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

Alexandra

9 Magazines Operational from 1943, closed late 1950’s

Ardmore

20 Magazines operational from 1943

Auckland

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.

Workshops

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

Belmont

Operational from 1943

  • MOD Trentham, Ammunition Group, Ammunition Section

Burnham

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 -,

Workshops

  • No 14 Ordnance Workshop, until 1946.

Workshop Stores Section

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

Christchurch

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.

Dunedin

Stores Depot

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

Fairlie

Nine magazines Operational 1943.

Featherston

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

Hamilton

Proof Office, Small Arms Ammunition Factory, 1943-1946

Kelms Road

55 Magazines Operational from 1943

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 1979,[11]
  • 2 Supply Company, 1979 to 1985,
  • 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 –

Mangaroa

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

Ngaruawahia

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.

Trentham

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]

Workshops

  • 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

Waiouru

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

Wellington

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]

 Workshops

  • 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.

Egypt

  • 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]

Fiji

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

Germany

  • Ordnance Depot, Mulheim, Cologne

 Greece

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

Samoa

  • 1 Base Depot

 Turkey

  • 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

Egypt

Headquarters

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

Base Units

Supply

  • 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

Laundry

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

Training

  • Engineer and Ordnance Training Depot, Maadi Camp

Field Units

Supply

  • 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)

Greece

  • 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]

Italy

Headquarters

  • 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]

Fiji

  • 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.

Tonga

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

Unit locations overseas, 1945–1996

Japan

  • 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

Korea

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

Malaya

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.

Singapore

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

Somalia

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

Notes

[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,”  https://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/featherston-camp.

[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, ,”  https://manawatuheritage.pncc.govt.nz/item/c7681d2d-c440-4d58-81ad-227fc31efebf.

[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,” http://www.army.mil.nz/about-us/what-we-do/deployments/previous-deployments/somalia/default.htm.

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NZ Divisional Ordnance Field Park 1941-1945

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Badge of the 2nd NZEF

From July 1941 to December 1945, the New Zealand Divisional Ordnance Field Park (NZ OFP) was the primary stores holding organisation supporting the 2nd New Zealand Division of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force(2 NZEF). Following closely behind the NZ Division the NZ OFP main role was to provide a holding of spares for the NZ Divisional Workshop, and often as the Workshop deployed elements forward to support individual brigades, sections of the NZ OFP would also be detached forward. Mentioned in passing in many of the war histories produced since the war, the story of the NZ Divisional OFP has remained untold in any detail.

British experimentation in mechanisation during he the 1920s had identified the need for mobile Field Workshops and OFP’s to support the mechanised forces that would fight the next war. Added to British Army War Establishments (WE) in the 1930s but due to the financial depression of the time, it would not be until July 1939 when Britain formed a number of new Field Workshops and OFPs as part of the Territorial Army, setting out to recruit 150 officers and 5000 other ranks to bring the new units to war strength.[1]

A OFP was a mobile mini Ordnance Depot with its stock held on vehicles (on wheels) consisting of;

  • Assemblies and spare parts of “A” and “B” vehicles and equipment’s as are normally required by mobile workshops for repair purposes, and
  • Advanced holdings of certain “A” and “B” vehicles for replacement purposes

An OFP’s holdings would constitute a forward portion of the stocks of the Base Ordnance Depot(BOD) and would be modified due to experience gained as the war progressed and equipment changed. [2]

Stockholding would normally consist of fast-moving or essential items essential to maintain equipment vital to the dependency, including MT spares, Weapon spares and signal stores,[3] with scaling for each Divisional OFP against a scale set to represent 2.5% of the supported division’s vehicles.[4] Scaling of OFP’s was centrally controlled by the British Army’s Scales Branch of the Central Provisioning Organisation, which developed standard “Middle East” scaled for OFP’s taking into consideration the long lines of communication from the factory to the foxhole and the diversity of equipment sources such as for Britain, India, Canada and the United States.[5]

When New Zealand committed forces to the war in September 1939, an Infantry Division with supporting arms was to be recruited and sent overseas in three Brigade Group echelons.

  • The first echelon consisting of the 2NZEF Headquarters and a Brigade Group arrived in Egypt in February 1940.
  • The second echelon was diverted to Britain and would not join the NZ Division in Egypt until March 1941.
  • The third echelon would arrive in Egypt in September 1940.

Given the title of the New Zealand Ordnance Corps (NZOC), the initial Ordnance contribution would only consist of Headquarters Staff and Light Aid Detachments (LAD) attached to each Infantry Brigade and Artillery Regiment. Within a short period of time, New Zealand Ordnance personnel would work closely with the existing Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) Base Stores Depots and Workshops in Egypt to establish the NZOC Base Ordnance Depot and Workshops at Maddi Camp. With the arrival of the 3rd echelon in Sept 1940 and the final arrival of the 2nd echelon from England in March 1941 was the NZ Division fully able to be consolidated as a unit. NZOC units consisting of Three Independent Brigade Workshops and 11 Light Aid Detachments were sent to Greece in March 1941 as part of New Zealand contribution to that campaign.[6] The NZOC workshops were supported in this campaign by the RAOC 1 OFP.[7] A lack of consultation prior to the operation saw that the attached British OFP was not scaled correctly to support the New Zealand units. 1 OFP held sufficient spares for Internationals and Crossley’s but this would be problematic as with the NZ Division not equipped with Internationals and only held two Crossley’s. Fortunately, 1 OFP held sufficient quantities of Ford, 25 pounder and 2 pounder spares, spring steel, sheet and rod metals, compressed air and many general items and with supplementation from local sources was able to provide some useful support to the NZ Workshops.[8] The Greek Campaign would ultimately be a defeat for the British Forces who would lose the Island of Crete to German airborne forces in May 1941.

