NZAOC June 1923 to May 1924

Personnel

The strength of the NZAOC on the 31st of May 1924 was 108, consisting of:[1] [2]

  • 6 Officers
  • 69 Permanent Other Rank
  • 33 Temporary Other Ranks

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel H. E. Pilkington, RNZA

Chief Ordnance Officer

  • Captain T.J King

Ordnance Accounting Officer

  • Lieutenant T.W Page

Northern Command Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant A. W. Baldwin

Central Command Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant H.H Whyte

Southern Command Ordnance Officer

  • Captain A.R.C White

Featherston Camp Ordnance Officer

  • Captain F. E. Ford

Ordnance Accounting Officer

  • Lieutenant T.W Page

Inspecting Ordnance Officer and Acting Inspector of Ordnance Machinery

  • Captain William Ivory, RNZA

Proof Officer, Small Arms Ammunition

  • Captain E.H Sawle
NZAOC appropriations year ending 31 March 1924

NZAOC appropriations year ending 31 March 1924

Ordnance Stores

The provision of proper Ordnance Depots in all three commands had become an urgent matter, for economic as well as strategic and tactical reasons. Valuable equipment was stored in temporary structures, which in most cases was quite unsuitable for the purpose. As a necessity, the bulk of the equipment was held at Trentham and Burnham in wooden buildings erected as temporary accommodation for troops, not as permanent storage for valuable equipment. The development of Burnham and Ngaruawahia as ordnance depots was a matter of some urgency and would be put in hand as soon as funds for the purpose are available.[3]

At Burnham and Ngaruawahia, high charges for maintenance of the temporary buildings were being incurred, the cost of transportation of stores and equipment was increasing, and proper supervision and control was becoming very difficult.[4]

Northern Command

The Northern Command was the worst off in this respect. The site at Ngaruawahia was suitable, but with no buildings there, equipment for Northern Command was held partly at Featherston and partly at Trentham.[5]

Southern Command

The Southern Command was in a better position. The buildings at Burnham, though inadequate for the storage of all the equipment for Southern Command, were more or less satisfactory.[6]

Central Command

The Central Command had ample accommodation, of a kind at Trentham and Featherston, but proper fireproof stores needed to be erected at Trentham, and the buildings at present in use for storage of equipment can then be taken into use for the purpose for which they were built, the accommodation of troops. Featherston will be dismantled when Ngaruawahia depot is built.[7]

Magazines

The magazine accommodation for both gun and small-arms ammunition was quite insufficient for the army’s requirements, and all sorts of temporary accommodation in unsuitable buildings was being utilized. In consequence, the usual safety precautions could not be adhered to, and there was the danger of accidents and deterioration of ammunition. Proposals had been submitted for the erection of up-to-date magazines at Ngaruawahia for gun ammunition, and for small-arms-ammunition magazines in each command at Ngaruawahia, Trentham, and Burnham.[8]

Stores and Equipment

Stores and equipment generally were in a satisfactory position, but as a consequence of the unsuitable accommodation, they were subjected to considerable deterioration. The capacity and efficiency of the Ordnance workshops were considerably increased by the installation of new machinery; and the arrears of work which were accumulating overhauled, and that the deterioration that was threatening material, vehicles through lack of attention as prevented.[9]

The Cost Accounting system of accounting for stores was proving successful, and everything in connection with this was satisfactory with few losses occurring.[10]

The sale of surplus stores was still proceeding, although the returns had fallen off, for various reasons. The total receipts for the year were approximately £52,000, making a grand total, to date of approximately £424,000. The present method of sale was considered more satisfactory in every way than a sale by auction; it enabled the general public throughout New Zealand to obtain the stores at low prices and provided an efficient organization to deal with surplus stores as they became available from time to time. The dyeing of surplus khaki uniforms for sale to the public was proving a successful venture and was the only satisfactory method of disposing of those large stocks.

Vacancies

Applications were requested to fill Vacancies for Armourers in the NZAOC. The call was for Qualified Armourers and Gunsmiths who had previous experience in the repair of small-arms and machine guns. Mechanics would be considered if they had had training in armourer s duties.

1924 Ad

Evening Post, Volume CVII, Issue 114, 15 May 1924. Papers Past

Gallant Conduct

On 11 March 1924 Corporal Artificer John William Dalton, NZAOC was instrumental in saving the lives of four non-swimmers during extreme flash flooding which destroyed the encampment of the 6th Battery, NZA during their camp at Eskdale.[11] [12] [13]

GO 164 of 1924

General Order 164

eskdale flood 1924 07b

Corporal Articifer Dalton supervising the recovery of guns after the Eskdale flood 1924. Norm Lamont Collection

eskdale flood 1924 07a

Corporal Articifer Dalton supervising the recovery of guns after the Eskdale flood 1924. Norm Lamont Collection

dalton jw 11c eskdale flood 1924

Corporal Articifer Dalton supervising the recovery of guns after the Eskdale flood 1924. Norm Lamont Collection

dalton jw 11b eskdale flood 1924

Corporal Articifer Dalton supervising the recovery of guns after the Eskdale flood 1924. Norm Lamont Collection

eskdale flood 1924 08b

Corporal Articifer Dalton supervising the recovery of guns after the Eskdale flood 1924. Norm Lamont Collection

eskdale flood 1924 08a

Corporal Articifer Dalton supervising the recovery of guns after the Eskdale flood 1924. Norm Lamont Collection

eskdale flood 1924 06b

Corporal Articifer Dalton supervising the recovery of guns after the Eskdale flood 1924. Norm Lamont Collection

eskdale flood 1924 06a

Corporal Articifer Dalton supervising the recovery of guns after the Eskdale flood 1924. Norm Lamont Collection

dalton jw 11c eskdale flood 1924

Corporal Articifer Dalton supervising the recovery of guns after the Eskdale flood 1924. Norm Lamont Collection

New Zealand Rifle Team

Sergeant Ching a member of NZAOC, was invited to join the New Zealand Rifle Team for the shooting competition to be held at Bisley in the United Kingdom in September.[14]

NZ Army Dress Regulations 1923

The following extracts are from the 1923 NZ Army Dress Regulations that relate to the NZOC.  The 1823 Dress Regulations were the first update to the Dress Regulations since 1912.[15]

Overalls

Ordnance Corps – Two 1/4 in stripes, maroon cloth 1/2 in apart

Shoulder Titles

Brass letters, worn by officers, warrant officers, Non-commissioned officers and men on the shoulder straps of jacks (service and blue) and greatcoats. The will not be worn on mess-jackets.

NZAOC STAB

NZAOC Shoulder Titles. Robert McKie Collection

Puggaree

Ordnance Corps – Red-Blue-Red

RNZAOC_PUG

NZAOC Puggaree. Robert McKie Collection

Forage Cap Band

Ordnance Corps – Scarlet

Obituary

Corporal Peter Gow Scrimgeour passed away at his residence at William Street, Upper Hutt, on Wednesday 24 October 1923. Joining the NZEF with the Eighth Contingent, Scrimgeour saw considerable service in France and at the time of his death was employed with the Trentham Detachment of the NZAOC.[16]  Scrimgeour was provided with a military funeral on 26 October 1923.[17]

 

Personnel Movements -July 1923 to June 1924

Releases

  • 176 Armorer Private Reginald Albert Percival Johns
  • 820 Private James Clements
  • 838 Lance Corporal William Robert McMinn
  • 914 Armourer Sergeant John Boyce
  • 954 Company Sergeant Major Joseph Arthur Head

Deaths

  • 666 Corporal Peter Gow Scrimgeour

Copyright © Robert McKie 2018

Notes:

[1] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces from 1 June 1923 to 30 June 1924,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1924).

[2] “B-01-Part02 Public Accounts for the Financial Year 1923-1924,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1924).

[3] “Hydro-Electric Development,” Press, Volume LIX, Issue 17850  (1923).

[4] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces from 1 June 1923 to 30 June 1924.”

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] “Caught by the Flood “, New Zealand Herald, Volume LXI, Issue 18659, 15 March 1924.

[12] “Gallant Conduct,” New Zealand Herald, Volume LXI, Issue 18725, 3 June 1924.

[13] “Courageous Conduct,”  in New Zealand Army General Order 164 (Wellington1924).

[14] “Personal Matters – Ching,” Evening Post, Volume CVII, Issue 113, 14 May 1924.

[15] Malcolm Thomas and Cliff Lord, New Zealand Army Distinguishing Patches, 1911-1991 (Wellington, N.Z.: M. Thomas and C. Lord, 1995, 1995), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 34.

[16] “Scrimgeour, Peter Gow “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand  (1914-1918).

[17] “Personal Matters – Ching.”


NZAOC July 1922 to June 1923

The Establishment of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department (Officers) and New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Other ranks) on the 30th of June 1923 was 109, consisting of.[1]

  • 7 Officers, and
  • 102 Other Ranks

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel H. E. Pilkington, CBE, RNZA.[2]

Chief Ordnance Officer

  • Captain T.J King, NZAOD. [3]

Assistant Chief Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant A. W. Baldwin, NZAOD

Ordnance Accounting Officer

  • Lieutenant C.I. Gossage, OBE, NZAOD.[4] [5]
  • Lieutenant T.W Page, NZAOD. [6]

 Northern Command Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant A. W. Baldwin. [7]

 Central Command Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant H.H Whyte, NZAOD

Southern Command Ordnance Officer

  • Captain A.R.C White, NZAOD

 Featherston Camp Ordnance Officer

  • Captain F. E. Ford, NZAOD.

Inspecting Ordnance Officer and Acting Inspector of Ordnance Machinery

  • Captain William Ivory, RNZA.

Proof Officer, Small Arms Ammunition

  • Captain E.H Sawle.

