RNZAOC 1 April 1955 to 31 March 1956

This period would see the RNZAOC undertake a range of routine activities whilst continuing to support Regular, Territorial and Compulsory Military Training. [1]

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel F Reid, OBE

Compulsory Military Training

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

  • 17th intake of 2800av recruits on 23 June 1955
  • 18th intake of 2475av recruits on 15 September 1955
  • 19th intake of 2475av recruits on 5 January 1955

Territorial Force Annual Camps

Technical Stores Sectionsd of the Divisional Ordnance Park would exerces on the following dates;

  • 11 – 30 January 1956
  • 25 January – 13 February 1956

Reorganisation of Territorial Force Units

With effect, the ORBAT Amendment of 28 June 1955, the RNZAOC Ordnance Field Park Platoons were reorganised into the 1(NZ) Division Ordnance Field Park, Organised as;[3]

  • Headquarters (Not Raised in Peace)
  • MT Stores Platoon, Lower Hutt, plus MT Stores Platoon of Independent Brigade OFP
  • Tech Stores Platoon, Christchurch, Plus Tech Stores Platoon of Independent Brigade OFP.
  • General Stores Platoon, Hopuhopu, Plus General Stores Platoon of Independent Brigade OFP.

Emergency Force (Kayforce)

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

Out of Kayforce

  • Corporal Abraham Barbara, 2 May 1955
  • Gunner John Neil Campbell, 21 June 1955
  • Sergeant Joseph James Enright Cates, 9 December 1955
  • Temporary Warrant Officer Class Two Philip Hayhurst Kirkman, 2 June 1955
  • Warrant Officer Class Two Barry Stewart, 13 May 1955
  • Corporal Edward Tanguru, 21 June 1955

Small Arms Ammunition

The Manufacture of Small-Arms Ammunition by the Colonial Ammunitions Company at their Mount Eden Factory continued with delivered of first-class ammunitions being well maintained. [4]

Introduction of New Equipment

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

During this period, the following equipment was introduced into service;[5]

  • Six 5.5in Guns
  • Three Scout Cars
  • Fifty-five Field Wireless sets
  • Fourteen cars
  • Thirty-seven commercial type trucks

Equipment Disposal

The following items were disposed of through the Government Stores Board.

  • 534 Trucks
  • 268 Motorcycles

Ammunition Disposal

With large stocks of ammunition left over for the Second World War, disposal of Unserviceable and surplus stock was authorised in 1955. Small quantities would be routinely disposed of at individual depots with a significant effort put into place to dispose of 3.7-inch Anti-Aircraft ammunition and Various types of Anti-Tank Rounds.

3.7-inch Anti-Aircraft Ammunition

Since the end of the war 17000 rounds of 3.7-inch anti-aircraft ammunition had been stored in unsuitable conditions at Kuku Valley becoming unstable and dangerous with the decision made in 1955 to destroy these stocks.

After many years of poor storage, many storage containers had deteriorated to a stage that increased the risk of explosion during transport. To facilitate the transportation of the unstable ammunition from Kuku Valley to the Demolition Range, a modified armoured truck and trailer was constructed the EME Workshops at Trentham to move the condemned shells for destruction.

Twenty shells would be transported unloaded at the demolition range and in batches of four destroyed by explosion. Destruction of the stockpile began in June 1955 and completed in December 1957.[6]

Examination of deteriorated shell at Trentham, Upper Hutt. National Library of New Zealand Ref: EP/1955/1792-F
Army vehicles at Trentham, Upper Hutt. Ref: EP/1955/1793-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23078184
Valentine Tank at Trentham, stacks of Ammunition can be seen in the background. NZ National Library Ref EP/1955/1794-F

Anti-Tank Ammunition

In addition to Ammunition disposal at Trentham, The Army still held more than One and a Half Million rounds of various Anti-Tank Ammunition types. As this ammunition was surplus to requirement and belonging to obsolete weapon types, a profit-sharing contract was arranged with the Colonial Ammunition Company (CAC) to dispose of these rounds. Under the terms of the agreement, the CAC would break down and salvage recyclable materials form the wartime stocks of Anti-Tank ammunition, with the army receiving a share of the funds raised by the sale of the salvageable material.

Ammunition Examiners

During this period the following Ammunition Examiners were authorised to carry out routine inspections of ammunition and allocated Ammunition Examiner Serial Numbers.

  • Central Military District,
    • Lance Corporal G.C Gilbert, Ammunition Examiner Serial No 92.

Honours and Awards

Meritorious Service Medal

  • 31004 Warrant Officer Class One William Galloway, 10 November 1955

Long Service and Good Conduct

  • 31234 Warrant Officer Class One Athol Gilroy McCurdy, 12 April 1956

Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, Resignations, and Retirements of Officers of the RNZAOC

Regular Force

  • Captain and Quartermaster K. A. Bailey, MM, to be Major and Quartermaster. Dated 2 May 1955.[7]
  • Captain (temp. Major) K. G. K. Cropp, E.D., to be Major. Dated 26 May 1955.[8]
  • Lieutenant G. W. Peters is transferred to the Reserve of Officers, General List, The Royal N.Z. Army Ordnance Corps, with the rank of Lieutenant. Dated 18 June 1955.[9]
  • Captain (temp. Major) D. E. A. Roderick to be Major. Dated 27 May 1955. [10]
  • Captain E. W. Whitacre to be Major. Dated 30 May 1955. [11]
  • Captain 0, H. Burn to be Major. Dated 1 June 1955. [12]
  • Captain (temp. Major) C. A. Penny to be Major. Dated 30 May 1955.[13]
  • Captain H. S. Sandford to be Major. Dated 17 June 1955.[14]
  • Captain (temp. Major) H. J. Mockridge is posted to the Retired List with the rank of Major. Dated 22 September 1955.[15]
  • Lieutenant H. G. Rees is posted to the Retired· List with the ·rank of Captain. Dated 9 October 1955.[16]
  • Captain and Quartermaster G. G. W. Blandford is posted to the Retired List. ·Dated 1 November 1955.[17]
  • 31617 W.O. I Ray Henry Colwill to be Lieutenant and Quartermaster. Dated 9 January 1956.[18]
  • 31253 WO II William John McCluggage to be Lieutenant and Quartermaster. Dated 9 January 1956.[19]
  • 32171 Staff Sergeant George Witherman McCullough to be Lieutenant and Quartermaster. Dated 9 January 1956.[20]
  • 31244 WO I William John Stanley Tavendale to be Lieutenant and Quartermaster. Dated 9 January 1956.[21]

Regular Force (Supernumerary List)

  • Captain (Temp. Major) · S. A. Knight is posted ‘to the· Retired List, with Lieutenant Colonel’s rank. Dated 16 February 1956.[22]  [23]
  • Captain and Quartermaster N. C. Fisher is posted to the Retired List, with Major and Quartermaster’s rank, dated 14 March 1956.[24]

Territorial Force

  • Captain T.H. Beauchamp, from the Reserve of Officers, General List, The Royal N.Z. Army Ordnance Corps, to be Captain with seniority from 23 August 1954, and is appointed Officer Commanding, 1st Armoured Regiment, Light Aid Detachment, RNZEME Dated 1 July 1955.[25]

Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, Resignations, and Retirements of Warrant Officers, Senior Non-Commissioned Officers and men of the RNZAOC

  • 31383 Sergeant Hector Searle McLachlan, promoted to Staff Sergeant, 1 April 1955.

Notes

[1] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1954 to 31 March 1955 “, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1955).

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

[3] “Organisation and Administration: Units – Territorial: Formation and Organisation – 1 Divisional Officer[?] Rnzaoc [Royal New Zealand Army Ordinance Corps] M/T {Motor Transport] Stores Platoon (Lower Hutt),” Archives New Zealand Item No R22496443  (1950-55).

[4] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1955 to 31 March 1956,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1956).

[5] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1954 to 31 March 1955 “.

[6] Howard Weddell, Trentham Camp and Upper Hutt’s Untold Military History (Howard Weddell, 2018), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 187-88.

[7] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 41, 23 June 1955.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 43, 7 July 1955.

[14] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 45, 14 July 1955.

[15] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 60, 22 September 1955.

[16] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 69, 10 November 1955.

[17] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 3, 19 January 1955.

[18] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 10, 23 February 1956.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.

[22] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 13, 8 March 1956.

[23] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 34, 14 June 1956.

[24] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 23, 12 April 1956; “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 29, 17 May 1956.

[25] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 48, 28 July 1955.


RNZAOC 1 April 1954 to 31 March 1955

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

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel F Reid, OB

Chief Inspecting Ordnance Officer

  • Major I.S Miller

Southern Military District DADOS

  • Major H McK Reid

Southern Military District IOO

  • Captain J.H Doone

Southern District Ordnance Depot

  • Captain and Quartermaster A.A Barwick

Compulsory Military Training

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

  • 13th intake of 2200av recruits on 22 April 1954
  • 14th intake of 2200av recruits on 16 September 1954
  • 15th intake of 2200av recruits on 6 January 1955
  • 16th intake of 2966 recruits on 31 March 1955

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

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

Emergency Force (Kayforce)

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

Out of Kayforce

  • Lance Corporal Alexander George Dobbins, 28 September 1954
  • Private James Adam (Snowy) Donaldson, 5 November 1954
  • Captain Patrick William Rennison, 10 May 1954
  • Private Richard John Smart, 5 November 1954

Into Kay force

  • Joseph James Enright Cates, 2 June 1954
  • Lieutenant John Barrie Glasson, 20 April 1954

As part of his tour of K Force units, Brigadier Weir, Quartermaster General of the NZ Army met and spoke to the men of the NZ Base Ordnance Section of the British Commonwealth Base Ordnance Depot at Kure, Japan.[3]

Seconded to Fiji Military Forces

Lieutenant and Quartermaster R. D. Wederell ceased to be seconded to the Fiji Military Forces as of 14 June 1954.[4]

Ordnance Conferences

District Vehicle Depot Conference

The Director of Ordnance Services hosted a conference of the Officer Commanding of the District Vehicle Depots and the Officer Commanding Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) at Trentham Camp over 3 – 4 August 1954.[5]  

Items discussed at the conference included;

  • Vehicle accounting,
  • Tools etc., method of Recei0pt and Issue,
  • Storage,
  • Vehicle Loans – Issue and Receipt from Units,
  • District Problems.

DADOS Conference

The Director of Ordnance Services hosted a conference of the District DADOS’s and the Officer Commanding Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) at Trentham Camp over the period 10 – 12 August 1954.[6] 

Items discussed at the conference included;

  • Corps Policy
  • Corps Establishments
  • Estimation of expenditure
  • District Vehicle Depots
    • Functions
    • Staff/Establishments
  • Audit Reports
  • Ammunition

New Cap Badge

1954 would see approval granted to update the RNZOAC Cap Badge by replacing the “Tudor” Crown with the “St Edwards Crown. The NZ Army Liaison Staff in London had provided a sample of the new badges from  J.R Gaunt of London, and on the approval of this sample in May 1954 the liaison Staff was instructed to obtain examples of Collar badges in the new design.

Routine Ordnance Activities

Over this period, the RNZAOC continued with its regular duties of provision, holding and issue of multitudinous stores required by the Army including the additional issue of training equipment to the territorial Force allowing all unit’s sufficient equipment for routine training.

Establishment of MT Stores Group at the Central Districts Ordnance Depot

Based on a series of ongoing discussions between the DOS and CDOD since 1951, in July 1953, the recommendation was made to transfer responsibility for the provision of MT Stores to CMD units (except those located at Trentham Camp) from the Main Ordnance Depot in Trentham to the CDOD at Linton Camp. Approval for establishing an MT Group at CDOD was granted in September 1953 with the transfer of stocks to begin once suitable storage in Linton Camp had been prepared to receive stocks.  

To facilitate the initial in-scaling of MT Group, 1500 Square feet of the W type Building 81 was fitted with six wooden shelves to provides storage capacity for up to 18000 lines of Stock-based on VAOS Catalogue LV6 Groups 1 to 10. LV6 Groups 1 to 10 items were small and fast-moving repair parts for Motor Transport’s current range. It was planned that once the MT Group had been established for several months’ responsibility for LV7, Larger repair parts and principle end items would also be transferred from MOD to the CDOD.