NZ OFP July 1941 – January 1943

OFP October 1941

Alf Beale of the OFP sorting out his stock for the bin vehicle. Maadi Camp, October 1941. Photo W.W Thomas.

NZ Division Ordnance Field Park (1941)

Vehicle Tactical Sign NZ Division Ordnance Field Park 1941

Evacuated to Egypt, the New Zealand Division would undertake a period of rebuilding and expansion. 1 NZ Field Workshop war reformed as1 NZ Divisional Ordnance Workshop on 16 June 1941 followed by the formation of 2 and 3 NZ Field Workshops on 27 June. Taking on board the lesson of the Greek campaign a New Zealand Divisional OFP was formed on 28 July 1941. The NZ OFP would spend August and September assembling its personnel and equipment and bringing its stock to scale with the personnel learning the intricacies of Ordnance accounting. With a strength of 4 Officers and 81 Other Ranks, the OFP was equipped with 27 3-ton Lorries in different configurations optimised for the carriage of OFP Stores.[9]

OFP Formed 41

OFP Sept 41

Four Ordnance Sergeants of the Divisional OFP in the Western Desert, September 1941. L to R: W.W Thomas, E.M McSherry, A Wilkin, R Smith. Photo W.W Thomas.

OFP ESTB 1941

Organised with a Headquarters and three sections, the NZ OFP would participate in Operation Crusader in November 1942 and its subsequent operations. Like any unit of the NZ Division, the NZ OFP was not immune to casualties and would see Major William Knox, Officer Commanding of the NZ OFP injured after driving over a landmine leading to his evacuation from Tobruk, during which it is suspected that he drowned when the ship he was on was sunk.[10] [11] Withdrawn to Egypt in December 1941 the NZ OFP would then accompany the NZ Divison to Syria in March 1942 as a precautionary measure to guard against a German thrust from the North.

Recalled to the Western Desert during June 1942, the NZ Division was urgently called forward to help counter the Axis advances into Egypt. The NZ Division would transit the 1500 kilometres from Syria to Minqar Qiam on Egypt’s western frontier in just over a week and was immediately in the fight.  Forced into a fighting withdraw the NZ Division soon withdrew to new positions in the vicinity of the Egyptian town of El Alamein where the 8th Army would hold fast and hold the line.

Lessons learned in the recent campaign identified the need for the New Zealand Division to have its own armoured element. This led to the converting of the 4th Infantry Brigade into the 4th New Zealand Armoured Brigade on 5 October 1942.[12] [13] Concurrent with the reorganisation of the 2nd NZEF, the increased mechanisation of the battlefield saw the British Army reform its maintenance and repair organisations and form them into a single Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (EME) on 1 October 1942.[14] The EME would assume responsibility for all RAOC, ASC and Royal Engineer Workshops, Recovery Sections and LADs.  New Zealand and Australian would follow suit on 1 December 1942, followed by India on 1 May 1943 and Canada on 22 February 1944. The formation of the New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (NZEME) would see the NZ OFP remain with the NZOC,[15] whilst assuming the additional responsibility for the provision of MT Spares to the ASC workshops which had transferred to NZEME, and the scaling of spares for the new armoured component of the Division.

As New Zealand Division had converted to a mixed Infantry/Armoured Division, the NZ OFP was reorganised on 20 November 1942 from a modified Infantry Division OFP of a Headquarters and three Sections into a modified OFP structure of a Headquarters and three task orientated sections consisting of ;[16]

  • A Headquarters Holding Section – responsible for holding reserve stocks of all OFP Stores
  • An Infantry Section – responsible for serving the workshops and LAD’s both of the Infantry Brigades and Divisional troops with MT Stores, weapon spares and signal stores
  • an Armoured Section – Responsible for workshops and LAD’s of the Armoured brigade for armoured specific MT Stores, weapon and signal stores.

The positions of Driver-Mechanics and Electrician were removed from the establishment with the affected personnel transferred to NZEME units and replaced with NZOC Storeman-Drivers, The Fitters were retained as attached NZEME personnel.

RAOC9

RAOC Ordnance Field Park 1944/45 (RAOC, public domain)

February 1943 – January 1944

2 NZ Division Ordnance Field Park

Vehicle Tactical Sign NZ Division Ordnance Field Park 1944-45

On in February 1943, the establishment was again modified with an increase of the strength to 5 Officers and 99 Other Ranks with the structure changed to include an additional section, the Reserve Vehicle Park Section whose role was to hold reserves of the Divisions vehicles.