1922 estb

Change of Command

The Director of Ordnance Services assumed command of the NZAOC from the Chief Ordnance Officer on 30 September 1922.[8]

Ordnance Depots

Northern Command

Due to financial constraints, work on the construction of the Ordnance Depot for the Northern Command had not commenced. The plans for the Ngaruawahia Ordnance Depot also provided for magazines which were urgently required to relieve the present congested magazines located at Fort Ballance, and to enable a number of the existing magazines at Auckland to be utilised for naval purposes[9].[10]

Central Command

Work that was proposed to be carried out at the Trentham depot had also been delayed due to financial constraints. [11]

Work that was proposed to be carried out at the Burnham depot had also been delayed due to financial constraints. [12]

These delays had made the provision of proper Ordnance Depots at all three locations an urgent matter. Apart from the strategic and tactical considerations, which would be important in the event of mobilisation. The completion of new depots was essential to avoid the high cost of maintenance of the temporary buildings in which the equipment was stored, and the higher freight charges involved the distribution of stores for peace requirements from unduly distant Ordnance Depots. The lack of substantial weatherproof and fireproof depot storehouses was causing the stocks of clothing and stores to be subject to a higher degree of deterioration that would generally be the case, and also exposes them to the risk of total loss by fire. [13]

Ordnance Workshops

Armament Sergeant Major (WO1) Joseph Warren appointed as Warrant Officer In Charge of the Ordnance Workshop Wellington 0n 8 May 1922.[14] [15]

warren warrant

The overhaul and assembling of the 6-inch 26cwt howitzers were completed satisfactorily at the Ordnance workshop, Alexandra Barracks. Twelve howitzers were overhauled and issued to the Territorial Artillery on completion. [16]

Accounting Systems

The cost accounting system introduced in 1921 by Lieutenant C.I. Gossage had proved very successful, and losses had become comparatively negligible. The inauguration of the new system, combined with the changes of staff consequent upon reorganisation, involved very considerable work, and the disposal of outstanding deficiencies in stores caused mainly through unrecorded issues to the Expeditionary Force or faulty book-keeping by the ever-changing temporary staff was a work of some magnitude.[17]

dying of Khaki clothingThe sale of surplus stores through a central depot in Wellington had been continuous since the establishment of the depot and had proved successful in every way. The sales average approximately £1,000 per week, and the prices obtained are much higher than could be achieved by any other method. To enable a considerable surplus of khaki service uniform jackets to be sold, a dying contract had been arranged, and supplies of those garments, dyed dark blue, were on the market. Khaki trousers were being, similarly stained to provide complete suits. The contract is very advantageous to the NZAOC since faded garments of little sale value were restored to excellent condition and are saleable at very satisfactory prices. On completion of each training-year large quantities of uniform, clothing was withdrawn from Territorials who have completed their service. To enable this clothing to be reissued it was thoroughly cleaned and renovated under a contract dry-cleaning process. The resultant savings were very considerable. For the six months ended 31st March 1923, the figures were as follows[18];

  • Number of garments dry-cleaned, 43,263
  • the number of garments renovated, 16,598
  • The total cost of dry-cleaning and renovation, £3,510
  • Before the present system, clothing was laundered and renovated for £8,423
  • so that the current system resulted in a saving of £4,913 for six months

Ordnance Veteran Petitions Parliament

Mr William Thomas Beck DSO MID, who served with the New Zealanders in Egypt and Gallipoli, and who suffered from shell-shock and defective eyesight, petitioned Parliament for redress on the 20th of June 1920. An Ordnance Corps member who served on Gallipoli as the New Zealand and Australian Division, DADOS at ANZAC. On being invalided back to New Zealand, he was declared medically unfit for service with the Defence Department, and so lost, the benefits and emoluments of his employment, while on the other hand the Superannuation Board declared him fit, and refused to extend to him the benefits of the fund to which for so long he had contributed. It is unknown how successful his Petition was.[19]

Presentation on Ordnance, Otago Officers’ Club 19 July 1922

Very few civilians, and even soldiers, during the war were aware of the work of the Ordnance Corps behind the lines and at the base depots. This subject was dealt with in an interesting lecture at the Otago Officers’ Club last evening by Captain Edward Fletcher Roberts, who was with the Ordnance Corps both in France and Mesopotamia. Captain Roberts gave an instructive and entertaining address on “Ordnance Work During the Great War.” Colonel E. R, Smith presided over a fairly numerous attendance. Captain Roberts dealt with the various phases of ordnance work, and by means of diagrams lucidly explained its many activities. The public generally had no idea of the enormous expense and vast amount of labour which is utilised in repairing artillery, gun limbers, machinery, etc., for an army in the field. Captain Roberts detailed the duties of Inspectors of Ordnance Machinery—more commonly known as I.0.M. These officers received a three months’ “oram” course at Woolwich before going on active service, where they received very full instruction on the mechanism, of gun carriages and the examination of ordnance. The speaker explained the various causes of gun trouble and the methods employed in effecting the necessary repairs. In dealing with ordnance workshops. Captain Roberts said there were several classes of workshops—the ordnance mobile workshops (light), commonly called travelling workshops, and the ordnance mobile workshops (heavy), which were stationed further back on the lines of communication than the light shops, and were a much slower moving unit, being hauled by traction engines. The heavy shop acted as a feeder to several light shops, there being at one time one heavy mobile workshop to each army. There were also base workshops which were capable of doing almost any repair. There were immense base workshops at Havre and Calais. As the speaker’s experience of base workshops was limited to Mesopotamia he dealt fully with their organisation and work in that country. He described the different repair work done and said that a large number of Arabs and Indians were employed by the British authorities. The captain concluded his remarks by giving instances of the various repairs effected to artillery of all types, to wheels for different vehicles, and all that a campaign makes necessary. At the conclusion of his address, Captain Roberts was accorded a hearty vote of thanks by acclamation.[20]

Chanak crisis

During September–October 1922 Turkish nationalist forces who had expelled the Greeks from Smyrna by force in August 1922, threatened to cross into the British occupied Dardanelles. Fearing for the security of the Dardanelles neutral zone, the British reinforced their positions in Chanak, the neutral region on the Asiatic shore of the Dardanelles, thus blocking the Turkish Forces. As the possibility of war grew, the British Government reached out to the Dominions, asking for support if hostilities broke out. New Zealand responded positively and despite it only been 4 years since the 1914-1918 New Zealand’s attitudes to war had not been affected, and the New Zealand Defence establishment embarked into an intense period of planning for the contribution of Expeditionary Force consisting of an Infantry Brigade. The Director of Ordnance Services was asked to provide the following personnel as part of the Infantry Brigade headquarters;[21]

  • One Warrant Officer
  • One Clerk
  • One Storeman
  • Four Armourer Staff Sergeants

Thousands of men volunteered, but luckily the potential conflict was resolved peacefully, and the New Zealand contribution was not required.

20180505_200735-190082474.jpg

Kings Medal Shooting Competition

Corporal F. W. Ching, of the Ordnance Staff at Trentham, finished at 2nd place at the championship at the National Rifle Association meeting held in March 1923, earning an N.Z.A.R.A. Gold Jewel and £8. [22]

Personnel Movements -July 1922 to June 1923

Enlistments

  • 977 Private William Charles Hastings

Transfers from Royal New Zealand Artillery

  • 807 WO1 (Hon Lieutenant) Thomas Webster Page. [23]
  • 954 Company Sergeant Major Joseph Arthur Head, from Wellington Detachment
  • 956 Staff Sergeant Saddler George Alexander Carter, from Auckland Detachment
  • 960 Sergeant Frank William Ching, from Wellington Detachment
  • 961 Corporal Edgar Charles Boult, from Dunedin Detachment
  • 965 Bombardier Philip Alexander MacKay, from Featherston Detachment
  • 967 Bombardier Robert John Gamble, from Dunedin Detachment
  • 968 Bombardier Thomas Alexander Hunter, from Auckland Detachment
  • 974 Gunner Henry William Le Comte, from Wellington Detachment

Releases

  • 12 Staff Sergeant James Brown
  • 43 Staff Quartermaster Sergeant William James Frost
  • 51 Private John Edward Hedderwick
  • 58 Staff Quartermaster Sergeant Thomas Reid Inch
  • 71 Staff Sergeant Bernard Terence Leydon
  • 92 Private Hector Finch McKay
  • 110 Corporal Frederick William Savill
  • 121 Private William Thornton
  • 227 Private Daniel Clarke
  • 669 Lance Corporal Thomas William Cooper
  • 750 Private Peter McIlroy
  • 826 Artificer Joseph Graydon Crawford
  • 832 Private Richard Teehan
  • 835 Private William Joseph Conroy
  • 860 Private Hugh Lawton Owen
  • 943 Sergeant Major Artificer James Edward Nesbitt

Copyright © Robert McKie 2019

Notes:

[1] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces from 1 July 1922 to 30 June 1923,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1923): 2.

[2] “Pilkington, Herbert Edward,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand  (1896 – 1930).

[3] “King, Thomas Joseph,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914-1946.

[4] Relinquished commission due to retirement 31 December 1922.”Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfer of Officers of the New Zealand Military Forces,” New Zealand Gazette No 2  (1923).

[5] “Personal – Gossage,” New Zealand Herald, Volume LX, Issue 18332,  (1923).

[6] Howard E. Chamberlain, Service Lives Remembered : The Meritorious Service Medal in New Zealand and Its Recipients, 1895-1994 ([Wellington, N.Z.]: H. Chamberlain, 1995), 350-51.

[7] “Lyons, Michael Joseph,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand  (1914-1919).

[8] “Change of Command,” NZAOC Corps Orders No 51  (1922): Part 2, Para 1.

[9] Major General E Chaytor, “Report on the Defence Forces of New Zealand,” AJHR H-19 (1923).

[10] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces from 1 July 1922 to 30 June 1923.”

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

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

[15] “Change of Command,”  Part 2, Para 2.

[16] “Six-Inch Howitzers,” Evening Post, Volume CIV, Issue 13, 15 July 1922.

[17] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces from 1 July 1922 to 30 June 1923.”

[18] “Report on the Defence Forces of New Zealand.”

[19] “Soldiers Grievance Loss of Employment,” New Zealand Herald, Volume LIX, Issue 18221, 14 October 1922.

[20] “Ordnance Work in the War “, Otago Daily Times, Issue 18611, 20 July 1922.

[21] “Ordnance – Turkish War – Ordnance Personnel – General Instructions, Ad1 1059 /95,” Defence Archives, Archives New Zealand  (1922).

[22] “Shooting at Trentham,” Manawatu Standard, Volume XLIV, Issue 657  (1923).

[23] Appointed Conductor on transfer into NZAOC


NZAOC July 1921 To June 1922

Personnel

The strength of the NZAOC on 30 of June 1922 was 114, consisting of:[1]

  • 14 Officers, and
  • 100 Other ranks

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel H. E. Pilkington, CBE, RNZA

Chief Ordnance Officer

  • Captain T.J King, NZAOD

Assistant Chief Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant A. W. Baldwin, NZAOD

Ordnance Accounting Officer

  • Lieutenant C.I. Gossage, OBE, NZAOD

Northern Command Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant M.J Lyons, NZAOD. [2]
  • Lieutenant A. W. Baldwin, NZAOD

Central Command Ordnance Officer

  • Captain F. E. Ford, NZAOD.[3] [4]

Southern Command Ordnance Officer

  • Captain A.R.C White, NZAOD,
  • Captain O.P McGuigan, NZAOD [5] [6]

Trentham Camp Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant H.H Whyte, NZAOD

Featherston Camp Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant L.A Clements.
  • Captain F. E. Ford, NZAOD.[7]

Inspecting Ordnance Officer and Acting Inspector of Ordnance Machinery

  • Captain William Ivory, RNZA.

Proof Officer, Small Arms Ammunition

  • Captain E.H Sawle.
NZAOC appropriations year ending 31 March 1922

NZAOC appropriations year ending 31 March 1922

Ordnance Activities July 1921 – June 22

The handing-over of the military hospitals to the Health Department, the closing of the Ordnance Depot at Dunedin, the merging of the Palmerston North Depot with the Main Ordnance Depot at Trentham, and the disposal of large stocks of surplus and obsolete stores made a considerable reduction in the NZAOC, the financial situation necessitated a far larger reduction than was warranted by the above economies. In addition to the routine duties connected with the stores, equipment, and clothing for the Territorial Force and Senior Cadets and the management of mobilization equipment, the NZAOC was also dealing with;

  • the examination of stores received from the United Kingdom,
  • the marking and issuing of new guns, stores, and rifles,
  • the disposal of surplus stores, and
  • the pricing of all issues and receipts in accordance with the implementation of a new system of cost accounting.