A Staff of five soldiers for the CDOD MT Group was already authorised in the CDOD Peacetime Establishment issued in 1952. However, at the time of the MT Groups establishment, The Staff of the Group consisted of one NCO assisted by the Tyre Group Storeman.

By 15 September 1954 the transfer of stock form the MOD has been sufficiently completed to allow CMD units to begin demanding MT Spares from the CDOD.[7]

Army Ammunition Stores Depot

Up to 1954, the RNZAOC maintained the Army Ammunition Stores Depot (AASD) at the Kuku Valley Ammunition Area at Trentham. The role of the AASD was to be the main bulk holding and distribution unit for Non-Explosive and Explosive stores for the regional Ammunition Repair Depots (ARD).

A review of the role and functions of AASD was conducted during a DADOS conference in 1954 with the decision made to disband the AASD and hand over its operations to the MOD and regional Ordnance and Ammunition Depots.

As part of the disbanding instructions, the regional ARDs were instructed to maintain six months working stock of non-explosive items, and sufficient explosive items to complete the current repair programme. All excess items were to be returned to the nearest Ordnance or Ammunition Depot, with all future demand for items to be forwarded to those Depots.[8]

Small Arms Ammunition

The Manufacture of Small-Arms Ammunition by the Colonial Ammunitions Company at their Mount Eden Factory continued with delivered of first-class ammunitions being well maintained. [9]

Ammunition Examiners

During this period the following Ammunition Examiners were authorised to carry out routine inspections of ammunition and allocated Ammunition Examiner Serial Numbers.

Northern Military District,

  • Corporal Radford, Ammunition Examiner Serial No 72, 29 July 1954.
  • Lance Corporal T Sweet, Ammunition Examiner Serial No 83, 13 August 1954.
  • Private Thomasson, Ammunition Examiner Serial No 82, 13 August 1954.

Introduction of New Equipment

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

During this period, the following equipment was introduced into service;[10]

  • One L2 BAT (Battalion, Anti-Tank) was a 120 mm calibre recoilless anti-tank rifle, with Eighteen more on order
  • Twenty-Two FN FAL Rifles for troop trials
  • An extra-wide Bailey Bridge
  • Fifty Field Wireless sets

The following items were disposed of through the Government Stores Board.

  • 193 Bren Carriers
  • 25 Motor vehicles of various types

Battledress Cap

During 1954 the Cap Battledress (Cap BD) but commonly referred to as the Ski Cap was introduced into service. This type of hat was extremely unpopular, especially with the troops, especially those serving in the tropics, but would endure until 1964 when it was withdrawn from service.

NZ Army Cap Battledress (Cap BD), introduced 1954, withdrawn from service 1964. Robert Mckie Collection

Vehicle Shelters for Burnham

The Royal New Zealand Engineers commenced the erection at Burnham Military Camp of two steel prefabricated vehicle shelters in May 1954. Three such shelters were erected at the Southern District Vehicle Depot at Burnham, another three in the transport park at Burnham, and two others in two other areas. Each of the shelters was 200 feet long by 50 feet wide, and helped to overcome the serious shortage of shelters for Army vehicles at the camp. With concrete foundations and floors, the framework of the buildings consisted of steel pipes of various lengths bolted together. The exterior and roof of the shelters were of corrugated asbestos-type material.[11]

Cricket Tour to Australia

In the first tour of its kind the Main Ordnance Depot in Trentham, representing the RNZAOC undertook a Cricket tour of Australia. Departing Wellington on 1 February 1955 returning on 7 March the MOD played matched in Sydney and Melbourne against teams drawn from the Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps.[12]

With the NZ Ordnance team winning the series successfully, the RNZAOC would host a RAAOC team on a reciprocal tour in 1959.[13]

The officials and players who participated in the 1955 tour were;[14]

  • Lieutenant Colonel L.F Reid, 0BE (Manager),
  • Major Derrick Roderick,
  • Warrant Officer Class One A Wesseldine,
  • Warrant Officer Class Two M.A Burt (Treasure and Player),
  • Warrant Officer Class Two Harry Le Comte,
  • Warrant Officer Class Two RS Perks (Assistant Manager and Player),
  • Warrant Officer Class Two Douglas Wilson,
  • Sergeant Douglas Bucknell (Official. Umpire and Player),
  • Sergeant G. McCullough,
  • Sergeant E.J Prout,
  • Corporal G Cormack,
  • Corporal J Morgan, (Official Scorer and Player),
  • Private W Bacon,
  • Private Brian Clarke,
  • Private Keith Danby,
  • Private A.N McAinch,
  • Private L Norton.

Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, Resignations, and Retirements of Officers of the RNZAOC

Regular Force

  • Lieutenant C. L. Sanderson promoted to Temporary Captain. Dated 9 December 1953. [15]
  • Captain E. C. Green granted a further extension of his short-service commission for one year from 1 April 1954.[16]
  • Lieutenant T. B. Glasson promoted to Temporary Captain whilst employed as Officer Commanding, NZ Base Ordnance Depot. Dated 8 August 1954.[17]
  • Captain N. L. Wallburton re-engaged for a period of two years as from 23 August 1954.[18]
  • Lieutenant (temp Captain) J. B. Glasson to be Captain. Dated 8 November 1954.[19]
  • Lieutenant (Temp Captain) C. L. Sanderson to be Captain. Dated 9 December 1953.[20]
  • 31264 Warrant Officer Class One Leslie Smith promoted to Lieutenant and Quartermaster. Dated 15 December 1954.[21]
  • Lieutenant L. C. King transferred from the New Zealand Regiment to the RNZAOC with his present rank and seniority. Dated 14 February 1955.[22]
  • Captain E. C. Green granted a further extension of his short-service commission to 31 March 1956.[23]
  • Lieutenant J. H. Doone to be Captain Dated 25 October 1954.[24]
  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster R. D. Wederell to be Captain and Quartermaster. Dated 31 March 1955.[25]

Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, Resignations, and Retirements of Warrant Officers, Senior Non-Commissioned Officers and men of the RNZAOC

Regular Force

  • W920917 Lance Corporal George Thomas Dimmock Promoted to Corporal, 1 April 1954. [26]
  • 31884Temporary Warrant Officer Class Two Alick Claude Doyle granted substantive Rank on 1 April 1954. [27]
  • B31695 Corporal Ian McDonald Russell promoted to Sergeant, 21 April 1954. [28]
  • 31259 Staff Sergeant Maurice Sidney Philips promoted to Warrant Officer Class Two, 12 July 1954. [29]
  • 31167 Staff Sergeant John Bernard Crawford promoted to Warrant Officer Class Two, 15 July 1954. [30]
  • 31261 Sergeant Earnest Maurice Alexander Bull promoted to Staff Sergeant, 22 October 1954.[31]

Notes

[1] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1954 to 31 March 1955 “, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1955).

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

[3] “Brigadier in Korea,” Press, Volume XC, Issue 27460, , 21 September 1954.

[4] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 41, 1 July 1954.

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

[6] Ibid.

[7] “Establishments – Ordnance Corps “, Archives New Zealand No R22441746  (1944 – 1947).

[8] Ibid.

[9] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1954 to 31 March 1955 “.

[10] Ibid.

[11] “Vehicle Shelters for Burnham,” Press, Volume XC, Issue 27359, , 26 May 1954.

[12] “Trentham Army Cricket Team Australian Tour,” Upper Hutt Leader, Volume XII, Number 8, 10 March 1955.

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

[14] “Trentham Army Cricket Team Australian Tour.”; “Army Cricket,” Broadcaster (Fairfield, NSW : 1935 – 1978), 16 February 1955 1955.

[15] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 35, 3 June 1954.

[16] Ibid.

[17] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 55, 16 September 1954.

[18] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 52, 26 August 1954.

[19] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 13, 25 February 1954.

[20] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 4, 27 January 1955.

[21] Ibid.

[22] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 20, 17 March 1955.

[23] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 6, 3 February 1955.

[24] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 15, 3 March 1955.

[25] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 37, 2 June 1955.

[26] Howard E. Chamberlain, Service Lives Remembered : The Meritorious Service Medal in New Zealand and Its Recipients, 1895-1994 ([Wellington, N.Z.]: H. Chamberlain, 1995), 128-29.

[27] Ibid., 134-35.

[28] Ibid., 410-11.

[29] Ibid., 367-68.

[30] Ibid., 109-10.

[31] Ibid., 67.


Ordnance in the Manawatu 1915 – 1996

This post provides a chronological record of the principle Ordnance units located in the Manawatu from 1915 to 1996.

1914

In his annual report to the Quartermaster General of the New Zealand Military Forces, Major James O’Sullivan, the Director of Equipment and Stores made the suggestion that;

the time has now arrived for the establishment of a District Store at Palmerston North, as it is more central for distribution, and cost or railage would be considerably reduced.  

Report of the Director of Equipment & Stores for the year ending 31 March 1914

Early 1915

Palmerston North Ordnance Store established

21 June 1915

Mr Frank Edwin Ford, formerly the Mobilisation Storekeeper at Nelson, was appointed district storekeeper, Wellington Military District and took charge of the Palmerston North Ordnance Store.

Palmerston North Ordnance Store. Palmerston North City Library

1 July 1917

New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps formed. Civilain staff of the Defence Stores Department staff were attested for service into the NZAOC. The Palmerston North Ordnance Store official designation became “Palmerston North Detachment – NZAOC”.

December 1921

Palmerston North Detachment, NZAOC disbanded

Jan – March 1942

Central Districts Ordnance Depot established at the Palmerston North showgrounds

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

1 March 1941

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.

1 August 1942

Central Districts Ordnance Depot renamed to No 2 Ordnance Sub Depot.

1943/44

Main Ordnance Depot Trentham establishes Bulk Sub-Depot at Linton Camp

31 December 1944

Fire at 2 Ordnance Sub Depot resulting in a stock loss of £225700 ($18,639,824.86 2017 value)

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

14 December 1945

No 2 Ordnance Sub Depot Closes and its functions assumed by the Main Ordnance Depot at Trentham and Bulk Sub-Depot at Linton

1 October 1946

Reestablishment of No 2 Ordnance Depot at Linton Camp absorbing the Main Ordnance Depot Bulk Sub-Depot. Captain W.S Keegan Officer Commanding. Headquartered in Linton, No 2 Ordnance Depot also maintains;

  • Ammo Sub Depots at Belmont, Makomako and Waiouru,
  • a vehicle Sub Depot at Trentham, and
  • Stores Sub Depot at Waiouru.

26 April 1947

Captain Quartermaster L.H Stroud appointed as Officer Commanding, No 2 Ordnance Depot

1948

Captain P.W Rennision appointed as Officer Commanding, No 2 Ordnance Depot

Central Districts Ordnance Depot, Linton Camp 1949

Reorganisation of RNZAOC Units

  • No 2 Ordnance Depot renamed Central Districts Ordnance Depot (CDOD).
  • Central Districts Ammunition Depot (Makomako, Belmont, Waiouru) and Central Districts Vehicle Depot (Trentham) formed as standalone units.
  • Waiouru Ordnance Stores remain a Sub Depot of Linton until 1976.

1949-50

Buildings CB26 and CB27 Constructed

1950

Captain W Ancell appointed as Officer Commanding, Central Districts Ordnance Depot

1954

1957

Major J Harvey appointed as Officer Commanding CDOD

Major J. Harvey . Fairfax Media New Zealand

The Central Districts Vehicle Deport (CDVD) relocated from Trentham to Linton. Buildings CB14, 15, 16 and 17 relocated from Wellington to house the CDVD.

1958

Central Districts Ordnance Depot, Linton Camp 1958
Central Districts Vehicle Depot and Central Districts Ordnance Depot, 1961 Buildings CB14, 15, 16 and 17 are the large white buildings in the lower right of the photo

1961

Reorganisation of RNZAOC Units

  • CDVD and CDAD cease to be standalone units and become sub-units of the CDOD

New Headquarters building constructed for CDOD (Building CB18)

Headquarters 2 Supply Company C1980. Robert McKie Collection

1962

RNZAOC Stores Sections carrying specialised spares, assemblies and workshops materials to suit the particular requirement of its parent RNZEME workshops were approved and RNZEME Technical Stores personnel employed in these were transferred to the RNZAOC.