Further adjustment to the role and establishment of the OFP were facilitated on 7 March 1943 when Controlled Stores became an OFP responsibility’ Included as part of the OFP Headquarters, whose strength grew by one Warrant Officer Class One and one Private.

OFP ESTB 1943

Following the second Battle of El Alamein, the NZ OFP would continue to support the NZ Division in the advance across Libya and into Tunisia until the final defeat of the Axis forces in North Africa in May 1943. During this advance, there were periods when a New Zealand Advanced Ordnance Depot (NZAOD) was attached to the NZ OFP from the NZ Base Ordnance Depot (BOD) in Egypt. The role of the NZAOD was to provide holding of General stores and consumables not held by the OFP, mainly clothing and personnel webbing equipment.

The New Zealand Division would not participate in the invasion of Sicily but would spend the next few months reorganising and refitting as the 4th Armoured Brigade completed its training and was fully integrated into the NZ Division, and it would not be until October 1943 that the Division would re-enter the war in Italy.

February 1944 – December 1945

After several months in Italy, the NZ OFP undertook another reorganisation in February 1944. The NZ BOD at Maadi camp in Egypt had been split into two parts; No 1 NZ BOD, which would remain in Egypt and No 2 NZ BOD which was based at Bari on the South Adriatic coast of Italy.  With No 2 NZ BOD in Italy, the shortened and narrow lines of communication made the need for the NZAOD less necessary than in North Africa. The NZAOD that had been supporting the NZ Division in Italy prior to the establishment of 2 BOD was disbanded on 16 February 1944. With a requirement for the stores that the NZAOD held remaining forward, some its functions were absorbed into the NZ OFP as a mobile AOD section, increasing the strength of the NZ OFP by one Officer and fifteen Other Ranks and 10 additional lorries. [17]

OFP ESTB 1944

One of the functions that the AOD section brought to the NZ OFP was a Mobile Officers Shop. Officers shops were an organisation developed by the British in North Africa. Centrally provisioned by the Central Provision Office, Officers Shops allowed Offices to buy at reasonable rates, authorised items of kit such as clothing, camp kit, travel bags, Leather jerkins and shoes.[18] In Italy, the Officers Shop organisations were similar to that in the Middle East, but also stocked a range of locally obtained items. Although the Officers shop function was included as part of the AOD Section from February 1944 it would not officially be formalised and added to the establishment of the NZ OFP until 11 May 1945.

Further changes to the NZ OFP happened in August 1944 when an NZASC Warrant Officer Class Two was included in the Headquarter establishment to assist in the coordination of supplies to NZASC units from the NZ OFP.[19]  Additional equipment in the form of a truck-mounted crane to assist with the handling of heavy tank spares and engines in the Armoured Section was also approved during August 1944.[20]

In April 1945 the stockholding of signals stores in Division OFP’s was authorised to be increased. With the increase of holdings estimated to be around six tonnes, an additional three 3-ton Lorries was approved along with an increase of two Storeman and one Clerk.

Germany surrendered on 7 May 1945, bringing hostility’s in Europe to a close, but in the Pacific and South East Asia the war against Japan was still in progress and discussion of the future of the NZEF and its future in the war was underway. By June 1945 the decision had been made to maintain NZOC units in the NZEF at full strength to facilitate the handing back of vehicles and equipment by Divisional units as they were demobilised or reorganised for service against Japan. The August atomic bombing of Japan and their subsequent surrender in September 1945 brought what was going to be a long war to a sudden end. Japan would be occupied by allied forces and New Zealand would contribute a Brigade group (J Force) based on the 9th Infantry Brigade of the 2nd NZEF.[21]

In October 1945 it was decided to disband the NZ OFP, its men and equipment would be absorbed into an NZAOD, a Vehicle and Equipment Handling Depot and attached to 557 BOD, RAOC. The NZAOD and Vehicle and Equipment Handling Depot would receive and sort the equipment, with the best of it going to the J Force elements forming at Florence and the remainder returned to the RAOC. The NZOC personnel seconded to 557AOD who would receive and process the equipment back into the RAOC system, whilst also collection and dispatching new equipment from RAOC stocks for delivering to J Force.[22] [23]

OFP DisbandmentThe NZ OFP was functionally disbanded on 26 October 1945 and formally disbanded after 4 years and 5 months of service as a unit of the 2nd NZEF on 29 December 1945.[24]

During the NZ OFP 4 years of service, the following members died while on active service;

  • Temporary Major William Andrew Knox, 5 December 1941, No Known Grave, commemorated at Alamein Memorial.
  • Sergeant Ronald Roy Moore, 13 February 1942, now resting at the Fayid War Cemetery in Egypt.
  • Private Ivan James Curin, 24 March 1945, now resting Ravenna War Cemetery in Italy

OFP Storage and Accounting

Prior to the beginning of the war of the war, the standard system of field storage was the humble disused ammunition box. As Britain mobilised the influx of men from the automotive industry into the RAOC saw the introduction of the latest in storage techniques and how to maximise space which would be utilised to maximise storage in the OFP’s.[25]

Morris C8 15cwt 4 X 4 GS

Morris C8 15cwt 4 X 4 GS

The heart of the OFP was its store’s vehicles. The NZ OFP used a mixture of 15-cwt (.75-tone) trucks for administration tasks and 3-Ton lorries for the carriage of stores. The 3-ton lorries were generally of two types;

  • GS Lorries for the carriage of large items such as engines, gearboxes and differentials, and
  • Bin Lorries for the carriage of smaller compact items such as nuts, bolts, gaskets, fan belts, brake linings, windscreen wipers

GS Lorries were fitted with a flat floor body with fixed sides and headboard, and a drop tailgate. Usually fitted with a canvas canopy on a tubular frame. At times the tubular frame would be lined with chicken wire to limit pilferage.