It was recognised that once these extra duties had been completed, and when proper accommodation was provided at each command depot, it would be possible to make a further reduction in personnel, but it was considered at the time that any reduction would lead to neglect and a consequent depreciation of stores. Against the possibility of reduction, it was recognised that the present system of stores audit would almost certainly necessitate an increase in the clerical stall.[8]

In 1919, the NZAOC 532, and by March 1922 had been reduced to 100. The civil staff of the NZAOC .which stood at 520 in 1919, had been reduced to 95. [9] On 4 May 1922, a further 25 N.C.O.’s and men of the NZAOC received notice of their dismissal.

Ordnance Depots

With Ordnance Depots established at Burnham for the Southern Command, and at Trentham for the Central Command. The site for the Northern Command Depot at Ngaruawahia had been obtained with the exchange with the Railway Department for land at Frankton Junction. [10]The mobilization stores for the Northern Command were held at Trentham and Featherston so it became a priority to incur some expenditure for the erection of buildings at Ngaruawahia. Plans were also on the table for the provision of suitable fireproof buildings to replace the present temporary accommodation at Trentham and Burnham. At Trentham all available buildings, including the gymnasium used by the School of Instruction, were utilised for storage; many of the older hutments were not suitable for storing the very valuable, equipment on charge, and the risk of fire is a very grave one.

Disposal Depots

The Ordnance Depot in each command was to hold the stores and equipment required by the Territorial units in that command; additionally, Trentham will hold, the general reserve of stores and equipment. All stores surplus to mobilization requirements were in the process of being disposed of. Disposal-depots were continued in the four centres, after which a series of country sales were held in various towns. Owing to reduced staff it was eventually found necessary to restrict activities to a central depot in Wellington, which commenced operation on February 1922. The Wellington Disposal Depot conducted over the counter sales which were restricted to one day weekly, with postal orders being dealt with on other days. The total sales of clothing and miscellaneous stores during the period 1st April 1921 to 31st March 1922, amounted to £177,346.[11]

Discipline

Civil Court

The Magistrates Court hear a case on 24 November 1921 resulting from the theft of items from Trentham Camp. Civilian labourer Phillip Frederick Deihert pleaded guilty to the theft of Military stores a portion of which included; two tents, an anvil, a forge and eight military overcoats. Deihert was committed to the Supreme Court for sentencing at a later date.[12]

Corporal John Wilson Robertson, Head packer in the Receipt and Issue store, was also charged with the theft of one of the tents, but the case against him was dismissed, as the evidence that he was knowingly involved was not sufficient to warrant prosecution.[13] Despite the dismissal of the case against Robertson, his character and suitability for further employment in the NZAOC was under question and he was demobilised as part of the compulsory reductions that the NZAOC was forced to carry out. [14]

 

Personnel Movements -July 1921 to June 1922

Releases

Private Charles Edward Barry
Private Daniel Clarke
Private Joseph Graydon Crawford
Private Clarke Daniel
Private James Nathaniel Grindrod
Private John Edward Hedderwick
Private Arthur Hollings
Private James King
Private Hector Finch McKay
Private John Miller Miller
Private Hugh Lawton Owen
Private William Perigan Potter
Private Albert George Richardson
Private Alfred Searle
Private Henry Steele
Private Richard Teehan
Private William Thornton
Private Edwin Percy Chappel
Corporal John Wilson Robertson
Staff Sergeant Bernard Terence Leydon
Staff Quartermaster Sergeant William James Frost
Staff Quartermaster Sergeant Thomas Reid Inch
Sergeant Major Artificer James Edward Nesbitt
Staff Quartermaster-Sergeant W.J.F Ross

Copyright © Robert McKie 2019

Notes:

[1] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces from 1 July 1921 to 30 June 1922,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1922): 2.

[2] 1 April 1922 Relinquished the rank of lieutenant and appointed rank of Conductor, WO Class with the honorary rank of Lieutenant. 1  “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations Amd Transfers,” new Zealand Gazette 29  (1922): 1046.

[3] “Untitled – Ford,” Evening Post, Volume CII, Issue 81 1921.

[4] Captain F. E. Ford, who was in command of the Ordnance section attached to the Central Command in Palmerston North, proceeded to Featherston Military Camp on the 1st of December to take charge of the Featherston Ordnance Depot. “Untitled – Ford,” Manawatu Standard, Volume XLIII, Issue 386, 2 December 1921.

[5] “Personal – Mcguigan,” Manawatu Standard, Volume XLIII, Issue 351,, 20 March 1922.

[6] Posted to the retired list 15 October 1922 “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfer of Officers of the New Zealand Military Forces,” New Zealand Gazette 71  (1922): 2667.

[7] “Untitled – Ford.”

[8] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces from 1 July 1921 to 30 June 1922,”  3.

[9] “Defence Reductions,” Press, Volume LVIII, Issue 17402, 13 March 1922.

[10] “Trentham of the North,” Waikato Times, Volume 94, Issue 14754, 19 September 1921.

[11] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces from 1 July 1921 to 30 June 1922.”

[12] “Missing Ordnance Stores,” Evening Post, Volume CII, Issue 126, 24 November 1921.

[13] Ibid.

[14] “Robertson, John Wilson,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand  (1914-21).


NZAOC July 1920 to June 1921

Personnel

The strength of the NZAOC on the 30th of July 1921 was 174 consisting of:[1]

  • 9 Officers, and
  • 165 Other ranks

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel H. E. Pilkington, RNZA

Chief Ordnance Officer

  • Captain T.J King, NZAOD

Assistant Chief Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant A. W. Baldwin, NZAOD

Ordnance Accounting Officer

  • lieutenant James M. Miller, NZAOD.[2]
  • Lieutenant C.I. Gossage, OBE, NZAOD[3]

Northern Command Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant M.J Lyons.[4]
  • Captain L.F McNair, NZAOD.[5]
  • Captain E.C Dovey, NZSC. [6]

Central Command Ordnance Officer

  • Captain F. E. Ford, NZAOD

Southern Command Ordnance Officer

  • Captain A.R.C White, NZAOD
  • Captain O.P McGuigan, NZAOD

Trentham Camp Ordnance Officer

  • Lieutenant H.H Whyte, NZAOD

Featherston CampOrdnance Officer

  • Lieutenant L.A Clements.

Ordnance Officers

  • Lieutenant Albert Austin, NZAOD.[7]

Inspecting Ordnance Officer and Acting Inspector of Ordnance Machinery

  • Captain William Ivory, RNZA. [8]

Inspector of Engineers, Electric Light and Defence Vessels Stores

  • Captain A.D Neilson.[9]

IOO and IOM Staff Ordnance Officers

  • Honorary Lieutenant Frederick W. Kibblewhite, NZAOD.[10]
  • Honorary Lieutenant William E. Luckman, NZAOD.[11]
NZAOC appropriations year ending 31 March 1921

NZAOC appropriations year ending 31 March 1921

Ordnance Activities July 20 – June 21

During this period the NZAOC had been considerably reduced but was still considered in excess of the strength required for its normal peace duties which consisted of the accounting, storage, issue, receipt, and care of all Ordnance stores for the N.Z. Military Forces. The following are some of the principal activities in excess of ordinary routine duties which the NZAOC had been engaged in during the 1920/21 period which had mitigated against further retrenchment being carried out;[12]

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

The retention of military hospitals and sanatoria under the Defence Department entailed a considerable amount of work for the NZAOC, and until these institutions were handed over to the Department which was ultimately to be entirely responsible for the after-care of disabled soldiers the NZAOC could not be further reduced in number without impairing its efficiency.[13]

From the 20th of November 1920 NZAOC personnel employed in the maintenance sections at Trentham and Featherston Camps, were reorganised by transferring those that were required to the works section, New Zealand Engineers, The surplus personnel were demobilised.

Losses

The Auditor-General reported on the 4th of September that the NZAOC had been unable to allocate responsibility for losses of certain stores, clothing and equipment in military districts, and the following sums have been written off:[22]

  • Wellington Military District, £14,787
  • Auckland Military District, £9006
  • Canterbury Military District, £2532
  • The loss of stores and clothing to the value of £274 at the Trentham and Featherston military camps is attributed to the disorganisation brought about by the influenza epidemic.

Stores Credits

The NZAOC credits for the year ended 30th June 1921, for the sale of stores amounted to approximately £70,000.[23]

Inspecting Ordnance Officer and Acting Inspector of Ordnance Machinery

On 1 May 1921 Captain William Ivory, RNZA was appointed Inspection Ordnance Officer(IOO) and Acting Inspector of Ordnance Machinery(IOM). A 1916 Graduate of the Royal Military College, Duntroon, Ivory would spend a short time with the 2nd NZEF before been sent to the Woolwich Arsenal to undergo Ordnance training. Passing the Inspecting Ordnance Officers course, Ivory was then placed onto the 36th Advanced Ordnance course. On the successful completion of the Advanced Ordnance course, Ivory was granted a six-month attachment to the Woolwich Arsenal to gain practical experience in guns, carriages and explosives and to oversee the purchase of modern equipment for New Zealand’s Ordnance Workshops. Ivory would return to New Zealand in February 1921.[14]

The IOO was initially envisaged as part of the Ordnance Staff but unwilling to break with the military organisational conventions of the time the IOO would be attached to the Branch of the Director of Artillery, with the understanding that Ivory would also be responsible to the DOS for Ordnance matters as the acting IOM. Ivory’s duties would be;[15]

  • Technical inspection of Artillery material, Ammunition and Magazines, whether held on charge by RNZA or Ordnance.
  • Member of the SAA Committee.
  • The Inspection of Small Arms and Machine Guns as required by DOS
  • Questions re List of Changes in War Material and questions generally as to Artillery Material.
  • Questions re Calibration, Sound Ranging and Metrology as required by D of A.
  • Instructional Duties as may be arranged by D of A.
  • Regimental duty as a relieving Officer when available
  • Inspection of Telephones, Electrical Light Stores, Signalling Stores, Dynamos and Electrical Instruments as required by DOS

New personnel regulations

From 3 July 1920, all temporary appointments to the NZAOC would be made by the temporary employment board at General Headquarters on the recommendation of unit Officers Commanding. General Headquarters instruction laid down that should a unit OC be required to engage additional personnel for temporary employment, an application to the Temporary Employment Board (TEB) would have to be made. The TEB would then arrange the selection of suitable individuals from applicants on the waiting list, giving preference to returned soldiers. At the time the rank of NCO’s in the NZAOC was only temporary and would be relinquished as soon as the permanent establishments had been authorised. Permanent appointments of NCO’s would be filled only by men who qualified by examination and are in all respects the most suitable for the position, irrespective of whether they were serving in a temporary capacity as private or NCO. Where qualifications were equal, preference would be given to returned soldiers.[16]

Ordnance Depots

Northern Command

The current facilities at the Mount Eden Depot were and not fit for purpose with suitable storage accommodation was urgently needed. Until suitable storage accommodation was provided, mobilization stores for Auckland command were to be housed at Featherston Camp.

Central Command

Suitable requirements for mobilisation stores were also required for the Central Command. The NZAOC Palmerston North Detachment had closed during this period and had transferred its stores to Featherston and Trentham Camp.[17]

The NZAOC Stores located in Buckle Street in Wellington had been relocated to Trentham.[18]

The complete demolition of Featherston Camp was therefore delayed pending suitable accommodation being made available in the Auckland District.

