months before the Depot closed, when a very useful Mobile Crane arrived from N.Z. This was in striking contrast to the U.S.Forces who always had an abundance of lifting gear of all types and sizes. The Depot staff had to manhandle such items as Speedway Stores weighing 1-ton and MT cases of assemblies weighing 1,100 lbs.

Every Ordnance Depot should have on its War Equipment Table three Finger Lifts and two Mobile Cranes. One of the latter should be capable of lifting 2-tons at least.


The use of other than steel boxes for the packing of Ammunition should be reduced to an absolute minimum. Wooden boxes, particularly those packed with 3.7 How. Shell and 25-pdr. Shell failed to stand up to the handling and transporting. This was mainly due of course to the deterioration caused to the woodwork by the damp, humid climate and accelerated in some instances by exposure to the weather when coverage was not available, but in any case, the life of wooden boxes is much less than that of steel boxes, which will withstand a good deal of rough handling.


The principle of the supply of Automatic maintenance items is considered to be an excellent one. For conditions in the Pacific, there is no doubt that the scales would require a certain amount of revision but owing to the fact that supplies did not come to hand until some 6 months before the Division returned to N.Z, insufficient data was obtained, and time did not permit revision of the schedules. Had Automatic Maintenance been in operation during the whole period, some very valuable
information would have been available.


It is considered that constant Liaison with N.Z. should be maintained. It is considered that an Ordnance Officer should visit the N.N Base from which supplies are drawn, every 3 or 4 months and that an Ordnance Officer from N.Z. should pay frequent visits to Depots overseas when they are so readily accessible by air transport.


It is desired to place on record the valuable assistance rendered to the Base Ordnance Depot by the Officer I/C Administration, (Brig. W. W. Dove) and his staff at his H.Q. ·what was a very difficult job was made considerably lighter by the friendly co-operation and help and advice given at all times. No reasonable request was ever refused, and everything possible was done to promote efficiency in. the Depot.

The Main Depot was divided into Sections as follows:

General Stores and Clothing.
Armament, Engrs and Signals.
Returned Stores.

HQ was controlled by the C.O.O, assisted by an Adjutant and each Section was controlled by an Ordnance Officer.

This arrangement proved quite satisfactory and could well be adopted in future for an Ordnance Depot set up under similar circumstances with the addition of a Provision and Statistical Section, controlled by an Officer.


Following a survey carried out in New Guinea by a Scientific Mission from Australia, a pamphlet entitled “Condition of Service Material under Tropical Conditions in New Guinea” was published.

This publication deals exhaustively with the effects of tropical. Conditions or equipment in all its phases and is, in my opinion, applicable to all Pacific Islands to a greater or lesser degree.

It is recommended that the fullest possible use should be made of this publication and no Ordnance Officer proceeding to the Pacific should fail to read this valuable Pamphlet.

(sgd) S.A. KNIGHT



Reid Pic

Major Henry Mckenzie Reid

The problems of the receipt, custody and issue of Ordnance Stores in the Pacific Area, is much greater than is imagined by the layman, and it is hoped that the following remarks may prove helpful should the occasion ever arise when an Ordnance Depot is again established in the Pacific.

One of the greatest problems which has to be overcome is the time lag which occurs between the placing of an order and the receipt of the stores. It was soon found that estimates had to be prepared covering supplies sufficient for six months, as this was the period which we could expect would elapse before stores would arrive. This occasionally brought about very large shipments which were more difficult to handle than would have been the case had stores arrived, say, at monthly intervals. The problem of shipping is one which would greatly improve, and I would suggest, that with a full Division to be serviced, there would be sufficient cargo to warrant the chartering of a small ship which would be at the sole disposal of NEW ZEALAND Forces. I mention this, as on numerous occasions, stores which were urgently required by us, were short shipped owing to priorities being placed on US Equipment. I would again point out, that any Ordnance Depot operating in the Island areas, should carry not less than six months supplies. For the information of any Ordnance Officers concerned, I will attach to this report, a schedule giving some idea of the quantities of popular items used by this Force. This may prove of some value both in the initial provisioning of a Depot and also in the preparation of maintenance demands.


Early coverage of stores after receipt is one of the greatest importance. I fully appreciate the difficulty in providing permanent or pre-fabricated buildings, but I would emphasise the fact that this type of storage is essential if the Depot is to function for any length of time. The provision of a permanent building for the handling of M.T spares and other technical stores should be an urgent priority, as, in a humid climate such as rules in the Islands, it is essential to have some areas in which these stores can be opened and handled. Loss of M.T stores through decoration was relatively light in NECAL, but this could only be attributed to the acquiring of storage space at the Gendarmerie. However, until this building became available, we found it impossible to open and supply spare parts which were urgently required for the repair of trucks which were suffering heavy damage due to the atrocious condition of the road. I would recommend the use of stores wagons both for M.T. parts and Artillery, Engineer and Signal parts. These wagons could be parked in NEW ZEALAND with a selection of parts which it could be assumed would be required soon after landing. These stores would be available for immediate issue, and when permanent storage space was available, they could be used for the distribution of small stores to Divisional units. Temporary coverage should be available immediately stores are landed, and I would suggest the 2000, 18’x13’ tarpaulins, together with a supply of timber, should be made available for the erection of temporary shelters and for the coverage of ammunition. Prior to leaving NEW ZEALAND, 1200 tarpaulins were ordered, 400 of these were received with an early consignment of stores, but the balance took many months to arrive, due either to the difficulty in obtaining these in NEW ZEALAND and the lack of shipping at that stage. Owing to this short delivery of tarpaulins, quite a quantity of precious stores suffered untold damage. This position was further aggravated by an order from a very responsible officer for the issue of a number of tarpaulins to A.S.C. It was pointed out that the only tarpaulins available were covering ammunition, with the result the considerable damage was done. Heavy repairs were necessary, and a certain amount of unserviceable ammunition had to be dumped.

Dependent on the availability of timber at the site where ammunition is to be stored, I would suggest that a large quantity of heavy dunnage should be provided from NEW ZEALAND for the purpose of correctly storing ammunition clear of ground contact. This dunnage could easily be used for the securing of M.T Trucks during the shipment.

When the Ordnance Depot arrived in NECAL, it was expected to establish itself and commence functioning with as little loss of time as possible, with the result that the Ordnance Depot was not well constructed as possible and that the men had insufficient opportunity to make themselves reasonably comfortable. Owing to the shortage of manpower, it took many months to have the same amenities as other units had in a few days. I would consequently suggest that the site for an Ordnance Depot should be levelled and roads prepared by the engineers so that the ordnance personnel could get on with the establishment their Depot. Assistance should be given by the Engineers in the erection of temporary shelters such as I have previously mentioned.


The packing and marking of stores received from NEW ZEALAND caused much concern to B.O.D whilst in NECAL. Some cases were much too light for the type of stores which they contained. These were mainly packages received directly from Contractors. As an example, Ever-ready Batteries invariably arrived in a damaged condition owing to the fact that they were packed in light cases. The ideal type of case is that used by the NZAOC for the packing of clothing. This is a standard case in three sizes which proved very satisfactory. The use of this principle should be extended to all types of stores being shipped overseas. It may appear costly to have to provide this type of case, but the amount of stores lost and damaged would be reduced, and would compensate for the outlay. Much damage was done to valuable stores due to faulty packing. For instance, where metal stores are being packed, care should be taken to see that bright surfaces are greased. Quite a number of shipments arrived from NEW ZEALAND in which Small Arms parts, Arty parts and other small items had been just put in a box, with the result that they arrived resembling a heap of rusty metal. Small part such as these, should be greased and packed in greased paper. Glass items such as Spirt Bubbles, should be carefully packed and not be permitted to roll in cases. The use of straw or wood-wool should not be permitted where metal items are being packed, as both of these substances attract moisture, with the result that they become damp and stores begin to sweat.

The marking of stores caused a lot of heartaches to B.O.D, the codesign “P” in a circle, was parked on each side of cases but the scheduled marking was, in many in instances only placed on the top of the case. From an identification point, the local method of marking is for the scheduled mark to be put on both ends of the case. If possible, this could also go on the top. In order to minimise the chance of pillage, I would suggest that the practice of indicating the contents on the outside of the case should cease.

Code signs were used, but were much too obvious to be misunderstood.

Good Paint should be used in marking, as cheap paint or stencil inks fade under tropical conditions. The position was complained of to D.M.T WELLINGTON and was rectified after the visit of D.M.T’s Representatives. Things such as this may appear trivial, but really important to an Ordnance man for the easy identification of stores.


Taking into account the type of operations to expected in the Pacific where forces are liable to land on different islands, I am of the opinion that B.O.D. should not establish more than one forward base. In order to provide an Ordnance Detachment with both the 8th and 14th Brigades and to have maintained an Advanced Ordnance Depot at GUADALCANAL, it would have been necessary if these establishments were to function efficiently, to have provided approximately twice the amount of stores and 80% more men. I am of the opinion that prior to leaving NEW ZEALAND, all units should be allowed to carry a reserve stock of, say, 10 to 20% of items such as Boots, Clothing, Camp Equipment and any items considered necessary. The ideal method of supply with an Amphibious Force would be to establish an Advanced Depot such as A.O.D GUADALCANAL. From then on, all units would work on their reserve stocks. This would allow units to requisition stores and still be able to provide the immediate needs of the man. This principle was tried by the Force in GREEN ISLAND and proved very successful. Units were permitted to carry forward this reserve and from then on submitted demands back to A.O.D GUADALCANAL, which was able to forward the stores required. Any time factor due to shipping was cared for by the reserve stores held by the unit. Regarding a move from NEW ZEALAND of a Force, no unit should move without being completely equipped. If for any reason units have to move without full equipment, then it is imperative that Ordnance stores and the Ordnance unit should be one of the first to move. During the move into NECAL, Ordnance received a huge quantity of stores which were landed prior to the arrival of the main body of B.O.D. This entailed many difficulties for the two officers and 30 O.R’s of B.O.D. who had preceded the Main Body. Their worries were increased by units arriving incompletely equipped and requesting the delivery of stores direct from the Dump in the NEPOUI VALLEY. Some units arrived with men short of even clothing, and this alone should back my suggestion that, either unit’s proceed fully equipped, or that the complete Ordnance unit be one of the earliest to move.


Only in the later months of B.O.D’s existence was ample transport available. This in itself is inclined to hamper the activities of a Depot, and I would recommend that transport should be allowed on a very liberal scale. I would also stress the necessity of having some heavy lifting equipment such as the Mobile Crane which arrived at B.O.D about three months prior to its return to NEW ZEALAND. Such items as Speedway Stoves, M.T Engines and other heavy equipment ranging from 3 or 4 cwt, had to be manhandled and this was much more apparent under the conditions in the islands. A mobile Crane should be one of the first items on any Ordnance Depots War Equipment Table.


I would strongly recommend the appointment of an Inspecting Ordnance Officer whose duties would take him to every unit, where he should be given the right to inspect equipment and report on it. A check could thus be kept on the state in which a unit kept its equipment and also on the fact that they had no more or less entitled to them.

I would also recommend that the return of unserviceable items to B.O.D should discontinue and that a travelling Board of Survey should visit units at pre-arranged times. The I.O.O could function on this board as a permanent member. Items od no Salvage value could be destroyed on the spot whilst items for repair or salvage could be returned to Ordnance. This would obviate the necessity of carting over many miles, large quantities of material whose only fate could be to end in fire. This would minimise the work of the Salvage Section of B.O.D. They would then be in a position to do more repair work than was ever accomplished.


Liaison with NEW ZEALAND or source of supply is an extremely desirable thing, but it is suggested that from an Ordnance point of view this can most successfully be carried out by someone conversant with Ordnance. Quite apart from the Divisional Liaison Officer who made several trips to NEW ZEALAND, I am of the opinion that Ordnance should have had closer contact with NEW ZEALAND. I would suggest that an Ordnance Officer should visit NEW ZEALAND or source of supply, at least every three months. I stipulate an Ordnance Officer, as he would be conversant with the general needs of the Depot. For our dealings with U.S. Forces both in NECAL and GUADALCANAL, use was made of two excellent Warrant Officers, and their appointment was more than warranted. Being in close contact with the U.S Forces, they were many times able to procure stores which were urgently required by our Forces.


Much working time is lost in an Ordnance Depot due to the necessity of guards and fatigues. I would recommend that a D & E Section should be incorporated in the establishment. This Section need not be officered, but could be administered by Headquarters Section. under the Adjutant. The ideal section would be about 25 to 30 men strong and should include a carpenter and general maintenance man. This would allow Storemen and Clerks to continue with their duties, but I would suggest that any relief for the D & E Section should come from the general personnel during off duty periods.


The type of boxes used for the packing of ammunition could be revised. It is common knowledge now, that timber suffers more than anything in the damp, humid conditions found in the islands. I would recommend that all types of ammunition should be packed in metal containers. Not only do wooden boxes deteriorate, but in the number of times they are handled, they cannot stand up to the hard conditions. This is amply demonstrated by the condition in which small arms ammunition in particular, and 3.7 How Shell and some 25 pr Shell arrived back into NEW ZEALAND. Hardly any of the small arms ammunition is in fit condition to travel again.


The selection of personnel for an Ordnance Depot should be given the greatest thought, and every endeavour should be made to ensure that the right type of personnel should be available prior to the Depot’s departure from NEW ZEALAND. The provision of a number of men to make up the full establishment is of no use if personnel with a knowledge of the duties they are expected to carry out are not available. This is stressed particularly in the Technical Sections of a Depot – namely, M. T, Arty, Sigs; Engs and Ammunition. The necessary knowledge to successfully carry out these jobs cannot be gained quickly enough whilst overseas, and an endeavour should be made to see that the bulk of each of these sections should be trained Ordnance personnel. In addition, care should be taken to ensure that men posted to an Ordnance Depot should be of good character and behaviour, as much trust has to be, of necessity, placed in them.


Of necessity, N.C.O’s in an Ordnance unit are promoted for their ability to carry out the work which they are doing. This will sometimes result in an N.C.O. being extremely efficient at his work, but being a very poor disciplinarian. I would consequently recommend that N. C. 0’s in Ordnance be
given a short course solely on drill and discipline.


The supply of spare parts under the system of Automatic Maintenance, is, in itself, an excellent idea. The scales, however, require a certain amount of modification, in that some items are provided for in either too large or too small quantities. Unfortunately, we did not operate the scales for a long enough period to be able to correct them, but in a new Force, this could quite easily be done after, say, six months’ service. In the main, the principle is right, and only minor alterations are necessary.


I have read carefully the pamphlet prepared by the Australian Army on the “Condition of Service Material under Tropical Conditions in New Guinea”. Everything contained in this pamphlet is applicable in a greater or lesser degree to conditions as found in NEW CALEDONIA and GUADALCANAL, and I would suggest that this pamphlet should be consulted and acted upon prior to any further Force leaving NEW ZEALAND for service in the tropics. This pamphlet was prepared by a Scientific Mission for the Scientific Liaison Bureau, Melbourne, Australia.