Binned vehicles were lorries and trailers fitted with fixed racking made up of bins of different dimensions. Early designs consisted of full-length benches on both sides of the vehicle with storage bins under the benches and compartments for small items above the benches and a writing desk. Stores inside the bins were kept secure on the move by a mesh screen which could be removed when the vehicle was stationary to allow access to the stores. As the war progressed, the design of binned vehicles became more sophisticated with later models having solid bodies with internal lighting. The following illustrations provide an example of different types of bin trucks.

Polish OFP 2

Bin Lorry of the Polish Corps Italy 1943-45. The Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum

Polish OFP 1

Bin Lorry of the Polish Corps Italy 1943-45. The Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum

stores NO1 aust binned

Bin Truckc60l

Ledger CardStores accounting was managed by the Visidex system. The Visidex system was introduced in the late 1930’s by the RAOC as simple ledger card system to replace mechanical ledger posting systems which had proved to be unsatisfactory.[26] Adopted for wartime service the Visidex system was ideal as it was a simple system that required a minimum of staff training. Using carbon backed posting slips it allowed checks to easily carried out. Each OFP section would maintain a control office for which all indents from units would be received, the stock record would be checked, the location where the stock held identified (in an OFP each truck was a stock location) and the stock record updated. If the stock was available, it would immediately be issued. If the stock was not available, it would be recorded as a Dues Out, and an indent would be placed on the supporting Depot for replenishment which would be marked as a Dues In.[27] Each truck in an OFP would also maintain stock records that that would be reconciled with each issue and receipt and stocktake. The robustness and simplicity of the Visidex system would see it remaining as the primary field stores accounting system in the New Zealand Army well into the 1990s.

Summary

The New Zealand Division was one that was heavy in motor transport, and the close of the war in Europe as General Freyberg canvassed for the Division to be employed in South East Asia, British commanders welcomed the thought of the NZ Divisions participation, but concerns were raised that there would not be sufficient road space for the many thousands of vehicles on the NZ Division.[28]  With vehicles from motorcycles to tanks, weapons from pistols to howitzers and hundreds of other pieces of technical equipment requiring maintenance and repair,  the 2n NZEF developed first under the NZOC and then NZEME a world-class maintenance and repair system based on LAD, Field and Base workshops, which in the NZ Division was kept supplied with MT and other technical spares by the NZ OFP.

In the post-war NZ Army, OFP’s would exist in various iterations from 1948 until the late 1970s, but these would be training units that would never be deployed as standalone units such as the NZ OFP. The direct descendent s of the NZ OFP would be the RNZAOC Stores Sections attached to each RNZEME Workshop. Carrying specialised spares, assemblies and workshops materials to suit the particular requirement of its parent RNZEME workshops, Stores Sections became an RNZAOC responsibility in 1962 when RNZEME Technical Stores were transferred to the RNZAOC. A familiar sight on any RNZEME workshop exercise from the 1960s to 1996, the spirit of the NZ OFP would be well represented by RNZAOC Workshops Stores Sections with their RL Bedford Bin trucks and later Unimog mounted Binned 13’ Containers.

Copyright © Robert McKie 2018

OFP Mascot

Sergeant Harry Gilbertson of the OFP with the section mascot. ‘Sergeant Two Bob’ was brought as a pup from a ‘WOG’ for two bob and stayed with the section until the end of the war. Maadi, September 1943. Photo H.J Gilbertson

Notes

[1] “Technicians for Army,” Evening Post, Volume CXXVIII, Issue 22, 26 July 1939.

[2] The War Office, Ordnance Manual (War) (London: His Majestys Stationery Office, 1939), Chapter IV, Section 35, Page 79.

[3] Brigadier A.H Fernyhough C.B.E. M.C, History of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps 1920-1945 (London: Royal Army Ordnance Corps, 1965), 153.

[4] Major J.S Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Trentham: RNZAOC, 1992), 95.

[5] Brigadier A.H Fernyhough C.B.E. M.C, History of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps 1920-1945, 184.

[6] Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, 94.

[7] Brigadier A.H Fernyhough C.B.E. M.C, History of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps 1920-1945, 141.

[8] Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, 95.

[9] 2nzef – Organisation and War Establishments – Ordnance – Field Item Idr20107590 Record No  Da 1/9/Sd81/21 (Wellington: New Zealand Archives, 1941).