Southern Command

Agreement between the Education and Defence Departments had been reached on 11 September 1920 for the handover of the Burnham Industrial School to the Defence Department for use as a Military training camp and Ordnance Depot. On 15 November 1920, the Defence Department formally took over the buildings for use as an Ordnance Depot. During November 1920 an expenditure of £500 was approved for the purchase and erection of shelving in various buildings as preparation for the new Ordnance Depot.[19]

As the necessary alterations and certain additions were gradually made and buildings became available, Ordnance stores located at King Edward Barracks and the Dunedin Ordnance Depot located in St Andrews Street Dunedin were relocated to Burnham Camp as the Southern Command Ordnance Depot began to take shape.[20] Burnham Camp would ultimately provide sufficient accommodation for all the necessary military stores for the South Island.[21]

Due to a reorganisation in 1921 both the Canterbury and Nelson Military District and the Otago and Southland Military Districts were combined into the Southern Military Command

Ordnance Corps Picnic

The annual picnic of the NZAOC was held at Day s Bay on 4 February 1921 in ideal weather. A most enjoyable time was spent. A large programme o£ children’s events were also put through. [24]

Corps Alliance

Approved by His Majesty the King at the end of 1920, General Order No 95 of 1 March 1921 granted formal approval of an alliance between the RAOC and the Ordnance Corps of;[25] [26]

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa

Motto

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

Obituary

The Ordnance Officer, Northern Command Captain Ernest Charles Dovey, NZSC passed away at his residence on 11 July 1921. Captain Dovey was a popular staff officer and was well known throughout New Zealand military circles. An old Imperial Army man, he came to New Zealand in the early days of the defence movement and held positions as an instructor in the mounted service. He took a leading part in organising the Dominion military tournaments before the war, and on the reorganisation of the force in “Sir Alexander Godley’s, time entered the Staff Corps as a lieutenant. In the early days of the European war, he was engaged in preparing troops for the front and in 1916 was adjutant at Trentham Camp. He went to the front as captain of the Staff Corps, and for some, time was commandant at Etaples. On his return, he was appointed to the Ordnance staff, first as an Ordnance Officer in Palmerston North on a Probationary period then as the Ordnance Officer for the Auckland district.

Personnel Movements -July 1920 to June 1921

Releases

Articifer G Bridge
Articifer E.V Evans
Articifer F Howe
Articifer W Philips
Articifer M Scollard
Articifer F.J Sygrove
Private William Ernest Aston
Private W.S Barr
Private D Cameron
Private Phillip Frederick Deibert
Private Frederick Vaugha Evans
Private George Henry Gedson
Private Gray Gray
Private McKenzie Denis Horneman
Private Petersen Julius
Private Robert James Kennedy
Private Benjamin Edward Lambert
Private H Lander
Private William Alexander Larkin
Private W.H Launder
Private p McIlroy
Private Wilfred John Mitchinson
Private David Morgan
Private Charles Joseph Phillips
Private Arthur Pidduck
Private D.A Russell
Private John James Thomas
Private Henry Samuel Wilkie
Lance Corporal Edward Beardmore
Lance Corporal Joseph Fitzgerald
Lance Corporal Leonard Hancox
Lance Corporal Henry Edward Augustus Jones
Lance Corporal Edwin Mitchell
Lance Corporal John Wingate Nicholson
Lance Corporal William Kingston O’Connell
Lance Corporal G.E.D Robertson
Lance Corporal A.E Robinson
Lance Corporal Arthur Herbert Ross
Lance Corporal E Sharpe
Lance Corporal Robert George Smith
Corporal Theodore Anderson
Corporal Robert Brown
Corporal Arthur Thomas Burnette
Corporal Walter Bentham Clark
Corporal J Duffy
Corporal Frederick William Green
Corporal F.L McKenzie
corporal Edward McManus
Corporal H.A Rodgers
Corporal William Watt
Corporal Henry James Willis
Sergeant John Murray
Sergeant Francis Renshaw
Staff Sergeant J.R Hopkinson
Staff Sergeant J.W Kirby
Staff Sergeant J Nolan
Staff Sergeant G Quayle
Staff Quartermaster Sergeant John Leslie Jackson
Sergeant Major Artificer William Edward Moore
Armanmet Sergeant Major (WO) Thomas Edward Bryce
lieutenant Frederick W. Kibblcwhite
Captain Livingston Forsythe McNair
Honorary Lieutenant (NZAOD) Armourer Quartermaster Sergeant W.E Luckman, RAOC.[27]

Copyright © Robert McKie 2019

Notes:

[1] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1921).

[2] Relinquished appointment on retirement on 12 July 1920. “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfer of Officers of the New Zealand Staff Corps, Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery and Territorial Force,” New Zealand Gazette 55  (1920): 1866.

[3] Previously DADOS NZEF, after demobilisation Gossage joined the NZAOD as a Lieutenant on 16 August 1920. “Gossage, Charles Ingram  “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

[4]Ordnance Officer Auckland Mar 1920 to Sept 1920. “Lyons, Michael Joseph “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand  (1914-1931).

[5] “Mcnair, Livingston Forsyth,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand  (1914-1921).

[6] Ordnance Officer Auckland October 1920 to 11 July 1921. Passed away at his residence on 11 July 1921 “Personel Matter Dovey,” Evening Post, Volume CII, Issue 11, 13 July 1921.

[7] Relinquished position due to retirement on1 14 July 1921 “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfers of Officers of the Nzsc, Nzaod and Territorial Force,” New Zealand Gazette No 72  (1921): 2046.

[8] “Ivory, William “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand  (1916-1933).

[9] Held appointment from1 July 1919 to 14 June 1921 “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfer of Officers of the NZ Staff Corps, Nzaod and Territorial Force,” New Zealand Gazette No 16  (1922): 588.

[10] 19 October 1920, Relinquished position on retirement. “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfer of Officers of the New Zealand Staff Corps, Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery and Territorial Force,” New Zealand Gazette No 95  (1920).

[11] 13 September 1920, Relinquished position on retirement. “Appointments, Promotions, Resignations and Transfer of Officers of the New Zealand Staff Corps, Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery and Territorial Force,” New Zealand Gazette No 83  (1920).

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

[13] Ibid.

[14] “Ivory, William “.

[15] Ibid.

[16] “The Defence Force,”  https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NZTIM19200703.2.35.

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

[18] “Ordnance Srores,” Evening Post, Volume C, Issue 95, 19 October 1920.

[19] “Camp at Burnham,” Star, Issue 16298, 13 December 1920.

[20] “Territorials,” Evening Star, Issue 17600, 3 March 1921.

[21] “Military Training,” New Zealand Herald, Volume LVIII, Issue 17679, 14 January 1921.

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

[23] Ibid.

[24] “Ordnance Corps Picnic,” Evening Post, Volume CI, Issue 32, 7 February 1921.

[25] Major J.S Bolton, A History of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (Trentham: RNZAOC, 1992), 37.

[26] “Territorials,” Evening Star, Issue 17619, 26 March 1921.

[27] After having served as the Chief Armourer for the New Zealand Forces from 3 July 1903 to 9 September 1920 returned to the United Kingdom “Personal Luckman,” Dominion, Volume 13, Issue 292, 3 September 1920.


NZAOC July 1918 to June 1919

Gazetted by regulations published on 1 February 1917, the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps was established as part of the permanent staff of the Defence Forces of New Zealand. Organised with Ordnance Stores under four District Ordnance Officers in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin and detachments at Palmerston North and Featherston.[1]

For this article as the activities of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department and Corps were intertwined during the period 1918-1923 they will be referred to as the NZAOC.

The routine the work of the four District Ordnance Officers was considerably increased with the cessation of hostilities in November 1918. The return of troops necessitated the opening and equipping of hospitals, vocational and educational training schemes. This opened up new and important work to be handled by the Ordnance Corps.

Organisation

During the 1918-1919 period, the strength of the NZAOC has increased markedly. This was due to the taking over of the camps and the rush of work because of demobilization.  In recruiting for the NZAOC preference was given to returned soldiers. The total strength of the NZAOC on 1st June 1919 was 486, consisting of;[2]

  • 18 Officers, and
  • 475 Other ranks.

Key Appointments

Directing Staff and Executive Staff

Director of Equipment and Ordnance Stores

  • Major T. McCristell, NZAOD.

Assistant Director of Equipment and Ordnance Stores

  • Temporary Captain T. J. King, NZAOD.

Ordnance Accounting Officer

  • lieutenant James M. Miller, NZAOD.

Ordnance Officer Auckland

  • Captain L.F McNair, NZAOD.

Ordnance Officer Christchurch

  • Honorary Captain A.R.C White, NZAOD.

Ordnance Officer Dunedin

  • Honorary Captain O.F. McGuigan, NZAOD.

Ordnance Officer Wellington

  • Honorary Lieutenant F.E Ford, NZAOD.

Ordnance Officer Featherston Camp

Executive Staff Ordnance Officers

Inspectorial Staff

Inspector of Ordnance Machinery

  • Captain B.G.V Parker, NZAOD.

Inspector of Engineers, Electric Light and Defence Vessels Stores

  • Captain George John Parrell, NZAOD

Proof Officer, Small Arms Ammunition, Auckland

  • Captain A. Duvall, NZAOD.

Chief Armourer

  • Honorary Lieutenant William E. Luckman, NZAOD.

Inspectorial Staff Ordnance Officers

  • Honorary Lieutenant Frederick W. Kibblewhite, NZAOD.
  • Honorary Lieutenant William H Manning, NZAOD.
  • Honorary Lieutenant William Ramsey, NZAOD.
NZAOC appropriations year ending 31 March 1919

Alexandra Barracks, Buckle Street, Wellington

The home of the NZAOC, the Defence complex of Alexandra Barracks included the Central Districts Ordnance Depot, located on the corner of Taranaki and Buckle Street and the Armament Workshop, which was located on the site where the current museum is.

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

Central Districts Ordnance Depot

The Ordnance Depot for the Central Districts, it maintained a number of sections including Clerical, Store and Maintenance, with specialist subsections such as Boot (new and repair), Sailmaker (Textile repair) and clothing.[3]

Boot Section

The total quantity of boots received from manufacturers during the 1918/19 period was;

  • 51,693 pairs shoes (deck),
  • 6,552 pairs.

When drawing up specifications for the supply of boots for 1918 it was recognized that several alterations were necessary to render the boots more comfortable, and durable than those of the 1917 pattern. Special fittings were placed on the toes of all military lasts used by manufacturers to render that portion of the boots roomier, and also short stout puffs were introduced, with the result that no complaints whatever were received regarding undue pressure on the toes of the wearer. A special tannage of sole leather suitable for military work was also obtained, and by a test of wear gave every satisfaction. The total number of boots rejected during this period was 95 pairs. The majority of boots rejected were discarded for minor faults only, no case being observed where manufacturers had deliberately attempted to depart from specifications, the deliveries as a whole being, both in workmanship and material, well up to the standard required.[4]

On account of the shortage of military footwear in England, during the 1918/19 period shipments to England for the purpose of equipping returning members of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force before leaving for New Zealand was;

  • boots (ankle) 42,900 pairs,
  • shoes (deck), 14,000 pairs,

To satisfy demands made in New Zealand, the following issues were made

  • Boots (ankle, regulation), 29,886 pairs,
  • boots (light and special), 68 pairs;
  • shoes (deck), 9,845 pairs.