(sgd) H.McK. REID Major,
Chief Ordnance Officer, B.O.D.



Captian F.E Ford, Ordnance Officer 1917-31

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Copyright © Robert McKie 2020


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sling Ordnance Depot, 1916-1920

To sustain and maintain the New Zealand Division on the Western Front during the First World War, New Zealand established a network of training camps, hospitals and other administrative facilities in the United Kingdom. At Sling Camp in the centre of Salisbury Plain, the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) established an Ordnance Depot to provided Ordnance Support to all of the Units of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) located in the Southern Command area of the United Kingdom.  Comprised of a small number of NZAOC soldiers the Sling Ordnance Depot would perform all the duties required of it from its inception in 1916 until final demobilisation in 1920.

Officially called the 4th New Zealand Infantry Brigade Reserve Camp, Sling Camp is the most well-known of the NZEF training camps in England. Throughout the war, Sling Camp would house up to 5000 men undergoing training and recuperation at any one time.[1] To provide ordnance support to Sling Camp, the NZEF Chief Ordnance Officer, Captain Norman Joseph Levien established the Sling Ordnance Depot during the period May-July 1916[2] The Sling Ordnance Depot would not only be responsible for NZEF units in Sling Camp but also all the NZEF units located in the Southern Command Area, including;

  • the New Zealand Command Depot and No 3 General Hospital at Codford,
  • the Artillery and Medical Corps at Ewshot;
  • the Signals at Stevenage;
  • the Engineers, Tunnellers and Māori’s at Christchurch,
  • No 1 NZ General Hospital at Brockenhurst, and
  • The Convalescent Discharge Depot at Torquay.

‘NZEF in England 1916-19 map’, URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage)

The Sling Depot would be under the command of the Ordnance Officer NZEF in Southern Command, aided by a small staff of NZAOC Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs). Additional manpower to assist in the handling and management of stores would be provided by supported units, with up to eighty other men attached to the depot during periods of high activity.[3]  Eighteen miles from Sling and with over three thousand men based at Codford, an auxiliary ordnance depot was also established there under the control of an NCO.


Second Lieutenant A.J Bond

Second Lieutenant Alfred James Bond would be appointed as the first Ordnance Officer at Sling in July 1916. Bond had been attached to the NZ Ordnance Depot at Alexandra from 30 April 1915 and was promoted to Second Lieutenant on19 January 1916, followed by his transfer into the NZAOC on 2 March 1916. Moving with the NZ Divison to France, Bond would eventually be transferred to the HQ of the NZEF in June 1916 and appointed as the Ordnance Officer for NZEF Units in the Southern Command in July 1916. Bond would remain at Sling until June 1917 when he was seconded for duty with No 5 Light Railway Section in France.[4]  Bond had been under scrutiny since March 1917 when a court of inquiry had found fault with his leadership, which had led to the death of NZAOC Armourer Sergeant John William Allday as the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on 9 January 1917.[5]

Bond was replaced as Ordnance Officer by Second Lieutenant William Henchcliffe Simmons. Simmons had initially served in the Samoa Expeditionary Force after which he would see service at Gallipoli before transferring into the NZAOC. At the time of Bonds secondment to the Light Railway Section, Simmons was serving as a Conductor in the NZ Division in France. Promoted to Second Lieutenant, Simmons would serve as the Ordnance Officer at Sling until August 1917, when Bond returned from his secondment.[6]


Captain H.H Whyte

Bond would remain as Sling Ordnance Officer until January 1918 when Captain Herbert Henry Whyte, MC arrived for temporary duty as the Sling Ordnance Officer. Whyte was an NZ Artillery officer who along with NZAOC Officer Lieutenant Charles Ingram Gossage had completed a course of instruction in Ordnance duties at the Woolwich Arsenal.[7] Whyte would alternate between the Sling depot and Headquarters in London until 8 May 1918 when he would take up the full-time appointment of Sling Ordnance Officer. Whyte would remain as the Ordnance Officer of the Sling Depot until January 1920 when he was appointed as the acting NZEF Assistant Director of Ordnance Services.[8]

All units in the NZEF Southern Command would raise indents on the Sling Depot, which after checking by the Ordnance Officer would be satisfied from existing stock or sourced from the appropriate source of supply for direct delivery to units. The primary source of supply for general ordnance stores was the British Ordnance Depot at Tidworth, which was conveniently located only five miles from Sling. Occasionally stores would also be drawn from the British Ordnance Depots at Hilsea and Warminster. The relationship with the Tidworth Depot would be close with an NZAOC SNCO seconded there to manage the New Zealand indents.[9] Clothing and Textile were drawn from the New Zealand Ordnance Depot at Farringdon Road in London, or directly for the Royal Army Clothing Department (RACD) Southampton Depot.[10]


‘Ordnance store during First World War’, URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 17-Nov-2016

In addition to the provision of general ordnance stores, clothing and textiles, the Sling Ordnance Dept also managed an Armourers Group and a Salvage Depot. The Armourers Group would have been equipped with all the tools and accessories necessary for the repair of small arms, machine guns, bicycles, primus stoves, steel helmets and other like items[11]

The Salvage Depot had developed during 1917as a measure to recycle unserviceable stores to minimise waste and ensure financial savings. All UK NZEF units would return their part worn and unserviceable clothing and textile items to the Salvage Depot for sorting and further action.

All Serviceable and repairable Service Dress Clothing was sent to the Farringdon Road Depot in London for cleaning, repair, and holding for further issue. Serviceable garments such as socks and underwear sent to the Steam Laundry Company at Salisbury, where after cleaning were returned to the Sling Depot and held as stock. Unserviceable textile stores, such as web gear would be forwarded to the Imperial Salvage Depot at Dewsbury.

The Salvage Depot would grade Boots as either repairable or unserviceable. Repairable boots were sent to either the Farringdon Road Depot or the Southern Command Boot Repair Depot at Southampton for repair and reintegration back into stock. Unserviceable boots were sold by auction in Southampton.

Unserviceable general stores that were not repairable on-site would be placed onto a Board of Survey, of which the Ordnance Officer was a member, classed as unserviceable and returned to the British ordnance Depot from where they were initially sourced, either Tidworth, Hilsea or Warminster.

In addition to the processing of clothing, textiles and general stores, the Salvage Dept would also collect waste paper and tin cans for recycling.

On the signing of the armistice, Sling switched from training camp to a demobilisation centre for all “A Class” men, and the role of the Ordnance Depot became one closing units and disposing of equipment, while also equipping men returning to New Zealand. The demobilised plan called for little equipment used by the NZEF during the war to be backloaded to New Zealand. The exception would be rifles and web equipment.  Rifles were inspected by Ordnance, overhauled and reconditioned with best 20000 returned to New Zealand as transports became available. Web Equipment was cleaned, reconditioned and returned to New Zealand as space became available. The NZAOC Staff in NZEF Headquarters in London would oversee the purchase of enough equipment to equip two Infantry Divisions and One Mounted Rifle Brigade. Again as transport became available, this would be dispatched to New Zealand. The plan was for key NZAOC men to accompany each consignment to assist with its receipt in New Zealand.  In addition to closing down units and disposing of equipment, the primary role of the NZAOC was to issue men returning to New Zealand with New Uniforms.[12]

The demobilisation process required the holding of a much larger stock of clothing, and on 23 November 1918, the existing Sling Ordnance Depot was closed and relocated to larger premises a short distance away in the central area of Bulford Camp.[13] The NZ Ordnance Depot at Bulford became the central reception depot for all Ordnance and Salvage for NZEF units in the UK. The Salvage Depot would become the busiest and most important branch of the Bulford Depot with up to eighty additional men added to its staff. In the six months leading up to June 1919, the Bulford disposal depot enabled credits of £38000 (2019 NZD$ 4,12,9535.50) to be made on behalf of the NZEF.

Ceasing activities with the departure of the last New Zealand soldiers repatriated to New Zealand. The Sling Ordnance Depot would cease operations after three years of service. Its final administrative functions were taken over by the NZAOC Headquarters in London, which from February 1920 were under the command of Captian William Simmons who would be the Officer in Charge of NZ Ordnance in England until October 1920.

No nominal roll of NZAOC soldiers who served in the Sling Depot has survived, but the following men are now known to have served at the depot;

  • 23/1318 Armourer Sergeant John William Allday
  • 12/689 Lieutenant Alfred James Bond
  • 2/3001 Sergeant Herbert William Grimes
  • 10/1251 Staff Sergeant Henry Richard Harntett
  • 10/921 Sergeant Leslie Vincent Kay
  • 23/659 Temporary Capitan William Henchcliffe Simmons
  • 2/284 Captain Herbert Henry Whyte
  • 6/572 Sergeant Henry Wilkinson



[1] H. T. B. Drew, The War Effort of New Zealand: A Popular (a) History of Minor Campaigns in Which New Zealanders Took Part, (B) Services Not Fully Dealt within the Campaign Volumes, (C) the Work at the Bases, Official History of New Zealand’s Effort in the Great War: V.4 (Whitcombe & Tombs, 1923), Non-fiction, 249-53.

[2] “Levien, Norman Joseph “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

[3] “New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps – War Diary, Summary, 23 November 1918 – 9 June 1919 “, Archives New Zealand Item No R23856659  (1919).

[4] “Bond, Alfred James,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

[5] “Allday, John William  “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

[6] “Simmons, William Henchcliffe “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

[7] Gossage would go on to be the NZ Division DADOS “Gossage, Charles Ingram,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

[8] “Whyte, Herbert Henry,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

[9] “Harnett, Henry Richard,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

[10] “New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps – War Diary, Summary, 29 July 1918 “, Archives New Zealand Item No R23856657  (1918).

[11] P.H. Williams, Ordnance: Equipping the British Army for the Great War (History Press, 2018).

[12] “New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps – War Diary, Summary, 23 November 1918 – 9 June 1919 “.

[13]  The Ordnance Depot occupied buildings that had formally been used by the NZEF Base Kit Stores which had vacated the premises a few weeks previously.ibid…

Captian W.S Keegan, No 2 Ordnance Depot

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

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

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

Ordnance 1918

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

pnorth showgrounds 2

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

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

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

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

pnorth showgrounds

The aftermath of the December 1944 Showground fire. Evening Post

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

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

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

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

Copyright © Robert McKie 2019


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dissection of a 1950s Equipment Tag

A military equipment tag from the1950s is an insignificant and uninspiring piece of military heritage. Mass produced in the thousands, an equipment tag is a disposable item designed to used once and discarded on the completion of its simple task. Now an item of ephemera, this equipment tag which was initially to have a short term use, has been preserved and now provides a snapshot of the activities of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, Central Ordnance Depot during 1955.

Tag 1

AFNZ 513. Robert McKie Collection

The tag examined here is an Army Form NZ-513,[1] and is a tag designed to label small pieces of Army equipment while in transit from one point to another.

The tag measure 122mm long by 60mm high and is constructed of buff coloured manila card. Rectangular in shape the tag has two tapered corners on the edge adjacent to a reinforced aperture allowing the tag to be secured by the use of string or elastic bands.

The tag is divided into three printed areas;

Tag 4

AFNZ 513 -Left side. Robert McKie Collection

  • The left side of the tag is printed with “ARMY DEPARTMENT EQUIPMENT” clearly identifying the Army as the owner of the equipment/item that the tag is affixed to.
Tag 5

AFNZ 513, Top Right. Robert McKie Collection

  • The top right part of the tag is printed with;
    • The Army Form N.Z 513, The system of lumbering military forms is a legacy inherited by the New Zealand Army from Britain where each piece of Army stationery is identified with a unique catalogue number. The inclusion of NZ in the number identifies the form as either a unique New Zealand Army form, or one that has been adopted into New Zealand Army use from British stocks.
    • Following the practice of the time, government departments in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand franked correspondence from government departments with On Her Majesty’s Service, in this case, OHMS is initialised.
    • The remainder of the panel is printed with space for writing the destination/receiver of the item.

      Tag 6

      AFNZ 513, Bottom right. Robert McKie Collection

  • The Bottom right of the tag is printed with From, with space to write the originator.
  • The rear of the tag is blank with no printing.

The tag would have been printed by the hundreds if not thousand in sheets, with tags torn off and used as required, the attachment point to other tags on the sheet can be seen on the bottom left and right corners of the sheet.

This Tag  has been filled out with the following information;

  • The package is addressed; Mr P Eddy of 105 Gallien St, Hastings
  • It is from; ACCOUNTING OFFICER, C.D. ORDNANCE DEPOT, and has the reference number SA/98/1 of 1 written on the bottom of the tag.
    • The ACCOUNTING OFFICER, C.D. ORDNANCE DEPOT has been placed on the tag by a rubber stamp in blue or purple ink, probably a job allotted to a very junior storekeeper on a slow day to keep them occupied.
    • Based in Linton Camp, The Central Districts Ordnance Depot was the Depot responsible to the NZ Army units based in the Central Districts from 1946. Some it’s functions are still carried out by 21 Supply Company, Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment.
    • The reference number would able to cross-refer to the documentation relating to the package.
    • The 1 of 1 part of the reference indicates that it is a single package.
  • On the rear the following stamps have been affixed to allow postage;
    • six 1s (Shilling) Stamps and
    • two 3d (Three Pence)

This equates to approximate postage to the value of NZD$14 in 2019 currency.[2]

Tag 2

  • There are also two postmarks from Linton Camp NZ with the barely legible date of 27 (unclear) 55.

Based on the information on the tag the following can be determined; at some time during 1955, the Central Ordnance Depot at Linton Comp dispatched by post a small package to Mr P Eddy in Hastings. At the time Peter Eddy was a surgical bootmaker located in Hastings specialising in the construction and repair of orthopaedic footwear.[3] Given Mt Eddy’s occupation, it can be assumed that the package was either footwear or materials requiring the attention of Mr Eddys services.

Tag 3


This tag is the survivor of thousands of similar tags that were produced, filled out and served their intended purpose and then disposed of. As a survivor, it has become a unique piece of ephemera providing insights into the much larger narrative of the history of the RNZAOC.

Copyright © Robert McKie 2019



[1] Abbreviated to AFNZ

[2] “Inflation Calculator – Reserve Bank of New Zealand,”

[3] “New Zealand, Electoral Rolls, Hawkes Bay, Hastings “,

The Pātaka of Ngāti Tumatauenga: NZ Ordnance Corps Locations 1840 to 1996

The New Zealand Army evolved out of the British troops deployed during the 19th century New Zealand Wars into a unique iwi known as Ngāti Tumatauenga – ‘Tribe of the God of War’. While Ngāti Tumatauenga has an extensive and well-known Whakapapa,[1] less well known is the whakapapa of the New Zealand Army’s supply and warehousing services.