[10] A commercial traveller, Major Knox had served in the Field Artillery in the Great War attaining the rank of Lieutenant. Enlisting in the 2NZEF in 1930, Knox was posted to the 7th Anti-Tank Regiment as the Quartermaster. On 4 August 1941 Knox was transferred into the NZOC as the Officer Commanding of the NZ OFP and granted the rank of Temporary Major whist holding that appointment. Injured as the result of driving over a landmine, Knox was admitted to a Casualty Clearing Station on 29 November 1941. Evacuated alongside 380 other wounded soldiers, of whom 97 were New Zealanders on the SS Chakdina on the afternoon of 5 December 1941. Torpedoed by enemy aircraft, only 18 of the New Zealanders were rescued with the remainder including Knox presumed drowned. “William Andrew Knox,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1939.

[11] J. B. McKinney, Medical Units of 2 Nzef in the Middle East and Italy, Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War 1939-45 (Wellington, N.Z.: War History Branch Department of Internal Affairs, 1952, 1952), Non-fiction, 179.

[12] 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, 37.

[13] D. J. C. Pringle and W. A. Glue, 20 Battalion and Armoured Regiment, Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War 1939-45 (Wellington: War History Branch, Department of Internal Affairs, 1957, 1957), Non-fiction, 292.

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

[15] Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, 103.

[16] 2nzef – Organisation and War Establishments – Ordnance – Field

[17] Ibid.

[18]  Brigadier A.H Fernyhough C.B.E. M.C, History of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps 1920-1945, 205.

[19] NZASC Units were; 4 & 6 Reserve Mechanical Transport Company, Ammunition Company, Petrol Company, Supply Column, NZ Field Bakery, 18 Tank Transporter Company, NZ Mule Transport Company. Julia Millen, Salute to Service: A History of the Royal New Zealand Corps of Transport and Its Predecessors, 1860-1996 (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 1997, 1997), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 441.

[20] 2nzef – Organisation and War Establishments – Ordnance – Field

[21] Matthew Wright, Italian Odyssey: New Zealanders in the Battle for Italy 1943-45 (Auckland, N.Z.: Reed, 2003, 2003), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 166.

[22] 2nzef – Organisation and War Establishments – Ordnance – Field

[23] Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, 120.

[24] 2nzef – Organisation and War Establishments – Ordnance – Field

[25] P.H. Williams, War on Wheels: The Mechanisation of the British Army in the Second World War (History Press Limited, 2016), 73.

[26] Brigadier A.H Fernyhough C.B.E. M.C, History of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps 1920-1945, 40.

[27] Williams, War on Wheels: The Mechanisation of the British Army in the Second World War, 73.

[28] Wright, Italian Odyssey: New Zealanders in the Battle for Italy 1943-45, 166.


NZ Divisional Salvage Unit 1941-1942

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Badge of the 2nd NZEF

During the Second World War, the New Zealand Ordnance Corps (NZOC) provided a variety of Ordnance Services to the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force (2NZEF). The most well know of the Ordnance Service proved are those of the Base Ordnance Depot, Advanced Ordnance Depot. Ordnance Field Park, Laundry and Bath Units, and up to the end of 1942, the Base and Field Workshops and Light Aid Detachments which separated from the NZOC to form the New Zealand Electrical And Mechanical Engineers (NZEME). However, there remains one Ordnance unit which although appearing on the 2nd NZEF Order of Battle, only rates a very obscure mention in only one of nine official campaign histories published after the war, and has mostly been forgotten; this is the NZ Divisional Salvage Unit.

World War One Origins

New  Zealand’s first experience of Salvage units was during the 1914-18 war. Each British formation (including Dominion forces) was required as part of an army salvage plan to appoint a Salvage Officer for each brigade, and a Division Salvage Company, which in turn was supported a Corps Salvage Company.  Formed on 5 May 1916 the NZ Divisional Salvage Company was under the command of Lieutenant  Macrae, NZAOC. The duties of the NZ Divisional Salvage Company were:

  • The care and custody of packs of troops engaged in offensive operations.
  • The care of tents and canvas of the Division.
  • The salvage of Government property, and also enemy property, wherever found.
  • The sorting of the stuff salved, and dispatch thereof to base.
events-WW1-salvage-v2a

WW1 salvage dump notice. Photo by British Pictorial Service; public domain image taken from The Business of War at the Internet Archive website

An indication of the type of work carried out by the NZ Division Salvage Company can be found in the work of the British Army’s 34th Divisional Salvage Company which was active on the Somme during July 1916. During this period the 34th Divisional Salvage Company recovered;1

Rifles – 12,998
Bayonets – 6,050
Revolvers – 8
Very Pistols – 28
Machine Guns – 51
Trench Mortars – 12
Small Arms Ammunition – 1,580,000 rounds
S.A.A. fired cases – 145,000
Bombs – 40,000
Sets of equipment complete – 5,500
Groundsheets – 700
Steel Helmets – 9,869
Gas Masks – 13,280
Picks & shovels – 2,000
Wire Cutters – 950
Bully Beef Tins – 16,000
Bagpipes – 6 sets

Total value of one months salvage = £1,500,000.

events-WW1-Salvage-of-the-battlefield-near-Bapaume

Salvage of the battlefield near Bapaume: Photo by David McLellan; taken from the National Library of Scotland’s First World War ‘Official Photographs’ website; adapted, used and made available for re-use under a Creative Commons licence

American author Isaac F Marcosson, writing in 1918, described this recycling operation in some detail.2

“At the ‘sharp end,’ there was “Battle Salvage, which deals with the debris of actual fighting and includes all trench materials such as wood and iron, shell-cases, guns, rifles, equipment, clothing, tools and other stores that have been damaged in actual fighting.” There was also “so-called Normal Salvage, which is material such as empty packing cases, [fuel] cans and other articles which never reach the battlefield.”