1963

Major John Barrie Glasson appointed as Officer Commanding CDOD

Construction of New Clothing Store completed (CB4)

2 Central Ordnance Depot Back Row (Left to Right: Dave Orr, Brian Quinn, Bill Hewett, Doug Wright, ?, Albie Hough, ? , Peter Cox, Bill Mania. 3rd Row (Left to Right) Tom Woon, John McCormick, ? , Len Pratt, Tom Moore, Doug Waugh, Dave Morris, Dave Wooler 2nd Row (Left to Right) Ian Casper, Larry Aitcheson, Bob Zaloum, Les Mulane, Robbie Staines, Garth Menhnmet, Ron Tye, Entwhistle(RNZEME), Ken Wagstaff, Staffort-Lowe. 1st Row (Left to Right) Eric Ray, McKay, ?, Gordon Rowe, Barry Stewart, Pat Riordain, Capt Edwards, Elwood, Arthur Parkin, Bill Monk, Terry ?, Dawn ?.

1968

CDOD renamed 2 Central Ordnance Depot (2 COD)

1969

Major Piers Reid appointed as Officer Commanding 2 COD

Construction of 45000sq ft (reduced to 25000sq ft) extension to Clothing store began by 2 Construction Sqn RNZE.(CB4)

2 Central Ordnance Depot, C1969 5th Row, Left to Right; Ian Casper, ? , Eric Ray, Neil Walker, ? . 4th Row , Left to Right: ? , ? , ? , Bill Hewett, ? , Tony Thain, ? , ? , ? , ? , ? . 3rd Row. Left to Right: Charlie Howlett, Selwyn Manson , Morrie Connell, ?, Keith Everley, Alf Ganderton, ? , Bob Zaloum, ? , ? , ? . 2nd Row, Left to Right: ? , ? , ? , ? , ? , ? , Keith Parker , ? , ? , Keith Danby , Dave Orr, Dave Morris, Bob Duff, ? , David Ralph Hughes, ? , ?, ? Front Row, Left to right: ?, Mike Ray, ? . ? , Ash (Bones) Lewer, Ken Wagstaff, ? , Keith Watson , Piers Reid, Ted Sweet, ? , Makita, ? , Garth Menhemitt, Gordon Rowe, Noel Blanchard, George Dimmock, ? .

7 Nov 1972

2 COD New stores building completed at a cost of $134000 and 34298 manhours. (CB4)

2COD/2 Supply warehouse

1 April 1976

Reorganised with the Waiouru Sub-depot becoming the Standalone Supply Company -4 Central Ordnance Deport (4 COD).

1978

Major K.A Watson appointed as Officer Commanding 2 COD

16 October 1978

2 COD Renamed to 2 Supply Company

1 February 1979

22 OFP formed as a Sub Unit Capt. M Telfer (TF Officer) as Officer Commanding

12 May 1979

RNZASC Supply responsibilities Transferred to the RNZAOC. 2 Supply Company gains 24 Supply Platoon (Rations)

31 January 1980

Major S.D Hopkins appointed as Officer Commanding 2 Supply Company

7 March 1983

Major N.A Hitchings appointed as Officer Commanding 2 Supply Company

1985

2 Supply Company reorganised as 5 Composite Supply Company: Consists of two sub-units:

  • The Linton Sub Depot which is drawn from 2 Supply Company, and
  • 21 Supply Company. 21 Sup Coy was a Territorial Force unit based at Waiouru as a sub-unit of 4 Supply Company responsible for Combat Sups and Services. As a sub-unit of 5SCS it was relocated to Linton, intergrading with 22OFP. One of 21 Sup Coys principle Sub-Units was 47 Petroleum Platoon.

27 May 1985

Major Geoff Cain appointed as Officer Commanding 5 Composite Supply Company

1985

47 Pet Pl under goes a major re-equipment, receiving a suit of kit including Fabric Tanks, Pumps, Filters, Meters and a limited pipeline capability. Under Captain Kit Carson, the profile of the Petroleum Operator Trade is increased as RF recruiting into the trade is increased and Pet Op courses run more frequently.

5 Composite Supply Company C1986

1986

Makomako Ammunition area begins refurbishment programme to upgrade ESH’s, roading and support infrastructure.

16 November 1987

Captain G.M Gregory appointed as Officer Commanding 2 Supply Company

16 APRIL 1988

Major R.J.A Smith appointed as Officer Commanding, 5 Composite Supply Company

5 Composit Supply Company 1989

1990

5CSC Reorganised as 21 Field Supply Company

Construction of New Ration Store Completed as part of Operation Kupe, the return of units from Singapore. The Old 24 Supply Platoon Ration Store that was located outside of camp by railway extension demolished.

16 December 1991

Major C.A Tarrant appointed as Officer Commanding, 21 Field Supply Company

1992

Ready Reaction Force Ordnance Support Group (RRF OSG),transferred from 3 Supply Company Burnham and absorbed into 21 Field Supply Company. Low cost shelters CB34a,b and CB35 erected)

December 1992

NZ Supply Detachment deployed to Somalia, majority of personnel are drawn from 21 Fd Sup Coy

June 1993

NZ Supply Platoon deployed into Somalia relieving the NZ Supply Det

January 1994

NZ Supply Platoon deployed into Somalia relieving the NZ Supply Platoon, Deployment ended in June 1994

1 March 1994

Major S.A Wagner appointed as Officer Commanding, 21 Field Supply Company

May 1994

Major Chas Chalton appointed as Officer Commanding, 21 Field Supply Company

1995

RNZAOC Supplier Trade combines with the All Arms Storeman Trade as Supply Quartermasters.

December 1996

21 Field Supply Company, becomes 21 Supply Company, Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (RNZALR). Catering functions join the company as a sub-unit NOTE: this needs to be confirmed and might have happened earlier


January 1997

Major H Duffy appointed as Officer Commanding, 21 Field Supply Company, RNZALR.


High hopes for Hopuhopu

Situated just north of the small Waikato town of Ngaruawahia, the Military Camp at Hopuhopu would for Sixty-Two years, be the home of the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps in the Upper North Island.

Located on the banks of the Waikato River and adjacent to the Main Trunk Railway line, at a glance Hopuhopu, in its remote rural location south of Auckland seems a strange place to locate an Ordnance Depot. However, despite its location, the Ordnance Depot at Hopuhopu was significant in the histography of the RNZAOC.

The significance of Hopuhopu was that it would be the first purpose-built Ordnance Depot for the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, with at the time of its construction the most modern Warehousing and Ammunition Storage infrastructure in use by the New Zealand Military.

Purpose-built Military storage infrastructure had been constructed early in the 20th Century at Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin; however, this infrastructure had been built on a small scale to service the pre-war military districts. The Post-Bellum New Zealand Army was in a good position; it had an experienced cadre of men to draw upon to train the building blocks of any future force. Additionally, the Army was flush with enough new and modern equipment to form and sustain an Expeditionary Force of at least one Infantry Division, a mounted Rifle Brigades, Artillery Regiment and Line of Communications troops.[1]

The bulk of the equipment was held by Ordnance at Trentham and Featherston Camps, utilising wartime infrastructure designed to accommodate soldiers and not large quantiles of military material. Smaller amounts to support training and initial mobilisation were distributed to the new mobilisation camp at Burnham in the South Island and the Mount Eden depot in Auckland. Whilst both Trentham and Burnham had room for expansion, the existing infrastructure at those camps was deemed with a few additions, adequate for the time being with no purpose-built infrastructure constructed until 1939/40. However, in Auckland, the depot at Mount Eden was inadequate and unable to support the Northern districts and more robust mobilisation, and storage infrastructure was required.

Storage of ammunition was another concern. Existing ammunition storage across New Zealand consisted of many 19th-century era powder magazines and converted coastal defence batteries, with the bulk of New Zealand’s ammunition supply stored at Wellingtons Fort Balance. These existing ammunition storage arrangements were unsatisfactory and a more permanent solution was needed in the form of a purpose built facility.

By 1921 the site of a new Mobilisation and Ordnance Depot to support the Northern Districts had been decided upon, and in one of the largest defence infrastructure projects undertaken in New Zealand, construction of the new camp at Hopuhopu would continue throughout the 1920s with the Ordnance Depot opening in 1927. A significant project at the time the progress of construction at Hopuhopu was widely reported on with this Auckland Star article from 1925 describing the plans for the camp;[2]

GREAT MILITARY CAMP

WORK AT HOPUHOPU

DOMINIONS’ AMMUNITION DEPOT

A SPLENDID TRAINING GROUND

Midway between Ngaruawahia and Taupiri, bounded by the railway and the Waikato River, is a long strip of land, some 500 acres in area, level excepting for an extensive hill that rises to an elevation of some ninety feet. This is Hopuhopu, site of the old mission station of the name. Once the home of peace, it is now being transformed by the engineers and men of the Public Works Department into a camp of training for war. Acquired by the Defence Department about three years ago, the Hopuhopu mission site has already been used as a camp for trainees, but it is in the rough, and the plans on which the engineers are now working aim at its conversion into a thoroughly equipped permanent military depot, to be officially known as the Ngaruawahia Mobilisation Base. When the plans are completed, it will be the chief military magazine, for the Dominion, and probably the greatest ordnance depot.

Through the courtesy of the Defence authorities and Mr E. K. James, the engineer in charge of the work, a “Star” representative was permitted to inspect the camp in the making yesterday. The site at once suggests itself as an ideal one for the purpose intended, and this idea is backed by expert engineering and military opinion. There has been some criticism of the area on the ground that it is damp, but this has proved to be a matter that can and will be easily overcome. After heavy rain, there is a degree of surface damp, caused by the matting of thick vegetable growth, but the sinking of a number of test holes has revealed a porous, sandy soil beneath, which, when the “matting” is removed, will readily allow all moisture to percolate and leave a dry surface. In fact, the site lends itself readily to perfect draining. About one hundred men are engaged in the work of clearing and building, and they have been greatly hampered in their preliminary operations by the amount of furze and blackberry that ‘successive owners of the land (including the Government) have allowed to grow on it.[3] The furze is not so hard to clear, but an instance of the pertinacity of the blackberry was shown in a patch that was again springing to vigorous growth two months after it had been cut. Over one hundred acres have been cleared, and there remains another 150 acres to be dealt with by hook and fire.

 

A Varied Terrain

The great value of the Hopuhopu site is that it is adaptable to every branch of military training. A detraining platform a quarter of a mile long will be constructed on the main railway line for the embarkation and disembarkation of troops; there are large level areas for parade grounds; there are hills for reconnoitre and signalling; there is the river for bridge-train and pontoon drill, and in fact, the contour of the country will enable training in every department of military tactics. When the camp is completed, its huge stores, magazines and hutments will spread over an area of 200 acres. It is proposed to provide sanitary drainage from the latrines by a large pipe running along the railway into septic tanks, and thence into the river. The first part of the plan provides for the accommodation of a full battalion, and this will gradually be extended to mobilise and house a brigade of about 5000 men. Next year trainees of the Northern Command will sleep beneath the roofs of solid huts, instead of in tents.

In arriving at the decision to construct this great camp at Hopuhopu, the authorities were doubtless influenced by other considerations additional to the natural suitability of the site for training purposes. It is a reasonable distance from the city; yet not too near. It is not advisable that men in training should have the temptations of a city that is in too close proximity, and it is essential really that a camp containing immense stores of ammunition should be out of range of shelling by a possible hostile fleet operating, for instance, in the Hauraki Gulf. Besides, Hopuhopu is a very handy site for the mobilisation of the thousands of trainees who reside in the closely settled districts of the Waikato.