Leading up to 1996, the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (RNZAOC) was the New Zealand Army organisation with the responsibility in peace and war for the provision, storage and distribution of Arms, Ammunition, Rations and Military stores. As the army’s warehousing organisation, the RNZAOC adopted the Pātaka (The New Zealand Māori name for a storehouse) as an integral piece of its traditions and symbology. On 9 December 1996, the warehousing functions of the RNZAOC were assumed by the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (RNZALR).

Unpacked on this page and on the attached Web Application “the Pātaka of Ngati Tumatauenga” the evolution of New Zealand’s Army’s Ordnance services is examined. From a single storekeeper in1840, the organisation would grow through the New Zealand Wars, the World Wars and Cold War into an organisation with global reach providing support to New Zealand Forces in New Zealand and across the globe.

Description of Ordnance Units

In general terms, Ordnance units can be described as:

  • Main/Base Depots– A battalion-sized group, commanded by a lieutenant colonel. Usually a significant stock holding unit, responsible for the distribution of stock to other ordnance installations.
  • Central Ordnance Depots/Supply Company– Company-sized units, commanded by a major. Depending on the role of the unit, the following subunits could be included in the organisation:
    • Provision, Control & Accounts
    • Stores sub-depot/platoon
      • Traffic Centre
      • Camp Equipment
      • Technical Stores
      • Expendables
      • Clothing
      • Returned Stores & Disposals
        • Textile Repair
        • Tailors
        • Boot Repair
      • Ammunition Sub-Depot/Platoon
      • Vehicles Sub-Depot/Platoon
      • Services Sub-Depot/Platoon
        • Bath and Shower
        • Laundry
      • Rations Sub-Depot/Platoon (after 1979)
      • Fresh Rations
      • Combat Rations
      • Butchers
      • Petroleum Platoon (after 1979)
      • Vehicle Depots
    • Workshops Stores Sections – In 1962, RNZAOC Stores Sections carrying specialised spares, assemblies and workshops materials to suit the particular requirement of its parent RNZEME workshops were approved and RNZEME Technical Stores personnel employed in these were transferred to the RNZAOC.[2] [3]
    • Workshops. Before 1947, Equipment repair workshops were part of the Ordnance organisation, types of Workshop included:
      • Main Workshop
      • Field/Mobile Workshop
      • Light Aid Detachments

Unit naming conventions

The naming of Ordnance units within New Zealand was generally based upon the unit locations or function or unit.

Supply Depots were initially named based on the district they belonged to:

  • Upper North Island – Northern District Ordnance Depot
  • Lower North Island – Central Districts Ordnance Depot
  • South Island – Southern Districts Ordnance Depot

In 1968 a regionally based numbering system was adopted

  • 1 for Ngaruawahia
  • 2 for Linton
  • 3 for Burnham
  • 4 for Waiouru

Some exceptions were:

  • 1 Base Depot and 1st Base Supply Battalion, single battalion-sized unit, the name were based on role, not location.
  • 1 Composite Ordnance Company, a unique company-sized group, the name was based on function, not location

When the Royal New Zealand Army Service Corps (RNZASC) became the Royal New Zealand Corps of Transport (RNZCT) in 1979, the supply functions were transferred to the RNZAOC with the 1st number signifying the location with the 2nd number been 4 for all Supply Platoons:

  • 14 Supply Platoon, Papakura
  • 24 Supply Platoon, Linton
  • 34 Supply Platoon, Burnham
  • 44 Supply Platoon, Waiouru
  • 54 Supply Platoon, Trentham

Exceptions were:

  • 21 Supply Company – Retained its name as a historical link to the unit’s long history in the RNZASC.
  • 47 Petroleum Platoon, originally 7 Petroleum Platoon RNZASC, when Transferred to the RNZAOC, as it was based in Waiouru it added the Waiouru unit designation ‘4’ and became 47 Petroleum Platoon RNZAOC

Unit locations New Zealand, 1907–1996


9 Magazines Operational from 1943, closed1962.


20 Magazines operational from 1943


There has been an Ordnance presence in Auckland since the 1840s with the Colonial Storekeeper and Imperial forces. The Northern Districts Ordnance Depot was situated in Mount Eden in the early 1900s. In the 1940s the centre for Ordnance Support for the Northern Districts moved to Ngaruawahia, with a Sub depot remaining at Narrow Neck to provided immediate support.

RNZAOC units that have been accommodated at Auckland have been:

Stores Depot

  • Northern District Ordnance Depot, Goal Reserve, Mount Eden 1907 to 1929.[4]
  • Northern District Ordnance Depot, Narrow Neck, 1929 to? [5]
  • 1 Supply Company, from 1989, Papakura
  • 12 Supply Company
  • 12 Field Supply Company
  • 15 Combat Supplies Platoon, 1 Logistic Regiment
  • 52 Supply Platoon, 5 Force Support Company

Vehicle Depot

  • Northern Districts Vehicle Depot, Sylvia Park, 1948-1961
  • Northern Districts Ordnance Depot, Vehicle Sub Depot, Sylvia Park, 1961 – 1968
  • 1 Central Ordnance Depot (1 COD), Vehicle Sub Depot, Sylvia Park, 1968 to 1979
  • 1 Supply Company, Vehicle Sub Depot, Sylvia Park, 1979 to 1989

Ammunition Depot

  • Northern Districts Ammunition Depot, Ardmore

Other Units

  • Bulk Stores Mangere, the 1940s (Part of MOD Trentham)
  • DSS Fort Cautley.


Located at the Torpedo Yard, North Head

  • Ordnance Workshop Devonport, 1925-1941
  • No 12 Ordnance Workshop, Devonport, 1941–1946

Workshop Stores Section

  • 1 Infantry Workshop, Stores Section, Papakura 1962–1986
  • 1 Field Workshop Store Section, Papakura
  • 1 Transport Company Workshop, Stores Section, Fort Cautley


Operational from 1943

  • MOD Trentham, Ammunition Group, Ammunition Section


Stores Depot

1921 saw the establishment of a single Command Ordnance Depot to service all military units in the newly organised Southern Military Command. Before this, Ordnance stores had operated from Christchurch and Dunedin. The new Depot (later renamed the Third Central Ordnance Depot) was established in the buildings of the former Industrial School at Burnham. Re-structuring in 1979 brought a change of name to 3 Supply Company.[6] [7] [8]

  • Stores Depot titles 1921–1996
    • Area Ordnance Department Burnham, 1920 to 1939,
    • Southern Districts Ordnance Depot, 1939 to 1942,
    • No 3 Sub Depot, 1942 – 1948,
    • Southern Districts Ordnance Depot, 1948 – 1968,
    • 3 Central Ordnance Depot (3 COD), 1968 to 1979, [9]
    • 3 Supply Company, 1979 to 1993,
    • Burnham Supply Center,1993 to 1994,
    • 3 Field Supply Company, 1994 to 1996.

Vehicle Depot

  • Southern Districts Vehicle Depot, 1948-1961.

Ammunition Depot

  • Southern Districts Vehicle Ammunition 1954-1961.

Other Ordnance Units

  • Combat Supplies Platoon. 1979 to 19??,
  • Ready Reaction Force Ordnance Support Group (RRF OSG), 19?? To 1992, moved to Linton,
  • 32 Field Supply Company (Territorial Force Unit).

Ordnance Field Parks

  • 3 Infantry Brigade Group OFP Platoon, 21 October 1948 – 28 June 1955.
  • 1 (NZ) Division OFP, Tech Stores Platoon, 28 June 1955 -,


  • No 14 Ordnance Workshop, until 1946.

Workshop Stores Section

  • Southern Districts Workshop, Stores Section,
  • 3 Field Workshop, Store Section.


Stores Depot

  • Canterbury and Nelson Military District Stores Depot, King Edwards Barracks, Christchurch, 1907 to 1921.

Workshop Stores Section

  • Southern Districts Workshop, Stores Section, Addington,
  • 3 Infantry Brigade Workshop, Stores Section, Addington,
  • 3 Transport Company Workshop, Stores Section, Addington.


Stores Depot

  • Otago and Southland Military Districts Stores Depot, 1907 to 1921


Nine magazines Operational 1943.


Featherston Camp was New Zealand’s largest training camp during the First World War, where around 60,000 young men trained for overseas service between 1916 – 1918. An Ordnance Detachment was maintained in Featherston until 1927 when it functions were transferred to Northern Districts Ordnance Depot, Ngaruawahia.[10]

Glen Tunnel

16 magazines Operational from 1943


Proof Office, Small Arms Ammunition Factory, 1943-1946

Kelms Road

55 Magazines Operational from 1943 to 1976

Linton Camp

RNZAOC units that have been accommodated at Linton have been;

Stores Depot

  • No 2 Ordnance Depot, 1 October 1946  to 1948,
  • Central Districts Ordnance Depot,  1948 to 1968,
  • 2 Central Ordnance Depot (2 COD), 1968 to 16 Oct 1978,[11]
  • 2 Supply Company,  16 October 1978 to 1985,
    • Static Depot
      • Tech Stores Section
    • Field Force
      • 22 Ordnance Field Park
        • General Stores
        • Bath Section
  • 5 Composite Supply Company, 1985 to 1990.
  • 21 Field Supply Company 1990 to 1996

Vehicle Depot

  • Central Districts Vehicle Depot, 1957-1961

Ammunition Depot


Ordnance Field Parks

  • 2nd Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park Platoon 1948-48
  • 22 Ordnance Field Park

Workshop Stores Section

  • 1 General Troops Workshop, Stores Section
  • Linton Area Workshop, Stores Section
  • 5 Engineer Workshop, Store Section

Other Ordnance Units

  • 24 Supply Platoon
  • 23 Combat Supplies Platoon
  • 47 Petroleum Platoon 1984 to 1996
  • Ready Reaction Force Ordnance Support Group (RRF OSG), from Burnham in 1992 absorbed into 21 Field Supply Company. [12]

Lower Hutt

Ordnance Field Parks

  • 1 (NZ) Division OFP, Tech Stores Platoon, 28 June 1955 –


First used as a tented camp during the First World War and in the Second World War Mangaroa was the site of an RNZAF Stores Depot from 1943. The depot with a storage capacity of 25,000 sq ft in 8 ‘Adams type’ Buildings was Handed over to the NZ Army by 1949.[13] The units that have been accommodated at Mangaroa have been:

Supply Depot

  • Main Ordnance Depot,1949–1968,
  • 1 Base Ordnance Depot, 1968–1979,
  • 1st Base Supply Battalion, 1979–1985,
    • ACE(Artillery and Camp Equipment) Group

Ordnance Field Parks

  • 4(NZ) Division Ordnance Field Park(OFP), 1950–1963,
  • 1 Infantry Brigade Group, OFP, 1963–1968,
  • 1st Composite Ordnance Company (1 Comp Ord Coy), 1964–1977,
    1 Comp Ord Coy was the Ordnance Bulk Holding unit for the field force units supporting the Combat Brigade Group and the Logistic Support Group and held 60–90 days war reserve stock. 1 Comp Ord Coy was made up of the following subunits: [14]

    • Coy HQ
    • 1 Platoon, General Stores
    • 2 Platoon, Technical Stores
    • 3 Platoon, Vehicles
    • 4 Platoon, Ammo (located at Moko Moko)
    • 5 Platoon, Laundry
    • 6 Platoon, Bath

Mako Mako

39 magazines operational from 1943

  • MOD Trentham, Ammunition Group, Ammunition Section
  • 2 COD Ammunition Section

Mount Somers

10 Magazines operational from 1943, closed 1969


Ngaruawahia also was known as Hopu Hopu was established in 1927, [15] and allowed the closure of Featherston Ordnance Depot and the Auckland Ordnance Depot and was intended to service the northern regions. During construction, Ngaruawahia was described by the Auckland Star as “Probably the greatest Ordnance Depot”[16] Ngaruawahia closed down in 1989, and its Ordnance functions moved to Papakura and Mount Wellington.
RNZAOC units that have been accommodated at Ngaruawahia have been:

Stores Depot

  • Area Ngaruwahia Ordnance Department 1927 to 1940,
  • Northern District Ordnance Depot, 1940 to 1968,
  • 1 Central Ordnance Depot (1 COD), 1968 to 1979,
  • 1 Supply Company, 1979 to 1989,
  • 1 Field Supply Company, 1984, from 1989, Papakura.  [17]

Ordnance Field Parks

  • 1 Infantry Brigade Group, Ordnance Field Park(OFP), 1968 to 1979, support to Combat Brigade Group

Workshop Stores Section

  • 1 Infantry Brigade Group LAD, Stores Section

Other Ordnance Units

  • Northern Districts Ammunition Depot, Kelms Road

 Palmerston North

  • Palmerston North Detachment, NZAOC, Awapuni Racecourse, 1914 to 1921.[18] [19] [20]
  • Depot Closed and stocks moved to Trentham.
  • Ordnance Store, 327 Main Street Circa 1917-1921.[21]
  • No 2 Ordnance Sub Depot, Palmerston North showgrounds, 1942 to 1946 when depot moved to Linton.


Stores Depot

  • Main Ordnance Depot (MOD), 1920 to 1968
  • Base Ordnance Depot (BOD), 1968 to 1979
  • 1st Base Supply Battachedalion (1BSB), 1979 to 1993
  • 5 Logistic Regiment (5LR), 1993 to 8 December 1996 when Transferred to the RNZALR.

Ordnance School

  • RNZAOC School, 1958 to 1994
  • Supply/Quartermaster Wing and Ammunition Wing, Trade Training School 1994 to 1996. [21]


  • Main Ordnance Workshop, 1917 to 1946.[22]

Workshop Stores Section

  • 1 Base Workshop, Stores Section

Ordnance Field Parks

  • 4(NZ) Division Ordnance Field Park(OFP), 1950–1963

Vehicle Depot

  • Central Districts Vehicle Depot, 1948 – 1957

Ammunition Units

  • HQ Ammunition Group, sections at Belmont, Moko Moko, Kuku Valley, Waiouru
  • Ammunition Proof and Experimental Centre, Kuku Valley
  • Central Military District Ammunition Repair Depot, Kuku Valley


Ordnance Sub Depots were established at Waiouru in 1940, which eventually grew into a stand-alone Supply Company.[23]

RNZAOC units that have supported Waiouru have been;

Stores Depot

  • Main Ordnance Depot, Waiouru Sub-Depot, 1940–1946, Initially managed as a Sub-Depot of the Main Ordnance Depot in Trentham, Ordnance units in Waiouru consisted of:
    • Artillery Sub Depot
    • Bulk Stores Depot
    • Ammunition Section
  • Central Districts Ordnance Depot, Waiouru Sub Depot (1946–1976).[24] In 1946 Waiouru became a Sub-Depot of the Central Districts Ordnance Depot in Linton, consisting of:
    • Ammo Group
    • Vehicle Group
    • Camp Equipment Group.
  • 4 Central Ordnance Deport, (1976–1979) On 1 April 1976 became a stand-alone Depot in its own right. [25]
  • 4 Supply Company, (1979–1989)
    when the RNZASC was disbanded in 1979 and its supply functions transferred to the RNZAOC, 4 Supply gained the following RNZASC units:[26]

    • HQ 21 Supply Company,(TF element)(1979–1984)
      21 Supply Company was retained as a Territorial unit for training and exercise purposes and was capable of providing a Supply Company Headquarter capable of commanding up to five subunits.
    • 47 Petroleum Platoon (1979–1984)
    • 44 Supply Platoon
  • Central Q, (1989–1993)
  • 4 Field Supply Company, (1993–1994)
  • Distribution Company, 4 Logistic Regiment, (1994–1996)

Workshop Stores Section

  • Waiouru Workshop, Stores Section
  • 4 ATG Workshop, Stores Section
  • 1 Armoured Workshop, Store Section
  • QAMR Workshop, Store Section


The Board of Ordnance originally had a warehouse in Manners Street, but after the 1850 earthquake severely damaged this building, 13 acres of Mount Cook was granted to the Board of Ordnance, starting a long Ordnance association with the Wellington area.