The stock of in store as of June 1919 comprised;

  • boots (ankle, regulation) 5,092 pairs,
  • shoes (deck) 7,684 pairs,

The Central Districts Ordnance Depot also maintained a Boot-repair Factory. During the 1918/19 period, the output of the boot-repair factory had been equal to all demands made on it, with all repairs required for Trentham and Featherston Camps and districts being satisfied. The total quantity of boots repaired from the 1st June 1918 to the 31st May 1919, was

  • 12,709 pairs, at an average cost of 5s. Id. per pair.
  • 13 pairs of shoes (deck) at an average cost of Is. 7d. per pair.

All material used in repairing boots and shoes was of the highest quality obtainable, and the results given in wear proved to be highly satisfactory. The repair process was as follows;

  • Before repairing, all boots are thoroughly disinfected by immersion in a solution of kerol (disinfectant) and water.
  • They were then pulled onto perfect-fitting lasts,
  • necessary repairs are carried out,
  • and the sizes stamped on the soles.
  • The next process is cleaning and blocking. This is done in the following manner
    • The boots are pulled on perfect-fitting followers,
    • the uppers thoroughly washed in a mixture of soap and lukewarm water.
    • While the leather is in a mellow state all creases and wrinkles in the uppers are rubbed out,
    • the boots are then put aside for twenty-four hours’ drying.
    • After this period the uppers are thoroughly treated with dubbin, which not only penetrates the pores of the leather (thus rendering them watertight) but also has a mellowing effect upon the uppers, making them equal in pliability to those of new boots.
    • The boots are then taken off the followers and placed in storage-bins ready for use.

After this treatment, the boots were in excellent condition, both from a serviceable and sanitary point of view. As of 30 June 1919, 4,600 pairs of boots had been treated in this manner, and these figures were added to (approximately) at the rate of forty pairs daily until the present stock of boots in store for repairs (estimated, after allowing for rejections, at 4,000 pairs) was exhausted. From 1918 two disabled returned soldiers were trained in boot-repairing and successfully transitioned into civil life. Three more disabled returned soldiers were sent up by the Repatriation Department for similar training.

Miscellaneous stores

With the cessation of hostilities supplies of miscellaneous stores had been reduced to a minimum consistent with estimated requirements. Due to the Influenza, all tentage was placed at the disposal of the Public Health Department.

Clothing

The deliveries of all clothing into the Central Districts Ordnance Depot during the period had been most satisfactory, with practically nil complaints on the various manufacturers for the good work that was delivered. The condition of stock in the Department was good, with no sign of moth damage visible. Hospital clothing and linen issued to the various hospitals was of a very good quality. The practice of obtaining supplies of linen, shirting, pillow-cotton, and Turkey twill towels from New Zealand manufacturers the NZAOC to supply a good hard-wearing article and saved a great deal in cost as against local purchase. The installation of the power plant in the Sail-makers’ Section was beneficial and allowed a vast quantity of goods, such as sheets, slips (pillow), neckerchiefs, cloths (table) to be made up.

The NZAOC stock of cholera belts on the cessation of hostilities totalled 19,850, this was essentially dead stock which was re manufactures into shirts (flannel, hospital) and drawers (flannel). The cost of this work is 2s. 6d. per garment. This innovation has proved a success and has enabled the NZAOC to put to good use articles which were considered as useless. Three belts are required to make each flannel shirt, and two belts are required to make each pair flannel drawers. New flannel shirts cost 10s. 6d. each, and drawers 8s. 6d. each.

It was considered advisable to take steps to protect the kapok mattresses from damage owing to the wires on beds rusting from perspiration, and to this end, some 1,500 blankets made from cotton, and which were, not considered suitable for issue, were converted into mattress-protectors by the Sailmakers’ Section.

The renovation of Hats (felt) has also been undertaken been put to good use, the cost of renovation being 3s., which included new leather chin-straps, restocking and cleaning of the hood, with work been most satisfactorily performed with some 1,500 hats subjected to renovation, enabling the NZAOC to reissue hats which in the past were not considered suitable.

The work on the renovation of garments was a complete success during the year. This scheme put to good use articles which formerly would not have been used again. All garments were thoroughly disinfected when being laundered, and all fear of contagion is done away with.

During this period the New Zealand Expeditionary Force was in in the United Kingdom were supplied from NZAOC stocks with;

  • Jackets, 25,000
  • trousers, 15,040
  • shirts work, 42,952
  • shirts, under, 18,056
  • drawers, pairs, 18,015
  • jerseys, 24,760;
  • socks, pairs, 39,068
  • putties, pairs, 15,096
  • boots, pairs, 42,900
  • shoes, pairs, 14,000.

The Forces in Egypt were supplied with:

  • Jackets, 2,000.

The total value of these articles was £153,600.

Armament Workshop

During the war years, components for the repairs of small arms had been hampered by difficulties in obtaining spares from England. As a wartime expedient, obsolete MLE rifles once converted by the Armament Workshops to charger loading and sighted for modern ammunition were issued to the Trentham and Featherston camps. On the cessation of hostilities, these rifles were refurbished and redistributed to the four districts in accordance with the requirements of the Training Branch as follows:[5]

  • Auckland, 753
  • Wellington, 2,163
  • Canterbury, 2,126
  • Otago, 958.

Produce

  • The NZAOC earned good revenue from the sale of waste products. During the 1918/19 period, the sum of £3,520 was paid into the Public Account in respect of sales of produce.[6]

Featherston Camp

On the cessation of hostilities control of the greater part of the administrative work of Featherston Camp came under the jurisdiction of the NZAOC, the satellite camps were closed, and many of the buildings of the Canvas Camp were dismantled and removed to Trentham. Stores on issue to the various schools at Featherston were either transferred to the Schools of Instruction at Trentham, with the balance distributed among the four districts, Outstanding accounts to local vendors were settled and matters placed on a sound commercial basis. Rented areas were cleared and rendered fit for return to the lessors.[7]

Trentham Camp

As with Featherston administrative control of parts of this camp were placed under the jurisdiction of the NZAOC with general cleaning up on similar lines as that carried out at Featherston carried out. A large staff of artisans was employed on the construction of hospital buildings and general alterations to existing buildings.

In both camps, the demobilization of troops and the subsequent cleaning up, stocktaking, and balancing of ledgers were carried out.

Trentham Ordnance Workshops

During 1918 the Trentham workshops had been working at full capacity with 16,000 articles such as coffins and tables manufactured or repaired. This work was carried out in addition to that relating to new hospitals and entailed the use of 344,207 square feet of timber and 25,278 square feet of three-ply. A large quantity of musketry equipment and office furniture was also manufactured in the Trentham workshop, saving the need to purchase from the commercial market at inflated prices. Machinery for a second-class Ordnance workshop has been ordered through the High Commissioner, London.

Hospital and Vocational training infrastructure

On the 9th January 1919, the NZAOC took the Railways and Works Department responsibilities for Trentham Camp. This responsibility included the maintenance of Trentham. Camp and alterations to several hutments into hospital accommodation. The hospital alterations were as follows;[8]

  • Ten hutments, 22 ft. by 140 ft lined and converted into hospital wards, with necessary kitchen, Duty Sister’s room, and lavatory accommodation
  • Four and a half hutments into cubicle accommodation for Sisters, Nurses, and V.A.D.s dining and sitting rooms for Sisters and V.A.D.s also a self-contained kitchen for the female staff employed in Trentham Military Hospital.

In addition to the above, provision was made for X-ray plant and a plaster-room. Alterations were also affected in the operating-theatre. A new septic tank capable of dealing with the sewerage of 1,000 persons was constructed. Owing to the difficulty of obtaining skilled carpenters and plumbers the progress of the work was somewhat slow. Further works have been carried out for educational and vocational training.

As part of the vocational training scheme for returning servicemen, Huts were fitted out for training in:

  • carpentry,
  • tailoring,
  • boot making,
  • commercial training,
  • book-keeping,
  • basket making,
  • leather-work,
  • surgical boots and splint making, and
  • acetone welding.

The provision was also made to install a hot-water system for the new hospital quarters.

Ordnance Ammunition Section at Fort Ballance

The Ammunition Section at Fort Balance destroyed a large number of B.L. cordite cartridges owing to deterioration but were replaced from stocks of material held by the Ammunition Section. About 3,000 rounds of Q.F. ammunition was made up during the year, and 1,000 rounds altered to conform with later specifications. The annual proof of percussion fuzes, friction tubes, etc was also successfully carried out.[9]

NZAOC as Quartermasters

The accounting, care, and custody of stores by units had in the main, been unsatisfactory with units not carrying out their responsibilities as detailed by the Regulations of New Zealand Military Forces. To address the situation Eleven NZAOC Staff Sergeants were seconded for duty as Quartermaster-Sergeants with units. They were appointed to units to make the necessary adjustments and get the units stores accounts onto a working basis. This was a successful arrangement with further audits disclosing few if any deficiencies. It was however evident that the storage accommodation for units was inadequate, with many units having no accommodation where stores could be secured, resulting in the backloading of many items to the regional Stores Depots.[10] [11]

Due to the success of the emergency measures of NZAOC Staff Sergeants into units as Quartermaster-Sergeants, an amendment to Army regulations was published on 3 October 1918 to make the management of Quartermaster Sergeants a NZAOC responsibility. The amendments were as follows;[12]

83. Group and Unit Quartermaster-Sergeants will belong to and be trained by the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, and when posted for duty in districts will be borne as supernumeraries on the establishment of that corps. They will be included in the effective strength of the group or unit in which they are actually serving and will be so accounted for in periodical returns for those groups or units. In so far as the questions of efficiency, leave, and duty are concerned, Quartermaster-Sergeants will be under the direct supervision of the A.Q.M.G. of the district, and will be directly responsible to the Group or Unit Commander, as the case may be, for the performance of their respective duties as Group or Unit Accountants. They will devote the whole of their time to the accounting, care, and custody of public property on issue

Influenza Epidemic

Under the management of the Director of Equipment and Ordnance Stores, Major Thomas McCristell, the 123 men of the Ordnance Corps equipped the various emergency hospitals with over 300 beds, supplied the stores and supervised the hospital arrangements and general machinery of each establishment  in and about Wellington, so that by 20 November the following hospitals and convalescent hospitals had been established:[13]

Hospitals

  • Normal School, 91 women,
  • Sydney street Schoolroom, 41 men.
  • Missions to Seamen, 65 men.
  • St. John’s Schoolroom, 67 men and women.
  • Alexandra Hall, 20 men.
  • Wellington College, 105 men and women.
  • St. Patrick’s College, 48 men.
  • Brooklyn Hall, 32 men and women.
  • Johnsonville, 23 men and women.
  • Seatoun, 10 men and women.

Convalescent Hospitals

  • St. Thomas’s Hall, 35 men.
  • Wellington Convalescent Home, 24 women.
  • Salvation Army Training College, 16 women.
  • St. Anne’s Hall, 30 men.

Untended Children’s Home

  • Miramar Golf Club, 56 children

The 1916 census listed the population of Wellington as 95235, deaths in Wellington attributed to the influenza were 795 which gave Wellington a death rate of 7.9 per 1000. This rate was slightly higher than Auckland but well below the death rate found in other North Island Locations which was as high as 43 per 1000.[14] It would be optimistic to believe that the work carried out by the Ordnance Corps in establishing emergency hospitals contributed to Wellingtons low death rate.