Some acres of the campsite, between the Old South Road and the river, have been reserved for residences for officers of the permanent staff, the building of which has already been commenced in the corner adjacent to the railway, line. These houses are being constructed of concrete. The whole of the ordnance department is to be transferred to the camp, which will take over a great deal of the stores now housed at Featherston. The extent of the future ordnance department at the new base may be gauged from the fact that the plans provide for five sheds measuring 40 x 500 ft, 40 x 300 ft, 40 x 200 ft, 40 x 100 ft, and 40 x 350 ft. These will lie alongside the camp railway, which runs into the camp for a distance of half a mile from, the mainline, so that stores may be received and dispatched with a minimum of labour and a maximum of speed. From the terminus of this extension, a wooden tramway is to be constructed to the foot of the hill along the base of which the magazines are being built.

The Magazine Section

No fewer than ten magazines for the storage of explosives and ammunition are provided for, and several of these are nearing completion while excavating and banking is being carried out on the site of the great laboratory to be attached to this department. The magazines are built into the hillside. They are constructed of concrete, with double walls, in between which are formed the inspecting chambers. From these chambers’ sentries may see through observation windows the thermometers which register the temperature inside and by this guide check or increase ventilation, as needed, for the explosives must be kept at a certain degree Fahrenheit. Also, the double-wall is a protection against fire. Between each magazine, a pyramid is erected from the spoil taken from the excavation. These are eave high with the roofs of the magazines and are designed to break the force of any possible explosion of one magazine, so that others may not be exploded also. The magazines are also faced by a long embankment, and are, of course, backed by the hill, so that an explosion would be confined as far as possible to the magazine area.

On top of the hill, there has been constructed an 80,000-gallon reservoir for the camp water supply. The water is pumped by a 30 hp motor from a settling tank alongside the river and ten feet below the level of its bed. The water is well filtered and regarded as pure after it has percolated into its tank, but as an additional safeguard, a chlorinating plant is to be installed.

Negotiations are proceeding with landowners on the other side of the river for the acquirement of land for a rifle range.

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

The Ordnance Depot would open in 1927. The original plan called for five warehouses measuring 40 x 500 ft, 40 x 300 ft, 40 x 200 ft, 40 x 100 ft, and 40 x 350 ft; what was eventually construed was a single large warehouse measuring 100 x 322 ft.

1938 Military Camp, Hopuhopu, Waikato. Whites Aviation Ltd: Photographs. Ref: WA-55972-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23181165

An additional Ordnance warehouse would be constructed adjacent to the original building during the Second World War. The wartime era would also see as part of a nationwide expansion of the NZ Army’s Ammunition infrastructure with additional magazines added to the existing ten magazine at the Hopuhopu Storage area and a new Ammunition Depot established outside of Hopuhopu Camp at the nearby Kelm Road.

1961 Hopuhopu Military Camp from the air. Whites Aviation Ltd: Photographs. Ref: WA-55339-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22480584
Aerial oblique view of Ngaruawahia Army Camp, March 1962. Image ref OhG3046-62, RNZAF Official.

Hopuhopu and its Ordnance Depot would survive until 1989 when as part of many rationalisations taking place across the New Zeland Defence Forces, Hopuhopu camp would be closed, and its functions passed on to other locations.

Hopuhopu 2020. Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development

Notes

[1] Mark McGuire, “Equipping the Post-Bellum Army,” Forts and Works 2016.

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

[3] Furze is another term for gorse.


Morgan and John O’Brien

A small memorial plaque placed just below a soldier’s headstone at Palmerston North’s Terrace End Cemetery provides a hint to a fantastic story of two brothers who served in the First World War. One, who as a result of illness attributed to the war, would have a short life, passing away seven years after the war. The other would have a long and exciting life, that would exemplify the ideals of the American Dream.

Morgan Joseph, John Goutenoire and Mary Agatha (b April 1903) were the three children of Morgan and Isabel O’Brien and were born in Nelson between 1891 and 1903. Shortly after the birth of Mary, Morgan O’Brien took up a position as a Health inspector in Palmerston North which would see the O’Brien Family settle in there.

Morgan Joseph O’Brien

Born on 13 August 1891 Morgan would attend Nelson College, and like most men in New Zealand at the time undertake his compulsory military service in the Territorial Army.  A foundation member of the Palmerston North J Battery of the Artillery, Morgan would also serve in the Poverty Bay Company of the 9th (Hawkes Bay) Infantry Regiment. Morgan was well known in Palmerston North and later Gisborne as a keen Footballer and Cricketer.

At around 1913, Morgan took up a position with the Gisborne Branch of J.J Niven, taking charge of that branches customs and shipping department.  With the onset of the First World War, Morgan entered Trentham Camp for training with the Artillery in November 1915. Sailing with the 10 Reinforcements on 4 March 1916, Morgan would join the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) in France in April 1916 and posted to the Divisional Ammunition Column (DAC). It is likely that due to Morgan’s civilian clerical exercised that he was involved in the area of ammunition accounting, managing the substantial quantities of ammunition required by the New Zealand Division.  Serving with the DAC for the remainder of the war, Morgan would be struck down with influenza several times but would finish the war in Sling Camp in the United Kingdom. Morgan would be transferred into the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) on 13 February 1919. Promoted to Corporal and posted to the London Ordnance Depot. Morgan would have been working closely with his brother John, who was the Chief Clerk of the NZAOC. Morgan’s clerical skills were recognised, and in July 1919 he was promoted to Sergeant. With the bulk of the demobilisation work required of the Ordnance Depot in London completed by August 1919, Morgan was repatriated to New Zealand in September 1919 on the SS Ruahine. After Three Years and Two Hundred- and Ninety-Seven-Day of overseas service Morgan was struck off the strength of the NZEF on 22 January 1920, returning to his civilian employment with J.J Niven in Gisborne.[1]

Morgan would only remain in Gisborne for just under two years, when in December 1921 he was promoted to be the Accountant at JJ Nivens Palmerston North Branch. Sadly, like many of his peers, Morgan’s health and been affected by the war and would plague him with continuing problems and periods in Hospital. On 24 August 1926 at the age of Thirty-Five, Morgan passed away at his parents’ home at 163 Fitzherbert Street Palmerston North. Morgan’s funeral was held at St Patrick’s Church, with many beautiful wreaths received and representation from his former employer, military and sporting associates.[2]

John Goutenoire O’Brien

John O’Brien was born on 3 April 1895 (some sources state 1896) and would attend Palmerston North High School, Nelson College and Palmerston North Technical college.[3] Following a similar vocational path as his brother, John would take up a clerical position as Clerk with the Bank of New Zealand in Palmerston North. Called up for military service in the Territorial Army, John would spend two years with the Palmerston North based C Company of the 7th (Wellington West Coast) Regiment.

John would enlist into the NZEF on 20 April 1915, joining B Company of the 6th Infantry Reinforcements at Trentham Camp. Embarking for Egypt on 11 August 1915, the 6th reinforcements would be the last to reach Egypt before the end of the 1915 Gallipoli campaign. John as part of the Wellington Infantry Battalion would be amongst the last of the New Zealand Troops committed to the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign; however, after a short period fighting on Gallipoli, John was evacuated early in December due to suspected appendicitis and dysentery.[4]

After recuperation in Alexandra, John was posted to the New Zealand Base Depot at Ismailia as the New Zealand Division was reorganised. Possibly as a result of his clerical background, John did not re-join the Wellington Infantry Battalion but instead transferred into the NZAOC. Serving with the New Zealand Division in France, John would be promoted to Corporal on 4 June 1916 and then Sergeant on 31 March 1917.

On 13 February 1918, John was transferred from the New Zealand Division in France and taken on the strength of the New Zealand Ordnance Depot in London. Audits had found several inadequacies in the running of the store’s account which John described as “a system of recording and accounting that was absolutely hopeless”.[5] Appointed as the NZAOC Chief Clerk in the United Kingdom, John was promoted to Temporary Warrant Officer Class One (Temporary Sub Conductor) on 5 October 1918.

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

Promoted to Warrant Officer Class One (Sub Conductor) on 25 November 1918, the priority due to the end of the war had shifted from supporting the NZEF to demobilising the NZEF, including the closing of accounts and the final balancing of the books. Appointed as a Conductor on 1 February 1919, John in addition to his existing staff of two would be allocated an additional six men to assist in the reorganisation and rewriting of the ledgers to an acceptable standard. John’s older brother Morgan, an accountant by trade was on 13 February 1919 transferred from the New Zealand Field Artillery into the NZAOC and posted to the London Ordnance Depot, where it is of no doubt that his skills as an account were put to use.[6]

New Zealand Ordnance Depot, 30-32 Farrington Road, London. Map data ©2018 Google, Imagery ©2018 Google

By the middle of 1919, John and his staff had made progress in the closing of the NZEF accounts, with the ADOS Colonel Pilkington satisfied that the whole team would be repatriated in September on the SS Ruahine. However, due to changes of Department heads in NZEF Headquarters, John elected to remain to follow through in his efforts and ensure that his responsibilities were handed over.[7]

In recognition of the valuable services rendered in connection to the war, John was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal on 9 December 1919.

In January 1920 it was anticipated that with the planned sailing of the “Corinthic” on 20 February 1920 that there would only be twenty-four members of the NZEF remaining in the United Kingdom to be repatriated on the “Ionic” on 31 March 1920. However, much work remained to be done, and the three remaining Ordnance Staff; Captain Simmons, John and Sergeant Edwards were each allocated specific tasks by the departing ADOS. John was to;

Remain to settle all claims preferred against the NZEF, by the Imperial authorities for stores and equipment issued from time to time, also to obtain credit for stores returned to Imperial Ordnance by NZEF Units and Depots. This WO will deal with all claims for outstanding stationery issued to the NZEF, and will arrange credit for all stationary etc., returned to HM Stationery Office. He will pass for payment, all accounts for goods etc., brought under this Office Local Purchase Orders Authority. All matters relating to the equipment for the Post-Bellum Army in New Zealand will be dealt with by him, and he will submit any idents which have to be preferred, and will also assist the High Commissioner with the arrangements for shipping all new equipment and stores for the Dominion.[8]

Having been overseas for over four years, John was becoming anxious about his future employment. He had resigned from his position with the Bank of New Zealand in 1915, with it seems a gentleman’s understanding that his job would be held open for him on his return. However, after five years of military service, correspondence with the Bank of New Zealand indicated that his re-employment was not guaranteed but would be favorably considered. With a strong case to return to New Zealand, Johns demobilisation was approved. On handing his remaining duties over to Captain Simmons and the New Zealand High Commission, John departed for New Zealand on the last official troopship returning to New Zealand the “SS Ionic”. Leaving the United Kingdom on 31 March 1920 the Ionic would transit the Panama Canal, arriving back in Wellington on 28 May 1920. It is interesting to note that during Johns tenue in London in addition to his military duties, he undertook a course of study at the London Hugo College of Languages.[9] 

On 8 June 1920 John was stuck off the strength of the NZEF and after five years returned to civilian life. Concurrent to John been demobilised, the Director of Ordnance Services, Lt Col Pilkington, who as the NZEF ADOS had intimate knowledge of Johns abilities, was working to find John employment. Early in June, Lt Col Pilkington recommended in a letter to the Chief Ordnance Officer that John would be an outstanding and qualified candidate to fill the position of Chief Clerk in the Christchurch Ordnance Deport, then located at the King Edward Barracks. Accepted for this role John was attested for service in the Temporary Section of the NZAOC as a sergeant on 8 June 1920.[10]

After five months, John decided to resign from the NZAOC and pursue other interests and was discharged at his request on 19 October 1920. John would then travel to the United States where he would study law at DePaul University Chicago from 1921 to-24. During his time at Chicago, John would write several articles on the peoples of the earth, articles on foreign lands and subjects in general and was one of a group that published two volumes on the recent World War.[11]

Nearing the end of his studies, John found employment with the Continental Trust and Savings Bank of Chicago, where in 1923 he was appointed as the manager of the Bond and Coupon Division.

Relocating to Shreveport Louisiana in 1926, John was then appointed as the Trust Officer for the Commercial National Bank.[12] Under his leadership, the trust department would become recognised as one of the most outstanding in the South with John later serving as a vice-president of the bank.