The Salvage system proved to be a success with statistical records published of what each unit had recovered, with competition between units not uncommon. To outdo the New Zealand Division, one of the Australian Divisions went to the effort of stealing copper appliances and hardware from a derelict brewery to accrue additional credits.3 Following the success of the Salvage system in the First World War, provision was made on war establishments for Salvage units on a ratio of one Salvage unit per Division and one Salvage unit as Corps troops.

Western Desert 1941

As the New Zealand Divison became established in Egypt in early in 1941, General Headquarters (GHQ) the Middle East requested information on 2 April 1941 on the establishment of the New Zealand Divisional Salvage Unit and when its equipment would be ready. With no Salvage Unit yet formed an establishment for an NZ Salvage Unit, consisting of 1 Officer and 43 Other Ranks was published on 18 April 1941, with no further action towards the formation of the NZ Divisional Salvage Unit taken until August of 1941.4

Estab 18 April 41

NZEF, NZ Divisional Salvage Unit Establishment 18 April 1941

The role of Field Salvage Units was to sort salvage. All RASC motor transport units serving divisions and corps were tasked with carrying salvage on the return journey. This included containers which could be reused, small equipment which could be recycled and ammunition that had been unpacked but not used. T

With Australian and SouthAfrican Salvage units already operating in the Middle East and with Indian and New Zealand units expected to begin operating shortly, GHQ Middle East called a conference to define the relationship of these units with the Salvage Directorate GHQ.

At the conference held on 13 August 1941, it was established that the Dominion  Divisions were formed with a war establishment of one Salvage unit per Division and one per Corps troops. No Salvage units were provided for at present for British Divisions, or Corps, although they were allowed for in the War Establishment.

The pressing question of the conference was if the Dominion Salvage units would be part of the Middle East Salvage Organisation, or regarded as separate units working under their own headquarters.

The Australians were satisfied with existing arrangements and stated that full cooperation from the AIF could be expected.

The representatives the  1st and 2nd South African Divisions stated that they were willing to cooperate and that the available Salvage units should be used for the common good, but wished that the SA Salvage units remain administered by their Headquarters, and the unit s should accompany their Divisions into action.

The Representatives of 4 and 5 Indian Division stated that when formed, they would prefer it to be used as a GHQ asset rather than as Div troops.

New Zealand, represented by its DDOS Colone King, stated that a New Zealand Salvage unit was not yet formed, but could be if requested. As a Divisional unit, it was expected that the unit would remain with the Division, but the Salvage Directorate could rest assure that the NZ Division would cooperate in every possible way.

Base Salvage Depots under the control of GHQ would receive all Salvage irrespective of the unit that it was collected from. GHQ would conduct all sales with the proceeds credited to His Majestys Government. The War Office would be approached to take into account the value of salvage collected in the future when setting capitation rates for equipment.

The consensus was that Salvage Units would remain with their Divisions but that the Salvage Directorate would exercise technical control.

Armed with the knowledge that the Salvage unit would remain with the New Zealand Divison, approval for the formation of the NZ Divisional Salvage unit as a unit of the NZEF was granted by Headquarters 2 NZEF on 16 August 1941. The NZ Divisional Salvage unit was to be a unit of the NZOC and the NZEF DDOS in conjunction with the Military Secretary, HQ NZEF and HQ Maddi Camp were to arrange for a suitable officer and Other Ranks to be posted to the unit and equipment to be assembled.

Formation

On 12 September 1941 the New Zealand Division begun to move into Baggush in the Western Desert as it began to assemble for the upcoming Operation Crusader. On 11 November the New Zealand Division together for the first time joined at an assembly point near the Matruh-Siwa road. On 18 November Operation Crusader began with the New Zealand Division crossing the Libyan frontier into Cyrenaica and after some hard fighting linking up with the garrison at Tobruk on 26 November. It is in Tobruk that the Salvage unit would get it only mention in the New Zealand War history series of books in the volume “The Relief of Tobruk” it stares: 5

“The NZASC companies provided working parties at the ammunition depot, and the docks, Workshops and Ordnance Field Park overhauled vehicles, and the Salvage Unit for the first time found plenty of work to do.”

On 23 December 1941 the NZ Salvage Unit lost a member of the unit when Private Leo Gregory Narbey died as the result of an accident. Private Narby now rests in the Commonwealth War Grave Commission Alamein cemetery.6

3920030

Western Desert, Egypt, 12 August 1942. Men of the 9th Australian Divisional Salvage Unit checking over captured arms at El Alamein. Public Domain Australian War Memorial

Operation Crusader was a success but one that inflicted heavy losses on British and Dominionarmour and Infantry, as the Axis forces withdrew under pressure, large quantities of enemy equipment and war material was abandoned leaving the battlefield to the battered 8th Army. Due to the magnitude of the Salvage work to clear the battlefield, GHQ request that all Divisional Salvage units be placed under 8th Army control as Army troops to allow their coordinated use. This request was agreed to by the GOC 2 NZEF on 1 January 1942 on the condition that the Salvage would be released back to the NZ Divison if required. As the NZ Salvage unit was at Baggush, its transfer to 8th Army control was immediate.