The Ordnance men were not immune to the effects of the Influenza, and at one stage 7O men were laid up with influenza, placing extraordinary demands onto the very much reduced staff.[15] Private F.W  Maynard, a 35-year-old Ordnance Soldier, died as a result of the complications caused by Influenza on the 28 November.[16]

By December 1918 the influenza epidemic was under control, and the crisis has passed with the emergency hospitals progressively shut down. Much of the credit to the success of the setting up and management of the emergency hospitals were placed directly on Major McCristell and his team from the Ordnance Corps.

Sport

On the 23rd September 1918 a Rugby team from the NZAOC met and defeated a team from Base Records by 12 to 5. In the evening the teams and other members of the staffs combined to hold a smoke concert. Major T. M’Cristell, Director of Army Ordnance and Supplies, presided, and a very pleasant evening was spent with musical items and speeches.

A football match was played on Saturday 12 October between the NZAOC and Base Records. Resulting in an 11 to 3 win for the NZAOC. For the winners, tries were scored by Captain King and Private Batchelor. Quartermaster-Sergeant Maclntyre converted one try. Both teams showed good form, but the NZAOC forwards proved too good for Records. Lieutenant Valentine kicked a penalty goal for the losers. Mr R Fordyce was the referee.

Ordnance Branch Picnic

The annual picnic of the Ordnance Branch was held at Day’s Bay on 12 February 1919 under altogether favourable conditions. There was an attendance of between three and four hundred, and the presence of so many children prompted General Sir Alfred Robin to remark during the presentation of the sports prizes that such a happy gathering of young folks augured very well for the Ordnance Branch of the future. The picnickers left town by the Duchess at 1015 a.m., picking up the Rarotongan contingent from Somes Island on the way, and engaged in a day’s sport and pleasure. Lieutenants Austin and Miller, with Corporals Flynn and Barnett as judges, supervised the sports arrangements, and Corporal J. Brown was an efficient secretary. A cold luncheon was provided in the pavilion, and later afternoon tea was served on the grass.[17]

Farwell

One of the largest gatherings of members of the Ordnance Staff took place on 19 May 1919, at the Buckle-street depot to bid farewell to Staff Sergeant Major Donald McIntyre, who, after 17 years’ service is severing his connection with the Defence Department to take up duties with the firm of E Morris. Sergeant Major McIntyre joined the service after his return from the Boer War. Major McCristell in making the presentation on behalf of the staff, regretted the loss. of such a loyal and well-respected member. The presentation took the form of a substantial cheque, a silver tea service, a silver rail oak tray, and a silver cake stand. Sergeant-Major McIntyre led last season in the- batting and bowling averages of the cricket, team, and Captain King, on behalf of the members of the team presented him with a bat for his batting record, and a silver hot water jug for his bowling average. He also expressed regret at losing the services of such an excellent member of the team and trusted that Sergeant-Major McIntyre would always keep in touch with them, and become, an honuary member of the sports committee.[18]

Personnel Movements -July 1918 to June 1919

Transfers

  • Lance Corporal Edward McManus Sharpe from Trentham to be Range Warden at Redcliff’s Range, Christchurch.[19] [20]
  • Quartermaster Sergeant Major Quayle to Hawera Defence Office as Group Quartermaster. [21]
  • Lieutenant Albert Austin from the N.Z. Permanent Staff, July 3, 1918.[22]
  • Lieutenant Walter N. Bates, from the N.Z. Permanent Staff, July 3 1918[23]

Promotions

  • Conductor James M. Miller, NZAOC to lieutenant NZAOD 3 July 1918.[24]
  • Conductor William H Manning, NZAOC to be honorary lieutenant. 4 July 1918.[25]
  • Conductor William Ramsey, NZAOC to be honorary lieutenant 4 July 1918.[26]
  • Staff Sergeant-Major William E. Luckman, NZAOC to be honorary lieutenant 4 July 1918.[27]
  • Lieutenant Alfred W. Baldwin, NZAOD appointed camp quartermaster, Featherston Military Camp and is granted the temporary rank of-captain whilst so employed (November 18 1918).[28]

Enlistments

  • 198 Private Daniel Brett
  • 200 Private Alfred Healy de Vere
  • 201 Private Christopher Greeshaw
  • 203 Private Richard Rowe
  • 204 Private Benjamin Studley
  • 206 Private John Sheehan
  • 207 Private Orecchio Natale
  • 209 Private A.K Simpson
  • 211 Cadet John Lines
  • 213 Private William Saul Keegan
  • 215 Private Samuel Victor Forsythe
  • 220 Cadet Frederick Stephen Forster Shell
  • 221 Cadet Harry William Miller
  • 228 Private Thomas Graham Niven
  • 239 Private Edward John Treweek
  • 241 Private Theodore Norris
  • 246 Private Thomas Bowman
  • 253 Private Charles James Gardiner
  • 254 Private James Gorman
  • 263 Private McKenzie Denis Horneman
  • 268 Private James Alexander Kenning
  • 269 Private George Kermode
  • 273 Private Thomas Ellwood Lyle
  • 293 Artificer Michael Scollard
  • 294 Private Richard Brady Simpson
  • 297 Private George Steventon Thompson
  • 299 Private Peter Tulloch
  • 318 Private Frank Joseph Shacklock
  • 329 Private Harold Fraser White
  • 332 Private Hugh Patrick Duffin
  • 343 Private Tom John McGrath
  • 348 Private Leonard Robertshaw
  • 354 Private William Varian Wilson
  • 361 Private Josiah Phethean
  • 366 Private William Henry Murdoch
  • 368 Private James King
  • 381 Private Henry Steele
  • 382 Private George Priestley Smith
  • 392 Private Robert O’Brien
  • 393 Private John Naylor
  • 395 Private Orlando Max Adams
  • 407 Private James Crone
  • 409 Private John de Rungs
  • 414 Private Allen Gibbs
  • 418 Private William Henry McCarthy
  • 424 Private Phillip Thomas Labatt
  • 431 Private John McVean Walker
  • 432 Private Reginald Andrew Ross
  • 436 Private John Raymond Johnson
  • 438 Private Leonard Alexander Tall
  • 441 Private Montagu Spotswood
  • 446 Private Cecil Balcombe Langridge
  • 453 Private Harold Rigby
  • 462 Private William Ernest George
  • 477 Private Lawritz Christopher Jansen
  • 478 Private Andrew Robert Murphy
  • 480 Private James Herbert Turner
  • 493 Private William Parry Mortimore
  • 515 Private Thomas Edward Mills
  • 518 James McEntee
  • 553 Private Martin Joseph Power
  • 555 Private Gray
  • 562 Private Herbert Edward Rogers
  • 563 Artificer Gerald Bridge
  • 574 Artificer Henry James Day
  • 580 Private Robert James Kennedy
  • 589 Private James O’Malley
  • 590 Private Petersen Julius
  • 594 Private James Gordon Sievwright
  • 595 Private Albert Sydney Smith
  • 601 Private James Pritchard
  • 605 Private Walter Edward Cook
  • 617 Private Horace James Richards
  • 634 Private John Morrison
  • 654 Private Lewis Freeman Keys
  • 669 Lance Corporal Thomas William Cooper
  • 675 Private Benjamin Smith
  • 680 Private Egbert Edwin White
  • 687 Private George Quayle
  • 690 Private John Miller
  • 695 Private William Cyril McGill
  • 697 Private William Gibbons
  • 714 Private Kennith Hoare
  • 718 Private Peter Douglas Adamson
  • 948 Lieutenant Michael Joseph Lyons
  • 1001 Private Arthur James Kelly

Releases

  • 211 Cadet John Lines
  • 220 Cadet Frederick Stephen Forster Shell
  • 28 Private Robert James Kennedy
  • 66 Private Harry Stephens Jupp
  • 70 Private Walter Ernest Hamilton Knowles
  • 101 Private Michael Joseph Rees
  • 115 Private Alfred William Sparkes
  • 131 Private George Yates
  • 161 Private Herbert Clarence Martin
  • 170 Private Benjamin Disraeli Wigton
  • 179 Private Paul Ernest Morris
  • 184 Private Frederick Charles Valentine Martinson
  • 188 Private Robert Park
  • 189 Private Percy Deaker Owen
  • 190 Private John Joseph Lynch
  • 191 Private James Laurence Lord
  • 198 Private Daniel Brett
  • 201 Private Christopher Greeshaw
  • 203 Private Richard Rowe
  • 204 Private Benjamin Studley
  • 206 Private John Sheehan
  • 207 Private Orecchio Natale
  • 215 Private Samuel Victor Forsythe
  • 239 Private Edward John Treweek
  • 297 Private George Steventon Thompson
  • 332 Private Hugh Patrick Duffin
  • 361 Private Josiah Phethean
  • 381 Private Henry Steele
  • 382 Private George Priestley Smith
  • 395 Private Orlando Max Adams
  • 414 Private Allen Gibbs
  • 432 Private Reginald Andrew Ross
  • 438 Private Leonard Alexander Tall
  • 562 Private Herbert Edward Rogers
  • 589 Private James O’Malley
  • 594 Private James Gordon Sievwright
  • 595 Private Albert Sydney Smith
  • 654 Private Lewis Freeman Keys
  • 695 Private William Cyril McGill
  • 811 Private Henry Edward Franklin
  • 64728 Private Frederick Maynard
  • 34 Lance Corporal Cecil Martin Ellison
  • 149 Lance Corporal Lionel Bust Foster
  • 37 Corporal James Flynn
  • 67 Corporal Martin Henri Kearney
  • 48 Conductor Mark Leonard Hathaway
  • 137 Sergeant Horace Eugene Waller
  • Captain Robert Vinning Parker
  • Lt. (Hon Capt Temp.) W. T. Beck, DSO posted to the Retired List, with the hon. rank of Capt., and permission to retain his rank and wear the prescribed uniform.[29]

Deaths

  • Frederick William Maynard, Influenza 28 November 1918[30]

Copyright © Robert McKie 2019

Notes:


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

[2] “H-19 Defence Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding the Forces,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1919).

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] “Defence Stores,” Dominion, Volume 12, Issue 10, 7 October 1918.

[11] “H-19d Conference of Defence Department Officers (Notes by) on Criticisms, Suggestions and Recommendations as Contained in the Report of the Defence Expenditure Commission,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1918).

[12] “Amending the Regulations for the Military Forces of New New Zealand,” New Zealand Gazette No 135  (1918): 3429.

[13] “Revelations,” New Zealand Times, Volume XLIII, Issue 10133, 22 November 1918.

[14] Manatū Taonga – Ministry for Culture and Heritage, “North Island Influenza Death Rates, 11 January 2018,”  https://nzhistory.govt.nz/culture/influenza-pandemic/north-island-death-rates.

[15] “Under Control,” New Zealand Times, Volume XLIII, Issue 10131, 20 November 1918.

[16] “Soldiers Deaths,” Evening Post, Volume XCVI, Issue 131, 29 November 1918.

[17] “Ordnance Branch Picnic,” Evening Post, Volume XCVII, Issue 36, 13 February 1919.

[18] “Untitled – Mcintyre,” Evening Post, Volume XCVII, Issue 117, 20 May 1919.

[19] “Personal _ Sharpe,” Dunstan Times, Issue 2962, 7 April 1919.

[20] “Edward Mcmanus          Sharpe,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand  (1914-1918).