John O’Brien 1926

In 1926 John would marry Katharine Kramer and in the same year celebrated the birth of his son Joseph. However, this must has been tempered with the news of the early death of his elder brother in October 1926. Having found a career and established a family in the United States, John was naturalised as a US Citizen on 22 February 1928.[13]

Old Commercial National Bank Building in Shreveport, Louisiana. Wikimedia Commons

It is known that John made two return visits to New Zealand, the first in 1930 and after the death of his father in 1937, the second trip in April 1941. Arriving from the United States via the American Clipper air route, Johns visit would be a combined holiday and business visit which would be wildly covered by the press.[14]

During his visit, John would describe the positive reporting in the United States of the New Zealand Division in the Middle East and provide a first-hand account of the increasing amount of war material produced in the USA for export to the British Empire. John would also provide insight into American insights into the war and how although the Southern States were firmly behind Britain, the Northern States with their large immigrant populations were less supportive, but John had confidence that President Roosevelt and United States Congress would make the right decision when the time came.[15] An astute businessman John was found to be correct in his prediction, and after the 7 December attack on Pearl Harbour, the United Stated threw its entire strength into the effort to defeat not only the Empire of Japan but also Nazi Germany.

As the United States mobilised, John would be recalled to the colours, and on 27 July 1942 was inducted as a Major into the US Army and assigned to the Staff of General Harmon, Commanding General of US Army Forces in the South Pacific area. [16]   As the US Army Forces in the South Pacific area were initially Headquartered out of Auckland, John likely spent some time in wartime New Zealand. Johns promotion to Lieutenant Colonel in 1943 was widely covered by the New Zealand Media which no doubt brought much pride to his New Zealand family.[17] In November 1943 after eighteen months in the Pacific John was assigned to the Intelligence Division, Fourth Air Force, San Francisco California and as new regulations were put in place to start releasing personnel, John was transferred to the active reserve on 2 May 1944.[18]  In regards to Johns service, Major General William Lynd, Commanding General, Fourth Air Force stated that “Colonel O’Brien entered the service at a time when our nation faced its darkest days. The valuable experience he brought with him contributed much to our victories in the pacific”[19]

Lieutenant Colonel John O’Brien, United
States Army Air Force, 1944

Returning to his pre-war position with the Commercial National Bank, John would remain there for another two years before taking up another role with the industrial manufacturing company J.B Beaird. Resigning from the bank in 1946, John would serve as vice-president and treasurer of J.C Beaird until his retirement In November 1958.

During his lifetime, John assumed leadership roles in many charitable drives held senior positions in many civic clubs. Posts her filled included;

  • Chairman of the trust division of the Louisiana Bankers Association,
  • Member of the executive committee and board of the Chamber of Commerce,
  • Chairman of the United Fund,
  • Chairman of the Caddo Community Chest,
  • President of the Caddo Chapter of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis,
  • Member of the board Caddo Chapter of the American Red Cross,
  • Member of the board and president of the Little Theatre,
  • Member of the finance committee of Centenary College.

Always keen to pass on his knowledge and experience, John was also at times an Instructor of economics, corporate finance and various banking subjects for;

  • YMCA schools,
  • The American College of Underwriters,
  • The American Institute of Banking,
  • The Wholesale Credit Men’s Assn

As a veteran of two wars, John was active in veteran affairs and an active member of the American Legion, and held top offices in the;

  • Lowe-McFarlane Post 14 of the American Legion,
  • The Rotary Club,
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars.

During 1952, John was the chairman of a civilian advisory board assisting the United States Air Force in an audit of Reservists in Northwest Louisiana and Southwest Arkansas.

A year into his retirement and at the age of Sixty-Two years, John died of a heart attack on 21 October 1959.[20] Buried in the Forest Park in the centre of Shreveport, a memorial plaque was also placed below the headstone of his brother in the Terrace End cemetery in his New Zealand Home town of Palmerston North.

Sua tela tonanti


Notes

[1] “O’brien, Morgan Joseph,” Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1916.

[2] “Personal,” Manawatu Standard, Volume XLVI, Issue 279, , 26 October 1926.

[3] “Nelson College School Register, 1856-1956,” Ancestry.com. New Zealand, School Registers and Lists, 1850-1967 ; ” Bank Selects Trust Officer,” The Shreveport Times, 5 March 1926; ibid.

[4] “O’brien, John Goutenoire “, Personal File, Archives New Zealand 1914.

[5] “Demobilisation – Organisation of Ordnance Service, 4 September 1918 – 8 March 1920,” Archives New Zealand Item No R25103117  (1920).

[6] “O’brien, Morgan Joseph.”

[7] “Demobilisation – Organisation of Ordnance Service, 4 September 1918 – 8 March 1920.”

[8] Ibid.

[9] ” Bank Selects Trust Officer.”

[10] “O’brien, John Goutenoire “.

[11] ” Bank Selects Trust Officer.”

[12] Ibid.

[13] “Naturalization Petitions, 1925 – 1927,” Ancestry.com. Louisiana, U.S., Naturalization Records, 1836-1998.

[14] “New Zealand Born,” Auckland Star, Volume LXXII, Issue 77, 1 April 1941.

[15] “Aid for Britian,” Evening Post, Volume CXXXI, Issue 84, , 9 April 1941.

[16] “News About Those in Military Service,” The Shreveport Journal  9 August 1943.

[17] “Personal,” Manawatu Standard, Volume LXIII, Issue 207 31 July 1943.

[18] “Army Praise Given Banker for Service,” The Shreveport Times, 2 May 1944.

[19] Ibid.

[20] “Local Civic Leader Dies,” The Shreveport Journal  22 October 1959.


The Quartermaster trade

From the earliest years of the New Zealand Army, supply at the Regiment or Battalion level has been the responsibility of the unit Quartermaster (QM) and his staff.  Traditionally QMs were commissioned from the ranks and assisted by the Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant (RQMS) and a staff of clerks and Storeman with Company Quartermaster Sergeants (CQMS) providing support at the sub-unit level.[1] Typically, the QM and associated staff would be drawn from within the ranks the regiment or corps in which they worked, providing an intimate level of knowledge of how the unit worked and thus were well suited to providing the best support. As the New Zealand Army began to take shape in the nineteenth century the “Q” staff of units tended to be older more experienced men who although past their prime in the field had an intimate knowledge of their unit and were able to provide a useful management functions of the units weapons and equipment.   In volunteer units, many of which were more akin to social clubs, annual elections would be held to elect officers and “Q” Staff and as a result many of the unit stores accounts were in disarray with many discrepancies from what had been provided by the crown to what was in unit stores.

Measures to address administrative training across the army was addressed in 1885 with the Army School of Instruction established at the military headquarters at Mt Cook in Wellington. The primary task of this Army School of Instruction was training in musketry, with courses on Tactics and Staff Duties conducted at the School from 1886 onwards.[2] However it is unknown if rudimentary stores accounting was included in the curriculum.[3]

Following the South Africa War, the NZ Army began to undertake a transformation into a force better trained and equipped to participate in the Imperial Defence Scheme. Uniforms, weapons and equipment was standardised, and following the Defence Act of 1909 the Volunteer forces were replaced with a robust Territorial force that would be maintained by compulsory military training.  

In 1895, The Dress Regulations, New Zealand Defence Forces, authorised for use of an eight-pointed star as a identifying embellishment to be worn by Regimental and Company Quartermaster Sergeants.[4]  The badge would remain in use until 1917.

Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant-Major, 1905-1915. Robert McKie Collection
Company Quartermaster Sergeant, 1905-1915. Robert McKie Collection

Unknown photographer (1910) The Empire’s foremost soldier: Field-Marshal Lord Kitchener. Auckland War Memorial Museum call no. D503 K62

Lord Kitchener who was considered as “”The Empire’s foremost soldier” visited New Zealand in 1910. Kitchener reviewed New Zealand’s Forces and made several recommendations from which several alterations to the NZ Army were made, including the establishment of the New Zealand Staff Corps and Permanent Staff. The New Zealand Staff Corps (NZSC) and New Zealand Permanent Staff (NZPS, when established in 1911 provided a professional cadre of officers (NZSC) and men (NZPS) able to provide professional guidance and administration to the units of the Territorial Force. Kitchener’s visit reinvigorated the military to review itself, with the care, maintenance and responsibility of equipment found to be lacking, and that the current cadre of RQMS not up to the task, and the need for a professional cadre of RQMSs identified.

To rectify the situation, late in 1911 thirty young men, selected from the various military districts spent three weeks undertaking a course of instruction on “Q” matters at the Defence Stores Department in Wellington. Undergoing practical and theoretical instruction in the duties of the office of RQMS. Instruction conducted under the supervision of the Head of the Defence Stores, Major O’Sullivan and the senior staff of the Defence Stores Department as instructors. The course was thorough with instruction including;

  • Armorers providing instruction on weapon storage, inspection, maintenance and accounting,
  • The Saddler providing instruction on the correct methods of storage, inspection and maintenance of leather items such as horse saddlery and harnesses.
  • The Sailmaker providing instruction on the correct methods of storage, inspection and maintenance of canvas and fabric items such as tents, other camp canvas and fabric camp equipment.
  • The Stores Foreman providing instruction on the Packing of stores.
  • The ledger-keeper providing instruction with the keeping of accounts and maintenance of documentation used throughout all the departments.

Examinations were held on the various subjects in which instruction had been given, with records showing that at least 18 of the 30 candidates passed the exams successfully and were appointed Quartermaster Sergeants in the New Zealand Permanent Staff under General Order 112/10.

This course of instruction was notable as although the Army School of Instruction had been established in 1885, this was the first course specifically designed to instruct on the duties of RQMS, and as such was probably the first dedicated “Q Store” trade-related course conducted in New Zealand.

With the declaration of war against the Central Powers in August 1914, New Zealand was well prepared and rapidly mobilised and a Expeditionary Force dispatched overseas. To maintain the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF), a reinforcement plan was implemented with Trentham and later Featherston camps established as the principle reinforcement training camps. In late August 1914, Lieutenant (Temp Captain) T McCristell NZSC was appointed as the Camp Quartermaster of Trentham Camp. In his role as Camp Quartermaster, McCristell with a cadre of men from the Permanent Staff held back from the Expeditionary Force, would establish the “Camp Quartermaster Stores”. Established as an distinctive unit with its own Badge the “Camp Quartermaster Stores” had several responsibilities, including;

EVERYTHING movable in Camp, except the A.S.C and its wagons, is kept track of by the Camp Quartermaster—everybody and everything, from a soldier to an electric light bulb. The Camp Quartermaster knows where they all should be; and if they aren’t where they ought to be, he generally knows where they are.”[5]

Another important and essential role of the “Camp Quartermaster Stores” was in the training of suitable men as Quartermasters for service overseas. Within each reinforcement draft, each Regiment was allowed one RQMS and each company was allowed one CQMS.  Based on their civilian occupations and with due regarded to their business ability, McCristell would select suitable men to be trained as RQMS and CQMS. Training would include;

  • Stores Training dealing with every duty related to clothing and equipping the men.
  • Camp Equipment Training, including the methods of constructing field kitchens, incinerators, latrines, washing and cleaning arrangements, striking and pitching camps, making bivouacs, billeting men.
  • Organising ammunition
  • Water supplies, and the drawing and distribution of food to troops.

On completion of the training the candidates were required to pass an examination, which if successful they were deemed qualified for appointment as a RQMS or CQMS.

Camp Quartermaster Stores Badge

McCristell would remain as the Camp Quartermaster until 1916, after which he was transferred to the Defence Stores Department as the Director of Equipment and Ordnance Stores. In this role he would oversee the establishment of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps (NZAOC) in 1917 as the Chief ordnance Officer.

In 1918 a Conference of Defence Department Officers in response to a report by the Defence Expenditure Commission found that 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.[6] 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.[7]

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;

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.[8]

The post war tenure of the NZAOC managing unit Quartermaster accounts would be short and despite the benefits it brought, Force reductions and budget restraints would see Quartermaster system revert to pre-war arrangements with instruction conducted by the General Headquarters School (GHQ School)  that would be established in Trentham camp in 1919.