Stores Depot

  • Central Districts Ordnance Depot, Alexandra Military Depot, Mount Cook, 1907 to 1920.[27]
  • New Zealand Ordnance Section, Fort Ballance, Wellington, 1915 to 1917.[28]


  • Armament Workshop, Alexandra Military Depot.[29]

Unit locations overseas, 1914–1920

Few records trace with any accuracy New Zealand Ordnance units that served overseas in the First World War. Although the NZAOC was not officially created until 1917.[30] The New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps was constituted as part of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) in 1914 for overseas service only and in 1919 its members demobilised, returned to their parent units or mustered into the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department (Officers) or New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (other Ranks) on their return to New Zealand.


  • Ordnance Depot, Zeitoun Camp, 1914-16
  • Ordnance Depot Alexandra, 1915-16
    • 12 Rue de la, Porte Rosette, Alexandria. [31]
    • New Zealand Ordnance Store, Shed 43, Alexandria Docks.[32]
  • NZ Ordnance Section, NZEF Headquarters in Egypt
    • Qasr El Nil Barracks, Cairo.[33]


  • NZAOC Detachment, Fiji Expeditionary Force, Suva – February- April 1920


  • Ordnance Depot, Mulheim, Cologne


  • Ordnance Depot, Sapri Camp, Lemnos Island, October – December 1915


  • 1 Base Depot


  • Ordnance Depot, ANZAC Cove, Gallipoli, April – Dec 1915

 United Kingdom

  • New Zealand Ordnance Base Depot Farringdon Street, London
  • Ordnance Depot, Cosford Camp

Unit locations overseas, 1939–1946



  • Office of the DDOS 2NZEF, 22 Aig 1941 to Sept 1942
  • Office of the ADOS 2NZEF, Sept 1942 to 1 Sept 1945

Base Units


  • New Zealand Base Ordnance Depot, Maadi, 1940 to 19 Feb 1944
  • No 1 New Zealand Base Ordnance Depot,  16 Feb 1944 to 1946

Workshops (until Sept 1942 when transferred to NZEME)

  • NZ Base Ordnance Workshop


  • NZ Base Laundry, 30 Sept 1942 – 30 Sept 1943


  • Engineer and Ordnance Training Depot, Maadi Camp

Field Units


  • 2 NZ Divisional Ordnance Field Park, 28 Jul 1941 – 29 Dec 1945
  • NZ Divisional Mobile Bath Unit, 6 Sept 1941  –  30 Sept 1942
  • NZ Divisional Mobile Laundry & Decontamination Unit, 22 Sept 1941 – 27 Mar 1942
  • NZ Divisional Mobile Laundry, 27 Mar 1942 – 30 Sept 1942
  • NZ Salvage Unit, 16 Aug 1941 – 20 Oct 1942

Workshops (until Sept 1942 when transferred to NZEME)

  • 2 NZ Divisional Ordnance Workshops
  • 1 NZ Field Workshop
  • 2 NZ Field Workshop
  • 3 NZ Field Workshop
  • 14 NZ Anti-Aircraft Workshop Section
  • 9 NZ Light Aid Detachment (attached 4 Fd Regt)
  • 10 NZ LAD (attached 5 Fd Pk Coy)
  • 11 NZ LAD (attached HQ 4 NZ Inf Bde)
  • 12 NZ LAD (attached 27 NZ (MG) Bn) Disbanded 15 Oct 1942
  • 13 NZ LAD (attached 2 NZ Div Cav)
  • 14 NZ LAD (attached 2 NZ Div Sigs)
  • 15 NZ LAD (attached 7 NZ A Tk Regt)
  • 16 NZ LAD (attached HQ 5 Fd Regt)
  • 17 NZ LAD (attached HQ 5 NZ Inf Bde)
  • 18 NZ LAD (attached 6 NZ Fd Regt)
  • 19 NZ LAD (attached HQ 6 NZ Inf Bde)


  • 2 Independent (NZ) Brigade Group Workshop.[34]
  • 5 Independent (NZ) Brigade Group Workshop. [35]
  • Light Aid Detachments x 11
  • 1 Ordnance Field Park (British OFP attached to NZ Division).[36]



  • Office of the ADOS 2NZEF, 6 Jun 1945 to 1 Sept 1945

Base units

  • No 2 New Zealand Base Ordnance Depot, Bari, 16 Feb 1944 – 2 Feb 1946.[37]
    •  Advanced Section of Base Depot, Senegallia, Sept 44 – Feb 46.
  • NZ Advanced Ordnance Depot,   1943- 14 Feb 1944 (Absorbed into OFP)

Field units

  • NZ Division Ordnance Field Park OFP, – 29 Dec 1945
  • NZ Advanced Ordnance Depot, 27 Oct 1945- 1 Feb 1946
  • NZ Mobile Laundry Unit, 1 Oct 1943 – 16 Feb 1944
  • NZ Mobile Bath Unit, 18 Oct 1943 – 16 Feb 1944
  • MZ Mobile Laundry and Bath Unit, 16 Feb 1944 – 8 Dec 1945
  • NZ Vehicle and Stores Reception Depot, 27 Oct 1944 – 1 Feb 1946
    • Vehicle Depot, Assisi, 27 Oct 1945 – Jan 1946.[38]
    • Stores Depot, Perugia, 27 Oct 1945 – Feb 1946.[39]


  • Divisional Ordnance Headquarters
  • Base Ordnance Depot
  • Division Ordnance Workshop
  • ‘A’ Workshop Section
  • ‘B Workshop Section
  • 20th Light Aid Detachment
  • 36th Light Aid Detachment
  • 37th Light Aid Detachment

New Caledonia

  • Base Ordnance Depot
  • Division Ordnance Workshop

Solomon Islands

  • Advanced Ordnance Depot, Guadalcanal. Officer Commanding and Chief Ordnance Officer, Captain Noel McCarthy.


  • 16 Brigade Group Ordnance Field Park
  • 16 Brigade Group Workshop

Unit locations overseas, 1945–1996


  • Base Ordnance Depot, Kure (RAOC unit, NZAOC personnel attached)
  • 4 Forward Ordnance Depot, supporting NZ 9 Inf Brigade Group, later renamed 4 Advanced Ordnance Depot
  • 4 Advanced Ordnance Depot


No Standalone units but individual RNZAOC personnel served in 4 Ordnance Composite Depot (4 OCD) RAOC.


No standalone RNZAOC units, but individual RNZAOC personnel may have served in the following British and Commonwealth Ordnance units:

  • 3 Base Ordnance Depot, RAOC, Singapore
  • 28 Commonwealth Brigade Ordnance Field Park, Terendak, Malaysia.


Stores Depot

  • 5 Advanced Ordnance Depot, 1970–1971
    5 Advanced Ordnance Depot (5 AOD) was a short-lived Bi-National Ordnance Depot operated by the RAAOC and RNZAOC in Singapore, 1970 to 1971.
  • ANZUK Ordnance Depot, 1971–1974
    ANZUK Ordnance Depot was the Tri-National Ordnance Depot supporting the short-lived ANZUK Force. Staffed by service personnel from the RAOC, RAAOC and RNZAOC with locally Employed Civilians (LEC) performing the basic clerical, warehousing and driving tasks. It was part of the ANZUK Support Group supporting ANZUK Force in Singapore between 1971 to 1974. ANZUK Ordnance Depot was formed from the Australian/NZ 5 AOD and UK 3BOD and consisted of:

    • Stores Sub Depot
    • Vehicle Sub Depot
    • Ammunition Sub Depot
    • Barrack Services Unit
    • Forward Ordnance Depot(FOD)
  • New Zealand Advanced Ordnance Depot, 1974–1989
    From 1974 to 1989 the RNZAOC maintained the New Zealand Advanced Ordnance Depot(NZAOD) in Singapore as part of New Zealand Force South East Asia (NZFORSEA).

Workshops Stores Section

  • New Zealand Workshops, RNZAOC Stores Section
  • 1RNZIR, Light Aid Detachment Stores Section


The RNZAOC (with RNZCT, RNZEME, RNZSig, RNZMC specialist attachments) contributed to the New Zealand Governments commitment to the International and United Nations Operation in Somalia(UNOSOM) efforts in Somalia with:

  • Supply Detachment, Dec 1992 to June 1993
  • Supply Platoon x 2 rotations, July 1993 to July 1994 (reinforced with RNZIR Infantry Section)
  • RNZAOC officers to UNOSOM headquarters, 1992 to 1995.[40]

South Vietnam

During New Zealand’s commitment to the war in South Vietnam (29 June 1964 – 21 December 1972). The Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps did not contribute a standalone unit but provided individuals to serve in New Zealand Headquarters units, Composite Logistic units or as part of Australian Ordnance Units including:

  • Headquarters Vietnam Force (HQ V Force)
  • 1st Australian Task Force (1 ATF)
  • 1st Australian Logistic Support Group (1 ALSG)
  • 161 Battery Attachments (161 Bty Attached)
  • New Zealand Rifle Companies
  • 161st (Independent) Reconnaissance Flight

Copyright © Robert McKie 2018


[1] Whakapapa is a taxonomic framework that links all animate and inanimate, known and unknown phenomena in the terrestrial and spiritual worlds. Whakapapa, therefore, binds all things. It maps relationships so that mythology, legend, history, knowledge, Tikanga (custom), philosophies and spiritualities are organised, preserved and transmitted from one generation to the next. “Rāwiri Taonui, ‘Whakapapa – Genealogy – What Is Whakapapa?’, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, Http://Www.Teara.Govt.Nz/En/Whakapapa-Genealogy/Page-1 (Accessed 3 June 2019).”

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

[3] A.J. Polaschek and Medals Research Christchurch, The Complete New Zealand Distinguished Conduct Medal: Being an Account of the New Zealand Recipients of the Distinguished Conduct Medal from the Earliest Times of the South African War to the Present Time, Together with Brief Biographical Notes and Details of Their Entitlement to Other Medals, Orders and Decorations (Medals Research Christchurch, 1983).

[4] “Dismantling of Buildings at Mt Eden and Reassembling at Narrow Neck,” New Zealand Herald, vol. LXVI, p. 5, 2 February 1929.

[5] “The Narrow Neck Camp,” New Zealand Herald, vol. LVIII, no. 17815, p. 6, 23 June 1921.

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

[7] “Camp at Burnham,” Star, no. 16298, p. 8, 13 December 1920.

[8] “RNZAOC Triennial Conference,” in Handbook – RNZAOC Triennial Conference, Wellington,”  (1981).

[9][9] “NZ P106 Dos Procedure Instructions, Part 1 Static Support Force. Annex F to Chapter 1, Rnzaoc Director of Ordnance Services,”  (1978).

[10] ” Featherston Military Training Camp and the First World War, 1915–27,”

[11] “NZ P106 Dos Procedure Instructions, Part 1 Static Support Force. Annex F to Chapter 1, Rnzaoc Director of Ordnance Services.”

[12] “Stockholding for Operationally Deployable Stockholding Units,” NZ Army General Staff, Wellington  (1993.).

[13] L Clifton, Aerodrome Services, ed. Aerodrome Services Branch of the Public Works Department War History (Wellington1947).

[14] “1 Comp Ord Coy,” Pataka Magazine, February 1979.

[15] “D-01 Public Works Statement by the Hon. J. G. Coates, Minister of Public Works,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1 January,”  (1925).

[16] “Great Military Camp,” The Auckland Star, vol. LVI, no. 83, p. 5, 8 April 1925.

[17] “1st Field Supply Company Standing Operating Procedures, 1st Supply Company Training Wing, Dec “,  (1984).

[18] W.H. Cunningham and C.A.L. Treadwell, Wellington Regiment: N. Z. E. F 1914-1918 (Naval & Military Press, 2003).

[19] “Defence Re-Organisation,” Manawatu Times, vol. XLII, no. 1808, p. 5, 5 May  1921.

[20] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces from 25th June 1914 to 26th June, 1915.,” “, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1915).

[21] “NZ Army Ordnance Stores, ,”

[22] “Pataka Magazine. RNZAOC, P. 52,,”  (1994).

[23] “Waiouru Camp  “, Ellesmere Guardian, vol. LXI, no. 90, p. 2, 12 November 1940

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

[25] Ibid.

[26] Ibid.

[27] “Ordnance Stores,” Evening Post, vol. c, no. 95, p. 8, 19 October 1920.

[28] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces from 25th June 1914 to 26th June 1915.”

“, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1915).

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

[30] “Colonel Rhodes,” Dominion, vol. 9, no. 2718, p. 9, 13 March 1916. .

[31] Ibid.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Glyn Harper, Johnny Enzed: The New Zealand Soldier in the First World War 1914-1918, First World War Centenary History (Titirangi, Auckland, New Zealand: Exisle Publishing, 2015

[Limited Leather Bound Edition], 2015), Bibliographies, Non-fiction.

[34] A.H. Fernyhough, History of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps 1920-1945 (Royal Army Ordnance Corps, 1958).

[35] Ibid.

[36] Ibid.

[37] New Zealand War Histories – Italy Volume Ii : From Cassino to Trieste,  (Victoria University of Wellington, 1967).

[38] Ibid.

[39] Ibid.

[40] “Somalia: 1992 – 1995,” NZ Army,”

NZAOC in the New Zealand Division – August 1916 to June 1918

The participation of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) as part of the New Zealand Division on the Western Front during the First World War is one that remains mostly forgotten. Under the supervision of the Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services (DADOS) the NZAOC would grow from an initial staff of two men and a horse in 1914, too, by the standards of the day an effective Ordnance organisation of several Officers, Conductors and Soldiers providing Ordnance services on par to their counterparts in the British and other Commonwealth Divisions. This article, through the war diaries of the DADOS Branch of the NZ Division, takes a snapshot view of the activities of the NZAOC between August 1916 to June 1918.