Libya and Syria 1942

Badly mauled in Operation Crusader and the subsequent operations, the New Zealand Division had suffered 879 dead, and 1700 wounded and was withdrawn from Libya back to Egypt and then at the instance of the New Zealand government moved to Syria during February to recover but also prepare defences for a possible German offensive through Turkey.

As the NZ Divison rebuilt itself in Syria the NZ Divisional Salvage unit remained in Libya under 8th Army command. During March the delay in receiving reinforcements from New Zeland hastened the need to make estimates for replacement drafts, and HQ 2NZEF approached GHQ Middle East with an enquiry on the expected release dates of 2NZEF units including the NZ Salvage Unit who were under direct 8th Army command. The presumption was that the detached units would remain under 8th Army control until the operational situation would allow their release.

013351

Australian 9th Div Salvage Unit under fire 5th October 1942. El Alamein, Egypt. image 013351 Australian War Memorial.

Remaining detached from the Division the NZ Salvage units establishment was increased to a strength of 1 Officer and 45 Other Ranks, its transport assets were also increase to include one car and five trucks and given the tactical situation ammunition allocation per man was increased from 20 rounds of .303 to 50 rounds per man.

Estab 28 May 42

NZEF, NZ Divisional Salvage Unit Establishment 28 May 1942

With the NZ Divison rushed back into the fight in the Western Desert in June 1942, the NZ Salvage unit remained detached. August 1942 would find the NZ Salvage Unit in Syria and under the command of the 9th Army and operating as Army Troops rather than a Divisional unit as initially intended.  On 24 August 1942, the ADOS of 2 NZ Div sent a submission to HQ 2NZEF recommending the disbanding of the NZ Salvage unit. The main point of the submission was that the NZ Salvage Unit since its formation had always been employed as Arny troops outside of the Division. Also given the reinforcement situation its personnel could be better employed within the main NZOC Divisional organisation.  The GOC 2NZEF approved the proposal in principle but felt that the NZ Salvage Unit might still be usefully employed by the 8th Army in the current theatre. 8th Army rejected the offer, and the decision was made by HQ NZEF to recall the unit from Syria to Maadi Camp while a decision could be made on its future employment or disbandment.

Rolling through to September 1942 the NZ Salvage Unit was still detached to the 9th Army in Syria when on 19 Sept HQ NZEF sent a warning order to Headquarter 9th Army of the interesting to recall the NZ Salvage unit to Egypt for disbandment. Final Order instructing the Unit to return to Egypt was issued on 3 October 1942 with the NZ Divisional Salvage Unit formally disbanded as a unit of the NZEF on 20 October 1942.7

Disbandment

After 15 months of service, the NZ Divisional Salvage Unit was disbanded and its men distributed to other NZEF and NZ Divison Ordnance Units. The Salvage units contribution to the war effort in the Middle East alongside the other Dominion Salvage Units provided an essential function, collecting, sorting and dispatching battlefield salvage, captured allied and enemy equipment to Workshops and Salvage Depots for repair, recycling and redistribution fighting units. It is unfortunate that this crucial administrative war work carried out by one of New Zealand forgotten Ordnance units have been forgotten and it is hoped that future research into this unit will expand on their story.

Video

British Pathe Newsreel providing an example of Salvage work carried out in the Western Desert.  Desert Salvage

Copyright © Robert McKie 2018

 Notes

1 Marc Barkman-Astles, “The Archaeology of Star Wars Strikes Back!,”  https://www.heritagedaily.com/2016/05/the-archaeology-of-star-wars-strikes-back/111007.

2 Steve Atcherley, “Llewellyn Atcherley’s World War One,”  http://www.atcherley.org.uk/wp/remembrance-day-seven/.

3 Arthur Forbes, A History of the Army Ordnance Services (London: The Medici society, ltd., 1929), 76.

4 2nzef – Organisation and War Establishments – Ordnance – Field Item Idr20107590 Record No  Da 1/9/Sd81/21 (Wellington: New Zealand Archives, 1941).

5 473W. E. Murphy, The Relief of Tobruk, Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War 1939-45 (Wellington, N.Z.: War History Branch, Dept. of Internal Affairs, 1961, 1961), Non-fiction.

6 “Leo Gregory Narbey,”  http://www.aucklandmuseum.com/war-memorial/online-cenotaph/record/C30146?n=Leo%20Gregory%20Narbey&ordinal=0&from=%2Fwar-memorial%2Fonline-cenotaph%2Fsearch.