Established in 1919, and placed on a permanent footing in 1920 the GHQ School in Trentham would  conduct training on a range of subjects for Officers of the NZSC and men of the NZPS who were responsible for the training, equipment, and administration of the Territorial and Senior Cadets.[9]  

In 1937 the Army School at Trentham was established, and was supported by District Schools of Instruction that were established at Narrow Neck, Trentham, and Burnham.[10] Administration instructors at the Army School and at the three District Schools of Instruction were involved in training the following groups of servicemen:

  • Adjutants,
  • Quartermasters,
  • Regimental Sergeant Major,
  • Regimental Quartermaster Sergeants,
  • Ordnance and Company Clerks,
  • Storemen, Storemen-Clerks, and
  • Cooks.

In the lead up to the Second World War the Army School of Instruction would form a separate Administrative Wing staffed by; a Major, two Captains, a Warrant Officer Class One, a Staff Sergeant and a Sergeant.

Officer courses conducted by the Wing were Senior Staff Duties and Adjutants courses, while Senior Non-Commissioned Officers attended drill, duties, and Tactics Courses. Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers could also attend the Quartermaster’s and Quartermaster Sergeant’s courses conducted by the Wing.

After World War II, training for officers, clerks and storemen centred around peacetime administration. Emphasis was placed on the training of Regular Force Staff of the Army, and as a result clerks and storemen recruited through Compulsory Military Training or National Service, received only an introduction to their trades. The policy of decentralisation of training from a central school to the District Schools of Instruction resulted in a reduction in the establishment of the Administrative Wing by 1947 to a Major, a Captain or Lieutenant, a Warrant Officer Class Two and a Corporal who could be WRAC.

In July 1950 the Administrative Wing was disbanded and the new School of Army Administration was formed. The School which was still located in Trentham, conducted courses in both peace and war administration, as well as conducting the Regular Force Officers Lieutenant to Captain Promotion Course. At this time the Chief Instructor of the School of Army Administration held a dual appointment as Staff Officer (Administration) on the staff of Headquarters Army Schools.

On 31 Jan 1952 the School of Army Administration moved from Trentham Camp to Waiouru and was located in a building on Foley Street, where Crete Barracks now stand. Although there were established posts for a staff of three officers and four Other Ranks, the School was manned by a staff of; two officers, (one of whom was employed as CI and Staff Officer (Administration) at Headquarters, Army School) and two Other Ranks.

The School workload increased steadily over the years from a total of 13 courses in 1953 to 21 courses in 1961. The establishment was changed to reflect the increase in the number of courses and by 1967 there were established posts for; three officers, five other ranks, and a civilian (clerical assistant) at the School.

The School of Army Administration was later relocated in the building opposite Headquarters Army Training Group, Waiouru. It had established posts for; three officers, seven senior non-commissioned officers, and two civilians.

The School conducted courses for the following personnel:

  • Junior Staff Officers,
  • Accounting Officers,
  • Clerks, and
  • Storeman.

Course Photos

From 1974 the staff of the School of Army Administration, photographed most courses passing through the school, many of these photos can be viewed by clicking on respective course link;

The early 1990s would be a period of significant change for not only the Q Storeman trade but also the RNZAOC Supplier trade as both trades would undergo considerable transformation due to the rebalancing of the logistic and support functions of the NZ Army, which would eventually lead to the formation of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (RNZALR). Included in the scope of work of the rebalancing was a review of the two supply trades, which concluded that given the development of the computerised Defence Supply System Detail (DSSD), it would be viable to combine the two trades into one. Initial integration of logistic units occurred in 1993, where units of the Royal New Zealand Corps of Transport (RNZCT), RNZAOC and Royal New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RNZEME) combined into Logistic Regiments. Integration of the logistic training functions occurred in 1993/94 when the individual Corps schools amalgamated into the Army Logistic Centre (ALC). This would see the Quartermaster Wing of The School of Army Administration integrated into the RNZAOC School.However, at this stage despite the RNZAOC School been at Trentham the Quartermaster Wing remained in Waiouru. On 13 December 1993 after a 41-year absence from Trentham, the Quartermaster Wing moved left Waiouru.

In July 1994, the RNZAOC School was disestablished, and the Trade Training School (TTS) was established in its place. This change saw the amalgamation of the Supply and Quartermaster functions combined into the Supply/Quartermaster (Sup/Q) Wing as the Supply and Q Sections. The main aim behind the amalgamation was to foster the development of training required to produce an Army with an effective logistical supply system at all levels, with the first combined Sup/Q Courses been conducted during the 1994/95 training year. With Supply and Q training combined, the first personnel postings between RNZAOC and consumer units were progressed with mixed results. Some individuals thrived as the experience allowed them to expand their knowledge and expertise. In contrast, others found the adjustment difficult and outside of the comfort zones that their previous positions have provided. However, on 4 December 1996, all RNZAOC Suppliers and Q Storeman were incorporated into a new base trade known as the Supplier/Quartermaster (Sup/QM) trade. Given the diverse nature of the Sup/QM Trade, with members drawn from each Corps and represented in almost every unit of the New Zealand Army, the amalgamation of the two trades would not be easy , and would take time to consolidate.

In October 2007 the Sup/QM Trade was renamed as the RNZALR Supply Technician (Sup Tech) Trade, followed by the adoption of a top of trade Supply Technician Badge in 2009.


Notes

[1] Depending on the type of Regiment or Corps, variations of Company Quartermaster Sergeant (CQMS) could also be; Battery Quartermaster Sergeant (BQMS) in artillery units or Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant (SQMS) in Mounted/Calvary units

[2] “The School of Military Instruction,” New Zealand Herald, Volume XXII, Issue 7328, 14 May 1885.

[3] Gary Ridley, “Quartermaster Origins,” Pataka Magazine  (1993).

[4] New Zealand Military Forces Dress Regulations, ed. New Zealand Military Forces (Wellington1905).

[5] Will Lawson, Historic Trentham, 1914-1917: The Story of a New Zealand Military Training Camp, and Some Account of the Daily Round of the Troops within Its Bounds (Wellington1917), 35.

[6] “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).

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

[8] “Amending the Regulations for the Military Forces of New New Zealand,” New Zealand Gazette No 135, 3 October 1918.

[9] “Ghq School,” Evening Post, Volume XCIX, Issue 23, , 28 January  1920.

[10] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand, Annual Report of the Chief of Thr General Staff,” Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, (1938).


ANZUK: What was it?

ANZUK Flag. Wikipedia Commons

ANZUK Force is something that has a familiar ring about it, but unless you served in Singapore in the 1970s or 1980s, knowledge of it is likely to be limited.  Forty-five years after its closure, Colin Campbell a former Australian Army Officer who served in the Headquarters of the ANZUK Support Group in 1971-72 has published ANZUK What was it?, providing a long-overdue addition to the New Zealand /Australian/U.K. Military history narrative with the first comprehensive history of the ANZUK Force of 1971-74.

Since 1945 Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom had cooperated in providing military Forces in Japan, South Korea, Malaya, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore, playing an essential role in helping to stabilise the region during a time of political tension and national policy upheaval. ANZUK Force would be the culmination of this post-war cooperation that for the final time in South East Asia, would see the Forces of these nations unified under a single tri-Service command.

Information on the ANZUK Force is sparse, for example, the New Zealand’s contribution to the ANZUK Force compressed to a single paragraph in The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Military History which acknowledges membership of ANZUK Force, however, provides few other details.

One of the few military histories dedicated to the era is H.B Eaton’s history of 28 Commonwealth Brigade, Something Extra. Eaton’s works provide a detailed history of 28 Commonwealth Brigade from 1951 to 1974, providing a chapter on the 1971-74 ANZUK, which due to the nature of Eaton’s book is focused on the 28 ANZUK Brigade which was the land component of ANZUK Force.

In telling the story of ANZUK Force, Campbell sets the scene on the ANZUK Force by providing background on the circumstances that led to the formation of the ANZUK Force. With a comprehensive but concise of the history and politics of the region, Campbell then unwraps the  Commonwealth Far East Strategic Reserve,  the establishment of the Five Power Defence Arrangement between Australian, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom and the short-lived Australian and New Zealand Force that preceded the ANZUK Force.  With three nations, each with different and at times conflicting motivations, Campbell details the planning, compromises and the final organisation and command arrangements of the ANZAC Force.

In Part Three, Campbell examines the four components of the ANZUK Force;

  • the Maritime element,
  • the Land element,
  • the Air element, and
  • the ANZUK Support Group.

Here Campbell breaks down each component and provides a useful overview of each component, their command and control arrangements and most importantly, their composition, roles and tasks and exercises they conducted. In describing the composition of each component, Campbell provides a roster of naval vessels Air Force Squadrons and elements assigned to the Martine and Air Components and explains the makeup of the land component, 28 ANZUK Brigade, with is Tri-nation Brigade Headquarters, Artillery and Engineer Regiments and National Infantry Battalions.

ANZUK Stores Sub Depot, April 1973. Robert McKie Collection

Not forgetting the Administrative and Logistic Elements, Campbell also dedicates space to the composition of the ANZUK Support Group and the wide ranges of services it managed and provided including, Stores and Supplies, Workshop, Transport, Provost, Police Force, Post Office, Hospitals and schools for dependent children.

ANZUK Force, Installation Auxiliary Police Badge. Robert McKie Collection

With a posting to ANZUK Force, an accompanied posting with families included as part of the experience, Campbell also dedicates space on highlighting the lifestyle and sports opportunities that life in the ANZUK Force provided.

ANZUK What was it? Could have been a bland assessment of the ANZUK Force, but Campbell has skilfully included many interesting and at times amusing anecdotes from the men and women who served in ANZUK Force providing a personal context to the narrative. Campbell has also ensured that the text is robustly supported by maps, tables, illustrations, Annexes and eight pages listing the sources of his extensive research.

As the first work dedicated the ANZUK Force, Campbell has resurrected the memory if this short live but significant force and although here are gaps, they are few and do not detract from the overall narrative.  ANZUK What was it? is a useful addition to the Military History narrative of Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom and a must-read for those with interest in this area.

Copies of ANZUK What was it? can be purchased directly from the Author through his website at https://anzukbook.com

ANZUK Force patch. Robert McKie Collection.

.

28 ANZUK Brigade patch. Robert McKie Collection

RNZAOC 1 April 1953 to 31 March 1954

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

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel F Reid, OBE

Technical Assistant to the Chief Inspection Ordnance Officer

  • Captain N.C Fisher (Until 24 July 1953)
  • Warrant Officer L Smith (From 25 July 1953)

Northern Military District

District Inspecting Ordnance Officer

  • Captain E.D Gerard (until 9 Aug 1953)

IOO NDAD

  • Captain E.D Gerard (from 28 Aug 1953)

Officer Commanding Northern District Ammunition Repair Depot

  • Captain Pipson (From 28 Aug 1953)

Central Military District

District Inspecting Ordnance Officer

  • Captain N.C Fisher (From 9 Aug 1953)

Compulsory Military Training

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

  • 9th intake of 2954 recruits on 9 April1953
  • 10th intake of 2610 recruits on 2 July 1953
  • 11th intake of 2610 recruits on 24 September 1953
  • 12th intake of 2200 recruits on 5 January 1954

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

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

Ordnance in the New Zealand Division

The RNZAOC elements of the Territorial Force had been reorganised in 1948, this had been a reorganisation that had taken place over three stages with Officers and then NCOs recruited, followed by the soldiers recruited through the CMT scheme to fill the ranks.[3]  By September 1953 the RNZOAC units within the Division had rapidly grown and the CRAOC of the NZ Division provided clarification in the organisation and duties of the RNZAOC units in the NZ Division.

HQ CRAOC

Duties included.

  • RNZAOC representative at Division Headquarters.
  • Exercised Regimental command and Technical control of RNZAOC unit in the Division.

Divisional Ordnance Field Park

The functions of the OFP were.