[21] “Personal Items,” Hawera & Normanby Star, Volume LXXVII, Issue LXXVII, 9 May 1919.

[22] “Ordnance Branch,” Dominion, Volume 11, Issue 269, 2 August 1918.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Ibid.

[28] “New Zealand Army,” Dominion, Volume 12, Issue 90, 10 January 1919.

[29] “Territorial Army,” Evening Post, Volume XCVI, Issue 73 1918.

[30] “Soldiers Deaths.”


Central Districts, RNZAOC Corps Day 2017

To commemorate the 70th anniversary on the 12th of July 1947 of the granting of the “Royal” prefix by King George VI to the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, and the 100th anniversary of the formation of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department and New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps on 1 February 1917. A small gathering was held the 15th of July  2017 at the Empire Hotel in Palmerston North.

The Empire Hotel was chosen as the venue as 100 years ago the NZAOC Palmerston North Detachment, Ordnance Store was located across the road at 327 Main Street, and I am sure that some of them would have enjoyed a cold beer at the Empire Hotel on a Saturday afternoon.

NZ Army Ordnance Stores, 327 Main Street, Palmerston North circa 1930. Palmerston North Libraries and Community Services

NZ Army Ordnance Stores, 327 Main Street, Palmerston North circa 1920. Palmerston North Libraries and Community Services

The gathering was small, but those who attended represented a varied cross-section of former RNZAOC members from the 1960’s to the 1990’s.

20046438_1510863272267819_5210932079028991135_n

Rear Left to Right: Tony (Wingnut) Rogers, Terry McBeth, Richard Tyler, Rob Mckie, Merv Hutley, Kevin Sigglekow, Peter Cox, Brian Crafts, Peter Dellabarca, Front Row Left to Right: Ray Benseman, Willie Simonsen, Phil Blundell, Dave Morris.

Ordnance and the Central Districts

The RNZAOC and its predecessors have had a  long association with the Central Districts of New Zealand. The Central Districts including the provinces of;

  • Taranaki,
  • Whanganui,
  • Ruapehu,
  • Rangitikei,
  • Manawatu,
  • Hawkes Bay,
  • Wairarapa,
  • Horowhenua, and
  • Wellington.

Ordnance Depot

In the early years of the 20th Century, Ordnance Support to the region was provided by the Defence Stores Department from their Headquarters at Mount Cook in Wellington.

With the foundation of the NZAOC in 1917, Trentham soon became the Main Ordnance Depot with detachments at Featherston and Palmerston North

On the conclusion of the First World War permanent Ordnance Depots were established at Ngaruawahia to support the Northern Districts, and at Burnham to Support the Southern Districts, it was decided to support the Central Districts directly from the Main Ordnance Depot at Trentham, resulting in the closure of the Featherston and Palmerston North Ordnance Detachments

With the onset of the Second World War and the mobilisation of  New Zealand, the Central Districts Ordnance Depot was established at the Showground’s in Palmerston North with several large warehouses in rented accommodation at Whanganui.

In August of 1942, the District Ordnance Depots were renamed, and responsibility’s defined.  The Main Ordnance Depot name would remain extant, and it would service;

  • Army Headquarters,
  • Army School,
  • Mobilisation Camp, Trentham,
  • All other troops in the Wellington Fortress area,
  • 1, 2 and 3 Ordnance Sup Depots.

The Central Districts Ordnance Depot would become  No 2 Ordnance Sub Depot and would service ;

  • Waiouru Military Camp and all units therein,
  • Tactical School, Wanganui,
  • Staff College, Palmerston North,
  • Central Military Districts Troops (except Wellington Fortress troops),
  • 4th Division.

On the Wars end, No 2 Ordnance Sub Depot closed on 14 December 1945 and responsibility for Ordnance Support for the Central Districts reverted to the Main Ordnance Depot in Trentham. A short time later No 2 Ordnance Sub depot reopened in Linton Camp.

  • No 2 Ordnance Sub Depot in Linton, would endure becoming;
  • No2 Ordnance Depot in 1946,
  • Central Districts Ordnance Depot in 1961,
  • 2 Central Ordnance Depot in 1968,
  • 2 Supply Company in 1979,
  • 5 Composite Supply Company in 1985 and finally
  • 21 Field Supply Company in 1990 until 1996 when its ownership Passed from the RNZAOC to the RNZALR.

Workshops and Stores Sections

In September 1946 most of the repair and maintenance functions of the NZAOC became the New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. The NZAOC retained repair functions such as Bootmaking, Textile Repair and Tailoring.

From 1961 the RNZAOC was represented across the Central Districts in all of the RNZEME Workshops and LAD Stores Sections.

Ammunition Depot

Constructed and becoming operational in the mid-1940’s, Ammunition Depots would be established at:

  • Kuku valley at Trentham,
  • Belmont in Wellington,
  • Makomako, and
  • Waiouru.

These would remain as interdependent Ammunition Depots until 1961 when they became Sub-Depots of the Central Districts Ordnance Depot.

The Belmont Ammunition Depot would close in the late 1960’s, with Makomako closing in the mid-1990’s leaving Waiouru as the Main Ammunition Depot.

Waiouru Camp

When Waiouru Camp was established in 1940 it was planned to create an Ordnance Depot there, but these plans never eventuated, and Waiouru would remain a Sub Depot of Trentham. Waiouru became a Sub Depot of Linton until the 1970s when it became 4 Central Ordnance Depot, then 4 Supply Company in 1979.

Wellington Region Ordnance Units

 

Although based in the Wellington region and having a broader responsibility for just, not the Central Districts but also the entire Army, by their proximity they have a closer association to the Central Districts than the Northern and Southern Districts and therefore have been included in this article.

In the post-war era Ordnance in the Main Ordnance Depot in Trentham would undergo many transformations, the Main Ordnance Depot would become the Base Ordnance Depot in 1968 and then the 1st Base Supply Battalion in 1979 and finally 5 Logistic Regiment in 1993.

The RNZAF stores depot at Mangaroa was handed over to the NZ Army in 1949 and over the years would become home to;

  • 4(NZ) Division Ordnance Field Park was based at Trentham and Mangaroa from 1950 to 1963,
  • 1 Infantry Brigade OFP from 1963 to 1968 until reorganised and redeployed to Ngaruawahia and Burnham.
  • 1st Composite Ordnance Company from 1964 to 1977.

The Central Districts Vehicle Depot would be established at Trentham in the late 1940’s and would move closer to its primary customer base at  Linton in 1958 and would to be absorbed into the CDOD as a Sub-Depot in 1961.

Adoption of RNZASC functions

In 1979 the foodstuffs and POL functions of the RNZASC became an Ordnance responsibility with the RNZAOC gaining;

  • 24 Supply Platoon in Linton,
  • 44 Supply Platoon in Waiouru,
  • 54 Supply Platoons in Trentham,
  • 21 Supply Company in Waiouru (retaining its name in honour of its long history with the RNZASC), and
  • 7 Petroleum Platoon in Waiouru, which was renamed 47 Petroleum Platoon (4 added to identify it as a Platoon of 4 Supply Company).

Establishment of the RNZALR

On the 8 of December 1996, the RNZAOC along with the RNZCT and RNZEME was disestablished and its personnel and unit’s becoming part of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment.

Copyright © Robert McKie 2017

 

 


No 2 Sub Depot -Palmerston North, 1942-45

It is well recorded that the Palmerston North Showgrounds were utilised as a military installation during the Second World War. Its most famous occupant being the Maori Battalion, which undertook its initial concentration and training at the showgrounds. But during the wartime period, the Palmerston North Showgrounds were also utilised at different times by the Manawatu Mounted Rifles, HQ 2 Brigade, HQ 4 Division, 2 ASC Coy and in the context of this discussion No 2 Sub Depot, NZAOC.

The wartime NZAOC

During the Second World War,  the supply functions of the NZAOC in New Zealand were organised with;

  • The Main Ordnance Depot at Trentham, with subunits located outside of Trentham at;
    • HQ Ammunition Section, Belmont
    • Ammunition Sections at Makomako and Waiouru
    • Bulk Stores at Linton and Mangere,
    • Artillery Sub Depot, Waiouru,
    • Inspection Ordnance Officer Section, Central Military District (Palmerston North)
    • Ammunition Repair Depot, Kuku Valley
  •  Ordnance Sub Depots in each military district:
    • Northern Military District – No 1 Sub Depot at Ngaruawahia Military Camp.
    • Central Military District – No 2 Sub Depot at the Palmerston North Show Grounds.
    • Southern Military District – No 3 Sub Depot at Burnham Camp.

(note: Up to 20 August 1942 the District Ordnance Depots were known as Northern, Central and Southern District Ordnance Depots) 

At the start of the war the Northern District Ordnance Depot (No 1 Sub Depot) and Southern District Ordnance Depot (3 Sub Depot) were both well established Ordnance Depots;

  • The Northern District Ordnance Depot at Ngaruawahia Military Camp in the Waikato had opened in 1927 as a purpose-built Ordnance Depot. (also known as Waikato or Hopuhopu Military Camp)
  • The Southern District Ordnance Depot, which although opening in 1921 had only received modern buildings in the early 1940s.

Although there was a Palmerston North Ordnance Detachment during the 1st World War, there is little evidence of a permanent Ordnance presence in Palmerston North during the interwar period,  as an economy measure it is most likely Ordnance support to units in the lower North Island were provided directly from Trentham.

With the Mobilisation of the 2nd NZEF, Home Defence Forces and Territorial Forces, the Central Districts Ordnance Depot was established at the Palmerston North showgrounds early in 1942 with Lieutenant William Saul Keegan, New Zealand Temporary Staff (NZTS) appointed as Ordnance Officer, Central Military District and Officer Commanding, Palmerston North Detachment, NZAOC and NZOC attached on 1 March 1942

No 2 Sub Depot

The Palmerston North Showgrounds was a sensible place to locate the Central Districts Ordnance Depot.   Situated between Featherston, Waldergrave, Pascal and Cuba Streets, the showgrounds were only a few hundred meters from the Palmerston North Railway yards, which were at the time located in what is now the Railway Reserve on Pioneer Highway. This would have provided easy access for the receiving of goods, not only the Main Ordnance Depot in Trentham but also from other suppliers from all over the country, and for the dispatching of goods to subordinate units all over the lower North Island by rail and road.

The showgrounds had some of the most significant covered spaces in the region with 5 exhibition hall under one roof and much hard-standing for vehicles and other defence stores. To house the Maori Battalion and other units, cookhouses, dining halls, accommodation (huts and tented) and ablutions had also been established.

In the early years of the war occupancy of the showgrounds was seen as a temporary arrangement with the Manawatu Agricultural and Pastoral Association retaining part occupancy of the facility. By late 1941 with war with Japan becoming a growing reality, it was decided that the military should have full occupancy of the showgrounds for the duration of the war.

pnorth showgrounds 2

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

After the 20th of August 1942, the Central Districts Ordnance Depot was Renamed as No 2 Sub Depot and was situated on the Waldergrave Street side of the showgrounds, in the five large exhibition halls, which were practically under one roof.