The DADOS was an Ordnance officer attached to the Headquarters of each Division of the British and Dominion Armies during the 1914-18 war and was typically a Lieutenant Colonel or Major of the Army Ordnance Corps.[1]  The DADOS branch of the New Zealand Division Headquarters was constituted on the reorganisation of the New Zealand Division in Egypt in early 1916. From January 1916 to May 1919 the position of NZ Division DADOS would be held by two officers;

  • Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Henry Herbert, NZAOC, Jan 1916 to March 1918.
  • Temporary Captain (Later Major) Charles Ingram Gossage, NZAOC, March 1918 to May 1919.

Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Henry Herbert, NZAOC. Auckland museum/Public Domain

Temporary Major Charles Ingram Gossage

9/39 Temporary Major Charles Ingram Gossage OBE. National Library of New Zealand/public domain

By 1918 the DADOS Branch, also referred to as the NZAOC or NZ Ordnance Department would consist of Officers, Warrant Officers (Conductors and Sub Conductors) and Non Commissioned Offices and Soldiers working as Clerks, Storemen and Armourers.

The role of the DADOS and his Staff[2] was to deal with all matters affecting the Ordnance services of the division. The DADOS would manage the state of the clothing and equipment on the charge of the units composing the division and would from time to time advise the officers in charge of the stores which in all probability would be required for operations.[3]

Ord Manual 1914

It was the duty of the DADOS to bring to notice of the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Division any extravagance and waste of Ordnance Stores undertaken by units of the Division. To enable him to judge whether stores were receiving fair treatment it was essential that the DADOS and his staff were fully conversant with the general condition of the equipment in possession of the troops, and the justifications for indents for replacement of additional stores. In the New Zealand Division, the DADOS Staff consisted of men who had obtained experience in Ordnance duties early in the war at Samoa, Gallipoli, or in the New Zealand Ordnance Depots at Alexandria and Zeitoun Camp.

The DADOS and his staff would arrange for the disposal of unserviceable ordnance stores in possession of units. Unserviceable stores would be sent to the nearest ordnance depot for repair, if transport, time and the condition of the articles justified it; otherwise, the DADOS would authorise their destruction or if not likely to be of any value to the enemy, abandoned.

After engagements, the DADOS branch would superintend the Divisional Salvage Company and medical units with the collecting and disposing of arms, equipment, ammunition, accoutrements and personal kit of the killed and wounded, or if a unit was advancing, the collection of material left behind as units advanced.

In conjunction with the Medical services, the DADOS branch would also oversee the establishment and operation of Divisional and Brigade Bathhouses and Laundries and provide management for the stocks of clothing for exchange and laundering.

The New Zealand Division was at the end of a very comprehensive Ordnance network that extended from Base Depots in England to Ordnance Depots and Workshops at Calais (Supporting the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Armies and units of the Northern Lines of Communication) and Le Harve (Supporting the 4th and 5th Armies and units of the Southern Lines of Communication).[4] Despite the Ordnance support available to the New Zealand Division the DADOS branch would also establish its own Ordnance Depots and Dumps to manage the vast quantities of equipment coming and going from the NZ Divisions Area of Operation before and after certain operations and for events such as the changeover from summer to winter clothing scales.

Given the nature of trench warfare, when units were in the line, there was little work for the specialist tradesmen in their ranks to do. As a measure of economy and to some degree self-reliance towards the maintenance of items most important to the soldier on the line, his weapon and his boots, Armourers and bootmakers were brigaded into Divisional Armourers and Boot repair shops. Under the supervision of the DADOS Branch but not officially part of the Division establishment these Divisional workshops ensured substantial savings in transporting goods for repair between the front and the rear. [5]

NZ Division NZAOC Personnel

No complete nominal roll of NZAOC personnel who served in the New Zealand Division exists, and the nominal roll and monthly records which have been added into the monthly War Diary’s on the promotions and movements of NZAOC personnel from August 1916 to June 1918 have been created using the individual’s personnel records.

NZAOC Nominal roll Start of August 1916

  • 11/1079 Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Henry Herbert (DADOS)
  • 7/463 2nd Lieutenant Kenneth Bruce MacRae (Officer Commanding Divisional Salvage Company)
  • 9/39 Warrant Officer Class One (Conductor) Charles Ingram Gossage
  • 12/1025 Acting Warrant Officer Class One (Acting Sub-Conductor) William Hall Densby Coltman
  • 23/659 Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant William Henchcliffe Simmons
  • 12/736 Sergeant John Francis Goulding
  • 23/1457 Sergeant Percy Clarence O’Hara
  • 26/1155a Armourer Sergeant Charles Alfred Oldbury
  • 6/1147 Armourer Sergeant Walter Gus Smiley
  • 10/2484 Corporal Harold Gordon Hill
  • 10/1631 Corporal John Joseph Roberts
  • 11/337 Trooper William Alexander Mason
  • 8/584 Private Frank Percy Hutton
  • 6/3459 Private Clarence Adrian Seay
  • 12/944 Private Albert John Walton



Aug 1916 cover

As with any British or Dominion units, the DADOS branch was required to maintain a diary in which all matters connected with the DADOS branch was concisely but clearly recorded. Providing a daily account of the activities of the DADOS branch, many of the entries give the locations of the DADOS branch and a brief description of the key for each day. Many of the entries are listed merely as” Ordinary Routine” with others providing a more detailed account of the branch’s activities.

The following transcripts of the DADOS Diaries have been copied from the original handwritten diaries. Much of the original wording has been retained, but to improve readability, most abbreviated words and phrase have ween include in full. Place names have been checked against other NZ Division Histories, and in some occurrences, the modern place name has been used.

To provide a measure of context to operations driving the work of the DADOS Branch, operational overviews have been included for;

  • August 1916, the Somme,
  • June 1917, the Battle of Messines
  • October 1917, Passchendaele
  • March 1918, German Somme Offensive

Operational Overview August 1916

During August the NZ Division would go into action on the Somme. On 15 September 1916, The New Zealand Division would take part in its first significant action near Flers during the Somme offensive (July-November 1916). Over the next 23 days, the division suffers 7000 casualties, including more than 1500 killed.


Location: Armentières

1 – 11 August – Ordinary routine

12 August – First Issue of Lewis Machine gun carts to the Division. 72 received

13 August

  • Ordinary routine
  • Visit by 2nd ANZAC Corps ADOS
  • 12/944 Private Albert John Walton admitted to No 8 Casualty Clearing Station before evacuation to England

14 August – Moved to Renescure

Location: Renescure

15 – 17 August – Ordinary routine

  • 12/736 Sergeant John Francis Goulding appointed temporary CSM

16 August – Visit by 2nd ANZAC Corps ADOS

18 August – On the eve of move, Ordinary routine

19 August – A good deal of inconvenience was caused to this Department owing to units failing to manage their stores, and these had to be returned to Base.

20 August – Personnel proceeded by rail to Army Corps Abbeville and then by road to Hallencourt

Location Hallencourt

21 – 24 August – It has been found that the handing over of the trench mortar batteries to 51st Division has not been satisfactory from our point of view. Practically new Stokes guns were given in exchange for others which had been subjected to a good deal hard work and were not in a satisfactory condition 13 having to be sent to the IOM 10 Corps for overhaul and repair and further that no spare parts were handed to this Division. These have been demanded from the base and issued. A few were also sent forward from the 51st Division and have been received. 51 Trench carts were handed over, and none received in exchange, and it is found that none are available in this area.

24 August – DADOS attended DADOS Conference hosted by 2nd ANZAC Corps ADOS

25 – 31 August – Ordinary routine

27 August – 2/115 Staff Sergeant Fitter Donald Clyde Inglis brought on to the strength of NZ Division DADOS and promoted to Quartermaster Sergeant Fitter

31 August – DADOS attended DADOS Conference hosted by 2nd ANZAC Corps ADOS



Location: Hallencourt

1 – 2 September – Ordinary Routine duties

3 September – Moved from Hallencourt to Belloy Sur Somme

Location: Belloy Sur Somme

4 – 6 September – Ordinary routine

7 September – Move from Belloy Sur Somme to Allonville

Location: Allonville

8 September – Move from Allonville to Sailly-Sur-la-Lys

Location: Sailly-sur-la-Lys

9 – 27 September – Ordinary routine

14 September – DADOS attended DADOS Conference hosted by 2nd ANZAC Corps ADOS

25 September  – Visit by 2nd ANZAC Corps ADOS

  • 10/2484 Corporal Harold Gordon Hill promoted to Sergeant
  • 6/3459 Private Clarence Adrian Seay promoted to Temporary Sergeant

28 September –

  • DADOS attended DADOS Conference hosted by 2nd ANZAC Corps ADOS
  • During the last fortnight, a great deal of waste has taken place owing to the lack of facilities for the washing of serviceable underclothing which has become dirty and wet and which the men are unable to wash. If laundry was run in conjunction with the Corps Baths where dirty laundry could be handed in and issued clean clothing in lieu a significant saving could be affected, and it would be conducive to the comfort and health of the troops.

29 September – Ordinary routine

30 September – Endeavoured to make arrangements at Corps Baths to exchange clean underclothing for dirty but was unsuccessful.



Location: Sailly-sur-la-Lys

1 October 1916 – 12/736 Sergeant John Francis Goulding appointed as Acting Company Sergeant Major

1 – 5 October – Ordinary routine

3 October – 11/42 Armourer Sergeant Percy William Charles Dement Transferred into NZAOC ex Otago Regt

5 October – DADOS attended DADOS Conference hosted by 2nd ANZAC Corps ADOS

6 October – Left Sailly-sur-la-Lys for Hallencourt, Divisional Artillery remained behind and attached to 12th Division for Ordnance purposes. A Warrant Officer, a Sergeant and a Storeman of the NZAOC left with the Divisional Artillery.

Location: Hallencourt

7 October – Ordinary routine. A Warrant Officer and Storeman sent to 2nd Army Area

8 October – Kits and Blankets stored in “École libre” issued today. Difficulties in delivery owing to the inability of units to provide transport. The four motor lorries attached to Ordnance conveyed the kits etc. to the different Brigade Headquarters.

9 October – Ordinary routine

10 October – Left Hallencourt and entrained at Pont-Remy

Location: Merris

11 October – Arrived at Merris

Location: Bac-Saint-Maur

12 October – Arrived this morning at Bac-Saint-Maur. Taking over from 5th Australian Division. 5th Divisional Artillery AIF is attached. The 5th Australian Divisional Ordnance left a WO to administrate them.

13 – 14 October – Ordinary routine

15 October –

  • Visit by ADOS 2nd ANZAC Corps
  • Indents forwarded to Base for winter clothing

16 – 20 October – Ordinary routine

17 October  – 9/1191 Corporal (Armourer) Percival James Lester Transferred into the NZAOC

21 October –

  • DADOS attended DADOS Conference hosted by 2nd ANZAC Corps ADOS
  • Winter clothing arrived and issued to units

22 – 31 October – Ordinary routine

30 October – Visit by ADOS 2nd ANZAC Corps


Location: Bac-Saint-Maur

1 – 7 November – Ordinary routine

8 November –

  • Visit by ADOS 2nd ANZAC Corps
  • NZ Divisional Artillery re-joined the Division, the 5th Australian Divisional Artillery transferred to their Division

9 November – DADOS attended DADOS Conference hosted by 2nd ANZAC Corps ADOS

10 November – Ordinary routine

11 November – Divisional Artillery arrive minus a large amount of personal and other equipment, that was lost on the Somme front. Winter clothing now been issued to them.

13 November  – 11/1079 Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Henry Herbert Mentioned in Dispatches

16 November – DADOS attended DADOS Conference hosted by 2nd ANZAC Corps ADOS

12 – 23 November – Ordinary routine

22 November – 11/337 Trooper William Alexander Mason promoted to Armourer Sergeant

23 November – DADOS attended DADOS Conference hosted by 2nd ANZAC Corps ADOS

24 November – Winter Clothing issues

25 November – Rubber sponge anti-gas goggles (rubber sponge) issued, also the repair outfits and record book for the box respirators.

26 November – Reinforcements are arriving from the base without blankets much inconvenience is caused as a result of this.  Blankets are not available for them at this end until two or three days later.

27 – 29 November – Ordinary routine

30 November – Issue of two more Lewis Guns per Battalion, bringing the total on charge at present to Battalions to 10


Location: Bac-Saint-Maur

1 December  – 8/584 Private Frank Percy Hutton promoted to Sergeant

1 – 4 December – Ordinary routine

4 December – Visit by ADOS 2nd ANZAC Corps

5 December – A comparative statement showing the issues of all bulk items for December sent to units.

7 December – DADOS attended DADOS Conference hosted by 2nd ANZAC Corps ADOS

8 – 30 December – Ordinary routine

13 December -7/463 2nd Lieutenant Kenneth Bruce MacRae evacuated from Divisional area due to injury and struck off strength

14 December – DADOS attended DADOS Conference hosted by 2nd ANZAC Corps ADOS

15 December – Visit by ADOS 2nd ANZAC Corps

21 December –

  • DADOS attended DADOS Conference hosted by 2nd ANZAC Corps ADOS
  • NZ Div DADOS put in charge of Divisional Laundry

28 December – DADOS attended DADOS Conference hosted by 2nd ANZAC Corps ADOS

31 December –

  • Visit by ADOS 2nd ANZAC Corps
  • The total bulk issued for the quantities 28 Sept/28 Dec show a large increase. This is accounted for by the large loss of equipment at the Somme having to be replaced.


Location: Bac-Saint-Maur

1 January – A new system of bulk issues implemented. The Division securing 4 trucks a week instead of seven. The days for submitting demands being altered

2 – 5 January – Ordinary routine

6 January – Received the first issue of bulk stores under an amended timetable. A full truckload has been received.

7 – 9 January – Ordinary routine

10 January – Received 2000 Capes Waterproof from Ordnance Officer Corps Troops

11 – 12 January – Ordinary routine

13 January – Received 24 Lewis Machine Guns, been 2 per Infantry Battalion bringing number now issued to 12.

14 January – Ordinary routine

15 January – 512 boxes carrying for carrying Lewis MG magazines received and issued 40 per Battalion and 32 to Pioneer Battalion. Each box holds 8 magazines in canvas carrier.

16 – 19 January – Ordinary routine

20 January – The Artillery undergoing reorganisation, The new organisation being 2 Brigades each consisting of 3 Batteries 18pdr, each 6 guns and 1 Battery 4.5 Howitzer of 6 guns. The second Brigade forming Army Field Artillery Brigade. The DAC being made up of A and B Echelon. No 1 and 2 sections forming A Echelon, No 4 B Echelon, No 3 Section becomes the Brigade Ammunition Column.

A shortage of Size 8 boots ankle Received 80 in response for 498 pairs.

21 January – The 4th Brigade Artillery returned stores surplus on reorganisation. It is found that a large quantity have not been returned as directed and action has been taken to have this done.