  • Park HQ – Technical Control of the OFP
  • Regimental Section – Regimental Control of the OFP
  • Delivery Section – Collects and delivers operationally urgent stores
  • MT Stores Platoon – Carried two months of frequently required spare and minor assemblies for vehicles held by the Division
  • Tech Stores Platoon – Carried two months of frequently required spares for all guns, small arms, wireless and Signals equipment of the Division.
  • Gen Stores Platoon – Carried a small range of frequently required items of clothing, general stores, and the Divisional Reserve of Industrial gases.

Mobile Laundry and Bath Company

The functions of the Mobile Laundry and Bath Company was to provide bathing facilities and to wash troops under clothing.

RNZAOC Stores Sections

One RNZAOC Store Sections was attached to each Infantry Brigade Workshop, maintaining a stock of spares required for the repair of the Divisions equipment. The Stores sections would demand direct from the Base or Advance Base Ordnance Depot not the OFP.

Brigade Warrant Officers

RNZAOC representative at Brigade Headquarters

Presentation of Coronation Trophy

In celebration to the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the Coronation Trophy was presented to the Central Districts Training Depot by All Ranks of the RNZAOC from the Central Military District. The exact criteria for the presentation of the trophy has been long forgotten, however from the 11th CMT intake the Coronation Trophy would be awarded to an outstanding student of each CMT intake.  76

Acquisition of additional Training areas by NZ Army

To provide suitable training areas in all three military districts, firing and manoeuvre rights were obtained over 30000acres of land adjoining the Mackenzie District near lake Tekapo. The allowed all South Island units the ability to carry out realistic tactical training during their summer camps.

Flood Relief

In July 1953 Serious flooding affected the Waikato with soldiers from Hopuhopu Camp taking a prominent part in the relief operations. Solders from the 1st Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park, utilising vehicles with extended air intakes and exhausts and operating in areas that had been flooded to a depth of 1.4 meters deep assisted in rescuing families and livestock and distributing fodder to marooned animals.

Tangiwai Railway Disaster

The Tangiwai disaster occurred at Christmas eve 1953 when the Whangaehu River Railway bridge collapsed as the Wellington-to-Auckland express passenger train was crossing it with a loss of 151 Lives. With Waiouru in proximity, the army was quick to respond, with rescue teams deploying from Waiouru with the first survivors admitted into the Waiouru Camp Hospital by 4 am. Representing the RNZAOC in the search parties were Warrant officer Class One P Best and Corporal Eric Ray.

Railway disaster at Tangiwai. Dominion Post (Newspaper): Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post and Dominion newspapers. Ref: EP-Accidents-Rail-Tangiwai rail disaster-01. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23201427

Royal Tour 23 December 1953 – 31 Jan 1954

Camp Commandants Bodyguard 1954. Robert Mckie RNZAOC School Collection

Emergency Force (Kayforce)

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

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

Out of Kayforce

  • Private Dennis Arthur Astwood, 8 December 1953
  • Lance Corporal Thomas Joseph Fitzsimons, 6 January 1954
  • Lance Corporal Owen Fowell, 2 September 1953
  • Private Gane Cornelius Hibberd, 13 May 1953,
  • Corporal Leonard Ferner Holder, 4 September 1953
  • Corporal Wiremu Matenga, 6 January 1954

Into Kay force

  • Private Richard John Smart, 25 June 1953
  • Private Abraham Barbara, 30 December 1953
  • Private Ernest Radnell, 29 December 1953
  • Sergeant Harold Earnest Strange Fry, 29 January 1954
  • Corporal Edward Tanguru, 25 February 1954
  • Gunner John Neil Campbell, 24 March 1954

Seconded to Fiji Military Forces

  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster Rodger Dillon Wederell remained seconded to the Fiji Military Forces.

Ordnance Conferences

Ordnance Conference 18-19 August 1953

The Director of Ordnance Services hosted a conference of the Districts DADOS and the Officer Commanding Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) at Army Headquarters over the period 21-23 April 1953. No detailed agenda remains.

Headquarters Group, Main Ordnance Depot, 1954. Robert McKie RNZAOC School Collection
Main Ordnance Depot, NZ Royal Womens Army Corps, 1954. Robert McKie RNZAOC School Colection

Routine Ordnance Activities

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

Ammunition Examiner Qualification

The following soldiers qualified as Ammunition Examiners

  • Corporal G.T Dimmock (SMD)
  • Corporal M.M Loveday (CMD)
  • Corporal Roche (MMD)
  • Lance Corporal H.E Luskie (SMD)
  • Lance Corporal Radford (NMD)

Small Arms Ammunition

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

Support to the French War in Vietnam

During this period the RNZAOC prepared a second consignment of stores and equipment for transfer to the French in Vietnam.  Transferred from surplus and obsolete stocks held in RNZAOC depots, the following items would be dispatched to Vietnam;[4]

  • 500 Revolvers,
  • 3000 Rifles,
  • 750 Machine Guns,
  • 50 Bofors anti-aircraft guns and ammunition,
  • 10000 round of 40mm armour piercing shot,[5]
  • Wireless Sets
  • Field Telephones,
  • Charging Sets
  • Assorted Uniform Items
  • 670000 rounds of small arms ammunition.
Bofors Guns Trentham, 1 March 1954. Evening Post illustrations file and prints. 1950-2000. (PA-Group-00685). [Series]

Introduction of New Equipment

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

During this period, the following equipment was introduced into service;[6]

  • 57 M20 Mk 2 3.5-inch Rocket Launchers
  • Anti-Tank Grenade No 94 Engera
  • 1 120mm BAT L1 Recoilless Rifle
  • 3 Centurion Tanks
  • 150 Series 1 80″ Land-Rovers

Honours List

Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.)

  • Lieutenant-Colonel Francis Reid.[7]

Promotions

  • Private George Thomas Dimmock to Lance Corporal – 1 April 1953
  • Temporary Warrant Officer Class Two Alick Claude Doyle to Substantive WO2, 1 April 1953
  • Lieutenant J. Harvey to Captain. 9 December 1953.[8]
  • Captain (temp. Major) H. McK Reid to Major. 22 January 1954.[9]
  • Lieutenant-Colonel (temp Colonel) A. H. Andrews, OBE, BE, to Colonel. 21 October 1953.[10]
  • Lieutenant and Quartermaster T Rose to be Captain and Quartermaster. 1 May 1953.[11]

Enlistments into the RNZAOC

  • John Gunn, 21 September 1953
  • Leonard T Conlon, 16 June 1953
  • Keith A Parker, 17 July 1953

Appointments into the RNZAOC

  • Edward Francis Lambert Russell, late Captain RAOC, appointed as Lieutenant (on prob.), with seniority from 26 November 1949, posted as Vehicle. Spares Officer, Vehicle Spares Group, Main Ordnance Depot, 26 November 1953.[12]
  • Lieutenant J. B. Glasson, 13 April 1954.[13]

Transferred out of the RNZAOC to other Corps

  • Captain W. G. Dixon transferred to the Royal N.Z. Artillery. 6 July 1953.[14]

Transferred to the Supplementary List, NZ Regular Force

  • Captain and Quartermaster R. P. Kennedy, E.D., having reached the normal age for retirement, 13 April 1953.[15]

Transferred to the Reserve of Officers General List

  • Captain A. Whitehead, 17 December 1953.[16]

Re-Engagements into the New Zealand Regular Force

The following RNZAOC soldiers were re-engaged into the New Zealand Regular Force;

  • Sergeant W.J Smith for one year from April 1953, in the rank of Private
  • Warrant Officer Class One W.S Valentine, on a month to month basis until 31 March 1954
  • Corporal H.H Regnault, on a month to month basis until 31 March 1954

Civic Appointments

On 16 July 1953 Maurice Richard John Keeler, Ordnance Officer, Northern; District Ordnance Depot, RNZAOC Ngaruawahia, was authorized to take and receive statutory declarations under section 301 of the Justices of the Peace Act 1927.[17]

Notes

“Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.” New Zealand Gazette No 9, 4 February 1954.

“Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.” New Zealand Gazette No 13, 25 February 1954.

“Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.” New Zealand Gazette No 15, 11 March 1954.

“Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.” New Zealand Gazette No 72, 17 December 1953.

“Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.” New Zealand Gazette No 35, 3 June 1954.

“Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.” New Zealand Gazette No 48, 20 August 1953.

“Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army.” New Zealand Gazette No 1, 7 January 1954.

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

“Coronation Honours List.” New Zealand Gazette No 33, 11 June 1953.

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

“H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1954 to 31 March 1955 “. Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (3 July 1955 1955).

“Officer Authorized to Take and Receive Statutory Declarations “. New Zealand Gazette No 42, 23 July 1953.

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


[1] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1954 to 31 March 1955 “, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives  (1955).

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

[3] Damien Fenton, A False Sense of Security : The Force Structure of the New Zealand Army 1946-1978, Occasional Paper / Centre for Strategic Studies: New Zealand: No. 1 (Centre for Strategic Studies: New Zealand, Victoria University of Wellington, 1998), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 8-9.

[4] Roberto Giorgio Rabel, New Zealand and the Vietnam War : Politics and Diplomacy (Auckland University Press, 2005), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 16.

[5] Possibly surplus 37mm rounds used on New Zealand’s Stuart tanks which would have been compatible with weapon platforms in use with the French

[6] Fenton, A False Sense of Security : The Force Structure of the New Zealand Army 1946-1978, 21.

[7] “Coronation Honours List,” New Zealand Gazette No 33, 11 June 1953, 911.

[8] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 9, 4 February 1954, 180.

[9] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 13, 25 February 1954, 294.

[10] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 15, 11 March 1954, 384.

[11] “Coronation Honours List,”  906.

[12] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 72, 17 December 1953.

[13] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 35, 3 June 1954, 678.

[14] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 48, 20 August 1953, 1354.

[15] “Appointments, Promotions, Transfers, and Resignations, of Officers of the New Zealand Army,” New Zealand Gazette No 1, 7 January 1954, 29.

[16] Ibid.

[17] “Officer Authorized to Take and Receive Statutory Declarations “, New Zealand Gazette No 42, 23 July 1953, 1184.


A retrospective view of the Main Ordnance Depot, Trentham

From 1920 to 1996, Trentham Camp in Wellington’s Hutt Valley was home to the New Zealand’s Army’s principle Ordnance Depot. During its 76 year tenure as a Ordnance Depot, also every New Zealand Army Ordnance Officer and Soldier would at some stage of their career work at, pass through or have some interaction with the Trentham Ordnance Depot.

Using a 1983 Depot plan as a reference point , this article takes a look back at how the Trentham Ordnance Depot developed from 1920 to 1996.

Depot Plan, 1 Base Supply Battalion. Robert McKie Collection
Entrance to the Ordnance Depot 1998, Upper Hutt City Library (19th Mar 2020). Trentham Camp buildings, unidentified; barrier in fence. In Website Upper Hutt City Library. Retrieved 11th Oct 2020 08:03, from https://uhcl.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/29474
Building 73. Upper Hutt City Library (19th Mar 2020). Trentham Camp building; multi-bay warehouse. In Website Upper Hutt City Library. Retrieved 11th Oct 2020 08:05, from https://uhcl.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/29475

1920

In 1920 the NZAOC had its Headquarters and main depot located at Alexandra Barracks at Mount Cook, Wellington. In the regions Ordnance Stores were maintained at Mount Eden, Palmerston North, Trentham Camp, Featherston Camp, Mount Cook, Christchurch and Dunedin.

As part of the post war reduction of the Army and the rationalization of the the Ordnance Services, the early interwar years would be a period of transition. In the South Island, the Dunedin and Christchurch Ordnance Stores would close and relocate to Burnham Camp. In the North Island the Palmerston North Depot would close and the main depot at Mount Cook would relocate to Trentham Camp to establish the Main Ordnance Depot.

The Featherson Camp and Mount Eden Ordnance Stores would remain in operation until 1928 when a new Purpose built Ordnance Depot at Hopuhopu in the Waikato was constructed.

With no purpose built storage accommodation, the NZAOC Main Ordnance Depot at Trentham Camp would in the years leading up to the Second World War would utilise up to one hundred different existing camp administrative and accommodation structures as its primary means of warehousing.