  • Hall 1 was stocked with a vast quantity of clothing including boots, tunics, greatcoats underwear
  • Hall 2 was stocked with tools, spare parts, and expendable stores. There was more hardware including tons of nails, wire, rope, paint, thinners and linseed oil that was stocked by all the merchants of Palmerston North put together.
  • Hall 3 was stocked with a lot of camp fittings, crockery, cutlery, sheets, blankets other types of household linen by the thousands.
  • Hall 4 and 5 contained practically every type of Army stores required including  Rifles and machine-guns.
  • Flammable goods, such as paints,  turpentine and kerosene kept in steel drums were initially stored in the main buildings, and it was not until 1943 when suitable buildings with concrete floors and iron walls and roofs were provided.
  • Explosives and Ammunition were also stored at the showgrounds until 1943 when construction of the Makomoko ammunition area was completed.

As the buildings were filled to capacity, often with stock stacked to the ceilings, two nightwatchmen were maintained to provide security and a fire picket during the silent hours.  Close liaison was maintained with the Fire Brigade, and inspections carried out on many occasions to examine the fire hazard. The Army’s first aid equipment was in good order and consisted of buckets, bucket pumps and hoses, and fire extinguishers. The method of storage was the best under the means available to the Depot, with flammable goods stacked between non-flammable products in an attempt to provide fire breaks in the event of a fire. The Fire Brigade made many recommendations about the reduction of the fire hazard, and these recommendations were always acted on. Guidance for the installation of an automatic alarm system was not made by the fire brigade because it was considered that the precautions taken at the time were adequate.

No 2 Depot maintained surge accommodation outside of the showgrounds, including

  • Part Worn Clothing stores in Rangitikei and Church Streets
  • Engineer dumps at two locations at Fielding

The total value of all stock at the depot at the end of December 1944, was £1,100,000. ($NZ 90,845,402.49 in today’s currency)

Depot Establishment

The Establishment of No 2 Depot as of 17 August 1942 was set at 3 officers and 81 Other ranks organised as follows;

17 Aug 1942

Due to wartime manpower constraints, the posted strength would never entirley complete the establishment.

February 1943

Posted strength was One Officer and 66 Other ranks.

30th of October 1943

the establishment had been increased to 3 Officers and 95 Other ranks, with a posted strength of 2 Officer and 88 Other ranks.

29 February 1944

the establishment had been increased on 1 November 1943 to 3 Officers and 92 Other ranks, with a posted strength of 2 Officer and 83 Other ranks.

29 Feb 1944

5 April 1944

5 April 1944 No2 Sub Depot

Unknown Military Unit 2

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

The big blaze

On the 31st of December 1944, the Palmerston North fire brigade superintendent, Mr Milverton was tracing faults to the city general fire alarm system. The fault had been located at the Show Grounds and was determined to be caused by vibration caused by heavy motor traffic, as a temporary measure until the fault could be rectified, it was decided to cut out the Show Grounds loop from the alarm system. The military authorities were advised of the steps taken, and the alarm boxes were marked ‘Out of order’.

At around 2130 hrs Sergeant W. C. Luffman, Senior NCO of the Showgrounds guard conducted his patrol and found nothing amiss. On the next scheduled patrol at 1030 hrs in the cookhouse, a copper used for the heating of water was found empty and red hot with the gas under the copper alight,  and as a result, a piece of wood on the wall was alight.   Turning the gas off,  Sgt Luffman went to the main gate and instructed a Private Wagstaff to assist him.  Utilising a stirrup pump, they extinguished the burning timber. Satisfied that they had put the fire out, Private Wagstaff filled the copper with cold water and felt the iron around the site of the fire, finding it quite cold. The stirrup pump was refilled and left near the copper as a precaution against repetition.

Conducting another patrol at 1135 hrs, Privates Wagstaff along with Private Collins the Ordnance night watchman were instructed to examine the wall in the neighbouring Ordnance Store opposite to where the fire had been. Sergeant Luffman went back to the kitchen, finding conditions normal and no sign of fire and satisfied that all was well, Sgt Luffman returned to the guard house. Reaching there about 1155 hrs meeting up with Private Collins who reported no issues on the ordnance side of the wall.

Waiting at the guard house until midnight and wanting to contribute to the new years’ festivities by blowing a siren at the gate.  On going outside Sgt Luffman saw a glow in the sky near the Ordnance Depot. Unsure if this was from the Ordnance Depot,  he rushed into the guard house to telephone the fire brigade, only to receive no reply, as the alarms had been disconnected due to a fault earlier in the day there was no way to contact the brigade.

Luckily local citizens had seen the fire and notified the fire brigade, and Sgt Luffman soon heard the sirens of the approaching fire engines. As the engines arrived, they found the fire, which was in the building beyond the cookhouse, which was the Ordnance Store. It was well alight, and flames were breaking through the roof. Three motor engines would eventually respond, finding on their arrival that the fire had a good hold and it was not until midday that the last fires were finally extinguished. A row of six dwellings which faced Waldegrave Street, but backed onto the showgrounds and were dangerously close to the fire and the administrative offices of the A&P Association were saved but only after tons of water had been poured into and over them. Halls 1, 2 and 3 were lost but halls 4 and 5 remained intact. At the time it was the most significant fire that the Palmerston North Fire Brigade had dealt with.

pnorth showgrounds

The aftermath of Dec 1944 Showground fire. Evening Post

Aftermath

Evidence submitted to the inquiry conducted in March 1945 by the Ordnance Officer in charge of the Ordnance Depot, Captain William Saul Keegan put the loss due to the fire at  £225700 ($18,639,824.86 today’s value), with a considerable amount of stock able to be salvaged. Lost in the fire was almost the entire stock of around 1500 Charlton Automatic Rifles, a successful New Zealand conversion of the Lee–Enfield rifle into an automatic rifle, only a handful survive today.

There was some suspicion that the fire was deliberately set to cover up thefts from the depot, but these were discounted by Captain Keegan. In his evidence, he stated that the total value of all stock at the depot at the end of December 1944, was £1100000 ($90845402.49). Thefts from the Depot up to the time of the fire were very small, and the more significant part of the overall deficiencies was the result of miscounting. In two years and nine months, the losses from all sources amounted to £627 ($51781.88) For the same period, there was brought on charge surpluses to the value of £1600 ($132138.77), and thus surpluses outweighed the shortages by about £1000 ($82586.73). Captain Keegan detailed the accounting system of charging for goods and based on his knowledge of the store there could be definitely no suggestion that the fire was started to conceal shortages.

Detective F. Quin of the NZ Police gave evidence of the widespread and exhaustive investigations into the possible causes of the fire but was unable to produce any further relevant information which had not already been placed before the Court. No evidence could be found of sabotage, incendiaries, or any interference like that. No person could be found who had lit the copper found burning by Sergeant Luffman.

It was fortunate that the fire occurred in 1944, by when the Invasion threat had subsided, and the bulk of the Territorial Army, Home guard and other Home defence forces had been demobilised, so the loss of the stores was negligible to the ongoing operations of the Army.

Post War Reorganisation

Land at Linton for a  Military Camp was bought by the New Zealand Government in October 1941, with the first units entering the camp in February 1942, with the first prefabricated huts built within 6 months and more permanent accommodation been built in the following years. The Main Ordnance Depot in Trentham soon established a satellite Bulk Store at Linton, which was run independent of No 2 Sub Depot.

2 Sub Depot remained at the Palmerston North showgrounds until 14 December 1945 when it functions were assumed by the Main Ordnance Depot at Trentham.

Reestablishment at Linton

On 1 October 1946, the Main Ordnance Depot Bulk Stores located in Linton Camp was formally reformed as No 2 Ordnance Depot. In addition to responsibility for units based in the Linton area, the new Depot would also assume responsibility for the Main Ordnance Depot Sub Units based in Waiouru Camp. The Suggested establishment as September 1946 was;

Sept 1946 No2 Sub Depot

Over the next 40 years, No 2 Ordnance Sub-Depot would remain as the resident Ordnance unit in Linton Camp, undergoing the following name changes until the disestablishment of the RNZAOC in 1996;

  • Central Districts Ordnance Depot,  1948 to 1968
  • 2 Central Ordnance Depot, 1968 to 1979
  • 2 Supply Company, 1979 to 1985
  • 5 Composite Supply Company, 1985 to 1990
  • 21 Field Supply Company 1990 to 1996

Copyright © Robert McKie 2017


Palmerston North Detachment – NZAOC

I recently discovered this interesting picture of the Palmerston North Ordnance Store, 327 Main Street, opposite the Empire Hotel ( The Cobb to those of you familiar to Palmerston North).  The location of this building is now where Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) is, I suspect that when the Railway line was relocated, Main street was adjusted as this location s now 527 Main Street.

NZ Army Ordnance Stores, 327 Main Street, Palmerston North circa 1930. Palmerston North Libraries and Community Services

NZ Army Ordnance Stores, 327 Main Street, Palmerston North. Palmerston North Libraries and Community Services

The building was initially known as the Lyceum Hall and in 1914 used by the Boy Scouts as their hall.

butler postingsThe Palmerston North Ordnance Store was established early in the war to service the growing mobilisation camps in the Manawatu region, with records showing that Alfred Butler a civilian employee of the Defence Stores Department was transferred into the Palmerston North Ordnance Store in February 1915. Private Butler was attested in the NZAOC on its formation in 1917. Mr Frank Edwin Ford, formerly the Mobilisation Storekeeper at Nelson, was appointed district storekeeper, Wellington. Military District. Ford commenced duty and took charge of the Defence Stores, Palmerston North, on 2l June 1915.

At some stage in the early years of the war the building was taken over by the Defence Department, most likely by the Defence Stores Department,  and by 1917 was utilised as an Ordnance Store. On 1 July 1917 many of the Defence Stores Department staff were attested for service into the newly formed New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, and from 1 July 1917 the Palmerston North Ordnance Store official designation was “Palmerston North Detachment – NZAOC”.

Under the command of the Captain F.E Ford NZAOD, the Ordnance Officer Wellington, between 1 July 1917 and 14 Dec 1921 the Palmerston North Detachment – NZAOC consisted of the following staff drawn from the New Zealand Permanent Staff, Militarised Defence Stores Department staff and returned servicemen from the NZEF.

  • NZAOC  No 132. Armourer Staff Sergeant Andrew Archibald Young, MSM.
  • NZAOC  No 209. Sergeant A.K Simpson.
  • NZAOC  No 617, Private James Richards Horace.
  • NZAOC  No 80, Private Wilfred John Mitchinson.
  • NZAOC  No 838, Lance Corporal William Robert McMinn.
  • NZAOC No 19, Private Alfred Charles Butler.
  • NZAOC  No 44, Private George Henry Gedson.
  • NZAOC  No 53, Private H Houton.
  • NZAOC  No 163, Private William Alexander Larkin.

It is unknown if this building was occupied by all the Ordnance Staff, of they were employed in different locations, but what is know is that by 1921 as the Army demobilised and wartime facilities closed. Up to its closure in 1921 the Palmerston North Detachment was primarily concerned with transferring stores to Featherston Camp and conditioning many auctions and tenders for surplus Camp Equipment and Clothing.

The Building was advertised for let by Headquarters, Central Military Command in June 1921 and by September 1921, the building had been taken over by  Universal Secondhand Depot, who at the time claimed to have in stock the most extensive supply of Modern Secondhand Furniture in the District.

Records show that by December 1921 the Palmerston North Detachment – NZAOC staff had either been posted to Featherston or Trentham Camps or had been demobilised, and it seems that with little ceremony the  Palmerston North Detachment – NZAOC faded into History with only a single photo to remember its existence.