22 – 23 January – Ordinary routine

24 January – Dubbing in short supply. None been received in response to a demand for 424lbs.

  • 23/659 Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant William Henchcliffe Simmons promote to Warrant Officer Class One (Conductor), vice Gossage
  • 9/39 Warrant Officer Class One (Conductor) Charles Ingram Gossage promoted to Second Lieutenant to complete establishment

25 January – Leather for repair of boots in very short supply. Only 10 Bends received out of total demand for 72.[6]

26 – 31 January – Ordinary routine



Location: Bac-Saint-Maur

1 – 3 February – Ordinary routine

4 February – Sent out to OC units a monthly statement showing the bulk issues to his unit. The issues of boots has been above the average owing to a scarcity of leather sole bends during the past month.

5 – 10 February – Ordinary routine

6 February –  2/115 Quartermaster Sergeant Fitter Donald Clyde Inglis marched out of NZ Division to attend Officer Cadet Training unit prior to taking up a commission in the Royal Flying Corps.

11 February – Received Ordnance QF 18pdr No2951 for 13th Battery in replacement of gun no 5028 condemned by IOM.

12 February – Received 5 wooden boxes as a sample for carriage of stores forward.

13 February – Ordinary routine

14 February – Short supply of nib hay. 500 been received in response to a demand for 759. No Tins Mess W.S received 806 demanded.

15 February – DADOS 57th Division sent a representative for instruction before taking over

16 – 17 February – Ordinary routine

18 February – 10 leather bends received in response to demand for 80. Owing to the supply not being available demands for new boots are very high.

19 – 20 February – 24 Lewis Machine Guns received and issued at the rate of two per Battalion. This makes the total per Battalion 14.

22 – 23 February – Ordinary routine

24 February – 11 Wagons limbered GS harnessed received to compete Infantry Battalions to establishment. Handed over our stores to DADOS 57th Division, obtained a receipt in duplicated one of which was forwarded to Q.

25 February – Moved to new dump at B1 D2 .8 (De Seule) and took over trench stores from DADOS 25th Division. This included 300 pairs of Gum Boots, 9 hot food containers etc. 9 Intrenching Battalion, 196 Land Drainage Company, 171 Tunnelling Company and 2nd Platoon Park attached for administration.

Location: De Seule

26 – 27 February – Ordinary routine.

28 February – Received 100 tents from base but no bottoms were available.


Location: De Seule

1 March – Ordinary routine – Shortage of size 8 boots ankle, demanded 309, received 50 leather sole bends.

2 – 3 March – Ordinary routine.

4 March – Sent out to OC units a monthly statement of bulk issues.

5 – 8 March – Ordinary routine.

9 March – Ordinary routine. Shortage of size 8 boots ankle – demanded 738 received 50.

10 March – Ordinary routine. Shortage in Clothing SD.

11 March – Ordinary routine.

12 March – Ordinary routine Received 540 Lamps FS from Base.

13 – 15 March – Ordinary routine.

16 March – Ordinary routine – Shortage in leather bends, hobnails and rivets.

17 – 20 March – Ordinary routine.

21 March – Ordinary routine, Soda short supply, mineral oil and brooms bass no supply.

22 March – Ordinary routine.

23 March – Ordinary routine, Soles half filled received in lieu of leather bends.

24 – 28 March – Ordinary routine.

28 March –

  • 12/736 Sergeant John Francis Goulding promoted to Second Lieutenant and transferred for duty from Div HQ to 4th NZ Rifle Brigade
  • 12/1025 Company Sergeant Major (Acting Sub-Conductor) William Hall Densby Coltman promoted to Second Lieutenant and Transferred to 3rd Battalion the Wellington Regiment as Quartermaster.

29 March – Ordinary routine, Shortages in Soda and Soap Yellow bars, no Brooms Bass, Rugs Horse or Oil Mineral received from Base.

30 March – 24 Lewis Machine Guns received, issued 2 per Battalion – This makes the total in Battalion 16 – full complement as per A1098. Leather sole full supply made.

31 March – Ordinary routine


APRIL 1917

Location: De Seule

1 April – Advice received from IOM  2nd ANZAC that Ordnance OF 18pdr no 1892 on charge to 12th Battery, NZFA was provisionally condemned on account of scouring, new piece was demanded by telegram.

2 April – Ordinary routine.

3 April – Received Ordnance QF 18pdr No 2472 Carriage No 42057 on charge to 7th Battery NZFA, without BM, with sight mounting for dial sight plus carrier.

4 – 5 April – Ordinary routine.

6 April – 107 Pistols received for Machine Gun Corps being last supply of 405 demanded as a first supply to complete establishment.

7 April – Ordinary routine.

8 April – Ordnance QF 18pdr No 6272 without BM received on charge 17th Battery.

9 April – Ordinary routine.

  • 11/1079 Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Henry Herbert Mentioned in Dispatches

10 April – Demanded 3 Lewis Machine Guns for 1st Canterbury Infantry Battalion to replace others out of action for want of bolts, generally worn and depilated parts.

11 April – No soft soap, soap yellow bars or soda received from base. The shortage of these stores makes the running expenses of the Divisional Bath heavy as local purchase are enhanced prices must be resorted to if the baths are to carry on.

Sergeant O’Hara who had been attached to the Headquarters of the 3rd NZ Rifle Brigade  O’Hara passed away due to the effects of Broncho-Pneumonia at 8.25am on the morning of 11 April 1917. O’Hara had been admitted into No 2 New Zealand Field Ambulance on 4 April and  Transferred to No 2 Casualty Clearing Station on the 8th of April.

12 April – Ordinary routine

13 April – Received from base Lewis Machine Guns demanded 10th inst. On charge to 1st Canterbury Infantry Battalion. Demanded 1 Lewis Machine Gun for 2nd Otago Infantry Battalion to replace one condemned- out of action for want of a bolt, worn and depilated parts generally. 208 revolvers colt received completing equipment of no 2 and 3 Machine Gun Corps

14 April – Ordinary routine

15 April – Received from Base on Lewis Machine Gun demanded 13th last for 2nd Otago Infantry Battalion

16 -17 April – Ordinary routine

18 April – Received from Base 1200 Helmets (Trench Pattern) with steel curtain eye protectors – it is not considered that they are an improvement and most units have not uplifted their quota.

19 April – Ordinary routine

20 April – Received from Base our quota of Mk II barrels and cups for Machine Gun Corps – these were issued as soon as possible, and Barrels and Cups Mk I released and sent to Base.

21 April – Ordinary routine

22 April – Two barrel and shroud rangefinders sent to IX Corps Workshops for overhaul and testing, all BRSs on charge are being forwarded as checked by IOM.

23 – 24 April – Ordinary routine.

23 April –  6/1147 Armourer Sergeant Walter Gus Smiley appointed, Temporary Warrant Officer Class One (Acting Sub-Conductor) vice Acting Sub Conductor Coltman

24 April – 6/3459 Temporary Sergeant Clarence Adrian Seay appointed (Acting Sub-Conductor), Temporary Warrant Officer Class vice Simmons

25 April – Nine Sennett periscopes were received on allotment from Base for trial and report by Division

26 – 28 April – Ordinary routine

29 April – Demanded Ordnance Q F 18pdr without BM to replace on condemned by IOM 53 Workshops for wear and scouring, 12th Battery NZFA.

30 April – Took over from 20th Division Neuve-Eglise Baths and Salvage Dumps. An average of 2750 men are now being bathed and supplied with clean underclothing daily by this division.

MAY 1917

Location: De Seule

1 May – Demanded one Vickers Machine Gun for 1 of NZ Machine Gun Company to replace one condemned through wear.

2 May – Ordinary routine.

3 May – Ordinary routine. Advise dispatched to Base of Ordnance QF 18pdr No 1674.

4 May – Received Vickers Gun No 4071 demanded on 1 May. Also demanded Ordnance QF 18pdr for 3rd Battery NZFA replacing No 4456 condemned through enemy shelling.

5 May – Ordinary routine.

6 May – Ordinary routine. Demanded one Vickers Gun for 3rd Machine Gun Company replacing No 7703 condemned through enemy shell fire.

7 May – Received from base 100 Yukon packs being a Division allotment. Also received Ordnance QF 18pdr No 6056 for 12th Battery, 3rd Brigade NZFA demanded on 29 April. Demanded one Lewis Machine Gun for 2nd Wellington Infantry Battalion and one Vickers Gun for 3rd Machine Gun Company replacing others condemned through wear.

8 May – Ordnance routine.

9 May – Received one Lewis Machine Gun No E31755 and two Vickers Machine Guns No 3524 and A3299demanded on 6 and 7 May.

10 May – Demanded Ordnance QF 18pdr for 1st Battery, 1st Brigade NZFA to replace No 5237 condemned through enemy shelling.

11 May – Received from Base Ordnance QF 18pdr No 2696 for 3rd Battery NZFA. Handed over “Pamir” Baths to 25th Division.

12 May – Demanded Ordnance QF 18pdr for 3rd Battery, 1st Brigade, NZFA to replace No 2553 condemned through enemy shelling. Advised dispatch to Base of Ordnance QF 18pdr No 5237.

13 – 17 May – Ordinary routine

18 May – Received Ordnance QF 18pdr No 7877 for 1st Battery.

19 May – Ordinary routine.

20 May – Advised dispatched to base of Ordnance QF 18pdr No 2553 (Condemned). Received Ordnance QF 18pdr No 3989 for 3rd Battery. Advice need of move to NZ Division of 311th Army Field Artillery Brigade – from DADOS 31st Division.

21 – 22 May – Ordinary routine

23 May – Received advice   from ADOS of the following moves;

  • 311th Army Field Artillery Brigade to NZ Division
  • A Battery 38th Army Field Artillery Brigade to NZ Division
  • 242nd Army Field Artillery Brigade to NZ Division

24 May – Above moves confirmed to all concerned. Received 150 Yukon packs for Division, these were issued 50 to each of the three Infantry Brigades.

25 -27 May – Ordinary routine.

28 May – Demanded two Ordnance QF 18pdrs for C Battery 242nd Army Field Artillery Brigade to replace Nos 1983 and 3754 condemned through enemy shellfire. Advised dispatched to base of condemned pieces.

29 -30 May – Ordinary routine.

31 May – Demanded one Vickers for 2nd Machine Gun Company replacing one condemned through wear.


Operational Overview

From 7 June the New Zealand Division would participate in the Battle of Messines, taking all its objectives, including the village of Messines. The New Zealand Division suffered 3700 casualties, including 700 killed during the battle.

JUNE 1917

Location: De Seule

1 June

  • 11/1079 Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Henry Herbert awarded Distinguished Service Order

1 – 6 June – In addition to ordinary routine the issue of special stores for active operations was completed. These included;

  • 13 Carts Water tank with necessary harness,
  • 300 set pack saddlery,
  • 5000 Breakers wire,
  • 3000 cutters wire,
  • 300 Gloves Hedging,
  • 3420 Grenade Carriers, Emergency pattern ammunition carriers for 18pdr/4.5 Howitzer. 8/10 per gun to all Batteries,
  • Tarpaulins for covering ammunition,
  • Yukon pack and carriers for Lewis MG Magazines.

In reference to the making of the Yukon packs in the Division, it is observed that much economy could have resulted had these been made under one command and completed in number to suit the supply of raw material as it became available. These remarks apply also to the making of extra carriers for LMG magazines undertaken by Battalions.

June 7 to 30 – During offensive operations Salvage work was carried out under the direction of Ordnance, and very large quantities of personnel and technical equipment was brought in without delay and ammunition bombs collected, Close on 3000 serviceable rifles alone were cleaned, oiled and tied into bundles and dispatched to Base. Lewis and Vickers guns, magazines and spare parts, enemy machine guns and mortars were salvaged also.

21 Lewis Machine Guns and 7 Vickers Machine Guns were replaced by new guns and at all times well within 24 hours from time of advice being received here of condemnation or certified loss from shell fire. In this connection the working of the Army Gun Park was found most expeditious; 21 18pdr guns and 10 Carriages, one 4.5 Howitzer were also demanded for various reasons in replacement of others, in one case only was any of these items – an 18pdr demanded without a certificate of condemnation by an IOM. This was reported completely destroyed by hostile shell fire and condemnation not been received within two days messages to confirm were answered to the effect that the carriage in question had been found to be serviceable after been dug out. This again impresses the fact of the necessity of IOM reports in cases of this kind.

10 June

  • 23/659 Warrant Officer Class One (Conductor) William Henchcliffe Simmons promoted Second Lieutenant, vice Bond
  • 12/689 2nd Lieutenant Alfred James Bond Marched in from Sling Camp in the UK and seconded to No 5 (NZ) Light Railway Operating Section.

15 June

  • 9/39 Second Lieutenant Charles Ingram Gossage Marched out to the United Kingdom to attend Ordnance course

On the 23rd June, the 34th, 93rd and 2nd NZ Brigades of Army Field Artillery were moved to this formation for Ordnance Services making in all five Army FA Brigades and one odd Battery in addition to our own Brigades to administer. It is very marked that all Army FA Brigades are very extravagant in their demands on Ordnance and the appointment of an Ordnance representative attached to each Brigade would undoubtfully result in a great economy.

The following enemy stores were handed into Ordnance here by units of this Division as a result of offensive operations and delivered to APM of II Anzac Corps

  • 3 Field Guns (77mm)
  • 23 Machine Guns of 8 trench mountings
  • 6 Machine Guns of new light platform
  • 1 Machine Gun (French)
  • 10 Trench mortars of various calibres
  • 3 Rocket Mortars
  • 3 Grenade throwers

To the Base was despatched;

  • 3 boxes Armour Piercing rifle ammunition
  • 1 box of wine cased
  • 5 boxes of ordinary
  • 2 cases mortar shells
  • 40 boxes belt ammunition with belts


JULY 1917

Location: De Seule

1 – 31 July – Ordinary routine

2109 pairs of Trousers SD were issued to equip men wearing pantaloons contrary to Dress Regulations

6 18pdr Guns and 4 4.5inch Howitzer were demanded to replace others.

3 18pdr carriages and 5 4.5inch Howitzer carriages were demanded to replace others condemned

5 Vickers Machine Guns were issued in replacement of others worn or destroyed by hostile shellfire.


Location: De Seule

1 – 25 August – Ordinary routine. 1600 special tins for conveying water were received to replace petrol tins as now used for this purpose. Five percent of these tins were damaged when received owing to faulty manufacture, handles were broken off, the sharp sprout had punctured holes in many. For the purpose intended it is considered this tin is a failure.

100 roughly made stretches issued to the Division for Messines operation that came to late to be used then were returned to Base after being held in store for two months.

26 August – Moved Ordnance to Caëstre

Location: Caëstre

27 – 28 August Trucked underclothing from Divisional Baths for Lumbres.

Location: Nielles-les-Bléquin

29 August – Moved Ordnance to Nielles-les-Bléquin and opened up again for Ordnance Services

30 – 31 August – Ordinary routine

The Divisional Bath and Laundry at Pont de Nieppe were destroyed by enemy shell fire on the 12th of August, as the position had become untenable it was decided not to put them into working order again. Stock and fittings that were not damaged was removed and on the 18th the Baths at Steenwerck were taken over by the Division and converted into a laundry, which was started satisfactorily by the 20th  It was a going concern when handed over on the 25th to the 8th Division, The Building of Brigade Bathhouses and changing rooms was undertaken at this time also and were ready for use when the Division was relieved.