Upper Hutt City Library (31st Mar 2018). Trentham Camp 1920; aerial view looking east.. In Website Upper Hutt City Library. Retrieved 10th Oct 2020 15:04, from https://uhcl.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/464

1940

Seen here shortly after is construction in late 1940/early 1941, this warehouse (Building 73) was constructed as part of a wider nationwide program of defence works. With the contracts for construction let in 1938 and construction beginning in 1939, Building 73 was constructed using reinforced concrete and designed with nine bays that allowed the loading and unloading of Trains on one side, and Motor transport on the other. The design and layout of building 73 would be utilised as the model for new warehouses that would later be constructed at Burnham and Waiouru.

Upper Hutt City Library (5th Mar 2018). Trentham Camp 1938-1943 (approximate). In Website Upper Hutt City Library. Retrieved 10th Oct 2020 15:28, from https://uhcl.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/25874

1941

From this November 1941 photo the full size of Building 73 can be appreciated in comparison to the World War One era buildings in which many of the Main Ordnance Depots Stores had been held in during the inter war years. Under construction is Building 68, which in later years would become the Direct Support Section (DSS), Building 87 (Dental Stores) and Building 88 (Detention Block)

Trentham Camp, November 1941. National Archives, AAOD,W3273, Box 19, Record WDO 9811, R18059582

1943

Although Building 73 provided a huge increase in storage capability, wartime demands soon necessitated further increases in storage infrastructure, immediately obvious is Building 74. Building 74 was a near duplicate of building 73 with the main exception that due to wartime constraints it was constructed out of wood instead of reinforced concrete.

Building 86 has been completed and connected to it is Building 70, which would later become the Textile Repair Shop.

Buildings 64, 65 and 66 have been completed with Building’s 60 and 61 under construction.

1944

By 1944, despite the wartime expansion of the Main Ordnance Depot, storage requirements still exceeded available storage at the Main Ordnance Depot, with a large amount of items held in Sub Depots at Māngere, Linton Camp, Whanganui, Waiouru, Lower Hutt and Wellington.

Twelve addition warehouses can be seen to the East of Buildings 73 and 74, and Building 26 is under construction.

Upper Hutt City Library (14th Feb 2018). Aerial view; Trentham Military Camp 1944.. In Website Upper Hutt City Library. Retrieved 10th Oct 2020 14:56, from https://uhcl.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/625

1945

These two photos from late 1945 show the extent of the wartime expansion of the Main Ordnance Depot.

The latest additions are Buildings 27,28,29. 30 and 31. These buildings has originally been built for the United States Forces at Waterloo in Lower Hutt by the Public Works Department. Surplus to the United States requirements due to their downsizing in New Zealand, the buildings had been transferred to the NZ Army. The first building was disassembled and re-erected at Trentham by the end of September 1945 with the follow-on buildings re-erected  at a rate of one per month, with all construction completed by February 1946

Upper Hutt City Library (27th Feb 2018). Trentham Camp overall view 1945; Carman block, 1945. Panoramic view.. In Website Upper Hutt City Library. Retrieved 10th Oct 2020 14:57, from https://uhcl.recollect.co.nz/nodes/view/565

1966

Twenty Years later much of the wartime infrastructure constructed for the Main Ordnance Depot and much of the First World War camp accommodation remains in use. During the 1950’s the compound at Dante Road had been developed for the Central Districts Vehicle Depot. When that unit relocated to Linton in 1958 the compound became the Main Ordnance Depot Vehicle Sub-Depot. On the right side of the photo, the large building the Ordnance Depot is the General Motors Plant.

1974

By 1974, much of the central infrastructure remains, however, the eleven sheds constructed in 1943/44 have been demolished.

1980

1n 1979 the Main Ordnance Depot was renamed as as 1 Base Supply Battalion, RNZOAC. There has been little change to the WW2 Infrastructure.

1988

In one of the largest infrastructure investments since 1939 and the first modern warehouse built for the RNZAOC since 1972, a new warehouse was opened in 1988. Designed to accommodate 3700 pallets and replace the existing WW2 Era Storage, the new award winning warehouse was constructed at a cost of $1.6 million. In addition to the high rise pallet racking for bulk stores, a vertical storage carousel capable of holding 12,000 detail items would be installed at a later date.

2020

On 8 December 1996 the RNZAOC was amalgamated into the the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment, bringing to an end the Ordnance Corps association with Trentham Camp that had existed since 1920.

Further developments would occur in January 1998 when the the entire military warehousing and maintenance functions in Trentham camp were commercialised and placed under the control of civilian contractors.


Equipping the 1st NZ Contingent to South Africa

On 28 September 1899, the New Zealand Premier ‘King Dick’ Seddon offered to the Imperial Government in London, in the event of war with the Boer Republics, the services of a contingent of Mounted Infantry for service in South Africa. The offer was accepted, and when war broke out on 11 October 1899, New Zealand was swept up in a wave of patriotic fervour. This short article will examine the forgotten contribution by the predecessor to the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, the Defence Stores Department in equipping the first New Zealand Contingent to the war in South Africa.

With a small Permanent Militia and few reserve stores to mount an Expeditionary Force, the New Zealand Military establishment including the Defence Stores Department was unprepared for the rapid mobilisation that was about to be undertaken.[1]

Although most members of the First Contingent were drawn from the Permanent Militia or Volunteer Forces, it was expected that they would supply their own equipment from their unit stocks and shortfalls were expected. These would have to be satisfied from Defence Stores Department Stocks.[2]

The Defence Stores Department had insufficient uniforms and equipment available for the assembling Contingent,  requiring the recall and donation of items from volunteer units as well as the placing of orders for the urgent manufacture or purchase of over 20,000 items of equipment, uniforms, underclothing, horse equipment, saddlery on the local market.

Clothing for a New Zealand Contingent being distributed at the Defence Stores, Wellington. Auckland Libraries Heritage Images Collection
Fitting out a New Zealand Contingent at the Wellington Defence Stores. Auckland Libraries Heritage Images Collection

The first task of the Defence Stores was to prepare the camp stores for the mobilisation camp that would be established at Karori, just outside of Wellington. On 6 October 1899, three waggon-loads of camp equipment had been prepared and dispatched to Karori in the care of a work party from the Permanent Militia, the stores included;[3]

  • 31 tents for the men
  • 6 Officers tents
  • Kitchen tent
  • Stores Tent
  • Mess Marquee
  • picket fences for tethering the horses

From the 6th to 21 October 1899, under the direct supervision of the Under-Secretary for Defence, Sir Arthur Percy Douglas, the Defence Storekeeper Captain Anderson and his small staff spent up to 16 hours daily, receiving, recording, branding and then dispatching all manner of essential items to the assembled Contingent at Karori Camp.

Receiving the Stores at Karori Camp from the Defence Stores Department was the Camp Storekeeper Corporal Butler and two assistant gunners of the Permanent Artillery. [4] Corporal Butler and his two assistants ably carried out their duties ensuring that as equipment received from the Defence Stores Department, each member of the Contingent was issued with a set scale of kit, including blankets, several changes of underwear, three sets of uniform, overcoat, several pairs of boots and shoes, numerous other articles, rifle and accoutrements. In addition to these articles, saddlery and other equipment for each trooper’s horse were also issued. Total equipment issued to the Contingent was as follows;[5]  

Officers Equipment

  • Khaki tunics, 22 
  • khaki trousers, 22
  • cord breeches, 44
  • slouch-hats, 11
  • field-service caps, 11
  • Sam Brown belts (sets), 11
  • waterproof sheets, 11
  • spurs, 11
  • cloaks, 11
  • boots (pairs), 22
  • shoes (pairs), 22
  • haversacks, 11
  • water-bottles, 11
  • also, complete underwear

Men’s Personal Equipment

  • Khaki tunics, 400
  • slouch-hats, 200
  • forage-caps, 200
  • gaiters, 200
  • riding-breeches, 400
  • boots (pairs), 400
  • shoes (pairs), 400 
  • socks (pairs), 600
  • undershirts, 600 
  • flannel shirts, 600 
  • drawers, 600
  • cholera-belts, 600
  • braces, 200
  • spurs, 200
  • greatcoats, 200
  • holdalls complete, with brush and comb, knife, fork, spoon, and housewife, 200
  • clasp-knives and lanyards, 200
  • blankets, 400
  • waterproof sheets, 200
  • towels, 600
  • blue jerseys, 200
  • serge trousers, 200
  • kitbags, 200
  • button-brushes, 200
  • button-sticks, 200
  • shoe brushes (sets), 200
  • blacking-tins, 200
  • woollen caps, 200
  • dubbing (tins), 200
  • horses, 250, with stable equipment complete.

Horse Equipment

  • Saddles complete with wallets, leather numnahs, shoe-pockets, breastplates, girths, surcingle’s, stirrup-leathers, stirrup-irons, bridles complete, 211
  • surcingle’s, with pads, 250
  • headstalls (for ship use), 250
  • head-ropes, 250
  • heel-ropes, 250
  • picketing ropes, 250
  • picketing pegs, 250 
  • mallets, 62 
  • forage-nets, 250
  • nosebags, 250
  • forage-cords, 211
  • horse blankets, 250
  • hoof-pickers, 211
  • currycombs, 211
  • horse-brushes, 211
  • stable-sponges, 211
  • horse-rubbers, 400

Camp Equipment

  • Tents, 30
  • camp-kettles, 24 
  • axes, 4 
  • pickaxes, 8 
  • crowbars, 2
  • spades, 8
  • field-forge, complete, 1
  • farriers’ tools (sets), 4
  • horseshoes (cases), 3
  • horseshoe-nails (case), 1
  • saddlers’ tools, complete (case), 1
  • saddlers’ leather (roll), 1

Arms, Accoutrements

  • Carbines, Martini-Enfield, 200
  • sword-bayonets, 200
  • waist belts fitted for service, 200
  • oil-bottles, 200
  • haversacks, 200
  • water-bottles, 200
  • rifle-buckets, 200
  • mess-tins, 200
  • whistles for officers and /ion-commissioned officers, 17
  • revolvers, 17
New Zealand Contingent in marching order at Karori, 10 minutes before leaving to board their troopship.NZ Archives reference: AEGA 18982 PC4 Box 16 1899/37

With the SS Waiwera due to sail on 21 October, most deadlines were achieved, and the first New Zealand Contingent to South Africa sailed from Wellington on schedule. Many personal belongings were left behind at the Karori Camp by the members of the Contingent for return to the owner’s home locations. The Defence Stores Department had received lists and directions from the troopers and undertook to see that the things were sent to their homes.

In recognition of the outstanding effort exerted by the Defence Stores Department and the stress and strain of equipping the Contingent, Sir Arthur Douglas the Under-Secretary for Defence, feeling that a letter of thanks would have been an inadequate acknowledgement of the special services rendered, personally thanked the staff of the Defence Store Department at their Buckle-street Store Office on the 24 October 1899. In a hearty speech, Sir Arthur acknowledged the untiring energy and zeal displayed by the staff. He informed them that he had recommended the Minister of Defence show recognition of the work done in some substantial manner.[6]

‘Defence Department and Alexandra Barracks, Wellington’, URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/media/photo/buckle-street-wellington, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 21-Apr-2016

With the first Contingent departing New Zealand in October 1899, The Defence Stores Department with only a modest increase in its workforce would continue to provide ongoing mobilisation support to the further nine contingents that were dispatched to South Africa. The lessons of the initial mobilisation would not be forgotten. In the years leading up to the 1914 mobilisation, sporadic improvements would be made to the Defence Stores Department allowing it to equip a much larger and technically diverse Force to Samoa and Egypt in a limited timeframe.

Notes

[1] “New Zealands Contingent,” Evening Post, Volume LVIII, Issue LVIII, , 28 October 1899.
[2] “New Zealand’s Response,”  https://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/south-african-boer-war/new-zealands-response,
[3] “The Camp at Karori,” Evening Post, Volume LVIII, Issue 85, , 7 October 1899.
[4] “New Zealand Contingent: Letters from Commander of the Forces and Undersecertary for Defence “, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1899 Session I, H-06  (1899).
[5] Ibid.
[6] “Contingent Notes,” Evening Post, Volume LVIII, Issue 100, 25 October 1899.