7 2nzef – Organisation and War Establishments – Ordnance – Field


1st NZ Army Tank Brigade Ordnance

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Formation Sign 1 NZ Tank Brigade

Formed at Waiouru in October 1941 with the intent of being deployed to the Middle East after Training in New Zealand for six months. The 1st NZ Army Tank Brigade was to provide armoured support for the 2nd NZ Division. The 1st NZ Army Tank Brigade consisted of three Tank Battalions with ancillary units including Medical Corps, ASC, Signals and Ordnance. The Ordnance units included:

  • A Second Line Workshop.
  • A Third Line Workshop.
  • Two Ordnance Field Parks supporting each workshop.
  • Three Light Aid Detachments (one for each Tank Battalion).
TANK BDE ORD

Ordnance within the 1st NZ Tank Brigade

The leadership of the Brigades Ordnance units was drawn from the 2nd NZ Division and arrived back in New Zealand in Late 1941. As the New Zealand Ordnance Corps was a new unit, most of the new recruits had to be found in Civilian Garages, workshops and industry with some additional specialists drawn from NZAOC workshops and returned from the Middle East. Most of the specialist personnel were trained at the Main Ordnance Workshop in Trentham with the remainder prepared at the new AFV school in Waiouru. 1

New Zealand is ready

With the entry of the Japanese into the war in December 1941 and their advance and conquering of much of South East Asia and the Pacific, home defence became the priority. Plans to deploy the 1st NZ Army Tank Brigade to the Middle East were put on hold and the unit rerolled for the immediate defence needs of New Zealand.2 After a period of reorganisations, the Brigade was ordered to be deployed in April 1942, with elements dispersed to:

  • Brigade HQ renamed Independent Squadron – deployed to the South Island.
  • 1 Tank Battalion – deployed to Northland.
  • 2 Tank Battalion – deployed to the Manawatu.
  • 3 Tank Battalion – deployed to Pukekohe.

This dispersion caused some issues for the Ordnance organisation. Designed to support the Brigade as a single entry in the flat North African desert within a 70mile radius. Ordnance would struggle to support the dispersed brigade that was now dispersed throughout the length and breadth of rural New Zealand, with few suitable roads and limited railway capability able to handle the ancillary equipment such as the specialist workshop binned and machinery trucks.

To Provide optimal support for the Brigade units the Ordnance organisation had been reorganised by July 1942 with the Army Tank Ordnance Workshop and 32, 33 and 34 LAD’s organised into what could be described as “Super-LADs” providing both 1st and 2nd line A and B Vehicle and Armaments and specialist spares support. 3rd line support was provided by the Tank Brigade Ordnance Workshop at Trentham and the Railway Workshops at Otahuhu.

November 1942 saw further changes which would start the gradual disestablishment of the 1st NZ Tank Brigade.3

  • No 1 Tank Battalion and 32 LAD remained in the Home defence roll in the Auckland/Northland area.
  • No 2 Tank Battalion, the Army Tank Ordnance Workshop and Ordnance Field Park were dissolved and became part of 3 NZ Division Independent Tank Battalion Group for service in the Pacific.
  • No 3 Tank Battalion and 33 LAD were deployed to the Middle East for service with the 2nd NZ Division, where it was dissolved, forming the nucleus of the 4th NZ Armoured brigade.
  • 34 LAD was stationed with the Independent Tank Squadron at Harewood in the South Island.
  • The Tank Brigade Ordnance Workshop and Ordnance Field Park would remain at Trentham, eventually being fully integrated into the Base Ordnance Workshops.
tank

A Valentine Mk V of the Brigade HQ Squadron, Dunedin,1943. http://kiwisinarmour.hobbyvista.com

By June 1943, the final units of the 1st NZ Army Tank Brigade; the 1 Tank Battalion Group and 32 LAD, now based at Pukekohe and the Independent Tank Squadron and 34 LAD based at Harewood were disbanded. The Ordnance personnel of those units were either sent to the 2nd or 3rd Divisions in Italy and the Pacific as reinforcements or absorbed into other ordnance units in New Zealand for the duration of the war.

The only unit authorised to wear the 2NZEF ‘Onward” badge, members of the 1st NZ Army Tank Brigade also wore on both arms a one-inch square coloured patch in the arm of service colours (purple Navy and Post Office Blue for Ordnance), with a miniature RTR ‘Tank” superimposed onto it. 3,4

 

Copyright © Robert McKie 2017

Notes

  1. Cooke, Warrior Craftsmen, Wellington: Defence of NZ Study Group, 2016.
  2. Henley, “The Tanks An Unofficial History of the Activities of the Third New Zealand Division Tank Squadron In the Pacific,” in TANKS, MMGS & ORDNANCE, Wellington, Reed Publishing (NZ) Ltd, 1947.
  3. Plowman and M. Thomas, New Zealand Armour in the Pacific 1939-45, Christchurch: Jeffrey Plowman, 2001.
  4. Documents Relating to New Zealand’s Participation in the Second World War, Wellington, New Zealand: R. E. Owen, Government Printer, 1951.
  5. Oldham, Badges and insignia of the New Zealand Army, Auckland: Milimem Books, 2011.
  6. M. Thomas and C. Lord, NZ Army Distinguishing Patches 1911-1991, Wellington: Malcolm Thomas and Cliff Lord, 1995.
  7. J. Bolton, A History Of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps., Wellington: RNZAOC, 1992.