Location: Nielles-les-Bleguine

1 – 2 September – General routine

3 September – Took over Baths at Balinghem. This was situated in the 2nd NZ Rifle Brigade area.

4 September – General routine

5 September – Opened Baths at Haverskerque for 4th NZ Infantry Brigade.

6 -12 September – General routine.

13 September – Opened Baths at Selles for 1st NZ Infantry Brigade.

14 – 17 September – General routine

18th September – Opened Baths at Merck-Saint-Liévin for Divisional Artillery. These Baths only worked two days owing to the Artillery being moved.

19 – 20 September – General routine

21 – 22 September – Divisional Artillery and Headquarters Company Divisional Train were moved to Ordnance 33rd Division for administration. Our own Ordnance (Artillery) personnel accompanied them with one motor lorry attached.

23 – 24 September – General routine

23 – 20 September

  • 6/1147 Temporary Warrant Officer Class One (Acting Sub-Conductor) Walter Gus Smiley and 10/1631 Corporal John Joseph Roberts detached to DADOS 33rd

25 September – Division on the move to Watou area. Closed Selles and Haverskerque Baths. All our motor lorries were kept exceedingly busy removing camp equipment and clothing. Also removing Ordnance Stores to railhead to be forwarded by rail to the new destination.

26 September – Removing soiled clothing to Blendecques laundry and moved Ordnance Stores to the railhead. Closed Blendecques Baths.

27 September – Moved with 5 Lorries to Poperinghe and established dump in an open field.

28 September – Moved dump to stores at 65 Rue de Boeschepe. Artillery moved back from 33rd Division. Opened two baths in Watou area.

29 September – Clearing Stores sent by rail, stores from Base also received.

30 September – General routine. 59th Division Artillery moved to us for administration with two AOC personnel.

  • 6/3459 Temporary Warrant Officer Class One and Acting Sub Conductor Clarence Adrian Seay promoted to Warrant Officer Class One and (Conductor) vice Simmons on his promotion

Operational overview

On 4 October as part of the third Battle of Ypres the New Zealand 1st and 4th brigades took part in a successful attack on Gravenstafel Spur, which runs off Passchendaele ridge. The attack cost more than 320 New Zealand lives.

On the 12 October on what would be New Zealand’s blackest day the 2nd and 3rd (Rifle) brigades suffered over 3700 casualties in a disastrous attack on Bellevue Spur, Passchendaele. About 845 men were left dead or dying.


Location: Poperinghe

1 October – Established Baths at Vlamertinge and Poperinghe.

2 – 3 October – Special stores for operations coming to hand and being issued to units. The stores referred to were those authorised over and above AFG 1098 and GROs for the offensive in front of Passchendaele Ridge. They comprised Pack-saddlery, Carts Carrying Water, Wire Cutters, Yukon Packs, water tins etc.

4 October – Four German Machine Guns were brought in – three from 1st Otago Battalion and two from the Divisional Salvage Company. These guns had apparently been lying out in the open some considerable time.

5 October – The 59th Division Artillery and Company Army Service Corps which were attached for administration were moved back to 59th Division.

6 October – Stores which were issued to units for special operations being handed in by units. Demanded 1 18pdr on indent NZ0/7192 for 13th Battery NZFA to replace No2841 and 2 18pdrs on indent NZ0/7193 for 1st Battery NZFA to replace 4090 and 318. These three guns were condemned by IOM for scouring.

7 October – 1st Wellington Battalion returned 11 captured enemy machine guns. The 48th Divisional Artillery Company ASC were moved to us for administration.

8 October – Demanded 18pdr on NZ0/7212 for A Battery 241 Brigade RFA to replace No 3987 condemned for scouring. Received captured enemy machine gun from 2nd Machine Gun Company.

9 October – Received 18pdr No 9697 fro 13th Battery off indent NZ0/7192 and 2 19pdrs Nos 6754 and 7103 for 1st Battery NZF off indent NZ0/7193.

10 October – Issuing stores for special operations. Received 18pdr No 2252 off indent NZ0/7212 for A Battery 241st Brigade RFA. Received 5 enemy captured machine guns returned by 1st Auckland Battalion.

11 October- Started issuing winter clothing. Demanded 18pdr on indent NZ0/7269 to replace No 4312 condemned for scouring,

12 October – Demanded carriage 18pdr on indent NZ0/7303 for A Battery 241st Brigade RFA to replace No C/33458 condemned on account of damage on recuperator.

13 October – Received 18pdr No 8042 off indent NZ0/7269 for 12th Battery NZFA. Sent 32 enemy machine guns to Base.

14 October – Received Carriage 18pdr No 35555 off indent NZ0/7303 for A Battery 241st Brigade RFA. Received 3 captured enemy machine guns from 3rd Otago Battalion,

15 October – Established an Ordnance dump at X Camp for the purpose of receiving surplus stores from units in the forward areas.

16 October – 1 enemy machine gun returned by Pioneer Battalion and 3 salved by Divisional Salvage Company.

17 October – 8 captured enemy machine guns returned by 3rd Canterbury Battalion and 4 salved by Divisional Salvage Company. Demanded 18pdr on indent NZ0/7404.

18 October – Established Bathhouse at Canal Bank issued clean clothes to 4th Battalion of 4th Infantry Brigade.

19 October – 2 enemy machineguns returned by Divisional Salvage Company.

20 October – 14 enemy machine guns were returned to Base. Closed Ordnance Dump at X Camp and established forward dump at St Jean (Sint-Jan) crossroads.

21 October – 2 enemy machine guns were returned to Base.

22 October – Moved from Poperinghe and established Ordnance dump at Nielles-les-Bléquin.

23 October – Received 18pdr No 765 off indent NZ0/7404 for 3rd Battery NZFA.

24 October –   Ordinary routine.

25 October – Opened Bathhouse at Haverskerque for 3rd NZ Rifle Brigade and at Selles for 2nd NZ Infantry Brigade.

26 October – Opened Bathhouse at Bayenghem for 1st NZ Infantry Brigade

27 – 29 October – Ordinary routine

30 October – 1 enemy machine gun returned by 4th Battalion NZ Rifle Brigade.

31 October – During the month of October 36 Lewis Machine Guns, 5 Vickers Machine Guns and 1 Stokes 3inch Trench Mortar were demanded by various units to replace lost and destroyed. These were supplied from ones salved by Division Salvage Company which were overhauled and repaired at the Division Armourers shop and made serviceable. Not one single Machine Gun was demanded from Base.



No Dairy for November

15 November – 6/1147 Temporary Warrant Officer Class One (Acting Sub-Conductor) Walter Gus Smiley promoted to Warrant Officer Class One and appointed Conductor



Location: Poperinghe

1 – 7 December – Ordinary routine

8 December -Demanded Lewis guns for 3rd Otago Battalion on indent No NZ0/8549 to replace one destroyed by shellfire, also 3 Lewis guns for 1st Otago Battalion for indent No NZ0/8562 to replace 3 destroyed by shelling.

9 December – Demanded 3” Stokes Trench Mortar for 2nd Light Trench Mortar Battery on indent No NZ0/8581 to replace on destroyed by shellfire.

10 December – Demanded 3” Stokes Trench Mortar for 4th Light Trench Mortar Battery on indent No NZ0/8595 to replace on destroyed by shellfire, also three Vickers Guns on ident NZ0/8604 for 2nd NZ Machine Gun Company to replace three destroyed by shellfire.

11 December – The bulk store which was situated at Palace Camp was moved to ANZAC Camp with the advance Brigade dumps, this was found more convenient as not so much handling of stores was entailed.

12 December – Lewis Gun No 58245 received for 3rd Otago Battalion off indent No NZ0/8549 to replace on destroyed by shellfire.  Received Lewis Guns No 57674 and 57695 for 1st Otago Battalion to replace three destroyed by shellfire. Three Vickers Guns received No 4411, 4441 and 7163 off indent No NZ0/8604 for 2nd NZ Machine Gun Company to replace same number destroyed by shellfire.

13 December – Received Board of Inquiry re the loss of a Limbered Wagon, Horses and Harnesses of the 2nd Wellington Infantry Battalion. The Army Commander concurred with the finding of the Board of the write off of £60 (estimated value) to the public Account. Also the Board in Inquiry re the loss of the Horse Harness of the 1st Wellington Battalion, The Army Commander concurred on the finding of the Board of a write off to the Public Account. Leather Jerkins been issued to Artillery units, Machine Gun Company’s, Salvage Company’s and Light Trench Mortar Batteries.

14 December – Vickers Gun No C4732 received for 4th NZ Machine Gun Company off indent No NZ0/8672 to replace one destroyed by shellfire. Demanded Ordnance QF 18pdr for 11th Battery NZFA on indent No NZ0/8696 to replace 5630 destroyed by hostile fire.

15 – 16 December – Ordinary routine.

17 December – Ordnance QF 18pdr No 4405 received for 11th Battery NZFA on indent No NZ0/8696 to replace one destroyed by shellfire

18 – 20 December – Ordinary routine.

21 December – Ordnance QF 4.5inch Howitzer for 4th Howitzer Battery NZFA on indent NZ0/8858 to replace 1533 condemned for wear.

22 – 25 December – Ordinary routine

26 December – Demanded Lewis Gun for 2nd Otago Battalion on indent No NZ0/8955 to replace on destroyed by enemy shellfire. Also, Ordnance QF 18pdr for 3rd Battery NZFA on indent No NZ0/ 8956 to replace 4478 condemned by IOM.

27 December – Received 3inch Stokes Trench Mortar No 3835 off indent No NZ0/8581 for 2nd Light Trench Mortar Battery, also No 3826 off indent No NZ0/8505 received for 2nd Otago Battalion of indent No NZ0/8955. Issuing leather jerkins to complete all units to winter scale.

28 December – Ordinary routine

29 December – Ordnance QF 18pdr No 6746 received for 3rd Battery NZFA off indent No NZ0/5956 to replace 4478 condemned.

30 December – Demanded Lewis Gun for 3rd Otago Battalion off indent No NZ0/9008 to replace one destroyed by shellfire.

31 December – Demanded Ordnance QF 18pdr for 12th Battery NZFA to replace No condemned for scouring.


Location: Poperinghe

January 1 -2 – Ordinary routine

January 3 – Ordnance QF 18pdr No 6678 received for 12th Battery NZFA off indent No NZ0/9057 replaced No 5397 condemned for scouring.

January 4 – Demanded Ordnance QF 18pdr and carriage for 3rd Battery NZFA on indent No NZ0/9155 to replace No 510 and 14465 destroyed by hostile shellfire.

January 5 – Demanded Vickers Gun for 5th NZ Machine Gun Company on indent No NZ0/9192 to replace one condemned beyond local repair.

January 6 – Ordinary routine

January 7 – Vickers Gun No 8147 received for 5th NZ Machine Gun Company off indent No NZ0/9192.

January 8 – 10 – Ordinary routine

January 11 – Demanded Vickers Gun for 5th NZ Machine Gun on indent No NZ0/9312 to replace one destroyed by hostile shellfire and Ordnance QF 18pdr for 13th Battery NZFA on indent No NZ0/9322 to replace No 2317 condemned for scouring.

January 12 – Slow Precautions imposed: No motor lorries were being used and all transport work was being carried out by GS Wagons and light railway, this means of carting was slow but proved quite satisfactory. Demanded Stokes 3inch Trench Mortar for the 4th Light Trench Mortar Battery on indent No NZ0/9325 to replace on destroyed by shellfire.

January 13 – Vickers Gun No 2679 received for 5th NZ Machine Gun Company off indent No NZ0/9312.

January 14 – Ordinary routine.

January 15 – Slow restrictions removed, and motor transport was reverted to.   Ordnance QF 18pdr No 5215 and carriage No 46329 received for 3rd Battery NZFA off indent No NZ0/9155 to replace Nos 510 and 14465 destroyed by hostile shellfire. Demanded Ordnance QF 18pdr for 13th Battery NZFA on indent No NZ0/9398 to replace No  3584 condemned for scouring.

January 16 – Slow precautions imposed. All transport wortrk was been carried out by horse transport with the exception of the Divisional Laundry which was undertaken with one motor lorry a day.

January 17 – 21 – Ordinary routine

January 22 – Slow restrictions were removed, and motor transport was reverted to.

January 23 – Three 6inch Newton Trench Mortars No 1164, 1034 and 345 received for Medium Trench Mortar Battery. These were ordered up for issue by Headquarters 4th Army.

January 24 – Ordinary routine

January 25 – Demanded Vickers Gun for 1st NZ Machine Gun Company on indent No NZ0/9620 to replace one destroyed by shellfire and Ordnance QF 18pdr for 1st Battery NZFA on indent No NZ0/9639 to replace No182 condemned for scouring.

January 26 – Ordinary routine

January 27 – Vickers Gun No 9678 received off indent No NZ0/9620 for 1st NZ Machine Gun Company to replace one destroyed by shellfire.

January 28-29 – Ordinary routine

January 31 – 5000shirts, 13100 vests woollen, 12450 Drawers Woollen, 12700 Towels and 19000 pairs of socks received from Base. These were authorised by Army at the request of the GOC Division as a pool at the Divisional Baths.

  • 8/1484 Staff Sergeant Edwin Stanley Green Posted to NZ Division Ammunition Column from NZAOC England

During the month five Vickers Guns, 133 Lewis Guns and 158 Rifles were repaired in the Divisional Armourers Shop.



Location: Poperinghe

February 1 – 2 – Ordinary routine

February 3 – Ordnance QF 18pdr No 6755 received off indent No NZ0/9639 for 1st Battery NZFA to replace on condemned for scouring.

February 4 – Ordinary routine

February 5 –

  • Moved stores to new dump at Café Belge. The new store was a most convenient one it been 120’x20’, this provided ample room for all stores to be put under cover.
  • DADOS provided a lecture on Ordnance Services to Officers of the 2nd NZ Inf Bde.

February 6 – 10 – Ordinary routine.

February 11 – Took over Baths at Potijze from 66th Division.

February 12 – Demanded Ordnance QF 18pdr and carriage on indent No NZ0/2 for 11th Battery NZFA to replace No 2979 and 46383 destroyed by shellfire,

February 13 – Demanded 6inch Newton Trench Mortar for X Medium Trench Mortar Battery to replace No 347 destroyed by shellfire.

February 14 – Took over the laundry at Renninghelst from 66th Division. DOS inspected dump accompanied by DDOS 4th Army and ADOS XXII Corps. The General expressed that he was very pleased with everything he saw, particularly the work carried out by the Divisional Armourers.

February 15 – 6inch Newton Trench Mortar No 270 received off indent No NZ0/24 for X Medium Trench Mortar Battery to replace No 347 destroyed by shellfire.

February 16 – Ordinary routine.

February 17 – Ordnance QF 18pdr No 2252 and carriage No 35456 received for 11th Battery NZFA off indent No NZ0/2 to replace 29079 and 46383 destroyed by shellfire.

February 18 – Demanded Vickers MG for 3rd NZ Machine Gun Company on indent No NZ0/119 to replace No L8560 condemned beyond repair by Divisional Armourers.

February 19 – Ordinary routine.

February 20 – Vickers MG No 4244 secure for 3rd NZ Machine Gun Company off indent No NZ0/119 to replace No L8560 condemned.

February 21 – 22 – Ordinary routine.

February 23 – Took over Outtersteene laundry from 49th Division. Receiving surplus stores of units of the 4th NZ Infantry Brigade on been formed into an Entrenching Group.

  • 10/2484 Sergeant Harold Gordon Hill promoted to Temporary Sub Conductor and Warrant Officer Class One vice Goulding

February 24 – Handed over camp to 49th Division Ordnance. The Baths at Café Belge, Bissezeele Cross Roads, Potijze and Ottawa were handed over to 49th Division as a going concern as was the Divisional Laundry at Westoutre.

February 25 – Issued two Lewis MG to each Infantry Battalion and one to each Filed Company NZE and one per Battery of Artillery for Anti-Aircraft defence. These were issued from those handed in by Battalions of the 4th NZ Infantry Brigade.

February 26 – Baths were opened at Hondichen which are capable of bathing 800 men daily.

February 27 – Opened Baths at Staple – Capacity 800 men daily

February 28 – over the month of February three Vickers MG, 53 Lewis MG and 309 Rifles were repaired and overhauled by the Divisional Armourers shop during the Month.

Operational overview

On 21 March a massed German attack tears a hole in the British front, in response on 26 March the New Zealand Division is rushed to fill this gap near the Somme. They fight off several German attacks and hold their line.


Location: Hazebrouck

Baths were opened at Halifax Camp[7] and at Caistre.

During the month 14 Lewis Gun were demanded for various units, nine been issued as a first supply for anti-aircraft defence, 3 were to replace ones damaged by shellfire and two to replace losses to the enemy.

Eight Vickers Guns were received on instructions from Third Army to be fielded as a reserve to meet urgent demand. Two of these were issued the MG Battalion to replace weapons damaged by hostile fire. The balance (six) were returned to Ordnance Officer IV Corps troops.

Seven Gun Hotchkiss were demanded as a first supply and issued to units for Anti-Aircraft defence.

Two 3inch Stokes Trench Mortars were damaged by hostile fire and two to replace were issued

On moving from the rest area to the Somme all Baths were closed and handed over to area commanders. The Divisional laundry at Renninghelst was taken over as a going concern by XXII Corps. Hooge Baths at Ypres which were been worked for the Infantry Brigade and other units left in the line were handed over to 49th Division as a going concern.

The NZ Entrenching Group units were moved to Ordnance Officer XXII Corps Troops and the NZ Divisional Artillery units with Headquarters Company Divisional Train were moved back from DADOS Headquarters 49th Division for Ordnance.

22 March – 12/736 Sergeant (Temp CSM) John Francis Goulding Marched out to England for duty with 4th Infantry Brigade on 22 March 1911

Moved to the Somme on 25 March with four Motor Lorries and established an Ordnance dump at Bus les Artois on 27th March.

Location: Bus-lès-Artois

The 25th Division Artillery were moved from DADOS 25th Division for Ordnance. Their mobilisation stores and equipment suffered in the retreat before the German offensive and in consequence, their demands were exceedingly large. Eight Limbers 18pdr wagon and six wagons ammunition were demanded for them to replace losses to the enemy and one limber 18pdr wagon was issued to replace one condemned.

31 March

  • 6/1147 Warrant Officer Class One (Conductor) Walter Gus Smiley attached to Headquarters 2nd NZ Infantry Brigade
  • 11/1079 Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Henry Herbert relinquished appointment of Officer Commanding NZAOC and DADOS NZ Division to be ADOS XI Army Corps.
  • 9/39 Second Lieutenant Charles Ingram Gossage Marched in from HQNZEF and Promoted to Lieutenant. Appointed DADOS vice Lt Col Herbert and granted the rank of Temporary Captain whilst holding the position.

54 Lewis MG, 21 Vickers MG and 529 Rifles were repaired and overhauled at Divisional Armourers shop during the month.


APRIL 1918

Location: Bus-Les-Artois

4 April

  • 10/536 Armourer Sergeant Clarence Guy Charles Wagg proceeded to England for duty with 4th NZ Infantry Brigade Group

April – Demanded six 18pdr and carriages complete to replace same number lost to the enemy and one 4.5inch Howitzer and carriage to replace one condemned for wear for 25th Division Artillery. The six guns and carriages were later cancelled when the 25th Division Artillery were moved back for administration of Ordnance services to their own formation.

13 Lewis MG were issued to various units – six to replace destroyed by hostile fire, two to cover losses to the enemy, one to replace beyond repair and four to Divisional Artillery for defence against hostile aircraft.

13 Vickers MG were issued, four to replace destroyed by hostile fire, One to replace condemned for wear and eight issued to Machine Gun Battalion to be fielded as a reserve.

Issued one 3inch Stokes Trench Mortar to replace one destroyed by hostile fire.

Issued three 18pdr and carriages, and four 4.5inch Howitzers and one carriage 4.5inch Howitzer. All were to replace other condemned for wear.

Temporary Divisional Baths were opened at Béthencourt on the 6th and at Louvencourt on the 10th. On the 17th the new spacious baths of 18 sprays erected by Divisional Engineers were put into use at Béthencourt, which proved a great boom to the troops from the line. At these Baths the men handed in everything they possessed. Their valuables were taken care of, whilst the man was having a bath his SD clothing was deloused by use of hot irons. He came out of the bath with a complete change of underclothing. The total number of men bathed 28553.

The work undertaken by the Divisional Salvage company for the month was clearing the area generally of stores abandoned by troops in the recent retreat. Items salved of special interest included;

  • One Bristol Airplane,
  • One Triumph Norton Motorcycle,
  • Three Douglas Motorcycles,
  • The following enemy stores;
    • 285 Rifles,
    • 10 Bayonets and scabbards,
    • 25 Steel Helmets,
    • Four Pistol Signal,
    • Three Mountings MG,
    • 62 Belts MG,
    • 32 Belt boxes MG,
    • 95 Gas respirators

Solder recovered from Bully Beef time amounted to 441lbs which was despatched to the Base.

11 Vickers MG, 17 Lewis MG and 1256 rifles were repaired and overhauled at Divisional Armourers Shop for the month.

113 Machine Guns and three Trench Mortars (enemy) Captured by various units were dispatched to Base.

MAY 1918

Location: Bus-Les-Artois

During the month the following Guns, Howitzers, Carriages Field, Trench Mortars and Machine Guns were demanded for various reasons;

  • Ordnance QF 18pdr, three – To replace three condemned by IOM for scouring.
  • Ordnance QF 4.5in Howitzer, One – To replace one condemned by IOM for wear.
  • Carriages field 18pdr, Four – To replace four condemned by IOM for wear.
  • Carriages field 4.5in Howitzer, one – To replace one destroyed by hostile fire.
  • 6” Newton Trench Mortar, one – To replace one destroyed by hostile fire.
  • 3” Stokes Trench Mortar, six – To replace two destroyed by hostile fire and to replace four condemned for wear.
  • Vickers Machine Guns 303, eight – To replace two destroyed by hostile fire and to replace six condemned by Armourers as past repair.
  • Lewis Machine Guns 303, 50 – 28 were issued as first supply to bring Battery’s up to 24 per Battery, exclusive of guns on charge for anti-aircraft defence.

The NZ entrenching Group were moved from Ordnance XXII Corps Troops to this formation for administration in Ordnance services on 17 May but were three days later moved to Ordnance Officer IV Corps Troops, under instructions from IV Corps.

On 22 May the 2nd NZ Field Artillery Brigade were moved from Ordnance IV Corps Troops to be under administration of Ordnance this formation, but on 25 May 3rd Army ordered them to be moved back as the movement was contrary to GRO 3783.

Our months works a whole was of a routine nature. Some difficulty was experienced in keeping the Baths going once or twice owing to the water supply giving out when the pumping plant broke down. Water carts were borrowed from neighbouring units and the water was carted and the baths kept going in this formation.

We were much hampered for clean underclothing due to the irregularity of the railway. Trucks were often as long as 6-7 days on road driving the short distance from Abbeville.

A small sock washing depot was established with 16 men. This was found essential so that the soldiers in the front line could have a clean change daily. Socks torn or found with holes were returned to the laundry as the darning could not be coped with. In fine weather, the drying was done outside but when wet the socks were hung on wires from the ceiling of a room and dried by means of coke braziers. Then men did excellent work and coped with 4 to 5 thousand pairs daily and kept up an adequate supply.

Ordnance stores arriving from Base were often very much behind timetable and two or three bulk demands would arrive together. The irregularity was evidently on account of shortages in railway rolling stock.

There was not anything particular to not in the work carried out by the Divisional Salvage Company except the recovery of 2000lbs of salvage from Bully Beef tins.

The Divisional Armourers Shop repaired and overhauled 14 Vickers MG, Seven Lewis MG, One Hotchkiss MG and 335 rifles in addition to special repairs to Bicycles etc.

45425 men passed through the Divisional Baths during the month,


JUNE 1918

Location: 1 – 7 June: Bus-Les-Artois

During the month the following Guns, Howitzers, Carriages Field, Trench Mortars and Machine Guns were demanded for various reasons;

  • Two Ordnance QF 18pdr – To replace two condemned by IOM for scouring.
  • Five Ordnance QF 4.5in Howitzer – To replace five condemned by IOM for wear.
  • Three Carriages field 18pdr – To replace one damaged by shellfire, one condemned by IOM for wear and one for violent recoil.
  • One Carriages field 4.5in Howitzer – To replace one destroyed by shellfire and one condemned by IOM for wear.
  • Six 3” Stokes Trench Mortar – To replace two destroyed by hostile fire and to replace four condemned for wear.
  • Two Vickers Machine Guns 303 – To replace two condemned Beyond Local Repair.
  • 96 Lewis Machine Guns 303 – issued as first supply to bring Infantry Battalions up to scale of 32, exclusive of guns on charge for anti-aircraft defence.

On the 6th Baths at Béthencourt and Louvencourt were handed over to 42nd Division and Baths at Authie, Pas and Henu were taken over from 37th Division. The Baths at Authie were entirely unsatisfactory and extensive alterations were carried out so that system for bathing, delousing SD clothing, issuing and receiving underclothing could be put into force.  These were capital baths when completed and as many as 1500 troops were passed through daily.  The system of delousing the soldiers Service Dress clothing was carried out by means of hot air. As the man passed into the bath he handed in hi garments turned inside out and they were hung up in a small air tight chamber. The air tight compartment was heated up by coke braziers and after the garments had been treated by this method for 15 minutes they were found to be perfectly free form lice and eggs.

Location: 7 -21 June: Pas

On the 7th the Division moved to Pas where Ordnance was established until the 21st when the Division moved to Authie and Ordnance again opened up. The baths at Pas and Henu were handed over to the 37th Division on the 21st.

Location: 21 – 30 June:Authie

A small bath at Nauchelles was taken in hand, another formation had started alterations which were left unfinished. The work was completed by the Division and the baths proved entirely satisfactory and between 700 – 800 troops were bathed daily

The greater part of demand for boots were met by repaired ones and numerous complaints were met from units that the men were unable to wear the boots issued. The matter was referred to 3rd Army who was taking action to prevent further issues of this kind to troops in the field.

Divisional Salvage dumps were established about the areas into which abandoned stores were collected and sorted. 1800lbs of solder were recovered from Bully Beef tins.

The Divisional Armourers shop repaired and overhauled 13 Machine Guns and 153 rifles.

46411 passed through the Divisional Baths during the month.

24 June – 9/39 Temporary Captain Charles Ingram Promoted to Temporary Major while holding the appointment of DADOS. 24 June 1918

NZAOC Nominal Roll End of June 1918

  • 9/39 Temporary Major Charles Ingram Gossage (DADOS)
  • 23/659 2nd Lieutenant William Henchcliffe Simmons
  • 6/3459 Warrant Officer Class One (Conductor) Clarence Adrian Seay
  • 6/1147 Warrant Officer Class One (Conductor) Walter Gus Smiley
  • 8/1484 Staff Sergeant Edwin Stanley Green (NZ Division Ammunition Column)
  • 10/2484 Sergeant Harold Gordon Hill
  • 8/584 Sergeant Frank Percy Hutton
  • 11/42 Armourer Sergeant Percy William Charles Dement
  • 11/337 Armourer Sergeant William Alexander Mason
  • 26/1155a Armourer Sergeant Charles Alfred Oldbury
  • 9/1191 Corporal (Armourer) Percival James Lester
  • 10/1631 Corporal John Joseph Roberts

Copyright © Robert McKie 2019


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



[1] United Kingdom – Army Ordnance Department (AOD) until 1918 and then Army Ordnance Corps ((AOC), Australia – Australian Army Ordnance Corps (AAOC), Canada – Canadian Ordnance Corps (COC), South Africa – South African Ordnance Department (SAOD), India – Indian Army Ordnance Department (IAOD) and New Zealand – New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC)

[2] The exact manning and organisation of the New Zealand Division DADOS branch is unknown at this stage, but would have been similar to the organisation of the AAOC Ordnance Staff which was comprised of:

  • 1 Officer as DADOS (MAJ/CAPT)
  • 1 Conductor of Ordnance Stores per Divisional HQ
  • 1 Sergeant AAOC per Divisional HQ
  • 1 Corporal AAOC per Divisional HQ
  • 3 RQMS (WO1) AAOC
  • 3 Sergeants AAOC, 1 to each of 3 Brigades
  • 3 Corporals AAOC , 1 to each of 3 Brigades

As the war progressed additional Ordnance Officers wold be included into the DADOS establishment who along with the Warrant Officer Conductor would manage the Ordnance staff and day to day operations allowing the DADOS the freedom to liaise with the divisional staff, units and supporting AOC units and Ordnance Depots. John D Tilbrook, To the Warrior His Arms: A History of the Ordnance Services in the Australian Army (Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps Committee, 1989), 78.

[3] Ordnance Manual (War), War Office (London: His Majesties Printing Office, 1914).

[4] P.H. Williams, Ordnance: Equipping the British Army for the Great War (History Press, 2018), 126.

[5] Arthur Forbes, A History of the Army Ordnance Services (London: The Medici society, ltd., 1929), 73-74.

[6] Bends is the leatherworking name for Sole leather. Sole Bends are heavily tanned skirting leather that has been compressed by casing with water and then plating, rolling, and pounding the moisture out of it tightening the grain and making it stiffer. It can be oiled, dyed finished much like any other skirting, however there is much less penetration due to the tightness of the fibres.

[7] Southwest from Vlamertinge towards village of Reningelst.